This post sponsored by Pollo Tropical, but all opinions & enthusiasm are my own.
You’ve heard me say it a zillion times . . . I’M HUUUUUNGRY . . . I need tasty, nourishing food and I need it FAST! Well, this weekend I discovered Pollo Tropical, a quick island-inspired dining spot that filled the void in my tank without draining my pocketbook or making me wait so long as to faint from hunger. And, HURRAY, it is right across the street from the running trail at Lady Bird Lake and several downtown gyms– how I’ve never seen it before, I don’t know (I guess I was running to fast, haha).
While I wasn’t in need of a post-run meal the day I stopped in, I was sticking to my overall clean-eating plan as I’m in the middle of 5 weeks of competition for the Crossfit Games Open and two back-to-back Warrior Dash and Spartan Races Now is no time to eat junk . . . . food is fuel!Continue reading →
I rarely, if ever, miss my morning meal. I just love food too much and usually wake up hungry, thinking about what I’m making or grabbing (like Plenti) long before my feet even hit the ground.
Back in the day, skipping breakfast was a way to “cut calories” in an effort to lose or maintain weight – and it still is with some friends today. This “intermittent fasting” idea seems to be trending again today, based on some diets and nutritional plans I have seen floating around. However, missing meals can have quite the opposite effect, eventually adding on pounds in places you don’t want. And, for runners and other athletes, bypassing breakfast can quickly bring quality training (and recovery) in its tracks.
Lose Muscle – While skipping breakfast and other meals cuts calories and create weight loss, research shows that these dropped pounds come more from muscle tissue than fat stores.
Gain Belly Fat: Ohio State University scientists suggest skipping meals may invite any weight lost to come back eventually as dangerous belly fat.
Energy Drop: Avoiding breakfast keeps the body from important nutrients like quality complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and fatty acids needed for optimal functioning and general get-up-and-go.
Disease Risk: Harvard School of Public Health researchers report that women who regularly missed breakfast where 20% more likely to get type 2 diabetes and men were at increased risk of heart disease. Insulin resistance and blood pressure issues arise when the body’s blood lipids get out of whack – something that can be kept in check with a healthy, balanced breakfast.
Unhealthy Snacking: Saying “no” no to a sustaining breakfast very often translates into saying “yes” to unhealthy processed snack foods, fast food and other sugary and bad-fat foods. Blood sugar drops and the resulting “hangry” feeling causes people to make poor food choices.
Whether you are an athlete or not, your body needs “gas in the tank” to get going in the morning — Plenti Oatmeal Meets Greek Yogurt is a quick and convenient way to fill up! Plentí, a wholesome yogurt already packed with fruit, seeds and other yumminess, kicks up its morning game by adding oatmeal to the mix.
Found in the yogurt aisle,Plenti Oatmeal Meets Greek Yogurt, comes in six tasty flavors including Apple Cinnamon, Maple Brown Sugar, Peach, Blueberry, Strawberry, and Vanilla. I love the thick and creamy Greek yogurt goodness mixed with the texture and nutritional benefits of oatmeal. Unlike oatmeal, no messy cookin – just grab a spoon and enjoy cold.
Each cup has 16 grams of whole grain and 11 grams of protein – I aim to get 25 to 30 grams of protein four times a day, so I would make my morning meal by supplementing a cup of Plenti Oatmeal Meets Greek Yogurt with two scrambled (or hard-boiled eggs if in a hurry) and a piece of fruit.
As an athlete who loves ALL the fitness things – running, obstacle courses, CrossFit, climbing, skiing and more, my body demands a good night’s sleep in order to perform optimally. Normally, I’ve been an “okay” sleeper, not a napper at all, but at least worn out enough by the day’s events to fall asleep and stay asleep without incident. But now that I’m a bit (ahem) older, I find myself tossing and turning every night – hormones and middle age anxiety may be partially to blame, but mostly I pin the insomnia on muscles that take longer to recover (I hate admitting that) and a really cruddy 25 year old bed (eek)! Thank goodness eve showed up at my door!
So, who’s eve? Well, she’s my new best friend, sleeping partner, secret sports performance enhancer and FIT for a queen! This beloved mattress brand from across the pond has just arrived in the US – and now all us running addicts and gym junkies can sleep tight all night nary an ache or pain!
The eve mattress amazingly arrives folded up in a box, but pops out into a delicious nest of nighttime bliss – it takes just about an hour to get fully plump upon arrival. It’s made of three different types of foam to create one amazing sleep experience – the bottom layer is a 17cm ultra-resilient base foam, the middle layer is made from 4cm highest quality luxurious memory foam and the top layer is 4cm natural latex which is antimicrobial and offers a bit of bounce if you like that sort of thing, and I do! Eve is just the right amount of support and cushion you need after giving your workout 110 percent.
Eve knows a great day starts the night before and I couldn’t agree more – especially when I want to be at the top of my game as an athlete! A study at Stanford University suggests that increasing sleep to 10 hours per night for a period of time improved athletic performance for tennis and basketball players – there’s no way I could do that on my old mattress, but it’s a dream come true with eve mattress!
Even if you can’t bank 10 hours (really, who can?!), strive for at least 7 or 8 hours per night. The journal SLEEP reports that inadequate sleep is correlated to declines in split-second decision making. Lack of sleep also depletes energy, hydration and breaks down muscle tissue – and keeps it from rebuilding again at night. Cortisol, the stress hormone, also rears its ugly head when sleep is compromised and this can have a direct effect on the way your body processes glucose for on-demand energy and mental focus. Bottom line, you’ll feel like you’re tanking, cranky, uncoordinated and scatterbrained without enough sleep.
In addition to getting some quality eve sleep stat, here are some other tips to help athletes get the Zzzz’s they need to optimize their next-day, next-level performance.
Follow a consistent wake-up and bedtime seven days a week. This means no late weekend nights or wild partying.
Bedroom only for sleep and . . . sex. No computers, cell phones, television, video games, stressful or high-anxiety discussions, fighting and so on.
Establish a bedtime ritual. Make a routine out of taking a hot shower, winding down, drinking tea or whatever – train your body to know that sleep is coming!
Create a quiet, cozy and comfortable sleep environment. Black out curtains, soft sheets, and just the right temperature – you get the idea!
Don’t use caffeine after about 3pm in the afternoon. Caffeine has a half-life of about 3 to 5 hours and, in some, effects can be felt as long as 12 hours later!
Consider a natural sleep aid. Avoid prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and alcohol to induce sleep. Instead try a natural sleep remedy like drinking tart cherry juice or using lavender oil.
Divert attention during sleep fails. Instead of tossing and turning all night with a brain loop (worrying about a race or waking up in time), get up and move to another room and engage in a low key activity until you feel drowsy enough to try again.
I really am impressed with evebeds and hope that you will check them out. It’s a luxury product at a fraction of the price thanks to the fact that it’s shipped straight to your door without the hassle and expense of middle men. I dread going to the mattress store (not at all pleasant in my experiences) and one of the reasons it’s taken so long to get a new mattress. The company offers a 100 night trail – if you don’t like it, they pick it up and give a full refund with no questions asked!
Back in the day, my running coach would always yell at me tell me to knock out some crunches after practice. La, la, la (hands over ears), I can’t hear you! I would usually ignore him, as I was in my 20s and felt nothing really got in the way of me running well. Well, that’s when my body was fresh and new and I could bound right out of bed for a long run after knocking out a nauseating amount of 800m repeats the night before.
But then I had three kids, got a little older and started noticing that the sorest parts of my body after a long run, half marathon or marathon race was my lower back and lower abs. It made sense when I stopped to realize just how much core muscles come into play with running mechanics. The muscles in the abdominal area, lower back, and glutes provide so much of the power, stability and endurance needed for surging up hills, sprinting to the finish, and maintaining proper running for miles on end.
So, today, I’m sharing a 9 Minute Core Workout for Runners that will keep you strong and ready to run long. Just tack it onto the end of a cool down run and grab a friend for accountability– it’s less than 10 minutes, so no excuses!
Also, I want to mention an awesome running brand that I’ve become reacquainted with — BOA. Some of the flashiest, most fun running shorts and tops I’ve ever worn in my 25 year history of running have been made by this sportswear company — even back in the 90s when working out core was a bore.
I love their new #GratefullyUndead collection at BOA USA, brightly-colored but still so bad ass prints that you’ll blaze a head-turning trail right to the finish line. In the women’s line, you’ll find running shorts in a couple lengths, bra tops, singlet tanks and fitted (bootie) shorts – and there’s running apparel for the guys too.
Right now, through midnight EST Oct 12th, you can get 20% off your total purchase with the discount code JENNIFER20 at BOAUSA.com. Order(s) must contain at least one item from the Gratefully Undead collection to qualify for 20% discount and excludes sales items. Check it out here.
First of all, many planks, thanks and healthy well wishes to my friends checking out Zarbee’s Naturals this week!
Have you ever been caught up in the buzz around a new healthy product you’ve seen on social media? Probably so, considering you’re reading a blog right now and a recent Deloitte study reports that at least 33 percent of us are influenced by the products we see promoted in our social media channels like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, blogs and others. It’s a good thing and how we all can stay happy, healthy and helping our “hives” — meaning our families and larger communities. For me personally, I trust the opinions of friends I’ve developed via these channels – many are experts in their fields and I rely on them to sniff out the latest and greatest products for optimal health!
However, one of my pet peeves is not being able to easily purchase the product – either it’s an online orders only company (I hate to wait), sold in hard-to-find or overly exclusive stores (I need convenience) or is some sort of distributer or subscription situation. However, Zarbee’s Naturals, that effective and amazingly tasty product line of delicious vitamin drink mixes l blogged about last month, is super easy to find —- it’s at Target!
Whoohooo, just when I thought I couldn’t love Target more, they keep upping their awesomeness by stocking some of my favorite things (like Zarbee’s Naturals) in their “Made to Matter – Handpicked by Target” program. It is just SO EASY to run down to my neighborhood target to pick up a few boxes of the chemical-free, safe and natural wellness solutions offered by Zarbee’s Naturals — look for all six varieties on the Immunity Aisle.
In addition to convenience, I appreciate the fact that I know Target is selling me Zarbee’s Naturals at a fair price that won’t bust my budget! Perhaps, I’ll even have enough left to go treat myself to a new cute workout top or maybe this awesome bike. Or, #allthestarwarsthings
Amen to these sentiments that Zarbee’s Naturals shares – “In a community, the happier and healthier one person becomes individually, the happier and healthier everyone becomes collectively”. I believe this is truth for your own personal hive of family members as well as your larger social media family. It’s always the perfect season for being happy and healthy and connecting with friends – so take care of yourself (and your community) with Zarbee’s Naturals.
The start of the school year has always been the unofficial kick-off of my marathon training. Even though Austin is still in the dog days of summer, with temperatures over 100 degrees, I will start upping mileage and long speed intervals, be mindful of my hydration needs and stock up on one of my favorite protein bars as I ready up for the San Antonio Marathon on December 6th.
As I hinted, hydration is so important, but I also insist on eating a protein snack after a long run or intense effort workout, like running 800 meter or mile intervals. Research study after research study has shown that consumeing a protein-rich snack after hard workouts is vital to protein syntheses, and a must-do if you want to repair taxed muscle tissue, increase strength and recover faster.
Perfectly Simple protein bars by ZonePerfect are a great solution for me, each tasty on the go snack offers about 10 – 11 grams protein and around 200 calories or less, the perfect post-workout fuel for me to #FeelGooder until I can follow up with a full-on clean meal. I love how these protein bars embrace the “less is more” approach to life – the company is super-picky about the ingredients they choose to ensure a simple yet tasty feel-good healthy snack.
Even if you’re not working out, a protien-rich healthy snack, like a protein bar, helps you feel fuller, longer – which means you won’t be grabbing a handful of M&Ms every time you walk by the community candy jar (okay, I’m talking about myself here).
Oh, Hello My Precious!
Right now, if you visit ZonePerfect Perfectly Simple, you can get a $1 off coupon for a box of these nutrition bars. Right now, there are four delicious flavors (five protein bars per box) including Almond Toffee Crunch, Bing Cherry & Almond , Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk, and Roasted Cashew & Dark Chocolate.
So, are you ready for the 800 meter workout – it’s a doozy. There is just no arguing that the muscle fatigue, lactic acid build up and special brand of pain that comes with knocking off a bunch of 800s sucks, but if you’re getting ready for a marathon, it’s time to embrace that suck. Am I right? Plus, 800s can be used as a loose guideline to predicting your marathon time — just google Bart Yasso’s Yasso 800s. Basically the gist is that you work your way up to 10 800s in a session, keeping them as close in time as possible (a second or two flux is okay). The resulting average 800 time can be extrapolated to be your marathon time – eg: average 3:00 minute 800s equals a 3 hour marathon, 3:30 minute 800s equals a 3:30 marathon, and so on. My workout is a little different, but still great for a marathon.
My 800 Meter Challenge workout won’t take you all the way up to the 10 full half-mile laps, but it will get you strong enough to eventually get there! Enjoy.
Don’t forget to check out ZonePerfect Perfectly Simple Nutrition Bars to grab your $1 off coupon for a box of these delicious protein bars.
Do you incorporate speed workouts into your trainjing? Do you have a go-to interval workout for marathon season? I like cashew and chocolate – what two flavors would make the best bar for you? Please share in the comments below – XOXO — Jennifer
Why am I jumping the in bluebonnets? Well, for a couple reasons – it’s finally spring and the sun is OUT, the 5-week CrossFit Games Open is OVER (mini recap below) and I have a snappy new pair of running shoes to keep my feet happy and hopping.
First, let me tell you about the shoes – love them! They are called Puma Ignite, a super responsive running shoe that features cushioning to disperse impact while providing energy return to help make me faster. Usain Bolt wears them, so enough said! The uppers are not only attractive and available in a range of color combos, but these shores are made with lightweight materials to provide a super comfort with a light ride – the average weight is 8 ounces. As a neutral and efficient runner, I often run in really light shoes for speed work and shorter tempo runs – but definitely enjoy the little extra oomph of these Puma Ignites for everyday runs through the neighborhood and logging lots of miles on the road. I’ve also worn these shoes to the gym and Crossfit and have found them to provide enough cushioning combined with flexibility for explosive box jumps, burpees and jumping rope.
Speaking of CrossFit, here’s my quick rundown on the 2015 Crossfit Games Open that just ended a week ago. First of all, I swallowed my pride and I decided to compete in the new scaled division this year and am so glad I did. Last year, in a couple of the RX’d WODs, I just plain ran into a wall where I physically could not perform the task – mainly, I’m talking about the heavier Olympic lifting. For example, last year I remember on the deadlift ladder, I knocked off the sets of 95lb, 135lb and even 155lb deadlifts, but then had to just stand there and watch the clock tick away helplessly because there was no way I could deadlift 185 lbs once, let alone the 20 times I needed to get back to the box jumps.
So, my point here is that in the scaled division I was actually able to get after it in the workouts for a maximum personal effort – that made it much more fun (if one can call quivering quads, raw palms and sore-for-days shoulders “fun”)! It was still HARD! The exiting part is that at the end of the five weeks, I actually placed 12th in the South Central states region in my age group and even won 1st in the 15.3 WOD! My worst workout by far (and really hurt me in the rankings) was the 15.1B where after completing a full workout, you immediately had to get the bar overhead with a max load. I never expected how trashed my arms would be and I really failed on this one – I also rarely try to PR any of my lifts (usually just keeping everything low with lots of reps). Next year I know what I need to focus on!
Are you ready to IGNITE your next workout? I’ve put together this Don’t Stop (Ignite Your Fight) Workout that will test your stamina and strength, both mental and physical. Don’t stop, don’t give up half way through — you’ll be on fire, but in a good way! Also, check out the Puma Ignite running shoes if you are looking for a great pair that will take you from a morning run to an afternoon at the gym.
We’re all friends, right? Well, let me tell you how I stay calm, cool and collected during yoga and all my other fitness activities like running, CrossFit, and obstacle course racing — with the Stayfree brand and their products like STAYFREE® Ultra Thin® Regular Feminine Pads with Wings. Often I find myself upside down or twisted around like a pretzel wearing barely there workout clothes – Stayfree keeps my mind off “accident anxiety” and focused on the task at hand.
Stayfree has a really great offer right now – simply purchase one of their participating products, upload the receipt and receive a free 30-day membership to My Yoga on Gaiam TV. Then, stream as many of the instructional online yoga classes as you care to over the month – enjoy the convenience of getting your daily yoga practice completed at home during a time of the day when it is convenient for you! You really need to try this! Just purchase your Stayfree product at Target between February 8 and March 12 (2015), keep the receipt, and visit http://www.stayfree.com/myyoga to get started. My Yoga on Gaiam TV has lots of different options whether you are totally new to yoga person or are an experience yogi. I really appreciate how each course listing notes a suggested ability level and any contraindications that might compromise safety. Of course, always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. I’m going to be doing the Advance your Practice: Ashtanga five class mini-series and am especially looking forward to the “Backbend” session. Don’t forget to visit http://www.stayfree.com/myyoga for this special offer!