Brevi Fitness

On the Fence

OK, so the picture gave it all away... But anyways, today's topic is being on the fence

Have you ever been on the fence about things in your life? I have. I caught up in over-analyzing the situation.  When someone says, just go ahead and do it, its easier said than done. What we forget is that sometimes we carry mental incapacities or our past experiences get in the way of us trying new things. There was a time when I was scared of riding horses, because when I was a kid I had such a hard time getting on the horse (I weighed 160 lbs at age 16).

Now at 31, I am actually the same weight (157.9 to be precise as of today) and I can do so many things that I never thought I could.

Just this past weekend, we went fencing at and I had never been interested in fencing...Ruschelle just drags me to these things.  Fencing has been a dream of hers and I am just finding this out after almost 4 years of marriage.

It was a ton of fun, challenging with the gear on, quite a bit of work in movements back and forth (especially the wrist). I was drenched in the hour of practice. It gave me a new found appreciation of some sports that I never considered or thought I would be good at.  Having lost weight and being healthy opens so many doors for you its mind boggling.

So go out there and try your dream or create dreams that you never thought existed, don't be on the fence.  Go fencing instead.

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Nike Flyknit

As of the past week, breaking news coming out of Nike is the new Nike Flyknit.

Apparently the best, lightest, most breathable shoe ever created.... really? Anyways, Nike stock is up 19% , so marketing is working. I am not a  Nike fan, I love New Balance, Vibram 5 fingers and my favorite the Ultras from Terra Plana.

What do you think?

P.S. When someone told me the first time about this shoe, my instinctual reaction was, would it smell like a sock too?

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Motivation to Eat Healthy: Food is Precious

For many of us, finding and maintaining motivation to eat healthy is an ongoing battle.

Judith Beck, author of the Beck Diet Solution and President of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy writes extensively on the topic of diet and self defeating behaviors in relating to food.  One point that Beck consistently relies upon is the idea that each moment with food is precious. Think about something you consider to be precious.  It could be a family member, a pet, maybe even a material object.  Whatever it is, think about what it feels like to neglect or mistreat that object.  Think about not having enough time to devote it it's proper care.

This is the view in which Beck teaches people to interact with food.  We can use this idea that food (and the time we devote to it) is precious as a motivation to eat healthy. 

I love the Food Network.  A common theme that many chefs discuss is to honor the ingredients.  If we take the time to honor our food we are more likely to make responsible decisions and increase our motivation to eat healthy.

The example below are take from Beck's latest blog on combating those defeating thoughts around food.

Sabotaging thought: “It’s okay to eat more than I had planned just this one time”

Response: “It’s not okay to do it this one time because every single time matters. Every time I eat more ice cream than I had planned, I make it more likely I will eat more the next time, too. I need to exercise my resistance muscle, not my giving in muscle.”

As suggested by Beck in her blog (

At worst, a craving might last 15 minutes, but it will go away MUCH more quickly if I distract myself.

What to do when I’m having a craving:

1. Label it.  This is just a craving; it doesn’t mean I have to give in. Just because I want to eat this right now doesn’t mean I should.

2. Firmly make the decision to NOT give in.

3. Distract myself.  The moment my attention is on something else is the moment the craving starts to go away. If I’m highly distracted, there is no way I’ll be able to focus on the craving.

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Hips Don't Lie...

It is clear that Shakira and Wyclef Jean know the secret to proper running form:

'And I'm on tonight
You know my hips don't lie
And I'm starting to feel it's right
All the attraction, the tension
Don't you see baby, this is perfection'

Too many times we ignore or fail to realize how our hips are integral to most (if not all) activities that we do as human animals, especially running. .As runners, it easy to ignore the strength component of hips and posterior chain (calves, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back).

Essentially, the posterior chain (shown above) is often neglected. The function of the posterior chain (amongst other things) is to extend the ankle, knee and hip joint. This is also known as triple extension. If you imagine being in the lower squat position, triple extension is the motion that is responsible for getting you back into the standing position.

For an improved running form, we focus and re-focus and re-focus on our ability to have the right stride, proper length of stride, breathing pattern (3 step one inhale, 2 step exhale), ball of foot to heel movement, barefoot running shoes etc. These are all essential and as we prepare ourselves for the NYC marathon for 2012, we look at these as well. But sometimes we tend to forget that for improved running form, we need to leverage biggest muscle groups on our rear and strengthening them is equally important for speed, consistency and overall healthy knees.

For about 99.9% of us, that means training the triple extension. This is because a great deal of us generate postural imbalances from sitting down all day, causing the anterior chain (the muscles opposing the posterior chain) to remain shortened for prolonged periods of time. Cure = stretch the anterior chain and train the posterior chain.

Anterior chain stretches include:

1. Warrior I

2. Pigeon Pose

And for Posterior chain some common strengthening exercises could be:

1. Squats (Front, back, overhead), obviously starting with unloaded and then loading with some weight

2. Deadlift (Single leg deadlift is also one variation).

3. Pistols (advanced)

So remember your hip (posterior chain) strength is a key element of improved running form.  Weakness in this area has a way of biting you in know.

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Must Haves For Home Gym

We live in a tiny midtown apartment, so we definitely have the bare minimum.  Here they are...

1. Gym Boss

2. Speed Rope

3. PVC pipe (For doing shoulder dislocates and practicing any overhead movements unloaded)

4. Kettlebell(s) (ok we have two 10 and 20lbs)

5.  Sandbag

6. Foam Roller (We have 3, one long one, one short and one extra special Rumble roller, for those really special times)

7. Pilates Bands

8. Lacrosse Ball (For massaging underneath your thighs while watching tv)

9. Stability Ball

10.Yoga Mat

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