Monday, July 30, 2012

Black Belt –“Fighting Through Fatigue"

Fighting Through FatigueBy Dr. Randy Borum
(Published in Black Belt Magazine, July, 2008)

“Fatigue makes cowards of us all” Vince Lombardi

What do you do when you are completely exhausted, spent, and “done”, but there is still time left on the clock? Fatigue can be a martial arts athlete’s toughest opponent, simultaneously attacking your thoughts, emotions and body – trying to get you to quit.

Fatigue is not “all in your head,” but how you react and respond to it can determine how it affects your performance. Sport psychologists investigating “motivational intensity theory” find– when the going gets tough - the degree of effort that people put out is determined by the justifiability (Is it worth it?) and attainability (Is it possible to do it?) of the goal. Interestingly, research shows those same motivational factors also determine whether your cardiovascular system will react and compensate to help you exert more effort when you need it most.

This means that motivational factors under your control can and will affect your performance when you are fatigued. Building on these scientific findings, there are two immediate implications for martial art and combat sport athletes: (1) it is essential that you set goals for yourself and use them constantly to drive your motivation; and (2) when the demands are high, feeling confident and keeping a positive attitude will really help you push through.

Fighting effectively through fatigue is really about preparation, not just about “digging deep” in the heat of competition. How do you prepare to sprint when you are already running on fumes? Here is a three-pronged approach to preparing for your fight against fatigue:

Train to the specific energy demands of your sport: The human body uses different systems of energy depending first on the intensity and second on the duration of the activity. For years, “road work” was considered the cornerstone of conditioning for boxers. While running may have its place in combat sport training, jogging for several miles at a time does not “mirror” the biological energy demands of the sport. Whether the athlete is in a boxing, MMA, wrestling, or point sparring match, he or she is typically not required to maintain an steady, constant, low level aerobic demand over a half-hour period with no rest.

Instead, the sport generally requires multiple, intermittent “bursts” of power at maximal or near-maximal levels, with several-second periods of “rest” in between. The oxygen and metabolic energy demands are quite different in these two activities. So sprints and interval-type training, for example, match the sport-specific energy demands better than a four-mile jog. You will fatigue much less quickly when you have trained your body to anticipate the sport-specific energy demands of competition. Think also about the mental demands of your competition environment - such as lights, crowds, and bad calls from the officials - and prepare for those in training as well.

Minimize Wasted Energy: Even if you are in good shape physically, you may still “gas” if you have not adequately trained your mental game. Tension, anxiety and worry also consume energy and personal resources. Negative thoughts compete with your preparation and competition focus. Constant tension in your muscles makes them tire much more quickly. Jittery feelings – if you perceive them negatively – activate your sympathetic nervous system and cause your body to prepare for a threat, potentially using lots of energy in a way that does not help your performance. By learning to control your level of physiological arousal and to manage your thoughts and self-talk you can help to minimize the amount of wasted energy that comes from an emotional drain.

Breathing is a very important part of managing your energy and fighting fatigue. If you are breathing irregularly or holding your breath while exerting yourself – which is not uncommon – you are limiting the supply of oxygen available to your muscles and your brain. Learning to breathe from the diaphragm and to breathe regularly even under demanding physical conditions should be a priority for your training and your competition plan.

Maximize Positive, Productive Energy: Remember, research shows when you are fatigued that goal attainability is one of the main drivers of your effort. Attainability does not just refer to the level of task difficulty, but also to your belief in your own ability. Psychologists call it self-efficacy, but most athletes just refer to it as confidence. It is very important for a combat sport athlete to enter a competition with a deeply rooted faith in his or her own ability to perform well and to succeed. This skill starts in training. Try not to give voice or credibility to self-limiting beliefs or unproductive thoughts that creep in. When you are training, practice keeping your focus on the present. Don’t allow yourself to say: “I don’t know if I can do it.” Don’t look at the clock or worry about how much time is left in a training interval. Just perform in the moment.

How does one further develop that confident energy? The best source of confidence is past experiences of success, whether in training or competition. Remember your past successes. Recall them often; remembering specifically how you felt and how it happened. Another source of confidence and positive emotion is self-talk. You should direct that voice in your head. Don’t just wait for it to react. Rehearse and repeat positive messages to yourself about your skill and ability. Connecting with your personal “feelings” of success and competence, settling your body into your optimal “zone” of intensity, and creating a positive thought environment should be highlights of your pre-competition routine.

You will also benefit from having a plan to refocus and restore your positive mindset if you happen to encounter a setback in your competition. Many fighters and athletes have had success using “cue words” to help them re-focus. Choose one or two words that have personal significance for you to help bring you back positively and fully into the present. Energy-draining distractions usually when happen because we are thinking either about something that has already happened or something that might happen. Your cue words can prompt you to re-focus on the present.

Fatigue can be a formidable opponent, but with a smart conditioning plan, confidence, and pre-competition preparation, you can keep your mind and body infused with positive energy to prevail in the battle.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Things that make me smile...

1)      My family laughing together

2)      Hearing my daughter singing when she doesn’t think anyone is listening

3)      Making smores on the campfire

4)      Walking into the house after a 2 hour kickboxing/karate workout completely drenched from sweat, feeling powerful

5)      Baking with my daughter like my Mom & Nana did with me

6)      Sitting on my deck on the weekend drinking coffee before anyone is awake

7)      Watching my Mother & daughter make real hot cocoa together, like my Nana did with me - special memory

8)      Taking a nap with my snugly kitties

9)      Drinking a glass of wine, and laughing with my friends

10)   Swimming with my daughter

11)   Hugs

12)   Watching my daughter on stage for the first time

Question - What makes YOU smile?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Article - Mental Training for Martial Art: Black Belt Magazine

Black Belt –“Mental Training for Combat Sports” Column for December issue
By Dr. Randy Borum

“The possession of anything begins in the mind” – Bruce Lee

As a martial artist, you want to improve, right? Have you searched desperately for the “secret” to unlock your potential and take you game to the next level? Well….there is no secret…not really. But there are some proven strategies for boosting your performance. And I’m not just talking about training harder or practicing more. If you are looking for a new dimension to your training, you might consider working the mental side of your game.

Psychologists started studying sports behavior in the late 1800s to explore factors and conditions that affect performance. Any martial artist, boxer, or fighter who has ever competed or had to defend him or herself knows that victory requires more than good technique. Physical skills are necessary for successful performance. No question. But in a competitive or threatening environment, your ability to focus, to regulate your physiological arousal, and to manage your fears and self-doubts are critical.

Mental factors are equally important in your training. Learning to execute proper technique on a punch, kick, takedown or submission requires a foundation of neural pathways between your brain and your muscles. Mental practice – much like physical practice - can facilitate those pathways. You can practice and improve even when you are not in the gym or dojo. You can learn to get past sticking points in your mastery of a new move and enhance your ability apply it in different situations.

Applied sport psychology is a relatively new area of practice, but elite martial artists have practiced the fundamental principles and skills for centuries. Consider, for example, the following quotes from the legendary Bruce Lee, considered by many to be one of the greatest martial artists of all time:

“Do not be tense, just be ready, not thinking but not dreaming, not being set but being flexible. It is being "wholly" and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.”

Lee is talking here about a martial artist’s ability to manage anxiety and to control one’s physiological arousal, particularly under pressure. He describes a particular state of mind and body that is optimal for his performance, but in reality, that peak state varies from one fighter to another. The “zone” – as some athlete’s call it – or state of “flow” is not necessarily the same for everyone. This means that fighters and martial artists must determine what fits for them, not just try to copy what works for others. And they must be able to alter that intensity by ramping up or calming down as necessary.

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”

Having faith in oneself – Lee knew – is critical for successful performance. It is easy to know that you have learned a move, combination or technique, but have doubts about your ability to execute it effectively when you are under attack. In a match or fight many things can happen to undermine your confidence. But without confidence, you may find it difficult to follow a game plan, to use good technique and to make good decisions. Self-confidence, self-faith – or what psychologists call self-efficacy - is the cornerstone of making your mind work FOR you in motor skill performance.

“As you think, so shall you become.”

Our thoughts are both causes and consequences of our actions. Sometimes we try to tell ourselves what to think. At other times, thoughts – often negative thoughts – seem to intrude. Bruce Lee’s quote here is quite similar to a Biblical proverb: "as a man thinks in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 3:27). The notion has been around for quite some time. If you are going to perform complex skills under pressure, you must learn how to eliminate thoughts that distract you and promote thoughts and self-talk that support your best performance.

"One great cause of failure is lack of concentration."

In a combat sport competition, it is easy to get distracted. Negative thoughts on the inside, your opponent and the environment on the outside, all compete for your attention. Even a brief loss of focus can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Lee underscored the point, calling it a “great cause of failure.” Martial artists and fighters must be able to direct their attention in the right way, where it is needed, at the right time for optimal performance.

“When performing the movements, always use your imagination. Picture your adversary attacking, and use Jeet Kune-Do techniques in response to this imagined attack.”

Mental imagery – or visualization – is one of the most powerful tools in a competitor’s arsenal. It can be used to develop motor skills, to self-monitor, and to prepare for competition. It combines the mental, emotional and physical elements of your performance. But there is more to effective imagery that just picturing your hand being raised at the end of a fight.

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”

As a masterful teacher, Bruce Lee realized that goals chart a course for success. Sport psychology research shows that challenging – but achievable - goals improve performance and produce results. Clear, measurable goals enhance motivation. Goals should not just be focused on an outcome – like winning - but also on performance and mastery of a particular skill.

As sport psychology researchers and martial art Masters have shown, arousal regulation, confidence building, positive self-talk, focus, mental imagery, and goal setting are some of the foundations of a fighter or martial artist’s mental game. What many don’t realize, however, is that these are all skills. Like any skills, some individuals have more natural talent than others, but almost every one can improve with practice. In the coming months, in this new Black Belt Magazine column, we will tackle these and other topics to help you take your martial art, competition, or fight game to the next level.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Jalapeño Popper Cheesy Baked Stuffed Chicken

Oh my, OH MY!!!

I saw this recipe on Skinnytaste and it was a must try!

I think the combo of cream cheese, shredded cheese, jalapenos, scallions, and bacon is simply. AMAZING!

I had asked my husband to precook the bacon before I got home from work to save me a step, he so kindly did and then it was just a quick prep for the rest.  We had just salad with it and it was delicious!  You could even save more time buying the thin chicken breasts, saving you from pounding out flat... but really, who doesn't need to destress by pounding out some chicken breasts now & then?!  I do occasionally.

When you cut into the chicken breasts, the ooey gooey cheesy goodness spills out and the aroma will blow you away!  I. promise.

If you like jalapeno poppers, you will love this.

  • 2 slices center cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 3 jalapeños, chopped (remove seeds for milder)
  • 3 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz reduced fat shredded cheddar jack (Sargento)
  • 2 tbsp chopped scallions
  • 8 thin sliced skinless chicken breast cutlets, 3 oz each (I only made 4)
  • 1/2 cup Italian seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs (I used panko, worked perfect)
  • 1 1/2 juicy limes, juice of
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • olive oil non-stick spray
Wash and dry chicken cutlets, season with salt and pepper.  Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray.

Combine cream cheese, cheddar, scallions, jalapeño and bacon crumbles in a medium bowl.

Lay chicken cutlets on a working surface and spread 2 tbsp of cream cheese mixture on each cutlet. Loosely roll each one, secure the ends with toothpicks to prevent the cheese from oozing out.

Place breadcrumbs in a bowl; in a second bowl combine olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.

Dip chicken in lime-oil mixture, then in breadcrumbs and place seam side down on a baking dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken. When finished, lightly spray the top of the chicken with oil spray.

Bake 22-25 minutes, serve immediately.

For photos of the whole process, go here to Skinnytaste...  I will be trying more recipes from here.

bon appetit!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Peanut Butter Cup Protein Ice Cream

Forever I have wanted to make protein ice cream....

I don't know why I waited so long..... I can't believe I did!  I could have lived off this stuff when I was in the soft food stage right after my WLS!!!  Boy I am kicking myself now! 

Don't worry, I am sure I will make up for it!

I think the whole pre-planning part of deep freezing the ice cream maker kept throwing me off because you had to put that in the freezer like a day ahead of time!

So, anyway.... I FINALLY decided I am making it this weekend.  I miss having ice cream and it's HOT out!  Ice cream has too much fat and sugar and now makes me "dump" as a post weight loss surgery person.  For those that don't know what that is, it is different for everyone but for me I feel super sick to my stomach and most times have to lay down for a  So, some frozen yogurts I can have but they are all calories and I can't have much.  THIS.... I can have and have a normal serving PLUS get protein tuboot!!!!

This recipe came from The World According to Eggface, she has a million protein ice cream recipes, and now I can't wait to try each and every single one of them!!!  Can you give me an AMEN??? ;)

Shelly's Peanut Butter Cup Protein Ice Cream
1 cup Regular or Soy Milk (I used whole Milk, and was told to use 2% or higher for creaminess)
2 scoops Chocolate Protein Powder
1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter, melted (I used Jif Creamy)
Optional: 3 or 4 Sugar Free Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, chopped

(I actually doubled this recipe and it filled a cool whip container full.)

Nuke peanut butter for 25 seconds to thin. Mix together milk, protein & peanut butter. Shelly uses this gadget (I used my blender) to mix it up. It makes it airy and lump free. Pour into ice cream maker while the ice cream maker is moving. Follow your machine's instructions for freezing. 5 minutes before done add the optional chopped SF Reese's. You can eat it right away it is soft serve-ish but I like to put it in the freezer to set for an hour or so.

Also, I added a little more melted peanut butter in between a layer of ice cream to create a pb swirl....awesome!


Check Shelly's site for a ton more protein ice cream recipes

Dr. Seuss Christmas in July Party

Our daycare does an annual Christmas in July Party every year in the summer in lieu of one at Christmas time, for all the families that come to daycare.  Our daycare provider is unbelievable, she starts over a month before the party planning and decorating and having all the kids help with craft projects that are used to decorate her whole yard.  This year's theme was Dr. Seuss!!

The One Fish Two Fish, had the faces of all our children.....very clever!

All the decorations on the HOO tree were all handmade by the kids.

center pieces on the tables included all different Dr. Seuss books
There were decorations from some of the books too, so cute!

My Little Cindy Lu Hoo!  She looked like her, but I don't think that was planned! ;)

More decorations - flowers with our children's photos and leaves made from their hands!

"Cat in the Hat" cookies I brought made from white chocolate dipped oreos with red chocolate dipped marshmallows on top.  Kids loved em!

Santa came in his summer time attire and brought gifts for each child - how fun!!  And, I loved how Christmas music was playing in the background of the party.... caught myself singing along alot once.

Every Year the Daycare Provider has an annual WATER BALLOON FIGHT!!  All the kids gang up on her and water balloon's fly back and forth through the yard! 
After the waterballoons, they gave each child a plastic cup to pick up all the broken balloon's on the ground and she gave each child a prize for picking them all up (which was genius!).
Loved this t-shirt!!

Over all a fun time had all and being that my Cindy Lu Hoo starts kindergarten, sadly will miss coming here regularly and seeing all her friends.  We still plan to visit on off days and summers but I know it's a place my daughter truly feels loved and will miss.

Thank you Darlene's Garden have been Angels from Heaven to us!!!
You will be missed!!!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Banana Soft Serve

OMG!!! When I saw this recipe, it DID change my life!

Since I can not eat high fat or high sugar foods, ice cream is pretty much out of my life now.  It is a shame in a sense that I can't enjoy a ice cream on a hot summer day unless it's a sugar-free ice cream and not all of those taste that great.  So, when I found this, I could not wait to try it!  Well, I tried it last night for the first time, and let me tell ya.... it will not be the last!

Here's the most SIMPLE instructions:

It couldn’t be more simple. Take 2-3 frozen bananas (you can freeze them in ziplock bags or in tupperware), like so (this was about 2 and a half):

And throw them in your food processor (I only have a mini one, so I used my blender, worked fine I just had to scrape the bananas down a couple times). Then turn the processor on and let it run for about five minutes, stopping every now and then to scrape it down. The bananas should get increasingly light, fluffy, and smooth. By the time you’re done, they’ll resemble a creamy bowl of soft serve, like so:

Scoop them into a bowl and enjoy!
My daughter loved it too and she put a bunch of chocolate chips over hers!

Have a happy & healthy day!!! ~ M

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Overcome Self Sabotaging Behavior

I have to admit to you, I have been having a hard time lately with self sabotaging behavior when it comes to my diet.  I have been doing really well most days during the week, but in the evenings and especially on the weekends, I just blow it and feel out of control at times. 

I started reading about Self Sabotaging Behavior, but most of it says things like low self-esteem, or you don't believe you can get to your goal.  I don't think that's me, I've got there before and gained so I KNOW I can get back.  And if you know me personally, you'd know I was not the type that didn't think I deserve it!  But, for some reason, I do not pause and have a little (inside) conversation with myself before I go to grab for that box of crackers at 9:30pm.  Why?  Not sure.  But I found some advice on Anne Berry Hill's website that I really liked and wanted to share with you.

Tools to Overcome Self Sabotaging Behavior

1. Identify the feeling that IMMEDIATELY preceded the stumble. Were you feeling angry, frustrated, powerless, overwhelmed, undervalued, rebellious, tired, lazy, resentful? It is so important to be brave and honest enough to look that emotion in the face. It is a huge part of the discovery process.
2. What situation(s)  initiated that feeling you discovered above? Did you have an argument? Are you overwhelmed with your responsibilities? Financial pressures? Trouble at work? Kids got you pulling your hair out? Any one of those situations could evoke a strong emotional response.
3. Why did you start this program? Or, why do you start it over and over? What result are you striving to achieve? I mean, is it just weight loss? Or is it to impress someone? To get someones attention? Is it to be perceived by people a different way? Or simply to look and feel better in your body? Why is this question so important? Your reason for starting this in the first place has to be big enough. So when the emotional life trials kick in to low or high gear, your reason better be a pretty strong one to weather the storm.

In other words, is your goal REALLY your goal? This is how you can tell. In that split second moment of decision, and you say to yourself, “Do I want this (INSERT CRAPPY CHOICE HERE) right now? Because if I do it, it means that I want that more than I want my BIG GOAL/REASON. Let that settle on you for a second. Choose 1 way and get 1 result. Choose the other way and get a different result. Never shall the 2 intersect.
In the end, the actions you take are the TRUEST measure of what your real goals and desires are.

So true.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Healthy Raspberry Frozen Yogurt

This recipe totally ROCKS!  I was so happy to find this and you will LOVE it!!  This was from Espresso and Cream  If you are looking for a healthy alternative to ice cream, you will not be disappointed.  This is so creamy and flavorful it does not seem like you are eating something good for you, but you are!  This does not freeze that well, but you can.  It does not keep it's smooth & creamy consistency, it hardens up.  So, because it makes enough for two big servings, I froze some in a Tupperware container.  The next day I popped it into the microwave for about 30 secs, just to soften it up a bit and it was just as delicious.

The recipe called to make it in a food processor, but I've only got a mini one, so I used my blender and it came out perfect. 

Healthy Raspberry Frozen Yogurt

*1 1/2 cups frozen raspberries (not thawed)
*1 cup 0% plain Greek yogurt (I used 0% Plain Chobani)
* 1 tablespoon granulated stevia (I used Truvia brand) natural sugar substitute

*Place raspberries in the bowl of a food processor (or blender) and blend for 30 seconds, until raspberries are blended into small even pieces. Add in the Greek yogurt and stevia. Blend for another minute, scraping down the sides a couple times, until mixture is smooth and creamy.

Serve immediately. You can also place in an airtight container and freeze until you’re ready to serve, but after 30 or so minutes, it won’t maintain the same creamy consistency that it has when you first make it.

Makes 2 generous servings
Nutrition Facts per serving: 115 cal., 0.5 g fat (0 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 15.2 g carb., 6.3 g dietary fiber, 4.5 g sugar, 12.3 g protein


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fouth Of July Festivities Recap

We had a wonderful Third & Fourth of July, despite being without hubby who had to work.  My daughter and I headed down to Marshfield to my friend Kathy's house, who I've known since 6th grade!  She lives a block away from Rexhame Beach where they have loads of excitement every 3rd & 4th of July.  She holds an annual cookout with over 100 of her closest friends and family.  It is always a great time.  This year was no different! 

Tuesday morning, my daughter jumped out of bed saying, "today is the day right??"  see she had been looking forward to this since her first time down last year for the 4th.  For about a week, she had started to gather her clothes and beach toys that she wanted to bring.

So, breakfast then off we went to Marshfield!  We arrived close to 10am which was perfect.  While my friend did her last minute prep for the party later that day and errands, we headed to the beach and my friend met us there later.

digging in the sand
The ocean was surprisingly warm, quite a nice surprise since my daughter loves to play in the water with her Muddah!  We stayed at the beach a few hours when my friend and her family came to join us.  Then we headed back to shower up and get ready to party!  My daughter loves that they have an outdoor shower there, so cool to a "country kid".  Funny to say that cuz we really do not live in the country contrary to what my city friends think!  (just cuz I have a pig farm on my street...geez!)

After that we went to pop over to see a friend of ours from way back, we hadn't seen him in over 20 years....God we are old!!  It was great to see them, they are visiting for the week from Colorado.  I can't believe I didn't think to take a picture of all of us while we were there. Oh well, Jason & just means you have to visit again so we can take a photo next time! Back at Kathy's people started to arrive in droves.... kids, families, friends, friends of friends, teenagers... all brought food & drinks to feed an army!  I think it had to be one of the largest amounts of people in a small place I'd seen in a long while.  And when you were in her back yard and looked around to all her neighbors, they all were having large crowds over too!  Kathy and her family are so generous to open up their home and share this great country's birthday party and host it every year at their house!  So many great people, great times!

smile ;)

After dark all the glow stuff came out for the kids
and sparklers!!!
No place but Marshfield does a better job with fireworks, they are all around you.  I've never seen so many before in my life.  They also have these lanterns that they let go (wish I thought to grab a photo for you), they were beautiful!  After staying the night there, the next morning we woke up to a clean house!  See, these 16 year old elves, daughters of a friend of Kathy's had their wonderful Dad drive them to Kathy's at 6:30 AM to come and clean up from the night before.  What great kids are these and their Dad for getting up and driving them over!  He snoozed in the truck while they cleaned even!  I came downstairs to see them scurrying around cleaning and doing dishes and one was even cooking everyone pancakes!  You ladies rocked!!!  Once, we I  had 4-5 cups of coffee and a little something for breakfast it was just about time for the annual kids parade and games/cookout on the beach!  My daughter was super excited, this was her first time in a parade!

Then down to the beach for hot dogs on the beach and seaside games.  This year was high tide so there wasn't room for as many games as they usually play, but the little kids were having a blast and I think only the adults noticed the other games were missing.

We played egg toss!  I dropped the egg, so my daughter won she said! I lost!

She got many ribbons from Kathy for her egg toss and decorated bike!
sporting all her ribbons!

Thanks again to the Leonard Family XOXOX, you all know how to throw a Fourth of July party and thanks for sharing your home and beach with us who don't get to the beach very often.  Just being near the ocean has always been very therapeutic to me.  Happy Birthday America!!!

How did you spend your 4th of July??