run, janelle, run!

5 Myths About Exercising in Cold Weather

running stick figureMyth #1 – Exercising in cold weather is bad for you.

FALSE. Just because the weather is cold outside doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s bad for you to go for a run. Just be sure to warm up properly – either by doing some dynamic stretching or by easing into your run at a slow pace before building up to faster paces.

Myth #2 – Running in cold weather is bad for your lungs.

FALSE. Research shows that runners are not in danger of freezing their lungs, even in the coldest places on Earth such as the North and South Poles. Thanks to our body’s ability to adapt to different weather situations, air reaches body temperature by the time it greets our lungs. [via]

Myth #3 – Running in cold weather burns more calories.

TRUE.  There is a lot of speculation as to whether exercising in cold temps burns more calories. Some experts argue not while others argue yes. According to Glen Haney, MA, certified personal trainer and exercise physiologist, “It is true that you burn slightly more calories in colder weather. That’s because your metabolic rate increases to warm your body, and that bit of extra work means more burn.” [via]

However, it should be noted that the amount of calories you burn is really due to exertion – not the temps outside.

Myth #4 – Your body needs extra sleep during the winter months.

FALSE. During the winter, you may feel more tired, sluggish, or feel like you need more sleep. This is due to the fact that during the winter, the days are shorter, and the amount of light is limited. Believe it or not, this lack of light affects our body’s sleeping cycles because it causes an increase in the production of melatonin.

Melatonin is the chemical responsible for our body’s sleep/wake cycles. The more your body produces, the more tired you may feel. The best thing you can do is maintain your normal sleep/wake routine. You may feel a little more tired in the a.m., but as soon as you get moving, you’ll be fine.

Myth #5 – You don’t need to hydrate as much during the winter.

FALSE. According to cold weather studies conducted at the University of New Hampshire, you may be at an increased risk for dehydration during the winter than during the summer. We lose respiratory fluid when we breathe, and we also lose fluids when we sweat (sweat evaporates faster in cold, dry air).

Interestingly, despite this fluid loss, the sense of thirst that would normally be triggered during warm weather is not triggered the same way (if at all) when in cold weather. According to Robert Kenefick, UNH associate professor of kinesiology, this is because cold weather actually alters our thirst sensation.

The key to staying safe is to make sure you are properly hydrating – especially in cold weather. Hydration can take the form of: hot tea, vegetables, and fruit, to just plain old water. 

What other exercise myths have you heard? Share them in the comments section!


Deep breath

And M O V E

I’ve been hunched over

back curved over the blue glow of a screen for hours

But now

Standing straight

I’ve traded clicking keys

for gentle pads

Muscles aching as they are

stretched – tested with each step

Protected under a blanket of

grey and black

I follow the rhythm of the

pounding in my chest

Steady. Reminding me I’m alive

calming me

curving around familiar stretches

watching the world settle in

quiet down

through blurred lenses

a gentle whish – a cool breeze

pushing, pulling – urging me

petrichor fills my lungs

while a million, tiny drops of water

dance on my face.



Improving Your Diet with Modern Lifestyle Choices

The following is a guest article, submitted by one of RJR’s readers. If you are interested in submitting a guest post, follow the guidelines listed here.

Today, life moves at fast pace; and while it may be easier to buy a hamburger and french fries – the easiest way isn’t always the best way. If you have these kinds of habits in your diet, surely you must have noticed the negative effect it has had (or will eventually).

The food you eat should energize you – not make you feel sluggish and lethargic. There are countless diet books, recipes and people pushing the latest diet craze. However, you don’t have to follow a diet from a magazine or a book. Instead, simple changes to your lifestyle and to the way that you think can help you rise above any daily nutritional challenges.

photo by photo by

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Naturally Protein Packed Pancakes

Everyone can agree that pancakes are delicious. However, it can be argued that pancakes are not always the healthiest breakfast option. So, I decided to make a healthy version, and I took inspiration from Sarah Bakian and her delicious, fitness-inspired Instagram posts. You can actually find more of Sarah’s other healthy pancake creations at her blog.

Below is a recipe for naturally protein-packed pancakes. Take a look, and give it a try!

Egg White Oat Pancakes


  • (5) Egg whites
  • (1) Cup dry oats (blended into flour consistency)


  • Blend the oats into a fine consistency (I used a coffee bean grinder to do this).
  • Add the egg whites to the oats and mix well.
  • Ladle the mixture into a nonstick pan, turning over when the mixture bubbles along the edges.
  • Serve with warm, raw honey (as pictured). You can also serve with your syrup of choice.
  • Enjoy!

Egg White Oat Pancakes

Banana Oat Chip Bites

So Simple.

So Delicious.

So Healthy.

Banana Oat Bites


  • (1) banana*
  • (3/4) cup dry oatmeal
  • Mini chocolate chips (to taste)


  • Mash banana, dry oatmeal and chocolate chips until you reach a dough-like consistency (appx. 2 – 3 minutes).
  • Form mixture into teaspoon-size portions, and place onto parchment paper.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • Voila!


*For a sweeter taste, you can use a ripe banana.


Get Your ‘Beach Body’ Back In Time for the Summer!

The following is a guest article, submitted by one of RJR’s readers. If you are interested in submitting a guest post, follow the guidelines listed here.

It sneaks up on us every year. It’s still a little chilly outside, and your snuggled up on the couch eating a big bowl of homemade macaroni and cheese when the weather reporter hits you with upcoming temperatures that make you drop your fork—beach season is upon us.

Most people indulge a little more throughout the winter. With the holidays and the undeniable satisfaction of comfort foods when it’s cold out, it’s pretty common to put on a few pounds. But not to worry! It’s never to late to start working towards a healthier beach body. Get the motivation you need with a few of these helpful tips and tools to you get started.

Running Girl Flickr cc

Get Ready

In their post on taking steps toward attaining your beach body, Verizon Wireless says the first step is “assessing the damage.” For many people, just thinking of stepping on the scale can cause anxiety, and even discourage them from moving forward with a new routine. If you find the fear of the scale holding you back from getting started, Verizon suggests trying out the Fitbit® Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale, which apparently “greets you with a grin each time you step aboard.”

Not only does the scale give you your accurate weight, but it can provide you with your body fat and body mass index, so you can focus on getting healthy, instead of just seeing the pounds you’ve lost. To make the process even easier, the scale syncs with your smartphone, “so you can log your food, carry your diet plan and know how many calories you’ve burned throughout the day.” It’s a hassle-free, easy way to get started on making healthier choices.

Make Small Dietary Changes.

You’ve probably heard it before, but it remains true: there are no “quick fixes” for losing weight. If you try and restrict yourself  earlier on, you’ll likely end up binge eating later, or making even poorer choices to substitute your cravings. Take it slow when changing up your diet. The cold weather probably had you staying indoors and eating heavier, high-calorie foods a lot more than you normally would during the summer.

Start by swapping out one meal for a lower-calorie option. Prevention states that even though it may seem like a small step, it’s proven to go a long way in helping you reach your goals. More vegetables, fewer carbs. More grilling, less frying. Once you’ve gotten into a routine of eating a little healthier, you’re more likely to be motivated to incorporate healthier alternatives into other meals throughout your day.

Kick Up Your Exercise Routine.

No time for a workout? Well then it’s time to reevaluate. Fitness Magazine argues that there is always something you can switch out for a quick 30 minutes of exercise. Try biking to work, or use part of your lunch break to go for a walk. Not only can it help you stay on track throughout the day, but Prevention states that light exercise (away from the office) has been proven to make you more productive.

No babysitter? No problem. You can take the kids with you. Pushing a stroller can add additional resistance and muscle exertion while you walk, and some gyms even offer child daycare while you sneak in a workout.

If you’re feeling good, and ready to push yourself to the next level, remember to do so safely and take things slow. You might want results fast, but if you pull a muscle from over doing it at the gym, you’ll end up having to put your routine on hold, ultimately slowing your progression. Make little changes first. With every small victory, you’ll gain a little more motivation and confidence to keep going.

Sara U.About the Author:

Sara Upton is an advocate for healthy living and a clean lifestyle. She lives in Charleston, SC with her husband, Jeff, and their golden retriever, Henry.

Spaghetti with Kale & Poached Egg

This is a relatively easy, healthy meal that works great for lunch or dinner. It was also my first time EVER poaching an egg. The results were delicious and filling. The original recipe called for mushrooms and feta cheese, but I didn’t have mushrooms, and I’m not a huge fan of feta.

Try out the recipe below, and find a creative way to make it your own!

spaghetti kale poached egg


  • (1) lb Kale, leaves coarsely chopped
  • (2) tsp EVOO
  • (1) Red onion, chopped
  • (1/2) tsp Red pepper flakes
  • (2) Cups low-sodium veggie broth
  • (4) Cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 – 4 large eggs (as many as you want)
  • (1/2) lb Whole-grain spaghetti (8 oz)
  • (4) oz Feta cheese, crumbled (about 1.5 cups)**
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Sea Salt, to taste




  • Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add kale leaves and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Transfer kale to a colander, and reduce heat to a low simmer.


  • In a large, nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium/high. Add onion, pepper flakes and salt. Sauté, stirring frequently, until onion is golden (appx. 8 minutes).
  • Add kale and broth; stir to combine (appx. 5 minutes).
  • Add garlic, and reduce heat to low.


  • In a large saucepan, bring 2 inches of water to a boil.
  • Crack each egg separately into a small bowl or cup and then slowly add each egg to water. Reduce heat to low, and poach for 4 minutes.


  • In a separate pot, cook spaghetti al dente, according to the package directions.
  • Drain spaghetti and toss kale mixture to combine.
  • Divide mixture among serving bowls.
  • Carefully remove eggs from water and arrange over top of spaghetti mixture. Top with feta and season with additional salt and pepper.

[Recipe via Clean Eating Magazine]

20 Must-Read Running Books to ‘Fit’ In for 2014

Recently, I surveyed runners from around the web, asking them what their favorite running-related books were. The results were astounding. Thank you to all of you who participated in the conversation! The following are some great running books to check out. Have more suggestions? Leave them in the comments!

running shoes

#1 – Body for Life, by Bill Phillips

It breaks the workout and nutrition down scientifically, but in everyday language. It explains how most people either train the wrong way and/or overtrain. It begins with a 12 week cycle of the proper way to eat and work out, which is so much more simple than you can imagine. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough for the first several weeks, but my personal end results were incredible.

After being a college and professional athlete who was always in decent shape, this book took me to extraordinary shape. The workouts are short, but specific and include one day to eat anything I want. The pictures of results they show in the book (and probably a website somewhere) are accurate and true, no matter how much you say “no way.” I work in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles and have turned many actors on to this program and every single one has had success. I am in no way affiliated with Body for Life, but really do believe it enough to write this. *[suggested by David R.]

#2 – The Lore of Running by M.D., by Tim Noakes

This is an incredibly thorough book that covers just about every facet of running, from a renowned medical doctor/running aficionado Tim Noakes from South Africa. *[suggested by Bill L.]

#3 – Spark by John Ratey M.D.

This is a book about the correlation between running/exercise and how good it is for the brain and emotions and psychology of humans. *[suggested by Bill L.]

#4 – Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall

Born To Run is great. Doesn’t matter if you want to run barefoot, etc. I found it very interesting to read and it touches so many topics. *[suggested by Ninjawolf on Daily Mile]

#5 – Anatomy for Runners, by Jay Dicharry

*[suggested by Bill P.]

#6 – Barefoot Runner, by Paul Rambali

This covers the life of marathon champ Abebe Bikila who won the Olympic marathon twice in 1960 and 1964. *[suggested by Simon B.]

#7 – The Running Man, by Gilbert Tuhabonye

…which is a biography of Gilbert, primarily growing up in Burundi. *[suggested by Simon B.]

#8 – Run to Overcome, by Meb Keflezighi

His is a truly inspiring story and I highly recommend his book. It’s very engaging and a pretty fast read. *[suggested by Lisa A.]

#9 – Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, by Geoffrey Colvin

Ryan Hall mentioned he was reading “Talent is Overrated” so I picked it up. Great read! *[suggested by Luis G.]

#10 – The Big Book of Endurance Training & Racing, by Philip Maffetone

At different level they both change my mind and way of running and training. *[suggested by Luis G.]

#11 – The Runner’s Field Manual and the Runner’s Rule Book, by Mark Remy

A little light/humorous reading. *[suggested by Michael Y.]

#12 – Chicken Soup for the Runner’s Soul, by Jack Canfield, et al.

…Also short stories but a good read as well. *[suggested by Michael Y.]

#13 – Running the Highway to Hell: The 28th Sultan Marathon des Sables, by Graeme Harvey

#14 – Bowerman and the Men of Oregon: The Story of Oregon’s Legendary Coach and Nike’s Cofounder, by Kenny Moore

#15 – Running with the Buffaloes: A Season Inside with Mark Wetmore, Adam Goucher, and the University of Colorado Men’s Cross Country Team, by Chris Lear

These are two of the better running books I have read. *[#14, 15 suggested by Glen S.]

#16 – Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner, by Dean Karnazes

#17 – Feet in the Clouds: A Tale of Fell-Running and Obsession, by Richard Askwith

Both of those should get you fired up for the new year! *[suggested by Gareth E.]

#18 – From Last to first, by Charlie Spedding

#19 – More Fire: How to Run the Kenyan Way, by Toby Tanser

#20 – Bounce, by Matthew Syed

Bounce is a brilliant read, and focuses on the science of success rather than the myth of talent. *[suggested by Stuart L.]

Sacrificing Fitness for Finances: Can We Find a Balance?

I spent nearly five years working from home as a professional web copywriter and project manager for an Internet marketing company. A true testament to my discipline and work ethic, I found that working from home worked really well for me. I was more efficient, often completing work tasks in half the time it would take me when at the office. Clients were happy, my boss was happy; I had the freedom to travel and spend weeks at a time with family in New York (because my work came with me)…

This work arrangement afforded me the time to fully indulge in the healthy habits I’d already established: physical fitness and a general, overall healthy lifestyle. I could go for an 11-miler in the morning, come back, shower, physically prepare a meal and actually sit down at a table to enjoy it without checking the clock and thinking about traffic.

I got the sleep I needed, I enjoyed my work, and I always felt energized….

I was in the best physical and mental shape of my life.

But sometimes, life happens.

work life balance

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