AVAC Life

Fitness: Discover the AVAC® Difference!


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Leisure Life: Support Crew

via Jeff Griffith-Jones – AVAC

“An ultramarathoner needs a crew to get through the difficult stretches, to help locate the sweet spots, merely to keep moving.” ~Scott Jurek, taken from Eat and Run.

Wyatt Blue

I’m no ultramarathoner…yet, but like Scott Jurek, my passions in life take pull me away from my family and friends.  Individual sports such as triathlon and mountaineering require getting out and away from everything while leaving your loved ones to take care of kids, home, cars, and the rest of the daily grind.  My support crew is everything to me.

On some occasions, I get to give back to my crew, like on August 16th of this year.  My wife, Danielle gave birth to our second little boy, Wyatt, at 6:30 am.  On the way to the hospital the night before, Danielle looks at the goofy grin on my face, and listens to my muttering through my mental checklists and says, “I feel like you get pumped up for this sort of thing.”

I do.

I love preparing for something knowing that I’m still going to be thrown curveballs that are going to cause me to rely on instinct and wits.  I love thinking that my endurance training, green juicing, and nutrition planning will pay off when pulling an all-nighter with my best friend and the outcome is going to be an addition to our family.  But most of all, I love being given the opportunity to give back to the person who has allowed my entire lifestyle to exist.

Danielle has always held down our familial fort when I am away, she handles logistics and equipment for all of my races, supported me every step of the way in starting my own business and returning to school for a master’s, called search and rescue stations when my dad and I are 12 hours past our return time, and most importantly she keeps my head screwed on straight when I doubt myself.

Classic Danielle Advice: I came back from the packet pick up for my first Olympic-distance tri, intimidated by all the battle-worn racers there with their shirts from previous years’ races.  Danielle says, “You know that mini-tri that you won last year? Next packet pick up wear the medal you won, pick out the most athletic-looking guy, look him straight in the eye, tell him ‘nice shirt,’ and keep walking.”

So on 8/16/13 I got the opportunity to say thank you, to use my training for something totally different, and to support someone far stronger than me.  The result was beautiful Wyatt Samuel Griffith-Jones, 20”, 6 lbs 11 oz.  I took the above pic after his first hike, at 9 days old in Uvas Canyon.  Danielle says the look on his face is due to his sudden realization of the type of family he was born into 🙂

Cheers,

~Jeff Griffith Jones
jgriffithjones@avac.us
facebook.com/jeffgj


Desk Exercises To Make The Most Of Your Workday

via Alanna Okun – BuzzFeed

Desks, office chairs, and cubicles don’t have to get in the way of getting in shape or working out a few kinks. In fact, you can even use them to your advantage. Just don’t get caught.

These aren’t strenuous exercises, but you should still be careful not to overextend yourself. Ease off if you start to feel pain. You’ll feel like a big moron if you pull a muscle while sitting down at your desk. And keep breathing! Most of these stretches are modified yoga poses, so the way to get the most out of them is to take measured, deep breaths whether you’re practicing for half an hour or one minute.

Try a seated forward bend to stretch out your back.

Try a seated forward bend to stretch out your back.

With your feet flat on the floor, clasp your hands behind your back and slowly, steadily lean forward. Your chest should be on top of your thighs and your neck should be released.

Stretch your wrists.

Stretch your wrists.

After hunching and typing all day, it’ll feel great. Stand with your wrists facing away and your fingers gripping the edge or your desk or table, and slowly press down over your wrists so that your palms go as flat as possible.

Do a full-on chair Sun Salutation.

Do a full-on chair Sun Salutation.

This one’s probably best if nobody can see you, but hey, dance what you feel.

Use your chair to do a seated spinal twist.

Use your chair to do a seated spinal twist.

Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Hold the back of the chair with one hand put the other hand on the outside of the opposite knee. Twist your torso in the direction of your hands.

And use time spent waiting by the printer/copier to do a couple wall-sits.

And use time spent waiting by the printer/copier to do a couple wall-sits.

With your feet shoulder width apart, press your back against the wall and slowly slide down until your knees form a right angle (UNLIKE HER). Hold for 20 to 60 seconds while engaging your quads, rest, and repeat.

Take advantage of cubicle privacy to do a set of desk push-ups.

Take advantage of cubicle privacy to do a set of desk push-ups.

With your hands a little wider than shoulder-width apart, lower yourself until right before you hit your desk. Repeat 20 times or until your cubicle-mate starts to glare.

Take the damn stairs.

Take the damn stairs.

It’ll give you more energy and you can brag to all your coworkers for the whole day. Even if you can’t make it all the way to the top, take the elevator halfway and then get off.

A ream of printer paper makes for quick and easy calf raises.

A ream of printer paper makes for quick and easy calf raises.

Stand on the ream with the balls of your feet and straighten up to tip-toes. Lower and repeat.

If you can swing it, swap out your regular chair for an exercise ball version.

If you can swing it, swap out your regular chair for an exercise ball version.


Sweet Potato Skins

via Trim & Terrific

potato skins

This all-American favorite gets a deliciously healthy spin with fiber-rich sweet potatoes and healthier ingredients ideal for any appetizer or snack. And, Louisiana yams are touted as the sweetest of sweet potatoes!

Makes 12 potato skins

Ingredients

  • 6 medium Louisiana yams (sweet potatoes)
  • 4 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 2/3 cup reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Wash potatoes well, and dry thoroughly. Microwave on high 8-10 minutes depending on size (or in 425 F oven bake 50-60 minutes). When potatoes cool to handle, cut in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4-inch shell (save pulp for another use). Cut potato skins in half width-wise.
  2. Place potato skins on baking sheet lined with foil. Coat skins with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. Bake 475°F 5-7 minutes; turn and coat skins on other side with nonstick cooking spray. Bake until crisp, 3-5 minutes more.
  4. In small bowl, mix together bacon, green onions, and cheese. Sprinkle mixture inside skins. Bake 2 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.

Food Facts

Calories 79
Calories from Fat 25%
Fat 2g
Saturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 7mg
Sodium 155mg
Carbohydrates 11g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 4g


Half Marathon ~ Getting Started

via Vanessa Hockemeyer – AVAC

Half Marathon

At the age of six years old, my dad stepped up and coached my soccer team. Being a naive little girl, I mistakenly thought that I would not have to run laps around the soccer field with the rest of the team. When my dad told me to get up and run, I threw a not-so-little tantrum in my soccer cleats and cried my way around the field. Needless to say, I never grew up to be a soccer star. I did, however, grow up to run my first ever half marathon this year! Who would have thought that little girl could accomplish such big things? How did I do it? A good training plan, self-motivation, and a big mouth.

If you are thinking about striving for any goal, the best first step is to figure out a plan. For me, that meant scouring the internet for a half marathon training schedule that fit my needs: A beginner with a busy schedule that does not want any part of waking up early in the morning. Believe it or not, it’s out there. I recommend checking out sites like runnersworld.com or just searching through Google.

Next step, follow the plan. This, my friends, is easier said than done. Chips and salsa are really good. Especially when enjoyed at happy hour. . . How do you stick to a plan with work, friends, and family pulling you every which way?

  • Remember your goal – Every time that snooze button looks a little more appealing than your running shoes, remember what you are striving for (And that you spent all of that money on registration and let’s be honest, new running clothes)
  • Spread the word – Tell all of your friends and family what you are working towards. It is much easier to get to the gym when your friends aren’t tempting you with other offers. If your friends know that Tuesday is your gym day, there is a much higher chance of them asking you to head out to that movie on a Wednesday instead. (It is also harder to back out of a race once you have told everyone you know that you are doing it)
  • Indulge – Don’t eat ice cream every night, but if the mood hits and you haven’t had it in a while, don’t feel guilty about grabbing a spoon. The key to healthy living is balance.

I wouldn’t trade the pride I felt after finishing that race for anything else in the world. If you are thinking about striving for a new goal, be it a 5K or a marathon, just get out there and try. If it’s possible for me to go from shedding tears at the thought of running around a field, to conquering 13.1 miles, then I don’t know what’s not!

Join me while I run with Team AVAC at the Rock N Roll Half Marathon on October 6. Not ready for 13 miles? The mini marathon of 5 miles still has spaces available.

http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/san-jose


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One Exercise To Know This Week: Planks

via Mackenzie Kruvant & Chris Ritter – BuzzFeed

This simple pose is a fitness building block.

How you do it:

How you do it:

Why you should know it:

The plank is an exercise all fitness buffs should know. It helps with wrist and arm strength as well as core activation. With endless variations, the exercise seamlessly shifts from beginner to advanced. The more often and the longer you do it, the stronger your back becomes, helping with long term spinal support, your posture, and elongating your spine and neck.

Other ways you can do it:

Other ways you can do it:

One Exercise To Know This Week: Planks

One Exercise To Know This Week: Planks

One Exercise To Know This Week: Planks


9 Signs You’ve Become That Person About Getting Healthy

via Jennifer Still – Buzzfeed

1. You tell everyone you know just how bad that cupcake/slice of bread/pasta bowl is for them.

9 Signs You've Become That Person About Getting Healthy

You’ll also tell them an alternate way to make it that’s much healthier — have they ever tried spaghetti squash? It works great and doesn’t have carbs! Did they know you can make a sugar-free, grain-free cupcake in their microwave in less than two minutes that also has tons of fiber? Well, you did!

2. You send them pictures of every single meal you make.

9 Signs You've Become That Person About Getting Healthy

All of them, even if it’s something you’ve made before but have given a minor tweak. The message following the photo — which you’ve already posted to Instagram — will explain the ingredients used in said meal as well as the “thumbs-up” emoticon.

3. You make going out for meals extra difficult to organize because of your dietary restrictions.

9 Signs You've Become That Person About Getting Healthy

“Wanna grab lunch?” turns into “Should we just grab coffee or something later?” — a date to which you will bring your own packets of Stevia (Splenda? Pshaw!) and ask for almond milk because soy milk may cause breast cancer.

4. You can’t hang out with friends at night because you have to be in bed by 9 p.m. so you can get up at 5 a.m. to “beat the heat” and do your cardio.

9 Signs You've Become That Person About Getting Healthy

You also tell them constantly about how often you beat your previous time records in your Nike+ app and send them screenshots of your achievement badges and route map, even though it rarely varies.

5. You spam their Pinterest dashboards with your endless pins of fitness routines you want to try, motivational posters, Paleo recipes, etc.

9 Signs You've Become That Person About Getting Healthy

If they ask you what you’re doing when not working, your answer will generally be, “Oh, just looking through Pinterest for some recipes.”

6. You tell them every day how much better you feel since changing your lifestyle…

9 Signs You've Become That Person About Getting Healthy

…including but not limited to: how much more energy you have, how much better you sleep, how much weight you’re losing, how satisfied you are with your varied diet despite giving up many of your favorite foods, how amazing it is that you haven’t done this sooner, etc.

7. You look up the nutritional value of absolutely everything you eat — and your friends eat — on MyFitnessPal.

9 Signs You've Become That Person About Getting Healthy

It even has a barcode scanner! All meals have to be added before eating commences as well, so you can make sure you’re under your daily allowances.

8. You offer to cook for them but substitute pretty much all the ingredients for “more natural” options.

9 Signs You've Become That Person About Getting Healthy

You can make RICE out of cauliflower! Greek yogurt can be used in place of butter, oil, cream cheese, AND mayo. Wait, they shouldn’t use that bottle of Heinz — you’ve got some vinegar, tomato paste, and allspice just in the cupboard. Isn’t life miraculous?

9. But! FINALLY: You’ve started to feel comfortable in your own skin and are proud of yourself for the first time in your life.

9 Signs You've Become That Person About Getting Healthy

You vowed to do this — to get healthy and treat your body better — for many years and now, you’re putting your money where your mouth is and actually doing it. Way to go, you!


Olive Oil [infographic]

via Michaela Lacy – Daily Infographic

Olive oil, known to some as oil of the gods. Olive oil first originated in Ancient Greece, where the olive tree was often referred to as “the tree that feeds the children,” and has been highly sought after ever since.

Today, most of us have a sleek bottle of this highly praised oil sitting in our kitchens at home, usually next to the stove. A lot of people will stand on their soapboxes and proclaim the health benefits of this rich and ancient oil, but not everyone knows about the oil’s multitude of uses. Sophia Loren swears by it as a part of her daily beauty regimen, and Rachel Ray coined the abbreviation EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) because of the frequency of the oil’s appearance on her show. Generally, we cook with it, even if some argue that adding heat to olive oil decreases its nutritional value. We can sauté, brown, stir-fry, deep fry, or even add this delicious oil to homemade hummus, pesto, pizza–you name it! But, did you know it can also act as a make-up remover, sore throat soother, floor and furniture polish, lice remover, moisturizer, fuel, and so much more?!

olive oil