Over 30’s Running: Negative Nancy to Positive Polly (Mindset)

Running long distance is more than just having a physically-able body. In fact, without having a strong, positive mindset during and before the run, it can be the most strenuous, difficult task you ever set out to achieve. Oftentimes, it can be the people who either stop in the middle of a race, or don’t even attempt the race who have a weak mindset (just to clarify: this isn’t always the case). As a result, I have conducted a list of different ways you can have a positive mindset when running a race; whether it be for a marathon, half marathon, or even triathlon (or training for a race). Let’s find out, shall we?


Surround yourself with positive people


When you surround yourself with positive people, you’re likely to have their positivity brush off on to you. It’s inevitable, which is a good thing. Think of all the people who are negative, and try your best to remove them from your life (sometimes, in certain circumstances, that’s not possible). Instead, find groups who share similar interests with you, and are always happy and outgoing. Even if you’re a little timid and shy, it can help you break out of your shell if you surround yourself around positive, like-minded people. A great way of doing this is to join sports, or even go on Meetup and see if there are any long distance running groups around your area. This is a great way for over 30’s to make life-long friends with similar interests as your own.


Remind yourself that you can do it


Every morning and night, months before the race even begins: you need to reassure yourself that you can do it, and you’re not going to fail. A positive mindset is fundamental when running a long distance race. Even if you don’t feel you can do it, saying “I can do it” out loud can help you build your confidence, and eventually, you will genuinely believe you can do it. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t think you can initially run the race – most people begin with this mentality, because let’s face it, these races are one heck of a long distance, and can feel unattainable at times, even for the best of runners. It may be a good idea to begin with a 5k race, and then build your way up to a full marathon.


Eat healthily


Having a healthy diet equates to a healthy mindset. Put the junk food away, and start eating healthier, more natural foods. Although it may not seem like eating more healthy foods will impact your mentality at the time, I can assure you that you will feel better after just one or two days of eating less junk. I’m not saying you shouldn’t treat yourself to a chocolate bar now and then (or even I’d go crazy) but make sure you keep it as “now and then”, not on a regular basis. Remember: having a positive mindset when you’re over 30 can be more challenging than it was when you were younger.


Think of things you appreciate in life


Think of all the people in your life you appreciate. Then think of all the things in life you appreciate. Fortunately for you, you are more fortunate than a lot of people in developing (third world) countries. The fact you’re able to pay to run long distance, and even read this article on a device should put things into perspective of how good you have it. I understand it’s probably bad to compare happiness, particularly of those in not-so-fortunate places, but the fact is, it can make us feel good if we know we genuinely have a good life; running just makes it that much better!


Stay focused on what you want to achieve


Whether you want to achieve simply finishing a race or making a certain time – it’s important that you stay focused on your goals, and not so much on other things (with exceptions of family and friends). Treat yourself with a good movie or a nice bottle of wine every now and then, but don’t forget about what you want to achieve from your race, and do whatever it takes to ensure you can achieve it. The months before running the long distance event are crucial to work hard and be able to physically run the race, as well as mentally.


Set realistic goals


Instead of wishing you could be as good as Joan Benoit or Frank Shorter, start wishing you were as good as you can personally be. There’s nothing worse than setting an unrealistic goal and not even getting close to achieving it. All you’re going to get is an overwhelming sense of disappointment and dissatisfaction to what should have been a really positive experience. You’re over 30 now – things don’t come as easily as they used to, unfortunately. It’s best to set a goal you think you can truly achieve, and not something that is beyond even your capabilities.




As mentioned earlier: having a positive mindset is essential for every long distance runner. It can help stay motivated, and overall help you run long distance in comparison to having a pessimistic mindset. By following these points, you are guaranteed to go from Negative Nancy to Positive Polly.


Author Bio:


Curt Davies is a marathon enthusiast and has built his own website located at www.marathondriven.com. It’s stacked with information and other goodies regarding marathon running and training for those over the age of 30. If you want to find out more about Curt and what he writes about, click the link mentioned earlier.


Different Types of Protein and Why It Matters…

The Differences Between Proteins and Why It Matters

What is Protein?

Protein is a Macromolecule (Macronutrient) made up of amino acids (building blocks) that perform myriad of functions in the body.  For example, they spark metabolic reactions,  duplicate DNA,  respond to stimuli, and move molecules from place to place.  Consuming protein is essential because we are not able to make all the amino acids necessary for life function without food.  When our bodies digest protein, it breaks it down into the amino acids we use for metabolism.  Protein is  a part of every cell in our bodies!  It is needed to build and repair muscle tissue and is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.  In addition, it makes essential enzymes, hormones, and other chemicals in the body.

Where does protein come from?

There are many sources of protein.  The most commonly known are: meat, milk, fish, soy, and eggs, cheese, as well beans, legumes, and nut butters.  Some proteins, mainly from animal sources, are called complete proteins.  They contain all the essential amino acids needed for the body to use.  The incomplete proteins lack all the essential amino acids, therefore, requiring additional proteins to make them complete.  Furthermore, the different kinds of proteins are used differently in the body

Some popular Proteins and how the body utilizes them…

1.  Whey Protein– is a complete protein (containing all 9 essential amino acids)  and is derived from milk.  Milk is made up of  whey and casein.  It is separated and through a process, the whey is turned into a powder leaving very little lactose in the final product.  Whey protein is a fast acting protein, meaning it is digested rapidly to be used for muscle building, a long with many other health benefits.  A study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism concluded that “whey protein supplementation during resistance training offers some benefit compared to resistance training alone.”  This is why many bodybuilders and athletes consume whey protein immediately after a workout.

2.  Casein Protein– is a slow acting protein, meaning the body digests the protein more slowly, releasing the amino acids steadily through the bloodstream for hours.  Casein is perfect to consume prior to bed to keep your body from breaking down muscle for energy.  It would also be a good option if you know you won’t be eating for a while.

3.  Soy Protein– another complete protein but derived from plants.  It is a slow acting protein.  Because it is a slow acting protein it isn’t optimal for rebuilding muscle rather it’s better for forming new muscle tissue.  In addition, soy produces isoflavones, which have antioxidant effects, resulting in enhanced recovery time as well as reduced soreness and inflammation.

This is a very simplified article on Protein and far from an exhaustive list. The main point is to inform you that protein is essential for the body and you can get it in a variety of ways.  Depending on your goals, you can now incorporate additional protein into your diet.

How much protein should you be consuming?

This is a tricky question.  But the one must is to not go by the RDA numbers.  These were calculated in 1941 during World War 11.  During this time, food rationing was going on and numbers were based on the average person’s needs.  Things have changed dramatically in the past few decades and, it is of my opinion, that these numbers are not relevant for today’s society.  As a general rule: try to consume around 20-30% of your daily calories in protein.

How do you figure out how much protein is 20-30% of your daily calories?

1.  Go to calculator.net and enter your stats


2.  take the number and times it by .2 (if you don’t workout much) or .3 (if you workout at least 3x/wk).  This number will give you the amount of calories of protein you need to consume each day.

3.  Then divide this number by 4 (because there are 4 calories in every gram of protein) and you will get your daily number of grams of protein.

4.  Finally divide this number by the amount of meals you will eat throughout the day.  This will give you the exact amount of protein grams you should shoot for in each meal.

Check out my daily meal plan post(click here) to see when I use my protein shakes and what I eat to fulfill my protein requirements.


How to Get Your A$$ to the Gym!

Another day has come and gone and you didn’t make it to the gym again!  It was a done deal the night before…what happened?  You!  You happened!  You talked yourself right out of doing what would have been best for you.  You came up with any number of reasons why today wasn’t a good day to go to the gym or you just didn’t feel like it.  Well, there are no reasons…just excuses!  And if I didn’t go to the gym when I didn’t feel like it, I wouldn’t look or feel the way I do today!  Yes, even I have days I don’t feel like going, but I do anyway.

So, how exactly can we get our asses to the gym?

First, make sure you schedule your gym time every day!  Just like you schedule a doctor’s appointment or coffee with a friend, you need to make an appointment with yourself at the gym.  In addition, make sure you schedule it at a time that works best for you.  If I schedule my gym time for the morning, I am setting myself up for failure and disappointment.  I am not a morning person and can count on 1 hand the amount of times I actually got in a morning workout (in my entire lifetime)!  My best gym time is mid-afternoon.  This is what works best for me and keeps me successful.

Second, you need to play some mind games with yourself.  Your mind is very smart and will think of all sorts of excuses when you don’t feel like doing something.  One of my favorite tricks, and the one I used today, is to tell yourself you will only go and do 5 minutes.  What’s 5 minutes?  Anyone can do 5 minutes.  This gets me to the gym and then I start my workout.  I have yet to leave the gym after only 5 minutes.  My endorphins (neurotransmitters that are secreted and lead to feelings of euphoria, among other incredible benefits), start to kick in and I want to do more.

Third, find something at the gym you really enjoy doing.  This might take some time as you should try out all different types of machines.  It’s also a great way of getting in a variety of workouts.  Your body adapts quickly to the same routine.  I’ve learned over the years that on different days I may opt to do different machines.  Today I did a wall climber for 10 minutes and then did the stair-stepper for 40 minutes.  This is very different from my go to interval sprints on the treadmill.  I enjoyed it a lot more since it was different.  And, when I was done, I felt absolutely incredible!  Which leads me to my next tip…

When you do get to the gym and have a great workout, remember the feeling!  Really get in touch with the awesome feelings of accomplishment, confidence, and euphoria.  Use these memories the next time your mind is telling you not to go.  Think of the outcomes and then revert back to the second tip…only 5 minutes!

JUST DO IT!  It feels so much better than the guilt, shame, and current lazy feelings you will have if you don’t!

Let me know how you used these tips for tomorrow’s workout!


Sugar…as addicting as drugs?

Sugar…an addiction like alcohol and drugs?


             SUGAR…It’s everywhere!


I’m sure you know of someone, maybe even yourself, that believes they can’t cut out the sugar from their diet.  And looking at our population, it seems to be that, as a society, we are addicted to sugar.  I’m sure many of you will disagree so let me make my case.

What do I mean when I say addicted?  Well, according to the American Psychiatric Association, addiction is a “chronic brain disease that causes compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences”.  It’s easy to understand and associate addiction with Alcohol and drugs, at least it is for me.  Addiction to alcohol and drugs results in some pretty harmful consequences: jail, broken relationships, violence, psoriasis, loss of memory (blacking out), throwing up, not taking care of yourself, malnourishment, etc… These are definitely some serious consequences.   Unfortunately, for the alcoholic and/or addict, sometimes, these consequences aren’t even enough for them to quit their use.  Now for sugar addiction…I think the reason why people are in denial about how bad it is, is because they aren’t seeing immediate consequences.  It takes some time to put weight on and because it’s happening so slowly, many people don’t realize it until it’s out of control.   Did you know that it takes 10 years before diabetes actually shows up through medical testing, and by then it’s usually too late!  Diabetes isn’t the only thing you need to take into account.  Here’s a list of other negative effects of ingesting too much sugar:

  1. Raises cholesterol.
  2. Increase the risk of diabetes.
  3. Kidney disease.
  4. Depression & anxiety.
  5. Arthritis.
  6. Constipation.
  7. Fluid retention.
  8. Induce headaches & weakens eyesight.
  9. Causes gall & kidney stones.
  10. Hormonal imbalances.
  11. Tooth decay
  12. Several types of cancer.
  13. Yeast infections.
  14. Weight gain.
  15. Asthma.
  16. Coronary heart disease

The average person consumes 19 teaspoons of sugar every day!  That’s an extra 285 calories!  Try to limit your sugar intake to less than 100 cal/day for women and 150 cal/day for men.

So, lets take a look at what sugar is and what it does to the body and the brain.  First, when you eat sugar it is immediately taken up by the blood stream and you get a “sugar high”.  graph of blood sugar spikeYour body, the amazing machine it is, releases insulin (a hormone) that shuttles that sugar into your muscles for energy.  When the sugar is removed from the blood, you feel the “crash”.  This is when most people will reach for another sugary substance to make themselves feel better.  And the cycle continues.    What is even more interesting is what happens in the brain.  Sugary substances effect the same areas of the brain as drugs!  Even the mere thought of a sugary snack can trigger the same area that the thought of a drug stimulates for an addict.  A study done on the “Evidence for sugar addiction: Behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake” in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, concludes:

The concept of “food addiction” materialized in the diet industry on the basis of subjective reports, clinical accounts and case studies described in self-help books. The rise in obesity, coupled with the emergence of scientific findings of parallels between drugs of abuse and palatable foods has given credibility to this idea. The reviewed evidence supports the theory that, in some circumstances, intermittent access to sugar can lead to behavior and neurochemical changes that resemble the effects of a substance of abuse. According to the evidence in rats, intermittent access to sugar and chow is capable of producing a “dependency”. This was operationally defined by tests for binging, withdrawal, craving and cross-sensitization to amphetamine and alcohol.

Do you crave, lose control, and eat more than you plan?  You just may be addicted to sugar.  Now that you know the problem, you can make a decision, take action, and live in the solution.

What does this mean?  Well, slowly start to slash the sources of sugar from your eating.  Start with the most harmful: simple carbs (candy, syrup, soda, table sugar).  Be mindful when buying processed foods of all the different labels that translate to sugar.

1.    Brown sugar

2.    Brown rice syrup

3.    Cane syrup

4.    Agave necter

5.    Honey

6.    Molasses

7.    Evaporated cane juice

8.    Malt syrup

9.    And anything ending in –ose (glucose, fructose, lactose, sucrose, dextrose)

Next, be cautious of the complex carbs which are broken down in the body to simple carbs: refined breads, pastas, chips, fries.  If you eat complex carbs be sure to opt for the healthier versions such as sweet potatoes, Ezekiel bread, brown rice, quinoa, and oats.  But these, too, should be in moderation.

Be careful of BBQ sauces, ketchup, salad dressings, baked beans and processed foods!  They are usually loaded with sugar.

What to do?

Start to limit your sugar intake this week.  Be mindful of labels.  If you are craving something sweet, reach for berries or fruit.  They have fiber and nutrients that help slow the digestive process.  Use stevia if you need to add a little sweetness, but be careful of the artificial sweeteners.  Increase your protein intake.  This helps keep you fuller for longer, helping to reduce sugar cravings.  And of course…Drink more water!  After a couple of weeks, your taste buds will reset and you won’t feel you need sugar anymore!  Be good to your body!


My Typical Day’s Meals

Many people want to know what I eat on a typical day, so I figured I’d share it with all of you.  All meals are eaten within 2 1/2 to 3 hours apart

Breakfast (eaten within 30 minutes of waking): egg whites with rolled oats made as a pancake with organic honey, cinnamon, and sea salt

Meal 2: whole eggs, boiled ham and shredded cheese

hormone free, anti-biotic free, arificial sweetener free, delicious, protein
Best Protein

Meal 3: one source of lean protein (chix, steak, fish, turkey) with grilled veggies, mozz cheese and avocado

Meal 4: post workout shake (or regular shake), I use BioTrust Protein because it’s free of antibiotics, hormones, and artificial sweeteners!  And it tastes delicious!!!

Meal 5: once source of lean protein over salad with lots of veggies, avocado, shredded cheese, balsamic vinegar

Meal 6: before bed, another BioTrust shake

There you have it!  A day in the life of Gayle’s eating!

Test of willpower…but not recommended!

So, I recently cut back on some daily calories and I was absolutely hungry for most of my day.  What’s worse is that I had to go food shopping and do several errands.  Now, for the average person, this would have been torture and most likely a stick to your plan failure!  Fortunately for me, it didn’t have to be.  First off, I always eat every 2-3 hours and have my food planned and ready to go.  I didn’t leave the house hungry and new I’d be back before my next meal.  However, because I cut back on my calories I was definitely feeling hungry within my meal times.  I went food shopping and the devil had his loudspeaker right up to my ear the entire time!  So what did I do?  First, I stuck a piece of gum in my mouth.  That helped a lot.  However, going up and down the isles was definitely a test of my willpower.  I was very aware of my thoughts.  They kept saying things like, F- it, it’s not like you’re overweight.  You can have a little something,  You’ve been good for 3 days now, you should be able to have whatever you want,  and you only live once dammit.  BUT, I kept shouting back at that voice that I didn’t really want to do that!  I’m sticking strictly to this meal plan I created and will not cheat until it’s my scheduled cheat time.  I made it out of the supermarket by telling myself that lunch was waiting at home and it’s the fuel my body really needs.  The good food that will make me feel great!  By this time my gum had been chewed so incessantly that it had no more flavor and was not as chewy as before so I threw it out and started sucking down some water.  As I drove home, all the wafting smells of the restaurants were overwhelming.  But I was determined to make it home.  AND I DID!  I made it through another day without caving into the instant gratification and I feel incredible which is definitely the opposite of what I would have felt if I caved!  I write this to give you hope…I, too, struggle with that voice that wants what it wants and it’s usually not good for me!  However, as long as I have a few tips and tricks to rely on, I will come out successful and happier!


So I got a great question from a newsletter subscriber today about gluten-free products and if they are good or bad. So, I figure I would post my response for all who are interested in my two cents. Of course, if you have Celiac Disease (gluten intolerance), please do what’s best for you and if you think you have a problem with digesting gluten then consult your physician.

Hey Alyssia,
Great questions! And all the info at there makes it very confusing for most people…
First off, Gluten-free became extremely popular with all the health claims attached to them but truth be told, if you aren’t gluten sensitive then it’s really not necessary to restrict gluten from your diet. However, it’s the products that contain gluten that should be avoided. For example, most baked goods and flour…these don’t just have gluten but they tend to be high in carbs and fats. If you eat whole foods (unprocessed) you don’t have to worry about this issue at all. Gluten-free products will have a lot more of what you don’t want to put into your body (fats and simple carbs and sodium). I love the Paleo lifestyle for anyone looking to become healthier. If a food source was around when the cavemen were alive, then you can eat it! Bread, cereals, baked goods…came much later!
Second…sodium…you should not consume more than 2300mg per day. Again, processed foods will have sodium in them so if you eat whole foods without adding too much sodium to them, you should be ok! Eating more than 2300mg a day will cause your body to hold onto water (hence making you bloated), and it will also lead to high blood pressure along with a multitude of other health issues.
So, in conclusion, I wouldn’t waste my money on gluten-free products but I also wouldn’t eat much of processed foods (like pasta, breads, cereals, etc).
I hope this helps!
Thanks for the questions…
To your best health…