Cocoa-Matcha-Energy Bars

Ingredients: 

1 cup of dried dates (Make sure they are pitted)

1 cup of dried figs

1 cup of shelled pistachios (unsalted)

1 cup of unsweetened coconut

3-4 tablespoons of matcha powder

3-4 tablespoons of dark cocoa powder

2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil

3 tablespoons of chia seeds

3 tablespoons of hemp seeds

Directions: 

Throw all the ingredients in a food processor (Mine is a Ninja) and blend until smooth-ish. If it looks too dry add a few extra dates or coconut oil to moisten. You can either roll the mixture in to ball shapes or throw in a baking dish and cut into squares later. I put mine in a 9×9 baking dish and covered in the refrigerator for at least an hour. You can then cut into squares to be eaten later.

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So how’s life been?

So for those of you that follow me on Facebook, it is pretty obvious from my pictures and posts lately that I am officially in the throes of my end of summer race season. I haven’t posted in a few weeks due to life being extremely busy, but I have several updates.

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What has life been like post whole 30?

So Whole 30 was great for my body and I needed the reset, however it takes a lot of time and money to prepare meals ahead of time and eat 100% clean for 30 days. I am still eating a mostly primal diet (I am saying primal rather than “paleo” because I am eating organic cheeses, yogurt, milk etc.- which is not allowed with paleo). One thing that I added back in was dairy because it is a great affordable source of protein, but I make sure to buy organic and without a lot of sugar. I am also eating some gluten free oatmeal and cereal for some extra carbs now that my mileage is back in the double digits. Also… Peanut butter. I am sorry, but this is my number one vice. Things that haven’t worked out well so far are breads and Mexican food for some reason- I tried this last week at a training and was sick for 2 days. Not sure if it was just the restaurant that catered or the fact that I had not had tortilla chips, beans, or those seasonings in over two months.

What have I been doing?

So in the past month I have done a lot of running and racing! 3 weeks ago I ran the new trail ways at Norris Dam with friends and then did Mt. Leconte the following day- so a total of 20 miles for Sat./Sun. Then the next week I competed in the Xterra Panther Creek ½ marathon and placed 1st in age group!!!! Then… Last weekend I did my first Spartan in a year and a ½ and ran the Asheville Super Spartan. I ran the Spartan for fun, but realized that I do need to improve grip strength and stamina on the hills. I am hoping to do much better when I do the Carolinas Beast in October, with new training ideas. I placed 23 in age group which was okay considering the competition that was there in the women’s elite heat.

August is a busy month for some reason- it is for sure the hottest here in the south, so I am pretty sure that race directors are just sadistic and want to put on a race every weekend to torture us! This weekend I am doing Haw Ridge Trail Race and the following weekend is the Tennessee Spartan Sprint. Both of these races will be shorter distances- I am hoping to do well, but realize that you can’t realistically perform your complete best with little to no rest. This month is about pushing my mental limitations and amping up my training for the winter.

I have been continuing to do cross fit mixed in with my runs. My body is finally adapting and I am not left so sore that I can’t move after the workouts now. I can tell my grip strength is improving (something that is important for OCR) and I am so determined to get some strict pullups again. We are currently doing “summer of deadlifts” and I am now at 135 pounds this week. We will work up to a one rep max and build from there. I am noticing a huge difference in core strength and my speed is improving on hill workouts, due to all of the glute and hamstring work with deadlifts and squats.

What’s coming up for Me?

So I officially lost my mind and I have signed up for the Georgia Death Race (68-ish miles) for next April. To prepare, I will be doing a couple of 12/24 hour endurance events, 50K, and 50 Mile (Lookout Mountain Chattanooga) in December. I just want to finish these races since I consider myself new to ultra-running and haven’t done a 50K since November 2014.

What does a typical day of training look like?

With having two simultaneous careers going currently, I have to be creative with planning my workouts. When I am doing personal training- I get some mobility and core work in with my clients that are advanced- jumping in on some parts of their workouts also pushes them to test their own limits.

Tuesdays/Thursdays are dedicated to running. I will do a hill workout and a speed workout on either day. On my day off is a long run, usually on trails. If I am not too sore I will add in an extra day in the week to do an easy 3-5 mile run.

M, W, F- are usually cross fit days. I try to do some other cardio for cross training as well such as the stair climber or rower. Sometimes due to my workout schedule I have to combine days and will do my run then do cross fit or vice versa. I try not to do that as it ends up being a two hour workout on those days and I am depleted for work the next day.

I also try to do Yoga at least once a week- usually Sunday or Monday.

Whole 30 – Day 30!!!

So yesterday was my last day of the Whole 30 Challenge. It was an emotional process at first, but I must say that I am so glad that I did it. I am going to list the pro’s and con’s here in this blog post and some lessons I learned. Yesterday I finished the day off with a 10 mile run- with a 5k built in. I was able to get a PR (kind of unintentionally) which to me is indicator that my overall health is improving. It was the first race I have ever done where I did not have any stomach pain or cramping whatsoever. I did try some Halo Top ice cream (pictured below) when I got home because I felt like I deserved it after all the hard work- so far- no adverse reaction to the dairy. I really think it was the wheat and other grains that I was having problems with before the challenge.

So here are my (terrible) before and after pictures. I can see some differences, though they are not that drastic, I can tell a huge difference in my abdomen. I don’t look as “bloated” and can see some definition in my abs. I wish I would have had someone else do the photos so that you can see them better.

Pro’s:  No stomach pain, I lost 6 pounds with out having to use portion control and the foods I ate were actually good and flavorful, No bloating or stomach cramping, my strength at cross fit seems to be better, Better sleep, I know what goes in my food now, no sugar cravings, no afternoon crash at work, clearer skin, I had a 5k PR, it seems easy to wake up at 4:30 AM now, more energy, I learned new recipes and cooking styles, and I saved some money not eating out anymore.

Cons: This challenge makes it hard to eat out with friends and family (especially if they are not supportive), You do spend a little bit more on groceries (however, you can make this very low budget if necessary), you do have to cook most of your food at home, You will start wishing for new Tupperware containers and cook ware instead of new clothes and shoes, you pretty much obsess over your meals, you spend hours reading labels and ingredient lists to find out almost everything has soy and sugar in it these days, and you will go through a detox phase where you feel sick and fatigued (but it does eventually end).

Overall this challenge helped me learn more about how the ingredients I put into my body made me feel. While I will not be so strict and hard on myself I will stick a mostly paleo diet for the next few months to see if the progress can stick. I will post some blogs about my weekly meal prep and possibly continue to take progress pictures throughout my next marathon and strength training cycle. Thank you all for following along and if you have any questions at all about trying this challenge shoot me an email or a comment! I may do it again in January just to help clients get on track after the holiday season!

Whole 30 Day 23-24

Today is officially day 25! other than the adult beverages I consumed the one day I did cheat, I can say that I have had no added sugar products for 24 whole days- that is incredible!

So, non-whole 30 talk here. I am trying put together a training plan and race schedule or the rest of the year and I’m realizing that I am not “mentally” there yet. While I thought I would be ready for an October marathon, I just feel like my body and mind are not in synchrony to train for a marathon yet. I am debating switching to a half that month and maybe doing an early winter marathon- not sure what I should do. When I ask myself, why are you really doing it- I can’t really say that it is for fun right now, which is a little disappointing. I am picturing jumping right in and being completely overwhelmed with how much I am trying to balance in my life physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I think that I have overloaded myself with financial goals for the year and with having two careers going at the same time leaves me with little time to recover and practice self-care. I am cutting down some hours at the end of this month with personal training which will leave more room open for running in the mornings before work instead of training in the sweltering heat. Also by the end of July I will have my car completely paid off, 1 credit card paid off, and a huge dent in the other categories. Something is just telling me that if I train right now I won’t do as good as if I wait a few months, build my aerobic base back up for a few weeks, and then hit training again at the end of July in order to have a better outcome. Have any of you ever struggled with letting your body say “it’s just not the time” when it comes to training?

I think for those of us crazy endurance athletes we are often chasing race after race because we just feel like it is what we are “supposed to do” I mean, what would it possibly be like to not have long runs every weekend? Maybe I will give it a few more days to decide, but I am just not feeling it y’all. I need to get out of this mental rut! Can I just keeping doing cross fit and still run 26.2 miles easily? (haha- I know that this is not possible, I am just in love with it right now because it is the easiest thing to fit in my schedule with how busy I am)

Day 23 Food: This weeks is the massive emptying of the pantry/freezer week!

Breakfast- You guessed it, 2 eggs, 1 green apple, and 1/4 cup of walnuts with a bullet proof coffee

lunch- met my friends for church and lunch afterwards. They wanted BBQ and I had plain dry wings (BORING) and some pickles with an un sweet tea.

Dinner- I used some sauerkraut and hotdogs to make a skillet with steamed broccoli. Had an apple with almond butter before taking my meds and going to sleep.

Day 23 Workout:

1 hour flow yoga and inversion practice.

Day 24 Food:

Breakfast: Same ole’ thing, but it is tried and true for me now.

Lunch- two buffalo chicken meatloaf muffins (I’ll post the link to the recipe below because it is the bomb diggity) with roasted veggies (a conglomeration of what I have left for this challenge- sweet potatoes, red potatoes, and broccoli).

Pre-workout snack- homemade coco-matcha energy bar (recipe to be posted)

Post workout- a banana to get me through til dinner

Late dinner- I had the buffalo chicken and veggies AGAIN because I love it! Also one apple with some almond butter with my meds. IMG_0164[1]

Day 24 workouts:

Crossfit- we started our summer of strength sessions today.

3x 10 deadlifts @ 85# (50% 1 rep max)

WOD: 200 M sprint, 15 pushups, and 30 flutter kicks three times for time.

Afterwards I did core work and handstand practice because I am in love with being upside down now that I can do it!

 

****Link to the recipe:  http://paleomg.com/buffalo-chicken-mini-meatloaf/

 

 

 

Whole30 Day 22

Today is officially day 23! I can’t believe I am down to 1 week already! So this weekend is my weekend off and I have caught up on some much needed rest, but was also able to organize and get my life back in order since it’s been a few weeks since I just had an easy weekend! I am feeling so much better overall and am almost worried to stop eating this clean because I know how horrible I felt before!

Day 22 food: 

Breakfast: 2 hardboiled eggs, 1/4 cup of walnuts, and 1 green apple and coffee with almond milk

Lunch: two beef and pineapple meatloaf muffins with 1 cup of steamed carrots

Pre-Workout: 1 cup of mashed sweet potato

Dinner: two beef and pineapple meatloaf muffins, 1 cup of steamed carrots, and a banana (last of this meal in the fridge so I got rid of it!).

 

Day 22 Workouts: 

AM- Crossfit partner WOD 4 min rounds with 1 min rest in between- wall balls, tire flips, pull-ups, and parking lot sprints. I completed about 52 wall balls, 8 sprints, 55 ring rows, and 50 tire flips.

PM-10 mile run- the first double digit run of the marathon cycle! I had to slow my pace due to the heat, but I accomplished the mileage which is a huge accomplishment since I was worried I would never have the strength to run this far while eating very few carbs! I actually ran after dark- about 9PM and my stomach felt great during the run! I hope that I continue to have the energy and “light” feeling that I had today =)

Peace!

Whole30 day 21

Today is officially day 22- almost down to one week left of the challenge! I have already decided that I will pretty much maintain a paleo lifestyle again based on how much better I am feeling and the reduction in stomach pain and spasms that I was having before (which was my primary goal of the challenge)! I will allow myself to have some freedom to have other foods every now and then, but why blow all this progress by splurging on pizza, donuts, ice cream, and junk when this is all over? I do think I am going to try some halo top ice cream- apparently it is a healthy version of ice cream that is 240 calories per pint- and see how I feel.

Day 21 food: 

Breakfast: 2 hardboiled eggs, walnuts, 1 green apple and coffee with almond milk

Lunch: two beef and pineapple muffins with 1 cup of steamed carrots and 1 cup of mashed sweet potato with coconut cream

Snack: 1 banana

Dinner: Greek crockpot chicken that I had left in the freezer and another apple with some almond butter

Day 22 Workout Rest day =)   I was sore from the workouts this week!  

Whole 30 Day 20

Hello!!!! Today is actually day 21, but recapping yesterday. I am so excited about this- I have 10 days left of this challenge- which feels like nothing at this point! This week has been the best week of all so far! I am starting to feel GREAT! It is almost “easy” to wake up at 4-430AM, my quality of sleep is getting better, no stomach pain, no headaches, and my energy is great. The thing that I love the most is that I am not getting an afternoon crash at work and my mood just feels happy and pleasant- no irritability or letting things get on my nerves as much. Not sure if that is just because I am having a good week- but I will just say it’s partially due to feeling well. Also, yesterday I was finally able to do handstands at Crossfit- something I have struggled with for two years since having wrist surgery!

Day 20 Food:

7:30 AM- two hardboiled eggs, 1/4 cup of walnuts, 1 green apple and coffee with almond milk

12:00 PM- Two beef and pineapple meatloaf muffins with 1 cup of steamed carrots and a banana

3:45 PM- My final homemade lemon raspberry bar

7:00PM- pulled pork with cabbage and my redskin potato salad and orange slices which I ate after the picture (not a lot of color in the photo, but I am almost certain that adding more white potatoes this week has helped with the energy level).

Day 20 Workouts:

At work- I had a no-show for therapy and used some time to do 100 incline pushups and 200 bodyweight squats.

Crossfit- Did handstand practice- was finally able to get them with out any assistance! I did several after being so happy to accomplish them! For the WOD I did 5 rounds of- 75 Single Unders / 15 Kettlebell swings (I used 35#).

Followed by a 4 mile run with hills.

 

Whole 30 Day 18-19

I am finally starting to feel some return in energy from the hellacious food challenge that I decided to put myself through. My muscles are a little achy and heavy feeling during my workouts, but I am getting through them finally. I have been listening to the audio book (something I wish I would have done prior to starting the challenge!) and I am learning so much about our food. I do feel like I am brain washing myself to hate whole grains listening to it driving down the road. If anyone rode with me they would think it is total non-sense unless they are as crazy as I am.

I want to know some of your questions that you all have about doing this challenge? Some of them that I have received so far:

  1. how much are you spending on groceries?

I have been averaging about 50-65 dollars a week on food for myself. However, I stocked up the month before I started this challenge for some staples like coconut oil, spices, and almond meal. That saved me some money over time on what I need to meal prep and these items last a while. I purposely choose foods that are healthy, but do not cost a fortune. I certainly don’t want to go broke on this challenge. The first shopping trip I spent about 125 dollars – kind of on accident. I was still learning how to shop for foods that were compliant and picked fancier meats that you really don’t have to buy. That meal prep yielded a lot of food and I still have some meals frozen in my freezer that I will probably get rid of next week in my final days of the challenge.

Also, I am saving so much money just from not going out to eat. Going out can cost between 8-12 dollars if you are getting salads or healthy items plus a drink. So if you do that a couple of times a week that would be almost half of the allowance you have for groceries.

This budget is more than what I used to spend on groceries and I probably wont’ stick with all of the strict rules after the challenge just because of the price of some of the items that you can buy. I just try to think of the money I will save on healthcare and medications later on in life from being healthy now and nurturing my body.

  1. How do you find time to meal prep?

I think I will do a whole blog post of meal prepping! I was doing it before whole 30 so the transition to preparing food ahead of time was not that difficult- just more complicated to find things that are totally compliant. I also ate rice, oat meal, and cereal a lot.

One of my favorite quotes that I have seen is this–

“Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail”

If you are as busy as I am, meal prep is a priority or I will eat crappy food all week just because of what is available at work and the limited time I have to cook after/before work each day.

Day 18 Food:

8:45 AM- 2 hardboiled eggs, 1/4 cup of walnuts, and a green apple +coffee with almond milk

11:35 AM- two beef and pineapple meatloaf muffins and 1 cup of steamed carrots +a banana

Pre-workout snack- homemade mango coconut bar and 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce

8:00 PM Pork with Cabbage and Potato Salad

Day 18 Workout: 10 minute EMOM- 2 squat cleans. I did half at 55 pounds and half at 65 pounds (tougher than it sounds) followed by an 11 minute AMRAP (with 1 minute rest every two minutes) of 5 pull ups, 10 push press (used 35#), 5 Burpees – I completed Six rounds. After Crossfit I ran 3.5 miles fairly easy with two long hills.

Day 19 Food:

430 AM- a banana and coffee just to get something in my stomach before training PT clients.

9:00 AM- Coconut  Lara Bar

10:30- Paleo Pancake with almond butter and blueberries

3:30 PM- Green apple slices with a grass fed beef hotdog

7:00 PM- I met my mom at Chipotle for dinner and got a salad bowl with carnitas, salsa, and guacamole. I was still a little hungry so I had some watermelon when I got home.

Day 19 Workouts: 2 miles on the stair climber and 10 minutes of a Push/Pull routine (50# “sled” push and 50# rope pull with kettle bell on the end-20 Feet each) + core training afterwards. I also walked about 1.5 miles with clients in the morning.

*At my gym we do not have functional training equipment so I made a makeshift sled with the bench and two 25# plates. One of the rooms is carpeted and the bench slides around just like a sled would.

Whole 3o day 13-17

Hey ya’ll! So last week and over the weekend, I was feeling very sickly and having some stomach issues. I think it was the final push of the mass detox this diet is forcing me to go through. I didn’t feel up to doing much more than what was required of me for several days, so I am just now getting to sharing my recent progress! The good news is that I am starting to feel some more energy this week and I have noticed that I am needing less snacks through out the day as well as NO HEADACHES and no afternoon crash anymore! My skin and hair keep getting softer as well!

Day 13 Food:

breakfast: two hardboiled eggs, 1 green apple, 1/4 cup of walnuts and bulletproof coffee

Lunch: Greek Crockpot Chicken, orange slices

Snack- Lemon Rasberry energy bar

Dinner: Steak Salad with walnuts, romaine, green apples and balsamic/oilIMG_0130[1]

Snack: banana

Day 13 Workout:

Ran 3.5 miles in the AM (legs still very heavy and felt so slow =( )

During afternoon break did a circuit of 4x: 25 pushups, 50 squats, and 1 min. plank

*Still feeling heavy and tired with mild headache. Had some stomach pain during my run which was a little disappointing since I am trying so hard to stick with the challenge. Just hoping it continues to improve.

Day 14 Food:

Breakfast: Paleo pancake with almond butter and blueberries and bullet proof coffee

Lunch: Greek Crockpot chicken and a green apple with some sea salt

Dinner: Shamefully an EPIC bar with some watermelon and veggie chips from Kroger (Not feeling that well!)

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Day 14 Workout:

Power Yoga, inversion practice, and core/mobility work.

*Still feeling heavy and tired, but improvement in stomach pain and headache.

Day 15Food:

Breakfast- two hardboiled eggs, 1 green apple, almonds and a bullet proof coffee

Lunch- another EPIC bar and veggie chips

Dinner- Cod with Moroccan rub and Ghee, broccoli, watermelon

Day 15 Workout- I was so sick to my stomach, I think I picked up a bug or either this is another stage of the mass detox my body is going through, but I could not for the life of me muster up the strength or energy to workout. So I binge watched Orange is the New Black after I got off work! Sometimes its best to just recover.

Day 16 Food:

Breakfast: Today is meal prep day so I ate a Lara bar and a banana since I was out of eggs.

Lunch- Cod with Moroccan Rub and Ghee and Broccoli/Watermelon on the side.

Dinner- Paleo pancake topped with almond butter, cherries, and coconut flakes and (I know this sounds weird) a grass fed beef hot dog from Apple Gate Farms (I wanted to try it since I found some at Kroger that were compliant).

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Day 16 Workout- Still sick to my stomach but getting better.

Day 17 Food:

I cannot believe I am 1/2 way through the 30 Days Y’ALL!!!!!

8:45 AM Breakfast- 2 hard boiled eggs with green apple slices and 1/4 cup of walnuts +bullet proof coffee.

11:45 AM Lunch- Pulled pork with cabbage that I made in the crockpot yesterday and compliant red skin potato salad (seeing if adding more white potatoes helps with the energy levels) +orange slices

4:00 PM Pre-workout snack: homemade lemon raspberry bar

6:00 PM Post workout snack- 1 banana

7:45 PM Dinner- two beef and pineapple meatloaf muffins and 1 cup of steamed carrots +an apple with almond butter

Day 17 Workout: Walked 3.5 miles with PT clients, ran 1 mile at Crossfit plus strength training-

  • 3 sets of 20 Unbroken deadlifts at 75#
  • 3 sets of 10 band pull ups
  • 3 sets of 10 TRX rows
  • 2 sets of 20 goblet squats with 30# KB
  • 2 sets of 25 Kettle bell swings with 30# KB
  • 2 sets of 20 pushups- chest to KB

 

 

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Whole 30 Day 12

Hello, it’s me again! Today is officially day 13, but recapping day 11 really quick. I must say by making this commitment to blog each day has helped me stick with this so much because it’s forcing me to keep track of what I am eating and how I am feeling! I kind of like having something to write about! Yesterday was a busy 12 hour day of working between both jobs, however I didn’t feel as lethargic and cranky! I am hoping I am starting to feel the benefits of this challenge.

Day 12 Food:

8:00 AM- two hardboiled eggs, 1 green apple, 1/4 cup of walnuts. 1 bullet proof coffee

1130AM- 2 cups of the crockpot Greek chicken from meal prep, a sparkling water, and orange slices.

200- cup of coffee and a homemade lemon raspberry energy bar

430 PM- Pre- workout (I knew I was going to run after my last two clients and wanted plenty of time to digest the protein): 1 epic bar

8:30PM- Post run/dinner: 1 homemade paleo “pancake” with almond butter and blueberries and 3 pieces of bacon.

Day 12 Workouts: Walked a mile with clients and did some TRX training. After work I did a 6 mile fartlek run- in the heat. I kept my pace at about what it was this past marathon cycle, but I just felt so heavy towards the end! I am hoping this “lead legs” feeling will go away soon- otherwise I am just happy to have some energy back to run and workout.