Selfie Self-Confidence {Guest Post}

Hi!  I’m Megan.  I’m a health and wellness coach in Dallas, TX and I blog over at The Lyons’ Share Wellness.  I’m so excited to be here today and grateful to Allison for letting me share with you!

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When I was thinking about what to talk about here on Life’s a Bowl, I started by thinking of the three things that come to mind when I think about Allison:

  • First, her delicious looking breakfasts (especially pancakes)…  But I have to admit, I tend to stick with my favorite yogurt breakfast at least 50% of the time and I’ve already blogged about that (my 4th ever blog post)!
  • Second, her love for Ryan and Charlie…  But she can talk about those better than I can!
  • And finally, the way she radiates so much confidence and happiness in her workout selfies shared via Instagram…  So that is what I’m going to talk about today!

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If those pictures don’t make you smile, I don’t know what will!  And it’s not just Allison…  It’s actually a scientifically proven fact that exercise boosts your self-confidence!

  • A study by the Medical College of Georgia showed that 20 – 40 minutes of daily exercise dramatically improved the self-esteem and reduced depressive symptoms in overweight children.
  • Another study in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology showed that increased physical activity led middle-aged women to perceive their attractiveness and physical condition in a better light.
  • A third study showed that young girls who exercise had a better self-esteem in their adolescent years than those who didn’t.

I could go on and on, but I don’t want Allison to kick me off for boring you!

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The point is…  There are many benefits of exercise, but improved self-confidence is one that often gets forgotten in discussions.  I’ll bet that you can identify the feeling in yourself.  Think back to the last time you had a really great workout.  Maybe you ran a new-to-you distance without stopping, maybe you deadlifted a higher weight than you ever thought possible, maybe you really rocked it in your last Zumba class.

Whatever it was, do you remember that feeling of “I just ran five whole miles!  I can do anything!”?

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We see the impact of exercise-boosted self-confidence all over social media.  The idea of posting a public image of myself with a shiny, red face, greasy hair, and sweat stains all over my shirt really does not sound like a good one.  Yet, I do it all the time and so do so many others.  Have you ever thought about why?  It’s probably because in that moment, we feel so great about ourselves and accomplishing our workout that we want to share it with the world.  To motivate others, to get praise for what we did, to make someone smile, to hold ourselves accountable…  And it works!

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So today if you’re looking for a reason to exercise, just think about how great you’ll feel about yourself afterwards.  Get out there, do your best, and then show it off to the world!

Tell me in the comments…  Have you felt that boost of self-confidence in yourself after a workout? What workout makes you feel the most confident?

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Thanks so much for sharing such a positive and uplifting post, Megan!  I took a peek at it when Megan originally sent it to me, but since the post was in HTML {code} format, I couldn’t see the pictures…  Until I pasted everything into WordPress and the code transformed into text and pictures.  I laughed.out.loud. :D   It’s definitely my first ever #selfie collage!  But I think she did a fabulous job capturing some of my most {ridiculously} silly selfies.

Selfies are always fun, but always awkward.  Don’t you agree?  Should I tilt my head?  Stick my tongue out?  What do I do with my hands?  How does my hair look?  Nonetheless, Megan’s message is spot-on…  Exercise does in fact foster self-confidence.  We’ve all heard that quote “‘Wow.  I really regret that workout.’  Said no one ever.” and it’s absolutely true.  The only workouts that we can regret are the ones that didn’t happen.

— Allison

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Thinking Out Loud: If they only knew…

Thanks to two snow days and a 2-hour delay, this week has flown by!  Last night I worked my first team night at the running store.  Team night is when a local high school’s cross country/track team comes in to get fitted for shoes for their upcoming season {and receive a super sweet discount!} – the store was the most crowded it has been since I started working, but it was a lot of fun!

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Thanks Amanda for hosting another link-up!

1.  Truth: I used to refer to the treadmill as the “dreamill,” but this past winter I’ve had a change of heart.  It’s always there for me, it’s never covered with ice/snow, the temperatures are consistent, and the hills are…  Nonexistent.  Plus, it’s a great chance to catch up on trashy TV {i.e. Bravo}.

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2.  Yes, yes, yes.  Runner’s World is so smart.  This is exactly why I run.

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3.  Did you celebrate National Pancake Day?  If you missed out but still want to celebrate this weekend, check out Tuesday’s Favorite Finds: National Pancake Day post.

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4.  Or if pancakes don’t tickle your fancy, what about muffins?  These Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free Morning Glory Muffins would be great to make and freeze for a quick weekday breakfast.

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5.  Today I took a personal day because I had two different dermatology appointments.  PSA: Get yourself checked!  Melanoma doesn’t discriminate!

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going back in April to have the mole that’s circled removed & tested

6.  Speaking of health, I want to talk more openly about my “health hiccups” on the blog this year.  By doing so I hope to connect with others who have gone though/are going through similar situations, share my experiences, and inspire others to keep a positive attitude.

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shared via Instagram this morning

7.  I love when “throw everything together and hope for the best” dishes turn out to be delicious!  These meatballs contain a few ingredients that may make you question my cooking ability.  I want to make them once more before I share the recipe, but in the meantime, I need help naming them…?

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8.  Another “throw everything together and hope for the best” recipe…  Except, this one has a name.  Three Bean Bell Pepper Chili.  With a side of dog.

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9.  I overheard a group of high school girls chatting and one of the girls said “Ugh, I’m starving!  I overslept this morning and didn’t have time to eat breakfast or pack a lunch.”  Her friends suggested she go get a sandwich, but she ended up buying a banana and pretzels because “I need to fit into my bathing suit for spring break!”  Wish I {could have} said something.

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10.  And an obligatory snow picture.  Everything looks so tranquil covered in snow.  I wonder if we’ll see another storm this season?

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Question:  Do you ever jump into conversations if you overhear something that grabs your attention?  Yes, I do BUT I think it really depends on the situation and topic.  Chatting about coffee in the line at Starbucks?  Sure, I’ll jump in.  But a conversation between high school girls and body image, that’s a tough one.

Question:  Snow – sick of it or hope for more?

— Allison

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Injury Prevention for Runners {Guest Post}

Hi Life’s a Bowl readers!  My name is Jenna and I am an AFAA certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor.  You can find me blogging about fitness, running, and my daily adventures at Little Green Running Shoes.  I am so excited Allison is letting me hang out with you today!

Running is one of my favorite hobbies and ways to exercise.  Since the beginning of my running career, I have been very fortunate to only have a few minor injuries, one of which was a recent micro-fracture in my foot while training for a half marathon.  Each injury has taught me to be more attentive to my body and has helped me to learn new methods for preventing future injury.

Training for a race is an amazing, enlightening, and liberating way to exercise that can burn calories, strengthen, and tone simultaneously.  It requires hours of dedication, research, and experimentation to learn how your body can run at its maximum potential.  It also can wreak havoc on your body if you do not take the proper precautions.  Below are a few good ways that runners can prevent injuries.

- Shoes -

Having the correct shoes can make all the difference in your training.  While you are training, your feet are going to take a beating (literally), so be nice to them and invest in a good pair of running shoes.  Consider going to a specialty running store instead of just going to a department store.  The prices will be comparable to other stores and you can rest easy knowing you have the proper shoes.  They are trained to help fit your shoes and make sure you are in the proper shoes based on your arch and pronation (either rolling in or out).

A running store should be able to give you a gait analysis to make sure you are fitted in the perfect shoes for you.  A gait analysis is used to study your body mechanics, uncover any issues, and observe your stride.  All you have to do is walk or jog on a treadmill and someone will be able to figure your feet out!  It is really important not to use your running shoes for any other activities other than your regular runs.  Shoes have a limited lifetime and you will need to replace them fairly frequently.  If you only use your running shoes to run, it will extend durability and usable life.  If you wear your running shoes to the gym, you will soften the soles and lose a lot of the cushioning you need to protect your joints from impact.

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- Yoga -

As a runner, yoga has made all the difference in my life.  I heavily rely on my yoga practice to complement and improve my running.  A yoga practice is composed of several series of strength and balance poses with concentration on breathing.  Yoga allows a runner to explore muscular groups that are not typically utilized in training, but will be very beneficial for strengthening overall performance.  A yoga practice will improve a runner’s balance which can be helpful for trail running, agility training, and speed.

Your practice can emphasize focus on particular areas of the body.  I suggest focusing on the lower body and core to improve running up hills and leg endurance.  For help maintaining an open chest and creating more space for breathing, focus on the upper body and chest.  The concentration on breathing in yoga can seem odd and uncomfortable to anyone new to practicing, but the benefits are substantial.  Finding the ability to control your breathing will help you monitor your pace while climbing a hill, increase your oxygen intake for sprints, and stabilize your breath faster.  Even if the physical aspects of yoga are not for you, deep breathing exercises with help you make significant improvements in your running.

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- Hydration -

Staying hydrated can affect every aspect of your training.  If your body is dehydrated (most people operate in some stat of dehydration regularly), you are more prone to illness, injury, and soreness.  You will not be able to recover as quickly, train as proficiently, or continue to run for lengthy amounts of time.  Rehydrating after your run is not the only time you should be monitoring your liquids.  While you are training, your body will constantly need water.  You should average 8-12 cups of water on a regular day with modification depending on the weather, your activity level, and the needs of your body.  On running days, begin your hydration as soon as you wake up, and don’t drink too much at one time or right before you train.  After you return home, make sure to drink at least two full glasses of water and possibly more, depending on how much you were sweating.  Don’t chug, but also don’t let a long amount of time pass before drinking.

- Supplements -

Water is not the only thing you should concentrate on while training.  Your diet will need to be adjusted to ensure your body has all of the best nutrients to perform at the optimum level.  This is one aspect of training where I have not been very diligent in the past and has led to most of my injuries.  My micro-fractured foot was due to an iron and omega 3 deficit.  Fish oil is a vital addition to a runner’s diet during training since it decreases inflammation and pain while boosting the immune system to prevent illness.  Runners should also add a multivitamin and an iron vitamin to prevent bone density loss or risk of fractures.  In addition to supplements, I highly suggest increasing your daily caloric intake, particularly your carbohydrates and protein.

- Post-Run Stretching -

Stretching is one of the most important and overlooked aspects of exercise.  For some people, it is the most difficult part of being a runner.  Some don’t see the purpose and others find it too painful to try.  Stretching at the end of your run relaxes the muscles, allows the heart rate to lower, helps the body to recover faster (less soreness), encourages muscles to rebuild, and increases joint range of motion.  Practicing yoga will help you learn correct stretching methods for your body under the supervision of an expert.  The more frequently you stretch, the more flexible you will become and the less painful stretching will be.

- Plan Ahead -

This may seem like a very trivial and obvious point, but I can not emphasize enough the importance of planning ahead.  Accidents happen to everyone but can happen more easily if we are not prepared.  Map your route ahead of time and bring a phone or GPS just in case you get lost.  The Road I.D. app is my favorite running app because it allows you to send tracking emails to friends or family so someone can know your exact location.  The app also has a safety feature that, if you stand still for more than five minutes, it will automatically call your emergency contact or 911.

Always have some form of identification on your body, I never run without my Road ID bracelet and my phone.  Know what the weather is supposed to be and dress accordingly (approximately 20 degree warmer than current temperature is the best rule of thumb).  Pack water and snacks for long runs or plan your water stops along your route.  Know where public bathrooms are located, just in case.  Know the terrain of your route so you can pace yourself.

Running is a journey that will push you to your limits and test your perseverance.  It will also show you things about yourself you never knew, and open you up to a whole new world of adventures. We are always prone to injury but being prepared, knowing your body, and taking care of yourself significantly decreases the risks.  Have patience with yourself and your body.  Success doesn’t happen overnight but is worth working for.  Always stay positive and keep the finish line in sight!

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Question:  What precautions do you take to reduce your chance of injury?

Question:  Do you wear a Road ID?  Allison here :) I don’t wear a Road ID, but know that I should…  Going to look at their website now!

— Allison

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