Monday Motivation guest post: Jog with your dog!

This week’s Monday Motivation comes via Talia Tugman, owner of Bite Size Wellness.

Getting gymspiration from friends, seeking encouragement on Twitter and watching a few episodes of the Biggest Loser are usually enough to get me off the couch, but the biggest form of fitness social support comes from an unlikely source: my furry, four-legged companion Faith.

Having Faith has definitely positively influenced my exercise routine (especially when the weather is full of sun-shining days). The fitness benefits of having a dog start with the fact that I will always rack up some extra mileage in my day because the pup needs to get out of my cramped NYC apartment, rain or shine. This means I am bound to get some extra steps in no matter what. Oh, and did I mention, I live on a 5th floor walk-up? Feel the burn baby…even if it is just for a potty break. And don’t even get me started on carrying large bags of dog food up the 5 flights!

Dogs are excellent workout partners because their enthusiastic wagging tail and excited energy will never dwindle. I mean, if I got as pumped up about just looking at my running shoes as Faith did from seeing a leash I would NEVER skip a day at the gym. The effortless enthusiasm that she always brings to the table when it comes to getting out the door is inspiring to say the least. Dogs have energy to burn and instinctively seem to know the importance of physical activity as a part of their lifestyle. Talk about learning a lesson from man’s best friend. Surely we should all get such joy out of daily fitness and a little game of fetch.

In truth, my past of training for a half marathon would not have been the same without the pup. On days when I just wasn’t feeling the idea of running my mind was instantly changed when I came into my apartment and looked into those eyes. The thought of letting myself down AND my dog was too much to handle! By the end, I think my sprinter dog may have rolled her eyes when the leash came out and I told her that today was a 10-miler, but no matter what she hit the road with me…complaint free! Another perk of having a dog as a fitness buddy is while your BFF or significant other can get busy and spew out excuses, rover would do no such thing. In fact, a recent study from the New York Times went as far as to say that a having a canine in the house beats out the latest home exercise equipment. And, according to Reuters, having a companion animal makes you 66% more likely to get you walking (and at a faster pace). When you are committed to your hound, you are also committing to your own physical activity.

If you want your pet to go from sofa sniffer to trail dog, consider these tips to get your pup started off on the right paw:

• Don’t let your dog run you. Running with rover will be a much better experience if he or she is not yanking your arm off to smell the flowers or become overly fascinated by a squirrel. Start off walking and invest time in heel training before sprinting full speed ahead.
• Dogs need preparation too, so don’t expect that because you conquered running 4 miles in 30 minutes that your pro-lounger can automatically keep up with you. Take it slow and work up to higher mileage and speed.
• Just like you, your pooch will appreciate an established exercise routine. If you are a morning runner and feel like sleeping in your pup will practically beg you to get out of bed based on the habits you set. No need to self-motivate!
• When running with rover, be sure to carry water. Dogs can overheat easily and do not sweat so bring some water along to help them cool down.
• Praise your furry friend for making it through an exhausting run so that she will know that she did a great job. Okay…go ahead and shower yourself with compliments too while you are at it.

The biggest reward you can receive is feeling good after your sweat session and seeing your dog crash on the living room rug. One thing is for sure, giving Faith her daily exercise makes me a proud (fit) owner. So the next time you are in need of fitness motivation just think about dogs and their effortless gusto for fitness. It’s sure to get you lacing up your shoes in no time!

For the cat lovers, aside from leashing up your meow-er, just think about how excited your feline friend gets to rub up on your sweaty work out pants…or not? Maybe we need to work at the whole cat as a fitness partner thing at another time☺

Does your pet motivate you to work out?

Talia Tugman lives in New York City with her nearly new husband. In an effort to be in touch with living a healthy lifestyle in a new city, Talia is sharing enlightened wellness living information with others served in bite size portions on her blog

Monday Motivation: A guest post from ‘down under’

This week, a friend of mine agreed to write a guest post about what motivates her to eat well and exercise daily.  Meet Samantha Trenerry! Sam lives in Australia, with her son Cadel and husband Phil. She’s super fit (CrossFit will do that for you!), a fabulous mama, and a knitter too (I met her first on Ravelry and we bonded over exercise and yarn!).

Hello fellow fitknitchick fans!

I am an Aussie stay at home mama to 4-year-old Cadel and am married to Phil who is a shift worker. Cadel’s story is a blog post in itself, so I am going to do my best to sum him up in a paragraph. Cadel is a sweet, loving, cheeky little boy, he is the light of my life and I am incredibly lucky to be his mama. Cadel lives with Spastic Quadriplegia, a form of Cerebral Palsy so debilitating that he needs help with all aspects of daily living, he is also severely impaired intellectually. Cadel is in a wheelchair and unlike the average 4 year old Cadel cannot take himself to the toilet, fix himself a snack, feed himself, sit himself up or move from one activity to the next without our help. We build therapeutic activities into each day and he visits regularly with a team of therapists at our local disability service. Medically he has a lot going on too, but the main condition he has that affects his daily life is an acute form of Epilepsy, despite being on 4 different medications he has dozens of visible seizures each day and has many more we cannot see. Our days are busy, and although they are filed with fun and laughter they can be draining both physically and emotionally for all 3 of us.

Tamara asked me to talk about what motivates me to lead a healthy lifestyle, and the first big motivator for me is the most obvious, my family! Phil works outside the home as a Police Officer and I care of the little guy, when Phil is home we share the role taking care of Cadel. This gives us both time to work out and a little time to chill out too. The three us make a great team! Knowing that Cadel and Phil are relying on me is all the motivation I need. I want to eat right so I have the energy to power through my day and still have a bit left in the tank for a workout. I want to workout so I can get the 45kg wheelchair in and out of the car on my own and so I can lift Cadel up and down all day without a second thought. Let’s face it, strong, healthy people are far more useful, and I want to know that I will be strong enough to take care of Cadel for a long time to come. Having a child who is disabled also motivates me because it makes me realize how lucky I am to have a fully functioning body, it would be a shame to waste it sitting on the couch all day with a big bag of chips, I want to make the most of it!

The second big motivator for me is that I have found a sport I LOVE. If there is one piece of advice I can give you it is to keep trying different activities until you find something you really want to do. If you want to make a lifelong commitment to exercising you need to be enthusiastic about what you are doing or it will become a chore, and soon after it will become just another failed exercise program. I do CrossFit, it makes sense for me because it challenges me physically and mentally, I am able to set goals for myself and I leave every session knowing I have nothing left to give. I have also made some wonderful friends at the gym, they inspire me, push me to reach my goals and they make working out fun.

Other than my family and the sport I love, I find motivation the same way everyone else does, I want to look in the mirror and feel good about what I see, I want to set a good example for Cadel and for the other children in my life, I want my husband to think I am still as hot as I was the day he married me and I don’t want to see the number on the scales go up unless I know it is because I am getting stronger!

Having said all that I have to confess that I have a downfall, and I am sure it is one many of you share, FOOD! I bet a lot of you fail in that area at times for exactly the same reason I do, I forget about myself! I manage to eat a healthy breakfast every day and dinner is usually something wholesome too, but I can be hopeless during the day unless I really plan for it. This is something I am working really hard on, but on really busy days, especially when we have a lot of appointments to get to, I find myself hungry at 3pm and suddenly realize the last thing I ate was my oats for breakfast. I am getting better, and I have Tamara to thank for introducing me to clean eating and some wonderful websites that inspire me with tasty recipes. I have a lot of work to do though, and if there is one thing I want to achieve in 2012 it is to make planning my own meals a habit every single day. Let’s make that something we work on together okay? I am getting back on track after the holiday madness with a sugar free February, with the exception of one (portion controlled!) treat on a Saturday, if you care to join me let me know via Tamara’s comments!

So that’s a bit about me, my life has a little extra drama, but I am still able to make my own health a priority. I hope you have found something in my story that helps inspire you to do the same. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below. Thanks for reading!

Guest post and FitFluential love

Today’s post will be short. Just a re-direct to a guest post I’m doing over at MizFit and a quick intro to one of my favorite fellow FitFluential bloggers!

If you enjoy reading health and fitness blogs as much as I do, you really needed to visit Carla. She’s bright, insightful, engaging, motivating and ripped! I love her approaches to fitness (‘because fitness isn’t about fitting in’) and to parenting (‘you are your own superhero’).

A day without MizFit is like a day without exercise (I’d love to say sunshine, but I live in the Pacific Northwest, where sunshine is rare)!

Today, she’s the featured FitFluential Ambassador. Congratulations and well done Carla!



Thursday guest post

Today I’m posting on a fellow health and fitness blogger’s website! How exciting!

Clare, at Fitting It All In, has been running a series of guest posts entitled ‘My Best Life Series’ and today, it’s all about me!

If you’ve ever wondered how I got started in the fitness industry, hop on over and find out! And be sure to check out the other women featured in the series, as well as Clare’s fabulous vegetarian menus (she likes to post pictures of food too!), stylish outfits (i.e., NOT workout clothes) and journey towards becoming a certified health coach (she’s just started taking clients!).

Thanks so much, Clare!