Cycling the GAP in Pittsburgh

This past weekend, hubby and I went to Pittsburgh and rode the Steel City portion of the Great Allegheny Passage with my daughter Marla and her husband Tony. If you want some exercise and fun on a weekend, this is do-able for beginners.

Marla and Tony rented biked at Waterfront Bike Rental. We brought our bikes from home and Ian at the bike rental place was kind enough to pump up our tires to the correct pressure.

 

Heading back to Waterfront

This part of the trail is unique in that you are riding on a wooded trail. Rabbits and squirrels are peeking out from either side of the bike lane, but if you look left, you see the city in all it’s steel glory. Railroads run along beside the trail at some points and a remaining steel mill with fire belching from a pipe is visible in the clearing. You can also spot the back of Kennywood Park at one point. It’s truly a look at Pittsburgh from a totally different perspective. Of course you can’t do anything in Pittsburgh without crossing some bridges. We rode over train yards on bridges and over the Monongahela river.

 

View of the railroad and steel mill

We started at Waterfront and rode to McKeesport which is 8 miles away. About 6 miles in, it started to rain. This was almost an hour before the forecast predicted. Since we were going to get wet either way, we elected to continue our ride to the end and then turn around to go back.

 

You can’t travel in PIttsburgh without crossing a bridge!

We almost made it to the end of the 8 mile mark when we heard thunder in the distance. At 7 3/4 miles, we decide to head back. Even though we were pretty squishy and sandy at the end of our ride, we all had fun and we’ll definitely do it again! Marla and Tony are thinking of getting their own bikes soon. There may be a lot more PIttsburgh rides in our future. Yay!

 

View from the railroad bridge

If you go…
Take your camera
Expect a few hills (made by the train bridges)
Prepare for rain (we didn’t!)

 

Drowned rats, but we had fun!

 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Carrots

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

Many of my clients tell me that they don’t have too much trouble staying on course when it comes to exercise. The area that gives them the most frustration is their eating. Sometimes it’s not how much you’re eating, but what you’re eating that makes you stumble. In that spirit, I am posting some of my favorite healthy recipes.

This one is a side dish that comes from Home Chef.  It’s a home delivery company that sends fresh ingredients and recipes to your doorstep each week for about $9.99 per meal.  They are restaurant quality and portioned so that you don’t overeat.  Genius! I love roasted veggies because they taste great and roasting adds flavor without adding many calories.This recipe is written for two people so adjust accordingly.

You will need:

2 carrots, 8 oz. Brussels sprouts, two shallots, olive oil, salt, pepper, cooking spray, baking sheet

  1. Wash,peel, trim and cut carrots into 1/4 inch pieces
  2. Wash, and trim bottoms from Brussels sprouts, and halve them
  3. Peel and slice shallots and separate into 1/4 inch rounds
  4. Toss carrots, Brussels sprouts and shallots with 2 tsp. olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper
  5. Spread into a single layer on a baking sheet sprayed with the cooking spray
  6. Roast in the oven set at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes
  7. If any of the Brussels sprout leaves have burned, remove them from the sheet before serving.

 

Rails to Trails Ride in Poe Paddy State Park

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!


My hubby and I have been spending a lot of time riding our hybrid bikes since we purchased them for each other for Christmas. We are exploring places we’ve never even heard of before. Did you know there is a Rails to Trails in Poe Paddy State Park? This is a place where I picnicked and camped as a child. Many years ago, there was a railroad that hauled lumber out of this wooded area. A whole lumbering community of about 400 grew up around this railroad.

This is a short Rails to Trails of a little over 3 miles. It’s a little hard to find, but it’s worth the drive and the search. It’s kind of a hidden gem if you like hiking or recreational biking.

Poe Paddy is a small state park in Centre County. It’s a primitive campsite for tents and small campers. Park in the Big Poe parking lot and walk or bike up through the camping area. You’ll need to ride on the camp road for about a half a mile. You’ll then take a hard right onto the actual trail.

The trail is gravel and packed earth. It’s not as smooth as some of the larger trails we have biked on, but it’ truly a path through the Pennsylvania mountains. Pens Creek, where some of the best fly fishing in the country happens in the Spring, meanders below the trail.


A special feature on this trail is the tunnel that was blasted right through the mountain. It has had extensive work done to it. The last time my husband had seen it, it was falling down and caved in. We met a man who was camping nearby who told us the renovation was a two million dollar operation. If you ride the trail, make sure you bring some kind of flashlight. The tunnel is not lighted and even though it’s short, it gets pretty dark in there! Also make sure you talk or sing while inside it. The acoustics are great!


The trail would be just the right length for a hike. Since it was a pretty short bike ride, we explored a little bit and found another short trail where we rode until we got to a washed out bridged over Penns Creek. We also rode through the campsites to take a look around.

To round out the day, we drove the four miles to Poe Valley State Park, This is a bigger state park complete with a bathhouse, lake, picnic and camping areas as well as a concession stand. We took a short walk to the breast of the dam and had lunch at the concession stand, then headed home. It was a great day to get out into the woods, explore a new Rails to Trails (for us) and get a little fresh air and exercise.


If you go..
Take some sort of flash light
Use some bug spray
Take pictures
Talk and sing in the tunnel

Fitness Trackers: Do You Need One?

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

Welcome to my guest blogger, Caroline!

Do You Really Need A Fitness Tracker?

In a world where we’re surrounded by technology, it’s easy to think updating to the most high-tech equipment will automatically make your life better. And in the world of health and fitness, it’s no different. I remember when I first saw someone jogging with their phone attached to their arm. It confused me, yet it piqued my interest.

As someone who has always enjoyed adding technology to my life, I’ve used quite a few different fitness trackers over the years. Some of you have likely seen others get results using these devices, leading you to ask if you should get one too. While everyone will have their own personal needs, these devices are, generally speaking, a worthwhile investment. Before heading out and buying one, though, here are a few things to consider:

What are your goals?

When we begin our journeys into becoming fitter, we often set ourselves goals. These can be weight goals or ability targets. No matter what they are, they give us something to aim towards. Without these ambitions, it can be difficult to summon the enthusiasm and motivation needed to workout and diet effectively.

A fitness tracker may not be necessary if you plan on fulfilling a light exercise schedule, though. For example, doing an hour of aerobics on a daily basis. However, if you’re training for an upcoming sporting event, say a marathon, the in-depth statistics you can get from a fitness tracker might be more useful to you.

Most fitness trackers are set up to track your weight, heart rate, calorie burn and various other metrics, depending on the type of exercise you’re doing. For example, running apps can track how you perform on gradients, helping you learn useful information so that you can alter your activity to improve in certain areas of your training.

If you have specific goals to accomplish or if you’re interested in giving yourself an extra boost of motivation, fitness trackers are excellent solutions that will help you modify your workout to make it more effective for you.

Are they worth the money?

While fitness trackers are a lot cheaper than personal trainers, they aren’t the only way to track your progress. For example, depending on your fitness goals, you might be able to get away with using a journal. Running times or weights can be quickly jotted down, and this information will help you review your progress over time.

I suppose it comes down to personal preference, budget and your ambitions with fitness. If you’re interested in bringing your fitness routine beyond just a casual pastime but don’t feel like hiring a trainer, a fitness tracker can be a great middle ground. It gives you specific metrics to track. You can do your own research into what these mean and how to improve, turning your fitness routine into an opportunity for personal growth.

Which one is best?

There are many trackers on the market. My favorite is the popular wearable device known as the FitBit. It tracks my heart rate and calorie burn, and it also tells me when I’m in the “fat burning” zone. This data is accessible after workouts via the FitBit app—the device sends information to the app installed on your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth.

I prefer the interface of the app and functionality it gives, which is why the FitBit is my tracker of choice. However, there are plenty of apps you can use for all kinds of workouts without the need for a wearable device. You can simply use your smartphone and carry it with you while working out. It’s worth mentioning, though, that a lot of these apps require personal information for data tracking, so I always use a secure connection when running them since I mostly use them in public areas.

Smartphone fitness apps can track your activity in numerous ways. For example, “Argus” tracks your daily calorie intake as well as how much exercise you get throughout the day. If you enjoy jogging, “FitRadio” might be an option for you, as it plays continuous music with a steady beat that helps motivate you to continue exercising. FitRadio also tracks time and route, making it an all-in-one fitness motivator and tracker.

Fitness trackers are excellent tools to help you maximize your efforts and get more out of your workouts. For some, they can be just what’s needed to take your health and fitness to new levels. But for others, they might be excessive, as they don’t fit in with your fitness goals. Hopefully, this information has helped you decide which group you’re in, and if you decide to get one, I’m sure you’ll love it and the results it helps you achieve.

Author Bio: Caroline is a health and tech blogger with a keen passion for fitness. She enjoys spreading awareness of technological solutions that can help people reach their fitness goals in an easier fashion.

How to Keep Exercising with a Foot Injury

 

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

 

Got a foot injury? Think you have to quit working out and sit around getting flabby? You don’t! After you check and make sure it’s okay with your doctor, here’s several steps you can try.

Cushioning! Make sure the surface you are using for your workout has some give and cushion. I bought some interlocking mats that I set up in my home gym. No working out on concrete for me. I also bought some cushiony inserts for my sneakers. I have Dr. Scholl’s inserts for plantar fasciaitis. The two together work wonders.

Any cardio you do should be low impact. That means no jumping! Modify current workouts or find special low impact cardio workouts. When I am having foot trouble, I use low impact Zumba or TurboFire. Google them!

Change your exercises to get you off your foot when you can. Change walking or running to biking or swimming. A variety of weight exercises can be done from your knees or a chair instead of your feet.

Cut out exercises that irritate your injury. My foot injury could not tolerate the stationary bike, so out it went until the injury was healed.

Incorporate more rest days into your routine until the injury heals.

Here’s a sample workout schedule I am using to rehab a bout of Plantar fasciaitis:

Monday Low impact TurboFire
Tuesday Upper body weightlifting
Wednesday PiYo Core with modifications
Thursday Upper body weightlifting
Friday Low impact TurboFire
Saturday Choice of what I can tolerate or rest day
Sunday Rest day

Hope this helps YOU if you are struggling with a foot or ankle injury.

Check out the Facebook live video for a few more details:

 

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

How to Put More Fiber in Your Diet

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

Americans get woefully little fiber in their diets.  If you want to live a healthier lifestyle, you need to find a way to incorporate healthy fiber into your meals and snacks.  No, that doesn’t mean those giant, sugar filled “high fiber” bars.  Here’s why you need more and here’s how to get it.

The Benefits of Fiber

  • Keeps your cholesterol down. Soluble fiber blocks the absorption of cholesterol in to your bloodstream.
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight. Isn’t it worth adding more to your diet just for this reason alone?
  • Stabilizes blood sugar levels.  Blood sugar level spikes and crashes contribute to fatigue and the “fuzzy headed” feeling. Bleh!
  • Keeps you regular.  Yes let’s talk poop here. Less bouts of diarrhea and constipation.  I’m for that
  • Keeps your bowels and colon healthy. Fiber helps you avoid Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and hemorrhoids. I’m for that too.  Who wants either one of those!
  • Lowers your risk of heart disease (see cholesterol above).
  • May help prevent certain types of cancer. Breast, colon and prostate cancer have been linked to low fiber diets.
  • Gives you healthier skin. Fiber helps flush toxins from the body.  Let’s all get some glowing skin!
  • Gives you more energy.  Toxins, be gone!
  • Lowers your stroke risk. Fiber helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels that can lead to stroke.

How much fiber is enough? The national Fiber Council says healthy adults should get 32 grams per day.

What are good sources of fiber?

Oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grain foods and leafy greens.

Want more info? Watch this facebook live video I did with added visuals!

Flexibility Training

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

Strength training, check! Cardio? You bet! Core exercises.. okay. Flexibility training, well…. Here’s why you should make sure you add it to your routine.

  • It will help to prevent injury. Your joints have more range of motion if you are more flexible. If you twist your ankle or fall of the curb, being more flexible can keep you from a long recovery.
  • You will experience less back and hip pain, because your glutes, hamstrings, quads and IT bands will be more pliable.
  • Your shoulders and neck won’t hurt so much because your pecs and trapezius muscles will be stretched out.
  • You will experience the benefits of stress relief through the deep breathing techniques of flexibility training.
  • You will have better posture because flexibility training will keep your chest and hips opened up.

So don’t ignore flexibility training. Your body will thank you!

Here’s some great beginner yoga videos by Brett Larkin that can get you on the right track to a more flexible you.

 

Modify Any Workout

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!

Do you feel like you are too old, too heavy, too out of shape too whatever to do certain workouts? It’s not true! We often realize that you can modify a weight workout by lifting lighter weights or using fitness bands. If you are doing cardio, you don’t jump around. You do low impact.

If you are doing an old school Bodyweight workout you can modify any exercise to your fitness level. How? Well I’m here (in YouTube form) to show you how!

I’ll show you five basic exercises here and how to modify them. These five are used in a ton of bodyweight exercise routines. You can modify many “extreme” workouts to your own fitness level.

1. The jumping jack. This is a staple of many workouts. Here’s how you can adapt at several different levels

2. Crunches Get your abs in shape or step at a time

3. Squats. This exercise is so good for revving your metabolism. Start at level 1 and work your way up!

4. Push ups. You may think your push up days are over but think again using these many progressions

5. Burpees A great total body exercise that can be daunting at it’s highest level for some people. Never fear! You can start with an easier version and work your way up.

Charity Miles App

 

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!
Are you looking for some motivation to get moving? Do you wish you had more money to donate to your favorite charity? Wish no more! Download the Charity Miles app.

I discovered this app from getting one of those articles in your Facebook timeline that the algorithm thinks you might be interested in. It was an article on different ways to get motivated to exercise. I do a lot of walking and now biking since Awesome Hubby and I got each other good bicycles for Christmas. I thought it would be a good way to give back while I stay in shape.

The good stuff: This app is free. It is sponsored by Johnson and Johnson and they donate the money. You designate the charity from a list of many and do the walking, running or biking. Each time you get moving you can pick a different charity. It’s easy to get signed up and get started. All you need to do is have your phone with you while you are working out. You and your friends can also form a group on the app and keep each other motivated.

The “eh” stuff: If you want to keep track of your miles, steps etc. for the sake of your fitness tracker, don’t use this. You’re going to need a back-up. It does not sinc with Fitbit, Apple Watch etc. I found the GPS tracker to be pretty accurate, but if you use it in pedometer mode it’s not so hot. To use the GPS it needs to be set to “always” in your phone settings. That can be a huge suck on your battery and data. I switch it to “always” only if I’m taking a bike ride or walking outdoors. I don’t use it in my everyday walking at work because I don’t want to wear or carry my phone all day long. If it would sinc with my Fitbit, I would earn my charity a lot more money. Maybe someday in the not so far off future, they will update so you can sinc with your fav fitness tracker. Hope so! It will show you how much money the your charity has made in total, but the app no longer shows how much money your personal run, walk or bike has contributed. I would be even more motivated if I could see that each time.

The bottom line is, I figure since I’m out there busting my butt anyway, someone else can benefit from my effort!

Here’s the easy steps to get started:

1. Download the app
2. Do the user name and password thing
3. Make yourself a profile


4. Pick your charity (you can pick a different on each time your work out).


5. PIck your activity


6. Enable your GPS or the pedometer (If you choose “no, not right now” you get the pedometer option.

Your all set to get started raising money for your charity!

February Fitness Challenge

 

Note: These free tips are great and may be all you need. If you think you might like some more individualized help to live the healthy lifestyle, fill out this form and I will be in touch to help you get started!
Starting Monday, February 6, I will be running a new fitness challenge. To join, go to http://www.facebook.com/SueKauffmanFitness and like the page. Find a friend to join you and then you will have a workout buddy. Here’s how it will work:

1. We’ll be using the “Spell Your Name Workout” above each day.
2. Each morning, I will post a sentence or phrase to use as your workout. Do the exercises that are assigned to each letter in the sentence. Do a workout at least two times a week. You may do one every day if you want to! Start easy if you are an exercise beginner!
3. I will also post one word. You can use this to do a finisher if you have a current workout schedule you are following.
4. If you need to modify any exercises, go ahead! You can go to my YouTube channel to see modifications of many of these exercises.
5. Each time you work out, post on SueKauffmanFitness and let us all know how it went. Post a selfie after your workout (optional)
6. Post a picture of what you are having for your evening meal. You’ll be more likely to eat healthy if you know you have to show the world!

Special thanks to  robolikesifit.tumblr.com For the Spell Your Name  Workout.

Have fun and don’t forget to ask a friend to join you!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad