Monday, January 23, 2017

Strong Is the New Beautiful

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Olympic Skier Lindsey Vonn wrote an inspiring new book on getting healthier with fitness and clean eating. The book is just 256 pages and divided up into three sections: memoir, diet and exercise. One fourth of the book are pictures of workout circuits. The autobiographical section of this book was only a few pages unfortunately. No dirt on her 3 year relationship with Tiger Woods. The nutrition section is very practical, favoring clean eating over dieting. She says she’s done every diet out there and has finally figured out what gives her energy for her long grueling days. I have so much respect for her now that I know her story and understand how hard she works. This small-town Minnesota girl also talks about loving your body.

Let me share with you Lindsey’s accomplishments if you haven’t heard of her. She's a three-time Alpine Ski World Cup winner. The first American woman to win three consecutive World Cup championships. Competed in 3 Olympics winning 1 gold and 3 bronze medals. This weekend she brought in another World Cup win in Germany after her wrist injury. This woman gets injured a lot but always bounces back! She’s had 2 ACL injuries, a fractured ankle and get this she sliced open her right thumb on a broken champagne bottle which left her with a cut tendon that required surgery. Talk about bad luck! A couple months ago she broke her right arm to the point that she couldn't move her hand for some time because of nerve damage!

 When she’s not on the ski slopes you can catch her on the Today show quite a bit. She has endorsements from Oakley, Red Bull, Rolex, Under Armour and Head a ski supply company that she once got in trouble with for destroying one of their skis with hammer after crash.  lol Or you might have seen her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. 

Curious what she does when she’s not skiing? Well in the summer she works out twice a day for a total of 4.5 hours and has a daily massage and nap. Then in the winter she works out in the gym for for 2 hours then skis for 3 hours. Working out this hard she's done a lot of experimentation in her eating with time of day, how much and food combos to get the right about of energy for her workouts thus she feels qualified to report on her findings. The result: for breakfast everyday she eats eggs, oatmeal and an avocado. She discovered that the extra fat helps wake her up and focus better. She's found that if she eats more carbs in the morning, she's never hungry before lunch. I thought this was a good tip, I’ve added carbs to my quiche breakfast and found the same result. 

She’s done carb loading, a couple years of Paleo and also weighing food which she describes as 'neurotic'. That comment really stuck with me because while I’ve done myfitnesspal in the past and had great success with it, as soon as I stopped using it I gained weight. I was so glued to constantly entering food that I also think that behavior was neurotic and not sustainable in the long term. I’m trying something different this year, just focusing on eating less. Lindsey gave me some new snack ideas in her recipe section. She likes to snack on full-fat greek yogurt with chopped nuts. My new daily snack is greek yogurt (couldn’t find full fat) with fresh strawberries and drizzle of quality balsamic vinegar.

Lindsey shares her struggles with body issues and how even being an athlete she can still feel insecure. She talks about how at 5'10 and with muscular thighs she never felt pretty among other Hollywood women. She says her long hair is real and all hers and credits her diet and good hair genes. She wears makeup while she races even though years ago other athletes used to make fun of her for doing that. She says it helps her feel confident and powerful. She gives back with her Foundation for Girls.


Favorite quotes from the book

"Eating right and workout out are the two best ways to improve your health and protect yourself from low energy, illness, and disease."

"If you want to change your body, you have to change your mind first. Dieting causes an uptick in the stress hormone cortisol. Dieting can lower confidence so much that you can start seeing yourself as heavier than you actually are. Studies show that longer-term dieting triggers chemical changes in women's brains that causes them to perceive their bodies as larger than they really are." - I totally relate to this one.

"All the exercise in the world can't derail the effects of unhealthy eating."

"Since our bodies equate prolonged sitting with going to sleep, the more we sit, the more tired we become. Without physical movement to pump blood and oxygen to our brains, and cognitive function also starts to drop as our brains begin to produce fewer and fewer mood-enhancing chemicals. You need to stand up more often at your desk job and take a few extra walks around the office to counter the effects for prolonged sitting. A two minute walk every hour is enough to counter the negative effects of sitting." - I've started taking the stairs to go to the bathroom or get water on another floor. I find it helps keep me awake during what otherwise would have been an afternoon slump.

" Foam rolling can be used to warm up muscles and connective tissue before a workout. That will help increase muscles elasticity, limiting tightness during workouts to improve performance and prevent injuries.Foam rolling also releases chemicals in your brain that stimulate relaxation and block feelings of fatigue that will help you push harder during workouts." - I got one in my amazon cart

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