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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Running Through the Holidays

By Susan S. Paul, MS
Track Shack Fitness Club Program Director

The holiday season is upon us and while we look forward to this very special time of year, it can also be very stressful. Parties, late nights, travel, family, community and social obligations, on top of an already very busy schedule, produce stress. Disruption to our normal routine also creates stress. At a time when we need our running the most to deal with this increased stress, we have little time available due to the extra demands of the holidays, so what’s a runner to do?

Some runners feel pressure to give up their training through the holidays and wait until after the New Year to resume running when life calms down. However, beginning with Thanksgiving, the Holiday Season extends into January, giving us almost two months of celebration. If you give up training for this period of time, you could easily lose as much as 30% of your cardiovascular fitness. And, if that wasn’t bad enough, sacrificing your training routine can result in even more stress! Exercise serves as a healthy stress outlet. In addition to training issues, the holidays also mean late nights with excess food and alcohol. It’s no wonder the average person gains 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and the New Year! So, how can we enjoy the season without blowing a year’s worth of training? Here are some tips to help you survive the holidays with your running, waistline, and sanity intact! Enjoy!


1. Keep running a priority. It creates more stress if you drop it completely.

2. Schedule your runs or workouts in advance. Look at your upcoming week and write in your runs.

3. Maintain your fitness. Focus on maintaining your fitness rather than improving it through
this busy time of the year. This will help reduce your stress level by relieving some pressure on you. By running three days a week, you can maintain your current fitness level, relieve stress, and have time to meet holiday obligations.

4. Some running is better than no running at all! Don’t skip a run, even if you have to cut it short. If you only have time for a short run, warm up and then increase the pace. By increasing the intensity, you increase the effectiveness of the workout. Something is better than nothing.

5. Be flexible! Run at different times of day, if necessary. Or, suggest attending an exercise class together rather than meeting for drinks and dinner.

6. Drink lots of water. Aim for a gallon a day. In social settings, drink two glasses of water for every alcoholic beverage. Example: one glass of wine followed by two glasses of water.

7. Eat before going to the party. Try a protein snack like a cup of Greek yogurt, deli turkey, or a protein shake.

8. Exercise portion control. This is much easier to do if you eat before going to the party! Holiday foods are delicious, but usually very fattening; eat them in small amounts.

9. Offer to bring something to the party or the office. Bring a healthy food or snack that you will enjoy eating; others will appreciate it too!

10. Stay Motivated! Rather than get discouraged or overwhelmed, keep motivated through the holidays by registering for a race or a training program after the first of the year. Having a goal will help keep you on track through the season. Look at Track Shack’s website for information on upcoming races and training programs.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

‘Tis the Season for Living Well

Contributed by Seasons 52

This is truly the season for living life to the fullest. But living well also includes the things we do to make our lives better. Like getting and staying in shape. And nurturing ourselves with flavorful, healthy foods. Since you’re reading this blog, you’re most likely already getting the exercise you need (and hopefully we’ll see you at the Seasons 52 Park Ave. 5.2k on January 21st.) So we’d like to offer you some creative and simple ways to live well via your kitchen this season, courtesy of Seasons 52 Executive Chef Clifford Pleau.

We begin with the creamy dips that are a must for any holiday party, and the rich sauces that add such depth to your favorite entrĂ©es. Chef Pleau encourages you to keep dipping and pouring—it’s the holidays, after all—but consider replacing the heavy, high-fat ingredients with nonfat cottage cheese, nonfat sour cream, nonfat yogurt or silken tofu. You’ll dramatically reduce the fat and calories, and it’s likely your guests won’t even notice the difference.
Another way to lighten things up is to eliminate the need for buttering or greasing pans before baking by coating your pans with extra virgin olive oil applied with a spray bottle—it coats evenly and reduces the amount you need to use. Or, if you prefer to go even lighter, consider using non-stick pans that require no pre-baking prep at all.
And then there are wonderful things you can do with vegetables. Roasting brings out the boldest flavor in vegetables, and roasting them in their jackets concentrates their flavors even more. (It also helps to lock in the nutrients.) Beets, carrots, onions, and plum tomatoes all taste better roasted, if we do say so ourselves, and make a wonderful accompaniment to so many holiday dishes.
It might seem counterintuitive at this time of year, but one of Chef Pleau’s most helpful tips is to keep flavors simple. Overloading a dish with too many ingredients may only confuse the palette. That’s not to say you shouldn’t combine flavors in creative ways, but sometimes less really is more.
This is a joyful time of year. A time to look back fondly at the year that was, to celebrate the holidays at hand, and to look ahead to the year to come. It is our wish for you that this year was memorable, that these holidays are festive, and that next year finds you living well. From all of us at Seasons 52, best wishes to you and yours.

(creamy / low fat)

1 cup red pepper, roasted & pureed
1 cup cottage cheese, low fat
1 tablespoon cumin seed, toasted & ground fine
1 teaspoon blackening spice
¼ cup lime juice, fresh (2 each)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Chipotle Tabasco

Procedure:• Prepare fresh roasted and peeled peppers or use a drained jar of pimientos. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

This recipe serves as an excellent dip for artichokes and grilled vegetables, a sauce for grilled chicken and fresh fish or a dressing over a tossed greens salad.
Makes: 16 oz

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Healthy 100 Article: Live, Active and Strong

Yogurt has received a lot of attention lately because it contains two nutrients that are important for overall health: probiotics, a class of healthy bacteria that live in the bowel; and calcium, necessary for strong bones and teeth.

Probiotics such as Lactobacillus can help digestion and boost immunity. They can help people cope with the diarrhea associated with antibiotic treatments, prevent yeast infections, treat irritable bowel syndrome and fight eczema in children. A limited Swedish study in 2005 found that people given L. reuteri missed fewer days at work from gastrointestinal or respiratory illnesses than people in a control group.

Calcium’s benefits extend beyond building healthy teeth and bones, and reducing the risk of osteoporisis. It helps the nervous system and muscles work properly, and helps blood clot effectively. It also protects against certain cancers (including those of the colon and breast), acts to reduce blood pressure and, according to a 2003 University of Tennessee study, may even help you lose weight.

It’s easy to include probiotic- and calcium-rich yogurt in your diet. Make sure the yogurt has probiotics by checking the label for “live cultures.” And if you favor flavored yogurts, read labels carefully to find brands that limit added sugar.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

IOA "Insures" Future of Corporate Fitness

Track Shack Events proudly announces two major sponsorship enhancements with the Corporate 5k. These partnerships will positively impact the health and wellness momentum that Central Florida is experiencing!

Insurance Office of America has committed to a multi-year title sponsorship of the Corporate 5k. IOA’s leadership and 200+ employees have had a strong commitment and genuine enthusiasm for Corporate 5k since 1995.

A new partnership formed with News 13 and Bright House Sports Network brings a new level of health and fitness exposure via News 13 programming and its Spanish news and information network, InfoMas.

“Heading into the 18th year of the Corporate 5k, we’re very excited to have IOA as a valued partner who has been a true champion of corporate fitness for over 15 years. Their vision for a healthy community where corporate citizens take the lead on promoting healthy workplaces has been realized by the thousands of lives that have been transformed by running and walking in Corporate 5k each year,” says Jon Hughes, Race Director and co-owner of Track Shack Events.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

2011 T-Shirt Contest!

It's time to vote for your favorite Corporate 5k Team T-shirt design, and the rules are pretty simple.

1. Anyone can vote- friends, family, co-workers, complete strangers- so get the word out, and encourage people to vote for your team's design.

2. Only one vote per a person is allowed.

3. Voting closes at 5:00 p.m. April 8th.

The entries are in this post, and linked to on the right side bar under the "2011 T-shirt Design Contest" heading. To vote, find the name of the company whose shirt you want to vote for in the box on the right, select it, and click "vote". Please note, there are two additional entries to vote for in a second poll, and a third and fourth entry in their own polls. Due to an error, they were not added to the original poll. 

Good luck to everyone who submitted entries!

Entries are listed in alphabetical order, with the name of the company under each image. Click each picture for a larger image.

*Due to a typo, "Scholastic" is listed on the voting poll as "Scolastic". 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's Almost Here!

Welcome to the 2011 Corporate 5K Presented by Insurance Office of America

This year our theme at IOA for the Corporate 5K Presented by IOA is “Participating with a Purpose”. Our outreach will be to the homeless people of Orlando by providing back-packs with items of necessity. Everyone at IOA who signs up will receive a back-pack to put some personal items in. We will be walking or running with the back-packs during the event. At the finish line we will deposit the back-packs so they can be distributed to our homeless friends of Orlando. If you “Participate with a Purpose” You will have achieved your goal and, at the same time, helped brighten another person’s life.
Over the years, IOA management has encouraged, promoted and supported our employees and producers to maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle. The Corporate 5k Presented by IOA is an event to help everyone achieve their own “Personal goals” to a healthier life. Think about your life. You can only perform your best when you are motivated and enthusiastic about what you do and have the physical capabilities to excel to your maximum. May your daily journey be bountiful rich in every respect; especially as it relates to your health and fitness.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


What is your best Corporate 5k memory? The writer of our favorite answer, the one that is witty, inspiring, helpful or entertaining will receive complimentary entry to the Winter Park Road Race on March 26th. If you wish to be considered to win, please include your e-mail address in your post. E-mail addresses will be deleted before the post is published, and will only be used to contact the winner. The winner will be announced in two weeks.