Nutrition

Quinoa Recipes

Quinoa is a great option for runners because it's a seed that is a complete protein (it contains all 9 essential amino acids). So, it's great for just about everyone, including those who are gluten free and vegetarian.  Below are  two of our favorite quinoa recipes, one for the morning and one for the evening. Both are easy to make and great for pre and post runs. 

Quinoa Kale Salad - this salad is easy to make and you can incorporate whatever veggies you like best. We recommend cooking quinoa ahead of time and then using it throughout the week. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups kale, finely chopped
  • 4 oz grilled chicken or firsh
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • Unlimited veggies

Directions:

  • Cook quinoa according to instructions
  • Cook protein until cooked through
  • Toss kale, quinoa, protein and veggies together and top with your favorite salad dressing
 Great post run meal or bring it for lunch to power you through your afternoon run

Great post run meal or bring it for lunch to power you through your afternoon run

Morning Quinoa Bowl - this is a great breakfast option for a long run day. Cook your quinoa ahead of time.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 tbs silvered almonds
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup milk (almond, rice or regular)
  • 1 tbs maple syrup

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a 2 quart saucepan
  • Heat on medium-low, stirring, until the quinoa has soaked up the liquid
  • Add more milk until the consistency suits you.

What to eat after running

Whether you are training for a 5k or a marathon, nutrition matters. After a long or strenuous run, it’s essential to replenish your muscles with the needed nutrients and fluids they lost during exercise. The goal is to replace lost fluids, carbohydrates (glycogen, which is your energy source during exercise) and proteins in order to speed up recovery time and be ready for the next workout.  

Restoring fluids is the first priority post-run.  Drink water or a sport drink with electrolytes (such as Gatorade or water with a Nuun tablet). Next, focus on your nutrition. Within 30-45 minutes of your run, consume a combination of carbohydrates and protein. This is the window when your muscles replace their power supply the fastest and will help prevent the feeling of post-run starvation.  Ideally, you want to consume a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio: four grams of carbohydrate for every one gram of protein. How glycogen, a molecule that turns into energy, synthesizes really depends on the type of carbohydrate you’re eating: the closer it is to its simplest form, glucose, the easier it will be to break down and use as fuel.  Thus, high glycemic index foods like potatoes, whole wheat pastas or breads, and rice refuel muscles better than fructose.  It’s important to consume protein as well because it enhances both glycogen replacement and muscle reparation in the initial hours after exercise.  Below are lists with sources of protein, our favorite meal options, and quick ideas to restore carbs and proteins.

Lean sources of protein and grams per serving:

  • 3oz chicken breast 21 g
  • 3oz salmon 21 g
  • 3oz lean beef 21 g
  • 3oz of turkey breast 21 g
  • 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese 14 g
  • 4oz fat free Greek yogurt 14 g
  • 1 large egg 6 g

Best post-run foods:

  • Quinoa salad (try our Mexican Quinoa Salad)
  • Turkey or chicken sandwich on whole wheat bread
  • Whole wheat pasta (or rice) with sauce and lean meat
  • Salad with lean meat or fish
  • Scrambled eggs or an omelet with whole wheat toast
  • Whole wheat toast with avocado & turkey slices

If you can’t prepare something right after a run, here are a few good options for immediate nutrient replacement (aim to eat within an hour of eating this snack):

  • A protein shake (made with milk or water)
  • 6oz container of Greek yogurt
  • Apple or banana with peanut or almond butter
  • Hummus and carrots

And finally, after restocking all of your lost nutrients, you come to the most important part of a long run - putting your feet up, relaxing and relishing in your great training efforts and optimal recovery!

Easy Sweet Potato Chili

Easy Sweet Potato Chili with Black Beans

by

Meghan Reynolds

photo 4.JPG

This is one of my go-to meals during the colder months. It's full of flavor, protein and very easy to make. Great lunch or dinner for runners and athletes.

1 tablespoon

oil

1/2 medium red or yellow onion

finely chopped

3 medium celery stalks

finely chopped

3-4 medium garlic cloves

finely chopped

2 teaspoons ground chili powder

1 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried chipotle spice

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 (28 ounce) can

diced tomotoes

1 cup

water, veggie broth or low-sodium chicken broth

1 pounds sweet potatoes

medium diced (about 2 -2.5 cups)

1 can black beans

(rinsed)

Scallions

chopped (optional) for garnish

Crumbled feta, Cotija cheese or your preference (optional)

Instructions:

  • Reduce the heat to medium-low, stir in the beans, and simmer, partially covered, until the liquid is slightly thickened, the potatoes are cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes. 
  • Taste, and add more salt and/or a squeeze of lime juice, as desired.

Makes 4-5 servings.

Garnish with scallions, cheese, avocado, sour cream and tortilla chips as desired. I like to serve over a bed of quinoa.

Talking Protein

by

Protein is a staple in my diet, as it should be for everyone, but I pay particular attention to how much protein i'm eating because I notice a huge difference - I'm not as hungry, I feel stronger during my runs and my body feels healthier. Getting enough protein can be an issue - but not anymore thanks to Designer Whey! I love their products and will happily tell anyone and everyone to use their products.

This past month I received a Designer Whey package of goodies - from their protein powder to their awesome protein bars to their Protein2Go packets (which i take with me everywhere) and coupons for a new brand of yogurt called Smari.  I love their protein bars because they taste good and they don't have that gross protein after taste that so many bars have. Kudos to Designer Whey for getting that right!

Smari is organic yogurt from Iceland. It has 20 grams of protein and 0 grams of fat per serving. It's thicker and creamier than yogurt because they strain off the water and leave just the yogurt. Plus, it takes 4 cups of milk to make one cup of Smari yogurt! Apparently the Viking's lived off this stuff and they were pretty tough dudes, right? :)

I tried blueberry, vanilla and plain. I mixed it in with my smoothies (using Designer Whey protein, of course!) and noticed that I felt fuller for longer. I made a Pumpkin Vanilla Smoothie in honor of Halloween and fall. Enjoy!

 

 

Here is the recipe:

  • 1 container vanilla Smari yogurt
  • 1 scoop Designer Whey vanilla almond protein powder
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 of a ripe banana
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • Pumpkin pie spice to taste
  • 3-4 ice cubes

Disclaimer: I received Designer Whey products and coupons to try Smari yogurt free of charge through my partnership with FitFluential. All thoughts and opinions, as always, are my own.

What to eat after running #TastyTuesday

After a long or strenuous run, it’s essential to replenish your muscles with the needed nutrients and fluids they lost during exercise. The goal is to replace lost fluids, carbohydrates (glycogen, which is your energy source during exercise) and proteins in order to speed up recovery time and be ready for the next workout.  

Restoring fluids is the first priority post-run.  Drink water or a sport drink with electrolytes (such as Gatorade or water with a Nuun tablet). Next, focus on your nutrition. Within 30-45 minutes of your cool down, consume a combination of carbohydrates and protein. This is the window when your muscles replace their power supply the fastest and will help prevent the feeling of post-run starvation.  Ideally, you want to consume a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio: four grams of carbohydrate for every one gram of protein. How glycogen, a molecule that turns into energy, synthesizes really depends on the type of carbohydrate you’re eating: the closer it is to its simplest form, glucose, the easier it will be to break down and use as fuel.  Thus, high glycemic index foods like potatoes, whole wheat pastas or breads, and rice refuel muscles better than fructose.  It’s important to consume protein as well because it enhances both glycogen replacement and muscle reparation in the initial hours after exercise.  Below are lists with sources of protein, my favorite meal options, and quick ideas to restore carbs and proteins.

Lean sources of protein and grams per serving:

  • 3oz chicken breast 21 g
  • 3oz salmon 21 g
  • 3oz lean beef 21 g
  • 3oz of turkey breast 21 g
  • 1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese 14 g
  • 4oz fat free Greek yogurt 14 g
  • 1 large egg 6 g

Best post-run foods:

  • Quinoa salad (try our Mexican Quinoa Salad)
  • Turkey or chicken sandwich on whole wheat bread
  • Whole wheat pasta (or rice) with sauce and lean meat
  • Salad with lean meat or fish
  • Scrambled eggs or an omelet with whole wheat toast
  • Whole wheat toast with avocado & turkey slices

If you can’t prepare something right after a run, here are a few good options for immediate nutrient replacement (aim to eat within an hour of eating this snack):

  • 12oz chocolate milk
  • A protein shake (made with milk or water)
  • 6oz container of Greek yogurt
  • Apple or banana with peanut or almond butter
  • Hummus and carrots

And finally, after restocking all of your lost nutrients, you come to the most important part of a long run - putting your feet up, relaxing and relishing in your great training efforts and optimal recovery!

 

#TastyTuesday - A Smoothie Challenge

Jessica and I love smoothies - for breakfast, for a quick lunch, an afternoon snack and sometimes even as dinner after a late workout. I pretty much drink a smoothie a day but definitely find myself making the same one over and over and over again. I decided to do the August Colourful Smoothie Challenge, hosted by Charissa of the blog Colourful Palate, as a way to mix it up and get some new ideas.

The contest is pretty simple. All I have to do is have a smoothie every day and tweet a picture. Pretty simple and there are some great prizes at the end.

Our smoothies tend to be protein smoothies, especially after a workout. We use Designer Whey protein powders. You can make your smoothies without the protein powder - it just helps us get our daily allotment of protein! Below we've listed our favorite fruits, veggies, liquids and fun additions. Mix and match and find variations that you love!

Veggies:
Spinach, cucumbers, kale (just blend a lot!), parsley,
Fruit:
Bananas, blueberries, pineapple, mango, strawberries and avocados. Seasonal fruit is great - peaches, apricots, raspberries
Liquids:
Almond milk, water, coconut water (we stay away from dairy)
Fun additions:
Ginger, hemp seed, chia seeds, coconut flakes, cocao powder, cinnamon, almond butter

What's your favorite combination?

Hydration - #TastyTuesday

In honor of the heat and humidity that has become a topic of conversation - it's as if it's that crazy aunt that we all gossip about - today's #TastyTuesday post is all about hydration!

During the summer, you sweat more! Thus, you need more water and need to pay attention to replenishing your electrolyte levels everyday. The general guideline for water is 6-8 8-ounce glasses per day, or half your body weight in ounces. This is for the general public though. Let's be real, you're an athlete and you sweat. You even seek it out. So, let your thirst be your guide - if you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Here's what your body needs during this season to sustain you on your runs:

  • Pre Workout: Drink 8-16 ounces of water 30 minutes to 1 hour before working out.
  • During Workout: Stay hydrated! During the summer, aim to take in 6-8 ounces of water for every 30-45 minutes of exercise AND take in extra calories, preferably in the form of simple carbs so they are easily digested and burned. Examples: gels, chews, bars or drinks such as Gatorade. 
  • Post Workout: Quickly replenish lost fluids and electrolytes after a workout. By quickly, we mean starting to drink water and your favorite electrolyte replenishment drink (e.g. gatorade, coconut water, nuun tablets) within 10-15 minutes after working out. Continue to replenish throughout the rest of your day. 

Tips for staying hydrated on extra sweaty summer runs:
(1) Add Nuun tablets to your water.

(2) Eat saltier foods post workout.

(3) End your run with an electrolyte drink. We love the drink cart guys in NYC because Gatorade is always available. Buy a water and a gatorade and make a watered down version of Gatorade for the subway ride home.

(4) If you are running and ending someplace besides home, bring money to buy something or keep a smaller cooler in your car with your favorite electrolyte drink.

(5) Find a route with water fountains or bring a water bottle (we recommend amphipod products).

And sometimes we get a little sick of just water so we add some flavor:
(1) Add fruit to your water. Our fave mixtures: Oranges, limes & vanilla bean. Or just add single fruits - anything goes!

(2) Eat watermelon after your run, it's yummy and helps satiate your thirst.

(3) Freeze slices of fruit in your ice tray, for example, a slice of strawberry, pineapple or mango.

(4) Freeze lemon wedges and pop them into your water bottle for a different taste and cooler water.

 

Designer Whey Review & GIVEAWAY

by

*Disclaimer: Designer Whey provided these products to me. I was not compensated for this review, expect for my time. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I'm a huge fan of Designer Whey products. I use their Protein Powder and Protein2Go packs all the time (great tasting and convenient). I recently had the opportunitity to try out their new product - Sustained Energy Protein Powder. DW sent me the Vanilla Bean and the Chocolate Velvet flavors to try.

Over the course of about 8 days, I used their Sustained Energy Product (instead of their Protein Powder) in a variety of ways: morning smoothies, afternoon smoothies, post run pancakes and on-the-go protein drink.

The Sustained Energy formula provides more endurance and sustained energy because of the proprietary Endurance Blend™, a combo of "fast absorbing whey protein and slower absorbing soy and casein proteins, giving you a steady supply of essential amino acids while helping you control hunger with fiber" (via http://designerwhey.com/products/powders/sustained-energy/). One scoop of either flavor provides 16 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber and 19 essential vitamins and minerals and is only 100 calories.

6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber and 19 Essential Vitamins & Minerals - See more at: http://designerwhey.com/products/powders/sustained-energy/#sthash.aPwaOJBB.dpuf
6 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber and 19 Essential Vitamins & Minerals - See more at: http://designerwhey.com/products/powders/sustained-energy/#sthash.aPwaOJBB.dpuf
Whey is pure so your body quickly absorbs it for maximum post-workout recovery and nutrition. • Whey is a “complete” lean protein with the right balance of amino acids and protein to help your immune system. - See more at: http://designerwhey.com/about-us/whey-benefits/#sthash.qykFznvv.dpuf

Want to try Designer Whey Sustained Energy?
The good folks at Designer Whey are giving me 6 cannisters of the Sustained Energy protein. That means, 6 of you will win!  This is open to US residents only and the winners can choose to try out vanilla or chocolate.

Additional entries:
As always, you can gain extra entries. Remember, though, you must complete the required entry first! And, yes, I'll check. (Leave one comment per entry for the additional ones to count.) So, here's what to do:
  • Follow us on Pinterest, or let us know that you already do 
  • Pin the image from this post to share the giveaway on Pinterest
  • Follow us on Twitter, or let us know that you already do
  • Tweet about the giveaway: "Enter to win FREE Designer Whey product from @hotbirdrunning: http://bit.ly/17t8EKq"
  • Follow us on Instagram, or let us know that you already do

Koge Vitamins

by

I was sent a Koge Vitamins Energy Pack in exchange for my honest review; all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Full disclosure: I've never been "good" at taking vitamins - I either forget them or don't take them regularly. When I had the chance to review Koge Vitamins, I decided to go for it because I wanted to 1) see if I could do it - take vitamins for 15 days straight and 2) wanted to know for myself if I felt a difference on vitamins.

Well, 18 days later and I almost succeeded! I went away for 3 days and forgot to bring them with me so I had a few extra days. I did feel a difference on the Energy tablets. I woke up feelling more refreshed and I didn't feel any cravings or need for coffee. Also, I was much more alert during the afternoon - never felt "foggy brain" in the afternoon.

Koge offers a few different vitamin pack options: Daily Essentials, Antioxidant Collection, Weight

Management and Energy Pack. Additionally, they have a Whey Protein powder. Koge vitamins are cheaper than buying from brick and mortar stores because they have streamlined the process. It reminded me of Trader Joes - they are able to keep their prices low because they cut out the middle men/the distribution process. 


I took the Energy Pack which consisted of the following 4 tablets:

  • Korean Ginseng – believed to relieve the effects of stress and enhance mental and physical performance.
  • Ayur Indian Ginseng – supports energy production, which improves the body's mental and physical performance
  • Guarana - a nature, powerful and long-lasting dose of caffeine - a concentration of 3.6% to 5.8%, compared to coffee's 1.0% to 2.0%. (When I was living in Brazil, I regularly had Guarana in smoothies and juices.)
  • Coenzyme Q-10 with L-Taurine - Coenzyme Q-10 is a natural antioxidant that protects and rejuvenates your body against wear and tear, improves heart health and lowers blood pressure. Taurine is known for lowering cholesterol and repairing the body against natural external damage.

Overall, I'm happy with the results and I proved that I am capable of taking vitamins everyday, 2x a day (well, at least when I remember to bring them on vacation with me!) Another, to buy their vitamins, they are giving back and doing good - they have pledged to donate a percentage from every Koge vitamin sale to help provide the proper Vitamin A concentration children in developing countries need to survive.  Also, they don't take themselves that seriously:

#TastyTuesday - Chocolate Raspberry Dream

by Meghan Reynolds

I enjoy my chocolate and have been trying different ways to get my "fix". This recipe comes from the Biggest Loser. I had 1/2 the ingredients and raspberries were on sale so I went for it. I adapted a few of the amounts and added the chocolate chips :) I LOVED it!

Here it is (makes 4 servings):

1 cup all-natural fat-free cottage cheese
3 Tablespoons 100% fruit raspberry spread
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 6 oz container fresh raspberries
2 Tablespoons Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips

Blend the first 3 ingredients until smooth. I used my Cuisinart blender. Put it into a container and put it in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours (next time, I'm going to put it in the freezer). When you are ready to serve, put 3-4 raspberries into a dessert or martini glass, spoon 1/4 of the chocolate mixture over and top with 2-3 raspberries and 1⁄2 a tablespoon of chocolate chunks. Enjoy!

Nutrition for Base Training: Stocking Your Fridge/Pantry

By Caitlin Grams

When taking on something new, you will experience the greatest success if you come prepared. Take running, for example: without shoes or a mapped out running route, a great run would be near impossible. Cleaning up your diet is the same way - you have to come prepared in order to succeed. In order to kick off your base training properly fueled and energized for a successful training season, here are my top 3 tips: 

 

1. Clean it out. Get rid of anything that might tempt you to stray from a clean diet. Chips, candy, processed foods, ice cream, sodas (even diet sodas), high fat meat and dairy products - avoid most things in packages and with additives. Toss them out, bring them to a food bank, donate to friends - but get it out of your kitchen.

 

2. Restock. Head to a grocery store or better yet a farmer's market. Choose foods that don't come in a box and that are fresh and in season. Fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats are the building blocks of a healthy diet. Find healthier replacements for your old unhealthy favorites - make kale chips instead of regular potato chips, frozen yogurt instead of ice cream, sparkling water instead of soda.

 

3. Prepare! Chop vegetables for salads and snacks, grill or bake enough lean protein for the week, make a large batch of quinoa, black beans or brown rice, and roast vegetables. Pre-portion nuts and fruits for snacks. Keep healthy snacks and meals at the office or in your car so you are never tempted to stray from a clean diet. 

 

Now that your kitchen is clean and stocked, you are ready to take on your base training and start cooking up some Hot Bird Recipes!

Nutrition For Base Training: Cleaning Up Your Diet

By Caitlin Grams

There are so many factors that go into getting your body ready for a race. Training is all about preparation: getting your mind and body in prime condition to have the best possible outcome on race day. Getting your body ready to race is about more than just getting your legs in shape - in order to perform at your peak, nutrition is equally as important as your workouts. Not only will you ensure that you are properly fueling your body by cleaning up your diet, but your stomach will thank you - and any runner can tell you that keeping your stomach happy is key to a great race. 
Here are a few tips for cleaning up your diet during base training:
*Limit sugar. So many of us know that sugar is bad for us but we eat it anyway. Why limit sugar intake? Here are just a few good reasons: it is high in calories but low in nutritional benefits, it can lead to excess weight gain, it suppresses the immune system and can cause inflammation as well as surges and drops in energy (sugar crash anyone?)  - need i say more?
*Avoid excess dairy and high fat foods. These are two enemies of healthy digestion - most people don't tolerate dairy well, and foods that are high in fat are also difficult to digest -  which can lead to all kinds of stomach issues. Stick to lean proteins, green veggies and whole grains and your stomach will thank you. 
*Up your veggie intake. Vegetables keep your digestive system running smoothly, provide essential nutrients, calcium, and support immune function, among many other benefits.

Interview with a Podiatrist

Dr. Ethan Ciment is a Podiatric foot and ankle surgeon in private practice in New York City. He is the founder of Chelsea Foot and Ankle where he treats all aspects of foot and ankle medicine and surgery. Whether it is a simple skin or common nail disorder, sports medicine/sports-related injuries, reconstructive surgery, pediatrics, geriatrics, wound care, or diabetic limb salvage, Dr. Ciment treats the entire spectrum of foot and ankle medicine and surgery.

Why do you like working with runners?
I enjoy working with runners because they tend to be more motivated and determined than the average patient. Sadly, our culture has encouraged a passive approach to wellness. People often seek medical help later than they should. Many people also feel that a doctor should be able to simply write a prescription, give a shot, or administer some other "magic bullet" that immediately fixes the problem. So many people don't see their own critical role in actively participating in their recovery. Runners are just the opposite of this. In my experience, most runners seek help when they should, knowing that to delay this would impact their ability to run. Most runners tend to be proactive, very involved in their recovery, and diligent with home exercises, stretching and physical therapy. Though, as sports go, running can be one of the most negatively impacting on the lower extremity if done incorrectly, runners (in general) tend to be "dream patients" for foot and ankle specialists because they are engaged, determined, committed and they get better faster because of this active involvement and proactive attitude.

If you could tell a runner one piece of advice, what would it be?
Listen to your body. Pain can be a wonderful educator. Very often, people negotiate with themselves about levels of pain that they can tolerate and push through. Please don't push through all types of pain! This is the root of most running injuries. If you are running and suddenly feel pain, this can be an indication that something has been weakened or is at risk of being damaged. This is your body talking to you. Listen to it! Very often, this is an indication that your form is off in some way. I think that some people get a little "too in their head" in these moments; They start negotiating with themselves. Things like "Let's just go another mile and see if it's still hurting." So many folks decide that they need to just push through the pain or else they'll never meet their next level running fitness goal. Honestly, nothing could be further from the truth. Very often, just slowing down, going into a powerwalk for a few minutes, or actually stopping the run in those moments and getting help, is enough to spare you a longer interruption in your running/training cycle. Simply listening to the pain, respecting it and what it is telling you, and getting the help you need when you need it can be a game-changer for all levels of runners.

What is your go-to fitness activity and why? 
I would have to say that running is my go-to fitness activity because it's flexible and it's portable. I don't need to rely on a gym or health club to do it and I don't need "gear" or some other specialized equipment. I all need is just me, my legs and my sneakers (and preferably some great music and a gorgeous day!).

What is your favorite post workout meal?
I find it difficult to eat a full meal after running. That said, it's important to rehydrate and replace nutrients. I will often have a date shake if my run was in the morning because I can use those calories to power me through my day. If my run was in the evening, then I go lower calorie and lower carbohydrate: a simple salad with a tablespoon of hummus and five or six tempeh strips is ideal for me.

Review of Designer Whey

Meghan had the opportunity to review Designer Whey products. She tested out their protein powder, bars, shakes and their Protein2Go packets throughout the month of April. Disclaimer: Designer Whey sent me the products for the review. All opinions are my own.

I'm a huge fan of smoothies, especially protein smoothies. I pretty much drink one smoothie a day - either for breakfast, an afternoon snack and a post-workout meal. When Designer Whey offered to send product to us to review and test out, I said "of course!" We've used a number of different products before and are always open to trying out new or different brands. I have a sensitive stomach and can't tolerate lactose or soy. I don't really like the aftertaste of hemp protein and some whey proteins have had an adverse effect on my stomach. I've used their French Vanilla Whey Powder in the past so I was looking forward to trying new flavors and their new products.

The box I received was loaded with products: Powders (French Vanilla and White Chocolate), Bars (Triple Chocolate Crunch, Chocolate Caramel Crunch and Peanut Butter Crunch), Shakes (Vanilla and Chocolate) and their Protein2Go packets (Lemonade, Mixed Berry and Tropical Orange).

The bars are my favorite new product from Designer Whey. They were delicious and didn't have that gross, processed after taste that so many protein bars have. I used them as post workout meals when I knew I didn't have time for a full meal (I sometimes have clients, runs and meeting back to back to back) and as afternoon pick-me-up snacks. I never felt heavy after eating any of the bars.

I was traveling for a week during my testing period so I brought along the Protein2Go packets and the bars. These were great because I was traveling a lot during the days and were easy ways to get my protein when eating out all the time. I'm not a fan of pre-packaged shakes and thought those were the most processed tasting product out of everything I sampled. While I was home, I used the protein powder for everything - smoothies, baking and pancakes. I love my spinach, almond milk, banana and pineapple smoothie with french vanilla protein powder in the mornings. I made pancakes with both powder flavors - the white chocolate was delish with berries! I made banana bread and quinoa muffins with the vanilla protein powder. In short, I was a protein eating superstar all through April - even during my travels!

Overall, I would highly recommend the Designer Whey products I tested. I encourage my clients to test out products and find what works for them. I gave a few of them the Protein2Go packets and some of the powder. I especially like the bars and Protein2Go packets because they are easy, tasty and portable. I'm loving the White Chocolate powder and the lemonade Protein2Go flavor currently!

 

 

 

Off-Season Nutrition

Caitlin, our resident nutritial coach, shares her thoughts on nutrition and in eating while in recovery, the off-season. Jessica and I keep our hunger at bay during the off season by eating food that keeps us full, such as lara bars, apples and homemade granola. And thanks to Caitlin, Meghan understands the power of the food journal - she's been using it recently to lose a few pounds before she begins her half-marathon training.

One of the most common side effects of long distance training is an increased appetite. Many runners love this part of training - it gives us the ability to have an extra treat or cheat a bit on a long run day and not see the usual side effects of weight gain. Although it is definitely possible to maintain or even gain weight while training for a race, it is even more likely that you gain weight directly after a race. Why does this happen?
Right after you race, your body (and appetite) is still used to the high activity levels of training and anticipates a high level of calorie burn. Basically your body is asking for fuel to burn. However, most runners immediately step down their workouts post-race - leading to more calories consumed than calories burned. Our bodies still think they need more fuel for higher intensity workouts while we are taking more rest days. So how can we avoid weight gain during this time? 
  • Keep moving! You don't have to keep up the intensity you built during training, but don't go from running 30 miles a week to never leaving your couch. You might not be training, but try to get in a little activity each day - whether it's an easy run, a long walk, a bike ride, or a restorative yoga class.
  • Be mindful of calories in vs. calories out. This might be a great time to start/restart a food journal or track your food using an app (My Fitness Pal is my personal favorite) and become aware of what you are putting into your body. Remember that if you are looking to maintain your current weight, it's okay to take in as many calories as you burn, but if you are looking to lose weight there needs to be a deficit - you must burn more than you take in. And if you eat more calories than you burn, you're looking at a likely weight gain.
  • Be patient with yourself! It takes some time for your body to adjust, so you may feel hungrier for a few days. Listen to your body - feed it with healthy fuel, drink plenty of water, and be patient. After your body figures out that it needs less fuel, it will adjust and you will feel less hungry over time. 

Interview with a Personal Trainer

Mary Walters is a personal trainer and wellness coach, and founder of Mindful Form. Brooklyn is her home turf (who wouldn't want to live by Prospect Park?!). Her aim is to help others achieve their peak level of wellness, to teach the basics of building a fitness routine and empower them to make health a priority and fitness a part of their lives long-term.

Why do you like working with runners?
Runners are always a step or two ahead of the game. Part of my job is to help clients figure out what physical activities they enjoy doing (so they'll stick with it!)- runners already have it figured out. Rain or shine, hot or cold, inside or out, runners find a way to get it done one way or another. And they're not afraid to sweat!

If you could tell a runner one piece of advice, what would it be?
Spend some quality "down-time" time with your connective tissue! Although an incredible exercise, running is high impact and can be pretty tough on your body. To counter the wear and tear, restorative work must be a priority. Use dynamic stretches for warmup before a run; contract-relax, active-isolated and static stretching are all great options post-run. And be sure to take time during the week for targeted fascial work like MELTing, foam rolling and/or massage. Your body will thank you!

What is your go-to fitness activity and why? 
Any time I can throw in an extra walk or run in-between clients, I will. But I get bored easily, so I need to mix things up as much as possible. I'm always a sucker for a good, creative circuit training session- I grab a few random pieces of equipment (or none at all), choose 2-3 body parts to focus on, throw in a healthy dose of cardio bursts (like jump rope, burpees, or sprints), and I have myself a very efficient, very challenging, and very rewarding workout!

What is your favorite post workout meal?
I'm usually commuting around the city from client to client, so I have to grab things on the go. My favorite pick-me-ups…. low-fat greek yogurt, a banana, and/or a LARA bar. A little fat, a little carb, a little protein. No mysterious ingredients.

Diet To Go Review

Meghan recently tried Diet To Go. Here is her review of her 3 days on their Traditional Meal Plan.

I have always dreamed of having a personal chef because I don’t cook. I don’t enjoy it nor do I have the patience. Last week, I tried Diet To Go, a food delivery service that specializes delivering healthy, tasty meals to your door. I choose the Traditional meal plan of 1200 calories (there are two calorie options: 1200 recommended for women or 1600 recommended for men).  There are two other choices as well: Vegetarian and Low Carb. You can choose between 5 and 7 day plans that include all 3 meals per day, or just lunch and dinner. They ship weekly and the food is delivered in a cooler with freezer packs so the food stays fresh. There are different menus weekly, offering a nice variety of meals and they allow you to substitute in case you don’t like specific meals.

Overall, I enjoyed the meals and the plan.  I liked how simple it was to heat them up. They recommended a microwave but since I don’t have one, I either used the stove or stove top. I continued to workout normally, thus, I added 2-3 snacks a day (almonds, grapefruit, banana handful of pretzels). Diet To Go offers suggestions for those people unsure of healthy snacks. The meals were extremely tasty and filling. They are so much better than the conventional frozen diet meals that you can buy in the store. Most of the meals I tried used whole, natural ingredients.

Pros:

  1. Tasty, seasoned food.
  2. Filling (I couldn’t finish a few of the meals).
  3. Substitutions for food you don’t like or for food allergies (I did not like the Creole Shrimp Stew, I’d definitely swap that out).
  4. Option to order all 3 meals or just lunch and dinner (this is the option I’d choose next time).
  5. The shelf life of the meals is about a week, if kept at the proper temperature, or you can freeze them for up to a month.

Cons:

  1. Heavy meals – I felt really full even when I didn’t finish all of the meal.
  2. A few meals were really smelly (the salmon was not a good idea for lunch – if I had been working in an office, I wouldn’t have been liked that day!)
  3. High sodium content.

I would definitely recommend this program to friends and clients who are looking for easy ways to have nutritious, easy and tasty meals. I will most likely do this program again because of its ease but I will definitely substitute meals.

Disclaimer: FitFluential LLC compensated me for this campaign. All opinions are my own.

We love....Food!

 

Food is a big part of our life and especially our training plans. We like to indulge for sure but we make sure we are getting the protein, the carbs, the fat and the nutrients we need to stay strong, injury free runners.

Here are our favorite foods:

  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa with brown sugar and cinnamon - complete source of protein
  • English muffin with a nut butter.
  • Banana (with or without a nut butter).
  • Smoothie with banana & vanilla protein powder (smoothies are great post workout foods).
  • Smoothies with banana, spinach, blueberries & vanilla protein powder.
  • Hot chocolate with marshmallows from Vineapple Cafe in Brooklyn.
  • Cherry Pie lara bars - we take these with us everywhere we go.
  • Homemade granola (we use sea salt, dried cherries and cranberries) - add yogurt for more protein.
  • Brussel sprouts - fights inflammation & helps lower cholesterol (Bocca Lupo in Brooklyn makes our favorite).
  • Veda bars made by our awesome Ayurvedic doctor and friend, Deacon Carpenter.
  • Ginger tea with lemon - morning, noon and night & helps ward off sickness.
  • Fruit Strips - quick snack for on-the-go.
  • Chia pudding - great sweet treat & a source of good carbs & protein!

Healthy Holiday Celebrations

by Caitlin Grams

Valentine's Day, like so many other holidays, can quickly get out of hand with sweets and indulgent treats. This year, try something different. No matter if you're celebrating with someone special (a spouse or partner) or with family or friends, here are a few ideas on how to make this Valentine's day a bit healthier:
  • Take your valentine for a run or organize a group run with friends. Better yet, find a themed race and dress up! 
  • Try a new fitness class together - do something different. 
  • Plan an active outing - go hiking, rock climbing, skiing or snowshoeing. 
  • Cook a healthy, hands-on meal at home. Not only will you save time, money and avoid crowded restaurants, but you'll have a blast trying your hand at a new meal together and can control everything that goes into it, making sure it's full of fresh ingredients. 
  • Instead of traditional chocolates and candy, melt dark chocolate and make your own fondue by cutting up pieces of fresh fruit to dip in it. 
Happy Valentine's Day!

On-the-Go Snack Ideas

Caitlin shares her favorite snack ideas to keep you satisfied and on track with your health goals!

I've always been a big snacker, so I've learned to keep healthy options around so that when I do snack, I have lots of filling, nutrient-dense choices to tide me over until my next meal. When picking a snack, I try to always include either a fruit or vegetable, a protein and a healthy fat. Here are a few of my favorite combinations:
Before a Workout:
*A handful of nuts or trail mix - Almonds, cashews, and pistachios are my favorite nuts to keep around. I also like to make my own trail mix with a combination of nuts and dried fruit - just be sure to watch the serving size here because nuts are high in (good) fats.
*Fruit and nut butter - Apples or bananas and almond butter are my favorite combinations, especially before a workout. If I'm craving something sweet. I'll slice and apple and sprinkle it with cinnamon, and serve with a tablespoon or two of almond butter and chocolate chips! 
After a Workout:
*Greek yogurt is always a quick and healthy snack that's high in protein. My favorite is Trader Joe's Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt with fresh berries. 
*A few slices of turkey and avocado are the perfect ratio of protein and healthy fats and very satisfying after a workout. 
*Chocolate Milk - one of my favorite after workout snacks. I drink Soy Chocolate Milk with added protein from Trader Joes. 
Anytime:
*Veggies and hummus - carrots, snap peas, celery, jicama - anything crunchy is my veggie of choice, and there are SO many hummus options out there. Anything spicy or the edamame hummus from Trader Joe's are my favorite store bought varieties, but as I discovered,  It's also incredibly easy to make your own
*Smoothie - Smoothies are one of my favorite snacks, and I add or subtract ingredients based on the time of day, pre or post workout, my mood...but generally there's almost always banana, frozen berries, almond milk and some kind of protein (either powder, almond butter, etc).