Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Fitness Junkie Buds 4 Lyfe

My entire life I've had great fortune to be surrounded by some amazing athletes, both family and friends. Today, you're going to meet one of my longest standing friends to date. She's all of 5'11" and there isn't much she can't do well. She's a natural born athlete that understands the gift isn't to be sacrificed, and works her tail off to make the best of what she's got. I asked Kait, my best friend from high school, to gives her 2 cents on the fitness world in general, because in no way do I consider myself an expert. 

Kait greeted me at the finish line of IMMD in Cambridge

And 2 weeks prior, she soothed my soul in Baltimore
when the race was postponed due to Hurricane Joaquin 

Lately, many people have asked me about fitness outside of swim/bike/run, and I always come up with the same answer: "I don't partake in fitness outside of swim/bike/run." My body has (knock on wood) held up over the years and I follow a pretty steady core/body weight strength regime during the week to keep me in check. But as far as the weight room? Yoga? Anything elseI'm far from the right person to ask. Well, take if from the girl who's been around the fitness block. And who has quite the athletic resume to  back it up. You met her back in February when we were able to catch up on life together, stride for stride through our hometownBut today, I'd like you to really get to know her:

I've always kind of been a fitness junkie. Throw it back about 20 years ago and my dad had me running miles for time, backyard sprints, you name it. When I was 20 I decided I was going to start doing 100 sit-ups a day for the rest of my life, and I've pretty much stuck to that give or take a few vacation days.

The days of running super long distance now seem to be a thing of the past for me, but who knows, I could have a midlife crisis and attempt another marathon. I've dabbled in just about everything outside of Pilates - long distance running, a few shorter triathlons, yoga, spin classes, Les Mills classes... and now prominently crossfit.

And I love it all. And I've learned a lot from all of it - and am still figuring out the exact formula for what makes my body the happiest.

So anyways, why am I here? Really I don't know, I think Megan felt like taking a week off of writing and so she asked me to slap a bunch of my fitness-y thoughts together. So here we go:

1. I strongly, vehemently believe in the benefits of strength training. Outside of my love for muscle definition at a superficial level, strength training is so good for your body, and is what I believe finally changed my course of recurring injuries dating back to age 16, starting with a fractured L5 vertebrae.

Don't get me wrong I'll still occasionally roll an ankle on un-level concrete, or tweak a shoulder muscle from getting a little too wild with the handstands. But since I finally gave up my fear of weights and getting "bulky", I have pretty much stopped my chain of physical therapy visits and MRI's - knock on wood.

One of the last races I ran in the U.S. - with Megan, in Baltimore!

2. Yet whether you are struggling with injuries or not - thought #2 about strength training (and in my case, crossfit) - is that it is simply functional fitness, meaning that it translates to everyday life. Being strong allows me to walk two 16 kilo huskies (and rapidly growing) -  one in each hand - without being dragged down the street when they see a cat.

And I don't have all the research and numbers but I do know that it's vital as we get older as women to keep our muscles strong. Check it out:

3. If you are a calorie counter, here's a fun fact: strength training actually burns more calories over time than cardio workouts.

"While cardio burns calories and fat when you're performing it, high rep strength training has what is known as high EPOC or "Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption." This is a fancy term for saying how long your metabolism is elevated after exercise.
Studies show that a well-designed strength program can elevate your EPOC or metabolism for up to 38 hours after the workout. In other words, you continue to burn calories long after strength training. Whereas once you stop cardio, the calorie burning stops as well."

To be clear, I still love my cardio and endurance challenges. I'm actually writing this as I get some time in on the elliptical. And while I'm not a personal trainer, but I do know the above to be facts. Never worked a muscle in your entire life outside of carrying in the groceries? It's pretty simple to start implementing SOME kind of form of strength training into your life. Wake up and do some sets of push-ups/air squats/sit-ups. Work up from there.

Meg asked me to tie in the fact that I live in Israel in this post. So hey guys, I'm Kait and I live in Tel Aviv Israel. 

the amount of pictures I have inverted is possibly embarrassing
I'll tell you what, if the US had a random fitness competition with Israel per random selection of let's say... 100 people from each country, I would bet on Israel. I'm unsure an obesity rate even exists here; the beaches are always full of runners and swimmers and bikers, you name it. Megan would fit right in.

Speaking of - a huge congrats to her for qualifying for the Ironman 70.3 world championships - that race is no joke.

I've worked Paralympic events, I've raced one of the big five marathons, and I even recently competed at a country level here in Israel. What I loved about all those experiences - no matter what kind of competition it was - is that they all gave me the same kind of chills. Coming alongside people from AROUND the WORLD to be like hey, our bodies are pretty badass let's do cool things with them and see what we can do... that's pretty freaking cool. Doesn't matter what language you speak when you all have stupid smiles on your face after finishing something hard together. I'm sure Meg will agree when she crosses that finish line in Chattanooga this fall.

Fittest of Israel 2017

I'll quit the sports adrenaline blabbering. Now stop avoiding eye contact with those dumbbells, go make your muscles a little bit sore (and then foam roll). I promise, you'll still fit into your jeans tomorrow.

Cheers -

In case you're interested in learning more about her adventures as she plays this game called life, you can find her babbles on her personal blog here. Maybe this helps you take a deeper understanding into my drive for success. When you grow up with a best friend who's literally good at everything, it's hard to sit on your butt and eat candy bars after school. She's kept me on my toes over the years, and is one of the primary reasons I find myself striving to be faster.  On the days when I struggle through a speed workout I often think things like, "Oh come on Megan, Kait would have killed those mile repeats." 

And to Kait, thank you for being one of the greatest influences in my life, athletically and personally. A bad@$$ and a best friend all in one. They don't make 'em like you anymore girl. 

1 comment:

  1. Love you! Thanks for being an inspiration :)