1/26/18

Product Review - Stridebox

Stridebox
Location: Bend, OR
Website: Stridebox.com

What is Stridebox (from the website)?
StrideBox is a monthly subscription box to fuel your running adventures. It is a fun and exciting way to discover running products and accessories.

As a subscriber, each month you will receive a curated box of running nutrition, accessories, and essentials to fuel your training sessions, workouts, and races. 
StrideBox will help you find products to make you perform better. It will provide healthy alternatives to products you already use. The best part is the fun you'll have being surprised at what you'll find. Your favorite running thing could be coming in your next StrideBox.

What’s inside a Stridebox from the website?
Each month, StrideBox will feature a mix of 4-6 established sample and full sized products (nutrition and healthy snacks; body/skin care and hygiene; running gear/accessories; motivation, recipes and more) from brands you know, as well as new and exciting products from smaller companies. Each box is curated to give you a variety of products and flavors to fuel your monthly workouts, training runs, and races.

Cost and Delivery
$19.95 per month ($15 + $4.95 shipping) to the US (US States, APO, and FPO addresses). We also ship to Canada for an additional shipping fee. At this time we do not ship to any other countries. You will be charged for your first box immediately on signup, and then monthly on the 26th for the next month’s box. StrideBox will ship before the 7th of every month.

Subscriptions are on a month to month basis. You can also choose to pay for 3 or 6 months at a time at a discounted price. You continue to get StrideBox until you decide to cancel.

Your special discount code: Trimarni for $5 off 
monthly, 3 month, and 6 month recurring orders. Offer will expire at the end of February.

Take a look inside Stridebox.....



1/25/18

Time-saving cooking tips



Are you hesitant to try a new recipe because you feel overwhelmed by the cooking process, especially when hungry, exhausted and/or pressed for time?

Although you may find it easy to "make" avocado toast or "cook" a bowl of oatmeal, there may be a huge barrier between wanting to cook and actually making it happen. Cooking requires time, effort and concentration and for many people, cooking isn't worth the time or energy. 

If you have anxiety toward cooking but recognize that cooking will keep your portions and nutrition quality in check, here are a few time-saving tips to make your meals enjoyable and nutritious but far less time-consuming. 
  1. Read before you attempt - Recipes can make anyone a great cook but it's important to familiarize yourself with the instructions before even considering to cook/make your recipe. Read recipes to their fullest before starting to ensure you don't skip/overlook any important steps in the cooking process.
     
  2. Shop in advance - Grocery shopping is exhausting and can be time-consuming when you have to search the aisles for new ingredients. Many times, grocery shopping right before you cook can sabotage your best efforts to try to eat a healthier diet. Purchase ingredients a few days before you decide to make your recipe. Don't forget your grocery list!
     
  3. Prep in advance - Use small bowls or even a muffin tin to help you prep items ahead of time. By measuring and chopping in advance, you not only avoid a possible recipe disaster or identify a missing ingredient but it makes for a smooth cooking process.
     
  4. Cook once, plan for leftovers - Make double batches or extra servings of your dishes so that leftovers can be served when you don't have the time or energy to cook. While you are at it, make sure to chop entire vegetables (not just the 1/2 cup that your recipe calls for) and other foods like starches, grains and proteins to use for future meals.
     
  5. Easy clean-up - Cleaning up your cooking mess is one of the most dreaded cooking tasks. Simply fill your sink with warm, soapy water and after you finish with dishes, rinse and place into the water. If you plan to use your dishwasher, make sure it's completely empty so that you have room for big items like pots and pans.
     
  6. Use a garbage bowl - You don't need anything fancy to toss your scraps in as you cook so that your work space stays clear and doesn't become cluttered. Cooking often requires endless trips to the garbage (or recycling bin) so a garbage bowl can help you stay organized and clean-up as you cook.
     
  7. One-pot meals - One-pot (or skillet) meals result in fewer dirty dishes and often allow for lots of leftovers.
     
  8. Prep staples in advance - There's a good chance that your diet involves a few staples, like hard-boiled eggs, salad, cooked chicken or tempeh/tofu, roasted potatoes and/or whole grains. Don't overwhelm yourself with making multiple recipes on the weekend if you prefer individually portioned meals. Instead, use Sunday to prep the items that you know you will be eating the following week so that making meals is easy and efficient. One of my best tips is to make sure your meal is "almost" ready when you are most tired, busy, exhausted or hungry. In other words, cook in advance when you know you won't want to (or be able to) cook later on.
     
  9. Stock-up on herbs and spices - When trying a new recipe, you may be overwhelmed by the amount of spices and herbs that are required. But proper seasoning can turn a bland dish into something that tastes amazing. Make sure your spice cabinet is filled with a wide array of fresh (not out-dated) spices and herbs.
     
  10. Equip yourself with good food storage containers - After all that meal prepping and cooking, you need to easily store all of your items. Although plastic food storage containers are inexpensive and easy to find, many people are choosing glass as a safer, more environmentally friendly way to store food. 
For more healthy eating tips, recipes and workouts, subscribe to our FREE newsletter. 

1/24/18

Why your diet keeps failing you (hint: are you meal planing?)



If you are an athlete, you'd probably agree with me that your biggest nutrition struggle is attempting to eat healthy when you don't have time or energy. While your biggest mistake could be not making healthy eating a priority on your daily to-do list, it can be very difficult to sustain a healthy diet when you are exhausted and overwhelmed with your daily life responsibilities and workout regime.

Here are some of the common reasons why you may be struggling to consistently sustain a healthy diet:
  • Cooking for yourself seems like too much work. 
  • You don't have time (or energy) to grocery shop.
  • You are overwhelmed by so many food choices. 
  • Other things in life are more important to you than spending time and energy on healthy eating. 
  • You don't plan ahead to have healthy foods available. 
  • You go into meals starving. 
  • You rely on fast food/restaurants because it's easy. 
  • It's too difficult to learn how to make and eat healthy food. 
  • It's too overwhelming to follow a recipe. 
  • You or your family is picky with food. 
  • Your off-limit food list does not allow for variety.
  • You are fine eating the same thing over and over again. 
  • You don't make time to cook. 
  • You always go into a meal starving or exhausted and look for convenience over healthy. 
  • You are too busy.
  • You don't have a plan for the day. 

Planning your day of eating in advance is the most important component of sustaining a healthy diet. Here are a few reasons why meal prepping is beneficial to your health, fitness and body composition goals:
  • Prepping food in advance eliminates the chance of eating on a whim. 
  • Planning ahead reduces the risk of overeating and grazing. 
  • Meal planning helps you stay accountable. 
  • Planning out your meals and snacks ensures that you meet your caloric and nutrient needs. 
  • Planning out your meals and snacks ensures that you have energy for your workouts and so that you can optimize recovery. 
  • You save money when food is available and avoid splurges or grabbing something quick/fast/sugary because you are starving (or low in energy).
  • Meals come together faster when you know what you are eating and the food is mostly/already prepped. 
  • You are more likely to make better nutrition choices when you meal prep. 
  • You feel better (and less stressed) when your meals are ready when you want to eat. 
  • You get back more time in your week/day when you prep in advance. 
While some people are meal prep masters, the process of meal planning can be an overwhelming task when all recipes are selected in advance, all the weekly groceries are purchased and every meal is made in one day only to be stored in containers inside the refrigerator. 

Seeing that athletes love plans, it's no surprise that athletes will often look for a detailed meal plan and precise caloric information to make healthy eating "easy". But without meal planning habits, this plan will be all for nothing. In other words, anytime you deviate from your meal plan, you will feel like you have absolutely no idea how to eat. That's because you haven't learned how to create and plan a healthy diet.

Realizing that most athletes want a diet quick fix, I don't believe in this approach. I want to help athletes change their relationship with food. When I work with an athlete on nutrition, I first address nutrition strategies/habits to ensure that my athlete make the effort to plan balanced meals and snacks before we start focusing on nutrient timing and sport nutrition. While many athletes are looking for something concrete to follow (aka "tell me what to eat"), if you don't have strategies for meal planning, your diet will never work for you. Without a solid foundation of healthy eating and the habits to ensure that you keep up with healthy eating, the body will not respond well to training. How do expect your body to tolerate your training when you add in more intensity and volume to your workout regime but right now, you have no idea how to plan and prepare a balanced meal? You can't out-train a poorly planned diet.

One of the main reasons why your diet keeps failing you is likely because you are doing the same things over and over, hoping for a different result. While you may have the best intentions to eat better, if healthy food is not available or planned appropriately, you will struggle to maintain healthy eating habits when you are tired and busy. Plus if you are currently following a 30-day diet plan, you will have mastered restrictive eating which means come February, you will likely return to your former old bad habits, likely filled with quick, convenient and nutrient-empty meals and snacks.

If you feel incredibly overwhelmed with the "meal planning" process (ex. prepping food/meals in advance), I encourage you to consider how meal planning can change your life as it relates to food.

Right now, I want you to get a piece of paper and write down what you will eat tomorrow for breakfast, lunch and dinner and snacks between. Don't make it fancy or complicated. With your best knowledge of "healthy" eating, plan your day of eating and then decide how you will go about making the day of eating happen. By having a plan, you will be more likely to follow through with healthy eating versus thinking about what you should be doing but failing to keep up with your expectations.

No off limit food list, no calorie counting, no extravagant recipes. Simply plan your day before it happens. As a helpful hint, the more restrictions you have in your daily diet, the more difficult it may be to plan a diet that you will actually enjoy and can sustain. I encourage you to not make your diet more complicated than it needs to be. Remember, start small for big results.

Be mindful that last minute changes in your schedule, needing variety in your diet and occasionally not wanting to eat what you planned to cook/eat that day are common reasons why you need to be an active participant in your meal planning process. You have to work at it to figure out what works best for you.  If you enjoy cooking all your meals in advance on Sunday evening and it works for you, go for it. But if not, don't stress - start working on a few small, easy and creative strategies to help follow through with your healthy eating plan. 

1/23/18

Are you waiting for your wake-up call?



I should have kept up with strength training.
I should not have started that race. 
I should have done a better job fueling my workouts.
I should have stayed more committed to my training. 
I should have taken my recovery days seriously.
I should have listened to my coach. 

I should have listened to my body. 
I should not have completed (or started) that workout. 

As a human being, it's perfectly normal to have a few "should have, would have, could have" moments in life. Regretting a decision that you made and wishing that you could go back in time for a different outcome is simply part of living and learning. As an athlete, you are constantly making decisions to help you gain fitness - some decisions work and some decisions, well, you learn from. You can't stretch your abilities from staying within your comfort zone - you have to take some risks.  Although some decisions are just plain silly (ex. testing out a run even though you have been diagnosed with a stress fracture), often times, you simply do the best that you can do, with the knowledge that you have to make the best decision possible at the time, under your unique circumstances. 

As it relates to a wake-up call, this is much different than a "should have" one-time decision.

A wake-up call can be an aha or scary moment that initiates a change in priority, behavior or action. 

As an example, if your diet reflects the typical Western diet of processed food, fast food and overeating, your wake-up call may be extreme damage to your gut health, affecting everything from your immune system and energy levels to your physical and mental health. Your wake-up call gave you a fire in your belly (literally) to make some extreme changes in your diet to improve your gut health through a more real food diet, making an effort to cook more, eat out less and pay attention to everything that goes into your body. Certainly, this is just one of many different examples but I notice that many people don't change eating habits until things become "really bad."

Because wake-up calls occur all the time, here's a good chance that you have been inspired by the person who has had a serious wake-up call. Whether it's diet, illness, lifestyle, career, relationship, traveling abroad - one small (or big) thing can completely change the way that you go about living life....in an instant! Think about it - you live a life of monotony, making the same decisions over and over until suddenly, something major/bad happens which rattles your lifestyle and suddenly, you have the motivation and desire to make a major shift in how you go about living your life. 

Is there something in your life that you think/know you should change?
What's keeping you from making that change?
Is something in your life affecting you in a negative way?
Why aren't you making a change to live a more positive life?

As an example, if your health, body composition, mindset, diet or exercise regime is failing you, don't wait for a the right time or a wake-up call to change the way that you go about your choices. Small, subtle changes can have positive cumulative effects on your quality of life. If your body is giving you a warning signal, don't ignore it. Take charge, make a change, take care of yourself and start living!

While you may look back on your life and wish that you would have done a few things differently (hey, we all make mistakes), don't live a life where you look back and wish you would have made better decisions/choices when you had the chance. 

1/22/18

Weekend training recap - goodbye snow, hello sun!


Well, Mother Nature did her thing and took us by surprise with a few cold, snowy days earlier this week. But the snow was not worth complaining about as it was beautiful while it lasted and come the weekend, we opened our house windows as it was 60+ degrees! 



Since the snow had melted around our area come Friday evening, we were so excited to venture outside for a few hours of road biking on Saturday morning. Since we ride on very quiet country roads, where we see more farm animals than cars, we had to negotiate a few sections where the snow had not yet melted. Karel has the skills to ride thru anything but I didn't take any risks and I got off my bike and walked through the icy sections. Three hours and 35 minutes later, we covered around 4300 feet of elevation gain and finished the workout with a 25 minute/3.2 mile hilly run (Karel ran 35 minutes - 5 miles). In the evening, I did my typical PM run for added running frequency but this time it was a short treadmill run for only 15 minutes just to shake out the legs. 



After a great night of sleep, I had my pre-workout snack of rye bread (note to self - I need to make more waffles!), PB, jam, banana slices and Greek Yogurt, filled up my hydration belt flasks with 1 scoop of Cranberry in one flask and one scoop Strawberry kiwi in the other flask of  Base Hydro (a product that I am testing out right now). After ten minutes of glute/hip exercises, Karel and I headed out for our run workout. 



We had a specific route planned for this run workout as this was a very specific set that requires a specific "course" for proper execution.

After a few miles of our warm-up to get to the "start" of our main set, we were ready for the "money maker" workout (in other words, a quality training session that builds confidence and fitness).

Main Set: 4x's:
1/4 mile flatish loop around a park
2 minute strong uphill run
1 minute fast uphill run
Immediately turn around to run downhill as "fast" as possible
Stop and rest at the bottom for 2 minutes.



Each interval took me around 8.5 minutes and I covered around 1.1 miles (Karel was covering a little more distance than me uphill but we both finished at the same time and started at the same time). The main set took us around 40 minutes and I covered 4.63 miles, which included our rest breaks. The focus of this workout is all about form, posture and effort and not on pace. 



This main set has a lot of components in it which makes it one quality workout. Form focused running, strong uphill running and strong downhill running are all important components to improving run fitness off the bike - in our opinion, much more so than chasing a pace or settling for easy, long slow running.

After the main set, it was time to finish off our "long run" with a few more miles of running on tired legs. Another reason why this is the money maker run is the strength that is gained from the entire run. Even though our legs were tired and shaky after the main set, we quickly changed the focus and ran with good form for another 4.8 miles (or 38 minutes) to get back home. It would have been easy to run a straight route to and from the park (about 2 miles) but as you can see from the picture above, this is a very specific, hill-focused run workout to build resilience and strength for Ironman run training. And because of where we live, there are no shortage of hills that we include in our warm-up and cool down.

I was really happy to do this workout with Karel because he always keeps me stretching my comfort zone and knows how to get the best out of me, even when I am tired. Because of my love-hate relationship with running, I really appreciated his support during this run because it kept me confident for all four intervals. I felt very strong throughout this run and as my 7th run of the week (4 of those runs were each 10-20 minutes, all off the bike), I am thankful for a healthy and strong body.

To finish off the weekend, we had our 75-minute group swim at Furman which is something I look forward to every week. Even though we arrive exhausted at 5pm on Sunday evening, we somehow have our best swims at this swim practice thanks to the group environment and awesome coaching by Kristen.