Exercise and Sport Science


 As we are approaching the Thanksgiving holiday, I want to take this opportunity to write about gratitude.  Thanksgiving is about giving thanks and being grateful for the blessings in our lives.  Gratitude isn’t always easy.  Sometimes life can seem overwhelming.  Maybe your health isn’t where you want it to be.  Or maybe, just maybe your fitness and nutrition plans have taken a backseat to the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  Even in these circumstances, it’s important to take some time to think about the blessings you have in your life.  Consider the joy you get from your family and friends.  Be grateful for your job (this is sometimes a challenge, but you can at least be grateful for the paycheck). Be grateful for the roof over your head, the clothes on your back, and the food in your belly.  Consider the men and women in the military who are away from their families while protecting our freedom – be grateful for them.  Be grateful for the sunrise and sunset – even on cold, snowy days.  It’s easy to get caught up thinking about all of the things that are lacking in our lives and the struggles that seem to preoccupy our minds.  Thanksgiving is the time of year when we should focus on blessings and be thankful.  Happy Thanksgiving!  I’m grateful for all of you :)


Quote of the Week 1/29/12

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.  Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Helen Keller

Eat-Clean Brown Rice Meatloaf

This is one of my favorite recipes from Tosca Reno’s “The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook”**:


1 pound lean ground turkey or chicken or bison

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 egg

3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt cheese (I just use plain non-fat yogurt);

Go to http://www.eatcleandiet.com/food_and_recipes/clean_recipe/yogurt_cheese.aspx  for yogurt cheese recipe.

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup finely chopped red, green, or yellow bell pepper

1/2 cup finely chopped celery

1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce or tamari

1 tsp sea salt

Fresh ground black pepper

1 tsp crumbled dried oregano

1 tsp crumbled dried basil

Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350° F

In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients with a pair of clean hands.  Place in a loaf pan that has been prepared with a light coating of nonstick cooking spray.  Bake for about an hour.  Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Makes 6 servings

Calories: 149

Calories from fat: 15

Protein: 20 g

Carbs: 12 g

Fiber: 1 g

Sugars: 3 g

Fat: 1 g

Sodium: 285 mg

** Tosca Reno’s “The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook”  Copyright 2007. Robert Kennedy Publishing

Football and Death Threats?

Maybe I’m a little out of touch with reality or maybe reality is a little out of touch with common sense.  Football is a great sport.  I would even argue that it has taken the place of baseball as America’s favorite pastime.  I know people who would tell you they bleed purple and gold (or green and gold – haven’t forgotten about you Wisconsinites).  I understand people who get excited about games and yell at the t.v. (I do that too).  What I don’t understand is how some people think that winning or losing a football GAME should result in violence towards the officials or the players.  We’ve heard about things like this overseas at soccer games, but here, in the United States, people are threatening athletes because of fumbles and missed field goals.  Threatening not only athletes, but their families as well.  I don’t know if this makes me angry or sad.  People make mistakes.  They fumble the ball.  They miss field goals.  They fail at work.  They say the wrong thing.  They make mistakes.  We all make mistakes!  Do we want our lives to be threatened because of those mistakes?  I don’t.  It’s time to lighten up a little.  Football is still a game.

Is Running Making You Fat?

This article came across my desk the other day:


As someone who has completed two marathons and not lost a pound, I was interested.  Could this be my problem?  I agree with the author that running is a plyometric exercise and does lead to increased loading forces on the joints, but so do many other types of exercise.  My biggest issue with the author is his stance on plateauing.  He’s right that if you do the same thing every day, your body will adapt and will no longer see improvement.  This is the premise for the principle of progressive overload.  You need to work the body harder than it is used to in order to see improvement.  That principle holds true for all types of exercise – cardiovascular, resistance training, flexibility, plyometrics, etc.  Most people who begin a running program will either choose to increase the duration (time) or the speed (intensity) of their runs over time.  That’s progression.  It’s necessary to see improvement.

I would argue that the reason many people (myself included) don’t see significant changes with running over time is one of three things:

  1. Not practicing the principle of progressive overload.  Many people become satisfied with running three miles in 30 minutes and have no desire to increase the distance or decrease the time.  The body will adapt.
  2. The “I ran this morning, so I can eat whatever I want” mentality.  Running burns approximately 100 Calories per mile.  It’s important to remember this when you’re rewarding yourself with cheesecake (my fave running reward).
  3. The “run and recover” strategy.  It’s not uncommon for people to complete their runs and then spend the rest of the day relaxing and feeling a sense of accomplishment for getting in their morning runs.  Running should be a PART of your daily routine – not your daily routine!

I still contend that running is a great exercise and a perfect component of a weight loss plan.  As with any exercise, variety and overload are key.  Your body will adapt to the same thing day in and day out.  Switch it up!  There are many types of calorie-burning exercise.  The more you keep your body guessing, the better your results will be.

In Health,

Sara Woodward, MA, CSCS, CPT


We are almost three weeks into January and many of you may have lost your momentum with your New Year’s resolutions.  Consider that 50% of people who start exercising drop out within the first six months.  But you don’t have to be a part of that statistic!  Goal-setting is an effective way to keep you on track in your quest for improved health and fitness. 

Here are some tips that will help you set effective goals:

  1. Write it down.  Studies show that people are more likely to stick with their goals if they put them in writing.
  2. Set short-term and long-term goals.  Your short-term goals should be stepping stones to help you reach your long-term goals.
  3. Be specific.  Know exactly what you are trying to achieve and when you’re hoping to accomplish it.  Instead of “I will lose weight”, write “I want to lose 20 pounds in six months”.
  4. Re-evaluate your goals periodically.  Maybe your goal is too hard or too easy.  Don’t be afraid to modify it along the way.
  5. Share your goals with someone.  Including someone else in the process will hold you accountable and provide you with some support and encouragement if your motivation declines.
  6. Reward yourself.  Reaching a goal (especially a long-term goal) is a big accomplishment!  Treat yourself to a massage or a new workout outfit.  Avoid using high-fat, high-calorie foods as your reward.
  7. Set new goals.  When you reach one goal, set a new one.  There’s always room for improvement in some area of our lives.

Goal-setting is an effective way to adopt more positive behaviors.  Change is hard, but there are tricks that help.  Be sure to check back for more tips on behavior change strategies.

In health,

Sara Woodward, MA, CSCS, NSCA-CPT

Quote of the Week

Leave all the afternoon for exercise and recreation, which are as necessary as reading. I will rather say more necessary because health is worth more than learning.
Thomas Jefferson


Source: www.brainyquote.com