Category Archives: fitness

Review – Renard Compression Socks

I received a pair at a discounted price for review purposes via Tomoson.com.  My views are my own and I do not recommend anything if I don’t believe in it. 

The muscle and joint aches after a solid workout are manageable for the most part until the next day.  That’s when I really feel it, especially after leg day.  Foam rolling, stretching, and muscle rub just don’t do enough after ambitious leg days. Add in the misfiring pain messages (thanks, Fibromyalgia) and Arthritis and I want to skip leg day for weeks. I wear a compression sleeve on my knee and wrap on my ankle when the pain gets bad, but had not considered compression socks until after the 5K in January.  I loved how good my back and shoulders felt after the run/walk and I think the compression top likely played a role.  I know the support for my knee and ankle made a difference, too. renard off

I’ve checked prices on compression socks and leg sleeves and decide I could try them later.  You know, when my wallet felt heavier. I was approached with an offer to purchase my first pair of compression socks at a deep discount and figured it couldn’t hurt.  I am now officially in love with Renard Compression Socks. Sorry, hubby.

Why Renard Compression Socks?  According to Renard (and others), they provide muscle support and functionality, increase blood circulation, inhibit accumulation of lactic acid, all of which reduce soreness after a workout.  I decided to put them to the test while lifting, walking, and in general when a pain flare kicked in.  I felt like I could go further while walking and hit the 4 mile mark at close to a 4 mph pace.  I felt it in my shins and calves while speeding up, but that feeling was fleeting and did not result in excessive soreness or pain the next day.  My feet were also dry thanks to the breathable Nylon/Spandex blend.

I tried them a second time on leg day.  Oh, man, was it leg day.  There were squats, lunges, and deadlifts for what felt like days.  I finished with a good stretch and put my feet up afterward.  I expected pain the next day, but did not feel as much as I expected.  Renard promises calf and shin support and I had it. My thighs, however, were not as pleased.  Then again, they were not covered by compression gear. 

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On the third try, it was just a pain flare day.  My ankles were swelling and I had leg cramps.  I decided to slip on the compression socks to see if they would reduce the pain in my legs so I could sleep.  They did!  I felt a reduction in ankle pain and the leg cramps seemed to fade.  Compression socks were like a constant massage – a gentle, yet effective massage.  I felt fantastic the next morning and couldn’t believe the difference that type of support made.

Like I said, I’m now in love with Renard Compression Socks.  The best part, they’re on sale right now for $15.99 a pair on Amazon and they fit over my healthy runner’s calves.

Do you use compression gear?  What is your favorite type?

One week ago

This time last Saturday,  your friendly neighborhood Sherrie walked her first 5K.

The original plan was to walk/run, but the joints were not having it.

I arrived late and started after everyone was gone.  Adele was singing her heart out in my ears and I was near tears myself.   But I kept going.  Besides, Charleston needed to see me repping for #TeamVegan.  I had someone ask about my shirt and plant-based living, which is what I’d hoped.

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And this band was my mantra.  I was there to compete with the Sherrie from a few months ago.  The Sherrie who wouldn’t have pushed the crowd out of her head and just walked.

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But I did it!  Black Girls Run Charleston,  Vegan Bodybuilding and Fitness community, Official Team Green, Vegan N3rd Squad,  and my Facebook fitness families and running clubs, thank you.  To my family,  thanks.   To Sherrie from a few months ago,  see what you did?  We’ve got this!

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On to the next one!

 

 

It’s on!

Happy  2016!

So, what goals have you set for yourself?  I registered for the Shrimp & Grits 5K on January 16 – my first non-virtual event!  The 5K is part of the Charleston Marathon series of events that include a marathon, half marathon, 5K, and bike ride benefitting the Youth Endowment for the Arts.  I’m so excited!  This will not be my last. Are you running, walking, or biking?

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My other main goal for 2016 is to become more flexible.  My joints and muscles will thank me for it.  As for weight and fat loss, food, etc., I like the path I’m on and will keep on it.  I’m seeing progress and that’s all I need.

So, what are your 2016 plans?

Social dieting – do you participate?

Do you share your fitness journey on social media?  I do.  I share the good and bad, and have found a tribe of like-minded folks who support and share as well.  My feed is full of people at all stages of the fitness journey and it helps me keep motivated and focused. Note:   I compete with myself and see other’s journeys as theirs alone.  My progress is mine and where I am is directly related to me and former versions of me. 

Support and challenge groups are not new, but a new type of challenge is on the rise.  If you follow fitness accounts on social media, you’re sure to run across calls for challenges or bets that award prizes to the biggest loser.  Some challenges call for pledges of  $5, $10, $25 or more and the winners get to split the pot at challenge end.  I haven’t participated in this sort of challenge, but they are many.  Studies show that incentive-based challenges may increase motivation and success.  A Mayo Clinic study on “Individual- Versus Group-Based Financial Incentives for Weight Loss” not only found that “sustained weight loss can be achieved by financial incentives” and that “financial incentives can improve results, and improve compliance and adherence,” but lead author, Jeffrey T. Kullgren, M.D., M.S., M.P.H., also cited the advantages of social dynamics for employers offering such awards to help control health care costs while also improving the health of employees, noting, “We found that these incentives were substantially more powerful when delivered in groups…” The study concluded that “A group-based financial incentive was more effective than an individual incentive.”  A Brown University suggests that shedding pounds can have a “contagious” ripple effect and concluded that social networks and teamwork play a significant role in enhancing weight loss outcomes in weight loss interventions.

If you want to start or join a cash prize challenge to kick off 2016 with a bang, consider signing up with HealthyWageHealthyWage provides cash incentives, social and expert-based support, tools and resources, and goal-setting and tracking technologies to address our nation’s obesity epidemic and improve America’s collective health.  How does a $10,000 top prize sound to you?  One top winner, Kristin Westerfield of Indianapolis, IN lost 114 pounds and won $4,000.

Are you a social dieter?  Which platform do you use?  Does it keep you motivated?

 

Sources: 

N.A. Christakis and J.H. Fowler, “The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network Over 32 Years,” New England Journal of Medicine 357(4): 370-79 (July 2007)
Teamwork Makes Weight Loss More Fun & Successful

Leahey, T.M., Kumar, R., Weinberg, B., Wing, R.R., “Teammates and Social Influence Affect Weight Loss Outcomes in a Team-based Weight Loss Competition,” Obesity, 20 7, 1413-18 (2012)

http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1671710

Review: Forever Flex Exercise Ball

I received the Forever Flex Exercise Ball for free to review via Tomoson.com.  My views are my own and I do not recommend anything if I don’t believe in it.

I love lifting weights, but lifting doesn’t always love me.  During the times when my bones and joints are particularly sensitive, Pilates and yoga are my jams.  When I need to get off the floor for lifting or ab work, I get on a ball.  Well, I used to until the dogs made a chew toy out of my last one.  It’s my fault for leaving a partially deflated ball within their lines of sight.  I loved that thing.  I’d sit on it when working at my desk or reading in addition to using it in place of a weight bench.  And it was purple, too! Sigh.

I was on the market for a new one when a review opportunity brought one to me.  Live Infinitely’s Forever Flex Exercise Ball is perfect!  It’s available in several sizes, two colors, affordably priced, strong, and comes with a pump, extra valve plug, plug remover, and training plan.  Thanks to Amazon Prime, I had mine in my hands two days after placing the order.  I went with the dark gray instead of purple this time.  Hopefully the pups won’t mistake it for one of their toys.

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Have you used an exercise ball?  If not, you need to make sure you get the right size for your needs.  Since I’m not the tallest person, I selected the 55 cm size (for those of us under 5′ 6″).  Live Infinitely has them available for people in the 5′ 6″ to 5′ 11′ range (65 cm), 6′ to 6′ 4″ (75 cm) and taller than 6′ 4″ (85 cm).   Using one that’s too small or large will throw you out of proper alignment.

Oops, looks like the man and boy will need their own since mine is too small for them. 

Once I inflated this baby, I decided to get some ab work in.  This industrial PVC ball is strong!  It holds up to 2200 pounds (way over my weight) and anti-burst tested.   I finished my workout and was beginning to regret but not regret how hard I went.  I sat on the ball for a while before making a recovery drink.

The Forever Flex Exercise Ball is  easy to clean and has non-slip ridges that came in handy on the hardwood floor.  It also comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and fantastic customer service.  Would I buy this?  Yes, and I will buy a bigger one for the man and boy if they request it.  I might make that one purple.  You know, so we can tell them apart at a quick glance.

So, do you use an exercise ball?  Tell me about it.

 

Yoga classes for kids at Hazel Parker Playground

Yoga is my jam!  It helps me retain and increase flexibility in my stiff joints.  It helps me keep and regain my calm when things push my buttons.  It helps me relax my mind and body which helps reduce my pain.  It was an important part of my physical therapy regimen and equally important now.

I understand that yoga is not everyone’s cup of tea and have heard many spiritual arguments against it.  Yoga does not always lead to spiritual practice.  Fitness yoga is just that, another road to fitness.  In a class, students learn to breathe properly while moving through a sequence of poses.  Students learn to relax, focus, and improve coordination, balance, and flexibility.

Yoga for kids could be invaluable in teaching them how to deal with stressful situations in class, on the playground, and at home.  If you want to try yoga with your child, there are many videos available on Hulu and several yoga and Pilates channels available on Roku.  Charleston-area people have an option available through Charleston Parks and Recreation. Registration is open for a 12-week class for children ages 5-10.  The Thursday class runs from September 10 through November 10th and is $100.  The 3:30-4:40 pm time is perfect for an after-school activity!  Register online or in person at Hazel Parker Playground at 70 East Bay Street Downtown.

Have you tried yoga?  Your kids?   ‘m about to get my yoga on at 2 pm.  Maybe you can join me.

Until next time, peace and have a great weekend.

Book review: Rachel Pires’ Diet Enlightenment


I received a free copy of this book to review via Tomoson.com.  My views are my own and I do not recommend anything if I don’t believe in it. 

There are certain times of year when the diet season kicks into full gear.  You know, pre-beach season, pre-holiday party season, ‘New Year, new you’ promotions, and so on.  Many, me included, look for the magic button that makes weight loss easy and helps the healthy living mentality stick.  I don’t know about you, but the struggle is especially hard when my body rebels in some way (thanks Fibro and spinal arthritis). It’s not always about the popular method used for weight loss, but the right method that makes it work and stick.  Rachel L. Piers has been there and came out on the other side.  She found the magic button and it made all the difference.  In Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to Weight Loss, Pires shares her story and hopes to help the rest of us find it, too.

Rachel Pires is a wife and new mother, dancer, scuba diver, and second degree black belt in Taekwondo.   She writes for the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and is a weight loss advisor and blogger on Livestrong.com.  What does an education writer know about dieting?  Quite a bit, actually.  She’s traveled down the weight loss road a few times and did not achieve the success she sought until she found the right one.

Like many experts say, almost any plan can help one lose weight at first, but plans that involve removing certain food groups don’t always work long-term.  Pires wrote Diet Enlightenment with the voice of one who’s been through it. She focuses on calorie counting as the basis for diet success and explains how to calculate what you need and how to stick to the plan.  While she isn’t a nutritionist or dietician, she does seem to have a handle on the diet industry (Chapter Two), calorie counting (Chapters Six and Seven), successfully sticking to a plan while eating out (Chapter 10), and listening to one’s body (Chapter 9).  She also explains how healthy eating isn’t always the road to Thintown (Chapter 3).  Pires’ writing style is friendly and encouraging.  She explains that it can be easy and simple to lose weight and keep it off with the right mindset.

I nodded my head or agreed aloud as I read this one, which amused my dogs.  Chapter Three is my truth – I either gained or maintained while focusing on healthy foods without thinking of calories. I also gained weight after my initial loss on Atkins.  Since my diagnoses, listening to my body is required and I can see how listening when it comes to hunger and satiety is equally important.  While I’m not a strict calorie-counter these days (thanks to the 21 Day Fix eating plan), I can appreciate the information in this one.  A book like this one might have saved me from a few missteps in my weight loss attempts. The chapter on listening to your body makes this one a great read.

Diet Enlightenment was released last April. Pick up a paperback ($12.99 suggested retail) or PDF copy ($10.99 suggested) directly from Tate Publishing or find it at your favorite bookseller. Connect with Pires on Facebook or Twitter to ask questions or let her know what you think of the  book.   Have you read it?  Let me know your thoughts.

See ya, January! Happy February!

I’m glad to see January 2015 go. It was a craptacular month and I don’t think I could easily handle a second month of it. An annoying reason I hated the month is the setback. Grr, the setback. But, January is over and February is here. I’m ready for it.

I tried to post this yesterday, but the January Kick Ass continued for an extra day. My saved pots disappeared three times.  I was not amused.

My goals this month are to get my eating back on track and learn more about what ails me. Research might drive some people crazy, but it helps me feel like I have more control. The Fibromyalgia quirks and tummy issues don’t bother me as much since I have an idea what to expect. I hope that makes sense. I wonder sometimes if it does. If it doesn’t, I blame Fibro Brain. :-)

And speaking of research, I picked up this goodie a few days ago. candida

Ricki Heller‘s blog is one of my favorite stops and I know the advice in this book in my hands will make a huge difference.  I’ll share more about the book and recipes here and in my Examiner column.  If you need sugar-free, gut-healing whole food recipes, take a look.

I was advised to consider the possibility of candida overgrowth a little over a year ago.  I took the assessment and scored in the top range before I completed the whole thing.  Oy.  Overachiever, I am.  These recipes work with my eating plan.  I just have to tweak things here and there.

For fitness, I’m starting another round of 21 Day Fix starting on February 8.  21 Day Fix Extreme drops today, but I am not ready for that one.  Both 21DF and 21DFX are designed to get you on track with 30 minute workouts (yes), an easy clean eating plan, and quick results.  All moves include a modifier front and center and only minimum equipment is required.  I’ll use resistance bands and my favorite exercise mat.  If you’d like more information on either program, give me a shout or visit my store.

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30 minutes a day, clean eats, and modified moves that even I can do. Love it!

 

Do you have specific plans or goals for February? If you need or want support and encouragement, give me a shout.  If you’re following a different program, it’s all good. This is all about support for whatever your goals are. Swing by Facebook and say hi.

Until next time, be good to yourself.  Remember that you are not alone and that you are your competition.

Peace!

 

How was your 2014?

It’s the time of year when people make grand resolutions after looking back at the current year. I’m not making any grand resolutions myself. Goal setting seems to work better for me. I’m happy to have reached the majority of goals I’d set for myself and plan to do more of the same in 2015.

I’m ending this yer on a healthier note than I started it. I have more answers than questions about my health and am on the healing track. I’m not 100% there, but I am much better than I was. I still hurt daily, but I hurt a lot less.

I’m still working on my fitness. Yes, Beachbody programs play a huge rule, but walking and flexibility training are in the mix. I plan to take on Body Beast in 2015 and hopefully hubs will join me.

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Body Beast works for men and women. Muscle burns fat, baby! Sherrie Thompson photo.
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To train like a beast, I must eat like a beast. Yes, I will be plant-based because that is my way. Sherrie Thompson photo.

As for family stuff,  I plan to keep doing what we do.  I’ll love and accept them for who they are as people and not just because of ties.  and I’ll beat the girl in her games, dammit.  I can’t help it that I’m a dedicated PS person and shen bounces around.

As for swearing, that’s not going to change.  I know when to reign it in and when to let loose.  Letting loose is when I’m lifting heavier or tripping over the dogs.

Here’s to you.  Set goals, work toward them, and live well.  Do your thing.  Compete only with your former self.  Love yourself as you would anyone dear to you.

Peace.

**The link will take you to my Beachbody page.  If you need a coach, suggestions on a program,  or just want to hear from someone who gets it, give me a shout.**

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