Oxidative Stress and the Athlete

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Easy and Free Ways to Raise Money for your Favorite Charity!

It's January! The streets (and internet) are a buzz with resolutions, power words goals and fitness! We are looking at how we can take better care of ourselves as well as others. That normally takes time or money. Both are resources that seem to be tight after a long holiday season. So how do you help the charities that are so near and dear to your heart? There are so many great causes out there, but we are often limited to helping one or two. Well, that is no longer the case! Two apps are here to help you give while you are doing other activities.

They are helping you multiply your time and that is a good thing!

Easy and Free Ways to Raise Money for your Favorite Charity - Charity Miles and Donate a Photo 1.png

Here at THLP we are all about simplifying and multiplying our efforts. Enter the Charity Miles and Donate a Photo apps! Each app allows you to support a charity of your choosing while already doing something that you normally do! Exercising and taking pictures! 

How do they work?

Charity Miles


  1. Download the app
  2. Create a profile
  3. Choose the Healthy Living Revolution Team
  4. Start raising money while you get fit!
  5. Feel great that you did something for you and someone else!

Large corporations, register as sponsors. You choose the charity and a corporation is assigned to sponsor your activity. There are ads that will pop up, but I just put my phone in my water bottle holder and I am on my way! 

Listed below are just a few of the charities that can benefit from your exercise!

Girls On The Run
– Empowering girls through running

Special Olympics
– Empower athletes with intellectual disabilities

Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America
– Cure Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis

She’s the First
– Educate girls in low-income countries

– Provide shoes to fight poverty worldwide

Nothing But Nets
– Provide anti-malaria bednets

Back On My Feet
– Empower people experiencing homelessness

The Ironman Foundation
– Get kids active

Foundation of the NSNA
– Support our future nurses

The Michael J. Fox Foundation
– Cure Parkinson’s Disease

Autism Speaks
– Support Autism research

World Wildlife Fund
– Protect nature and wildlife

Stand Up To Cancer
– Fund cancer research

– Protect Animals

Alzheimer’s Association
– Support Alzheimer’s research

– Support our service members

Team Red, White & Blue
– Enrich the lives of American veterans

Feeding America
– Fight hunger in America

ALS Association
– Fighting to treat and cure ALS

Habitat for Humanity
– Provide housing to people worldwide

National Multiple Sclerosis Society
– Move towards a world free of MS

Wounded Warrior Project
– Honor and empower wounded warriors

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
– Cure and treat childhood cancer

Charity: Water
– Provide clean and safe drinking water

National Park Foundation
– Protect our National parks

Our friends at Healthy Living Revolution, created a Charity Miles team and we have been having a great time being part of it and raising money while we get fit!

At the time of this post

our team has logged over 40,000 miles for charity!

Donate a Photo

  1. Download the app
  2. Create a profile
  3. Take a photo and share!
  4. Set the reminders for you to take a picture every day
  5. Feel great about your good deed!

It seems that Donate a Photo has a few different types of campaigns. Campaigns that help an unlimited amount of people, campaigns that will help a maximum number of people (you can tell by the __ of __ helped counter on the campaign, and inactive campaigns that we closed once the commitment was made. They layout their campaigns in categories and completed.

The categories are: 

  • Women's and Children's Health
  • Healthy Families
  • Health Workforce
  • Environmental Health
  • Global Disease Challenges
  • Essential Surgery
  • Education and Equality
  • Emergency Relief

If you join either app to start raising money, tag us on your social media shares or use the #thehealthylifeproject so we can celebrate you! 

F @thehealthylifeprojectblog   |  IG @thehealthylifeprojectblog   |  T  @thehealthylifep

Are you improving your health in 2018?

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The Good News OR The Bad News? Dave's Report

Want to know what season is my husband's favorite? Hurricane season. Yup. Not winter, spring, summer or fall...  Why? Well, he's a surfer and when there are hurricanes off the coast they bring great waves. So, you can guess what he was doing before and after Irma. There was just one problem-- at the beginning of the session he crack his knee on the board. In pain but knowing the waves were fleeting, he continued to surf for another 2 hours until the pain unbearable. 

The Good News Or the Bad News Daves Report.png

I think you can guess that I leading to the bad news and not the good news. After weeks of RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and not being able to do any of the training he was supposed to begin, he went to an Orthopedic. His meniscus is torn in his right knee. They don't know the extent of the damage yet but the only training he can do right now is swim.

So what is the good news about Dave's update? 

Dave has severe scoliosis. For the last few years he has struggled with the pain daily. He would have to wake up early just so he could stretch in bed and allow time to let the pain subside enough to get up and get ready. The pain would follow him all day and made certain activities almost impossible. Staying active by running and surfing helped but each day he woke to pain. When he began to add 30 different fruits and vegetables, he began to feel a lift in his pain. He then started to pay more attention to his diet and began to drink more water. Within a few months he realized he didn't have to stretch first before getting out of bed.  And then he realized he didn't feel pain at all in the mornings. And then the pain didn't even rise throughout the day! So, even though his knee is killing him right now, his back isn't! 

That is a HUGE win for him! He feels younger and it's one of the main reasons he signed up for the Ironman. Because without that daily pain, he believes he can push himself to do a race he never would have otherwise imagined. 

Hopefully his knee will heal quickly, and he'll literally be able to get ON the saddle... Although it will technically be for the first time.

The Swim: 

Since Dave has only been able to swim he is feeling much more confident. He continues to work on his form, finding that trying to breathe correctly is a bit harder than he anticipated. He loves the water and is itching to start swimming in the ocean. The part he hates the most is concentrating on his form inside a pool. Especially an indoor pool.  His blood runs salty from growing up on islands in south Florida and being the son of a fisherman. The ocean revives him and he's excited to be able to race in it. 

The Bike: 

Not able to ride yet. 

The Run: 

Not able to run yet.


Dave begins his day with a Complete shake with almond milk and berries. He also gets 30 fruits and vegetables in his Juice Plus+ capsules. We are a plant-based family but Dave also eats fish he catches when he fishes offshore. This week it was Trigger fish, yummy. He has not yet added ay specific training nutrition since he's slowly working up with swimming right now. 


Dave's main challenge now is to be able to jump start his Ironman training without being able to get on the bike or run. He's feeling very overwhelmed with a looming race date and a bit depressed that he can't go all in. He's the kind of person that wants to jump in and start strong when he decides to do something. He's thrilled with a big goal like Ironman and is in no way planning to let this hold him up.

Ironman is more than a physical challenge, it's a mental one. 

When you are training long hours and out there on a race course for 6-15 hours, it is your mind that can destroy you. You have to be able to push through the feelings of wanting to stop. You have to be able to push through physical pain and mental anguish when your mind is telling you there is no way you can do this "thing". The 'thing' could be a training run or a swim in a tiny lap pool. It is pushing through days of doing no training at all even when you want and know you need to. Mental strength is a challenge all it's own. 

I will be posting weekly updates on Dave's progress. What his challenges are for that week, what he's excited about, what bike he ends up getting, what gear we buy him, and so much more! Join our Facebook Group to follow along and watch Facebook Live events. 

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You Can't Have Endurance Without Perseverance: Augusta 70.3

I was slumped over gasping for air holding on to my husband's shoulder while my coach, Skye, grabbed ice and Dan poured water on my head. I couldn't  catch my breath. Only 6 miles into the 13.1 mile run and I was hyperventilating on the side of the road. 

You Can't Have Endurance Without Perseverance- Augusta 70.3.png

I wish I could say I felt strong going into this race but sometimes life doesn't work that way. On Friday morning just hours before I left for Augusta, Georgia, I sat at the doctor's office while she told me I had sinusitis, bronchitis, and enteritis. Basically my whole body was "itis". She gave me three different medicines and told me I should not race on Sunday.

Yeah, right. I've been training for this race for six months. Unless I was in the hospital, I was going to Augusta.

I spent the next few hours packing and re-checking my bag. Hoping that in my cloud of sickness I hadn't forgotten a key item. I was already nervous because I had to get new shifters put on my bike just a few days earlier (one of my caps had popped off during Augusta Camp and with the delays from Hurricane Irma I didn't get my bike back in time to properly ride it before race day). Anyone will tell you that you should NEVER change anything for race day... 

I tried to push all the negativity aside and concentrate on what was ahead. This was my victory lap. For all the hard work. For all the hours on the weekends I gave up with family and friends. For every moment I told myself I could not stay in the ocean for another second, go that extra mile, push myself harder on that next lap around the track. 

This weekend was about "I Can."

So I went to the race expo and bought my mug that said "Augusta 70.3" and my t-shirt that already had my name printed on the back as a finisher. Because I was surrounded by women on my team that had and would persevere and I would join them. 

The Swim:

With friends by my side we walked down to the floating dock to get ready for our wave to start. I jumped in the water to swim out the nerves. With every stroke my breathing settled and I grabbed the dock in anticipation for our start. Women ages 35-39 poured around me, splashing, kicking and off we went! My goal for the swim was to use it as a warm up; swim solid but I knew it was key to not lose my breath. I needed to conserve. 

I finished in 35:45. My original goal was 35 minutes. I was off to a great start!

swim out augusta 70.3

The Bike:

Talking about perseverance-- Three weeks ago, during our Augusta Training Camp, one of my friends took a terrible fall on mile 50 of our practice ride. She ended up in an ambulance along with many stitches and patches of road rash. But she came right back to camp after the hospital and stayed the rest of the weekend to cheer us on. Teresa is also a firefighter and the next week was out working 24 hour shifts to help in Hurricane Irma. It is women like her that I meet in my race journey that humble me. That make me look at challenges in a whole new light.

So, why did I go so far off the topic of race day? Well, I was right behind her when she fell.  Every single bit of anxiety about my past bike accident reared it's ugly head. All I wanted was a safe ride for the race now.  

As I flew down the hills I braked. I knew better. I knew I was losing momentum to go up the next hill but I froze. I let fear get the best of me while people flew down next to me. I could not let go of my brakes. I prayed for a safe ride. I prayed that I would dismount that bike into a safe run. 

And then my chain fell off. 

And then it fell off again.

But I was not alone. Someone stopped to hold my bike while I wrestled for way too long to get it back on. We exchanged names and I thanked her profusely. But in my fog of nerves and sickness I cannot remember it for the life of me! I don't think I could have done it without her. I was in panic mode trying to understand how something so simple could keep happening! 

Less than ten miles away I rode into transition safely. 

In 3:26:41.

Who knows how much time I lost braking on those hills or trying to put my chain back on. But I was off the bike and running into transition. 

bike augusta 70.3

The Run:

A half marathon. 13.1 miles ahead of me at 1:10 pm in Augusta, Georgia on September 24, 2017. It was hot. And although my sinusitis and bronchitis had not held me back in the swim and the bike, I would not be so lucky on the run.

I started with a decent pace of 11 minute miles, thinking that I was allowing myself to go slow. Oh, but I had no idea what pacing myself would mean. 

Around mile 4 I started to fall apart. All of a sudden I felt like every breath I took brought in less and less air. I started to get dizzy and began to walk. I made sure I was stopping at every Aid Station: drinking water, eating my nutrition, taking my salt, and grabbing ice to put in any place I could store it. I threw ice water on my head, down my back, on my chest. I told myself "only 9 more miles!" but then yelled at myself to shut up because that might as well be 50. 

I was not in a good place. 

Then I saw our team tent at mile 6 with Skye, Dan, and Dave waving and cheering me on and I began to cry. Dave came over as I totally fell apart. Knowing I wasn't even half way made every single doubt and emotion flow out of me as the little breaths I had got smaller. Skye and Dan talked me off the ledge. After ice, water, hugs, and words of encouragement I was off again. 

I realized I could breathe a little better if I inhaled through my nose and not my mouth. I focused on my breathing, my running form, and I even closed my eyes at points. Then my teammate, Jae, came upon me; lifting me up and I held on to her for many more miles. She talked to me even though I couldn't say anything back. She asked what I needed and if I had the ice for my chest to help me breathe easier. She helped me forget the miles we had to go. 

This is what team is about.

This is why I am part of a training group. 

I ran a 2:49:55. My longest time for a half marathon ever. My goal for an under 7 hour race was gone. 

I finished in 7:02:40. 

The Finish:

There were many tears at the finish line but not because I was upset at my time.

I was overwhelmed with emotions for finishing while each breath was a struggle. I was overwhelmed with emotions that someone took time to help me put my bike chain back on.

I was thankful for my husband, Dave, cheering at every step and for holding me up when I just wanted to break down. I was thankful for my friend and coach, Skye, for not letting me think for even a second that I could not do it. I was thankful for our team: Dan's smiles and encouragement, Jae's kind words and push during the race, and every single one of us that screamed out each other's names for our awesome accomplishment that was almost over. 

I love giving myself athletic goals for my health. But it is the journey with the people around me that make it worth it. It is seeing the perseverance of my friend Teresa who finished in her goal time even after her fall just weeks ago. It is the camaraderie of our team of women in Tri With Skye pushing each other, cheering for each other, being there for each other when it is most needed. 

Pushing yourself physically is hard. But it is the mental push of endurance sports that separates the "I Can" from the "I Will". 

finish augusta 70.3

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FREE Health Roadmap! Your First 7 Steps to a Healthier Life!

There is nothing we love more than accurate, reliable information and a roadmap to success. All too often we can get lost in the thousands of articles on what is the best way to do <insert topic here>, being left with hours or even days lost in our lives and we are more confused than ever. While we researched this very topic, we noticed that there was a trend among all the health giants and our most trusted resources. One being, eat more fruits and vegetables. But outside of that, there were more common threads.

We have taken the lead from our most trusted sources and put together a simple formula for you to start on your health journey. Depending on where you are, this may seem super easy or completely overwhelming.

Your First 7 Steps to a Healthier Life! The Healthy Life Project


If you have already made some of the changes we suggest. Take an audit at how well you are doing. Since nobody is perfect, you will find room for improvement. Take this opportunity to level-up your health game.

If you are just trying to stay out of the fast food lane, breathe and certainly don't try to make all of these changes at once. Pick ONE and work on that for 30 days, then choose another to add. Pop into our FREE Facebook community and share your wins with us!

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3 Mistakes I Made When I Started Running, and What I did Right

When I ran my first mile six years ago my only goal was not to stop.  I also intended it to only be 1 mile.  I never expected to run it very fast and I never thought I’d go over a mile.  But I was in a Fitness Challenge with a mom’s workout group, surrounded by runners… And I’ve decided it’s just contagious.  I quickly made a 5K goal for myself.

As a beginner runner I made a few major mistakes.

1.  I Broke the 10-Percent Rule

  • To increase your milage safely, and decrease your chances of injury, you should only run 10% further than the week before.   For example, if you ran 3 miles last week, you should only run 3.3 this week.

When I began making race goals for myself I was so excited I just went out and started running.  I did not do any research on how much or how far I should run.  I didn’t hire a coach or find a program online, I just went out and ran.  I mean it sounded so easy, you want to run further, you just go out and run further!  I had no idea that I was setting myself up for failure.  Not mentally but physically.

  • As I learned in Physical Therapy 6 months after I began running– there is a 10-Percent Rule.
  • My body began to break down because I was not increasing my milage correctly.  And then I ended up injuring myself and going to physical therapy and I had to take 6-weeks off in the middle of my training.

2.  I Didn’t Research Running Nutrition

  • You need nutrition during a run, especially when you begin increasing your milage past a 5K.
  • I would hit “a wall.”  When you hit a wall when doing any workout, you feel like you can’t finish.  All of a sudden you feel like you just can’t take another step, you might slow way off your goal pace, or find you’re extremely hungry or thirsty.
  • There are many options out there to fuel your body before, during, and after your run.  
  • I learned that micro-nutrients were a KEY for recovery; they actually combat the oxidative stress we put on our bodies when we exercise, which leads to sore muscles and injuries. But I had always focused on macro-nutrients! 

It’s important to realize that you are burning A LOT of calories when you are running and as you increase your milage your body needs to refuel in order to keep your goal pace and go further.  When I began running I had never done any activity out of a gym and did not realize that there are a whole new set of requirements to make sure my body performs at the level I wish it to.

3.  I Didn’t Stretch!

  • This is SO simple and even seasoned runners make this mistake.
  • It is important to stretch every day.
  • Yoga a few times a week is wonderful and my physical therapist recommends 45 minutes twice a week to develop overall body strength and flexibility.
  • Stretching will not only make you a stronger athlete but will also prevent injuries.

What I did Right:

  • I went to a running store and got fitted for a running shoe.
    • I found out I was wearing a sneaker a whole size too small and that I needed a shoe that would correct the way I landed while running.  I highly recommend getting fitted for a running shoe before increasing your milage.
  • Most importantly–  I found a group of friends to run with!
    • Having accountability when you have to wake up at 5 am was key to my success!  I still need to meet someone for a run to make myself go do it.  Plus, it’s amazing how fast a long run will go when you are talking to a friend.  All of a sudden you don’t realize you’re running faster, going further, and actually looking forward to that Saturday morning run.

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From Skinny to Strong!

In my 20’s it was all about being “skinny” for me.  How little could I eat and how much could I work out to be thin and have the body I wanted.  Well, I never got there.  No matter how much weight I lost I never looked like the Victoria Secret model I thought I should.  Years went by without me eating pizza and ice cream.  Then my husband and I decided to have a baby and the doctor told me I was underweight.  Underweight?!?  He told me I should gain pounds to increase my chances of getting pregnant faster.  Wow, I was just told to gain weight!

It was awesome.  I ate years of pizza and ice cream in a matter of weeks and those 10 pounds flew on.  I also got pregnant with no problem that month.  But my eating did not stop there.  My new train of thought was, “I’m eating for two!”, and no one could convince we otherwise, even when the scale tipped 80 pounds I had gained at the end of my pregnancy.  I lost the weight quickly and was basically back to my pre-baby weight by the time my son was one.  But by baby #2 my eating habits had changed and I felt I could live on McDonald’s fries if that was the only thing that I felt like eating.  I gained another 70 pounds.  Obviously.

After my daughter was born I couldn’t lose the weight and I felt like I was living inside someone else’s body.  I would look at myself in the mirror and not recognize the person looking back at me.  I would try to put on pre-baby clothes and swear I could fit into them just to realize I couldn’t zip it or even pull in down over my shoulders.  I didn’t know this new person with stretch marks and cellulite and I refused to admit that it was me.  After changing my eating and exercise, which I talk about in Find Your Secret Athletic Self and Fuel Your Body With Real Food, I was still obsessed with losing the weight.  I kept thinking, “If I just lose another 5 pounds I’ll look like I used to!”  But I was so very wrong.  I weighed less than I did as a senior in high school but I promise you, I DID NOT look like I did when I was when I was 18.

It took me two years after my daughter was born to come to terms with my new body:  the belly I would never lose that looked like cottage cheese, the stretch marks along my hips and thighs, my deflated breasts…  Every year I think twice about wearing a bikini but finally decided, “I may not be skinny but I’m strong.”  I’m stronger than I’ve ever been in my life!  I’m more athletic now than I ever imagined.  I changed my goals from a number on the scale to a number on the clock.  I began fueling my body with whole food and flooding it with fruits and vegetables.  I pushed myself to run harder, go longer, try a new sport.  I started taking care of myself from the inside. Now, I have never loved my body more.  I’m proud of all it’s accomplished.  I’m amazed it could bring three amazing, beautiful children into this world.  My body is God’s gift and I will never again look at it as “not good enough”.

But what can you do for yourself?

Find out how I flood my body with 30 different fruits and vegetables every day.   

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Find Your Secret Athletic Self and Fuel Your Body With Real Food


We’ve all been there-  “I need to lose 10 pounds!” But what if this year you dropped the number and decided to focus just on good, whole food?  Focus instead on eating healthy and finding exercise that you really like, or even love, instead of just going to the gym because you want to get to that number.  That realization changed my life.

Vanessa Before 2011.png

Being healthy is a lifestyle not a diet or a program.  

Six years ago my life changed.  After my second child was born I could not lose the baby weight.  Well, I called it that a year later…  I decided that what I was doing in my 20’s: random classes at the gym and fad diets, were not working anymore.  So, I joined a mom’s workout group called Stroller Strength.  Don’t let the name deceive you!  I was extremely intimidated.  I had never ran a mile, didn’t even know people that did “races”.  I was surrounded by athletic moms… MOMS.  I had no idea that there was this group, no entire culture, of moms that were not just skinny, they were athletes, they were healthy, they were strong in ways I didn’t even know existed.  I was NOT athletic as a child or in high school, I knew people did sports, but as adults and moms didn’t that end?  My knowledge of working out consisted of a gym.  And whatever was in it.

Of course not all of them were these amazing athletes, many were just like me.  And I clung to those moms for comfort while I looked on at those athletes, wondering if I could ever be like them.

They spoke of marathons and races, body figure competitions, and paces…

Listening to them was like listening to another language.  I had no idea how far a marathon even was!  This was a whole new life I was being introduced to, not just a workout group, not just a group fitness trainer, not just women trying to get skinny.  These women had real goals, goals that included numbers, but not on a scale!  It was uplifting, it was freeing…

So, I started to open my mind when the Spring Challenge started a few months after I joined the group in January.  It was a fitness challenge for 8 weeks and you set the goal.  Of course I made my goal about my weight.  I wanted to lose 20 pounds.  As part of the challenge we ran a mile, and a variety of other exercises like push ups, and sit ups, etc.  We would mark down how fast we ran and how many of each exercise we could do in the allotted time.  I had never done anything like it before.  I had never ever ran a mile before, not without stopping!  So, I did it.  With another mom that had never ran a mile, we promised we wouldn’t let the other one stop to walk during testing.  And we didn’t!  I ran my very first mile in 11:25.  A very sad pace for most people but I was elated.  I hadn’t stopped!  It was the very first step to the person I am now.  It was the very first step toward my 5K’s, my half marathons, my marathons, my triathlons, and my two Ironman 70.3 races.

All because I found a goal that challenged me in a way that I couldn’t starve myself to reach.

This new world that opened to me didn’t stop at the work outs we did together.  It didn’t stop at opening my eyes to the amazing athletes and the ability to even become one of those.  We also had to log what we ate!  What?!  I’m on a diet too??  But no, that was not the case.  I was introduced by my Stroller Strength instructor to Clean Eating.  But what is Clean Eating?  It sounds easy– eat clean.  But what did it mean?  There are magazines, website, books, FaceBook pages, and endless information out there.  As soon as I heard it I thought, “Oh no, not another fad diet!”  But I was very wrong.  It is not a diet.  It’s about taking all the processed food out of your diet.  Simply, if you can’t pronounce what’s on the label, than it’s not clean.  It’s REAL food.  That perimeter of the grocery store.  It’s much like eating the way our grandparents did before the “convenient” foods came into existence.  No prepackaged Weight Watcher’s food?  No fat free bagels?  Everything I had known about staying skinny was being thrown to the curb!  I had to reteach myself what food really was, and what healthy really meant.  And I would finally have to learn to cook… Well, at least a little! It was the first step toward many years of learning about food and learning how to follow recipes, LOL! It was the springboard that led to the plant-based nutrition I follow now. 

That first fitness challenge I lost 13 pounds.  Pretty good out of a 20 pound goal in just 8 weeks.  But that challenge was not about the weight I lost.  It was about the new person I found.  My goals started to change.  I decided after I finished that first mile that I wanted to shave 2 minutes off my mile time by the halfway testing.  And by halfway testing I decided my goal for the end of the challenge should be to run a 5K.  My very first race.  I finished in 30:24.  Without stopping.  I was hooked.  The obsession began without me even realizing it.  I was determined to become one of those athletic moms.  I was determined to learn the lingo.

I found a part of me I never knew was there, and I was impressed with the person I saw.

I found my athletic self surrounded by incredible women I still look up to.  I learned how to be healthy not only for myself, but for my family.  Make this the MOMENT you find your passion in food and exercise. 

Vanessa Law 2013

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