Beach Marathon Recap

I just ran my first marathon and it was both exactly what I thought it would be like and not at all what I expected at the same time.

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Equal parts thrilling and exhausting, I’m finding the whole experience difficult to put into words. So, instead of writing a traditional race recap, I’m giving you a glimpse into the thoughts churning in my head during each mile. Sometimes you’ll see repeats of the same thought, because when you’re running for 3+ hours you get a little bored and come back to the same thoughts.

 Mile 1: Holy Crap! I’m running a marathon. I’m going to leave my music off for the first few miles to just enjoy the sights and sounds of the beginning.

This new Flipbelt is bothering me a little bit, it keeps riding up and I have to keep pushing it back down.

 Mile 2: I’m going to drink water at this next aid station. .

I suck at drinking water. Just splashed that all over my face and shirt Slow and steady, slow and steady. Only on mile two, you don’t want to die.

I’M ONLY ON MILE TWO.

Mile 3: Screw sights and sounds. All I can hear is hacking and heavy breathing.

Playlist on.

FlipBelt (new fuel belt) will NOT. STAY. DOWN.

 Mile 4: I think I’ve looked at my watch 80 times in the past 2 minutes…and I’m still on mile 4. I thought I was supposed to see Jordan at this mile. Where is he? I can’t wait to eat my first GU.

 Mile 5: YUM. Peanut Butter GU.

 Mile 6: Need water stat. GU is stuck in throat.

Why can’t I swallow?

Need water.

I’m still on mile 6?!

FlipBelt. I hate you.

 Mile 7: Quads are starting to tighten up already. That really hurts and I can’t believe I still have 19 miles left, how am I goi..STOP it! Think positive. Pretend like the pain in your quads is like lightning bolts of energy powering you through (I know this is so lame, but it actually helped)

 Mile 8: Am I going fast enough?

If I continue at this pace for 5 more miles, I will reach the halfway point at…(I did running math for about 10 minutes because I kept messing up).

 Mile 9: I can’t wait to eat my second GU.

Mile 10: YUM. Peanut Butter Chocolate GU.

Where is Jordan? I think I’m supposed to see him at Mile 11.

Almost halfway done!

 Mile 11: Hi Jordan!!! (Veer off the course and gave him a kiss that I’m sure was sloppy with Gatorade and salt)

Jordan: You’re on track to hit 3:33 !

Well, BQ qualifying time is 3:35 so I better keep this pace or better if I want to qualify.

 Mile 12: If I run at this pace for 14 more miles, what will I finish in? (more running math).

Shove flipbelt down again.

Mile 13: Halfway done! Now is the time to turn it on, Anna.

 Mile 14: Repeat: I can do hard things. Be an athlete. It’s a beautiful day and I’m doing what I love.

When can I eat my next GU?

 Mile 15: YUM. Caramel Macchiato GU. 40 mg of caffeine straight to the heart.

 Mile 16: I feel AMAZING. Jolts of energy running through me. Who said marathons were hard?

 Mile 17: Still on a runner’s high. Endorphins are through the roof. Look out Boston, I’m coming for you!

 Mile 18: Quads still hurt but I’m more than half way done. I can do hard things. I’m going to finish and I’m going to qualify for Boston. I can’t believe how good I feel. I just wish this FlipBelt would stay put on my hips.

 Mile 19: Finally caught up with a lady that I’ve had my eye on for the past few miles. I’m going to run with her for a little while. She’s got a great pace. I haven’t said anything to her yet. Is that weird? I hope she’s not trying to talk to me because Eminem is screaming and I can’t hear anything.

Mile 20: The quads…blazing now. It’s all I can think about. Eating the last of my honey stinger chews because I’m tired of the package sticking out of my flip belt. Still hanging with this lady and still haven’t spoken a word to eachother…Is that weird? Does she think it’s weird that I keep pulling this FlipBelt down over my hips?

Mile 21: I still have 5 more miles. Everything hurts and the breathing is starting to get a little heavier. I finally broke the silence with my new running buddy to gasp a good job. I know, really original. She said it back (I think). My playlist is at the pump up section now and Kanye is telling me that I’m Amazing.

I got this.

Mile 22: I don’t have this. I am falling apart. I don’t know how much longer I can go. My snacks are gone and I just have to rely on Gatorade now. Should I take one of those orange slices?

Too late. I’ll get the next one.

When is the next aid station?

I want to walk. Will I be able to start again if I stop?

I only have 4 miles left. I will turn it on when I have a 5k left and sprint to the finish.

I want to throw this FlipBelt away.

 Mile 23: Me: I have to stop at this station to get water.

Stranger Runner Girl: Ok. You are doing AWESOME.

I’m grabbing Gatorade and Water at this aid station. I am SO thirsty. WHY DON’T THEY FILL THESE CUPS MORE? We’re running a marathon for Pete’s Sake!

Slightly irritable at this point.

I just walked through that water station. I can’t believe I did that. It’s okay, I will turn it on at the 2 mile mark and go hard then.

 Mile 24: This thirst is insatiable. Think about something else besides your quads. There’s Jordan! He’s jumping on the course to run with me.

Jordan: You’re doing it, babe. You’re going to finish with a BQ

I don’t want to risk anymore breath so I give the thumbs up.

 Mile 25: I’ve never hated running more than I do right now. It feels like there is an elephant sitting on my lungs right now. Why did I sign up for this stupid thing? Jordan is still running with me and keeps trying to talk to me. I wonder if he knows I can’t hear him over my music? I am not even going to take the energy to reach into my belt and turn the volume down.

 Mile 26: Where is the finish line? Why can’t I see it? I’m trying to turn it on but I can’t. I can’t see the finish.

 Mile 26.2…I DID IT.

P.S. After I crossed the finish line, I learned that my FlipBelt was on backwards…Awesome.

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Road Warriors: How to Diet and Drive

Road Warriors, Spring Breakers, Travel Addicts – this one is for you. We all enjoy a getaway every now and then. A chance to break free from our routine, kick back our heels and just forget about life for a while. One problem – in order to GET AWAY, you have to actually GO somewhere… Most of Jord and my trips involve a cramped car, several hours of endless highway and a burned out playlist. Pair that with stinky fast food and you’ve got cranky vacationers before vacation even starts. I may not be able to help you minimize the hours you’re on the road, but I can help you arrive to your vacation feeling better than when you left your house.

How to diet and drive

No one wants to roll into the beach house feeling bloated and swollen from salty snacks – – here are some top tips that I’ve developed for eating better and feeling better when you’re traveling.

  • Get up and get going! If I know I’m going to be sitting in the car all day, I like to get up early and go for a quick run or get a short cardio workout in before we leave. It gives me a chance to shake out my legs and I don’t feel so stiff in the car. Hitting the road in the early morning? Workout the night before, you’ll sleep like a rock and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go.

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We left for Tennessee around 4 a.m., so I did a 5 mile run outside the night before. It felt GREAT to be outside and my legs were nice and light the next day. 

  •  Snack Pack – Yea, I hear you –“Duh!” Everyone knows to pack snacks for the road, but do you know which ones to pick? Try to stay away from anything salty, bready or sodium filled. These foods will cause you to swell and make you thirsty. When you’re thirsty – you drink more and when you drink more – you have to stop more. Pack fruits and veggies that aren’t loaded with water. Bananas, clementines, apples and carrots all travel well.  While delicious, a container of watermelon probably isn’t the best idea to bring on the road…

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  • Limit coffee intake – Coffee is a diuretic and causes frequent urination – more stops! It can also cause dehydration – which long car rides already cause.
  • Make every stop worth it – Gotta pee? Get gas, stretch your legs, eat lunch and fill up your water bottle all at one stop. This doesn’t always work out, but you can really limit your stops if you make it all in one.

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With views like this, you actually WANT to stop and stretch your legs. . . These were some views we saw along the way on our Tennessee trip. 

  • Don’t go into the gas station unless you have to – Every time we go into the gas station, the bugles and cheese crackers call my name. (My husband is a Gardettos fan but I am not a fan of the dragon breath it gives him) Even if I’m not hungry, I just want a little something to munch on while driving. If I don’t have to see it, I won’t buy it. I try to chew gum to combat this.

 Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 10.07.41 AM Gardettos… garlicky deliciousness. 

  • Pack your lunch – How boring am I? I know, a soggy sandwich after 9 hours of driving doesn’t sound very appealing…but there is a right way to do it! Jordan and I ate tuna wraps for our recent trip to Tennessee and they held our growling stomachs at bay before we could find a decent place to eat. Tuna in the car – not again. Wraps were a good idea though!

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  • If you do need to stop, here are some of the places we try to find along the way:

o   Chipotle

o   Panera

o   Subway

o   Starbucks – they have awesome breakfast sandwiches

o   Grocery store – Any Kroger, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, etc. will have fresh wraps, sandwiches or salads to stock up on.

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We found a Whole Foods on our way to TN. I wasn’t driving, so I loaded up on their salad bar and Jordy got a deli sandwich.

We love to travel and have a lot of road trips coming up this year. These tips have helped us save money and arrive to our destination feeling energized and ready to start our vacation. I hope they help you just as much! Here are some pictures from our last trip to Tennessee. More can be found on my instagram account: @AnnaKate29

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Where is your next road trip?

What is your favorite snack to bring on road trips?

–       We bought a little tub of Blue Diamond Dark Chocolate Almonds once and I ate the whole package about an hour into our trip. NO self control!

 

 

 

Get Green 5k Race Recap

This past weekend I ran in Fort Wayne’s Get Green 5k in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that seems to just sneak up on you when you’re not looking. To me, it symbolizes that winter will soon be over and a green spring is waiting for us at the end of the rainbow! This 5k was the first of many 2014 races for me and I’m so glad it’s not the last.

I woke up Saturday morning around 8 a.m. with a spring in my step, excited to get out the door and run. I had my normal pre-race breakfast of almond butter and banana on Ezekiel toast and a half a cup of coffee for a little kick start. We were almost to the packet pick up tent when I realized I forgot my Garmin watch (palm slap to forehead). I was really upset that I  wouldn’t be able to pace myself or see the mileage during the race, but just hoped that the course would be well marked.

I met up with some friends before the race and we had fun chatting and taking pictures with a Leprechaun that showed up for the event.

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Jord waited with me at the start line and took my jacket right before the start of the race. There were almost 1000 people registered for the race and temps were in the upper 20’s. I started a little too far back in the crowd and spent the first half mile maneuvering my way around pointy elbows and running legs to get to a clearing.

The course runs through downtown Fort Wayne and has minimal hills. It is a flat and fast race, perfect for going for a PR, which was my goal…until I slipped on my first ice patch. I skidded across some black ice on the side of the road and caught myself right before I fell. It turns out those yoga balance poses pay off after all!

I have no idea what my splits were because I didn’t even know when I hit mile markers 1 and 2. There was one water station about half way through the race, but my hands were so cold that I didn’t trust them to hold onto a cup. My legs and core were warm but my fingers were bone frozen. Yes, I know there are gloves for that, but I have ADD when it comes to my music and like to change songs every 45 seconds during a race. The race felt like it flew by and before I knew it I was 200 meters from the finish line.

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I recognized the turn right before the shoot and put it into a higher gear. I felt like I had a lot of juice left in me, so I looked around for renegade ice patches and sprinted to the finish. As I crossed the finish line, I did a double take at the running clock. “What?” I thought, “It can’t say that…”

I found Jord close to the finish and his time for me matched what the race results said. I had just run my second fastest time ever! The only time to beat this one was when I ran in the State Cross Country race when I was 17 years old. I can only attribute my faster time to the strength training I’ve been doing and the whole foods I’ve been eating.

I guess there is a lot to say about healthy living! This race recap was kind of all over the place, but to sum it up: Fort Wayne’s Get Green 5k will be an annual event for me. It was run right on time, has a fun, St. Patrick’s Day atmosphere and your registration comes with 5 tickets towards beer and food in the party tent after the race. We headed over to the party tent to watch a strong man competition and get some green beer and corned beef with sauerkraut. We also got to see the annual greening of the downtown river. Our Fort Wayne Fire Department sprays green water out of their hoses and it almost looks neon across the gray March skies.

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Pros:

  • Fun St. Patrick’s Day atmosphere
  • Flat, fast course, great for PRing!
  • Lots to do after the race in downtown Fort Wayne

Cons:

  • Cold weather, random ice patches on roads and sidewalks
  • Disorganized website, race results are still not posted
  • Not a lot of volunteers or crowd support along the course

I will definitely do this race again next year. It’s a great course to start your spring races/training and the spirit of the holiday makes it a fun event to participate in. Next time, I’ll wear gloves and pay closer attention to random ice patches.

Have you run in any races yet this year?

What did you do for St. Patrick’s day?  

Booty Bronze: Get your Workout Outdoors

The ultimate summer holiday weekend is upon us and I’m ready to soak up the sun on the last few days of summer. I have a pool 10 steps from the front door of my apartment and it is calling my name.

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In my world, summer long weekends mean swimsuits, rosy cheeks and towel dried hair. They also mean that I don’t see the inside of a gym. Since I have a job that keeps me indoors, I go a little stir crazy if not spending a sunny Saturday outside. I also tend to get a little grumpy when I don’t get my endorphins fix. So, why not combine the two?

Here are a few ways I like to take my workout outside:

  • Running: This is the easiest and most obvious way to take your workout outdoors. Want to add in a little strength training? Mix up your run by breaking it into 3 minute intervals. Stop every 3 minutes to do triceps dips on a park bench, push ups on the pavement, crunches in the grass, and lunges down the street. IMG_1272
  • Pool Workout: Try this pool workout that mixes in strength training and cardio. Best part about this one? You don’t even have to put on a sports bra!

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(source)

  • Bike: Grab a friend and go for a ride around the neighborhood, local trails or mountains. The weekend is a great time to explore new areas with your bike. Bring a picnic basket and stop for lunch!

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  • Lake: Summertime in Indiana means lakes and boating. If you’re at the lake, try out some water sports. Skiing, wakeboarding, kneeboarding and even tubing (you WILL be sore!) are great ways to get a workout in. Don’t have a boat? Go for a swim or tread water for 30 seconds on and off.

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  • Paddleboarding: This summer’s craze seems to be paddleboarding. Standing on this surf board in the water will work your core, balance skills and arms while you row down the river. Surf the web for local outfitter shops in your area to rent a board. Most places let you rent them by the hour.

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  • Take a hike: Beat the heat and hit the shaded trails for a hiking adventure with your friends. Search for parks in your area (even flat Ohio has hiking spots!), or take a short trip to hoof a few hills. I promise your glutes will thank you.

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Cheers to the weekend! Have a fun and SAFE Labor Day!

What will you be doing this Labor Day weekend? 

Any other suggestions for outdoor activity?

Last Wedding Before My Own!

I’m still alive! No worries, I don’t post on Mondays remember? I’m trying to get better at blogging on the weekends, but my weekends are extremely full of wedding planning and working on my tan.  😀 Anyway, this past weekend was no exception and I had a fantastic time at one of my good friend from high school’s wedding. It was the last one I’ll be attending before my own, so the experience was a little surreal for me! The wedding was in Ohio, so you know what that means… Florist, videographer and pastor appointments flooded my calendar and RSVP cards were begging to be opened.

We spent a few hours on Friday night going through our RSVP’s and laughing at all of the funny responses we got. Our RSVP cards were Mad Libs style and I’ll be writing a post about them soon. 🙂

I woke up bright and early Saturday morning to get a 5 mile run in before errands took over my day. I always feel better when I get a good workout in before a busy day, it just makes me a little bit more calm. And I definitely needed the calmness on Saturday. We met with our wedding videographer and then drove straight to the church for our final meeting with our Pastor. It was so weird to actually start talking about vows and our ceremony timing. It’s actually happening!

After our meeting, we went to my parent’s for lunch where my mom filled me in on her appointment with the florist. I wasn’t able to go to the florist meeting because I overbooked myself on Saturday (womp womp), but I sent my very capable mom with all of my notes and pictures. After lunch it was time to get ready for the wedding!

One of my good friends from high school married her high school sweet heart of 8 years! It was so special to watch two people you have seen together for so long, finally tie the knot. They have been through so much together and truly belong together. My heart pretty much melted on the floor when they pronounced them husband and wife.

The wedding was a beautiful mix of teal, purple and black and the bridesmaids carried broach bouquets. This was the first time I had seen this done and I thought it was so unique and beautiful. It’s strange when you are planning a wedding, you start to look at other weddings a little differently. You appreciate the time it took the bride to make a seating chart and you notice creative details a lot more than before. 🙂

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The bride was absolutely stunning and seemed so relaxed the whole day. I hope I’ll be that relaxed!

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This wedding was a lot of fun because so many of my high school friends were there! These two ladies, Lauren and Amy, have been my best friends since 6th grade and will also be standing up with me in my wedding.

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My crazy brother is good friends with the groom, so he made an appearance as well!

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I can’t believe that we are next!! How did this happen so fast??

Any high school sweet hearts out there? Go you!

Do you like your weekends to be go-go-go with fun activities or do you like a laid-back, relaxing weekend? 

Usually, I like my Saturdays and Sundays to be full of fun activities, but we have had so many of those in a row, that I’m ready for a weekend with nothing to do…Maybe that will happen in November? Haha

Obstacle Courses and a Peachy snack

Good morning! It’s Tuesday already? I didn’t post yesterday because, honestly, Mondays kind of depress me. Even if I have something sweet to do on a Monday, I still don’t like them. Negative Nancy in the room. 😦 But hey! It’s Tuesday now, so let’s move on to talk about food.

I’ve had some yummy snacks and meals lately that I want to share with you. These are all super simple, can usually be prepped in 15 minutes or less, and have minimal ingredients. Perfect for summer nights when you don’t feel like cooking or light snacks before heading out to the pool for the day.

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ZICO Dark chocolate Coconut Water: It has a ton of electrolytes in it and hydrates your body after a sweat fest. Regular coconut water is great too, but I like the taste of this one the best. 🙂 I usually take 3 big gulps as soon as I get inside from running. It is gluten, dairy and lactose free so it doesn’t upset my sensitive stomach. Winner winner!

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Clean Tuna Salad: I’ve had this for lunch a couple of times and love it! Super easy to prepare and it’s a “clean tuna salad” because it doesn’t have any mayonnaise or a cream base to it. Steamed egg whites, tomatoes and tuna top spinach with rice vinegar and balsamic vinegar as the dressing.

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Garlic Quinoa Stir Fry: You’ll see the words “stir fry” quite a bit on this blog. It’s easy, fast, and you can pretty much throw anything in a pan and I’ll eat it. My soon to be sister-in-law gave me some zucchinni and tomatoes straight from the garden so I had to use them right away! I love quinoa because it is packed with protein and a great substitute for rice. Some people can’t get over the texture of quinoa–ahem, Jord–but I try to use it as a mixture in my meals instead of the the base. I cooked the quinoa with minced garlic, sautéed zucchini and onions and added cold tomatoes at the end.

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Jord’s brother has a huge peach tree in his backyard. The peaches are so ripe that they fall right into your hand with just a touch of the branch. I plucked several to take home with me.

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Cheesy Peach Toast: I cut up a juicy peach, nuked some brie cheese and placed it on top of toasted Ezekiel bread. Yum! This was an awesome snack. And you know how I like my sweet and savory concoctions. 🙂

Those are some fun additions to my eats that I’ve been enjoying lately. I get bored with things pretty easily so switching up food is one way to make sure I stay on track with my healthy eating. I also like to switch up my workouts often since our bodies are intelligent and when they get used to a certain routine, they stop changing and stay stagnant. One way to switch up your workout? Compete in an obstacle course race!

Jord and I ran in a mud run this weekend called the Warrior Dash. It was our first one and we had a blast!

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I’ve run 5k’s, 10k’s and a half marathon, but mud runs have an entirely different atmosphere. It wasn’t so serious, everyone was just there to have fun! This was the first race in my life that I didn’t care about my time, or competing with everyone else. About 17 obstacles covered the 3.4 mile course and almost every one of them was covered in mud.

The first obstacle we went through was a 3 foot deep trench with barbed wire over the top, so you had to crawl on your hands and knees to get to the other side.

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I had to hold my breath so that I wouldn’t gag in the muddy water…I know, I’m such a girl. I quickly learned that a little trench was the least of my worries.

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We were constantly going over bridges, walking on wooden planks, and climbing up walls. It reminded me of playing the “lava game” when I was a kid where you had to jump to different obstacles without touching the ground, except this time, the fire on the ground was real. IMG_1644

Even if we wanted to go for time, we couldn’t have since our heat was so crowded, we often had to wait in line for obstacles. Waiting in line wasn’t as bed as you would think. We got to meet people, catch our breath and watch how other warriors attempted the upcoming obstacle.

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One of my favorites was the “Warrior Wall.” We had to wait in line for this one but it was exciting to cheer for people that made it over and a little scary because some people would get to the top and fall straight down to the ground. Eeek!

We came away with a couple of bloody knees, a fun “Warrior Medal” and lots of memories.

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BEFORE
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Have you ever run in an obstacle course or mud run? 

Did you use to play the lava game when you were a kid? 

What you should eat Pre and Post Workout

I have a confession to make..

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When I get stressed out I gotta have a Coke. It doesn’t happen very often, but I succumb to the vending machine at work every once in a while. Today  was one of those days I found myself scrounging for loose change. I know that diet sodas contain a lot of scary things that are hard to pronounce and even harder to spell, but if it only happens every once in a while it’s okay. That’s my justification and I’m sticking to it.

Whew! That’s off my chest, let’s talk about pre and post workout fueling. This is something that I just started paying attention to since I became a little  more well rounded in my fitness regime. I used to be a cardio junkie that would only run and do Zumba. Since I’ve started researching fitness, I’ve learned that cardio burns the fat, but strength training is what is seen under the fat. A lot of females believe strength training will make them bulky, when in reality, it does the opposite. If done the correct way, lifting weights will help you get lean muscles and amazing definition. I actually dropped a pants size when I started strength training!

I’ve also learned that I don’t get a great workout or great results when I don’t eat properly. Think of your body like a corvette. I don’t know much about cars, but even I know that if you put crappy fuel in a nice car, it isn’t going to run properly and it won’t run for very long. You should be fueling PRE and POST workout to maintain fitness goals and a healthy lifestyle.

Pre-workout fuel is important to keep your engine running and post workout fuel is imperative in repairing your fatigued muscles. My pre-workout snacks usually involve a simple carbohydrate that gets my energy up without weighing me down.

Pre Workout Fuel:

Piece of toast with nut butter (sometimes fruit on top) IMG_1556

Apple or banana 

1/2 sweet potato (plain)

1/4 cup of oats (plain or w/fruit on top)

I try to eat at least a 1/2 hour before my workout and I don’t add any sauce/seasoning to anything I’m eating so that it can digest quickly and easily. Post workout snacks should be consumed within a half hour of your workout and should include protein and carbohydrates.

Post Workout Fuel:

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Tuna on toast

Banana with nut butter 

Greek yogurt with berries

Turkey slices with a little cheese

Here are some other sources on the subject:

What do you all eat before and after you work out? 

If you don’t eat anything, WHY? Are you going to now? 🙂