Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Get Motivated: Look Good While Getting Fit

Here is some Motivation for my S.O.S participants:

Looking Good while you workout can be a great motivation tool. When you look in the mirror and you have clothes that fit right and high light the right areas you will see the fruits of your labor much quicker. I'm not saying you have to make a fashion statement when you go to the gym. But feeling good about your clothing and the way you look may give you an extra boost of confidence and energy.

So consider investing in a couple of pieces and see if that boosts your motivation and your workout. Of course you want to consider function first. Make sure that you have clothes that fit your workout of choice.

* Form fitting comfortable clothes are great for workouts like yoga and pilates. Make sure your body can move freely for all those difficult yoga poses.

* For cross training make sure you have a bra that can supports you and comfortable form fitting clothes. There are also specialized clothes to help keep you dry like Nike's Dri Fit and Champion's double dry.

* Get the right shoes, make sure you pick up a pair of cross trainers for low impact activities and running shoes for cardio.

*Doing some heavy weight lifting? Make sure you have gloves so you don't get blisters on those beautiful hands!

Here are a few pieces and articles that I came across that have what's hot in Workout Fashion.

For those of you with a little money to splurge check out Stella Mcartney's line at Addidas. Here are a few of her pieces.

For more of her line click here.

Also, Check out Champion Double Dry. The top is 20 bucks and the skort is 25 bucks....pretty economical.

Budget shoppers, Check out this Outdoors Store.
They have your basic workout items and few more expensive items. They also seem to have a lot of items on sale (pants and shirts for ($9.99)
REI is another store with similar options, check it out.

I don't normally make a big deal about how look before I workout. When I first started working out all I cared was about making it to the gym, plus I have a gym in my building and I am usually down there by myself. But now that I run outside regularly I'm thinking that some new workout clothes are a necessary reward for my hard work.

Does fashion matter to you when you workout?
Does wearing the right clothes affect your motivation?
Any suggestions on other great workout clothes?

Don't forget to checkout tips for the Save Our Sister Fitness Challenge at Sweet Potato Pie.

Monday, August 25, 2008

S.O.S : Links to Fitness

It's week 3 of the Save Our Sister Fitness Challenge (S.O.S.) ! If you still need to join click here.
It's very important that we continue to motivate each other. So ask a friend to join you in your daily exercise, today!

I'm here to provide you with tips and resources, so you can stay Motivated and Active! Please keep checking back to the site. I have a special announcement that I will share this week. Don't forget to see what great tips Sweet Potato Pie has for you!

Get Motivated!
Okay, this is more of a scare tactic but it may get some of you motivated:
Check out this article All African-American Women Could be Overweight by 2034 at Sweet Potato Pie.

Get Active, Stay Fly!
Just because you're sweating hard doesn't mean you can't look fly. Check out this article to find out where to get the best workout clothes.

Hair Care
Check out this article Hair Care and Exercise "Trading Hair for Health" by Glennisha Morgan.
Also, Check out my posts!
Hair Care Products for Black Women that Exercise
Sweat Hard, Without Damaging Your Hair
Free Yourself: Caring for Black Hair

Get Moving!

Build Your own Workout Video at Fitness Magazine's site

*What music gets you moving? This week I want to share a play list I created myself. It's all Beyonce /Destiny's Child, if you don't like her then you'll hate my playlist. I find that Beyonce has a lot of songs with fast beats which are good for running. Also, her songs don't talk about much of anything so it won't distract you from your workout..:-p

1. Get Em' Bodied
2. Lose My Breath
3. Ring the Alarm
4. Crazy in Love
5. Deja Vu
6. Check on It
7. Bootylicious
8. Freakum Dress

Want to share your playlist? Email me at and I will feature it in my next post!

New to the Fitness Challenge? Updates from Fitness Challenge members?
Share your thoughts and share your resources!
Read more!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Does Size Matter?

You don't know how many times I've been asked "Girl, what size you trying to get down to?" Since I started working out and dropping sizes everyone wants to know what size I will stop at. It has become clear to me that women are obsessed with sizes. I admit that I measure my weight loss around my size, so I guess I'm obsessed too. I'm too lazy to measure my inches regularly and and the scale and I, have a love-hate relationship. So, I measure my success by how many sizes I've gone down. It's quite unfortunate because sizes are extremely arbitrary.
They are numbers chosen by clothing companies to make women feel good about themselves and keep them shopping. In addition women's sizes are forever changing. I witnessed it first hand when Express changed their sizing when I was in high school.

In high school I bought all my jeans from Express , so I was shocked when I walked into the store and saw that they no longer had my size. I asked the sales woman what happened and she informed that a 14 was now a 12 and that I should try on the 12. She was right I could fit the size 12. At the time I couldn't understand why Express would do change their sizes like that. It seemed that Express did this to make women feel like that were a size smaller. This is really strategic on the part of clothing companies because it is less motivating to go shopping when you feel unhappy with your size.

I recently read that Lane Byrant resized their jeans as well. Their Right Fit jeans come in 2-8 . In this new line the jeans are supposed to fit based on your body type ( moderately curvy, curvy or straight), they claim the number is not important. You're just supposed find the perfect jean for your body type. I must admit this quite innovative for Lane Byrant, I like the idea of being able to find jeans in your body type. Sizes are so arbitrary anyway, they vary by clothing companies.

You have to wonder how the changes that Express and Lane Byrant made impact women psychologically. Some may argue that these changes cause women to become complacent at unhealthy weights. In her article Tiny is the Black Ashton Lattimore argues:

"Rather than attacking the root of the problems for women who feel overweight, and encouraging them to adopt more healthy lifestyles to take more control of their self-image, vanity sizing panders to their insecurities. For women who are truly overweight, allowing them to believe that they’re smaller than they actually are might seem like a benevolent, “feel-good” practice on the part of clothing companies. Instead, it places undue emphasis on the number on the clothing tag rather than the vitality and self-esteem of the woman wearing the clothes. "

I believe that is possible that vanity sizing (enlarging the size and keeping the tag the same) may have some negative affects on woman but because there is so much pressure to be thin society women will not be completely disillusioned.

Knowing that sizes are so arbitrary I am trying to ignore the societal pressures and focus on getting in my healthy weight range. That's kind of complicated too because it depends on your frame size. Click here to figure out how to calculate your healthy weight and frame size. I hope to find my perfect size (i know it's never perfect) based on what weight I feel most comfortable at.

Interested in more informtion about vanity sizing click here.


Share Your thoughts

Do you Measure Your weight loss success by sizes?

What do you think about the Changes Express and Lane Byrant Made?

Don't forget about S.O.S. look for more tips and info to come this week!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

S.O.S: Why the Scale Lies

Has the Scale ever lied to you? Ever felt like you were doing everything right but the scale didn't reflect your hard work?

I have had several experiences when I knew my scale must have been lying to me! I have been working out really consistently since March. In the beginning the scale did not move one bit but I stayed motivated and tried to ignore the scale. I decided to do some research and see why my scale did not reflect all the hours I spent in the gym. I found this great article by certified Personal Trainer, Renee Chole that really breaks down all the factors of the scale. I have highlighted some of the really important parts here.

To all my S.O.S. Fitness Challenge participants stay motivated and don't let that scale distract you! If you are eating right and exercising the weight will eventually come off. Don't forget to share this information with your sisters, friends, co-workers. We have to support and motivate each other.

1. Water makes up about 60% of total body mass. Normal fluctuations in the body’s water content can send scale-watchers into a tailspin if they don’t understand what’s happening. Two factors influencing water retention are water consumption and salt intake. Strange as it sounds, the less water you drink, the more of it your body retains. If you are even slightly dehydrated your body will hang onto it’s water supplies with a vengeance, possibly causing the number on the scale to inch upward. The solution is to drink plenty of water.

2. Excess salt (sodium) can also play a big role in water retention. However, a food doesn’t have to taste salty to be loaded with sodium. A half cup of instant pudding actually contains nearly four times as much sodium as an ounce of salted nuts, 460 mg in the pudding versus 123 mg in the nuts. The more highly processed a food is, the more likely it is to have a high sodium content.

3. Another factor that can influence the scale is glycogen. Think of glycogen as a fuel tank full of stored carbohydrate. Some glycogen is stored in the liver and some is stored the muscles themselves. This energy reserve weighs more than a pound and it’s packaged with 3-4 pounds of water when it’s stored. Your glycogen supply will shrink during the day if you fail to take in enough carbohydrates. As the glycogen supply shrinks you will experience a small imperceptible increase in appetite and your body will restore this fuel reserve along with it’s associated water. It’s normal to experience glycogen and water weight shifts of up to 2 pounds per day even with no changes in your calorie intake or activity level.

click here for more

Want to join the Save Our Sister Fitness Challenge click here

Ever had any bad experiences with the scale? Share your story

Monday, August 18, 2008

S.O.S: Get Motivated, Get Active, Get Moving!

As a part of the Save Our Sister's Fitness Challenge I will be providing you with weekly resources to keep you going. These resources will get you motivated and hopefully get you moving. Don't forget the main goal of the the Fitness Challenge is for you to encourage other women to work out with you. Don't forget to check out Sweet Potato Pie you can find motivation and inspiration there as well.

Spark People
Spark people is an online health community that provides you with, inspiration, information on healthy eating and exercise.
Get Active!
Black Women's Health Imperative Fitness Center
The Black Women’s Health Imperative has partnered with WebMD to bring you the latest health care and self-care tools, information and resources to keep you and your family physically, mentally and spiritually well.
I have found the Fitness Center really helpful. They provide you with a detailed assessment of your eating habits and physical activity.
Hair Care
Check out this article on Co Washing (washing your hair with conditioner) at K.I.S.S. It is a great way to keep your healthy if you need to wash more than once a week.
Also, Check out my posts!
Sweat Hard, Without Damaging Your Hair
Free Yourself: Caring for Black Hair

Get Moving!
What music gets you moving? Here is a site to get ideas for your workout playlist.
At In the they have suggestions for every kind of workout you can imagine. This week I'm going to try the "We Run This" playlist.
  • Young Jeezy (feat. Kanye West). Put On.
  • Lil Scrappy, P$C & T.I. I'm a King (Remix).
  • Cham Featuring Majic Massey. Bring It On (Remix).
  • Trick Daddy. Let's Go.
  • Missy Elliott. We Run This.
  • Trap Starz Clik. Drop It to the Floor.
  • Lil Wayne. They Still Like Me.
  • Kay L. Go to Work.
  • Savage & Soulja Boy Tell 'Em. Swing.
  • Hotstylz. Lookin Boy.

New to the Fitness Challenge? Updates from Fitness Challenge members?
Share your thoughts and share your resources!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

S.O.S: Save Our Sisters Fitness Challenge

What are you doing to save your sister, friend, co-worker, or any other black woman struggling with health issues? When was the last time you encouraged a friend to join you in the gym?
What are you doing to save yourself?

We are in a state of emergency and something has to be done A.S.A.P. You can no longer sit back and watch your Sister or yourself increase their risk for disease because of lack of exercise and healthy eating . We have to take responsibility for each other and fight obesity together!

Nubian Fitness Goddess and Sweet Potato Pie have joined forces to bring you the S.O.S. Fitness Challenge. Our sites have combined to bring the you best motivation, tips, and support for the S.O.S.

To join the S.O.S. Challenge you must agree to encourage at least of one your friends or family members to join you in the gym or wherever you workout. If you don't have access to the gym get together and do a workout DVD together or go for a walk. The goal is to build a support network around you so invite as many women as you can. This will support you in your efforts to stay healthy and it will also benefit the people you are encouraging.

Ladies that are new to exercise this challenge is perfect for you as well. If it's your first time going to the gym you can still take a friend with you, get FIT together!

The S.O.S challenge will last 3 months. For the next 3 months we will be providing tips, encouragement, posting success stories and struggles that women have encountered. We hope that this fitness challenge will strengthen your own commitment to your heath as well strengthen your friends/family's members commitment.

Sweet Potato Pie and Nubian Fitness Goddess are excited about this challenge. Check back regularly for updates about S.O.S! We will constantly be adding tips and more details about the Challenge.

Tell us if you're joining S.O.S. What are your thoughts about the Challenge? Do you believe you can convince your friends and family to commit to exercise with you?

Spread the Word, tell your friends and family about S.O.S.

Don't forget to check out Sweet Potato Pie

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Diets are Mean!

I recently saw a flyer at my school that said "Diets are Mean!" It was an advertisement from a Weight Watchers group that was started at my school. I've caught some of Weight Watchers other slogans like "Live or Diet" and "Stop Dieting, Start Living." These didn't appeal to me as much as "Diets are Mean!" but they share the anti-diet message which is a strategic marketing choice for Weight Watchers. My only problem is that in mind Weight Watchers is still a diet. Weight Watchers is the most appealing diet plan to me compared to Jenny Craig, Nurtisystem, etc but it's still a diet. From what I have read about Weight Watchers the focus is more on teaching you about portion control as opposed to restricting your food intake or providing you with pre- cooked meals.

I try to stay away from dieting and focus on portion control. In my experience dieting has been quite unsuccessful. I would lose the weight and it would come right back. I'm not really satisfied with my portion control right now. So, I'm actually considering trying weight watchers with the hopes that I will learn how to better control my portions. I think that with continuous exercise and portion control I will reach my goal weight before the end of the year.

I'm interested in your thoughts on the ad campaign. Do you think Weight Watchers as diet?
If you tried weight watchers please share your experience!
What has been your experience with dieting?

Interested in my Posts related to Nutrition? Check these out:
No Excuses: Addressing the Barriers of Health in the Black Community
Eat This, Not That: Avoiding Hidden Calories in Fast Food
Healthy Soul Food???? Yes, it exists!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hair Care Products for Black Women That Exercise

I have tried many hair care products since I began my journey to physical fitness. I am constantly looking for tips in black hair care forums and blogs. I have yet to find that perfect product that makes managing my hair easy after exercise. However, I have found a few products that have been helpful. Hopefully you will find some of them useful. Please share any products that worked well for you.

Here are some of the products that I tried:

No Rinse Shampoo
Their Description
For active outdoorspeople, skin and hair products that require absolutely no rinsing! Non-irritating cleansers contain no alcohol and are biodegradable. Feel fresh on those extended camping trips with out harming the environment. 8 oz.

My thoughts
I normally use this after 2 or 3 workouts or when I feel my hair has collected a lot of dirt or sweat from cardio. I will use this to get rid of the dirt and then put my hair in a ponytail until my real shampoo and deep condition that I do about two days after using the no rinse. After I use the no rinse shampoo I add some leave in conditioner and let my hair air dry.
It works okay just to get me through the week, it's only 4 bucks so I will continue using it until I find something better.

Dry Shampoo

Their Description

This innovative dry shampoo absorbs excess oil and product buildup while increasing volume at the roots and nourshing the scalp

My thoughts
I was searching for aveda reviving mist and someone suggested that I try a dry shampoo. The dry shampoo is supposed to refresh your hair and get rid of the sweatiness. I was going to try and use this instead of the no rinse shampoo. It didn't work for me and I tried it to twice. Their may be other brands that are better than the one I tried but for now I'm still looking for the aveda reviving mist.

Aveda anti-humectant
Their Description:

This satiny pomade repels moisture from your hair, helping to prevent frizziness and f lyaways. Tames curls to give hair a polished look. Excellent in humid weather. Work through hair before or after styling.

My thoughts
This product worked really well for my hair when I first got it relaxed. For the first 2 -3 weeks after my relaxer my wraps lasted alot longer. Normally after 3 workouts I put my hair in a ponytail but with the anti-humectant my wrap lasted the whole week. The product also worked well when I was in a Atlanta (it's really humid) a few weeks ago. This product is expensive but it does work pretty well.

I'm really interested in any products you may have tried that either worked or didn't work.
Have you tried any of the products that I mentioned?


For more hair care information check out theses posts:
Sweat Hard, Without Damaging Your Hair
Free Yourself: Caring for Black Hair
How to work out and still keep your hair FLY......
Resources : Eating Right, Exercise, Hair Care

Friday, August 8, 2008

Avoid Weekend Weight Gain

I know it's the weekend and you want to relax and destress. But let's not forget all the hard work you put in this week, don't let all your exercise and eating right go to waste! I know it's difficult because you want to go out, eat, drink, and have a great time. So, I put together some tips that allow you to have fun and still be slightly health conscious this weekend.

But first let me share some stats with you. A recent study shows that we consume at least 85 -115 more calories/day over the weekend. I know that doesn't sound like alot but increasing your calories like that will cause you to gain a pound after only 10 weeks!
Tips for A Night Out
This article has great tips for healthier drink options.
* Have a Whiskey Sour (3 oz glass) over a Margarita. It's about half the calories and still taste good!
* Have a glass of red wine it will help you relax and it's ony 150 calories per 4 oz. glass.
*You can also try the "skinny girl margarita"
2 oz of clear Tequila (100% agave, Patron Silver)
(count 1, 2 while you pour, no need for measuring)
A splash of fresh lime juice A splash of Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple SecCombine all ingredients over a glass of ice
Garnish with a lime wedge and salt (or sugar) if you'd like.Makes one serving.
You can also use a calorie counter to see how many calories is in you favorite drink.

*For Dining Out utilize the Eat this Not that website for food swaps. This way you can still eat at your favorite restaurants and know your making good choices.

Tips for Exercise
So you may not want to to your regular exercise routine but you still want to get in some type of physical activity. Use this calorie estimator to see how many calories you burn doing this fun activities.
*Dancing (going to the club counts, but you got to do more than the two step!)
*a pole dance class
* hip hop dance class
* shopping (you have to do alot of walking!)
Need more tips on surviving the weekend? Click here
I know I eat a ton more over the weekends so I still try to get in some excerise. I normally do the ellipitcal machine on saturday mornings but if I don't have time for that I make sure I get plenty of walking in.
Do you eat alot more on the weekend? Have suggestions for other fun activities?
Have a great Weekend!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Running for my Life!

Every morning I run for my life...

This morning I decided to take my exercise outside and run along Oak street beach. The bike/running path was filled with people getting the morning exercise in. It was not surprising that I was one of 5 black women out there running (Yes! I counted). As I was running I remembered a conversation I had with my cousin. I told her how much I enjoy running and it's the best (well, to me) form of exercise. She said "You will not find me running, unless someone is chasing me."

Many of my other bw friends share her sentiments, they just can't get into running. Everyone has their own preference and that's fine but it sucks to be on the Beach and look around and see all of the white folks out there and no one like me. So I decided I would share some of the benefits of running and maybe I could convert some of you non runners :-).

My Experience
Running works out your whole body! It has toned my arms, legs, and flattened my tummy.
No matter how lazy or droswy I feel before running, I always feel great afterwards and I have plenty of energy for my weight training. Today I ran 2 miles walked a mile and ran a mile back and I feel great! It has also been great for helping me lose weight quickly and maintain my weight loss.

Other Benefits (click for full article)
-lowers blood pressure
-maximizes lung potential
-diminishes appetite
-helps with depression and anxiety
-reduces risk of stroke and breast cancer
-burns more calories/min than any other exercise (except cross country skiing)
-It's free!

More information on running here

It also helps to run with a partner. When we are able to coordinate our schedules sometimes I run with one my sorority sisters. If anyone you are interested in running and you live Chicago hit me at

So Have I convinced you to run yet?

Do you like running? Why or Why not?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Love Handles: How Dating Affects Your Health

The Stats:
*Woman that were regularly dating gained an average 15 pounds over 5 years.

* Women that were living with their partner gained an average of 18 pounds over 5 years

* Women that were married gained 24 pounds!

(from the american obesity society)

I found these statisitics to be interesting because I have heard guys complain about how their girl "got fat on them" when they settled down. Well, statisically speaking it seems that it is true. There are many reasons this may occur. You may be influenced by your partners eating habits, you may stop working out as much because your spending so much time with your boo, or you may just lose focus because your so happy.

Dining out more often is another probable cause for signficant weight gain. My boyfriend and are constantly going out to eat and if I wasn't working out so much I probably would have gained alot of weight. Well, whatever the reason I've got some tips to prevent it from happening

In this month's issue of Shape they have great tips on how you can dine out and avoid all that weight gain!

1. When the food arrives, tell a story to give him lead-time. That way he'll finish first and you'll be less likely clean your plate

2. Another trick is starting with a filling, low-calorie appetizer, like gazpacho or tuna tartare. This satisfies you on fewer calories, so you won't be famished and overdo it when your entrée arrives.

3. Once you realize where you splurge when sharing a meal together, set rules for yourself. Suggest ordering wines by the glass instead of a bottle. If he enjoys dessert after every meal, split one with him or have a cappuccino instead.

4. You can also bank some calories by carving out time for exercise before meeting up. Sneak in a sweat session while he's watching the game or during your lunch break

My tips:

1. Workout together- It's great to have a running or gym partner. This way you make sure that you're both staying slim and trim and you can motivate each other!

2. Remember he is a man he can eat a ton more than you and not gain a pound ('s life)

Has dating ever caused you to gain weight?

Why I get up at 7 a.m.....

Normally I try to keep this blog focused on resources that are beneficial to you all but today I felt like sharing and updating you on my journey to physical fitness.

I get up at 7 a.m. a minimum of 5 times a week to workout.

7 a.m. may not seem early to some of you but I am not a morning person at all. I try to arrange my life so that I don't have do anything important before 11 am. So imagine my dismay when I realized the only way I could exercise on a regular basis was if I got up at 7 a.m.

My hour worth of exercise consists of running 20 minutes straight at 6.0 mph, walking uphill at 13.0 incline for 5 minutes, running for an additional 5 minutes at 6.0 -7.0 mph, and then walking for 2 - 3 min. After that I do weight training which include squats, lunges,free weights, and the weight machines my gym. I alternate between upper and lower body daily. Then I do about 50 crunches on a the statbliity ball. I followed this routine a niminimum of 5 days/week. This has been my routine for the past 5 months and I have dropped 2 dress sizes ( b4 14 to now 10) and about 25 lbs. I am very happy with my success and motivated to continue until I reach my goals.

Now that it has become such a routine for me, getting up at 7 is no longer a big deal and it is so worth the sacrifice. I've gotten to the point now where i acually enjoy exercising and I feel awful if a day goes by and I didnt get to exercise. While I have been doing great with the exercise my diet needs alot of improvement. I eat pretty healthy during the week but on the weekends it is quite difficult because I'm always going out to eat with my boyfriend or friends. I'm going to try and get better though.

That's all for me today, now I want to know about you!

I really would like to hear your experiences please share your success or difficulties.

What have you Sacrificed?

Share your Success Stories or Barriers you have experienced.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Boost Your Sex Drive

It's Friday! So, I figured I would leave you all with something fun. What's more fun than Sex?!

Did you know that Exercise Amps your sex drive? A recent study found that women who cycled for 20 minutes before viewing a sex scene experienced 21 percent arousal than those who did not. Researchers suggest that the increase in arousal is related to heightened nerve activity.

I also read that the vigorous exercise has the best results. So you can try power walking for 20 minutes or whatever interests you. Why not heighten your arousal, it can only make the sex better!

This yet another reason to add cardio to your life! 20 minutes goes a long way Try cycling, running, a dance, class, or anything that gets that heart pumping.

Don't forget that having Sex burns a ton of calories too!

Click here for more

Exercise is good for a ton of other things like increasing energy, decreasing stress, stopping cramps, reduce risk of diabetes, boosting fertility, etc.

How Exercise Helps Me
I find that exercise provides me with a ton more energy. I get up and work out at 7 am every morning and I'm not a morning person (but I only have time in the morning) but now it doesn't bother me at all. I just get up and go and I have plenty of energy. Exercise has also helped with back pain that I was experiencing, I think that running has strenghthed my back because the back is gone.

Has Exercise affected your life in any surprising way?