5 Lessons I Learned from Running

LESSONSSRunning has taught me so many things over the years.  I originally turned to running to get in shape as I entered my early thirty’s and was finishing grad school.  Looking back on how far I’ve come, I’m so amazed that I’ve gone from couch potato to becoming an athlete.  I should also point out that I’m not a natural athlete by any stretch of the imagination.  I didn’t walk out the door one day and immediately fall in love with running.  But I set my goal on running a 5k without walking.  I had no time goal, just the simple goal of running (more like slow jogging) an entire 3.1 miles.  It was a lofty goal at the time.  Now I’ve got quite an extensive running history and a collection of medals (and faster times) and I’ve realized that running has shaped me into the person that I am now and I can honestly say that I would have never expected to be a 40-something marathoner!  If you want to read more of the details about my running journey, you can read about my journey from 5k to 50k here and here.  But for this point, I wanted to explain some of the lessons that running has taught me that help me get through life.

1.  There are always ups and down – in life and in racing.  Sometimes you feel great and other times you want to quit.  The the feeling always passes.  All you have to do is keep going.  You’ll eventually make it to the finish line and the victory will be sweet.

2.  You get out of it what you put in.  Again, life parallels running in so many ways.  When training for a marathon, I have to put in the miles and the cross training as well as eat right and get plenty of rest.  Even when I’m not training, it’s important to keep running and take care of my body so that I’m ready for the next training program.  In life, we have to put the effort into taking care of ourselves, our families and nurturing our relationships.  If you don’t put some level of effort into these things, they may not be there when you need them.  My best advice is to keep learning and growing and you’ll see great things come from it.

3.  Keep moving.  Even when it’s tough and you’re tired.  If you’ve ever run a race, you’ll understand how tough it can get and you want to quit.  Sometimes life feels just as tough but it’s important to keep moving.  One step in front of the other will get you there and it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are going.  You’ll eventually get there as long as you keep moving forward.

4.  You are stronger than you know.  You can accomplish anything no matter how big of a challenge it might seem to be.  Some days are tough.  You know those days – the ones where you feel weak and that you can’t make it.  The truth is that you’re stronger than you give yourself credit for and you can reach your goals.  Even when things are tough – remember that you can do this!

5.  Your support team is important.  This may actually be the most important lesson I’ve learned over the years.  Not everyone in my life understands why I enjoy running but they support me.  I wouldn’t have been able to train as hard as I have or to achieve so many of my goals.  Surrounding yourself with people that love and support you can make a world of difference to your own success.  If you’re not sure about the type of people, check out this article about surrounding yourself with the right type of people.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned over time?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

 

6 Tips to Save Money on Fitness

6 ways to saveGetting and staying in shape can be expensive – but it doesn’t have to be.  If you’ve ever found certain fitness activities to be cost-prohibitive, you’ll want to check out these tips.  They’ll help keep your body fit and your wallet fat!

1.  Look past the fancy (and expensive gyms).  The last time I shopped around for a gym, I was astonished by the monthly fees.  There was a huge range – anywhere from $10 to $100+ per month.  It’s easy to get caught up in how magnificent some gyms seem to be and all of the amenities they offer.  But ask yourself – are you going to use all of those amenities?  One of the gyms I belonged to offered a racquetball court, basketball court, swimming pool, sauna and steam room.  Sure, these are great amenities, but I don’t play racquetball, basketball, and only rarely swam or used the sauna and steam room.  There was no reason I needed to pay for those options.  Decide before visiting a gym what features are important to you and if those are worth the cost.  Try out a free pass before committing and try to negotiate a lower rate if you can.  Try out a lower cost gym too.  It may not be as fancy but you can sweat just as much and save a ton of money.

2.  Share a trainer with a friend.  I know many people like the accountability of working directly with a personal trainer and getting that direct attention to focus on specific needs.  Try splitting the cost with a fitness-minded friend and share the time.  Working out with a friend can be fun and provide another accountability partner.  If your personal trainer works at a gym that offers classes, try a few classes to see how those workouts compare.  Many gyms offer small classes and you’ll still get plenty of attention to make sure your form is correct.

3.  Exercise at home.  When I suggest exercising at home, the first thing I usually hear is “I don’t have room for a home gym and can’t afford the expensive equipment”.  Body weight exercises can be done almost anywhere, even if you don’t have a lot of space, and you don’t need any equipment.  Adding in a set of weights is relatively inexpensive.  If you enjoy taking classes at the gym, consider a program like Beachbody on Demand, where you can workout with hundreds of streaming videos whenever you’d like.  Thousands of dollars of popular workouts are available for a very minimal cost ($2.99 a week) and you can do them in the privacy of your own home.

4.  Exercise outdoors.  The great outdoors offers so many options for being active.  Running, doing yoga, biking or hiking outdoors is a great way to get some fresh air, enjoy nature and save some money.  Running or walking outdoors is a great way to see a city in a way that you would never see it in a car.

5.  Check your benefits.  Some larger companies encourage employees to maintain a healthy weight and encourage them to be active.  Many offer wellness programs that may pay for part or all of a gym membership or other fitness activities.  Companies can really benefit by incentivizing employees to be more active – medical costs are reduced for the individual and the company as a whole.  Everyone wins!

6.  Know when to splurge and when to save.  Be cautious about what you think you need before making a purchase.  Those cute workout clothes may be cheaper elsewhere so it pays to shop around.  You don’t have to go to a high dollar athletic store either – Target and Walmart have a good selection of clothes that are reasonably priced.  Quality clothes are a must but that doesn’t mean they have to be name brand designer yoga pants.  That fancy running watch?  Wait until you’re running regularly before dropping the money on it.  You don’t need all the fancy gadgets or expensive accessories to get in a great workout.

Do you have any additional money-saving tips?  How do you stay fit?

What’s for Dinner?

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyNewLeanCuisine #CollectiveBias

I’m pretty good about meal planning and knowing what’s for dinner but sometimes I find myself not having anything planned or having something come up when the original plans don’t work out.  Since we try to always eat a healthy dinner as well as save money, fast food isn’t an option for my family.  And when we don’t have our regularly scheduled meal, that means no leftovers to take for lunch the next day.  While I’ve got the option to go out to lunch, my husband doesn’t.  So I always need to keep something in the freezer that he can grab and go.

On our last shopping trip to Walmart, I noticed a huge selection of LEAN CUISINE® meals in the healthy entrees area of the frozen meals section.  I’ve eaten LEAN CUISINE® in the past but I noticed that these looked different.  When I looked a little closer, I saw that they were NEW LEAN CUISINE® Marketplace meals and geared toward modern nutritional needs such as organic ingredients, gluten free, and protein packed options. There was such a huge variety of different meals so I picked up  boxes of LEAN CUISINE® Marketplace Vermont White Cheddar Mac & Cheese, Marketplace Sweet & Spicy Korean-Style Beef and Marketplace Comfort Chicken in Sweet BBQ Sauce.  Don’t they all sound delicious?  The mac & cheese is made with organic pasta and the Sweet & Spicy Korean-Style Beef and Chicken in Sweet BBQ Sauce are both gluten free.  Just a few minutes in the microwave and you’ve got a scrumptious entree ready to eat.  It’s the perfect alternative when I don’t have time to cook a healthy meal for my family.  I’m never stuck settling for a meal that isn’t good for me!  Having a supply of LEAN CUISINE® meals on hand works really with my healthy lifestyle and makes my life easier so I never have to ask myself “what’s for dinner?”.

Lean cuisine in store

Look how rich and savory these meals are.  Once the meal comes out of the microwave and you put it on a plate, you will never even know it was a frozen meal.  And the really nice thing about the huge assortment of new recipes is that each member of the family can pick out their favorite entree.

lean cuisine macncheese

lean cuisine chicken

If you’re a little skeptical about frozen entrees that are labeled protein packed, organic or gluten free, you’ll be amazed at these.  Even my sweet puppy (who is a bit picky with food and prefers healthy options like quinoa) was eager to try LEAN CUISINE®.   He worked his cute little face to try to get some.  It’s hard to say no to that face!  Check out this video to see how hard he was working it :)

**Look for the special deal on LEAN CUISINE® entrees in the Superfridge at your local Walmart between June 14th and 28th**

Be sure to check out more delectable, craveable LEAN CUISINE® meals with modern health benefits tailored specifically for you at Walmart and connect with LEAN CUISINE® on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.  Which entree would you try first?

The Rewarding Way to Live a Balanced Life

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RewardHealthyChoices #CollectiveBias

As I’m sure you’ve realized by now, I’m all about making healthy choices and living a balanced and healthy life.  For me, that means balancing work, fitness, nutrition and my family.  With as crazy as this past year has been for me, I’m looking forward to the summer and getting back to a healthier, better balanced life.  Because the fast few months have included one daughter’s wedding, the other daughter’s high school graduation, and an emergency appendectomy for me, my life has been a little out of balance (to say the least :)).  

So as the temperature rises and life calms down (at least temporarily), I am focusing on making healthy choices again.  My workout habits have slacked off since I wasn’t allowed to work out after surgery and didn’t have time to do much as the wedding approached.  Now I am back to running regularly and adding in other workouts like yoga and weight lifting.  These workouts make me feel healthy and strong and ready to take on the world.  I’ll also be hitting the pool regularly.  While I’d like to say I’ll be swimming, the truth is I’ll be floating on my raft with a cold drink.  We’ll just call that increasing my vitamin D consumption, which is also part of a healthy life.

Since I’ll be running outside and lounging in and around the pool, I needed to stock up on sunscreen so I stopped by my local Walgreens.  While browsing the aisles, I saw a J&J Healthy Essentials display with several different products that will support me and my family in living a healthy lifestyle.  After seeing a sign on the display for the Walgreens Balance Rewards program, I had to immediately download the Balance Rewards for healthy choices app.  Walgreens launched Balance Rewards for healthy choices in an attempt to help its 80+ million loyalty cardholders modify behavioral risk factors associated with the most urgent public health issues.  I love getting rewarded for something I am already doing and think it’s a great incentive to get people to live healthier lifestyles.  If you haven’t heard about the Balance Rewards for healthy choices app, it rewards shoppers for continuing their healthy routines this summer.   Not only will enjoy the rewards offered by getting regular exercise, you’ll also be save some money at Walgreens.  Purchasing certain products such as those from the J&J Healthy Essentials line also gives you points that will save you even more money!  And since these products help support your healthy activities, it’s definitely a win-win in my book!

walgreens1

Since I originally went to Walgreens to purchase suncreen, I was able to find Neutrogena sunscreen here as well as Lubriderm lotion to keep my skin hyrdated after being exposed to the summer sun.  After a cleaning rampage a couple of weeks ago and emptying out most of my medicine cabinet because my first aid products were expired, I thought this was the perfect time to replenish those supplies.  When I saw there was a special offer to get a free first aid kit container with the purchase of 3 first aid products, I loaded up my basket.  My new first aid kit will be perfect to keep those necessary first aid products on hand and easy to find.  You never know when you’ll have a minor emergency and need some Neosporin or a Band Aid.  Running can be a dangerous sport sometimes, especially if you’re accident prone and hit the ground.  Not to mention the blisters :).   And with kids and a pool, you never know when there will be a scraped hand or knee from getting in and out so it’s always good to be prepared.

walgreens contents

walgreens first aid kit contents

Ready to make every healthy choice rewarding?  If you’re looking to manage your weight, exercise more often, quit smoking or boost your overall health, regular tracking can help you reach your goal.  The Balance Rewards for healthy choices will reward you for walking, weight management and more!  Johnson & Johnson’s Healthy Essentials products can help you support your healthy and active lifestyle this summer….and saving you money!  Start earning points for your healthy activities today by joining here.

walgreens main

Be sure to check out more ways to live a healthy and active life here.  How do you stay healthy and active during the summer months?  What’s in your first aid kit?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

Celebrating the Special Father in My Life

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
#NauticaforDad #CollectiveBias

My family has had a crazy busy spring!  This season our oldest daughter got married and we welcomed our son-in-law to the family. Our youngest daughter graduated high school a couple of weeks after that. We spent lots of time together as a family!  With Father’s Day coming this Sunday, I can’t help but think how blessed my daughters are to have such an incredible father that has always been a huge part of their lives.  

There’s definitely not just one thing that makes him a good father; it’s really the combination of everything over their entire lives.  He’s truly been the anchor of our family.  When our first daughter was born, I was working full time and working toward my bachelor’s degree part time at night.  That left him home two nights each week taking care of her, making sure she was bathed, fed, and nurtured.  If it wasn’t for him being such an active and involved dad, I’m not sure that I would have been able to finish college.  And then a few years later when I said I wanted to go to grad school and earn a master’s degree, he was the one that supported and encouraged me (although he probably should have told me I was crazy to go back to school).

nautica family

When the girls got a little older, there were Girl Scout trips, school events and sports.  When no one signed up to coach the soccer team, guess who stepped up?  Yep, that’s right.  Coaching a team of 5 year old little girls is no easy task either; there are lots of little emotions and the tendency to pick flowers and watch the grass grow.  

Even now that our girls are both adults, he continues to be the strong male influence they need in their lives.  Last month, he got to walk our oldest daughter down the aisle.  It wasn’t hard to tell that he was a proud dad – as well he should be.  Two weeks later, he watched our youngest daughter walk across the stage at her high school graduation.  Both girls are strong, beautiful, independent young women but still need their daddy.

IMG_4640

Next up for super dad?  Becoming a grandpa!  There’s no doubt in my mind that our grandson will have the best grandpa in the world and become grandpa’s little fishing buddy!

So how do you find the perfect gift for a special dad like him?  This year, he’s being treated to a Nautica Voyage Gift Set from Macy’s!  Browsing around the men’s cologne section at Macy’s, I noticed the display for Great American Dads and after trying several other scents, decided that Nautica Voyage was perfect for this dad.  Smell is such a powerful sense and Dad’s scent will always trigger memories of the first man my daughters ever loved.  Nautica Voyage symbolizes a man on a journey – whatever journey that might be for him.  And our life has been a journey that keeps us guessing.  Much like my husband, Nautica Voyage is fresh and cool and undeniably masculine.  This deluxe gift set is only $65.00, a $128.00 value.  It includes a 3.4 oz Eau de Toilette, 2.5 oz Aftershave Balm, 2.5 oz Shower Gel, and 1 oz Eau de Toilette.  You can even get this special deal online at Macys.com!

nautica main

Ready to celebrate the special father in your life?  Nautica is giving away some amazing prizes!  One grand prize winner will win a $4,000 Cruise Vacation and 5 second place winners will win a Nautica Men’s Fragrance Gift Package!  Winners must be 18+.
Nautica for Dad

Who is the special father in your life?  How do you show your love and celebrate Father’s Day?  I’d love to hear about him in the comments below!

Do you #GoCommando?

There’s an age-old debate among runners about whether or not to run commando.  You see, many running shorts have liners built right in them so it’s perfectly acceptable to not wear underwear and be completely covered.  And if you run outside in the brutal summer heat like I do, you’ll understand that cotton underwear gets soaked with sweat and becomes completely uncomfortable.  And if you’ve ever had to deal with chafing down there, you’ll know that underwear on a long run is not your friend!  

I recently discovered that Cottonelle® products can help give me the confidence and liberation to #GoCommando.  If you’ve used Cottonelle® before, you know that nothing leaves you feeling cleaner and fresher!  With the high mileage that I run each week, it’s important to be comfortable as much as possible.  In races, you just have to keep going whether you are comfortable or not.  Running in sweaty clothing is not comfortable in any way so I always find the best possible products to keep me cool and confident and allow me to focus on the run itself.  

cottonelle

 

Even if you’re not a runner, Cottonelle’s® CleanCare Toilet Paper with CleanRipple Texture and their FreshCare Flushable Cleansing Cloths can give you the confidence to ditch the panties and get your sweat on!  It’s the perfect way to enjoy doing yoga, lifting weights, or whatever workout you love doing and not having to worry about sweaty underwear.  How liberating is that?!?
 
I love that the Cottonelle® Fresh Care Flushable Cleansing Cloths feature SafeFlush Technology, which means that they will start to break down immediately after flushing.  They are sewer- and septic-safe, alcohol free and great for the entire family.  The OneTouch dispensing tub makes them easy to use and they look great in your bathroom and in your gym bag.
 
cottonelle1
Cottonelle® is offering my readers a free Go Commando Kit with free samples of Cottonelle® (hurry though….there are limited quantities!) so you can try it out yourself.  I think you’ll really love going commando!
cottonelle2
 
So tell me – do you go commando when you workout?

My First Blog Conference!!

I am writing this post in exchange for a discounted conference ticket; however, all opinions are mine and mine alone. #SoFabUOTR #cbias

Since I started blogging in late 2012, I’ve learned so much about everything blog-related.  When I first started my blogs, I had no idea how much work goes into creating a blog.  It seems like such a simple thing – write a post and people read it.  But I quickly learned that was not the case at all!  Writing the blog post is the easy part – getting people to read it is more of a challenge.  Always wanting to learn more and improve, I read tons of books and articles and listen to podcasts.  I learn something new on a daily basis!  But now I’m ready to up my game and attend a blog conference.  I’ve been considering a conference for a while but wasn’t sure which one would be the best fit for me.  When I saw that SoFabU was taking it on the road all over the US, I was super excited and knew that this was the conference for me.

If you’ve ever considered attending a blog conference, you’ll want to check this out for sure!

Date: May 30, 2015 at the Gaylord Texan near DFW International Airport (if you haven’t seen the Gaylord Texas you are really missing out – it’s beautiful!)

Speaker info:  Randi Dukes is the founder and creator of Dukes and Duchesses, a craft and DIY blog that has grown from a hobby into a business over the last few years.  Randi loves creating sponsored content for companies and has worked with many large brands including Better Homes and Gardens, Michaels, and The Home Depot.  Randi is passionate about using social media to promote and monetize her site and has developed strategies that have brought consistent growth in her social media platforms and steady, increasing traffic to her site.  She has over half a million combines followers on her various social media channels.  Randi has previously spoken at Haven Conference and loves sharing with and encouraging other bloggers.  Regularly featured on sites such as Today, Country Living,a dn Buzzfeed, Randi enjoys inspiring people with simple seasonal and everyday projects.  Randi lives in Dallas with her husband, five kids, and a very dirty dog.

Topics covered:  How to Use Social Media to Drive Blog Traffic.  Attendees will learn the secrets of using social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, and Instagram) to build an audience and drive traffic to their site.  Whether a brand new blogger or a proficient user of social media, you’ll learn tips and tricks for branding your social media platforms, finding your voice, increasing social media followers, enhancing engagement, and forming a lasting social media strategy and presence on all platforms.

Adventure info:  A video, photography, and Instagram tour.  There will be networking, brands and other learning opportunities as well.  Check out the agenda on the SoFabUOTR website!

National Sponsors include Johnny RocketsMüllerKraft and iBlog so I’m sure it’s going to be great!  Be sure and check out the SoFabU on the Road Website for all the dates and locations as well as the Dallas information.

About SoFabU on the Road

SoFabU on the Road is a unique event that allows influencers to take advantage of educational opportunities that will help set them a part from the rest.

SoFabU on the Road features hands-on, interactive sessions for influencers to implement what they’re learning on the spot. The sessions are paired with fun city-specific adventures where attendees get to practice their newly learned skills.

Events are open to all bloggers and influencers!  This conference is expected to sell out so get your tickets NOW!

About Collective Bias and Social Fabric

Collective Bias® is the only shopper social media company that solves shopper marketing problems by weaving together organic social content with engaging, real-life stories to generate millions of impressions, increased share of voice, SEO and retail sales for brands and retailers. Top brands such as Tyson, Nestlé and Duane Reade rely on Collective Bias to sell their stories socially. Based in Bentonville, Arkansas, with satellite offices in New York City, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Cincinnati and London, Collective Bias was named one of America’s 25 Most Promising Companies by Forbes and a part of the Inc. 5000.

Social Fabric® is Collective Bias’ proprietary community of nearly 3,000 shopping-focused influencers with an aggregate multichannel reach in excess of 130 million.

For more information, please visit Collectivebias.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

I can’t wait to attend SoFabUOTR this month and share with you everything I’ve learned!  Have you ever attended a blog conference like this one?  I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below!

Beachbody on Demand is Here (and it’s awesome)!

I have a super exciting announcement!  Beachbody on Demand is HERE!!

I know many of you have done some of the popular Beachbody workouts like P90X and Insanity.  But I know many of you have been interested but found them to be too expensive.  I completely understand that price is a concern and buying a collection of workout DVDs isn’t something you want to spend your money on, only to not do them.

Beachbody On Demand is the ideal solution!  

Now you can become part of the Team Beachbody Club, the premier way to help you reach your health and fitness goals faster.  As a member of the club, you have access to our online membership community with expert nutrition, fitness and support tools.  And now….you can get 100s of the top workout programs anywhere, anytime you like….all on your mobile device.  All you need is an internet connection and you’ll have an extensive collection of workouts at your fingertips.

Benefits of Team Beachbody Club:

  • Access to Beachbody On Demand, where you can stream hundreds of workouts from the Beachbody digital library.  You can workout from anywhere with an internet connection: home, they gym, outdoors, even on vacation
  • Access to all the step-by-step program guides, workout calendars, and nutrition plans
  • Personalized meal plans that can be customized for your lifestyle and preferences
  • 10% discount on purchases from the Team Beachbody store (even Shakeology!)
  • VIP access to live monthly chats with trainers like Shaun T, Tony Horton, Autumn Calabrese, and Chalene Johnson
  • 3 FREE bonus digital workouts
  • Your own personal Coach for guidance and support
  • New content is added each month, so there will always be fun new workouts to try!

So what workouts are available right now on Beachbody On Demand?  How about these:

  • P90X
  • P90X2
  • P90X3
  • P90X ONE on ONE
  • Insanity
  • Insanity: The Asylum
  • Insanity: The Asylum 2
  • TurboFire
  • Brazil Butt Lift
  • Chalene Extreme
  • Hip Hop Abs
  • 10 Minute Trainer
  • Rev Abs
  • Tai Cheng

That is thousands of dollars worth of workouts for only pennies a day!  And it’s the complete program including the program guides, calendars and nutrition plans!

Check out my video of how it works and what you’ll see:

 

Ready to get started on your health and fitness goals?  You can sign up here to get me as your FREE coach to guide you along the way!

Have you done any of these programs before?  Which one would you like to try?  Tell me in the comments below!

Fueling for the Workout with a Custom Nutrition Plan

I’m pretty good about the foods I eat on a regular basis.  I’ve been eating clean for the past 3 years and have recently begun eating a mostly vegan diet.  I have a certification in nutritional consulting and have read extensively about sports nutrition since, as an athlete, I have different nutritional needs than a less active person.  But I’ve never really sat down and devised a specific nutritional plan for myself.  Overall, I feel like my nutrition is on track but I’m interested in improving my recovery and improving my performance.  So when I was given the opportunity to review a custom sports nutrition plan from Chrissy at Snacking in Sneakers, I was excited to see what she would advise for me based on my current level of activity.

Fueling for the workout

How it works and what is included:

All I had to do to get started was go to the website and order the Custom Sports Nutrition Plan.  I was really surprised at how low the price was – only $25!  I received my plan free to facilitate this review but this is a really good value to get a custom nutrition plan specifically based on my unique needs.  Next I had to complete a short questionnaire that included questions about my age, weight, training goals and training plans.  Just like Chrissy promises, it’s easy peasy!  Within 2 days, I had a very detailed nutrition plan in my inbox.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with the plan since I’ve never had a customized plan before, but this was a very detailed plan consisting of 29 pages!  Not only did it include general information about macronutrients and meals, hydration, electrolytes and fueling, I got personalized training nutrition recommendations, pre-exercise recommendations, and recovery recommendation.  And because I eat mostly vegan, I also received additional information to consider as a vegan to make sure all areas of my nutrition were covered, even without meat in my diet.  

My custom nutrition plan estimated that I need 2150-2250 calories each day since I run 40-50 miles per week and do about 3 hours of other training.  Of those calories, I need to aim for about 50-65% healthy carbohydrates, 10-20% protein and 20-30% healthy fats.  The percentage of carbohydrates for me is higher than a non-active person because that is my body’s main source of fuel. 

I was particularly interested in the recommendations for pre-exercise meals.  With marathon training, I often have to split my workouts and do one in the morning and one after work.  I’m fine doing a fast workout in the morning but many times  struggle with evening workouts after a long day at work.  Because I have to get my workout in before eating a full meal for dinner, I found that finding an appropriate pre-workout snack was challenging.  The suggestions in my plan worked perfectly for me so that I had plenty of energy and was able to kill my workouts.  This is definitely information that I will continue to use as I train.  There were even easy to make recipes that were included that perfectly met my needs.  

Another section that I found particularly useful for me was about hydration.  It went beyond the typical “drink xx ounces every xx minutes”.  Detailed instructions along with a worksheet to help calculate my hydration needs was very helpful.  I won’t attempt to explain it here because it sounds complicated but the worksheet makes it easy to just fill in the blanks and determine your particular hydration needs.  Because I live in Texas and it gets so incredibly hot during the summer, this will really help me!

I’ve read a lot about fueling during my runs and particularly during races but I haven’t quite figured out what works best for me yet.  I haven’t raced a really long distance recently so I will be studying these recommendations and trying them out in training runs.  

Overall, I am completely impressed with my custom training plan and think it’s a super great value.  If you’ve ever considered meeting with a nutritionist to find out your specific nutritional needs, I would highly recommend giving this a shot!  Be sure and check out the other great programs on Snacking in Sneakers too!

Have you ever worked with a nutritionist before?  I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Oatmeal Protein Squares

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DoMoreWithProtein #CollectiveBias

About 2 months ago, my husband and I decided to try a mostly plant-based vegetarian diet.  I’ve wanted to eliminate meat from my diet because of the chemicals and hormones that are given to animals to raise them quickly to get to market.  For my husband, his cholesterol was high so we decided to try plant-based foods to eliminate the saturated fat that is found in meat.  We would probably be considered flexitarians rather than vegetarians since we do have meat every now and then, but it’s rare (how frequently we eat it, not how it’s cooked :)).  The problem with eliminating meat is that it’s a great source of protein.  If you don’t know what protein is good for, it helps with weight management, performance and strength, and everyday fitnessthings we can all benefit from!  While it’s true that there are plenty of other sources of protein like beans and legumes, we don’t want to eat beans every day.  So we decided to supplement and make sure that we have plenty of protein in our diet.  

While in Target doing our regular grocery shopping, we visited the health care section near the pharmacy and looked at all of the different protein powder options available.  There are a bunch of them!  I know that protein is what helps build muscle but we are only looking to supplement our already-healthy lifestyle, not consume mega-doses of protein to bulk up.  We decided to try EAS protein powder since it’s a simple and effective way for us to meet our protein needs.  EAS offers a complete line of powders, bars and drinks so there are plenty of options!

EAS store EAS store close

 

When we were considering purchasing EAS protein powder, we decided that we didn’t want to make shakes every day and would prefer to incorporate it into an actual food.  We brainstormed different ways we would be able to add EAS protein powder into our regular diet and came up with a ton of great ideas that would not require us to even change a thing, except to add a scoop of powder.  My husband has been eating oatmeal every morning so we decided that would be super easy to add EAS to his oatmeal.  He already adds a few nuts for some crunch so EAS just adds an extra boost of protein for his and keeps him full until lunchtime.  I decided that I would get a little adventurous and make some oatmeal bars to have a grab and go breakfast.  These would be fabulous with a cup of coffee in the morning or perfect for a healthy afternoon snack or even dessert.  There’s no excuse to not get enough protein in your diet!  And they are super quick and easy to make.  You can make a batch and have the ready to go for the entire week and don’t even have to turn the oven on!

Here’s all you need to do to make these:

Gather ingredients – applesauce, coconut palm sugar, vanilla, instant oats, unsweetened shredded coconut, EAS protein powder, salt, chocolate chips, all natural peanut butter

EAS1

In a large skillet on medium heat, add applesauce, sugar and vanilla, stirring until combined.

EAS2

Stir in oats, coconut, EAS protein powder and salt.  Cook on low for about 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times.  The mixture will seem really dry but it should be!

EAS3

In a small saucepan, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter on low.  Be sure to stir frequently so it doesn’t burn.

EAS4

Press 1/2 of the oat mixture into the bottom of a square baking dish.

EAS5

Pour most of chocolate/peanut butter mixture on top and spread to cover oats.

EAS6

Top with the remaining oat mixture.

EAS7

Using the remaining chocolate/peanut butter awesomeness, drizzle over the top. Feel free to get as fancy with it as you’d like!

EAS8

Chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, cut into squares, and ENJOY!

Oatmeal Protein Squares

Oatmeal Protein Squares

Ingredients

  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups instant oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 scoop vanilla EAS protein powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I use dairy, soy and nut free)
  • 3/4 cup all natural peanut butter

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet on medium heat, add applesauce, sugar and vanilla, stirring until combined.
  2. Stir in oats, coconut, EAS protein powder and salt.
  3. Cook on low for about 5 minutes, stirring a couple of times. The mixture will seem really dry but it should be!
  4. In a small saucepan, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter on low. Be sure to stir frequently so it doesn't burn.
  5. Press 1/2 of the oat mixture into the bottom of a square baking dish.
  6. Pour most of chocolate/peanut butter mixture on top and spread to cover oats.
  7. Top with the remaining oat mixture.
  8. Using the remaining chocolate/peanut butter awesomeness, drizzle over the top. Feel free to get as fancy with it as you'd like!
  9. Chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, cut into squares, and ENJOY!
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://www.everydayfitnessandnutrition.com/oatmeal-protein-squares/

EAS oatmeal protein squaresHow do YOU do more with your protein?  Tell us about it in the comments below!  Want more recipes with EAS Whey Protein Powder?  Be sure to visit here for more deliciousness!

If you’re looking for the perfect time to try EAS protein powder, it’s now!  Check out these 2 great ways to save at Target:

  • April 26th save 10% off the entire EAS line
  • April 19th – May 23rd get a 5% Cartwheel offer on any EAS item

Ready to start working on your health and nutrition goals?  Take our 30 day challenge – you only need 10 minutes a day to make big changes in your health!  GET STARTED TODAY!