Five Pitfalls of Skipping Breakfast

Breakfast Popcorn and Milk + Breakfast on the farm with Kristin Kimball + A170828 + Food & Wine + November 2017Photo Credit: Food & Wine magazine

Mood swings. Brain fog. Zapped energy… all consequences of skipping breakfast. After an eight-hour fast, your body and brain need nutrients to function optimally. Skipping your morning meal negatively impacts your health, mood and cognitive abilities.

Take a few minutes to consume the following tidbits of research, and you will understand why breakfast is an important meal.

Five reasons why you need to start your day with a nutrient-dense meal.

1 Breakfast skippers are 4.5 times more likely to be obese than those who take a morning meal. Eating earlier in the day prevents people from overeating later in the day. It also suppresses concentrations of insulin, a hormone in our body that encourages fat cells to take up fatty acids and store them. (American Journal of Epidemiology).

2 Breakfast skippers are more likely to have poor cholesterol levels and insulin sensitivity than breakfast-eaters, (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition).

3 “…Breakfast may play an important role in reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes and
cardiovascular disease…” (Dr. Mark Pereira, of Harvard Medical School)

4 Eating high-energy foods for breakfast could help to boost short-term memory, between ages 13 and 20, (Journal of Adolescent Health).

5 Skipping breakfast negatively impacts a school-aged child’s ability to effectively problem-solve. Students who consumed breakfast tested higher in standardized test scores, were absent less from school and were more on time to class, (Centers for Disease Control report on guidelines for school health programs).

Sources: Compilation of studies conducted between 1991 – 2013.

By Stacy Rhea, A.C.E. Certified Trainer with 25 Years Personal Training and 14 Years Multi-Sport Experience


Women Who Tri

Dawn M vermillion Tri 16In the last three to four years, triathlons — swimming, biking and running — have gained in popularity, both nationally and locally.

The sport of triathlon has a long history in Cleveland. The first Cleveland Triathlon, originally known as the National City Triathlon, debuted in 1987 and celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2016. In 1996, Cleveland hosted the Triathlon World Championships, and could potentially host the 2018-19 USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals, according to Mickey Ryzmek, USAT certified race director and promoter of North Coast Multisports.

More people are being drawn to the sport, which is a three-sport athletic competition involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines: swimming, biking and running.

What draws a person to the sport of triathlon? That varies from person to person.

“I thought it was cool,” says Dawn Maniawski, 45, a mother of one from Chagrin Falls. “I always wanted to try one, but I didn’t think I could; I didn’t consider myself an athlete, although I ran and swam regularly.”

Like others, Maniawski found the open water swim (OWS) intimidating.

“Not knowing what was below me, or being able to swim to the side of the pool if I needed, intimidated me,” she said, adding some advice for newbies. “Don’t be intimidated. Take your training step-by-step and utilize local resources such as coaches, clubs and clinics.”

Dawn Maniaski, Olympic Triathlon – Milton Head, 2015

Expert Advice for Training and Beyond

Tim Edwards, USAT Level 2 coach, offers the following advice for those who are new to triathlons:

  • Start slow and easy. The best way to begin training for your first triathlon is to start slow and build in a logical manner to prevent injuries. Consider working with a coach, as the guidance and support allow you to develop good techniques and sound training principles.
  • Goal setting. Your first goal should be to have fun in a safe manner and finish your race. This will build your confidence.
  • Picking your first event. Pick races that are fun but challenging. After that, explore different venues and distances. Athletes tend to achieve much more with a stretch goal that will keep them engaged, yet is not so big they get injured.
  • Find a club. There are a few local triathlon clubs in the area. Meeting like-minded people will help you stay focused and motivated, plus racing with others is a lot of fun.
  • Create a relay team. If you are uncertain about doing all three events by yourself, create a relay team. This will allow you to experience a multisport event without feeling overwhelmed or intimidated.
  • Make it a family event. The popularity of triathlons is gaining momentum with young athletes, too.

“There are Splash and Dash races where the kids can try the sport without a bike,” Edwards says. “Lots of resources are being put into youth and junior development now. Even up to college age should max out at Olympic distances.”

To learn more about junior development, clinics and coaching, visit

Pinpointing the exact causes of increased interest is arduous, but the USA Triathlon, the national governing body for the sport, offers a list of factors that have played a role. Here are six that pertain to Northeast Ohio:

  • Society’s interest in fitness and living a healthy lifestyle
  • The growth in the number of more accessible shorter sprint races, which made the sport
    more accessible to those with fewer hours to train each week
  • Growth in the 30-49 age groups who are looking for varied outlets for fitness
  • Peer pressure from friends who have tried the sport
  • Increase in clubs, which create a community concept for men, and especially women, who
    enjoy the group training and support atmosphere
  • It’s on the bucket list (our featured athlete, Dawn Maniawski, has a sprint triathlon on her bucket list).

Local Triathlon Promoters

All four of the following promoters offer a variety of races throughout the year. Check their websites for all races and details.

Champ Racing —

HFP Racing —

NCN Racing —

NorthCoast Multisports —

By Stacy Rhea, A.C.E. Certified Trainer with 25 Years Personal Training and 14 Years Multi-Sport Experience

Walking: A Step in the Right Direction

walking.jpg.860x0_q70_crop-scalePhoto Credit: Public Domain Pixabay

It’s time to lace up and take advantage of the sunnier, warmer days of summer. The simple act of walking is a great way to add quality physical activity to your day. Walking can be done anywhere, anytime.  City sidewalks, all-purpose trails throughout the parks or on the beautiful hiking trails throughout the county are three great choices.

Here are six reasons and tips to help you get started today.

1 Lowers risk of health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes
2 Improves circulation
3 Reduces blood cholesterol
4 Strengthens your bones, joints and muscles
5 Burn more calories
6 Improves mood

Tips to get you started

Make a plan
The best way to get started and stick to any activity is to create a plan. The following
questions will help you plan and prepare for your daily walks.

Where will you walk?
How often will you walk?
Who will walk with you? Dogs are great walking companions.
How far or for how long will you walk?

Proper footwear and clothing
Do you have the right shoes? Do they provide proper support?  A specialty shoe store, like Vertical Runner, Fleet Feet or Lucky Shoes are three local choices where experts will help you determine the best shoe for your foot type.

Clothes to keep you warm or cool, dry and comfortable. Outdoor activity shops will be able to help you with the proper attire.

Warm-up. Cooldown.
Begin with a five-minute stroll and gradually increase your distance.

Walk at a comfortable pace. Focus on good posture, keeping your head lifted and shoulders relaxed.

Swing your arms naturally, breathe deeply. If you can’t catch your breath, slow down or avoid hills.

Activity guidelines
Adults need 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity.

30 minutes per day / five days per week = 150 minutes per week

Walking it a great way to meet new people, enhance current friendships and spend time with your significant other. Plus, you get the added benefit of feeling energized while doing something to improve your health.

By Stacy Rhea, A.C.E. Certified Trainer with 25 Years Personal Training and 14 Years Multi-Sport Experience

Respect the Taper

Mo Half Marathon, March 2018 

After months of pushing through long runs, preserving through various weather conditions and tackling hill repeats with relentless effort, in preparation for your 13.1, you have arrived at the pointing your training that requires – dare I say it: the taper.

Yes, it’s taper time and if you are new to racing, you will quickly understand why the taper can be one of the most challenging aspects of the race preparation, yet how important it is to your race day success.

What is a taper?
Tapering is the training phase prior to a long distance event, such as a half marathon or longer distance, when a runner begins to cut back on his or her mileage. For a half marathon, runners typically begin tapering two weeks before the race. This phase allows the body to rest, recovery and mentally prepare prior to race day. More advanced runners may only need a seven-day taper.

Some runners feel a two-week taper is too long, and are fearful of losing the fitness they have worked so hard to gain. Keep in mind training is a destructive process. After months of stress on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, your body needs to time to heal.

According to an article published in the Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, runners shoe levels of muscle glycogen, enzymes, antioxidants, and hormones — all depleted by high mileage return to optimal ranges during a taper. The muscles damage that occurs during sustained training is also repaired.

Perhaps the most telling benefit of the taper is the conclusion n the article: the average performance improvement by the subjects who tapered on these studies was three percent. that works out to be five to 10 minutes in a marathon.

How to taper:
When it comes to tapering, there is no cookie cutter method, but on average, a two-week taper is recommended for a half marathon and three weeks for a marathon.

Here are some basic guidelines for a half marathon two-week taper:
Begin the two-week taper after your last long run,  10-14 miles on Sunday

Week one of the taper: run 75 percent of your normal mileage

The final week: run 50 percent of your normal mileage

Two days out: run easy for 30 minutes

The day before: after a short run, 15 to 20 minutes, stay off your legs as much as possible

If you haven’t put in the training time prior to the taper you will not be able to catch up during taper. Trying to do so may result in injury, sub-optimal race times or a DNF (did not finish)

Respect the taper!

By Stacy Rhea, A.C.E. Certified Trainer with 25 Years Personal Training and 14 Years Multi-Sport Experience