Pain in the Abs

25 03 2008

LisaR asked a great question:

So i commented a few days ago about running and ALWAYS getting side cramps. Would not chewing gum make a difference? I’ve noticed I chew gum alot…everyday but only one piece a day (I chew 1/2 at a time). I know you swallow air when you chew but I don’t know if this would make much a difference!

thx )

Side aches are caused my an insufficient warm up.  When you do cardio exercises, your blood flow is shunted from the abdomical area in order to deliver it to the exercising muscles. This results in vasodilation, or increase in diameter, of the arterial blood vessels (the ones that deliver blood to the exercising muscles) and vasocontriction, or decrease in the diameter, of the blood vessels that supply blood to the abdominal area. A nice warm up will give you a gradual redistribution of blood flow, which will eliminate that stitch in your side.

Other benefits of a warm-up:

  • Slows the accumulation of lactic acid which will prevent high intensity exercise for long periods, and also cuts back on muscle soreness.
  • causes a gradual increase in muscle temperature, which prevents injuries and pulled muscles. Think cold taffy: if you pull it, it snaps, but if its warm, it stretches.
  • Increases the elasticity of the connective tissues (ligaments, tendons) preventing injury of those areas.

Your warm up should last about 5 minutes and be a lower intensity form of what you will be doing as your exercise. Stretching comes AFTER your warm up. Remember the taffy analogy.

 Im going to go to the gym tonight, and do some cardio and lower body. I will post lower body exercises, like I did with the upper body yesterday, probably Thursday.

My lunch was delicious today:


  • Whole wheat pita
  • left over Easter ham
  • Part skim mozzerella cheese
  • Left over steamed brocolli, cauliflower, and carrots
  • Baby spinach
  • Onions
  • Mustard

I had it with a raspberry cottage cheese double and an orange.

How many of you guys only work out at home? Im trying to get a grasp on my audience here, because if a lot of you guys also go to the gym, i can try and get some gym workout encorporated, too.




44 responses

25 03 2008

Thanks Kelly!! I try to warm up before I start running but I always kinda rush through it b/c it takes up too much time! lol I’ll really have to try to focus on that when I run. I appreciate your thorough response! You’re very knowledgeable!

25 03 2008


really great explanation above!


25 03 2008

Wow thanks for the warm up info! It is really helpful. I always work out at home because I live in a very small town that has only one red light. Obviously, we don’t have a gym, LOL! I usually do workout DVDs- Denise Austin or Tae Bo and I also have a treadmill, but I really prefer to do my jogging outside if it is warm enough. I also have a stability ball and a variety of free weights so your upper body posts were great for me! Keep up the good work!

25 03 2008

I workout at home too…just seems to be easier than getting to the gym! I too have a treadmill, a mini-trampoline, and some free weights. I’m thinking about getting a bosu too.

26 03 2008
Tina R.

I run outside for cardio and then lift weights and do ab work at the gym. I also have several pieces of gym equipment at home that I use whenever the gym is closed or I don’t feel like going there. I would definitely like to see some examples of what equipment you use at the gym in addition to what exercises you do at home.

26 03 2008

Kelly- love the blog!! I usually work out at the gym, but when it warms up in the summer I’ll add in runs outside with strength training at home. I’m interested in any free fitness advice/exercises you are willing to share 🙂

26 03 2008

Im totally a gym girl 🙂

26 03 2008

Thanks so much for your response! I am going to see someone for a check-up so I’ll be sure to ask them their opinon….though I have been through this a couple times before, sadly, and am pretty sure I have all the “tools” I need. But it’s fricken hard everytime. Anyway, I’ll stop bitchin’ and get at it! Keep up the good work on the blog!
O…and I usually work out at the gym, but have weights, bands and a ball at home!
Your pita looks amazing!

26 03 2008

I am starting a free week trial at a gym tomorrow. For past couple months, I’ve just been going on long walks and using the ET at home for at least 45 minutes most days. I plan to do spinning a couple days a week. I tried an adult ballet class and LOVED the combination of stretch and cardio to relaxing classical music. Spring/summer will find me doing beach jogs with the dog and swimming. I use very light weights at home (3 lbs). Felt it was a great workout. Really makes me aware of my posture. I have lousy posture since I have had scoliosis corrective surgery. I just do movements that are comfortable within my range of motion. I am a bigger girl, at 5’3″, and 145 I’ve got my work cut out for me to drop about 20 if I can. YOur blog is awesome. I LOVE your humor, dedication, and detailed answers. Cheers!

26 03 2008

Thanks! I’m glad you commented because now I get to read your blog! It looks really helpful. I see that you are personal trainer and that is definitely something I am very interested in pursuing. Do you have a degree? I know that you must get certified but I am curious as to whether or not there is any other education required/recommended.

26 03 2008

Ash- ha! i used to live in a tiny town like that in PA. My third grade teacher was my cousin

Beth- I havent seen a mini tramp in ages…what klind of stuff do you do on it? Bosu’s are amazing, a client of mine just bought on on It was still 100 bucks, but easier to find.

Tina R- Ill see what I can do. I dunno if they will let me take pictures inside the gym. i might get some weird stares, too, which is ok. Ill tell everyone I’m really famous and see if they pretend to know who I am.

Bridget- I like to switch it up, too, especially when the weather gets nice. I feel terrible going to the gym and having to leave the pooch sitting inside. Plus, runs are a great way to get a tan.

Eliza- way to speak up! Most of the stuff i show you can do at the gym too.

Capekim- Thanks! Im glad you are reading! Adult ballet? That sounds so fun! Where did you take that class?

Heather- i do not have a degree, but i am nationally certified. School isnt necessary unless you want to persue something more in the medical field. It also doesnt hurt, of course. A degree in kinesiology is ideal, if thats the route you want to go. For more info on specific certs, see the FAQ page

26 03 2008

I am strictly an at-home workout girl. I do love to bike ride in the spring/summer though. I have everything I need at home: treadmill, fitness ball, light and heavy weights, step, medicine ball, and even gloves and a boxing bag.

With all this, it sounds like I should be super fit and where I want to be, right? But, I have been trying to lose 10-15 lbs that I’ve gained since getting married 3 years ago. You know what they say when you’re happy in love – you get fatter! haha….

I alternate with different dvds at least 5 days a week along with the treadmill.
I have been doing my Barry’s Boot Camp dvds (they really kick my butt!) and treadmill lately….but I just can’t lose the pounds! I watch what I eat and eat very healthily.

I’m actually considering getting a personal trainer out of desperation. I’ve tried to do it on my own for the last 2 years to no avail.
Any advice?

I was really excited to be referred to your blog (by Kath) and I’m really enjoying it. Thanks for the great explanations and exercises and food posts!

26 03 2008

Suz- Out of desperation, eh? I take offense to that.
Not really. Thats kind of our little motto: if they (clients) could do it on their own they wouldnt need us. That just reminds us that we are accountable for their goals and progress as well.
Man, you could open your own gym with everything you have. i would recommend because of your set up, finding an in-home personal trainer. They tend to be cheaper and more flexible, plus you dont have to drive anywhere. Meet them somewhere neutral first, though, so you dont end up scattered across 3 states.

26 03 2008

We have a gym in our apartment building. So do The Poor across the street. Ours is nicer though.

At least that’s what I tell myself in the dark of night.

ANNNYWAY…I use the elliptical for 45 minutes at various intensity levels (usually between 10-14) about 4-5 days a week. Some days I keep my heart rate between 150 and 168 (I’m 34) almost the entire time and some days I take it up to 155 for intervals of five minutes-ish and then bring it back down again to oh about 135 or so for like 3 minutes. (I used to do Spinning religiously and I guess I’m trying to mimic that workout).

I do stability ball things and core things and am trying to do more of them than before because honestly, I have a pretty squishy middle. What do you think about all of that?

26 03 2008

I am basically exclusively a gym worker-outer (easy access, college campus) but I really should do more at-home workout stuff because my dorm has a terrific exercise room and I spend so much time in the dorm. I have to get some weights. Nevertheless, I would love some more gym-related tips. The gym I go to is basically full of either the cross-country who are just walking back and forth all the time and sometimes lifting really light weights, or the wrestling and football teams and weight-lifting enthusiasts who are just trying to do the most demonstrative exercises possible. So I’m often feeling kinda lost and self-conscious as to what new, good exercises I can do in the gym. It has stability balls but not a lot of space; I tried one of your stability ball exercises there . . . I have to remember to write these down to bring along.
(Usually I do 30-60 minutes of stationary bike and then 10-30 minutes of weight machines and abs, but it is really random and I don’t have a good schedule and wish I did more varied stuff. That’s why I like reading your blog, for new ideas. Thank you!)

26 03 2008

so I went to BIG LOTS today and oh wow I was shocked!!! I found some pretty awesome stuff including my favorite cereal puffins for like a 1.50 it was amazing … and i tried the tricep kickbacks at the gym today and i don’t think i can move! haha thanks a million for posting that!

oh and I’m a gym goer even though it’s a park gym and is kinda bootleg it still has a decent amount of weight machines and free-weights so it works

26 03 2008

I’m an at home workout person…also due to the small town phenomena. I run on the treadmill or outside in nicer weather, have a variety of workout DVD’s (Crunch & Biggest Loser are my favorites, or Get Ripped if I really want a hard one) and then I have a variety of free weights and a stability ball.

26 03 2008

So, I’ve been doing quite a bit of running on the treadmill…kind of like my new hobby since January. I can tell I’m building muscle in my legs and even some slimming down! Woo-hoo!
Here’s my issue…I’ve always had cellulite, but it seems more evident than ever now! Am I seeing things, or is my muscle like pushing the cottage cheese to the surface?
It’s kind of grossing me out.

26 03 2008

That taffy analogy is really making sense to me right now….

26 03 2008

Ok, so I tried those tricep kickbacks and rotated my hand at the end, palm up/down. OWw. those are killer!

I’m a gym person, but I enjoy reading what you do at home, as I generally don’t use a lot of machines, mostly free weights, bosu, etc.

Love your blog by the way!

26 03 2008

yeh the gym is just the place to be.. it just gets me more motivated then working out in a little stuffed up dorm room !

I have started running at the track around our gym and have noticed by the end of my runs (2-3 miles usually) I am wheezing! 😦 I dont like it at all..and my lungs kind of ache for the rest of the day. Is this normal?
I dont get it from other cardio machines or on the days I weight train.

26 03 2008

With a full time job and 2 kids, I am definetly a home gym girl. I have an elliptical trainer and free weights. I also use Comcast On Demand workout segments – love the Jillian Michaels workouts! Also I try to warm up before I run, I usually start out walking briskly for about 10 minutes. That seems to help alot!

26 03 2008

I have been running consistently for the past 2 years and was looking to try something new. On saturday I ran 5 miles on the treadmill using one of the programs with various “hills” and inclines. Unfortunately I pushed myself to hard and am experiencing intense pain in my lower back. It has now been 4 days and I have had no relief. Do you think I should ice it or apply heat? Should I see a doctor or a chiropractor or just wait it out? I think it may be a pinched nerve, would stretching help? I don’t know whether to discontinue all exercise or to switch to using the elliptical (because even walking hurts!) Thanks for all your help!!

26 03 2008

Kelly- any advice for a beginner runner? I’ve been trying to become a long distance runner because I really love everything about it – being outside, with the ipod in the sun – you get the idea, but my endurance is so low and I can never make it very far without walking. It’s pretty annoying and I know I should start slow but I feel like I don’t get the best workout. Help!

26 03 2008

i chew half pieces of gum too and people always make fun of me. but it’s soooo much better. trust me.

Alof of people like the Galloway method, which is (something like) run for 3 minutes then walk for 1 and repeat until you’re done. It’s a good method for people who are just starting out running and building your endurance.
Otherwise, just slooowly keep adding distance to your runs, maybe 1/4 mile every week or every 2 weeks. And just keep at it!! Being a runner is awesome to just keep on trucking!

26 03 2008

i meant to add that even if you don’t feel like you’re getting the best cardio workout, you’re helping yourself more than harming yourself by building slowly because increasing milage too fast can lead to injuries, especially shin splints, and you REALLY don’t want that. good luck!

26 03 2008

Taffy sounds delicious right now…

anyway…I love the gym!!
I can’t get anything done at home w/ 3 dogs, cleaning, and schoolwork staring me in the face.

I especially love group fitness classes…Spinning, tae kwon do, yoga…anything!

26 03 2008

I know you said you were going to post some lower body exercises, and I recently noticed some saddlebag-ness (made up word) on my outer thighs – gasp! I have never had this before!! If you have any advice for this area, I’d appreciate it!!

26 03 2008

Kelly, I am an at home exerciser for sure! Love working out in my pjs 🙂

In the winter months how do you suggest warming up before doing weight lifting (I don’t have a tredmill or anything like that)

Also, can heart rate monitors be used when weightlifting? I definitely pause b/w exercises as I get in a new postition, change weights etc. So I am not sure if a heart rate monitor can calculate my calories then effectively. Thanks!

26 03 2008

Betsy- thanks for your response! I looked on today and I was able to go about 3/4 of a mile before I stopped. Some days I can go the full mile, others not so much. It’s very frustrating because I do consider myself in semi-decent shape but geez I can’t run very far! Might I add that I find running on a tredmill much easier, which I think is what most people find anyways. You are probably right that I am likely helping myself.. I guess doing some is better than none, but I would love to be about to run at least 3 miles non-stop, if not longer. I will definitely look up the Galloway method. I’ve also had suggestions about running for a song, and then walking the next song (from the ipod) and continuing that pattern but I know I can run longer than 1 songs worth. So, I suppose I’ll keep at it.

26 03 2008


I agree with what Betsy said – just keep at it and keep slowly building your distance. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend the Galloway method, but that is just a preference. No matter where you are starting, I think ANYONE is perfectly capable of building up from something small to wherever they want to be. Years ago I used to struggle to run a mile and now I run marathons and i LOVE it. Honestly, I think it is a decision you make with your brain, not with your body. Sure, there are limits to what you can physically do – but you have to decide to push those limits before you can ever expand them.

Good luck!

26 03 2008


What brand pita was that?

Also, I know this is a fitness blog, but do you think you could take pictures of one day of your eating. Your meals (based on your turkey sandwich) seem a more replicatable (yes, I did just make up a word) than Kath’s. Kath in case you are reading, I love your blog, but some of your meals for the time crunched are too hard to replicate. Thanks!

26 03 2008
Kelly L.

Hi Kelly- Great name. 🙂 I work out at home with the exception of my twice weekly pilates reformer classes. I’ll typically run outside a couple days a week for 20-30 minutes and lift weigths and do ball work on the others (after a 10-15 minute run).

I would love to see you put together a good at home routine that uses the treadmill (or outdoor running) combined with weights and the ball. I like to do

Keep up the great work on the blog. I love it!

26 03 2008

I’m a home exerciser as well.

26 03 2008


Yeah I have to agree with you – sometimes it is a matter of just saying “I’m going to do this!” and go for it. Thanks for that reminder! I love because I will be able to set weekly or monthly goals.

For the runners: what do you usually go for… distance? Or time? Or both perhaps?

You guys have been so helpful so far!

26 03 2008

Kiala- i wonder what the poor call you guys. Not because I want to stick up for the Poor. Why would I? They are poor. I just bet they talk about you guys the same way. Because real life is like a sitcom.

Crissy- isnt big lots great? I found some microwave brown rice for 80 cents a pouch. Look for Kashi stuff, mine usually had a lot.

LinzE- cellulite is hereditary. I have it too so dont think you are a lone. Strength training is proven to lessen (not eliminate) the appearence. i have it on the back of my legs so i do a lot of hamstring curls. its really makes a difference.

Eliza- you might have exercise induced asthma. Im only saying that because i just read an article on it. I actually have no idea. Id say ask a doctor.

Amalia- I will include the outter thighs for sure. expect them either tomorrow or friday (im soooo busy, but i think i can get the boy to take pictures tonight)

Lindsey- just run in place or do some jumping jacks as a warm up. Anything to get the blood pumping and to warm up the muscles you are going to use. You can wear a heart rate monitor for weightlifting for sure, we have some at my work to have clients wear. I wouldnt use it as a calorie counter, because it is so stop and go, but its a good gauge for how hard you are working.

M.E.- see a doctor for sure. your back is nothing to mess with. You very well may have really hurt yourself so go get it checked out. in the mean time dont do anything to aggrivate it. And if your wrong, and its just a pull, maybe the doc will give you some big pills and you can see fun colors.

Leah- listen to betsy, shes more experienced in running than I am. From a cardiovascular standpoint, her recommendations are right on.

Alex- good for you! keep on truckin’. and thanks for offering your advice.

27 03 2008

So if a heart rate monitor can’t calculate the calories burned while weight lifting, what can? Do you just estimate or is there another way? I often do weights in a circuit-style, so I have less down time between exercises if that helps you answer.

27 03 2008

oh-if you are doing a circuit then by all means, a heart rate monitor is great. I was thinking more a long the lines of do a set, rest a few minutes, do another set. circuits are great and really keep the heart rate up. a heart rate monitor should be accurate then.

27 03 2008


27 03 2008

hahaha…I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean it that way when i said ‘getting a personal trainer out of desperation.’ So please don’t take offense (although I think you were kidding?) 🙂

I just meant that I really wanted to do it on my own since I have all my own equipment at home. Plus, I like to be alone when I work out – so I can sweat and huff and puff in the privacy of my home.

I would actually love to have a personal trainer but honestly, I can’t really afford to have more than one session a week.

Thanks for the advice. The only personal trainers I have found in my area don’t come to clients’ homes – we have to go there. But, I’ll keep looking.

Thanks again!

27 03 2008

ha, yeah, i was kidding, im not easily offended. if you cant afford morethan once a week, its not worth the money. it can be expensive, but dont feel bad about that, thats why i am here right? youre lucky you have so much equiptment, you should be fine on your own.

27 03 2008

alright – good thing you weren’t offended. 🙂 I was so glad to be referred to your blog – it will definitely help to incorporate new moves to my workouts so I can get out of this dreadful plateau. Thanks!

27 03 2008

I actually find some good music and dance on the mini trampoline! it’s a blast! I also jog on it and just jump up and down on it to mix things up a bit, but I mainly just dance on it….of course without anyone watching me!!!! hahaha

28 03 2008

Beth- we all do stuff like that. The sane ones just dont admit it.
I dance sometimes too. I put on my ipod, my rubber gloves and dance around and clean the house. Ill have to record it sometime. Im sure someone already has and hasnt told me.

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