Sunday, November 20, 2011

Surviving Black Friday

Thanksgiving is on Thursday and that means the biggest shopping day of the year is upon us-Black Friday.  I have over 20 years of retail experience and wanted to share some of my top shopping tips with you.

Black Friday is the biggest and busiest shopping day of the year.  It kicks off the Christmas holiday season.  The key to surviving the big day is to be prepared and have a plan.

Tip #1-Research the stores most important to you

-whether you are buying a washer/dryer, tv or laptop you want to figure out which retailer has the lowest price on that item
-bring all your advertised prices to the store because most stores will MATCH the competitor's price
-use a website that compiles all the information like:

Tip#2-Be prepared to stand in line

-we often laugh at those that are 1st in line and camping out overnight to get a great deal but that is truly one of the ways to get the item you want
-Insider secret: most stores only stock a "few" of the advertised items so get there early

Tip#3-Most stores are opening earlier this year

-Macy's, Walmart, Target are opening at 12am
-Eat your turkey, take a nap and hit the stores

Tip#4-Shop with friends and spread out

-shop in pairs so you can visit different parts of the store at the same time (this increases your chances of getting your advertised item)

Tip #5-Shop online

-some retailers will have black Friday specials online on Thanksgiving Day (while the turkey is in the oven surf the internet to find these hot deals)
-be aware of shipping/handling fees

Tip #6-Bring a snack and wear comfortable shoes

-die hard shoppers know that Black Friday leads to a "shop 'til you drop" mentality
-bring food to stay nourished and wear shoes that will help you quickly move through the lines and traffic

Tip #7-Cyber Monday

-Cyber Monday is the Monday after Black Friday and was created to lure customers to shop online
-Same rules apply-do your research, have a plan and shop from the privacy of your home

I hope you enjoy hitting the malls this holiday season.  Stay calm, patient and enjoy the experience.  Happy Shopping and Happy Thanksgiving! (Posted by Roslyn)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Finish Line Friday's-10 Great Tips-Week 6

Guest blogger-Casie Dussia
Founder of Run with Endurance
 My first half marathon is Sunday and I'm taking the week off from blogging.  If you missed last week's hair tips click here.  Guest blogger Casie Dussia is sharing her top ten tips to help you stay focused, healthy and injury free!

1. It's all about the shoes!
What is the most common conversation among runners? Shoes! They make all the difference! I highly recommend that you go to your local running specialty store and take advantage of their knowledge. Ask them how often you should replace your shoes. They will answer that question in miles, so keep track of how many miles you put on your shoes. If you're keeping a running log, this is simple - put a star on the date you start using your shoes! And only use your running shoes for running!

2. Drink some water, then drink some water, run, then drink some more water!
General rule: take your weight, divide it in half and drink that in ounces per day. Add to that "base" amount approx. 4-6 ounces per every half hour that you run. For example, if your base amount is 70 ounces and you're running for 1 hour today, you want to consume approx. 80 ounces of water. During the hot summer months, you may need to consume more.

3. 3 essential supplements (in my opinion)
Daily multivitamin, quality joint maintenance (I recommend Anabolic Laboratories), and vitamin C supplement (I recommend Emergen C taken once daily, unless you feel a cold coming on, then take twice daily). Studies support that when runners take vitamin C, they have stronger immune systems.

4. When increasing mileage, add about 10% per week
If you're currently averaging 15 miles per week, add 1 1/2 miles next week, about 1 3/4 - 2 miles the week after, and so on. About every 4 weeks, take a "recovery" week - decrease mileage, going as low as your base weekly mileage, which in this example would be 15 miles. Then, resume where you left off, provided you're healthy and injury free.

5. Stretch, stretch, then stretch some more!
I like to use the rubber band example: Have you ever taken a new rubber band and stretched it several times? It feels a lot more flexible and softer. You're muscles and tendons are no different. Nice, low impact stretches with no "bouncing" are most effective. I recommend stretching before and after your run. The only time you don't want to stretch is when you're outside in very cold temps and your body isn't "warmed up". Stretch a bit inside before going out, then use your first mile as warm up, taking it easy.

6. Cross train!
Not only to work different muscles that support key running muscles, but also to mix it up. Bike, swim, elliptical, hill climb, anything that elevates your heart rate and keeps your body guessing.

7. Focus on 3 key running workouts: speed work, tempo run, long run.
Let me know if you need info on any of these and want to know the most effective way to incorporate these into your personal fitness level/goals. An ideal weekly workout schedule might look something like this: Sunday - off or cross train, Monday - speed work, Tuesday - strength train, easy run, Wednesday - tempo run, Thursday - off or cross train, Friday - core workout, easy run, Saturday - long run. NOTE: distances depend on what you're training for and your current fitness level. 

8. Strong core = strong runner!
Your core is the center of your strength! A weak core leads to lower back pain, tight hips, and a sloppy stride, forcing the rest of your body to work harder than it needs to!  Search recommended core workouts for runners online.

9. Learn your body!
Research your aches and pains and log what hurts and when. Rule of thumb: if it's back, knee, or ankle/foot related, you're probably over training. Try icing the area to decrease inflammation, decrease your mileage, and replace with cross training. If you have tight muscles/muscle spasms, you may be dehydrated. If you have foot/shin pain, you may need new/different style shoes. Trying these possible solutions will help narrow down the problem. These pains can mean something serious, so if they persist, stop running and seek professional advice.

10. Most importantly, HAVE FUN! Embrace each run as an opportunity to grow stronger for God's purpose. Don't get discouraged! Life happens - we might have to skip a run or 2 every now and then. We might have an "off" day and have to cut a run short. At least you're out there doing it! Remember that building endurance is an on-going process - it's a journey. You're a runner - God's runner! Enjoy it!
~Casie Dussia is the founder of RWE, a small business owner and a personal trainer that ministers to women’s soul, mind and body. She has a passion for health and fitness, and has made a commitment to help other women become healthier.  Click here to visit her website~

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Finish Line Friday-Hair Tips-Week 5

Ready to run UNCF 5K

 My running series is coming to an end and it's hard to believe that my race is next week!  In the previous post I shared my training schedule.  If you missed it click here.  Last Saturday I ran a 5K to prepare my body for race day.  The weather was beautiful and I successfully ran 3.2 miles in under 35 minutes. 

I'm sharing some great tips for maintaining your hair during a training program.  I'm sure there are some that feel this is a vain topic to cover, however, you would be amazed how many women forfeit exercising to protect their hair. 

Francoise "Frenchie" Gomes
For the past 10+ years, I've trusted my hair to Francoise Gomes**, owner of Frenchie's Hair Design.  She's been in the industry for over 20 years and graciously agreed to provide a few tips on maintaining healthy hair. Since there are many differences with hair type, texture, and length, the advice she provided is general in nature.  She highly recommends that you consult with a professional stylist for customized advice.

Tip #1:  Wash hair on a regular basis
  • Most athletes sweat a great deal during a workout.  If you are anything like me, you sweat profusely.  Sweat mostly contains water and salt.  Consistent removal of sweat from the scalp will keep it clean and healthy.  Depending on your hair texture, you may only have to wash the hair once a week.  With a finer hair texture, it's not uncommon to cleanse the hair on a daily basis.
Tip #2:  Keep your hair moisturized
  • The salt component in sweat dries the hair causing it to become dry and brittle. If moisture is not added back to the hair, overtime the hair will begin to shed.  Consider using a shampoo and conditioner that will return moisture to the hair.  Remember to discuss with your stylist which products to use to compliment your hair type. 

Tip #3:  Stay away from heat
  • The use of flat irons, blow dryers, and hot rollers are damaging to the hair.  They also cause the sweat to penetrate deeper into the hair follicle.  Limit the use of these items.  If possible, allow the hair to dry using cool air or let the hair air dry (if time permits).
I will be the first to admit that maintaining healthy hair while working out is a very delicate balance.  You will normally find me wearing a silk scarf over my hair during my runs to protect the hair from humidity.  It's not the cutest option available, but it works for me. 

As women we are blessed to have numerous options available to us.  Whether you have natural or relaxed tresses, wear weaves or wigs, NEVER allow your hair to hinder you from becoming fit and healthy.  Matthew 10:30 states (KJV) shares...."but the very hairs of your head are all numbered".  Since God knows the number of hairs on our head, surely he will give wisdom and guidance in maintaining each one!(Posted by Renee)  

**The tips provided were an excerpt from a conversation during a recent visit.  Frenchie's Hair Design services men and women of all ethnicity.  Frenchie is a Certified Stylist with Design Essentials and Influance.  Click here to visit Frenchie's Hair Design Facebook page.  **

Visit Double Portion Inspiration on Facebook or join the conversation on Twitter @doubleportionin

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Monday Morning Inspiration

I recently had a conversation with a young, bright college student.  The student asked me if I ever felt like I was "wasting time".  As the conversation progressed I realized she was wondering-what path do I take.  There are times in our lives when the decisions we make affect us only in a small way.

This student realized that the decsions she is making will impact her future for years to come.  Don't we ALL have moments in our life when we wonder if we are making the right decision.  What job to take/leave, person to marry, when to retire or start a family. Life is a series of choices.

"There may be a thousand little choices in a day. All of them count." ~Dr. Shad  Helmstetter

Don't be discouraged if you feel like you are "wasting time" because of a decision that needs to be made.  Your choices are setting the direction for the rest of your life so CHOOSE WISELY.

Don't be afraid, God offers great encouragement:

"You will see your teacher with your own eyes, and you will hear a voice say, this is the way; turn around and walk here."  (Isaiah 30:21)

Decisions made with God can NEVER be wrong decisions.  (Posted by Roslyn)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Finish Line Friday-My Training Schedule-Week 4

I’m less than three weeks away from the race and I only have two more Friday’s before I will end this running series. ( If you missed last week’s post, click here.)  This week I’m going to share my training schedule.
I initially assumed that running to build endurance needed to be my complete focus.  Boy was I wrong.  Variety in your training exercises is vital.  Make no mistake, you will need to run to build endurance, but in addition to your runs, make sure to incorporate strength training.  The combination of running and resistance training will help to strengthen your body, prevent injury, and increase your race pace.  When you incorporate strength training, focus on the lower body and core.
I highly recommend that you follow a proven training plan designed for the race you plan to run.  I chose to follow the plan provided by Women’s Running magazine in their 2011 January/February issue.  Click here for a link to their website.
On average you will want to start a training plan 10-12 weeks before the race.  If you start to early, you will burn out quickly.  When starting a half marathon training program, you should be able to comfortably run three to four miles.  Most plans suggest you exercise five to six days a week. 
My October training schedule
I use my wall calendar to track my runs and exercises each day.  I normally start the week with an easy run of about three to four miles.  Twice a week I cross train with either P90X or an at home workout of squats, planks, lunges, push ups, and calf raises.  Since I don't have a gym membership, I use dvd’s and light hand weights.  Wednesday’s are normally reserved for tempo runs or sprint drills.  This helps to increase my pace.  Friday’s are my rest and recover days before my long runs on the weekend. 

Training for a race is intense.  You must have a passion, will and determination to cross the finish line.  When you set out on your long runs, find a great trail where you can truly enjoy the journey.  Running in your neighborhood is great for quick runs but you will need the beauty of nature to inspire you when setting out for six, seven, or even ten mile runs.

~ "For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall.  But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don't get tired, they walk and don't lag behind." Isaiah 40:30-31 (MSG) ~

(Posted by Renee)

Follow us on Facebook or join the conversation on Twitter @doubleportionin