Category Archives: Blog Articles

Good Fat, Bad Fat

Are these women getting too much fat in their diets?, Photo, courtesy of photobucket

Are you one of those people who thinks FAT equals BAD?

We’ve been taught to think this way and, in fact, the stores are full of gimmicky foods that state boldly "NO FAT" like that makes a can of cola good for you! Or those chips that are BAKED instead of FRIED are now great for you? NOT!

Fat is essential to living and we all need it to survive. Therefore FAT IS NOT ALWAYS BAD! There are 2 big problems however:

1. Most of us eat way too much fat for how much we need

2. There is FAT and then there is FAT. They may sound the same but there are big differences in FAT versus FAT

The GOOD FAT is called poly unsaturated or mono unsaturated and, generally speaking, is more like oil than lard. This type generally stays liquid even when it’s cool whereas most animal fat (lard) gets hard when it cools. Unsaturated is found in fish, seeds (sunflower, sesame, etc.) nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.) and certain fruits and vegetables like avocados and olives.

The BAD FAT is the saturated type that is found in meat like beef, lamb, chicken, and pork. There is also a scientifically manipulated fat called "trans-fat" that is another one of those experiments that, when tested over time, showed several negative side effects.

If you are like millions of others, you may have too much stored on your body. This will prevent you from living a healthy life. Additionally, you may be eating the type of fat that, when mixed with today’s sedentary lifestyle and/or super-sized portions, leads to high blood pressure, clogged arteries, strokes, and other possible life threatening conditions.

Limiting the BAD FAT by eating smaller portions or less frequent meals of saturated fat will make you feel better because digestion is quicker. You’ll feel lighter.

Eating the GOOD FAT will help your body function. You can’t live without fat but you can definitely live without excessive amounts of it.

The first step to changing from Bad Fat to Good Fat is to be aware. You’ve got the information. Now, it’s time to use it for your personal benefit.

Coach Stephanie is a fitness writer for Here is a link to this article

Blessing in Disguise

Coach Kerry talks about the true joys of running…

Photo by Lauren Ganes

The blessing in disguise, with being sidelined from a few of my favorite local races, was the ability to spectate. Last year, the San Francisco Marathon was the first race I spectated when I could not run it.

At the time, I was pretty bitter that I could not race in it. The San Francisco Half Marathon was, in fact, the race I had wanted to run since moving to the Bay Area three years ago. After having ran Nike Women’s in 2005, I “patiently” awaited my chance to run the streets of San Francisco once again.

Throughout the race, I remember feeling excitement for those that I knew when they passed, but unfortunately, it was quickly replaced with this feeling of frustration that washed over me each time I would be reminded that indeed my body was hurting.

Once time passed and I was on the mend, I still was no where near ready to run the Oakland Half Marathon in March. However, since the race was adjacent to my neighborhood, I grabbed a cup of coffee, brought my DSLR camera, and stood on the corner of Lake Merritt and waited.

I had a handful of people to cheer on from multiple groups of friends. At this point, I was back to running smaller distances so the bitterness I felt at San Francisco 9 months prior was no where to be found during the Oakland Half Marathon.

Instead, it was replaced with appreciation.

I suggest taking the opportunity to support a local race that you have not signed up for, or better yet, volunteer.

When floods of runners pass you, the perspective you gain is worthwhile. What each of you take away from watching another race might be different, but I can guarantee that it will impact you.

It takes losing something to realize its importance to you.

For me, personally, this race is not about the time, but the fact that I have the ability to run it.

Good luck to all those out there this weekend!

Track Etiquette

Remember when you are on the track that the fastest runner has the right to be in the inner (first) lane. You must move to your right when you hear someone coming from behind you or when they call out “TRACK!”

Another “biggie” is wearing head phones and running in those inside lanes. Come on!

Those runners are focused and you’ve got other distractions to get through it all.

Be considerate and run in the outside lanes. Better yet, skip the head phones, tune into your body, or as a last resort, only use one ear bud when you’re out there (on the outer lanes). Thank you very much!

Coach Kerry Says…

Due to the business of the past few weekends, I had not been able to make a WOW workout on the weekend. However, this weekend I planned on running more local and it worked out that I could participate in this Sunday’s workout at Point Isabel. I had the pleasure of running with Kelly and it made the 10 miles click away. To all those who finished another week of training, congratulations!

Coach Kerry’s photo was taken at Point Isabel by our very own wonderful photographer Lauren Ganes

What I am finding with my training plan, that Coach Stephanie is providing, is the confidence to conquer my next week of workouts. The workouts are challenging, yet I know that I am meeting them with my best effort. As a result, I am making sure that all the hard work translates to a fun, enjoyable race.

This will be my first half marathon in over a year and it will be #7 total. Since moving out to California 3 years ago, I always wanted to do the San Francisco Half Marathon. Last year, I did not make it to the starting line due to [somewhat] preventable injuries and an overambitious training plan.

If there is anything I’ve learned from not being able to train [and I’ve learned a lot from that], it is this – be patient, yet proactive. I wanted so much to try again the next week, and the next to see if “time would heal all wounds.” Unfortunately, it usually doesn’t…maybe only with break-ups, and even then it can get a little tricky.

My point is that what you are doing when you aren’t running is as important as what you do when you are running. What many training plans lack is a disclaimer that says,

“This training plan will work muscles, muscles that when overworked can lead to injury. So be sure to do something else except running, only.”

Next week, I hope to talk about some routines that can keep you moving through a full training plan.

Daily Calorie Requirements?

How many calories do you need? According to WikiHow “Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S”. This is both scary and indication that we need to watch our calories.

The bottom line is that if you eat more calories than you need you will gain weight. So how do you determine how many calories is enough? It’s not complicated but it may surprise you how few calories are needed unless you add regular activity to your daily regimen.

There is a simple formula that gives you a good baseline and here goes: Take your current weight and multiply it by 10. For example, a 130 pound woman will multiply 130 X 10 = 1300. This is your baseline calorie requirement. A man who weighs 180 will multiply that number by 10 = 1800. This is his basic requirement.

The basic requirement only gives us a guideline as to what our body needs to maintain when it is entirely inactive. This would mean someone lying in bed all day. So, where do we go from here? If you do nothing but walk to and from your car, sit at your computer, then head home to watch television you can still add 10% to this calculation.

Our woman gets an extra 130 calories and the man gets 180 bringing their totals to 1430 and 1980. This is not a lot of calories and can be consumed in one meal if you’re not careful. One jumbo cheeseburger with fries and a shake comes close to 1300 calories! WHOA!!

What do you do with this information? Please understand it is very general. Younger people who are still growing will use more calories. The older we get, the less energy our bodies need to maintain us so, someone at age 70 we will need less calories than someone at age 40. Each of us is unique so we certainly can’t gauge an exact calorie need by the formula described. It is a starting point and a guide line. It is also a reminder that you are what you eat.

Try this general guide and see how it works for you. Tweak it to your needs. Finally, and we’ll talk about this in another article; you can adjust the number of calories you consume by your level of activity.

While you don’t control your gender, your body type or your ideal weight, you have total control over your activity level and what food goes in your mouth.

Food for thought…

Link to Youtube Video above

Time to Taper

Nike Womens Marathon time to taper

October 17 Marathon and Half Marathon Training is now in taper mode

For those of you who have trained long and hard for the upcoming marathon and half marathon at Long Beach, Nike, Redwoods, and others, the light is at the end of the tunnel!

Now is the time to rest, eat well, and mentally prepare for your event. Take the time to run the course in your mind. If you have already seen or raced on the course, this helps. If you have not been a participant before, try to drive the course ahead of your race. In the meantime, look at a map on the website and mentally “map out” your strategy. Think the course through. Consider the START and how to navigate the crowd; think aid stations- how you will utilize them and how much time you allot to them; think bathroom stops and how to avoid them or, in an emergency, what are your options; think nutrition – how long will you be on the course and what will you need to stay strong.

There are other questions to think about so, do this in a quiet place when you are in a relaxed mode. Run the course virtually, several times, always improving, always fine tuning your strategy.

The physical training is waning and the mental component is taking over. Take on this challenge and practice it. This is the final part of your training plan. This is the culmination of what you’ve been working so hard at for the last several months! Go for it! Your time is here!

Your Resting Heart Rate

Are you at a peak level of fitness or just starting an exercise program? No matter, your resting heart rate can monitor your current condition and measure changes. You can track your fitness progress and overall health with this simple tool.

Here’s How:
First thing in the morning, before you jump out of bed, take your pulse for 60 seconds. Write down the number you counted. Do this for at least 7 days. There should be a pattern in the numbers.

Generally speaking, if you are in the 60-80 beats per minute (bpm) range you are in the “normal” range. Good for you! Many athletes will be lower than 60 bpm, first thing in the morning because their resting heart beats very efficiently. I have met many “athletes” who have resting heart rates (RHR) in the low 50’s. This is normal for them.

Here’s Why:
Before you get up in the morning your body has been resting overnight. Your heart rate, at this time, should reflect a rested body, ready to take on a new day. After 7 days of measuring, if your rate is similar (within a few beats) every day, and you are also below 80 bpm, you can assume that you are getting the rest you need.

However, if one day, you wake up and your RHR is 10 beats higher or more, STOP! Take a rest. Something is going on here that is keeping your body from getting the rest it needs. This is why your heart is beating faster. Skip the training and opt for the recovery phase. Your body, via your RHR, is telling you it needs rest..

Repeat this test once a week as a general measurement or any time you are feeling tired or sick. If your heart rate is elevated your body is telling you it needs some rest. LISTEN! Take it easy.

Naturally Simple and Effective
Your Resting Heart Rate is a very effective tool in monitoring overall fitness and heart health and when you might be overdoing your training or coming down with something. Any time you can use information direct from the source, to stay in touch with your own body, take advantage of it. In addition to the convenience factor it is also free.

About the author:  Stephanie Atwood is a Long Distance Running Coach, Nutrition Consultant and Certified Personal Trainer who writes and speaks about fitness and good health, focusing on women. Atwood founded the walking and running club called The WOW Team to encourage all women to include activity in their daily lives. See and workout sites at Contact her at

For weekly fitness event updates in the greater Bay Area subscribe to Coach Stephanie’s articles at Bay Area Women’s Fitness Examiner



Train for the SFM Half Marathon

Only Three Runs a Week!

This is a tough one for those addicted runners to buy into but it works!

In Run Less, Run Faster, Authors Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, and Ray Moss explain the benfits of “less is more”. For experienced runners, you add quality to your workout instead of injury-prone extra miles. For relative newcomers you limit the amount of miles you train, keeping yourself from the likelihood of high impact and over-use injuries. Sound good? It is!

The difficulty comes in the intensity of each workout. Each week you need to run with a purpose. Workout 1 practices all out speed. Workout 2 adds mid-distance at a tough pace. Workout 3 works on distance and endurance, based on your past running experience. Each workout has a specific purpose. Additionally, you are expected to cross-train on some of the other days with rest also being essential. How much rest depends on your experience level and your recovery. Please refer to the article about Resting Heart Rates. You’re half way there!

May 24-30 – Goal – Build Strength and Endurance
Monday – REST
Tuesday – Cross train, focusing on core strength and upper body conditioning plus flexibility
Wednesday – Track Workout or 3 miles or 30 minutes hard pace/tempo run plus 5 – 10 min. warm-up
Thursday – REST or Cross Train
Friday – 4 miles or 40 minutes tempo pace plus 5 minutes warm-up
Saturday – Cross Train 1 Hour or REST
Sunday – 10 miles or 2 hours steady whichever comes first (5 mins warm-up, 110 mins steady, 5 mins easy)

Strollers OK?

Question of the week…

Hi Stephanie— I just joined online. I have a 3-year-old and a jogging stroller. Is it ok to bring her? Will I be the only person walking? I’m hoping to not just get in shape, but also meet some people and have conversations that don’t involve threatening to turn off the cartoons – Teena

Hi Teena – Thank you for contacting The WOW Team. We definitely have women who walk and even some with strollers or dogs! That said, the group is for fitness so, you need to walk (or run) hard. If that is your goal, then why not give us a try? We also strive for 60 minutes of movement. The pace is not the issue, just the attitude that we’re not strolling…

Conversation is essential and definitely a part of what our group strives for. The social and supportive part of exercising with other women and, for you, having interaction with adults is, I know, an issue. I have 4 children who are now grown but I remember the days when everything was scheduled around them. It was great when they started in to school full time! So, give us a try. I think you’ll be glad you did! Go WOW Team! – Coach Stephanie

Note: Used in GWL 3-2016

Free Running Groups

I thought you might like the article I wrote about The WOW Team in my examiner column this week. Follow the link. Thanks!

Free Running Groups

Questions? Contact Coach Stephanie at

Go WOW Team! Ongoing fitness for women through running and walking