The David Barton Project:

Wow, Thanksgiving was rough! I tried very, very hard to stick to my guns and, overall, I'm proud that I didn't fall completely off the wagon. I allowed myself little treats over the holiday like a sliver of pumpkin pie, a cookie, and a few bites of amazingly buttery mashed potatoes. I tried to keep my portions of everything else small and tried (kind of) not to drink too much wine. I could have done better in that respect, but I upped my cardio to make up for it, severely punishing myself in the process.

Speaking of punishing myself, I'm sure I've mentioned this before--possibly in every single one of my posts--but I am constantly dealing with soreness. Enter, the "stick of death" which I briefly mentioned last week. Normal people with actual fitness knowledge (i.e., not me) call it foam rolling. I haven't had the pleasure of using foam yet, but have instead been using a long, plastic stick, kind of like a rolling pin. MacKenzie told me it was because she couldn't find the foam roller but I'm pretty sure it's because she thinks I have special needs. I would have to agree. So, if you haven't ever had the pleasure of being rolled out or doing it yourself, I will try to explain in my own, novice terms:

Foam rolling is a myofascial release technique. You roll over the muscle until you find a tender point. When you find one, you increase pressure for 30-60 seconds, to the point where the muscle is at risk of injury, and then the body responds by relaxing the muscle. This is called autogenic inhibition. When the muscle relaxes, you get a better stretch, range of motion, and you will be much less sore in the long run. The first time can be very painful (I broke into a cold sweat), but the pain diminishes as you continue to use the technique. This has worked wonders on my calves.

In other random fitness news, I thought I'd share another trick of the trade that I've learned. I've written before about struggling to eat small meals throughout the day, and I've found a solution for those times where I'm just too busy to get that last snack in before a workout. Coconut oil! MacKenzie turned me on to not only using coconut oil in cooking (less calories than olive oil) but to use it as a pre-workout snack because it is instantly converted to energy and helps boost endurance.

Next week I'll report back on the new protein powder that I'm using and if I see any differences between the expensive stuff and my old Trader Joe's standby, and I'll have another week under my belt. Only a few left to reach my goal and the pressure is mounting. I hope the extra cardio I'm putting in will pay off! Check back to see....

- Jacquie Perez