Tuesday, December 1, 2015

First Thoughts After Your First Marathon

In a follow up to my previous blog Final Thoughts Before Your First Marathon, I thought I'd blog about some of the first things to consider once you have finished the race.  First and foremost, congratulations on be come part of the less than 1% of the world's population.  You are officially a MARATHONER!!!  Months of training and sacrifice lead up to a handful of hours of running, a shiny new medal and a lot of thoughts, emotions and possibly some blisters and soreness.  Don't fret, everything you are feeling is totally normal.  Here are a few things to consider within these next couple of days post marathon.

Marathon Blues
You run those last .2 miles and cross that finish line.  You're handing your medal, embrace your friends and family and now feel on top of the world.  That high can last for several hours to days.  But one thing is certain in life, what goes up, must come down.  You just spent the last several months of your life preparing for one event.  A huge, life changing event at that.  But now you're left feeling somewhat empty and even saddened.  What's next?  It happens to the best of us and the best thing to do is just enjoy the time off to just enjoy running for the pure joy of running.  Not having to worry about long runs, speed work, cross training, etc., and just getting to go jog is such a liberating and fun feeling.  It will allow you to reconnect with the joy of running after months of it feeling like a job.  Also, take this time to start consider what your next big event will be.  Having a future goal in mind will help keep you going with all that progress you made during training for this one.

Eat All The Food
I don't know about you, but after a marathon, I want to eat EVERYTHING!  You just burned lord know how many calories out on the road.  You will certainly need more food post race than any regular day.  Your body and soul need to indulge, so let go and live a little, after all you earned it!  But also keep in mind how important it is not just to eat because you're hungry and deserving of lots of food, but also recognize you eat to refuel.  Be sure to focus on eating healthy fats, proteins and of course carbohydrates.  Once you have replenished those calories burned, you don't necessarily need much more than that, so indulge, but do so wisely.

Could've, Should've, Would've
One of the most common things I struggle with post marathon, and I hear from so many other runners are the "if I had only done this or that, then I would have done better."  Yes, each race is definitely a learning experience and can help better prepare you for the next race.  But what's done is done and you should leave it all out on the course.  You gave it your all and you finished!  This is the first time you have done something this physically, and possibly emotionally, demanding.  Takes some to to appreciate that, and not take away from what you did with any regrets you may have about it.  You only cross the finish line of your first marathon once, and it is an experience like no other!  There will be other races, you will have other chances to do better.  So cherish every moment of the HUGE accomplishment you just made!

Rest Up, Then Get Moving
The first time you try and run after your first marathon can be a VERY humbling experience.  Your legs may feel like lead, your feet can be blistered and your whole body will be sore.  Your wobbly legs, achy hips and tired feet may have you feeling like you may never run again, but trust me, you will!  My advice, take it slow, have no expectations and just listen to your body.  The first couple of attempts at running post marathon  may involve more walking than running, and that is perfectly OK.  As mentioned in my previous post, be sure to take time for some mobility and stretching exercises too.  Loosen up those muscles and then get moving again.  Your body and mind will thank you for it!

What Next?
You may be thinking "I am never doing that again!"  Or you could be looking at the race calendar planning out your next full marathon.  Wherever you are with your thoughts on marathons, here are a few Do's and Don't's for moving forward...

Don't judge all marathons off of the first experience.  The weather could have been terrible, the training may have been wrong or the nerves could have just gotten the best of you.  So if it wasn't the absolute best experience of your life, think about giving it another shot with with some adjustments to have a better experience the next time.  Never say never!
Don't jump right back into training for another distance event.  Give your body and mind some time to relax and enjoy what you just accomplished.  If you've caught the marathon bug, that is awesome, but give yourself a couple of months before you start training for your next one.  Going at it too quickly without proper recovery may put you in a position for over training, which could lead to injury or illness.
Do set some goals if you plan to do another one.  Now you have a good idea what a race of 26.2 miles feels like.  You know what pace you had, what your finish time was and how all that felt.  It's not out of the question to do better at your next one, so think about what a PR would look like for you and work towards making that happen.
Do show proud and shout from the roof tops what you just did!  A marathon is a HUUUUUGE accomplishment and certainly something to be proud of.  Don't think for a second you are "annoying" your friends and family with all your post race chatter.  They should be so incredibly proud of you as you should be insanely proud of yourself.  Bring your medal to work.  Post your race photos on social media.  Share your stories of the race with your loved ones.  It's an incredibly feeling and you shouldn't have to hide.  Take pride, you're a MARATHONER!

I just want to once again congratulate you all on accomplishing such a huge goal.  Not just running the actual race, but for all the months of hard work and dedication that lead up to it.  It takes so much physically and mentally to take on the beast otherwise known as the marathon and you did it!  If you have any questions about recovery, training or improving your strength and conditioning, don't hesitate to contact me at 407-960-4705 for a free consultation!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Final Thoughts Before Your First Marathon

Several of my running buddies will be embarking on their very first marathon this coming Sunday at the Space Coast Marathon.  I couldn't be more excited for them because I will never forget the first time I crossed the finish line for my first marathon.  It was an experience that words cannot even begin to describe and I hope they experience the same euphoria I did!  Of course I certainly was not that blissful the entire time.  Despite the months of training, my nerves totally got the best of me in the days and of course minutes leading up to the race.  And even throughout the 26.2 miles, there were several moments of fears and doubts.  But I kept going and before I knew it, I was officially a marathoner!

So as my friends prepare for their first, and hopefully not last (hehe) marathon, I thought I would share a few last minute thoughts and suggestions in preparation for their big day...

1. Trust Your Training
You have just spend that past 12-18 weeks of your life preparing to run the miles, you can and WILL run them all!  Take a look back at your best and worst training runs.  What were different factors in those that you can do, or not do, race day?  Be sure to keep those things in mind before and during your run.  These past few months have not just physically, but also mentally prepared you for race day.  You have a plan.  Trust in that and believe in yourself.  Running is, after all, a mental sport (and we are all insane)!

2. Don't Make Any Major Changes
By now you have probably figured out your nutrition and hydration looks like for 20+ miles runs, as well as what gear and apparel work best for you.  Don't make any changes.  Don't add any new Gu or hydration tablets to your race day essentials.  Don't buy new shoes or pants or sports bra, go with what you know and trust.  And lastly, stick to a relatively simple diet in the last few days leading up to the race.  You don't want to risk any unwanted GI issues come race day.  Been there, regretted that, ugh!  Stick with what you know.

3. Have a Mantra
Read through some inspirational quotes or stories.  Find something that speaks to you about anything from perseverance, determination, competition, etc..  Whatever touches you and motivates you.  Recite those words to yourself before the race and whenever things start to get tough out there.  There will be times where you feel like this was too much of an undertaking and you want to walk, stop for a minute or even quit.  DON'T!  Remember your mantra, remember why you started this journey, what it means to you to finish, dig deep and keep pushing forward!

4. Relax, Have Fun
Listen, it's just running.  It's not our job, we're not getting paid to do it.  (In fact we pay a lot to do this, hehe).  We're not going to the Olympics and most of us won't qualify for Boston our first go, if ever!  Like I said above, think about why you even decided to run a marathon.  You obviously have to love running if you're willing to do it for 4-6+ hours straight!  So keep that in mind out on the course.  Enjoy the sights and sounds and emotions going on all around you.  There are so many great stories of triumph and inspiration at these events, including yours.  Soak it all in!  Running a marathon is the true definition of a journey, why not enjoy the ride, er run.  Think about how much more sweet crossing that finish line will be if you can remain calm, positive and and just have fun!

5. Recover Smart
One of the biggest mistakes people make post marathon is not honoring a proper recovery period.  Many people will stop running all together for a week or two, or even more, while others will jump right back into their old routine.  Take a day or so rest.  Not just the miles but also the emotional component of a race can take a toll on you.  Be sure to refuel your body with proper nutrition and drink TONS of water.  Foam rolling, active stretching and Yoga are all super helpful in recovery.  Many training programs have recovery runs built into them, so don't neglect that.  If your program does not have recovery runs, considering take some nice slow jogs or walk runs the week following the race and start building back up.  You don't want any unwanted injury or illness after your race to taint what an amazing thing you have just accomplished, so recovery smart and stay healthy.

I could really go on and on about marathon training and race day preparation, but those are some big ones that have helped me over the years.  No matter the outcome of your race, crossing that finish line at a marathon is a feeling like no other.  You have worked so hard to do something you may have never thought possible.  All those early mornings, tough workouts and dedication have paid off.  You set a goal and you made it happen.  Less than 1% of the population can say what you can now say...you are a MARATHONER!!!

Good luck and happy running!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Stay Healthy, Stay Informed

PINKtober Has Come and Gone...

And so has much of the emphasis on breast cancer awareness.  It is certainly wonderful that each year, everyone from our favorite consumer products to the NFL and celebrities dawn pink and promote the importance of fundraising, mammograms and self examinations.  But breast cancer awareness is something that should be on the forefront of our minds all year round.

With that being said, I thought I would take this opportunity to share some tips with you from BHG360° Bankers Healthcare Group, a provider of financing solutions to healthcare professionals.  Below is a great infographic they have provided with breast cancer facts and myth busters.

So What Can You Do?

First and foremost, be self aware.  Do monthly self-examinations to check for any lumps in your breast.  As stated above, only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer, but being aware of any abnormalities and having them checked is key to early detection.  For more information on how to properly do a self examination, visit the Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.

Next, spread the word.  Don't hesitate to share this information with all your family friends, coworkers etc., and help educate everyone you love on the importance of self-examination.  Use social media to share infographics like the one above, ask your employer if you can post information in the break room, and just simply discuss with your friends and family how important early detection can be in the fight against breast cancer.

Join the fundraising efforts.  There are several organizations that raise money for breast cancer research, funding mammograms, assistance to those battling the disease and of course, also to help spread awareness.  Whether you personally make a donation, do a fundraiser or participate in an event specifically for breast cancer, like the 26.2 with Donna marathon I will be running in February, every little bit helps.  So get involved today!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

5 Super Easy Ways To Start Getting Fit Today!

Getting healthier and more fit does not have to be a full time job.  You do not have to become an expert in the field or spend hundreds of dollars on books, DVDs and equipment.  It does not have to be overwhelming or physically and mentally EXHAUSTING!  Becoming more fit can actually be quite simple and fun!  Take it from someone who has been in the fitness industry for almost 15 years and has lost a significant amount of weight myself, don't be so hard on yourself and don't make it all so difficult!  Here are a few simple tips to help get you going on your path the health and fitness that you can start doing today:

1. Keep It Simple
Pinterest, Instagram, Google, magazines, TV, the list goes on as towhere you can find all sorts of ideas, tips and tricks to help you shed weight and get in shape.  Often people will come to me totally confused with tons of questions from HIIT to macros, but are currently sedentary and eat fast food several times per week.  Don't overwhelm yourself with the plethora of information (and ahem, misinformation) out there.  You don't have to be an expert or know all the latest trends and terms of the industry to achieve success.  Just.Get.Moving.And.Eat.Smarter!  It's that simple.  Get moving and clean up your diet.  Don't necessarily go on a diet but see where you can make healthier swaps or eliminate those bad food choices.  As far as exercise is concerned, if you haven't been doing anything, even just going for a walk or bike, or joining a group fitness classes is better than nothing.  If you have been working out but not seeing results, just kick it up a notch.  As your goals become more specific, then so should your training programming, but for the time being, just get moving and eating better today!

2. Make It Fun
Fitness doesn't always have to be torture!  Finding activities that you enjoy not only make your fitness journey more fun, it also helps make you less likely to drop out.  There are hundreds of ways to incorporate fitness into your lifestyle today that doesn't have to intimidate or hurt you.  For example, if you like to walk or jog, consider joining a local running group for support and accountability.  If you enjoy dancing, join a Zumba or hip hop class.  And if you're into more challenging and athletic programming, that involves things like weights, ropes, kettlebells, etc., join group training classes like the ones we offer at our facility.  Once you become more involved in fitness, especially in a fun group setting, you will be surprised at what your capable of and how eager you become to try new and challenging things to achieve even bigger results!

3. Track Your Progress
One of the biggest keys to success is measuring and tracking.  Being aware and mindful of your nutrition and activity as well as tracking what progress you have made thus far is vital to achieving your goals.  We suggest to our clients a FREE and simple to use app called MyFitnessPal.  You can download the app right to your phone and track what your daily caloric intake as well as your caloric expenditure through exercise.  Remember, what gets measured gets done.  So make S.M.A.R.T. goals to stick to and track your progress daily in order to achieve success.

4. Share with Friends and Family
So you may not be where you want to be, but you are working hard to get there.  Be proud!  Share your journey with your friends and family.  Get your own personal cheering section.  Nothing great can be done alone, it takes support from the ones we love to help push and motivate us.  There are several ways you can get your inner circle involved in your journey.  Recruit a friend or family member to join your training and nutrition with you.  Join a group of like minded individuals on the same journey.  Post and share your progress and actives to social media.  However you choose to share with friends and family your decision to take control of your health and fitness you will be sure to receive nothing but positive feedback and support.  And also, believe it or not, you could serve as inspiration and motivation to others to do the same!

5. Stick With It
It won't always be easy.  You will plateau.  You will get discouraged at times.  You will get burnt out and or bored with your programming eventually.  STICK WITH IT!  Find new ways to keep you motivated and challenged.  When it becomes daunting, keep reminding yourself why you got started, what it means to you to achieve your goals and reflect on how much progress you have made so far.  The decision get healthier and fitter is a life long commitment.  Hang in there, continue to follow the above principles, seek professional help with your goals, take pride in what you've done and enjoy the journey.  Nothing worth having comes easy and the harder you work for it, the sweeter the victory.

For more information, inspiration and motivation, follow Coach Christina on Instagram.  Also, to stay up to date on promotions and happenings at CWSC Performance, like us on Facebook or give us a call at 407-960-4705.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Bulu BuluBox Review

As a member of the FitApproach Sweat Pink Ambassador Team, I had the opportunity to sample a Bulu Box last month.  So what exactly is a Bulu Box?  The description from their website is as follows...

"Bulu Box is the first health, nutrition and weight loss discovery box designed to help you feel your best. Each month, you’ll get a custom box filled with a new mix of 4 to 5 premium samples from top brands to try. Every sample is sufficient enough to decide if the product is right for you.  Of course, shipping is always free and you can cancel anytime. Share your thoughts about each product in our sample surveys and you can earn 50+ Rewards Points (that's $5!) each month! Use your points to purchase your new favorites in full size at BuluBox.com! Here you’ll also get expert tips, tricks and a supportive community of Bulugans just like you! Join the discovery and find a healthier you."

Sounds pretty cool right?  I had actually tried the subscription in the past for about 5 or 6 months.  I wasn't tremendously impressed with the product selection I was receiving but thought this would be a great opportunity to give it another try.  I mean, who doesn't like to try things for free after all!?!  And besides, it had been several months since my last box, so I figured there may have been some improvements on what they offer as samples.

 My box arrived in mid August and here is what came inside...

Peanut Butter Quest Nutrition Protein Powder Samples
This was by far my most favorite product in the box.  I make a protein smoothie almost every day and one of my favorite components is nut butter, especially peanut butter.  I've always been a big fan of Quest Nutrition products, I absolutely LOVE their bars.  So to get to try their peanut butter protein power was like a dream come true for me!  I made a smoothie that weekend for my husband and I with the powder, bananas, almond milk and chia seeds.  It.Was.Delicious!  We both loved the taste, consistency and the energy it gave us.  We are now raving fans of the Quest Nutrition protein powders. 

Movit Energy Gummies
I typically do not use gummies for energy.  I'm not really sure why, I suppose I always feel as if I'm going to essentially eat "candy" to exercise, it should taste good and most gummies I had tried did not taste all that great.  So needless to say I was a little on the fence about trying some new gummies when all the others had failed me in the past.  After reading the nutritional values in the Movit gummies though, I figured even if they did not taste AMAZING, they were still such a great product with so much needed to preform, they were certainly worth a shot.  And that is exactly how it went for me.  The taste wasn't bad, but not necessarily my favorite (or maybe I'm just hard to please when it comes to gummies).  But, the perfect amount of caffeine, taurine, CoQ-10, and B vitamins did give me some great, sustainable energy to get me through a mid distance mid week tempo run.  I didn't feel any jitters or intense energy like I would from a pre-workout.  I just managed to push through typically one of my most challenging runs of the week relatively effortlessly that day, thanks to the help of these gummies.  I will certainly try some more products from Movit.

Mediterra Bars Savory Sundried Tomato and Basil
Ok, so let me be honest.  The thought of a sun-dried tomato and basil flavored snack bar seemed kind of odd to me at first.  I even kept putting off trying the Mediterra Bar because I was pretty sure I wasn't going to like it.  But I figured, I do like tomatoes, I do like basil and I do like seeds and grains, so maybe it's not that bad.  I ripped open the wrapper and quickly shoved a piece in my mouth, expecting it to be the only piece I would have.  The first bite was ok, so I figured, let me try another.  And another.  Then next thing I knew the bar was almost gone and I realized, wow, this is actually really good! Not only was it pretty tastey, but Mediterra Bars are also All-Natural, Non-GMO as well as Gluten-Free, so that is certainly a huge plus!  (Oh, and if you go to their website, you can order two FREE samples of their bars and pay just $1 for shipping)

Yebra Prima Daily Fiber Formula
This fiber formula is to help aid in digestion and rid the body of excess waste, keeping your system running smoothly.  It sweetened with stevia so considered to be "sugar free."  I wasn't too excited about the taste of the Apple Spice flavor I received, and only having the small sample wasn't enough to really see any benefits.  But I checked out their website and I may order the Orange flavor and give that a try.

And last but certainly not least...
Earth's Care Anti-Itch Cream
My family and I have been super fortunately to not have any need for this cream since it's arrival.  I am, however, super grateful to now because marathon training is in full swing and I'm sure the chaffing Gods will not always been in my favor.  Also, as a mother of two young boys, it's always great to have more things in my mommy arsenal for all of the "great ideas" these two come up with while playing!  I did give it a quick sniff and feel and it seems really light, not thick or oily, and actually smells pretty good. 

Final thoughts...
Despite the lackluster boxes I had received in the past, this time around was MUCH better.  There were some great products and information in the Bulu Box.  I got to try four new products that I will definitely be using again, one product I will consider giving another shot and another product I am holding on to for a raining day.  All in all, I give the Bulu Box an 7 out of 10 this time around and will be resigning up for another subscription!

You too can receive your very own subscription to Bulu and begin sampling some great products soon.  Visit www.BuluBox.com and use the coupon code SWEATPINK for 50% off a 3-month subscription to BuluBox!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Product Review: Tiux Compression Socks

I was recently contacted by a company called Tiux, asking me if I would be interested in testing out a pair of their compression socks.  I'm all for trying new things so I agreed and in a few short days, a new pair of compression socks arrived in the mail for me!  I was super excited to test these puppies out on my next long run.

I was quite impressed with the packaging.  They came in this really sleek black box and were wrapped in thick, protective plastic.  I immediately fell in love with the colors and knew exactly what I was going to wear with them.  Now, I am embarrassed to admit this, but I have very little fashion sense.  Come date night, I am struggling trying to find something to wear.  If the event doesn't allow for t shirts and flip flops, I typically don't even want to go.  Running gear, however, I am all over that!  From training runs to races, I am matching head to toe!  So you could imagine my excitement when I received these beautiful neon socks to match with my Nike compression shorts and neon sports bra.  Even my Moms Run This Town visor matched!

If you look good, you feel good, if you feel good, you have a good run!

Currently, I am about 4 weeks in training for my fourth marathon, the Space Coast Marathon in November.  I did this same marathon last year and was hoping to qualify for Boston then, but due to unforeseen circumstances, I came up short.  I am working very hard this year to turn my BQ dreams into a reality.  Everything from my training program to diet and of course gear is super important so that I can have optimal performance.  This past weekend, my training program called for an 11 mile run.  I have been having some great speed days but my tempo runs have been struggling for some reason, so it was imperative I have a good long run.

The heat and humidity here in Central Florida does not seem to want to leave us any time soon, so getting an early start on the trail is important.  I woke up early Saturday, incredibly excited for my outfit and to hit the trail.  Because of the heat, I'm typically on the fence about wearing compression for those shorter distance double digit runs.  Although I know how helpful they can be, I worry about getting too hot.  The Tiux socks, however, felt so light and breathable, I knew before even heading out it shouldn't be a problem.  Unlike other compression socks where I almost need an assistant and or some sort of special device to get them on, the Tiux socks slid right on effortlessly and immediately felt comfortable without any major adjustments.  I had my cute, comfy and breathable socks to match my outfit and I was ready to rock and roll!

I made it out to the trail a little before sun up and knocked out my first 4-5 miles during the sunrise.  The temperature gets up there pretty quickly once the sun is up, and by miles 6-7 I was already drenched in sweat.  But luckily, just as I suspected, the socks were not too hot at all and unlike other socks I've used in the past, they were not chaffing or causing my legs to itch when they got sweaty.  My legs felt great the whole run and I was able to go even faster than I had anticipated.  Also, another plus, my peroneal tendonitis did not flare up one bit out there nor the rest of the day.  The socks offered such great support, they seemed to be more helpful for that issue than the K-Tape I've worn in the past.  So that was a super awesome bonus!

Despite the heat and my lack of sleep from the night before (I got back late from my husband's football game and my kiddos would NOT sleep), I was able to knock out all 11 miles no problem and even felt like I could've gone longer!

Post run, I did some foam rolling and core work.  After that, I was on my feet the rest of the day keeping up with my kiddos (age 2 and 4).  My legs felt great the whole time, if it wasn't for the fact I was so "rungry" (run-hungry), I would have hardly known I ran 11 miles that morning!

All in all, I would rate these socks 9 out 10...
Great fit
Comfy, breathable material
Nice, vibrant colors
Provided good compression, support
Can't beat the price

A little long and lose in the feet (I have narrow, skinny feet though)
Wish there were a few more colors to chose from

These will most likely be a staple in my training from here on out.  Thanks again to Tiux for the opportunity to test this product.  I am excited to order some more socks and get some cute running outfits put together!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Freekeh Foods Recipe

I was given the opportunity through FitApproach to test out a delicious new product by Freekeh Foods.  Freekeh is an ancient roasted grain that has a really nice texture that is "nutty and chewy."  It's packed with protein and fiber, making it even more awesome than plain ole' brown rice and other grains.  What's also great about Freekeh Foods is that they have no GMO's, are USDA Organic and also vegan!  I was sent two flavors, Original and Rosemary & Sage.  I decided to keep it simple and go with Original.  Rather than using one of the several great recipes on their page, I decided to try my own.  Here is what I used:

1 cup warm kale, massaged in EVOO
1 cup prepared Original Freekeh
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons hemp seeds

It came out DELICIOUS!  I was actually surprised as to how flavorful it was and how great the texture was.  The combination of the sweetness from the cranberries along with the crunch the almonds and hemp seeds, on top of the hearty, nutty Freekeh and warm kale was perfection.  I will definitely be using this recipe again, and I look forward to trying the other two flavors and new recipes as well!

Be sure to like Freekeh Foods on Facebook and Instagram for more recipe inspirations today!

Hurdles, Highlights and High Fives: How I Prepare for Races

When I ran my first marathon back in 2010, I didn't put much thought into training other than following the beginner plan in Jeff Galloway's book, Marathon: You Can Do It.  At that time, I was working as a fitness manager in a ladies only gym, personal training and teaching up to four group exercise classes a day, leaving little time for much else other than running.  Despite being a fitness professional and knowing the importance of cross training, I simply ran.  Of course, having never done that type of distance before, my biggest goal was just to finish.  Eighteen weeks of training, several lost toenails, nagging knee and hip pain, a ten plus pound weight gain and a time of 4:42, I was officially a marathoner!  It certainly wasn't pretty but I accomplished my goal of finishing a marathon and that was all that matter...at that time!

Since then, I have learned so much.  I recognize I still have quite a bit to learn, but each event, from 5k's to marathons, I go in feeling much more confident because now I am much more healthy, physically stronger and mentally prepared.  Now I have much better finish times, experience much less pain/injuries during training and performance and I recover much quicker than I did when I first started.  Not to mention I also have a lot less anxiety and jitters race week and day.  Of course a lot of this comes with time and experience, learning how to train smarter and being better prepared over the years has helped tremendously.   It will continue to evolve, but here are a few key things I focus on to prepare for each race.

Like I said above, in the beginning it was all about running and running only.  All that mattered was getting my miles in.  Pace was an afterthought, recovery was ice, pizza and a beer, and if anything hurt, I either rested it or just ran through the pain.  Over the years, I have learned the importance of better preparation and of listening to my body better.  I run events year round, but now I am selective about what distances I do when.  I also place a lot of emphasis on cross training, especially spending time in the weight room.  And last but not least, I recognize the importance of proper nutrition.

As gym owners and performance coaches who work with a variety of athletes ranging from youth to professional, my husband and I have designed a strength and conditioning program for me that revolves around my races.  I focus on increasing overall strength, power, speed and of course mobility and flexibility.  My programming involves a variety of exercises including Olympic lifts, functional movements, body weight exercises, power and plyometric movements.  I also incorporate Yoga into my training regimen at least once per week.  I love getting in the weight room and getting after it, pushing myself hard and seeing what my body can do.  I am the strongest I have ever been and it translates into my running performance.  And just like any good running program, as race day approaches, my workouts, especially in my lower body, begin to taper so that I will be ready to perform at optimal condition.  The days leading up to the race I spend much of my time in the gym foam rolling and focusing on mobility.

Hurdle Squat Jumps
Nutrition is an aspect of my training I am still learning quit a bit about, but I am much further along in my understanding that I have been in the past.  I use an app to make sure that I am taking in enough calories and the appropriate macro-nutrients.  I have always had a finicky stomach (I suffer from IBS), so the week leading up to an event, I keep my diet super simple and stick with foods I know and trust.  The day before the race and especially race day is not the time to try new foods, that's for sure!  I am a big fan of HoneyStinger products and LOVE their waffles as pre-race fuel.  Another must-have before a race is AdvoCare Slam.  The caffiene, aminos and B vitamins give me a great kick right before the gun goes off and throughout the race!

Race Week Essentials Recap: Tapper strength exercises to ensure muscles are rested and ready to go for the big day.  Focus on flexibility and mobility as well as rolling out any hotspots with a foam roller or lacrosse ball.  Keep my diet clean and simple, making sure I have enough protein, carbs and fats for optimal performance.  The day of the race, I am sure to have all my pre-race fuel ready to go.  NEVER try anything new the day of the race!

I continue to struggle with my mental game.  I have a tendency to put a lot of unnecessary stress on myself for each race, regardless of the distance.  I try to get a good night's rest before, but anxiety not just for the run but for all the race day logistics keep me up.  I know what I am capable of, and I set my goals accordingly, but I still expect to push myself even harder the day of.  It is important that I remind myself that it is just running, and running is something that I am passionate about, but most importantly, it is something I truly enjoy!  So I always have a little talk with myself, reminding myself of my goals, and remind myself my most recent training runs and workouts.  And I always take a few moments to remind myself of how far I have come and how lucky and privileged I am to have the opportunity to go out and get to do what I do.  I am so lucky to physically be able to run, and to make the time to do so with my insane schedule.  I also feel lucky that I can afford this allegedly "free hobby" and am able to pay for the races, the running clothes, the fancy GPS watch, special running shoes, and so on!  Keeping all that in mind helps keep things in perspective and keep me focused.

In the week or so leading up to an event, especially a long distance one like a marathon or half marathon, I spend time figuring out the logistics of race day, making sure I know where to pick up my packet, where to park race day, what time to get there, etc.  A couple of days before the race, I start getting my gear together, making sure I have everything I want and need before, during and after the race.  The afternoon/evening before race day, I double check my "race bag" (the backpack I always keep my race gear in), take a flat mama picture to post for my Moms Run This Town page, and make sure my alarm is set for the first of many times before I go to bed!

The night before the race, I like to watch football highlights with my husband, who is the strength and conditioning coach for Apopka High School.  The Blue Darters of Apopka have been to the State Championship game for the past three years and have one it twice.  This football program is nothing short of amazing and is a true inspiration.  Despite facing so much adversity, these young men come together and put EVERYTHING out on the field each and every time they play.  Witnessing the relentlessness, undying will, determination, drive and heart these boys play with each and every game truly inspires me to go out and perform.  I know me running a half marathon pales in comparison to what these guys have accomplished, but getting to watch highlights of their amazing victories over the years certainly gets me so freaking fired up and ready for race day!

When the alarm goes off race morning, everyone is still asleep so I am careful not to disturb them.  I like to look in on my peaceful boys knowing that no matter how the race goes, they are still so proud of their mommy.  Coming home from an event and hearing them shout "Mommy, mommy, mommy!  Did you win, did you run really fast, can we see your medal!?!" always melts my heart.  They are my motivation and inspiration.  I continue to work hard and push myself in hopes to motivate and inspire them too!

Last, but certainly not least, one of my most absolute favorite things to do before a race is meet up with my lovely Moms Run This Town ladies.  I love the hugs, high fives and well wishes everyone has for one another.  My MRTT ladies are the most encouraging and awesome group I have ever been a part of.  Since joining MRTT two years ago, I have made so many amazing running friends and have learned so much about how amazing and supportive the running community truly is.  Our goals and paces all differ, but we all share a passion not just for running but a love for encouraging and cheering on fellow running mamas.  Once I get a high five and good luck from someone, I am officially ready to take on the race!

MRTT Seminole Co. Chapter before the Winter Park Road Race 10k and 2 miler
Pre-Race Essentials Recap: It's super important that I have everything prepared, if you plan to fail you fail to plan and that jacks up the pre-race jitters!  I remind myself that I am physically prepared, that everything I have done in the weight room, out on the trail and on the treadmill has prepared me for this event and I have to trust in my training and my abilities.  I remind myself how lucky I am to even be able to do this and that I actually enjoy doing this!  I remember all the greatness from my highlight watching and make sure several of those songs are ready to rock on my iPod!  And of course I have to get up with my MRTT gals for some pre-race pep talks and high fives!

We all have different ways of preparing for a race and it evolves over time.  The important thing is finding what works best for you, both physically and mentally.   Find the things that you know are going to help you preform at your absolute best, what is going to give you the confidence going into race day and what keeps you going when things may not go your way.  Recognize that we are lucky enough to get to run and embrace each run as a special gift we are giving to ourselves.  Happy running everyone!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Recipe: Protein Frappuccino

Who doesn't love some Starbucks!?!  Especially late in the afternoon when your energy levels start taking a nose dive.  The problem with making an afternoon coffee run is that those delicious drinks we crave are full of sugar and empty calories, not to mention they're ridiculously expensive.  Below is a super yummy and easy recipe to make your very own frappuccino that is not only tasty but it is also packed full of protein, low in sugar and half the price!

Place the following ingredients into your Ninja blender:

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup brewed coffee
1/2 ripe banana
1 serving (2 scoops) Tera's Whey unsweetened protein powder
1 tsp Stevia
5 cubes of ice

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Race Recap: USA Beach Running Championships

This past weekend was Mother's Day, and I had the pleasure of kicking off the special day with a great event in Cocoa Beach, then coming home to spend the day with the special little people who made me a mom.  I wanted to take a moment to recap this event and share my own experience from the race.
USA Beach Running Championships
I first heard about this event through my Mom's Run This Town chapter.  One of our moms posted a picture of the medal several months ago asking if any of us would be interested in participating with her.  After seeing the beautiful sand dollar medal, I immediately jumped online to sign up.  They offered two distances, a half marathon (13.1 miles) and a 10k (6.2 miles).  Now, typically I am a huge fan of half marathons and figured I would sign up for that distance.  However, despite running several off road events, I wasn't quite sure if I would be up for the whole 13.1 on the beach.  I knew the terrain would be a bit of a challenge but honestly, my biggest concern with the half marathon was my attention span, or lack thereof, hehe.  I feared that I the out and back shore line course would quickly become daunting, and so I went ahead and signed up for the 10k.  I am grateful I made that decision for multiple reasons I will get to soon.

In the weeks leading up to the event, I suffered from some serious allergies and a sinus infection.  I thought I finally kicked the sinus issues until about 3 days before the race when I began to feel bad again.  The night before the race I felt horrible and even considered not running.  But I figured I could still go and just do the best I can.  Cocoa Beach is about an hour and twenty minutes from Altamonte Springs, so I had to wake up around 4:30am and hit to hit the road by 5am.  Other than several dollars in tolls, the ride was relatively easy and quick and I arrived with enough time to pick up my packet, use the ladies room and even see the sunrise!  Fortunately, a member of MRTT had picked up my packet for me the Friday before, but from the looks of it, packet pick up seemed to be quick and easy.  There were quite a few port-a-potties as well as indoor restroom facilities, so the typical insanely long pre-race bathroom lines were actually not too bad!

Pre-Race Sunrise on Cocoa Beach
The half marathoners were the first to go out around 6:40am.  The sun was well on it's way up so the air was really starting to warm up by the time us 10k'ers make our way to the start line.  I headed up to the front as I usually do, even though I figured this one would be a rough one for me because of my sinus/allergy issues, I still hoped to hang with the front of the pack.  Upbeat music played over the speakers while we waiting for them to set the clock.  It took several minutes for them to get it going but we were soon heading out.  As I expected, the course was flat straight ahead but we were at a bit of a slant on the shoreline.  Runners were asked to stay to the right and for the most part, everyone did so.  The first water stop was shortly after the first mile mark.  They had asked us not to litter on the beach, but with only one trash bag right next to the stop, that seemed to be difficult for many of the runners who wanted to quickly drink and keep running.  Maybe placing a bag or two a several yards down would help eliminate that issues.  The second water stop was at the 5k turn around.

On the run back, the sun was fully up and the temperature had significantly increased.  The ocean breeze helped a little but the sun was really hot on our shoulders.  Since the beach cannot be closed off, having to dodge a few beach combers and fishing polls was slightly annoying but not too terrible.  The course was well marked, so even though it was difficult to see the finish line down the beach, the markers helped keep us aware how much distance we had left.

The finish line was lined with large, beautiful conch shells.  Several spectators lined the finish line and were cheering very excitedly for us runners.  As soon as I crossed the finish line at a little over 47 minutes (unfortunately not a PR but I didn't expect one that day) I received not only my big sand dollar medal but also a lay!  There was, however, not water at the finish line which was a little disappointing.  I had to walk about 20 yards up sugar soft sand to get a small cup of water.  But where the water was located was also donuts, coffee, OJ and even mimosas.

My girl Meagan and I right after the race
Many of my friends from MRTT were crossing the finish line at this time so I went back down there to cheer them on and meet up with them to recap the race.  They all enjoyed the race too but agreed the sand and sun made it a difficult one for them.  Like me, they all were grateful to have only done the 10k.  We took a few pictures there at the water and then we headed up to the post race festivities.  We enjoyed the mimosas and brunch they had available for the runners and the live Calypso music continued to offer a great beach vibe.
Some of my MRTT ladies and I enjoying the post-race mimosas
They got to the awards pretty quickly after races were complete.  Despite my sinus/allergy issues, I still managed to be the 3rd female to finish and place first in my division.  They only awarded the top male and female finisher but did go 3 deep in each division.  I received a large, beautiful clear plaque as my award for placing first in female 30-34, so I was pretty excited about that.  One of our MRTT mama's sons actually placed in his division so of course we had to get a picture together!
I placed 1st in my division
John, my MRTT mama's son, and I posing with our awards
So, To Sum It All Up...

Running on the beach was harder as well as easier than I had anticipated.  I wasn't sure how much if any of the course would be on the soft sand so I was preparing myself for some ultra challenging terrain.  Fortunately, no part of the course went on that part of the beach.  Though the area where we ran was hard packed sand, it was wet from the tide making it sponge-y and sunction-y.  I'm aware neither of those two descriptions are actual words but that is the best way I can describe it and I did feel like it had a part in my slower pace.  Also, even though it was straight and flat, the beach does decline towards the water so we were running on a bit of a slat on the way out.  Luckily it was much flatter on the way back since we were much closer to the water.  Since you're on the beach, there is absolutely NO shade whatsoever, so it did get hot quick, but like I said, the breeze did help some.

Pros: It's a well organized and put on event.  The medals and awards are super.  Beautiful scenery, who doesn't love the beach!?!  Awesome post race party.  Quick turn around from race to awards.  Great event for Mother's Day!

Cons: Beach running is tough, lol.  No shade made it a scorcher.  Starts early, so it's a loooong day for those of us with a drive.  Ugly race shirt (it's like mint chocolate or nursing home green).  Needs to have water at finish line.  No race photographer.  As event grows, consider giving overall awards three deep as opposed to just first place.

All in all it was a great event and myself and several of my buddies want to do it again.  Next year, I think I would prefer making a little vacay out of the event, staying at least the night before if not two nights, so I do not have to do the hour plus drive there and back that day.  If anything though, I would definitely like to have my family there next year, I know my husband and kids would have enjoyed watching me cross the finish line for this one.  And it would have been great to have my very own cheering section during awards, especially since it was Mother's Day!

Mother's Day fun!
Oh, and in case if anyone was wondering about the rest of my Mother's Day, it was great spending a relaxing afternoon at the pool with my husband and two precious boys.  And as far as my sinus/allergies go, I finally went to the doctor the day after the race and was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection, sinus infection and allergies.  I was given 3 medications and as of today (Wednesday) I'm finally starting to feel a little better!

Let's hope this medicine and rest helps, I'm so over being sick because it's interfering my running!!!

For more information on the USA Beach Running Championships, visit their website at http://www.runonthebeach.com.  I highly recommend checking this event out next year, you won't regret it!!!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Favorite Recipe: Protein Pancakes

I started experimenting with protein pancakes several months ago.  After trying, and modifying, several recipes, I finally came up with one our family loves!  We love protein pancakes so much not only because they are low fat and gluten free, but they are absolutely delicious and very filling!  They are great for a pre-workout meal or are perfect for a "cheat clean" weekend breakfast.  Here is my favorite recipe, I hope you enjoy!

2 very ripe bananas
2 egg whites
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used AdvoCare Meal Replacement)
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Maple syrup
Strawberries (or any other fruit)

Warm skillet to medium heat.  Poor 1-2 spoonfuls of batter into skillet.  Cook until golden on each side.  Top with favorite toppings and enjoy!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Finding Balance: The Life of a Working Fit Mom

When I was pregnant with my first son in 2011, my husband and I made the decision for me to stay home with him until he was at least old enough for preschool.  I couldn't have been more excited to leave the job that I was terribly unhappy with, to get to be home with my bundle of joy.  I had envisioned my home being perfectly clean at all times, laundry always done, and a new recipe to make every day.  I would work from home, and of course be able to work out often because I would have all this time in the world to accomplish all these things.  Boy oh boy was I ever WRONG!!!  Little did I know this whole parenting thing wasn't as effortless as initially thought.  Not to mention I had the world's most colic-y baby who screamed all hours of the day and night for the first six months of his life, and around the time he stopped crying all the time, I found out I was pregnant again!  Life with a toddler and a newborn was even more hectic than I could have ever imagined!  I could barely find time to exercise, let alone cook, clean or get any work done.  Trying to do it all left me with little accomplished and a lot of headache.  For the first several months after my second son was born, I did not care one bit about work, my house was sanitary but not immaculate by any means, dinner was edible, and if you didn't mind rummaging through a hamper there were clean clothes to wear in it.  My focus was on my babies and I will never regret that time in my life for one second!

One thing I did for myself after my second was born though, was I got back to running.  I was far from my marathon running days, but I knew getting out on the trail, even if I slow as molasses, but just being out there, I would find Christina again.  I know that may sound a little silly, but it's so easy to lose yourself craziness as well as loneliness of being a stay at home mom.  Being a healthy and happy person, in my opinion, was one of the best things I could do not just for me, but for my whole family.  Having 30 or 45 minutes to myself just a couple of times a week was, at the time, all I needed to feel refreshed and energized, to be the best version of myself.

When my second son, was about 4 months old, I ran my first long distance race is almost 3 years!  It was the slowest half marathon I had ever ran, but crossing that finish line was such an accomplishment.  I felt so alive, proud and humbled all at the same time!  I knew I was a long ways away from where I wanted to be with my fitness, body and running goals, and I knew I no longer had the luxury of time and energy I once had.  But crossing the finish line that day made me realize that with dedication, determination and most importantly, some balance, anything is possible!

Fast forward 2 years, several half marathons, a pair of marathons and countless workouts later, my life has evolved so much.  I am still a stay at home mom three days a week (I work two full days at our gym now), an entrepreneur, self proclaimed fit mom and of course, a runner.  Unfortunately though, I have to admit my house is still a mess, but I'm tackling the laundry and recipes a little better now.  An average "work day" for me typically starts a little after 5am and doesn't end until around 9:30pm or so.  Finding time to get everything done in the day is quite a challenge, so finding balance is so incredibly important in my life.  Below are a few things I've picked up along the way to help me keep my sanity as a working fit mom of two that will hopefully help some of you out as well.

1. Prioritize
With a business to run, kids to feed, a house to clean and of course getting my training in, it's hard to get all that done in a 24 hour period.  Everything seems so important and yet it never fails, something always ends up neglected (though not my kids of course).  We all have our own different responsibilities in life, but one thing can remain constant in any busy mom's life, it can get overwhelming!  Prioritizing your responsibilities is incredibly important to find balance in your days.  Determine what responsibilities must always come first, for me it's family, work and health.  Next, what can wait until the important things are complete and that is laundry and housekeeping.  And last are the things that I enjoy doing and can even be helpful, but must wait until all the other important things have been completed, this includes things like social media and finding new recipes.  Of course your priorities may differ from mine, the important thing to remember here is that your responsibilities must be prioritized.  Prioritizing will save you time, headache and stress and allow you to be much more productive.

2. Schedule 
Now that you have established your priorities, consider making a schedule of your day, week and month.  Even the days I do not work at the gym, I still have a schedule I (mostly) follow.  I know when I will write my blogs, follow up emails, workout, meal prep, fold laundry and of course plan activities with the kiddos.  Having a routine has helped not just me, but my family as well.  Plan your days according to your priorities.  Keep in mind that unexpected things can and do pop up, but having a schedule to follow will help most of your days run much more smoothly.

3. You Time
Taking time for yourself every now and then, especially when that time is used for your health and fitness, is by no means being selfish.  It is very important that as busy moms, we engage in activities that bring us joy and improve our well being.  This gives us the opportunity to reconnect with ourselves, strengthening our bodies, and refreshing minds and souls.  Whatever it is you enjoy doing, make sure to carve out some time consistently to have some you time.  It may take a little ingenuity and the help of your spouse (and other family members), but trust me, you will be so appreciative for this time alone! 

4. Recruit Help
I used to stress out so much for my long runs during marathon training because I worried my husband wouldn't be able to handle the boys himself.  Even though he is perfectly capable of watching his children, I would always get nervous when I wasn't there.  Letting go of that irrational fear and appreciating his willingness to take on that task made my runs so much more enjoyable! One of my biggest struggles in the beginning was realizing I could not do it all, especially not alone.  If you're anything like me, you find it hard to let go of the reigns, no body can do it better, right!?!  So, though maybe no one can do it better than mama, letting people help will help keep mama sane!  It has taken some time but I have learned to let people help, not just so that things can get done at work and home, but so I can have that "me time" we busy moms desperately need.  So don't be afraid, or too proud to ask for help whenever needed.

Some nights, after I get the kids down for the night, I come downstairs and trip over the toys that need to be put away, look at the dishes piled up in the sink and hear the buzzing on my phone reminding me how many emails I need to respond to, I just want to cry.  But then I turn on the monitor and see my sweet babies sleeping safe and sound, I am reminded how precious and special life truly is.  Even though the days are long and hectic, I have a beautiful family, am fortunate to love what I do for a living and I get to engage in activities that bring me such a joy.  It's easier said than done to sit back and relax during our crazy busy days, but it is so incredibly important to take some time to reflect on all the wonderful things we do have to be grateful for.  When times get stressful, take a moment to breathe and think about at least three things you have to be grateful for.  This should help you keep perspective and keep moving forward.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Recipe: Peanut Butter Energy Bites

I discovered these delicious little things several months ago and have been working on my own twists to the recipe ever since.  These are a HUGE favorite of my family, both my husband and kiddos absolutely love them.  They are gluten free, vegan, full of protein and make great pre/post workout fuel or even just a great snack. 

Below are 3 variations of my Peanut Butter Energy Bites.  For each recipe, mix all ingredients together in food processor then roll into tablespoon sized balls.  Store in an air tight container.

[Basic] Peanut Butter Energy Bites
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup of pitted dates
1/2 cup peanut butter

Coconut Flax Energy Bites
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup of pitted dates
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp coconut flakes
2 Tbsp ground flax seed

Chocolate Chia Energy Bites
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup of pitted dates
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp chia seeds

For additional recipes, as well as fitness and nutrition tips and motivational quotes, feel free to follow Coach Christina on social media (links above).

Body Weight Circuit

Here is a fun and challenging, no equipment needed circuit you can incorporate into your workouts.  Because all of these exercises are body weight only, they can be done in the comfort of your own home, at your office on your lunch break or even while you are traveling.  Be sure to focus on form to ensure a safe and effective workout.  If you have any issues or pain with any of these exercises please discontinue.  Please be sure to consult your physician before beginning any fitness program or if you develop any chronic pain from activity.

The Circuit:
10 Push Ups
10 Knee Tucks/Jacks
10 Drop Squats
10 each side Skater Hops

Do consecutively without a rest period.  Once you have completed all 4 exercises, take a 1-2 minute rest and repeat 3-4 more times.

For more workouts like this one, and for nutritional and fitness tips, be sure to follow coach Christina on social media (links above).

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Favorite Recipe: Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

I made these overnight oats last week for my husband and he LOVED them!  As a former collegiate offensive lineman, he has a pretty healthy appetite and is more of a "meat and potatoes" kinda guy.  So it's fun having someone like him as my guinea pig for healthy recipes because if big guy likes it, then it's gotta be good!  He's definitely a good sport about trying my healthier recipes and I'm just glad we continue to find good things our whole family can enjoy.

So here is the recipe for this quick, grab and go breakfast or snack.  Feel free to comment below if you have any questions or variations you've tried of this.

1 large ripe banana
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
I simply threw all the ingredients in a food processor, blended it up and poured mixture into mason jars.

If you do not have a food processor, you can do the following:  In a large mixing bowl, mash banana well.  Add oats, almond mix and peanut butter.  Stir vigorously, making sure to mix in all the peanut butter.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Pour mixture into mason jars.

Store jars in refrigerate overnight and enjoy in the morning or for an afternoon snack.  No need to reheat.

Optional Toppings
Sliced banana
Chocolate shavings
Blueberries or Strawberries
Coconut shavings with agave or honey drizzle

For more recipes like this as well as fitness and nutrition tips, be sure to follow Coach Christina and CWSC Performance on Instagram and Facebook.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Meal Prepping 101

Meal prepping is not just for serious or elite fitness professionals.  People use meal prepping for a number of reasons ranging from weight loss, weight or muscle gain, budgeting and time purposes.  Planning and preparing your meals for the week to come is the ideal way to stay on top of your nutrition, never having to worry about what you're going to eat, which often leads to poor food choices.  It can be a little overwhelming at first, but once you get into a routine, you'll wonder why you didn't start sooner.  Here is some basic tips to help you get started with food prepping.

First, let me discuss the key benefits to food prepping so you'll be convinced it's a great idea:

1. Keep You on Track:  Meal prepping will take the guess work out of what you will eat for each meal.  When you're busy at work and you have to rush in a quick bite to eat, it's easy just to grab something fast and inexpensive.  Unfortunately this typically means fast food, something unhealthy from the cafeteria or out of the vending machine.  Always having healthy meals and snacks ready for you will help keep you on track with your nutrition goals.

2. Save Time:  Food prep day will be a little time consuming, especially in the beginning when you're getting in to the swing of things.  But it will surely make up for it during the week.  Rather than having to scramble to get meals together each morning, afternoon and even evening, you will have everything you need ready to go in your refrigerator.

3. Save Money:  Buying and preparing everything you need for the week in one day will help cut down or even out, those weekday trips to the grocery store.  It will also keep you from going out to lunch or buying snacks during work.  All those trips eventually add up so having food ready for you will certainly help save you some money each week.

4. It's Fun:  The task may seem daunting at first, having to spend a couple of your weekend hours making food.  But believe it or not, it will actually become quite fun.  It will give you the opportunity to learn about proper nutrition, try new recipes and even get your family involved!  Put some comfy clothes on, turn on some music and make a party out of it!  Feel free to even dance around your kitchen while cooking!

So now you're convinced you are going to start weekly food prepping, here are a few items you will want to make sure you have ready:

1. Tupperware Containers:  Have some large enough for whole meals, as well and medium and small sized containers for smaller meals and snacks.  Be sure to use BPA-free containers that can be put in the microwave and dishwasher.  Be sure to have enough to fit a week's worth of meals.

2. Recipes/Menus:  Make a menu of what meals you would like for the week.  Consider trying a new recipe each week so you do not get bored with your meals.  Pinterest is one of my favorite resources for new and healthy recipes.

3. Measuring Cups/Spoons:  Portion control is essential for proper nutrition and weight management.  In order to keep portions in check, you will want to make sure you have measuring cups and spoons.

4. Food Scale:  Another great way to stay on target with portion size, especially with foods like meat, is a food scale.  This is optional, but certainly helpful.

5. The Food:  Each week, once you have planned your menu, make a list of everything you will need to purchase.  Compile a grocery and be sure to buy everything at once so that you will be prepared.  There are several items you can buy in bulk to save money and time.

Now you're ready to get started food prepping, here are some things to consider:

1. Chose the Day:  Pick a day when you have a good solid hour or two to devote to cooking and storing food.  I typically do my food prepping Sunday afternoon while my sons nap, then finish up the rest of my prepping on Monday during nap time.  It can be time consuming but systematizing your cooking will certainly help.

2. Plan Your Attack:  This is where a system comes into play.  Obviously some things will require more prep than others.  You can plan out your prepping so that you can get several things done at one time.  For example, you can get your meat baking in the oven, while steaming your veggies and boiling rice on the stove top, all while measuring out snacks.  Multitasking will help cut down on the time.

2. Keep It Simple:  Especially in the beginning, you will want to make sure to not overwhelm yourself with tons of new foods and recipes.  Stick to the basics, lean meat, grains, fresh fruits and vegetables.  Consider one new recipe each week and rotate your meals so you do not get too bored with your food.

3. Trial and Error:  This experience will continually be trial and error, especially initially.  You will learn what works best for you, what recipes you like and don't like and how to go about getting it all together.  Keep an open mind and keep trying new things.  Before you know it, you will have the whole process down to a science and be a food prepping pro!

4.  Don't Give Up Too Soon:  Do not get discouraged if struggle in the beginning.  Like I said, it will be time consuming at first.  If you're not trying new recipes, you will get bored.  On the flip side, you may get tired of new recipes not working out.  Hang in there, you'll get the hang of it and it will most certainly pay off if you keep with it.

5. Don't Stop On Holidays:  Do not let travel, company and holidays sabotage your healthy eating.  When your schedule is out of sorts, it may be difficult to find the time to keep up with your food prepping but do the best you can to try and keep on track.  It's actually even more so important during these hectic times to make sure you have a nutritional plan to help from overeating, poor food choices and to ward off those extra pounds that often creep up.  If you do find yourself off track, don't beat yourself up, get right back to up when you return to your routine.

If you have additional questions regarding food prepping, nutrition and fitness, feel free to contact Coach Christina directly.  Be sure to follow Christina on Instagram and CWSC Performance on Facebook for more nutrition and fitness tips, as well as motivational quotes!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

APP-tasticly Fit: 5 Fitness Related Apps to Keep You Motivated

Everyone has a smartphone these days that we often spend a significant amount of time on.  So why not put our phones to great use when it comes to meeting our health and fitness goals.  Here are 5 great (and fun) health and fitness related apps that I love and suggest to all of my clients.

This app tracks caloric intake and expenditure.  You will be asked to enter your current stats as well as goals, and the app will determine your recommended daily caloric intake, as well as the amount of protein, carbs, sugars, etc. you should be consuming.  You can also enter your exercise for the day to determine your net calories.  The barcode scanner function on this app makes entering in food easy as pie (pun kind of intended)!  Whether you want to lose weight, lean out or maintain, this is app will keep you aware of what you're putting in your body and help keep you accountable!

Both of these apps sync directly to your MyFitnessPal app.  These are great trackers to keep up with your caloric expenditure from your daily workouts and help you plan, track and analyze your fitness.  You will be able to set and meet goals with these helpful fitness apps and even connect with other uses to cheer each other on.  MapMyRun has a GPS function to determine your pace and distance during run.

Optimize your results on the AdvoCare’s 24-Day Challenge with their very own app!  With this app, you can log your workouts, as well as food and water intake.  You can also share your progress with other challengers, get product information, portion and nutrition suggestions and much more!

Save time, perform better, and have more fun with intelligent music and innovative technology that powers you forward.  Select the genere, tempo, time, etc., and RockMyRun will give you the prefect playlist to keep you motivated throughout your workout!  Not just for running, this app is great, especially if you've gotten a little bored with your iPod playlist.

For those of you who like to share your fitness journey with your friends and family through social media, the FitSnap app is a fun, creative way to do so!  FitSnap is an iPhone exclusive app that creates motivational pictures from your workouts & activities.  Add your workout information to your photos to create cool images to share with your friends on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.  Be sure to add #CWSCPerformance to your photos when you share so we can keep up with you too!