2/22/14

Eggplant and tofu lasagna


My body has not disappointed me in a long time and that is a great thing because I live a super busy and active lifestyle and I need my body ever single minute of every single day.

I have always told my body that we make a great team because if I don't take care of it, it will not take care of me. 

Just like so many of you all, I have a lot to balance in life. My priorities rarely change for triathlons are my lifestyle, not my life. Triathlons do not pay the bills but I do feel that because of triathlons I have become much more mentally and physically stronger in life and thus I am a better person because of what I have learned from calling myself a triathlete.

Thankfully, my body has performed beautifully over the past two months since I started my 2014 tri season and I am just so excited to use my trained body when it is time for our race-cations this year. 

With our 2014 Trimarni Triathlon Endurance Training Camp taking place in Clermont FL on Feb 28-March 2nd, we have had a lot on our plate lately, alongside Karel staying super busy with RETUL bike fits, our coaching business and me helping athletes and fitness enthusiasts reach personal fitness/performance/health goals.

With a busy life, I must keep myself in optimal health all the time. Sleep, stress management and daily movement are critical to functioning well in life but my passion for a real food diet never gets pushed to the side because I am too busy to cook.
Additionally, because I choose to train my body for performance, it is even more vital that I nourish my body so that I can live with a healthy immune system. 

Oh how I love my oven and stove top!
The oven is perfect for busy days. The key, however, is to make sure you don't find yourself too busy that you forget to start your meal so that it has time to cook. 

This meal is perfect to prep in the morning, afternoon or evening (or even for the next day). In less than 30 minutes, you have a delicious, heart healthy and satisfying meal that will make you want to slow down and enjoy this meal....at a table, with a fork and yumming with every bite.  


Eggplant and tofu lasagna



Squash slices
Purple Onions sliced
Eggplant slices
Marinara sauce
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2. In large casserole dish, lightly cover with marinara sauce. 
3. Add thin (about thumbnail size) slices of eggplant to cover bottom of the dish on top of marinara (do not overlap), the top with sliced squash and chopped onions. 



Mushrooms sliced
Jasmine rice (or your choice of rice/grain) - about 1 cup cooked

4. Top with mushrooms and rice. 


Firm tofu - crumbled
Marinara sauce
Onions
Garlic powder, pepper and basil

5. Crumble firm tofu (about 3/4 package) on top of rice/mushroom mixture and then spoon a bit more of marina on top and add a few more chopped onion.
Sprinkle with garlic powder, pepper and basil.


Eggplant slices
Shredded mozzarella
Marinara

6. Top with the rest of the eggplant slices and a few more spoonfuls of marinara. Spread marinara around and top with cheese. 


7. Cook for 25-28 minutes or until the top of the eggplant turns golden brown. 
8. Enjoy!

(If you think you don't like tofu, the flavors of the ingredients will mask the bland taste of tofu. This should serve 2 people with leftovers OR 304 people for one meal).



2/20/14

Are you still an athlete if you don't race?


Ever since the age of 10 yrs I have called myself an athlete. I balanced my education with swimming all the way until I graduated from Transylvania University in my hometown of Lexington, KY. I specialized in the 200 meter butterfly, 100 breakstroke and 200 IM. For me, swimming was not a chore or a way to burn calories in my teenage years but instead, the pool was a place where all my friends were at, the place where I had fun and the place where I practiced in order to compete. 

My brother was also a student athlete. Aaron (my brother) started gymnastics at a very young age after my parents noticed that his natural ability to flip all around his room needed to be put to good use. Aaron continued to excel in gymnastics until his final year of college at University of Michigan. He finished on a very high note as the 2007 Big Ten High Bar Champion with this winning routine. 


                            

For most of our life, my brother and I shared a similar passion for sports but we also placed a lot of value on our education. 

Somehow, we were able to balance it all but I also feel that without sports, we would not have the skills that are needed in our careers in order to succeed. Still today, we both enjoy exercising and using our body and we both continue to train for races (my brother has raced in several half marathons) as a way to stay 'balanced'. 

If you call yourself an athlete here are some of the great skills that can come from training your body to perform.

-Work as a team or support others
-Be humble
-Embrace competition
-Discipline
-Goal setting
-Work hard
-Challenge yourself
-Overcome obstacles and setbacks
-Self-motivation
-Mentally durable
-Time management
-Can't procrastinate
-Self discipline
-Coachable and willingness to learn
-Can perform under pressure
-Can step outside of your comfort zone (or stretch your comfort zone)
-Be flexible
-Have a plan
-Great work ethic
-Be open to change and failure


As you can see, many of the skills that are needed in sport also work great in life. If you are thinking about signing up for a race/event, and you have a few of the skills listed above that you use in your every-day life, I have a feeling you are going to be very successful when you dedicate yourself to training for a race.

As a student athlete for all of my life, it was only natural for me to seek a new challenge when I graduated from undergrad and moved to the running/tri state of Florida. As much as I loved to exercise, I was raised with a mindset that my body loves to train and perform.

I discovered endurance running while I was in graduate school and quickly endurance triathlons followed. I was hooked immediately when I crossed my first marathon finish line because I not only felt a great sense of achievement and accomplishment but I also really enjoyed the amazing journey that I was able to experience with my body and mind while training for my race.

As we all know, life happens. So despite loving racing and training for a race and every high and low that comes with being an age-group athlete, there are times in my life when a race/event is not in my near future. However, I never feel as if my title of athlete goes away. 

I find that many active individuals who love to race, struggle with life when "it" happens. Injury, new baby, move, job change, relationship change.....On one side of your though process you know you can't balance it all and perform well at your race but on the other side there's this underlying fear of missing out or sense of "routine" that you feel you will lose if you do not race in the next few months. 

If you are considering signing up for a race or have competed in races but are currently struggling with the fact that you are unable to race in the near future, here are a few of my tips to help you out so that you can feel confident that you will never lose your "athlete" title. 


Injury

For any athlete - professional, novice, age group or elite - there's always a chance for injury.  
With no magic ball to predict the future, in order to gain the competitive edge athlete are often willing to take chances and risks. Sometimes those risks turn out great and sometimes there's a setback in the way. 
Returning from an injury can be extremely difficult, especially if you have a race on the schedule, if the injury is taking longer than expected to heal or if you feel as if you are losing fitness during the rehab/recovery process. 
As an athlete, you have the discipline, motivation and determination to return to optimal health and fitness and perhaps gather a greater understanding of your body. By focusing on what you CAN do, do not think about the past or what you use to do but instead, keep your eyes set on the future. You can only make progress if you are willing to do the work and when you do get to your next start line you can enjoy looking back at all the obstacles you overcame to make your finish line experience even more enjoyable. 

-Consider volunteering at a race to give back to your sport while you are injured
-If there is an activity that you are allowed to do (pain free), don't be afraid to change up your routine
-Don't think black or white, all or nothing. You may not feel it now but the water jogging, anti gravity treadmill, strength training will pay off. 
-Have a good support system. If all your friends/training buddies are posting on social media about epic workouts, it may be good to focus on only yourself for a while or surround yourself with people who give you positive energy to keep you moving forward. 

LIFE CHANGES
A new baby, a move, a new job, a relationship change. There are many exciting and stressful moments in life that need your full attention. Perhaps a race in the next few months is not on your to-do list or maybe that race that motivated you for months to get out of bed at 5am is no longer on the horizon. This can be very hard for athletes because everyone handles these situations differently.
What's most important is that you focus on yourself so you can stay balanced. What's great is that your sport of choice will not disappear in the next year. There will be more races and even if you have to change up your plans, you never have to lose sight of your goals.

-Consider getting involved with more groups so that your focus is not on "training" but instead working-out and exercising.
-Don't try to stick a plan if the plan is not accommodating to your new "life" or change. Maybe you can't follow a 6-7 day training plan like you use to but if you have a few days each week here or there that you can enjoy a little "me" time, take advantage of it.
-Communicate. Whether you need support from friends or need to talk to your family, it's important that you still stay active for health benefits. Find a balance.
-You are still an athlete even if you are not training for a race right now. You can still jump into "practices" or do a favorite workout and adjust the effort based on how you feel on that day. 
-No one can ever remove your past finishing titles or take away your medals. Celebrate what you have accomplished rather than placing negative emotions on what you are unable to do at this time with your sport career.
-Your motivation and inspiration will never go away so why not help someone else train for an event. Perhaps you can not maintain a structured training plan but your enthusiasm for sports can be a great asset for someone who is just starting out. 

NOT YET AN ATHLETEWhat if you are not comfortable calling yourself an athlete because you have yet to cross a finish line? Perhaps you are a bit hesitant to sign up for a race/event because you will be stepping out of your comfort zone? It's likely that you have the skills to train for a race so don't be afraid to get started (that's always the scary part). Once you register for a race or plan your upcoming race if more than 6+ months down the road and registration is not open yet, embrace your new title of an athlete. 

-As an athlete, you are no longer working out just to "be healthy" or "burn calories". Be sure to fuel your body so that you can adapt to training stress and recover well.
-Work with a coach so you can follow a plan that works for your goals, lifestyle and body. Remember, you are an athlete so a plan will have structured workouts to help you prepare for your upcoming race/event.
-Enjoy your athlete body. Your muscles may change, your heart may pump more quickly at times, your legs may burn and you may sweat more than normal. Enjoy what your body is letting you do and always thank your body for what it allows you to do.
-Involve others. Find other new and veteran athletes who can share your journey with you. The veteran athletes can give you advice and can also keep you motivated whereas your newbie athlete friends can share the excitement with you when milestones are reached. 

So.....are you an athlete if you don't race right now?

Absolutely. 



2/19/14

Real food homework and a speedy/endurance track workout

This endurance body is happily fueled by real food.
AND
Plant strong for almost 21 years.
A Karel creation:
Jasmine rice and a stir fry of tempeh, peanuts, onions, mushrooms, peppers and marinara on top arugula.
This creation was enjoyed last night and made my tummy/muscles super happy for an early morning wake-up call (4:20am) for a 5:30am track workout. 


Love your afternoon snack
Honor your biological hunger in the afternoon. Do not expect your body to allow you to go from lunch to dinner without food (especially if more than 4 hours between meals or if working out in the evening). A mid afternoon snack is a great way to nourish your body and boost energy. 
Here's one of my fav mid day snacks: 1/2 cup Chobani Greek yogurt + fresh fruit chopped + a few spoonfuls of KIND or organic granola. Enjoy!

Refueling from a long brick
Asparagus, mushrooms and tofu tossed with pasta noodles and marinara, topped with Parmesan.
Karel had the same (larger portion) but chicken instead of tofu. So much flavor! Yum!


Track workout w/ Karel and a large motivating group - feeling the need for speed (and endurance)
2 mile run warm-up
10 min dynamic stretching/warm-up on track
MS: 3x's through
800
600
400
200
(with 200 jog in between)
~1 min rest in between the 3 rounds to refuel/hydrate
(I had 1 scoop INFINIT ISIS Hydration in my bottle to sip during the workout)
~8 miles total (including warm-down laps in opposite direction)



Trimarni homework

Write down the ingredient lists of the foods you are consuming today. (If you are eating out, look up the ingredients online.)




This assignment is for product awareness and to help you form a healthier relationship with the food that you choose to put into your body. This is NOT designed to make you scared of food or to hate food.
Also, this homework is focused on the ingredients in food and not on focusing on organic, genetically modified, gluten, dairy.

Because there is an overload of information on how to "eat healthy" with so much conflicting information (and often causing a lot of disordered eating habits or feeling incredibly frustrated with food), the first step in creating a more balanced diet is to make an effort to eat more real food. Once you incorporate more real food into your daily diet, you will then need to gravitate toward making time to prepare food and maintain this real food diet. It does not have to be perfect (there's no such thing) but instead, make an effort to prioritize real food as much as possible with your daily meals/snacks.
(and stop reading forums/blogs when the "expert" is yelling at you about what foods are bad. Seek out information that inspires you and motivates you to make slow yet healthy changes that move you closer to your personal goals and contact a professional (RD) who will give you credible information. You can not make changes in your lifestyle if you are always worrying about what other people are doing and you will find yourself with info overload if you continue to use the internet to search for the "right" answer.)

Because it doesn't seem appropriate to start changing your eating habits by dissecting real food if you have yet to be consistent with eating food that is grown from earth, take a look at your daily diet to see what immediate changes may make a meaningful difference in your life and health.

Consider clinical, fitness, religious, ethical and personal experiences when it comes to individualizing YOUR diet.

Show yourself that you can prioritize real food for 2 weeks - making time to cook and time your meals/nutrition appropriately around your workouts and schedule- and your body will be in a better place to start making more individual choices with your diet.


There is so much information out there and many times, info that may not apply to you and your goals (or lifestyle).

Your occasional foods should be enjoyed and your daily diet should enhance life.

Simple swaps can easily improve your health and can keep you from feeling the itch to jump on the elimination food/mass marketed diet train. Instead of hearing that dairy is bad and is causing bloating, swap out the artificially flavored yogurt and replace with Greek Yogurt and add real fruit. If you have heard that whole grains are bad or gluten is bad, consider adding organic whole grains like quinoa, teff, millet or wild rice to your diet.

Like with anything in life, you can't rush changes when you want long lasting results.
So instead of wondering if you should choose organic oatmeal vs non-organic oatmeal.....


I recommend to first transition to using plain oatmeal and then adding your own fresh fruit, nut and spice add-in's instead of prioritizing a quick option like flavored oatmeal. 

It's an easy switch but it does require a lifestyle change. To prepare food ahead of time (and you need tupperware if you are taking this to work to eat)

But to make these changes, you have to not only buy the items but you have to plan ahead. And in our rushed society it's much easier to eliminate foods and "not" do something than to be more proactive and add something to our schedule (yet that something may improve health).

Simply identify any ingredients that may give you an "ah-ha" moment as to why you may not be feeling so "healthy" such as food dyes, artificial ingredients, additives/chemicals. Also ask yourself how and why you are consuming those foods. Remember - you can't eat a salad very well in a car and you can only stuff so much "salad" with your protein and healthy fat choices between two slices of bread. Is bread bad or is it what you are eating and when?

Your goal is to gradually move toward a more real food, balanced diet. Not only will real food make your body feel better but it's scientifically proven that a real food balanced diet provides your body with the necessary vitamins and minerals that can reduce risk for disease and improve longevity, health, performance and mood. If you love to eat and you like all those great outcomes of eating real food, what's keeping you from making the necessary small steps?

The ultimate goal is to not feel the pressure from "experts" who are brainwashing you to eliminate heart-healthy real-foods that may improve your health.

If you need individual help, seek out an RD to treat your individual body.

Happy real food eating and enjoying your body in motion.

2/18/14

Long bike/run intervals - do you train smart?

Loving my new Trimarni kit! 

Instant motivation to get outside for a great interval bike ride!

If you know our philosophy, we believe in getting stronger before going faster before going longer. This is how we train at Trimarni Coaching and Nutrition. 
In the early season, we build the strong foundation through strength training and skill work and we identify our weaknesses before building off our strengths.
(this year we decided to pass on trying to be a "runner" during the triathlon "off season". Our 100% attention is on triathlon training and our 3 key races this season and getting as strong as possible in our off-season and during our base phase of training (where we emphasized more strength and power than on long, slow miles - which we did none of this base phase). All our focus is on peaking appropriately at IMWI in hopes to race smart to try to earn our spots to Kona).
Once the groundwork has been made, we direct our 100% energy to getting faster in swim, bike and run. However, for the payoff to be received, consistency is the #1 goal with our quality approach to training. And thus, we train smart and recover harder in order to stay balanced as an age group triathlete.
After the speed has been advanced in a strong body, it is then time to go longer. 
Adaptations can not be made in an unhealthy and weak body. However, a body that is primed to perform is equipped to adapt to training stress. Additionally, sport nutrition that has been mastered throughout each phase of training (keeping with similar products - I believe in liquid nutrition as a primary fuel source for electrolytes, carbs and fluids) and the gut  is "trained" for the higher volume training and the immune system stays strong throughout each training cycle. 

And this is how we train smart.
No junk miles. Periodized workouts. Lots of intervals. Proper use of gadgets. Quality "long" race-prep workouts. Seeing food for fuel and for health and using safe sport nutrition products effectively. Emphasis on recovery and rest. 

This weekend Karel and I both had two great workouts. We each did our own thing on Saturday and rode together on Sunday. 

Saturday:
My workout (14 mile run, ~1hr and 45 minutes on treadmill - inspired by the USA Olympic Hockey game while running)
Dynamic warm-up (10 min) at the gym
40 min warm-up (walk 1 minute every 9 minutes and increase speed by .1-.2 every 10 minutes as the body gets warmed-up)
Pre set:
20 min of 90 sec "fast", 30 sec straddle treadmill.
MS:
5 x 1 miles (1/2 mile @ 8.6mph, 1/2 mile @ 7.5mph) w/ 90 sec rest in between
Cool down as needed jog/walk

Karel's workout (29 mile ride w/ hard efforts in the front of the group ride with 3 other guys followed by a 14 mile (windy) run)
Because it was windy outside, Karel adjusted pace based on the wind instead of focusing on his pace (we also encourage RPE whenever we train).
14 miles adjusting pace - warm-up and cool down  included, averaged sub 6:50 pace. 13 miles completed in 1:28)


Sunday: 
~40 min warm-up
Main set #1:
4 x 5 min increase power (Z3 mid, Z3 upper, Z4 low, Z4 upper/hard) w/ 3 min EZ in between
10 min EZ
3 x (8 min Z4 low, 12 min Z3 low) w/ 3 min EZ in between
Z2 steady effort to cool down
Total: 3 hour ride

Brick run (Karel didn't run because he did two longer runs this week) for me:
4 miles off the bike - Odd steady, even fast (descending each interval of steady and fast): 1 min walk in between
Mile 1: 8:01
Mile 2: 7:01
Mile 3: 7:49
Mile 4: 6:49
+ 1/2 mile with Campy 

A13 lb Chihuahua Italian Greyhound that has the need for speed!
Thanks Campy for the BEST brick runs! 

A strong race performance is built on many smaller workouts and not one a few weeks or a few epic workouts.
And most of all, to race strong you have to arrive to the starting line healthy and hungry to race with a strong mind, well practiced fueling plan and smart racing strategy.
If you are looking to train smart AND take your fitness to a new level, be patient with your training and how your body adapts to training stress.
In order to adapt to training stress, it's important to move gradually with your workouts and get stronger before getting faster before going longer.

2/17/14

Oakley Women event - my top 3 tips for improving your lifestyle

Feb 6th - Orlando Lens Crafters Summit with some of the Oakley crew


Do you have goals that you want to achieve in life? 

I love goals because they give every day a purpose. They give you a reason to get up in the morning but also a reason to get excited for another day. I find it really important that in order to reduce risk for disease, boost performance and to live a healthy and active quality life, we have to have goals in the area of life, nutrition and fitness.

Goals are super simple to create in your mind but the doing is the hard part. 

A common issue in our society is the tendency to skip steps when it comes to changing your lifestyle. You only get one life...why do we feel the need to rush it all the time?

For example: 
There are very precise steps in making a Meringue topping. 

Separate egg whites

Separate the eggs and place the whites in a large bowl. Let the egg whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before you start to make the meringue. (Egg whites that have been allowed to stand at room temperature beat to a greater volume than ones taken directly from the refrigerator.)

Beat egg whites to soft peaks
Add cream of tartar and vanilla before you begin beating the egg whites (cream of tartar helps stabilize the meringue).
Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. At this point, they will curl over when the beaters are lifted.

Add sugar gradually
Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, while beating on high speed. The sugar must be added gradually as the egg whites are beaten to stiff peaks (tips stand straight). Adding the sugar too quickly will knock air out of the egg whites and make them difficult to mix thoroughly.

Beat egg whites and sugar to stiff, glossy peaks
Continue beating on high speed until the sugar dissolves and stiff, glossy peaks form. When you lift the beaters, the tips will stand straight up. The mixture should also feel smooth when you rub it between your fingers; you shouldn't be able to feel any sugar granules

Spread meringue over filling
Quickly spread the meringue over the hot pie filling. Spread the meringue to the edge of the pastry to seal it and prevent it from shrinking when it bakes. The hot filling helps to cook the meringue from underneath and prevents weeping.

Curl peaks
Curly peaks give a lovely texture to a meringue pie top. Use a spoon to swirl and twist the meringue.Bake the pie as directed until the meringue is a golden brown. Let the pie cool for an hour on a wire rack, and then refrigerate for 5 to 6 hours before serving.

As you can see, there is no rushing or skipping steps when you make a meringue topping. If you rush the process or skip steps, you have wasted a lot of time and money. 

But in life, many people often try to skip steps when changing lifestyle habits. Jumping on quick fix diet trends or elimination diets, signing up for races without doing the prep work necessary or wanting to move up the corporate ladder without putting in the time or learning the critical skills to succeed. 

So when you are bored, comparing yourself to others to feel vulnerable or frustrated with your body, I am sure it's easy to search for something better. Perhaps a quick fix to instantly make you feel better. But as we all know, quick fixes do not solve long term issues. 

An athlete who signs up for a marathon 16 weeks down the road has plenty of time to build a strong foundation with his/her body and then gradual increase intensity to get faster before he/she goes longer. However, the athlete who is not motivated or struggles to find the time (or excitement) to train for the race may feel pressure with 4 weeks to go and then try to squeeze in too much, in too short of time. This ultimately creates haphazard training but also a body that is not prepared to sustain training stress or the racing distance. Sure, there may be the athlete who can pull this type of training off but we all know that short term changes and consistency bring long term, lasting results. 

As a health professional,it is my goal to make sure that my followers, athletes and fitness enthusiasts increase the odds of living a long active and healthy life. With the top leading causes of death being heart disease, cancer and respiratory disease, I want to help you live a healthier lifestyle.

Everyone has their own definition of health . Healthy living, healthy body weight, healthy eating. You may rank your health good at one time in your life and it may improve or get worse at another time in life.  So when it comes to living a healthy life, there are a few things that you can do to reduce the risk for disease and improve quality of life.

Eat a balanced, varied, wholesome diet, exercise regularly, get good sleep, focus on stress management, don’t smoke, get routine check-ups, and maintain a healthy weight.

Because “healthy living” can be a bit overwhelming with all the information out there from TV, magazines, doctors, research and “experts”, I am going to share my top three ways that you can immediately improve your health. These are not temporary suggestions. The more often you can focus on these tips, the greater change you will improve your health and quality of life. 

1) The first one is MOVE YOUR BODY DAILY. Yes, getting to the gym or breaking a sweat is great and training for and finishing a race can be a great accomplishment. But one thing that we often forget that our body was designed to move and every time we move our body we have the chance to improve our health. 

I find many athletes who are training for races begin to get a bit "lazy" when it comes to daily activities that can help to burn calories (ex. if you are choosing training as a fun way to help you lose weight in a healthy way) or keep the body in good health (as we know, too much sitting can be a health problem). Rather than taking the stairs, parking far away or taking the dog for a long walk every evening, athletes often place too much focus on structured training and forget about the beauty of unstructured movement (and often times, athletes do not fuel properly to properly adapt to training stress in order to be consistent with training). 

Did you know that if you walk 3.5 miles per hour for 1 hour a day you can burn 225-265 calories? That may sound like a lot all at once but how about if you only worked out 3 days a week for 30 minutes to an hour (which is very doable for most people even with a super busy schedule) or stuck to your normal training plan for racing and then on the other days you walked for up to hour throughout the day? In one week you will not only burn over 1000 calories just from walking but you will also find it a lot easier to stay consistent with exercise when you don’t take an all or nothing approach to working out. 

(certainly - this doesn't apply to athletes who are unable to keep on weight and should be applied on a case by case basis such as athletes peaking for a big race. I am not encouraging inactivity but my message is to move your body more for health purposes instead of seeing exercise as black or white - all or nothing. So next time you need a break from training or feel like you just don't have energy to workout, just move your body for a walk or do some yoga).

2) The 2nd tip is to EAT A MORE BALANCED DIET. Now this is where a lot of confusion occurs because what is a healthy diet? Without over thinking the topic, consider that real food is packed with vitamins and minerals and not wrapped with a fancy label telling you how healthy the food is.We want food that the body knows how to digest and absorb and contains the necessary nutrients that support optimal health and metabolism. By prioritizing a real food diet as often as possible, emphasize a plant strong diet filled with fruits, veggies, whole grains, heart healthy fats and quality protein. And don’t forget to stay hydrated with water thoughout the day. Keep in mind that food should energize you, satisfy you and nourish you so anytime you eat, keep in mind that you want to feel better after you eat then before.


3) My last tip is one of my favorites and probably the most beneficial tips in creating a more healthy lifestyle and that is SLEEP. Did you know that restless or inadequate sleep can increase risk for Depression, weight gain, cravings, health problems (Heart disease, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes) , poor concentration, faster aging, forgetfulness and can impair judgment. Try to aim for around 7-8 hours of sleep most days per week. For many people, late night snacking, computer or TV are the main reasons why people stay up late.

Hopefully these tips were not overwhelming. The key to making changes is to aim for progress and to create a positive environment for success. 

Create a plan as to when you will workout, what you will eat for meals and when you will go to bed for two weeks. 

Two week is not that long to form habits but it is a manageable amount of time to be consistent. 
This way you can make realistic changes and reflect on what’s working or not working as you work hard to reach your goals and hopefully live a more balanced, healthy and active lifestyle. 

A few more pics from the event: 

My awesome coach, hubby, bike mechanic and partner in life.


My talks always include samples of a Trimarni creation. YUM!

Goal sheets! What's the point of an action plan if you don't have goals?


Changing some lifestyles.....






2/16/14

Fruit-stuffed french toast with hazelnut spread


Karel and I were set-up by mutual friends on a group bike ride in May 2006. I stood Karel up for a few weeks because I was really nervous to do the group ride so I kept making excuses as to why I couldn't meet him.

But on my 24th birthday (5/31), I decided it was time....not only would I meet Karel for the first time but I would face my fears and do the group ride.

After I said hello to Karel at the beginning of the ride, I felt a little less nervous but that good feeling didn't last long. I got dropped on the warm-up of the 3-mile loop course and I was so frustrated with my poor bike skills and a fitness level that wouldn't let me ride "fast" with everyone else. I had tears in my eyes as I was riding by myself on the other side of the road (in the opposite direction of the group) watching them go by and seeing Karel have so much fun attacking the group and pulling everyone along. I wanted so badly to be able to enjoy the ride with everyone else and I also thought Karel wouldn't like me because I wasn't a fast cyclist.

After the ride, a few of the riders always had food and beer at the Varsity Club restaurant across the stress from the bike course so I joined the group and had a chance to get to know Karel a bit more.

My friends were right...not only did he have a cute European accent but he was also fast, intelligent and super nice. What I noticed the most as we were dating was the Karel supported me as I was training for my first Ironman and he believed in me at times when I didn't believe in myself.


And wouldn't you know, I can now ride with Karel. Not only ride behind his wheel but I can now trade pulls with Karel without slowing him down. He is always challenging me to take my fitness and skills to a new level as an athlete and I am so happy we can make so many great memories together on our bikes. 

Thank you Karel for not letting me give up! You saw something in me that I never thought was possible. 

Every year since we met, I have always cooked breakfast for dinner on Valentine's Day. Or as you may like to call it, "brinner."


Fruit-stuffed french toast with hazelnut spread

This year I came up with the most delicious creation with the following ingredients. 


French bread baguette
Eggs
Bananas
Strawberries
Pineapple
Brie Cheese
Olive oil
Chocolate Hazelnut Butter (Justine's brand)

I know how much Karel loves hazelnut spreads (in Europe, peanut butter is not very popular) whereas I love peanut butter (Karel eats PB too - I introduced it to him when we were dating) so I choose a hazelnut spread because I knew it would make Karel super happy. I choose Justine's brand compared to Nutella because of the ingredients. 
This meal was for both me and Karel so I enjoy the same brinner, just in a slightly smaller portion to fit my needs (you can see the sizes of bread in the bellow pic - two slices for Karel, two slices for me. Similar foods just different portions for two different bodies.)

Justine's brand:
Dry Roasted Hazelnuts, Dry Roasted Almonds, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Cocoa, Organic Cocoa Butter, Palm Fruit Oil*, Natural Vanilla, Sea Salt.

Nutella:
SUGAR, PALM OIL, HAZELNUTS, COCOA, SKIM MILK, REDUCED MINERALS WHEY (MILK), LECITHIN AS EMULSIFIER (SOY), VANILLIN: AN ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR.


1. Heat large skillet to low-medium heat. 

2. Slice baguette into sections (about 4-6 inches per person) and then slice in half. 
(you can use any bread that you'd like) or replace bread with a crepe or pita)

3. Drizzle a little olive oil to cover bottom of the pan. A few tsp should be enough.

4. In shallow bowl, scrambled eggs. 

5. Place the flat side (inside) of the baguette in the egg mixture and then immediately place on to the skillet (only dip one side, the inside). Repeat for all of your sections. 
While the bread is cooking, slice fruit. 



6. After letting the bread cook for a few minutes until golden brown, remove bread from skillet. 
(you can also make this sandwich without the egg and serve as a hazelnut and fruit sandwich)

7. Add eggs to skillet (may need a little more olive oil to prevent sticking) and scramble. Turn off heat when eggs are finished cooking to your liking. 


8. Add a light layer of hazelnut spread to the bread. 


9. Add a layer of strawberries, pineapple and bananas to one side of the bread and then top with the other section. You may also do open face sandwiches. 
Secure with a toothpick. 


10. Top the bread with a light layer of brie cheese and serve with a side of fresh fruit (if you have extra) and scramble eggs. 

Enjoy!