Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pre Workout: My Experience

Short post

An often looked over part of my exercise has always been the pre-workout meal. Waking up and getting to the gym, or running or whatever exercise I plan on doing, I tend to forget to eat. What I notice is that my body and mood doesn't want to be there. It's almost like I'm already talking myself out of my workout. My thinking is, "I don't have time to prepare anything so I'm just going to drink some water and go run." Horrible idea.

Now mind you, I'm no doctor or nutritionist, but this is what has worked for me:

My strongest workouts have come after consuming a handful of fruit, usually in smoothie form, about an hour before my workout. Very simple smoothie could consist of berries, banana and water with a little lemon. Trust me, it's good! Also, slamming a pint of lemon squeezed into water helps me hydrate and boost my energy level. If I have time, I'll make quinoa oatmeal with frozen blueberries to cool down the temperature of the quinoa oatmeal. I'll also eat a handful of almonds or cashews. A very tasty snack. I've noticed that sometimes, I'll eat to much, upsetting my stomach so I've been able to in a sense eyeball my smoothies and blend just enough to power me through whatever exercise I'm doing.

What I recommend people to do is DON'T neglect your pre-workout meal. Play around with easy to make meals, perhaps preparing them the night before if you're strapped for time. Take that extra few moments to eat your breakfast because you're not going to be happy working out on an empty stomach, trust me.

Here's a video from Vega that I found to be so helpful. Brendan Brazier has so many great tips. Give it a watch!

And please visit Team Green and check out their compassionate line of gear!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tri On a Budget

Every sport has an expensive "getting started" phase. Triathlons are no different. I'm hoping to calm the nerves some on. I don't have all the answers, but here are some things to think about.

You've decided you want to do your first triathlon and you're freaking out because you don't have the bike everyone else is riding! Calm down! Unless you're going to be the next Peter Jacobs, you shouldn't worry about what bike you're riding. Trust me, crossing the finish line on your first race is all you should worry about, and having fun while doing so. Triathlon specific bikes can run you anywhere from $1000-more than $5000 new. I've saw bikes of all kinds at the Sprint I did back in July. People were just happy to be there, so should you. This is what you do, go down to the local bike shop, surf craigslist and find a suitable bike for what you need. I've seen some pretty damn good used bikes on there and you should have no trouble finding something to propel you through this portion of the race.

I recommend reading the rules and regulations usatriathlon.org regarding the use of wetsuits. It's confusing, but I've been told and follow "if the water is above 78 degrees, you can't use wetsuits."

A new wetsuit will run you anywhere from $100 to $500 and beyond new. I recommend going to a shop, getting fitted which takes about 30 minutes, and then renting a suit. Renting a suit will only cost you about $30 to $40 and I believe you'll have that suit for a few days. No keep in mind, you don't need a suit to do a triathlon. Depending on the temperature of the water, you may not even want one. I could imagine a warm lake or body of water would make swimming just in your tri suit would be way better than a wetsuit. Scope out the projected water temp and course to find out if you even need one.

Bike shorts, tri suits....You don't NEED them. They'll make the ride a little more comfortable on your tokhes. So the fact that you don't NEED this, I'm going to skip it. We're talking about triathlons on a budget and unless you're made of money, you might want to think about cutting corners. Heck, wear never nude shorts!(Arrested Development reference)

Rules require you to wear a helmet during the bike portion of the race. Don't go crazy and buy one of those aero helmets. Again, this sport might not be what you thought it was. Then again, you should already be wearing your helmet if you're riding a bike out on the street! Ok, I'm guilty..... I've seen people wearing their skateboard helmets, so you're not going to need to spend more than $25 for a helmet. It really depends on the coverage of your head and what you want to protect. Personally, I find skateboard helmets protect better all around, but you're going to sacrifice wind resistance. Yes, you can buy time with being more aerodynamic. Think about your priorities here, are you there for time or are you there for the experience?

People often neglect a good pair of running shoes opting for a inexpensive alternative. Let me tell you, you don't want to be running whatever length in your slip on vans. You're shins and knees are going to hate you. Running is such a high impact portion of the race that you should seriously consider getting a nice pair of running shoes. I bought a $130 pair of shoes for $75. It's possible, you just have to shop for deals. Don't setting on a pair that have great color or whatever. This is what you do....Go to the local running store or whatever place that sells a good variety of running shoes. Try on a few pair and walk around like you're buying new shoes. Don't forget the brand and size you like and then order them through whatever site you find the best deal. I feel this is one of the more important investments you're going to make, aside from your dieting which I have been covering through my blog so I'm not going to touch on here. Fact of the matter is, take care of your body and wearing GOOD running shoes and practicing proper technique will help.

I hope to continue on this subject. I was waking up and thought about saving money and being able to do these races on a limited budget. For beginners(myself included), you are subject to people trying to sell you things you don't need. Always do your research.

Active Gear Up requires a membership fee, but can save you money. Their deals are amazing and they're not just a triathlon store. You'll find a plethora of outdoor activity deals. If you love the outdoors like I do, you'll see that a $60 yearly membership is worth it.

Check out Team Green!!!!

If you've been reading my blog, you'll notice I have a bad case of ADHD and often times ramble, not fully explaining myself. Here's the thing, when I get excited about a subject I start to just go full speed and...at times I have so much on my mind that I don't finish a topic. So please, bare with me and we'll get through this together! I have a passion for the sport and hope to inspire others to give it a TRI!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Here's Your Motivation: Giving back!

Motivation is found in many different forms. Something as simple as waking up and seeing a note you left yourself can motivate you to achieve things you didn't think possible. Listening to Rich Roll's podcast #33 with Roni Selig, wearing a shirt that reminds you to never give up. It's important to keep a positive outlook on life and continue fighting what ever it is you're dealing with. What really gets me going is people who give back without thinking about it. People who continually see the good in people and want to help anyone and everyone. These are the true heroes of this world.

Emz is going to run from 9/12/13 until 9/13/13, on a treadmill. Here's a quote on the charity run from Ikuna Apparel: "On September 12-13, 2013 Emily Toia will run the equivalent of 4 marathons in 24 hours on a treadmill. The purpose of this event is to raise awareness about worldwide illiteracy and to raise funds to support nonprofit, EFFECT International in opening two new schools in India and help 1,400 children to receive an education." An act of kindness like this is what really motivates me to improve on my training, my personal life, and my professional life(though I hardly call working at a grocery store a white collar profession haha).

I'm not very good with words and translating my thoughts into them, but I'm grateful there are people out there like Emz who are willing to give back. So please, everyone click HERE and order your shirt. It'll help reach the fundraising goal. Let's all back Emz on this intense run. And remember to smile at anyone and everyone. You never know, it may brighten their day just enough to continue on.

Visit these links:

Ikuna Apparel

Official Team Green

RUNEMZ

Vega

Effect International

Rally.org(I think this is where they will be hosting a live feed/stream. If anyone knows of a stream, please let me know. I'd love to link to it!)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Vegan On A Budget aka Broke Vegan

Lets face it, we're not made of money so at times, more often than not, our diet takes a hit. Reaching for that pack of top ramen, 8 for $1 seems to make for a money saving dish. Problem is, you can save money and eat healthy, delicious meals at the same time. You just have to plan out for and make a bunch of whatever you're making. Oh, before I forget, you're going to have to like or get used to eating left overs, sorry.

With being a single dad, working 40 hours a week, seeing my kids that are an hour and a half away, I have to plan my meals accordingly. I don't have the luxury of going out to eat for every meal and can't buy all the faux meats and fun vegan goodies supermarkets have to offer. Besides, my dietary goal is to eliminate all that processed garbage anyways and eat a more plant based diet.

Planning my meals couldn't be easier and saving money while doing it is even less of a chore. I'll make chili, Vega's cashew mac n cheese, salads, rice, beans, and so much more. Seriously though, make friends with a crock pot! All you do is throw a bunch of stuff in a pot, turn it on and walk away. A few hours later, it's done.

I'm going to get you started with a simple, delicious chili recipe I came up with. I've shared it through my instagram page and send emails out all the time for people wanting this recipe. It's really really good and easy to make. So here we go!

Lentil and Quinoa Chipotle Chili

1/2 cup letils

1/2 cup quinoa

4 cups veggie broth

2 tbs coconut oil

1 yellow onion(small to medium diced)

2 celery stalks(chopped)

3 cloves of garlic(chopped)

1 carrot(diced)

1 can of fire roasted tomato

1 7oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce(or you can use fresh chipotle peppers)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp chipotle chili powder

1 tsp cumin

2 bay leaves

1 tsp smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

Instead of the celery, carrot and onion, I used Trader Joe's Mirepoix mix which is those ingredients all diced and ready to go.

In a large pot, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add your celery, carrot, and onion and saute for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the celery and onion become translucent. Add the garlic saute for another 3 minutes then add the cinnamon, chipotle powder and cumin. Stir together. Add your veggie broth, bay leafs and canned fire roasted tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add your lentils and quinoa. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes(until the quinoa and lentils are finished cooking). In a blender, add your canned chipotle peppers and about a 1/2 cup to 1 cup of the brother from your pot. Blend and then add back to your pot of chili. Stir and simmer for about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and you're done!

I find that chili tastes better the following day and reheating. This allows the flavors to blend together. You can always make this with more heat, I just wanted something mellow and not overly spicy today. Let me know what you think of it. This is a great protein packed post-workout meal. I don't use beans because I try and stay traditional with my chili and the original chili was made without beans, all meat.

I plan on sharing more vegan on a budget meal ideas so if you have any questions or requests, let me know. I find that taking a day out of the week and possibly meal planning helps save money. With my IM70.3 race coming up in March, I am forced to eat very clean and be aware of what I'm putting in my body. That and not having much money requires me to make smart choices when it comes to diet. I'm not perfect by any means, but I'm going to reach my goals and hopefully inspire others to make smart healthy choices along the way. This is my journey, this is my life. I love you all.

Please visit Official Team Green. Without them, my dream of being an IronMan wouldn't have happened so soon. Thanks Team Green!