Getting Over Gym Fear

A lot of people really don’t like the gym, but I’m sure you already knew that. I totally get it. A lot of gyms can be intimidating, especially if they are large, or full of super star looking athletes throwing weights around and grunting loudly (not knocking superstar weightlifters, but you have to see how it can be intimidating to some folks), or are filled with perfect looking young women who don’t look like they have an ounce of fat on them, and are always in the most perfect gym outfits.

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My parents are some of those folks. They are 60, and want to stay fit but don’t fit in with heavy lifters, or young moms in spandex shorts taking classes or playing tennis (again, nothing wrong with those things, but it intimidates a lot of people!) They used to go to a very large, fancy country club type health club simply for convenience (it’s right across the street from their house), but they slowly started going less and less because they just didn’t feel comfortable working out there. This made me really sad, and I am really glad my parents did some research and found the type of gym that works for them.

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That’s the great thing about the gym industry and it’s growth right now, there are so many options! Something for everyone! There are 24 hour gyms, country club type gyms, crossfit boxes, Koko fit club (where my parents go) among other things. So what if you don’t have a lot of options? What if you have one gym to go to, and you just have to make the best of the situation, then what? Below are some of my best tips for getting over any fear or anxiety you may have about going to your gym.

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1.) Schedule some time with a trainer: One of the biggest reasons people don’t use machines at the gym is because they don’t know how to use them and don’t want to look stupid if they can’t figure something out, or are using a machine wrong (this used to be me before I started strength training!) A lot of gyms will give you a free hour with a trainer or employee to get you familiar with all the different machines, and help you to know how much weight you should use, and how many reps you should do. This is a great resource!

2.) Go with a friend: When I first started lifting, I would go with my husband and he would help me get going. Not being there alone really helped to build my confidence in the beginning.

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3.) Avoid busy times: Early in the morning and after work are very busy times for gyms. You may not have a choice, but if you do, try to go in an off peak time so there will be less people in the gym to make you feel awkward.

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4.) Mentally prepare yourself: Remind yourself that there are probably other people nervous to be at the gym, too. Remember that most likely no one will ever even know you are having any anxiety about being there. Also, most people are so busy and into their own workouts that they don’t even notice other people (I don’t notice most people at the gym, I’m in the zone!)

5.) Suck it up: You have to decide what is more important to you. If getting to the gym is your top priority, then you just have to do it. Most likely, the more you go the more comfortable you will become and soon your fears will be gone. Take a step out of your comfort zone and just do it, one time. The second time should be easier, so it’s just taking that first step. You can do it!

QOTD: Do you like going to the gym? Were you ever intimidated by going?

Falling Off the Training Wagon

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind. Between spending five days in Oklahoma, and then coming home and taking over the local Orange Leaf, it has left little time for running. I am really frustrated by this, because when I chose my fall half marathon training plan, I was DETERMIND to stick with it. You see, I am not so great at following through with training plans and typically end up doing my own thing at some point along the way.

So you can imagine my frustration when I went to finally get in a good run yesterday, and I could only manage two miles because I pulled my back. Then, this morning I woke up sick with a cold. Seriously? I don’t think I have been sick since before I was pregnant! Bobby thinks I pushed too hard running around trying to work at the shop and then do my other two jobs at home + caring for the baby and the house, but eh, I’m not sure. Could just be coincidence. Either way, I’m sick. As in I want to rip my nose off my face because I can’t breathe, and I have chills and that all over icky feeling…so who knows when I will get back to running.

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It’s really tempting to just throw my hands up and say “forget about it, I’ve already blown this training cycle”, but I have big goals for myself, and I know that isn’t the proper attitude to have. So, this is what I plan to do to get back on the training wagon:

1.) Get well: I know I am no use to anyone while I am sick and/or injured, so I need to get better before I jump into my runs again and potentially prolong this cold. I know I need rest rest rest (I actually napped TWICE yesterday during Emma Kate’s naps), and even though it makes me feel unproductive and sluggish, I know it’s best for me right now.

2.) Rework my training schedule: Now that I have missed several runs, there is no way I can hold the paces I am supposed to run for long runs over the next couple of weeks with the speed level I am at right now. I may take a bit longer to reach my goals now, but that doesn’t mean I have to forget about them completely.

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3.) Run!: Once I have done #1 and #2, I plan to jump back into running, knowing that I am going to have to up my game a bit and run a few extra miles and push a little bit harder. I think a couple weeks of missing some runs is ok, but if I fall off the wagon for this long again during this training cycle, it would be hard to recover. So, even on days I really don’t think I have time, I have GOT to make time and just get it done.

That is my plan of attack, and hopefully it works well for me. Now, where are my tissues and chicken noodle soup?

QOTD: What do you do when you miss several runs during training?

5 Tips for Running When you Travel

Hi everyone! When you are reading this I may very well be on the road. Bobby and I have to make a quick trip out of state for a business venture I will tell you about tomorrow! There is a lot going on in our little world, but I did some blogging ahead of time and will be on social media @HeathersLG. Since we will be staying at a hotel and I have started half marathon training, I knew I was going to want to get some running in while we are gone. There is some planning that has to take place before you go, so I wanted to share some tips/my thought process with you.

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1.) Research the area: It’s not wise to just take off running from your hotel without knowing a bit about the area. Maybe you could even try to connect with local runners on social media and ask them their favorite routes. Traveling is a great time for exploring a new place! Maybe find a route that has a convenience store you can stop at along the way for a bottle of water, or a park with a scenic trail.

2.) Pack well: I know there are a million thoughts going in and out of your head when trying to pack for a trip and thinking about running gear may be the last thing on your mind, but if you have everything you need all together in one bag you may be more likely to actually go for a run when you reach your destination. I bring a drawstring bag with my GPS watch, headbands, GU, body glide, sunglasses, etc. whenever I travel so there is no excuse. Then it’s just a matter of throwing in a couple running outfits and my shoes!

3.) Be safe: Always tell someone where you plan to run and what time you will be back, even if it’s a text to a friend or a front desk worker at the hotel. Be mindful of your surroundings! I never run with headphones when I am running somewhere new. I know I need to be on the lookout, especially in a bigger city where I am crossing streets and what not.

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Stopped at a crosswalk on a group run in Boston at the Healthy Living Summit.

4.) Make time: This is a big one for me! Travel wears me out yall. The last thing I want to do after a long day of driving or flying is lace up my running shoes! It is important to look at your schedule and pencil in a time to hit the hotel gym or run the roads, or it may not actually happen.

5.) Call the hotel: Hotel workers are your friend! Usually they are super knowledgeable of the area, and can hopefully tell you areas you should probably avoid, or a place where runners go on the weekend to log some longer miles. They may even be able to give you the number of a local running store you can call for help as well. It never hurts to ask!

I need to be held accountable while I am away from home to stick to my plan, so ASK ME on social media if I have run yet while I’m gone. I will be taking my tips to heart and getting my workouts in.

QOTD: What is your best tip for running in a new place? To you venture outside or stick to the hotel gym?

Jeff Galloway Tips: Dealing with the Heat

Hey friends! These tips for dealing with the heat from Jeff Galloway could not have come at a better time! We are in the middle of a serious heat wave here in the south (our daily heat index has been around 107 with high humidity) and running has been difficult. Please enjoy these tips:

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Training through the summer can not only be grueling, but down right dangerous.  Here are some tips to train safely and as comfortable as possible in the hot summer months.

Slow down by 30 sec/mile (20 sec/km) for every 5F temperature increase above 55-60F ( every 2.5C above 14C)

When the temperature is over 70F (21C) you may take a 5 minute “cold shower break” every 25-30 minutes to keep cool.

Try to complete your run before the sun rises above the horizon.

More frequent walk breaks during hot weather can lower body temperature increase.  If you used to run 3 minutes between walk breaks, run only 90 seconds (walk 30 seconds) at 70F (21C) and at 80F (26C) drop to 60 sec run/30 sec walk or 30/30

When you start to heat up more than normal, take a longer walk in a mall or indoor AC building

Pick shady courses on hot days.

Don’t wear a hat!  Pour water over your head

Have an indoor alternative—treadmill, etc

Run in the deep end of the pool, using a flotation belt

QOTD: What is your best tip for running n hot weather?

Disclosure: As a Jeff Galloway blogger I am given special tips to share with you, my readers. No compensation has been given to me.

Tips for Running on the Beach

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a few days in Destin, Florida. Not only did I get excited about the sun, sand, and crashing waves….but I was stoked to have a new scenic place to run. Let’s face it friends, Jackson Mississippi isn’t exactly a “pretty’ place to run. No mountains, no beach, not many trails. This is why when I go on vacation or work travel, I try to take every opportunity to go for a run in my new surroundings.

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Below I have complied a few tips to help you make the most out of your ocean side run.

1.) Run on an even surface: There are a lot of slanted places at the beach, it hurts my ankles just walking on the slanted parts after awhile so I can’t imagine running like that! Sometimes, depending on the tide, this means I can run in packed sand right down by the water, and sometimes it means going up a bit further to find that flat land.

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2.) Wear Shoes: I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this one, and that’s ok. Personally though, getting a shell in my foot or stepping on a jellyfish barefoot do not sound like a good time. I especially recommend wearing shoes if you have arch or foot problems, running shoes for plantar fasciitis are still needed even when running on sand. I require a more stable shoe due to weak ankles and high arches so I most definitely need shoes on the beach!

3.) Keep your run short: It may be tempting to run forever in such a scenic place, but if you aren’t used to beach running, you will realize that you get sore and tired MUCH more quickly than usual. It’s a great calorie torching workout, but don’t overdo it.

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4.) Protect yourself from the sun: In Destin, the sugar white sandy beaches are beautiful, but boy does the sun reflect off of it! I am always careful to wear sunglasses, and depending on the time of day a hat as well. I also wear plenty of sunscreen when I run on the beach, even if it’s early in the morning. No one wants to be red for the rest of their trip!

5.) Body Glide your feet: One thing I quickly noticed while taking my running shoes out to say hello to the ocean was that sand. gets. everywhere. It’s inevitable, so to protect your feet from getting blisters, try wearing dri-fit socks and putting body glide on your feet to help with rubbing.

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Happy running and enjoy the view!

QOTD: Anything I left off? Do you ever run on the beach?

Blogging Tools: PicMonkey

Lately I have gotten a few questions regarding photos, especially for use on Pinterest and Instagram, to help bring traffic to your blog. Since I am not an amazing photographer, I need all the editing help I can get to make my images appealing.

I have been using PicMonkey: crazy-awesome photo editing
 for years, and have found it to be the easiest to use. It also has a ton of options (even in the free version!) and the paid version is not expensive ($2.75 a month!) Below is a walk through of some of my favorite features and how I edit my photos with PicMonkey and PicMonkey Royale (the paid version).

The first thing I want to note is that right now you can get 30 days of royale for FREE right now. Try it out, see how you like it, then decide if you want to continue to pay for the service.

Ok, so when you go to the home screen, this is what you will see:

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For editing a single picture, you are mostly going to be clicking the “edit” button here. After you pic the photo you want to edit, then it brings up the editing screen with loads of options:

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Here you can auto adjust, crop, rotate, resize, change the exposure, etc. For this photo, I decided to crop it a tiny bit and bump up the sharpness. You can then hit the little wand button on the left menu bar under the crop symbol, and a whole new list of effects opens up.

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I decided to use a royale feature called “urbane” to give my photo a nice cool look.

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The next button down (on the left menu bar) looks like a tube of lipstick. If you were to have a photo that includes people, this is where you would do touch ups such as airbrush, wrinkle remover, blush, lipstick, teeth whiten, eye shadow, etc. I rarely use this one except occasionally for red eye remover. It is fun to play around with

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So moving on from there is one I use a lot, text. There are so, SO many options here. Size, color, font, placement…you pretty much can do whatever you want here. Just for an example, below is something that might go on my photo.

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Next, are the overlays (on the menu it looks like a butterfly). Depending on what my photo is going to be used for, I will use my watermark here. There are also a ton of shapes and symbols here. This is also where you can add a block in, fade it some, and put text on top of it.

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The next button down on the left menu is a picture frame. Here you can add different borders to make your photo pop. For this one I just used a basic black and white museum matte frame.

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After frames, you will find the button for textures. I decided to add a fun light trail onto this photo for a whimsical look.

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The bottom of the menu contains themes (think seasons, holidays, etc.) and I don’t use these often. After you are done, simply save your photo to your computer and you are done! Below is my finished product:

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Please note this is just a quick walkthrough, and there are SO many more things you can do, and you can get way more intricate and detailed with your text, textures, and colorings. I am still learning myself, and have found the best way to figure it out is to just get in there and play with/edit a photo. I use PicMonkey: photo editing made of win  almost daily for my blog, Instagram, and Pinterest photos, and hope you found this post helpful for upping your game (remember, people may be more likely to click on your Pinterest photo if you have words on it explaining what it’s all about!) If you have any specific questions, I would be more than happy to try to answer them for you!

Curious to learn more about the steps needed to start a blog? I can guide you through it with my FREE e-course on how to start a blog. Sign up now! 

QOTD: What photo editing program do you use?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Tips for De-cluttering Your Home

About a week or so ago, I randomly came to the conclusion that we have too much stuff. The things we have aren’t particularly expensive or fancy…just…STUFF we have accumulated over the past 10 years of knowing each other. Also, we have been in our house almost a year now, and there are things still in boxes that I haven’t touched. I mean really, if I haven’t needed it in a year, there is a good chance it should be tossed anyway.

It’s kind of overwhelming when I think about purging things from my home, and to be honest, I have to be in a particular “mood” to get this done, if that even makes sense (hopefully someone knows what I’m talking about so I don’t feel crazy? Well, at least not crazy in this instance.)

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I decided to just do a little at a time as I felt like it, and start where I felt I could do the most damage…I hit up our bonus room and guest bedroom closets and just started pulling things out. I ended up with a couple of huge piles of things and I already feel better and cleaner. I wanted to share a few tips that I used to help me decide what stays and what goes.

What Stays and What Goes:

1.) Pick a room: Pick a room and focus on it until it’s completely done instead of hopping all around your house. This will help you feel more accomplished once you get a complete room done.

2.) Make multiple piles: I like to make a “donate”, “sell” and “maybe” pile as I sift through my stuff.  Sometimes I end up going through a room and will have a huge maybe pile of things I’m just not quite sure I want to part with. At the end of it after going through everything and having some time to think about the contents of the maybe pile, I can usually go back through and get rid of a large portion of it.

3.) Pick a price: I sell a lot of things locally on Facebook yard sale groups. My rule is if it’s going to sell for under $10, it gets donated. I am not going to sell an item and then spend an hour conversing back and forth with someone about a time and a location to meet, then wasting my gas and money to go meet someone in the Wal-Mart parking lot to sell a stapler for $2. I sell a lot of baby clothes to the local consignment shop so I don’t have to waste as much time handling it myself. Also, my parent shave a used bookstore by their house that you can trade in books for money to use in the store to buy other books. I love it, so I always send my mom books I don’t want so she can go get some different ones. Search around and see what you can find!

4.) Pick a good cause: If you do some searching, you will find lots of places that will take donated items that you may not have even thought of. Find somewhere you really want to help, and that you believe in. It may soften your heart and make you more willing to give up some of your possessions for those truly in need.

5.) Do the wear test with clothes: Turn all your hangers facing a certain way. Then, as you wear an outfit and hang it back in your closet, turn the hanger facing the other way. At the end of the season, anything with a hanger turned the first way (meaning you haven’t worn it all season) pull out of your closet and sell or donate.

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6.) Get rid of multiples: Yes you may need more than one ink pen in your house, but do you REALLY need 50? (guilty.) Do you have 5 of the exact same sized pot? Are you really going to be using those pots all at once to cook, wanna-be Martha Stewart? Consider maybe keeping 2. What about your cups/water bottles/glassware? Yall, I had so many water bottles before we moved last time, it was a sin. I got rid of about 10 and still have too many. I do dishes constantly, so it’s not like I run out of clean ones. GO through your house, especially your kitchen, and consider ditching things you have multiples of.

7.) Get a file cabinet: If you don’t have one already, get one. Yes you, the one with five different stacks of mail, magazines and papers you don’t know what to do with sitting on your kitchen counter. Sit by your file cabinet with a trash can, and make folders for bills, receipts and other important paperwork, and trash anything you will never read again (or won’t read once!)

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I spy a stack of papers!

8.) Clean out that pantry: When we moved a year ago, I was embarrassed at some of the things I found in my pantry that had been expired for a YEAR. a year yall…just let that sink in. The truth is we probably all have food in our pantry that is expired, we didn’t like and never threw out, or we just plain forgot about. Clean out your pantry and stop hiding things in layers behind each other so you can SEE everything in there. The same rule goes for your medicine cabinet. Get rid of expired meds and get a basket for each person in your house to put their medicine in so it’s easy to grab when needed.

9.) Buy some bins: You know those big storage bins with lids? We have a bunch of them in our attic. I prefer the clear ones so I can see the contents, but any will do. Anything in my house that I want to keep but I haven’t necessarily used in the past year like photo albums, keepsakes, etc. go into the bins and into the attic so they don’t junk up the rest of the house. You can even keep an inventory sheet of what is in each container in case you forget or are looking for something. (Keep the sheet in your file cabinet, NOT on your kitchen counter. Smile)

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10.) Get rid of excess toys: Kids rooms can quickly become a breeding ground for toys. I don’t know where they come from…they just kind of…appear… I think a great rule (and this is one we plan to implement when Emma Kate is older) is that when it is Christmas or birthday time, she has to get rid of a few toys before she can get more. It makes sense really, because a lot of the things they were playing with last Christmas they will have outgrown or will be too “babyish” the next year. If you are saving toys for a younger sibling, put them in a bin in the attic, and get them out of your child’s room. Less mess for mom and dad to have to “help” clean up when there aren’t as many toys to make a mess with! I would involve your kids in this and not just take toys form their room if they are old enough to understand. If you are donating, explain that there are other kids who don’t have toys that would so enjoy the ones that they don’t even play with anymore. A great learning experience and lesson on giving!

QOTD: What is your best tip for de-cluttering your house? Ok I’m off to put some of my tips into practice!

Packing List for the Beach

On Sunday Bobby and I leave for Destin, Florida for his annual conference. Today I started thinking about packing, and decided to write everything down, which led to the idea for this blog post. I know a lot of people heading to the beach so hopefully this will help spark something you may have forgotten to pack!

Please note I am not listing things you would bring on ANY trip with you like your toiletries, etc. but just more specifically for the actual beach. Enjoy!

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Packing for the Beach:

  • Sunscreen
  • Swimsuit
  • umbrella or tent
  • beach towels
  • hat
  • sunglasses
  • cooler (preferably with wheels or backpack style works well)
  • Frisbee/volleyball/buckets/beach toys
  • personal fan /batteries
  • bottled water/drinks
  • snacks
  • beach chairs
  • book/magazine
  • camera and memory card
  • beach bag
  • aloe vera/after sun lotion
  • lip balm with sun protectant in it
  • bug spray
  • beach cover up
  • flip flops/water shoes
  • snorkel gear/fins/floatation devices
  • flashlight (for nighttime, obviously)
  • bag for trash/empty bottles
  • mat or towel to set personal items on

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QOTD: What would you add to this list for a day at the beach? (and wow I just realized we bring a lot of stuff when we go to the beach!).

Jeff Galloway: The 30 Second Walk Break

It’s time for some more words of wisdom from Jeff Galloway! As a part of his blogger program, I receive tips that I then share with you. I found this set of tips particularly interesting. I use the run/walk/run for marathons and have thought about trying it out for a half marathon. I am never quite sure which interval to use, but today’s tips cleared things up for me and make a lot of sense. Going to try this out on my next run!

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The 30 second Walk Break

Jeff Galloway’s Run/Walk/Run method was revolutionary for three reasons:

1 – Run/Walk/Runners felt better throughout the long run.
2 – Run/Walk/Runners recovered faster and got injured less often.

3 – Run/Walk/Runners went faster with the breaks than without.

Since his introduction of walk breaks in 1974, Jeff he has received feedback from hundreds of thousands of runners, allowing him to fine tune Run/Walk/Run to keep people feeling better, staying healthy, and running faster.

 

The greatest benefit of the walk break comes in the first 30 sec.

Our heart rates come down, the running muscles relax, we catch our breaths, and the fatigue melts away.

After 30 seconds of walking, we tend to slow down.

Here is a typical example of what happens with a 1-minute walk break:

A run/walk/runner averaging 10-minute pace in a marathon using 3 min/1min might walk at a 15-minute mile pace for the first part of the race.
As fatigue sets in, that walk gets slower, and by halfway, the runner may be walking at 18 min/mi.

This means faster running is needed to stay on pace, which creates more fatigue at the end of each running segment, so the walk will get slower, and so goes the downward spiral at the end of the race.

 

Avoiding the Slow-down

Compared to running constantly, the 1-minute walk break still results in runners feeling better, staying healthier, and going faster, but it can get even better! Limiting walk breaks to 30 seconds, or in some cases even less, while cutting the run time accordingly, gives all the same benefits, with even less fatigue and even faster times.

 

The Bottom Line

If you are in already using a 30-second walk break or less, you don’t need to adjust. If you are using an interval that takes a 1-minute walk break, keep the same ratio but cut your walk and run times in half. For example, a 1-minute/1-minute interval now becomes a 30-sec./30-sec. interval. It’s that simple.

QOTD: Have you ever tried the run/walk/run strategy?

Disney’s Boardwalk Area Resorts

I get asked by many potential clients about the three Disney resorts that are considered the “Boardwalk area resorts.” Which is best? Which is closest to EPCOT? Best pool? Best nightlife? I thought it would be a good idea to dissect these three resorts and give you a taste of each to help you see which would be the best fit for your Disney vacation.

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Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Yacht Club, and Beach club are all deluxe resorts. They have the same amenities as far as what is in your room, but they all have different themes. All three are within walking distance to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and all offer some great dining locations.

Let’s start with the Yacht Club. This resort, per the name, has a very nautical feel. Lots of navy blue and browns can be seen throughout the resort. The lobby is very cozy, and it has a quaint feeling to it.

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The rooms have lots of nautical touches as well as hidden Mickeys.

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One of my favorite restaurants, Yachtsman Steakhouse, can also be found at this resort. This is the only resort where I have not stayed club level so I cannot attest to it, but I have heard it is a very small room, similar to the Beach Club’s club level lounge.

One of the biggest draws here is access to the pool (saying pool just doesn’t do it justice, it’s amazing), Stormalong Bay.

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Kids (and adults!) can play here for hours and hours. Back before magic bands, you had to have a special wrist band to get into the pool area because so many people not staying at the resort would try to sneak in. This miniature waterpark is shared with the Yacht Club’s sister resort, Disney’s Beach Club. Here you will find light colors, sand volleyball courts, and Beaches n Cream soda shop. It is also home to Cape May Café which has a character buffet and a clam bake dinner.

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Rooms are light and airy, with seafoam green and light blues.

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I have stayed club level here, and the lounge was very small, cramped, and loud when we were there. The food offerings were, in my opinion, just ok.

Lastly, we have the Boardwalk Inn, on the other side of the lake. This resort attracts the older crowd and the single crowd because well, the scary clown slide just freaks everyone out. (I will spare you a close up!)DSC_0655

The pool is fine, but compared to Stormalong Bay…well, there is no comparison. The room below is not a normal sized room, it is a deluxe room…so don’t go thinking all the rooms are this big. Smile

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The color scheme has a lot of red and yellow for a more Victorian feel. I love all the brightness, and it remind me a lot of the Grand Floridian. The biggest draw for this resort is the sweeping Boardwalk views, and the nightlife. Below is a view from our balcony. Gorgeous.

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At night you can find magicians along the Boardwalk, and you are steps away from the Atlantic Dance Hall and Jellyrolls dueling piano bar. My favorite two restaurants on the Boardwalk are Flying Fish café and the ESPN club. If we are staying during football season we always end up there watching a game!

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As I mentioned before, all three resorts are within walking distance to two parks. Boardwalk Inn is the closest to Hollywood Studios, and the Beach Club is the closest to EPCOT. The walks to both parks are beautiful and peaceful, we really enjoy this time before the hustle and bustle of the day. Note: there is also a boat if you don’t want to walk!

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The club level lounge at the Boardwalk is bigger than the other two, and has good food in my opinion. The staff is super friendly as well.

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So, in my opinion? If you has small kids, I would most likely pick the Beach Club or Yacht Club. If you are young folk with no kids, or empty nesters, etc. I would go with the Boardwalk Inn. All three are great no matter what you choose though!

QOTD: What is your favorite of these three resorts and why?

I would love to plan your family’s magical vacation to one of these resorts or one of the many other options. 2016 pricing comes out on Monday, so email me today to get on my list of quotes! [email protected]