Thanks to my university (University of St. Thomas), I had the privilege of meeting and greeting one of the most inspiring and influential women in the world, Laila Ali. She is not only known as Muhammed Ali’s daughter and the one to carry on his boxing legacy, but she has proven to be much more. She carved a niche for herself in women’s boxing championship and with sheer hardwork and dedication proved to be a world champion. She is now a mother of two beautiful kids and happily married.
Her talk involved topics of healthy eating and staying fit in order to increase the longevity of one’s life. She was at UST to inspire college kids to start being more aware of their health at an early stage itself. My biggest takeaways from the talk were:
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By Pallavi Sharma
Let me be clear about the title. When I say “skinnyness” I do not mean being unhealthy skinny. What I meant was being healthy and fit. So you might ask me why sweet potatoes? And I’ll say why not?
Quite recently I joined the “team beach body” wagon of Insanity and P90X workouts, and now I know what it means and takes to be part of the special and elite group of these merciless workout program survivors. I am very proud to be a part of that group! I am currently working on my 60 day Insanity challenge, and I am not too far away from the finish line. Through the last 60 days what really kept me going was not just the fun workouts and Shaun T yelling in my ears saying, “dig deeper” or “you can do it” or better still, “you just gotta F***ing do it”, but it was some of the diet tips from him that made a huge difference as well. And the food that really appealed to me were the “sweet potatoes”.
Most of us will easily miss the “sweet potato” aisle in the grocery store. But next time you are there, pick a few up, because it has all that your body needs. It truly is a powerhouse of food as it contains Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Magnesium and Iron. To top it all, it tastes wonderful! Most diet foods I have come across have been bland and boring and that is what I struggle with when I am trying to watch what I eat. The trick here is the way you cook it. And in case of sweet potatoes which already are tasty, it gets even easier to make the food interesting and fun.
I found a great recipe that I have enjoyed trying out. It is quick and simple and it adds an extra zest and flavor to the sweet potatoes, making them very appealing to your taste buds.
Also for more information on the health benefits of sweet potatoes, check this link out:
By Pallavi Sharma
“Inspiration is contagious. Once inspired, you can do anything”. As I read this quote every time I walk into Lifetime, it takes me back on a brief tour of my past. It reminds me of all the highly charged and motivated people who had inspired me greatly to grow and blossom into a well-rounded individual. Be it friends, family or even people I briefly met, its amazing to see the deep-rooted impact their attitude has had on my life.
I distinctly remember my brief interaction with Mary at our yoga sculpt class at CorePower Yoga. She seemed to effortlessly fit in all the four sought after categories: Fit, Healthy, Strong and Lean, which rarely seems to be the case with most people. Her glowing and friendly personality quickly drew me into striking a conversation with her and that’s how our friendship grew, and so did the process of inspiration. Till date there hasn’t been a day when I have not been in complete awe of this splendid woman and the first thing that struck me about her is that she is a die-hard runner. As she began unveiling her little secret about her exceptional level of fitness, I realized that she’s a 3 to 4 time a year marathoner which reflects her intense passion and love for running. That’s when I started to incorporate her good habits in my life and began running. This was around May when she motivated me a great extent in taking baby steps towards a marathon someday, and here I am having completed my first 5K and feeling utterly joyous and proud.
As I touched the finish line with people cheering and screaming for me, my heart over-flowed with emotions of victory and achievement. Being the 25th or the 26th person to finish the race out of 600 participants was no child’s play for a first timer. It definitely was tougher than it seems because shorter runs are always the hardest. You have less time to finish them, which leads to pretty much sprinting all the way through. I saw my months of hard-work pay off so beautifully that it has brought about a major sense of confidence me. My next run is on October 3rd, 2009 which is the Medtronics Twin Cities Race ( http://www.mtcmarathon.org/FiveKAndFamilyEvents/FamilyEvents.cfm ). This will be a much bigger and more competitive platform and I dearly hope to do decently well at it.
Here’s a short video of me which my friend captured minutes after the race. Check it out!
By Pallavi Sharma
Alright! So that may not be the ideal image the word “sleep” would create in your head. But the thought of sleep does condition your brain to trigger feelings of relaxation and calmness throughout your body. It activates the endorphins and you find a perpetual smile on your face. But besides it’s “feel good” aspect, sleep involves more benefits than one to athletes, sports people and regular exercisers like you and me.
Let’s see! You are an enthusiastic exerciser. You make it a point to give your body it’s daily dose of intense workout. You also make sure that your good eating habits are intact and involve everything healthy, fresh and green you can think of. So what is it that is inhibiting your body from growth and changes. It could very possibly be sleep. In a busy world of today where our lives revolve around time-tables, deadlines and check lists, we never take into consideration that this highly charged lifestyle may require some downtime for restorative purposes.
Taking my yoga classes as an example, they always talk about “100% relaxation for 110% effort”. It is almost mandatory for all of our classes to end with a brief period of Shavasana (Corpse Pose). It is a pose which involves lying still on the ground (belly facing up) and letting every little tension in your body release, similar to being in deep slumber. This plays a major role in controlling the blood pressure and obviously is critical for relaxing your muscles and reducing fatigue and anxiety after a hard workout.
http://articles.latimes.com/2007/jun/18/health/he-sleep18 talks about a research in Stanford University on athletes and their enhanced performance on getting adequate amount of sleep. Sometimes even a small “power nap” during the day goes a long way in reducing stress, increasing alertness and hence better performance of your daily responsibilities. Here is a great article which talks about the ill effects of sleep deprivation and the positive effects of power naps http://stress.about.com/od/lowstresslifestyle/a/powernap.htm.
To get into the scientific reasoning behind the importance of sleep, go to http://www.bodyconditioning.info/knowlegde/Thebenefitsofsleep to get advanced information. Let not this competitive world take over mental peace, growth and most importantly “you”. Sleep well, live well and reap the benefits, the world has to offer!
By Pallavi Sharma
I will not make the grave mistake of considering myself an “athlete”. Running 3 to 4 miles everyday does not put me under the category of a “runner” but I LOVE running! I love the waves of emotions that are created when the cool early morning wind brushes against my skin, when the first whiff of the fresh air travels through my veins and purifies me from within and when I am beyond judgement and have not a care in the world about who I am or what I do. It’s just me and the road, naked in front of each other, there are no games and I am myself!
I cannot trade that feeling for anything in the world, which is why I expect my body to stay in good shape to assist me in being able to keep up my passion. But alas! Considering my intense “three times a day” workout regime does result in some serious overuse of those poor muscles. Just a month back, I attended one of the intense aerobics classes and boy was it good! I must say I got a wonderful workout, but the side-effect of those jumpy movements was severe pain in the shin bone of my left leg, and the muscles surrounding it. The area was inflamed and would hurt acutely if I indulged in any kind of a physical activity. However, my addiction for working out daily would pull me back to the mat/treadmill/the road and I would keep going regardless of the discomfort.
Alright, so we all know what comes next! Oh wait, my bones did not break 🙂 Two mornings later as I woke up from my bed and took the first step, in seconds I spiraled down, back to my bed. I could not even take a step ahead due to the excruciating pain. So I sat there thinking of a solution. I somehow made it to the refridgerator by limping my way through and applied some ice to the affected area. I also made it a point to massage the muscles with a chinese balm. In matter of minutes, the pain gradually subsided and I found myself in a much better place. For the next one week, I decided to focus on yoga only which helped me tremendously in stretching out the muscles of my legs and reducing inflammation and pain. In a week, my legs felt healthy and strong again and I was back on track with my running shoes on! Yay!
So all you runner’s out there, take some time off to nurse your injuries. Here’s a great article by a Mayo Clinic staff which I would like to share with all of you. It explains in great detail the symptoms and cure for shin splints.
Your dedication towards your daily workout rituals maybe exemplary, but listen to your body!