Goal Tattoos Mark Your Biggest Wellness Milestones

It’s nothing new that women like to reward themselves for hitting a weight loss or fitness goal. How they are doing it seems to be changing, and a little more permanent!

New clothes, pedicures, race entry fees, a fancy dinner, or indulgent dessert are all common ways people celebrate these major wellness milestones. For some, it’s not nearly enough. More and more women are getting goal tattoos as markers for their hard work and accomplishments.

Tattoos to mark your health and fitness milestones?

For me, tattoos are a way of honoring my body. I’ve struggled with my body image issues for most of my life, so to love it enough to see it as a canvas for illustration speaks highly to my body image now,” shared Jill Grunenwald, a healthy living blogger with two tattoos to show for her accomplishments.

Would you get a tattoo to mark your next weight loss goal or race finish? Here are a few women who share their what, where, and why.

Sarah Quina — Firebird on the back of her neck.

She was reward for getting back to a happy weight after losing 100 or so pounds. I felt like I was rising from the ashes as it were. I was back to 240 from 345 and felt great… I had planned to keep going with the weight loss at the time, but hit a huge plateau right after I was inked. It lasted for months, but eventually I gave up in favor of maintenance. I’d catch a glimpse of her every then and again and be reminded to finish what I started. Which I eventually did. I’ve kept off 185 pounds for more than 10 years.

Dani Holmes-Kirk — Celtic symbol of strength on her ankle; collage of running/triathlon symbols on her foot.

It keeps me connected to my journey and that I am strong enough to keep the weight off. I have a tattoo on my left foot that I keep adding to in regards to my fitness endeavors. So there is a 13.1, the 3 symbols for triathlon (swim, bike, run), a 26.2, a 48.6 and a Mickey head which is a reminder of doing the inaugural Dopey Challenge (5k, 10k, Half and Full marathon in 4 days in 2014). It also features the words “Finish What You Started,” which is in relation to my weight loss and fitness journey. Then it has the date 4-15-13 (I ran the Boston Marathon the day of the bombing).

Christine Assaf — Phoenix between her shoulder blades; DubyaWife on her ankle

I knew I wanted [a tattoo] once I hit the goal for getting under 200 pounds. The phoenix represents rebirth… I felt like after I hit my goal I was a new person. So I wanted something that represented change.

Jill Gruenwald — Shanti on her back; Ohio with 13.1 on her wrist

One is for my 100-pound weight loss and means peace in Sanskrit. I chose it as a means of letting myself come to peace with ever getting up to 300 pounds and peace with my journey and choices. These days I’m actually about 40 pounds above that number so it represents peace in a totally different way.

The other is my half-marathon tattoo, which this proud Clevelander actually got in Savannah last year during FitBloggin! 

Stephanie SuireBreathe on her wrist

I started training for my marathon this year. It means three things: remember to breathe when I am running and want to quit, when I get stressed and anxious about life I need to remind myself to slow down and breathe, and also to breathe in the word of God each day. 


It’s Time to Skip Your Workout! Skipping is Better Than Walking and Running

There’s a workout out there that doesn’t feel like exercise. It’s considered a total body workout, exercising major muscles and your heart. Its minimal impact makes it easy on joints. People of all ages can do it, and they generally finish with a smile on their face. So why aren’t all of us skipping?

Skip your workout: Why skipping is better than walking and running

Yes, skipping. It’s the activity you picture in your mind with little pig-tailed schoolgirls tra-la-la-ing across a field of daisies.

Sarah Sanchez, an accountant in Denver, hasn’t been a schoolgirl for quite a while but recently took up skipping when she learned it was better for you than walking. She now leaves her desk a few days each week to go skipping over her lunch break. She skips around the 3-4 mile path at her office park and is loving the effect so far.

“It makes me feel happy, like a kid again,” she said. “It’s a nice bonus in the middle of a stressful work day.”

Who couldn’t use that kind of mid-day pick-me-up?

Trainer Corey Smallwood not only echoed the euphoria that Sanchez is experiencing, but backed up the benefits, too.

“In 19 years of training, I’ve seen more people than I can count finish a workout consisting of walking, running, or jumping rope looking miserable,” said Smallwood, a programming developer for popular workouts on AcaciaTV. Smallwood has been a certified trainer for 19 years and owns the goPerformance gym in Clarksburg, MD.

“Skipping, on the other hand, will instantly put a smile on your face.” As soon as his clients remember how to skip, something we seem to lose over time, the care-free smile returns to their faces.

And that, he says, is one of the biggest differences between more popular cardio exercises (like walking, running, and jumping rope) and skipping — people actually enjoy it!

“When skipping is performed properly, you work just about every muscle from your big toe to your ears,” explained Smallwood. While skipping, he says you’ll use your legs, hip flexors, glutes, core, arms, and shoulders. He added that “with a powerful skip, you’re activating the muscular and nervous systems as well as elevating the heart rate.” So there’s cardio, too! When you utilize all three systems as Smallwood has described, skipping allows you to burn a lot of calories.

Skipping is arguably a better exercise than walking, running, and jumping rope. Smallwood clarifies that marathon runners will still need to log their running miles, but that you get all the aforementioned physical benefits of the sport without the impact.

“Skipping is certainly less impact on your joints and works more muscle groups [than running],” he explained. Because of the flow of a skipping movement — taking off and landing on the balls of the feet as opposed to heel strikes — you minimize the impact, making it safer and more effective.

So again, why aren’t all of us skipping around like schoolgirls? Sanchez noted an air of paranoia when she first started. “I only did it until I saw another person and then I would stop,” she recalled. “Then I just decided that I don’t know any of these people I see on the street and I shouldn’t care what they think!” Let the inhibitions go and you’ll be fitter than the rare person who might find your actions silly.

Smallwood thinks we should all be skipping as part of our daily routines. He does it, his mom does it, and his twin daughters do it, each gaining something different, but positive, from the experience. He refines a sprinting technique, his mom uses it for exercise, and his twins make it to their swing set a little faster. It’s a versatile activity that suits everyone!

“One day, while I was skipping in the office park, I looked across the street and saw another lady skipping! We smiled and waved at each other, like we knew something no one else did.”

Are you going to get in on the secret?

Wearing the Enell Lite ensures you’re ready to skip anytime the mood strikes!


Celebrate America with This Red, White, and Blue Good-For-You Menu

You know you’re supposed to eat the rainbowbut few holidays give us as prime an opportunity as the Fourth of July. Red foods, blue foods, and yes, even white foods are some of the healthiest out there.

Celebrate America with This Red, White, and Blue Good-For-You Menu

As you decorate for the fourth with a patriotic spread of food, use our menu as a guide for keeping on theme without overdoing it.

DRINK UP!

Red, White, and Blue Sangria

A crisp white white sangria filled with fresh red and blue berries.

Triple Berry Sparklers

Pureed berries frozen in star-shaped molds bring to life a sparkling glass of Perrier.

SALUTE THE SIDES

Grilled Watermelon with Herbs and Parmesan

Transform this summery fruit into a decadent dessert.

Blueberry, Strawberry, and Jicama Salsa

This fresh salsa with bright flavors can be enjoyed with blue corn tortilla chip for more colorful flair.

Ultimate Red Skin Potato Salad

Fully loaded and mayo free, this will complement any big BBQ spread.

FIRE UP SOME ENTREES

Red, White, and Blueberry Turkey Burger Sliders

Stuff lean turkey burgers with feta and red bell peppers then top with a drizzle of balsamic blueberry reduction.

Honey Lime Sriracha Chicken Skewers

Spice up the party with a sriracha glaze that transforms ordinary grilled chicken.

UNCLE SAM WANTS DESSERT, TOO

Firecracker Frozen Berry Pops

Puree, mold, and give yourself a few hours to let these beautiful popsicles set.

Boozy Red, White, and Blueberry Cheesecake Popsicles

For the of-age American citizens in your party, finish the night with these creamy little treats.


25 Refreshing Ways to Stay Hydrated All Summer Long

Our hydration needs increase substantially during the summer months. Not only is the temperature higher, forcing our bodies to crave more water, but our activity goes up too, increasing the physical demands we place on our bodies. Those in arid climates or even breastfeeding mothers will have higher demands than others.

25 Refreshing Ways to Stay Hydrated All Summer Long

You don’t necessarily need to be one of those people toting around a milk jug full of water, but you do need to meet the minimal hydration recommendations. How much water do you really need? That depends on who you ask. The eight, 8-ounce glasses of water rule holds true by the Mayo Clinic, but according to the Institutes of Medicine it’s not enough, recommending 2.2 liters per day for women.

Ideally, this all comes in the form of water, but all fluids do count toward the daily total. That means you should prioritize water, but tea, juice, beer, milk, and even soups and hydrating fruits and vegetables meet the goal.

If you have trouble drinking water, here are 4 spa water recipes to help you overcome it. But if that’s not enough, here are some refreshing ways to stay hydrated all summer long!

ICED TEA

LEMONADE

FROZEN TREATS

MOCKTAILS

EDIBLES

Aside from something like this Grilled Gazpacho, eating fresh, chilled fruits and vegetables can be very refreshing. Here are the most hydrating fruits and vegetables with the highest water content:

  • Watermelon
  • Strawberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Cantaloupe
  • Peaches
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Tomatoes

What’s your favorite way to stay hydrated?


Don’t Mock the Walkers! Run Walk Run Should be Embraced

To see a runner take a walk may seem like some sort of failure. Not only are they beating up themselves for not being able to hang in there, but you may be giving them side-eye from the street wondering why they couldn’t hang.

Everyone, stop it!

run-walk-run

Taking walk breaks during a run is actually one of the most effective methods for runners. The notion of giving runners of any level — beginners or veterans — a break on their route was first introduced by Jeff Galloway, one of the foremost authorities on running in the U.S. Known as America’s Coach, Jeff has trained more than a million runners through his 1:1 training or through his books, retreats, schools, and other access points. He’s kind of a living legend for runners!

When he started training beginner runners in the 1970s, he noticed that his trainees were going to need to take breaks to walk. It wasn’t a bad thing! He discovered the “huff and puff” rule, where if you hear huffing and puffing, you should take more walk breaks and slow your pace. Together, this method has become known as Run Walk Run and it is highly embraced by the running and fitness communities.

For those following Galloway’s training style, aches, pains, and injuries are reduced to a near zero! As well, his runners are stronger and faster.

Still think taking a walk mid-run is for the weak? Not hardly!

There is some strategy to these built-in walk breaks, and when used effectively, not only will they improve your ability as a runner, but also give “you control over your attitude as you feel the positive results,” says the Jeff Galloway website. They even claim that the Run Walk Run method can help you gain 7 minutes in a 13.1-mile half marathon.

As well, the method is key for energy conservation, too. “Most if not all ultrarunners use a run-walk strategy for training and racing,” reported Coach Jenny Hadfield at Runner’s World. “Only they go by the terrain – they walk the hills and climbs and run the flats and downhills. This strategy helps them conserve energy to run stronger for longer.”

BENEFITS OF RUN WALK RUN

  • Energy conservation
  • Faster finish times
  • Reduced injuries
  • Reduced aches and pains
  • Faster recovery
  • Reduced core body temperature
  • More likely to find the “runner’s high”

HOW TO RUN WALK RUN

Run Walk Run is considered interval training, in which you alternate between two activities for different speeds, exertion rates, and lengths of time. In this case, you speed up and go hard for the runs and give yourself a break with a slower pace for the walks. The results pay off! Active.com suggests the following for executing a run-walk program:

  • Commit one week for each of the 13 stages.
  • Pay attention to pain and allow days off to recover; move to a previous stage if needed.
  • Start with a 3 minute walk/1 minute run in stage one, then a 2 minute walk/1 minute run, and two-two by stage 3.
  • Concentrate on steady paces, keeping the arms moving.
  • Increase distance as you progress through the stages.
  • In stages 4-8 you’ll spend more time running than walking, progressing from a 4-minute run with a 1-minute walk to a 9-minute run with 1-minute walk.
  • In stages 9-11 you’ll increase run intervals from 7 to 9 minutes, each with only a 45-second walk.
  • Stages 12 and 13 are final preparations for a distance race. If you’re looking at, say, a 7:30 mile, intervals will look something like a 15-minute run with 1-minute walk.

APPS FOR RUN WALK RUN

If you’re ready to try this approach to running, there are a few apps that can help you manage the intervals so that you can concentrate on form and pace.

  • Easy 5K with Jeff Galloway
  • C25K
  • RunKeeper
  • MapMyRun
  • MapMyFitness