Thursday, October 31, 2013

Healthy Halloween Treat Debate

Happy Halloween!

Even though I'm an adult now, a non-candy eating adult, I still enjoy Halloween.  I think I enjoy most holidays.  Not for the candy or presents you get, but because it's a departure for the norm and a chance for everyone to have a little fun. Halloween is also very close to my birthday and as a kid lots of my birthday parties were Halloween themed.

Last night Kyle and I finally decorated our pumpkin.  I'm a big fan of traditions, and since we didn't carve pumpkins last year it HAD to be done in 2013.
Welcome Pumpkin Evo (with a side of the World Series - Go Red Sox)!
This year at the Fit2Flex home I opted to give out mini bags of pretzels over candy.  I saw the Halloween themed bags at Whole Foods and thought it would be something different and slightly healthier to give out.  Kyle says our house is going to get egged.  Let's hope not!

In other news it's been a busy few days around here.  Tuesday was my birthday and Kyle set out of spectacular day of surprises for me from a private shopping event at one of my fave stores, to a spa day, and my traditional birthday donut.  He's a keeper!  Here's a look at my surprise birthday from 2011.
Some of you have been asking how my marathon training has been going and the truth is it has been tough.  From 6 weeks of travel to a new job...I have an excuse for every reason I'm not running.  And I'm not happy about it.  Marathon training is a big commitment and I've just decided to put my focus in other areas these past 6 weeks.  Do I think I can still finish the race? I'm 70% sure that I can, but I know it won't be the time I was preparing to run.  I still have 4 weeks to the race, but taper starts in two so I'm a little disheartened and mad about myself.

Monday night I got home late from work and only had enough sunlight to squeak in some high intensity sprints.  I did a .75 mile warm up and then 7 rounds of 1 minute sprint x 1 minute rest.
Tuesday was a full body birthday workout and a 1 mile run after.  Wednesday evening I opted for a 6 mile tempo run. My watch didn't record my mile splits (what?), but my warm-up mile was around 9:35 and my final average pace for the 6 miles was 9:00 per mile.  I stopped once for water and once to stretch a tight hip.
I have a long run planned this weekend, which will end up being hopefully between 16-20 miles.

What are you doing this Halloween?
Did you carve a pumpkin?
Do you think my house will get egged for passing out pretzels?

Love and healthy alternatives,
Carissa & Kyle

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How I Passed My RD Exam

Since I have spent that last 48 hours at the Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo, which is basically the national conference of RD's, I thought it was fitting to finally share with you my take on studying for and passing the RD exam.  It is humbling to be in the presence of such rockstar RD's and I can't wait to continue to grow and learn from them.

The word that comes to my mind most often when I think about passing my exam to become a Registered Dietitian is relief.  Graduation was exciting, but the anxiety of the upcoming RD exam made it hard to celebrate.  If you’re an RD-to-be or thinking about starting that journey then I wish you the best of luck.  Here are my tips for successfully studying for and passing the RD exam.

Once you officially graduate and finish your internship it will take anywhere from 3-6 weeks to find out you are eligible to take the exam.  From that timeline I had a rough idea of when I wanted to take the exam and planned my studying around that.  I didn’t really kick my studying up until about 2 weeks before the exam and then I spent 3 full 8-hour days studying.
Note:  We all study and learn differently.  We all also had different school and internship experiences.  This is just what helped me the most.

The main material I used to study was the Jean Inman study review.  Jean Inman is legendary in the RD world for her amazing study guide.  I was able to do the review with Inman in person.  There’s also a CD version.  Listen to the review and highlight in your notebook certain points to remember.  The entire book is 150 pages.
After the review I set up a calendar of how many pages of the Inman review I wanted to go over each night.  My goal was to review and make flashcards for 10 pages of review material per night.  I learn very well with flashcards, so everything that was highlighted on the Inman review that I thought I needed to study, I put on a card.  There were A LOT of cards.  I kept them divided out by the 4 domains.  I also made a sheet of formulas, government agencies, and clinical lab values (sodium, prealbumin, etc to memorize).
Flashcards really help me to memorize things.  Once the flashcards were complete I kept them in my car and would go over them at stoplights and when doing cardio at the gym.  When I was very familiar with a card I would add it to a separate pile and focus my energy on the ones I didn’t know as well.

The Inman review also comes with 1000 review questions.  The two weeks before the exam I started to do the review questions.  My advice – Do every, single Inman question.  Yes, some of them were on the exam and it felt great to know the answer 100%.  The night before the exam I went and worked every food service math problem and reviewed the questions I got wrong the first time.  I didn’t review questions (besides math) that I got right the first time.  Inman advised, “If you got it right once, then you’ll get it right twice”.
Our school also signed us up for the sTEP review program that’s done along with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  It provides review questions for each domain of the exam.  What I liked about this is that it gives you an explanation of why you got a question wrong and it was in the same format as the online test.  However some of the things on this review were not on my version of the RD exam at all. It also was not very heavy on the math portions of the exam.  I’ll be honest and say by the time I was done studying I was still only getting about 80% on these tests.

The third tool I used to study was the Visual Veggies software.  The folks at Visual Veggies are wonderful and they sent me a copy of both CD’s to review.  They are constantly updating their study tools to insure they cover the latest material.  Once I had reviewed all the Inman material I would alternate with the sTEP and Visual Veggies review questions.  It was good to hear the questions asked in a different way.  It also gave me an idea of what I needed to study more.
The final thing that helped me on my exam was my clinical internship experience.  The one area of the exam that was the least like the Inman review was the clinical area, however I felt I had a strong background to pull information from.  I didn’t have to calculate any enteral feedings, but you should know what goes into that and in what disease states enteral nutrition is supported.

The day of the exam I was nervous.  Very nervous.  I couldn’t take the exam until 1pm, so I spent an anxious morning trying to study.  I would recommend getting an early exam time if you can.  I also highly recommend taking your time when you start.  Take deep breaths and read the first few questions very, very slowly.  This will help calm your nerves.  I had plenty of time for the test and finished in about an hour.

Everyone’s version of the exam is different, but I can recommend knowing how to do all of your food service math problems and knowing the government agencies like WIC, USDA, FDA, EFNEP. When questions were long and management related it helped me to remember that in most situations you have to “assess and understand” the problem before you can act.  Inman explains this in the back of her review.

You will most likely know way more than you need to when you sit down to take the exam.  I sure feel like I did, but I’m happy I studied as much as I did.

Good luck to all your future registered dietitians out there! 

Love and edible portion,
Carissa & Kyle

Sunday, October 13, 2013

RunDisney's Tower of Terror 10 Miler 2013

In Orlando in early October there is no better spooky, sweat-fest than RunDisney's Tower of Terror 10 miler.  Where else can you trek through Disney in the dark with 10,000 of your friends and meet up with some of the best Halloween themed Disney characters through the course?  No where!  You gotta be there!
The weekend's events include a two day race expo and speaker series, the Happy Haunted Trail Run 5k, and kids races.
For a RunDisney event this is one of the smaller expos.  Packet pick-up, speaker series, and the expo are all held in the Josten's Center at ESPN Wide World of Sports.
Sweatybands love!
Saturday morning was the 5k (recap here) and then as soon as I was done I had the world's fastest shower and got RRRRRRRRRRRRReady for the kid's race.  Oh hey pirate Carissa...
Steve and I tried our best to incorporate pirate jokes into the kids race fun.

What's a pirate's favorite holiday?
Arrrrrrrrbor Day!  You're welcome.

The big event, the 10 miler, started at 10pm on Saturday night at Disney's Hollywood Studios.  John, Rudy, and I dressed as guests and employees at the 60's era Tower hotel.
My "cousin" (husband's cousin's wife = cousin) Taina was there for her first RunDisney event.  She did a great job and I can't wait until she does her first half marathon!
It was also great to see Fit2Flex friend Tim rocking his Beast Mode in Corral A!
I also got to interview and meet some of the runners before the event.  This creative and brave gentleman was dressed up as Princess Jasmine for the Expedition Everest Challenge and he really upped his game this time.  Chewy in a man thong.
He was actually a super nice and funny guy and his friend proposed to his girlfriend at the pre-race staging area on the camera.  She said yes!
Around 9:30 Rudy and I headed to the start and at 10pm corral A started the race.  It was warm and humid again this year, but not as bad as 2012.  This was the first race where RunDisney made changes to the corral system.  The first few corrals had less people (500 I think) and only 2 minutes between waves.  Then the middle corrals had 3 minutes and through corral J had 4 minutes between waves.  This is a big contrast to the 8 minutes per wave we had at the Disneyland Half Marathon.
The runners ran out of Hollywood studios, towards Animal Kingdom, to Wide World of Sports and the baseball field (where a game was actually being played), and finally though Hollywood Studios for the big finish!
The male winner was Garrett Drogosch, 22, who runs for Wake Forest.  Last year's winning time was around 58 minutes, so we were all a little shocked when he came blazing through in 54:09.

Even more shocking?  This photo of me interviewing him after the finish.  Yikes!  On another note, Garrett ran for a wonderful charity called Noah's Light that I recommend you check out. They are working to find a cure for pediatric brain cancer.  Cancer sucks!
Congrats to all the runners and a special shout out to Taina, Heather, Amanda, and Kelly on their great races!
Also thank you our former PA Frank who saved the starving announcers with a midnight Subway trip.  THANK YOU!
Next up the Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend!

Did you run the Tower of Terror race? What'd you think of the new corrals?
What costume would you pick next for "Chewy"?
Who's running Wine & Dine?

Love and elevator rides,
Carissa & Kyle

Friday, October 11, 2013

Halloween Tabata

Today I am off to Key West for my sister-in-law's bachelorette party and to run the half marathon at the Southernmost Marathon.  I'll be back with a full recap and hopefully a happy race story next week.

I wanted to share a Halloween themed tabata workout that is great for when you don't have a lot of time to workout or if you're looking for a great way to burn fat.  This workout was originally posted last year, but I thought it was perfect timing to share it again.

Tabata workouts were created by the coach of the Japanese Olympic Speed Skating team. His last name was Tabata.  When will people blog about the Bealert workout? We love Tabata's, because they incorporate the high intensity training techniques we support.

To complete a "tabata" you choose one exercise and do it for 20 seconds.  Then rest for 10 seconds and repeat 8 times.  It's helpful to use a timer.  Once you complete the 8 rounds then rest one minute and go to the next exercise.

Any exercise can be incorporated into a Tabata and a incline sprint is a great tabata to add to the end of a full body workout.

Here's our very spooky Transylvania Tabata:

Here's a video explanation of the exercises complete with a Minnie appearance: 

Tabata's are also great for a group boot camp setting.  Have everyone start at a different exercise and rotate through.  We did a Tabata workout at the Fitness & Health Bloggers Conference in 2012.

Have you done Tabata's before?  What do you use as your timer?

Love and Twilight,
Carissa & Kyle

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Happy Haunted 5k Trail Run

The first weekend in October over 10,000 runners and friends arrived in Orlando for a spooky weekend of running as part of RunDisney's Tower of Terror 10 miler weekend!
It's one of RunDisney's "smaller" (yes 10,000 is small) events, but since it's holiday themed it is one of my favorites!  This year was extra special, because I was able to run the Happy Haunted 5k Trail Run on Saturday morning.
Shirt - Target 2011, Pumpkin Sweatyband from the expo
I did a negative split tempo run on Thursday evening at home.  I started with a 9:59 mile and then pushed down from there to 8:51, 8:40, 8:32, 8:20.  Then I wheezed the last mile home (my allergies were crazy) and told myself to be smart and not run on Saturday, because I have a half marathon this coming Saturday.
Well, I'm easily swayed by medals and the promise of a headless horseman and I was up at 5:45 am on Saturday for my third RunDisney 5k.
With announcer John
The race was held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex and was run on their cross country (trail) course there.  Why oh why do I always end up running on trails?
Before the race there was an EPIC appearance by the headless horseman.  All of our RunDisney employees came in early to see it.  How cool creepy is that guy?
Right before the start I jumped into the front of corral A and even got photobombed by Mickey while taking a picture with Kristin.
The first .3 of the race took you around some of the fields at the sports complex before we made our turn into the woods.  I know last year the course was muddy, but this year it was just dry and sandy.
The Disney entertainment team did a great job spacing out characters and entertainment along the woods.  There were spooky sounds, creepy bugs, and I think 3 or 4 character stops.  I jumped in for a quick photo with Prince John.  He's one of my fave villains!
I could tell that my legs were sore from Thursday's run AND Friday morning's workout, but I still hoped to maintain a good pace.  The running on the sand was tough business!

Mile 1 - 8:30
Mile 2 - 8:50 (photo stop + dropped my phone in the sand)

The good thing about being in corral A was that there were no lines for the photo opportunities.  I had to laugh because the amazing volunteers were out there holding water and most of the first 50 or so runners didn't stop.  I tried to muster a "thank you" to them, but I was a little out of breath. THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS!

Around mile 2.25 the course came out and we did a lap on the New Balance track.  It felt so good to be running on the track and my pace improved considerably....for 300 meters.  This is also where they had the gravediggers from the Haunted Mansion and I'm kinda bummed I didn't stop for a pic.
Mile 3- 8:29

After the track we were back onto the grass of the field and I was not a happy camper.  Track running > wet grass running.  I held on for the final .25 and finished just under 27 minutes on the clock.  My Garmin said 3.17 miles with an 8:34 pace.
I'm not thrilled with my time, which is insane because it's just a fun run.  I'm a little nuts sometimes.  I am, however thrilled that I got to experience another RunDisney run and that I have a spooky medal to add to my collection.
Since Christmas is my favorite time of all I'm hoping to run the Jingle Jungle 5k again too!  I'm signed up, but I don't know if my race announcing schedule will allow it until the week of the race.

I'll be back later this week to recap the Tower of Terror expo and the 10 miler.  It's a HUGE time of RD studying for me, so thanks for the understanding and the well wishes.

Did you run the Happy Haunted 5k?
Who's your fave Disney villain?

Love and The Queen,
Carissa & Kyle

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Talking Aloe Vera Juice

Hello friends!  How's your week?  I'm having another one of those weeks where I can't keep straight the day!  Between traveling to Virginia, work, RD exam studying, and a RunDisney race weekend I feel like I'm in a constant state of movement.

I wanted to pop in real quick a share a bit of my day today.  My boss arranged for me to appear of the Good Day Orlando show on Fox 35 this morning as a nutritionist to talk about the  upcoming trend of aloe vera juice.
So what's the aloe vera juice a win or a bust?
Here's a link to watch the clip.

In my research I didn't find a lot of scientific research to support the claims of aloe vera juice.  Personally I think it has a kind of chunky taste.  A fresh, yet chunky taste.  If you want to try it, it's best ice cold.  Also check the ingredients - some brands only have aloe vera powder and not the actual plant.  There is one research study to support aloe vera juice for immune boosting properties and one study that showed improvement in symptoms of ulcerative colitis.  But weight loss?  I'm not buying.
In terms of a "trendy" drink I say that coconut water is better, because is does hydrate and provide a lot of potassium.

I'm off to study, but I'm looking forward to seeing some of you at the RunDisney Tower of Terror 10 miler.  My cousin Taina is running her first 10-miler!  Get it girl!

Have you tried aloe vera juice?
Do you buy into healthy trends?

Love and ancient plants,
Carissa & Kyle