Remember you said you start in the fall?


Have you lowered the bar on your own health? Are you still making excuses why youhaven’t gotten back to exercise and healthy eating?  If I could count the times that I hear, “Yes, but I’m 30 or 40 or 50, I am getting too old for that.   I’m going let go a little and face the facts of aging….Nonsense!  Why would you let anything as elusive as a number keep you from feeling your best…becoming strong, healthy and energetic!
I recently hiked up Mt Madison in northern NH with my college roommates and their husbands.  It was a challenging, yet rewarding 3 1/2 hour hike to the top of this 5,600′ mountain. Over 50% of the hikers who stayed overnight in the Madison hut were over 60 years old.  It was an impressive and exciting discovery. Hiking is not my personal recreation of choice, but the challenge was rewarding!  My many hours of Pilates, Yoga and Barre prepared me well for my weekend adventure. If you keep fit and healthy there is hardly anything that you can’t do as you move towards your next “age milestones”.
It’s so easy to fill up your day with “to-do” and “to-don’ts” and crawl into bed feeling unfulfilled and overwhelmed day after day. It’s so much more rewarding to continually challenge yourself by raising your own bar!  It’s the challenges in life that help us grow, teach us lessons, set examples for those around us and help create a rewarding life. Look ahead to the next 5 or 10 years and visualize how you want to feel and the goals that you want to achieve. How do you feel when you look back on the last 10 years?  Life is precious, we’ve all lost a friend or love one before their time.   We have one vessel in which to spend our lives; love it, cherish it and take care of it! Maybe you’ll share with us your next challenge or adventure!

p.s. These are the bars that that got us to the top of Mt. Madison and back.

Celebrate You and Fall:

Fruit & Nut Granola Bars

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups peanut butter, natural salted
  • 1 cup light corn syrup ( I used a 1/2 cup of agave & 1/2 cup of light corn syrup (believe it or not, light corn syrup does not have high fructose in it))
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 7 cups rolled (not instant) oats
  • tumblr_mk0tchFZZl1qbs4vvo5_r1_1280-1One 12-ounce package small chocolate chips (I have used regular-sized chocolate chips and small chocolate chunks, and both were fine)
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 cup hulled sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted (I got roasted seeds at Trader Joes!)
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (place pecans on a baking sheet in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes)

Any combination of nuts and seeds will work as long as you keep the quantity the same.

1. Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan (or very carefully in the microwave) and set it aside to cool (it should cool completely before using or it will melt the chocolate chips).

2. Preheat the oven to 375˚. Prepare a rimmed 13 x 18-inch baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper and spraying the sides with nonstick cooking spray.

3. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, peanut butter, corn syrup, and vanilla.

4. In another large bowl (a super large bowl), combine the oats, chocolate, cranberries, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and pecans.

5. Add half of the dry ingredients and half of the melted butter to the peanut butter mixture. Mix and knead with your hands to combine.

6. Add the remaining dry ingredients and the rest of the butter and mix until all of the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

7. Spread the mixture out onto the prepared baking sheet and press it down to fill the pan. Cover the mixture with another sheet of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to make sure it is pressed firmly to a uniform thickness. (Really press down as hard as you can.)

8. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The edges will be a light golden brown. The mixture will look under-baked in the center, but will set up after cooling.

9. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let it cool for several hours before cutting.

10. To cut, run a knife around the outside edge to loosen it from the pan over onto a cutting board. Using a very sharp knife, cut into any size you like. A ruler and a small paring knife work well to score the top of the granola into strips. Use a large sharp knife to cut straight down through the bars on the score marks.


Triathlon Training: Peak week


Making it Over the Peak; week 6

The Cohasset Junior Triathlon is only 2 1/2 weeks away so your training is likely at its peak.  At this time it’s normal to be experiencing sore or tight muscles. Hopefully, you have been incorporating the yoga sequences we have been sharing into your training plan. Yoga can help add flexibility and mobility to the strength that you are developing by swimming, biking and running.Here are a few more tips as you head into the last two weeks:

Breathe Through the Bricks: Perhaps you’ve combined a bike/run combination into your training. If so, you already know that when you finish the bike portion of the race and begin your run it might feel like your lower legs are weighted down with bricks. This feeling will go away after you have been running for a bit so the trick here is to focus on the positive (use your mantra here). This is also a good time to tap into the power of your breath. Although your breath happens automatically, it is the quality of your breath that is in your control so focus on your inhale and exhale to get you through this transition period.

Don’t Ignore the Core: Every aspect of your tri performance can benefit from a stronger core. Your core is the foundation of powerful, athletic performance through the support and stability it provides for your spine and hips. Add some low planks into your workouts.

Make Time for Active Recovery: You might feel so sore after a training day that you decide to completely take the day off.  A rest day is always beneficial. Making time for gentle movement and yoga can also assist with the recovery of your muscles and help get rid of soreness. Depending on how sore you are, perhaps a day of complete rest is followed by a day of active recovery where you take a walk or do yoga, or both. Here is a shoulder sequence to get you moving

Next week’s blog post will provide specific tips on preparing yourself for race day so stay tuned. Warm up, pace yourself, be safe, have fun!

Week 4: Train Your Brain! The Power of Mantra


Don’t just “Tri” Harder, “Tri” Healthier


We’ve all heard the phrase, “the power of positive thinking,” and research is now showing that what happens in your head can have a very real impact on the triathlon course.

In a recent study, participants were given different sayings to repeat regularly while they worked out.*   Those that were given the positive phrases to repeat silently were able to push through fatigue and keep going. To be most effective, the phrases needed to be consistently positive and systematically repeated.  This means that developing positive self-talk needs to become an ingrained habit before the moment of physical or mental fatigue comes along.  You’ve probably heard the phrase “muscle, memory, reflex” to describe training your muscle’s movement pattern. Your brain works in a similar fashion, making it just as important to train your brain to focus on the positive when you start to get tired mentally and physically.

In yoga, mantras are words or phrases with meaning that are chanted out loud or repeated silently. The use of mantras can serve to focus or relax your mind.  Another way that mantra supports endurance athletes is through the benefits of repetition. In her most recent book, Racing Wisely, Sage Rountree, an internationally recognized authority in yoga for athletes and an endurance sports coach specializing in athletic recovery and mindful racing, explains, “Mantra keeps you mindful by centering you on a word, phrase, or lines you repeat to yourself. These could be something short, like form and breath, or fast and smooth, or something long, like the chorus to a song. Your mantra will coordinate with your footfalls or your pedal or swim strokes. Repeating it helps you shut out the stimulation you’re getting externally from your senses and internally from the chattering mind. Mantra helps you focus on repetition itself—and that, at its core, is what endurance sports are. We repeat an action over and over and over as we move through space and to the finish.”

Developing the habit of repeating a positive word or phrase can help you push through a difficult part of your training and could make a difference in your performance on July 12th.  To find your Cohasset Junior Tri mantra, find a comfortable place to sit and close your eyes. Visualize yourself swimming, biking and running with ease and speed.  Pick a phrase that describes how you feel in this moment when you are performing at your very best and repeat it silently.  Examples of sports performance mantras could include:  I am fast, I am powerful, I am fierce, I am strong or I feel great.  Try a few out over the next few days to find one that works best for you.  Warm up, pace yourself, be safe, have fun!

Deb Bowen is a teacher at Balance Studio. Her class Be A Balanced Athlete: Yoga for athletic girls is offered with support from ivivva

July 9th- August 13th. Wednesdays 4-5 pm / Register for class

Deb also teaches Yoga for Athletes on Mondays @ 6:15pm


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