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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Breathe Easier While You Run


Breathing is a very natural activity--and so is getting out of breath when you run!

Here are 7 easy techniques to help you breathe easier and improve your overall running performance during your next run.


Step1
Breathe in and out through your mouth. This may be the most effective way for most runners to take in more air as they run, as opposed to breathing through the nose. The act of breathing through your mouth will encourage your facial muscles to relax and therefore create a more relaxed composure.

Step2
Let your jaw drop open slightly so that your lips are parted, creating a "dead fish" expression.

Step3
Take short and shallow breaths. These should be comfortable and not forced. An occasional deep breath is all right, but should not be the norm for maintaining breath control during running.

Step4
Breath from your belly or diaphragm, not your chest. Try lying on your back and watching your stomach as you breath. If you are breathing correctly, it should rise and fall with each breath, while your chest remains relatively motionless. Keep this feeling with you as you run.
Step5
See the benefits of belly breathing in both your control of breath and your abdominal muscles. With conscientious belly breathing, your muscles will be performing an isometric contraction which, over time, may result in a flatter, more toned mid-section.

Step6
Check to see what your natural breathing pattern is by counting your steps as you run. Some runners may find they breathe in for two steps and out for two steps while others may take three steps before the next breath. Whatever your pattern is, keep it regular and use your steps to monitor your breathing rate.

Step7
Use your ears to control your breathing. If you can hear yourself breathing heavily while running at an easy or moderate pace, you are running too quickly for your condition. Practice slowing down your breathing while running out a slower pace before challenging yourself with faster strides.


Please email Sarah Lowe at:
sarahlowefitness@bellsouth.net
for more great "fit" tips!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Battling The Bulge!


When Fat Gathers In Your Abdomen

As you age and your metabolism slows down, the amount of fat in your body slowly increases. Women experience an even greater fat percentage increase than men do. Then after menopause, your body fat distribution tends to shift — less in your arms, legs and hips, and more in your abdomen.

You may think belly fat is limited to the stuff out front that you can grab with your hand — but it's the fat you can't see that's really a cause for concern. Visceral fat lies deeper inside the abdomen, surrounding the abdominal organs. Gaining this type of fat has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other health problems. Subcutaneous fat, located between the skin and the abdominal wall, is more visible but also less likely to be a health risk.

While a slowing metabolism and decreased physical activity contribute to overall weight gain as you age, those factors don't influence visceral fat accumulation directly. Heredity may be the culprit — you may simply have inherited a tendency to gain weight in your midsection. Hormones also play a role. Hormonal changes after menopause may change the way that your body breaks down and stores fat, leading to more fat accumulating in your belly.

Some women even experience a widening waist without gaining any weight. Although you may not be gaining extra fat, your abdominal fat is increasing as limb and hip fat decreases. Even in women of a normal weight, too much fat concentrated in the midsection is unhealthy.

Measuring Your Middle

You know you've gained some inches around your torso, but how can you know whether it's an unhealthy amount? You can calculate your body-mass index (BMI) or waist-hip ratio, but researchers have found that simply measuring your waist can tell you whether you have an unhealthy amount of belly fat. In fact, BMI may not be an accurate measure of body fat percentage or fat distribution, particularly after menopause.

To measure your waist, run a tape measure around your midsection at about the level of your navel. Breathe normally, don't hold your tummy in, and don't pull the tape so tight that it presses your skin down. In a woman of healthy weight, a waist measurement of 35 inches or more indicates an unhealthy concentration of abdominal fat. Some research has shown that a measurement of 33 inches or more, no matter what your weight, increases your health risks.

Fight Back The Bulge!!!

Since visceral fat is buried deep in your abdomen, it may seem like a difficult target for spot reduction. As it turns out, visceral fat responds well to a regular exercise routine and a healthy diet. Targeted tummy exercises can help to firm the abdominal muscles and flatten the belly.

Exercise. Daily, moderate-intensity exercise is the best way to lose belly fat — when you lose weight and tone your muscles, your belly fat begins shrinking, too. In fact, you may notice that your tummy bulge is the first area to shrink when you start exercising. The amount and type of exercise you should get varies depending on your current activity level and your health goals. Talk to your doctor and Personal Trainer about the right exercise program to promote good health and specifically combat abdominal fat.

Strength training. Some research has shown that exercising with weights is effective in trimming tummy fat. Talk to your doctor about how to incorporate strength training in your exercise routine.

Healthy diet. Changing unhealthy eating habits can help fight belly fat. Read nutrition labels, and replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats. Increase portions of complex carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables, and reduce simple carbohydrates like white bread and refined pasta. If you need to lose weight, reduce your portion sizes and daily calorie intake. Check out www.calorieking.com to calculate calories for almost any food or beverage. It's a great site. I use it all the time!!! :-)

Tone your tummy. While you can't "spot-burn" belly fat, you can firm up your abdominal muscles and get a flatter belly. Traditional sit-ups aren't the most effective way to firm your tummy, however. Instead, check out these exercises from Fitness Magazine to target both deeper and lower abdominal muscles:

www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/abs/exercises/ab-exercises/




Thursday, April 17, 2008

No More Soda!!!



Whatever brand you drink, soda is bad news for your health. The average US citizen drinks around 18 ounces of sugary soda every day. According to a 2005 study by the US department of health soda drinks have become the biggest source of empty calories in the United States.


Some people think they are being healthy by consuming 'energy drinks' or 'sports drinks' but unless you are running a marathon these drinks will still make you fat as they have plenty of empty calories in them (even though the models selling them may be sleek and athletic)

If you drink a 12 ounce can of coke, that's roughly a cup full of simple sugar. Since processed sugars break down very quickly, your blood sugar spikes, which in turn tells your body to stop burning fat for energy. And since there's no nutrition in a can of coke, all you get are these "empty calories".

Soda Does More Than Just Make You Fat

Drinking too much soda causes:

  • Energy dips and symptoms of depression
  • Massive dehydration with all the problems that causes.
  • Addictive like binging and craving linked to the come down after having a sugar high and craving to take on more sugar again.
  • High blood pressure
  • Inability to focus and concentrate
  • Rotting of the teeth
  • Cola confuses the appetite regulating systems in the body leading to increased appetite and weight gain (above and beyond the fat encouraging sugars in the soda itself)
  • Regular soda drinking attacks the marrow in the bones making them weaker and encourages organ breakdown leading to potentially life threatening diabetes.
  • Weakening of the bones in a study of 460 high schoolers in 2000, research at the Harvard School of Public Health found that girls who drank carbonated soft drinks were three times as likely to break their arms and legs as those who consumed other drinks.
  • Rapid aging of the skin and body generally.
So drinking soda is not a good idea, whether it's Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Dr pepper's, 7up or one of the many so called 'sports drinks' it's bad news.

All the advertising and ritual all play their part to keep you hooked. Advertisers subtly imply that by drinking their soda you'll get a certain lifestyle. They do this by having great looking models, like Jessica Simpson, drinking their sodas. But what they don't tell you is that even celebrities experience the "negative" side effects of caffeinated drinks.

Then there is the ritual element. You get a craving you go to the fridge and you see a container with certain colors and logos on it. This becomes ritualistic and if you do anything enough times it starts to feel natural and right-even though it is anything but natural and right.

Bottom Line: Drink More Water!!!


Without water, your body would stop working properly. Water makes up more than half of your body weight and a person can't survive for more than a few days without it. Why? Your body has lots of important jobs and it needs water to do many of them. For instance, your blood, which contains a lot of water, carries oxygen to all the cells of your body. Without oxygen, those tiny cells would die and your body would stop working.

In addition to being an important part of the fluids in your body, each cell depends on water to function normally.

Your body can help you stay properly hydrated by regulating the amount of water in your system. The body can hold on to water when you don't have enough or get rid of it if you have too much. For example, if your urine has ever been very light yellow, your body might have been getting rid of excess water. On the other hand, when your urine is very dark yellow, it is holding on to water, so it's probably time to drink up!

You can help your body by drinking when you're thirsty and drinking extra water when it's warm out. Your body will be able to do all of its wonderful, "Waterful" jobs and you'll feel great!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Eating Healthy!!!



By committing to eating better, you can reduce your risk of many chronic diseases – including heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and certain cancers – while increasing your energy and stamina. Healthy eating can even lower “bad” LDL cholesterol as much as low-dose statin drugs!

By developing your own plan for healthy eating, you’ll be able to expand your range of healthy choices to include a variety of foods, especially delicious vegetables, grains, and fruits that you may have previously ignored. This article provides guidelines and tips for creating a healthy, satisfying diet.


Tips and advice for a healthy diet

A healthy diet helps improve your overall health and well being. A healthy diet can help you feel better, provide you with more energy, help you stay fit and active, and help you fight stress.

Healthy eating can prevent most cases of heart disease and diabetes and help ward off high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and some forms of cancer.

Eating smart: The first step towards healthy eating

Healthy eating begins with learning how to “eat smart”. -- It's not just what you eat, but how you eat.

  • Take time to chew your food: Digestion begins in the mouth. Chewing breaks the food into smaller particles and mixes the food with saliva that contains digestive enzymes. Thorough digestion is key to the absorption of nutrients and to good health! Chew your food slowly, savoring every bite. We tend to rush though our meals, forgetting to actually taste the flavors and feel the textures of what is in our mouths. Reconnect with the joy of eating.
  • Avoid stress while eating. When we are stressed, our digestion can be compromised. Avoid eating while working, driving, or watching TV (especially disturbing programs or the news). Also avoid confrontations, serious discussions or worry during meals. If you feel stressed or upset, stop eating and relax before continuing with your meal. Try taking some deep breaths prior to beginning your meal, or light candles and play soothing music to create a relaxing atmosphere.
  • Listen to your body: Stop eating when you feel full. It actually takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eating slowly can help you get a more accurate read on this, as well. Eating just enough to satisfy your hunger will help you remain alert, relaxed and feeling your best, rather than stuffing yourself into a “food coma”!
  • Eat early, eat often: Remember this old saying: breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper. Starting your day with a healthy breakfast can jump-start your metabolism, and eating the majority of your daily caloric allotment early in the day gives your body time to work those calories off. Also, eating six small, healthy meals throughout the day, rather than the standard three large meals, can help keep your metabolism going and ward off snack attacks.

Healthy Eating Tips: The Basics

You don’t need a degree in nutrition to ensure that you get a well-balanced diet that provides the daily nutrients you need – simply focus on six basic food groups:

  1. Whole Grains: Whole grains include whole wheat, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain barley and millet. Avoid food with refined grains including many breads, pastas, and breakfast cereals.
  2. Vegetables: Go for the brights: the deeper the color, the greater the concentration of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Dark green and orange vegetables, from broccoli, kale and mustard greens to butternut squash and sweet potatoes, are several excellent choices.
  3. Fruits: Enjoy fruits in a number of ways: fresh, canned, frozen, dried, whole, cut-up, or pureed. Fruit juices can contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar per cup; avoid or dilute with water
  4. Milk and other dairy: Choose low-fat dairy products. It is important to choose dairy products that DO NOT contain rBST (bovine growth hormone). Organic dairy is best. If you're lactose-intolerant, choose lactose-free and lower-lactose products, such as hard cheeses and yogurt.
  5. Protein: Vary your healthy eating protein choices with a variety of fish, poultry, eggs, beans, peas, nuts and seeds. Minimize red meats containing high levels of saturated fat.
  6. Oils: We’ve been taught to fear fats and oils, but fresh, high quality fats from olive oil, avocado, raw nuts & seeds, coconut and fish actually provide excellent (and necessary) sources of healthy fatty acids in your diet.


For more healthy eating tips please email me at:

sarahlowefitness@bellsouth.net

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"Just Show Up And Say YES!"


Sometimes getting back into a fitness routine can be VERY challenging. You'll be on the right path for about 2 weeks and then "BAM"! You suddenly start to put your priority for exercise at the bottom of the list. Before you know it a month has gone by and you've paid a full months gym membership and received nothing for it except a few extra pounds. Does this sound like you? If so, continue reading...

Maybe it's time to consider hiring a Personal Fitness Trainer. Even if it's for a few months to get you back on the right track...Sometimes a little "kick in the butt" from a professional is all you need to make exercise an essential part of your life.

You can hire a Personal Trainer for many reasons. Maybe you aren't sure how to utilize the gym equipment properly, maybe you're experiencing health-related issues, or maybe you had a baby 10 months ago and still can't get rid of that pooch! No matter what your reason, a Qualified Personal Trainer can help guide you in the right direction...and all you have to do is "Just show up and say yes".

If you want to achieve your personal fitness goal, you've got to be accountable to someone...other than yourself!

A trainer will help increase the likelihood that you will stick with your exercise program. They will make you think twice about eating the wrong things, show you proper form to ensure that you do not get injured, always be that motivation you need when you just want to give up, and much more.

So...When you feel that you are losing site of your personal fitness goals, remember that when you hire a fitness trainer all you have to to is ...

" JUST SHOW UP AND SAY YES"!!!

For more great tips and information please email me at: sarahlowefitness@bellsouth.net


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Busy Mom's Making Time For Fitness!

Hi Everyone!

This is my first blog and I am so excited! My famous hairstylist brother introduced me to "blogging", so be sure to check his blog out at www.billylowe.blogspot.com

I wanted to first introduce myself to everyone and give you a general idea of what I do and what my personal mission is:

My name is Sarah Lowe and I live and work in the Metro Atlanta area as a Fitness Trainer.

Before becoming a Certified Fitness Trainer, I was a Professional Swimmer, winning several awards throughout Georgia. After my swimming career, I couldn’t let my love for fitness come to an end. I decided to become a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer and educate others on what I am so passionate about. I specialize in Women's Fitness. I chose this area of expertise because I am a Mother and know first hand how difficult it can be to get back in shape after child birth. Endurance athletes train their bodies to go the distance. Moms are no different! We require the energy and the strength to remain strong, productive and positive throughout an active, and sometimes challenging, day. Then, we demand the vitality to wake up each day and do it all over again. It's a commitment to yourself to be at the top of your game not only for your family, but for you.

Okay...I'm not going to keep on and on about myself, but I did want to post a few ideas for mothers that are looking to get back in shape, but can't find the time or a babysitter!


As a busy mom, you're constantly pulled in a thousand directions and your to-do list is a mile long. As much as you may want to exercise, actually fitting it in may seem next to impossible. And yet, who doesn't want the undeniable benefits of fitness - more energy, better health and a slimmer waistline?! The good news is that there are things that you can do TODAY to get started on the path to fitness! The first step is getting rid of the all-or-none mindset. Starting small is a-ok. In fact, trying to fit in too much is what causes so many people to give up. A little bit now can evolve into more. Here are some practical ideas that you can consider for fitting more fitness into your life. You'll have to give some thought to what's going to be right for you. It could be a small step for now, or a bigger step. Either way, you'll be on the road to fitness!

Taking a Small Step

  • Invest in a pedometer. It's a great little gadget that will raise your awareness of how active you are throughout the day. The "goal" is supposed to be 10,000 steps a day (yes, ten thousand!). You may walk 3,000-6,000 per day without even trying to be more active. Why not try to bump it up by just 500 steps each week? You may be at 10,000 steps before you know it!
  • Make it a habit to take a lap around the block right after waving good-bye to the school bus.
  • Pick one exercise (such as abdominal crunches) and pick a time to do them consistently without even changing into exercise clothes.
  • Commit to always taking the stairs at work.
  • Train your little ones that you always go for a little stroller walk on the way to the playground. (Bring a special snack that you save just for your walks together.)

Tips for Taking a Bigger Step

  • Finally check out your local health club. Most have childcare on site and it's a great opportunity to meet lots of other moms trying to do the same thing as you are!
  • How about one of the women's express workout clubs? These no-frills environments are inexpensive and provide a quick taste of exercise for your busy schedule.
  • You can do a simple, yet complete exercise routine in the privacy and convenience of your own home with very little equipment.
  • Why not consider hiring a personal trainer for even just a few sessions to get you going?
  • Check out your local county recreation facility or community center. Many of them have homey and inexpensive fitness centers.

Don't Forget These Important Tips:

  • Support, support, support! Do it with a friend or neighbor. Have a heart-to-heart with your hubby or other support person about your needs and new commitment to finding a workable fitness solution.
  • Put your exercise sessions on the calendar or in your day planner. Treat exercise like any other appointment and don't cancel at the drop of a hat. Exercise is important, but each individual exercise session will never be urgent. Therefore, unless you protect and honor its spot on your schedule, it will never happen!
So...No more excuses Ladies!!! The time to start your fitness journey is TODAY!

If you need more fitness advise please email me at sarahlowefitness@bellsouth.net