Birth of a New Normal

As you all know, our precious little boy was born at the beginning of March. He is the most amazing thing that has happened to either of us, and we are totally blessed to have a healthy, happy, and beautiful baby boy. He is absolutely perfect.

With his birth comes a lot of physical changes, as well as a new normal.

I did not do a very good job of staying “fit” during my pregnancy. I overdid it in a 1-mile fun-run about 2 months into the pregnancy. It caused a lot of ligament soreness in the lower abdominal region that did not go away throughout the entire pregnancy. Because of this, it was difficult to stay motivated to work out knowing that it would cause me to feel totally uncomfortable. I did very little, and I’m totally feeling the effects of that now.

Now that our little man is here and I’m to the point where I’m cleared to begin working out again, I’m motivated. Motivated to get this “baby weight” off. Motivated to feel healthier. Motivated to eat better.

More importantly, motivated to be a great influence on our little man.

I want to show him how healthy eating can make your quality of life so much better. I also want to demonstrate that exercise and physical activity is just as important as eating healthy. You have to lead a well-balanced life.

With that being said, I want to write out my plan:

  • Be an example for our little man. ‘Nuff said about that.
  • Primal eating: I felt the best while I was on the Primal eating style. It’s really a lifestyle, so I need to brush up on it so that I can refresh my memory on what’s expected.
  • Beachbody workouts: Since our little man needs our constant attention, it’s going to be best to do at-home workouts for the moment. These programs are legit and totally work. Plus, they’re normally only about 45 minutes each, so that’s enough time to fit in the workout between feedings.
  • Planet Fitness: I’ve got a membership at the new location in our city, so I plan on using this membership as supplemental workouts. They’ve also got massage beds, so that’s a plus!
  • CrossFit: I definitely want to get back to doing CrossFit exercises. I’ve got 10 sessions waiting on my at my local box whenever I get to the point where I can utilize those sessions.
  • Obstacle-course racing: This is totally my passion. I’m going to sign up for a race in September-ish so that I have something to work toward. One day, I will be competitive with the races. For now, I just want to finish them.

Let’s do this.

Advice for a Newbie Triathlete

As most of you know, when I get an idea in my head, I have to learn as much as I can about it as quickly as possibly. Maybe it’s because I like to be informed; maybe it’s the OCD. Either way, I researched countless websites and watched tons of YouTube videos to prepare for our first triathlon. I wanted to compile all of my advice into one handy location. This information may be a bit overwhelming, but it’s better to have everything all in one place instead of having to waste time searching all over creation for the answers to your questions. So, here’s your all-in-one newbie triathlete guide for the day before the event and race day:

The Day Before:
Most likely, your bike drop-off and packet pick-up will be scheduled for this day. Make sure that you’ve gotten your bike tuned-up at the local bike store BEFORE today so that you’re not rushing to get everything accomplished on time. Pump up your tires to their prescribed pressure, even if you’ll need to check that race morning. Also, if you don’t have two water bottle cages on your bike, install them now. Trust me – you’ll need both of them during the race!

On the way to drop-off your bike, drive the bike route (if you have not already driven it) so that you can determine if there are going to be any tricky curves, potholes, unstable terrain, difficult hills, or fast and flat straightaways. My husband and I did this, and it really put our minds at ease… especially since we found out that there was a 90-degree turn at the end of a long downhill stretch.

Once you get to the bike drop-off area, get ready to say goodbye to your bike. Make sure that you’ve placed your number on your bike and that it’s completely ready to go. Scout out a place for your bike that’s easy to find. I heard horror stories of people running through transition and with the adrenaline rush, not being able to find their bike.

Especially in sprint triathlons, each second is key, so it’s important to not waste time during the transition. Walk the transition areas, both from the swimming area to your bike transition and then from your bike to the running transition. Do this several times to train your brain where to go and to put your mind at ease.

In the afternoon, get out all of the items you’ll need and lay it out on the floor or counter. Use this REI Triathlon Checklist or a similar one to help you prepare. Make sure you do this early enough so that you have time to run out to a local sporting goods store to stock up on anything you may have forgotten. Go ahead and attach your race number to whatever suit you’ll be wearing during the biking and running portions. You will probably also receive a shoe timing attachment, so prepare that tonight, as well. If you’re using gel “fuels,” put them either on your bike with some tape or inside your back pouch on your jersey.

In order to keep your drinks (both water and some type of sports hydration drink) cold for the biking portion of the race, you’ll want to freeze a little over half of it overnight. Then, pour the rest of your drink into the water bottle in the morning. A hot drink is not as refreshing, for sure.

Transition Advice:
Swim to Bike (T1) – This transition point will be the most awkward. You’re still slightly wet from your swim, which makes it difficult to get ready for the bike portion. If you are using a wetsuit, start taking off the top portion of your suit as you run to your bike. Your feet will probably be super dirty from running through mud or grass, so make sure you bring an extra water bottle to rinse off your feet. Also, bring two towels: one to stand on and one to use to wipe off your feet as you rinse them off. This will help prevent any potential blisters from dirt or gravel caught in your shoes. After putting on your shoes and your race number, put on your glasses before your helmet. This will enable you to simply take off your helmet during T2. Walk your bike to the transition point and watch out for others – it can get hectic at this point!

Bike to Run (T2) – This should be a super speedy transition. If T2 is the same location as T1, find the spot you chose. If it’s a point-to-point race, simply find an open area to place your bike and all of your things. This location doesn’t matter as much since the next time you see this area will be after the race. Once you choose a spot, place your bike on the rack, take off your gloves and helmet, and change into your running shoes (if you use cycling clips). Make sure you have a hat or visor that wicks away sweat. The last thing you want to be doing during the final leg of the race is wiping sweat out of your eyes every few minutes. Once you have everything you need, make like a tree and leaf!

NOTE: Practice BOTH of your transitions – it will save you tons of time.

Race Day:
Once race day is here, wake up early enough to have a good breakfast that will fuel you through the morning. This is not the time to try something new – enjoy something that is proven to not make you sick. You’ll already feel nervous about the race, so a stomach ache is not something you want to have on top of that!

Get to the race location early. You may have to ride a bus to the starting area if it’s a point-to-point triathlon, so give yourself enough time to set up your transition areas if you have to do this. In the T1 area, spread out a towel to stand on and place the second towel on your bike. Set out your extra water bottle for rinsing to the side and put the two water bottles you’ll use during the bike ride in their cages. Place your shoes next to the towel and put your socks inside your shoes. This may sound odd, but make sure your socks are inside-out. Since your feet will be slightly damp, this will help you to put on your socks more efficiently. You’ll also probably want to lay out your helmet with your sun glasses inside and your gloves on top of them.  You won’t need to set-up much at T2 other than your hat or visor and your running shoes (if you use cycling clips).

Depending on the triathlon rules, you may or may not be able to listen to music as you run. Check with your race coordinators before assuming that you’re allowed to use it.

Just remember – don’t lose your focus, but have fun! It’s not worth putting your body through so much stress if you don’t enjoy the experience. Even if you’re dead last, you’re still learning something about yourself and your abilities.

Hopefully I didn’t leave anything out. If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section below, and I’ll be happy to answer them!

Focus

Focus. That’s the name of the game.

In order to achieve greatness, we all must focus on what we want the most. I’ve really got to redetermine what I want most. My priorities, if you will. Do I want to lose weight? Become more healthy? Accomplish more during my WODs? Get better at Olympic Lifting? How about all of these things?

For the first time in a while, I feel like I’m getting better with my WODs and lifts. The shoulder issue has been a setback that’s aggravated me since last November. I really started restricting my workouts in March to help get it better, so basically I didn’t practice snatches from March until September. Yesterday, I PR’d in my snatch… by 4 kilos (8.8 lbs). BOOM! I know I’m stronger, and I can see that in my workouts, so I’m definitely happy with that.

I’ve also been working on my running. Before last week, though, I thought my running stride and foot placement were normal. When I went to look at running shoes with the hubs, I did the “running test” to see if I have any issues with over-pronation, etc. I could barely run on the dang treadmill! I had no idea that I wasn’t using my heel at all to run – I was landing on the mid-section of my foot each time. No wonder my knees hurt after I run! So, as of last week, I’ve been working on correcting my run. I’m lengthening my stride and landing heel first. I was super sore in areas I didn’t even know existed, but I know the correction will help in the long-run. It will just suck right now.

What I’m not happy with is my weight loss. I’ve stalled recently because of some poor choices. So, starting tomorrow, I’m going to keep up with the number of days I’ve been sweets-free. If I slip, I start over. I’m pretty competitive – actually, I’m really competitive – so hopefully this will encourage me to keep up with this number.

So, it’s game-on for progress in everything. Not just in my workouts, but in all areas of my health. Let’s do this.

Paleo Mexican Meatloaf – So Yummy!

I love meatloaf. There, I said it.

It’s funny because I honestly was not a fan of the dish until just a few years ago. My husband and I were at Disney and had reservations to eat at the 50’s diner restaurant at the Magic Kingdom, and the whiff of the most delicious smelling meatloaf hit me right smack in the face as we walked in. I had it and was hooked.

The only meatloaf better than Disney’s version is my Mom’s. It only has a couple of non-Primal ingredients, but I’m sure it could be altered to make it fit the lifestyle.

Anyway, back to the Mexican Meatloaf recipe…  I found this recipe on the PaleOMG website. I’m beginning to love this site more and more as I go through this journey.  There are so many awesome recipes on there!

The recipe can be found here: PaleOMG Sneak Peek Recipe from Juli Bauer’s Cookbook – Mexican Meatloaf.

  
The only alterations I made were that I used a whole onion instead of 1/2 of one, no onion powder (I forgot to get it at the grocery store, and I just figured that the extra onions were sufficient), and absolutely NO CILANTRO. Cilantro is the most disgusting herb in the entire world. Some people love it, others hate it. I fall in to the “hate” category. It tastes the way I’d imagine soap and sweaty socks would taste. Yuck.

This meatloaf is phenomenal! It is so flavorful… and I made enough to freeze some for next week. You can also personalize it with different types of salsa. I used the Peach Mango Pace Salsa, and it had just a hint of sweetness to make it taste exactly like I prefer. Choose what you like, though – super spicy, regular, pineapple salsa, etc.

  
This is my favorite recipe I’ve made thus far, so naturally, I recommend it. It gets a 10 out of 10. Go try it… now!

Let’s Be Transparent

Get Back On

It’s time for a candid, transparent post.

The last two weeks, I’ve completely fallen off of the Primal wagon. Well, maybe not completely, but enough for me to feel like I have to come clean. I luckily haven’t gained any weight, but that also means that I haven’t really lost much, either.

The problem really hasn’t been with my normal meals, but the issue has been more focused on my snacks and desserts. Last week was my husband and my birthdays, which meant we did a lot of celebrating.  At first, I told myself I wouldn’t eat any of the non-Primal foods, with the exception of the strawberry cobbler that my Grandmama made for us. The temptations got too strong, though, and I caved. I caved big time. There isn’t a problem with caving every once in a while, but getting on the cave train for two weeks isn’t acceptable. Once that sweet craving is there, it’s difficult to get rid of it. I’ve just got to detox and just get rid of that craving altogether.

I think part of the problem is that my husband and I both decided that we weren’t going to do the triathlon, which caused a slight dip in my training regimen for cycling and running. Even though it was a bummer of a situation, it was the best for both of us. He hadn’t had time to train with his super busy work schedule, and I haven’t been training with swimming like I needed to because of some injuries (my shoulder, specifically). The motivation was there, but the circumstances weren’t the best for an appropriate training regimen that would get us both ready to compete. The last thing you want to do is to go to a race and fail miserably because you didn’t train enough. It’s one thing to do a 5K on a whim, but you’ll end up hurting yourself if you do that with a triathlon, half or full marathon, or something similar. As much as I wanted to do the triathlon, I’d rather stay healthy and be able to compete at a higher level at a race on a later date.

Nutrition planning is about 70-80% of the struggle. It’s difficult spending the entire Sunday afternoon meal prepping, but it’s worth it being able to just pick up your breakfast or lunch and get things done each day. I’d like to think it’s easy to get up 20-30 minutes early in the morning to fix a fresh omelet every day, but it’s easy to talk yourself out of that. I’ve learned these past two weeks that I HAVE to meal prep or it’s not going to happen throughout the week. You just get too busy with work, exercise, and other distractions for it to happen. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. That’s the bottom line.

I remember from my Beachbody coaching days that personal development is one of the keys to success. I’d previously been reading about the Paleo Diet for athletes and my Mark’s Daily Apple emails, but that’s been slacking, too. I know that’s also part of the issue. If I don’t make an effort to learn, my mind won’t be where it needs to be to succeed.

So here’s the deal: I’ve got to meal plan more effectively and keep reading my personal development books or articles. I feel like crap compared to how I originally felt when I was a week into the Primal lifestyle, so I want to get that awesome feeling back. We all fall down sometimes, but what’s important is that you get back up. Fall down six times, get up seven.

Let’s do this.

Sausage and Egg Casserole in the Slow Cooker

  
Just wanted to share with you all an awesome and easy breakfast casserole recipe. I used the Just Jessie B: Sausage and Egg Breakfast Bake (Paleo) recipe, and it was honestly flawless and spot on… with one exception: the time to cook it in the slow cooker. Maybe our slow cooker cooks on “high” at all times because the recipe was ready in about 3.5 hours on low. It calls for about 7-8 hours on low, and I was prepared to leave it in the crock pot overnight. I’m really glad that we checked it before going to bed!  

 It was really easy to put together in the crock pot. The recipe calls for you to sprinkle onions on top of the other items, but I just mixed it all together. It worked out perfectly.

  
As always, I served a piece of the casserole with a mandarin orange for breakfast. Try it out for yourself!

Once you’re on, don’t go off

This may be TMI for some people, but it’s the truth. 

My husband and I did a 5K run this morning to benefit a high school cross country team in his hometown. We traveled there last night and knew we needed to eat some carbs then to prepare our bodies for the race. We decided to stop at Carrabba’s, and since they didn’t really have many healthy and higher carb foods, I used it as a cheat meal. Bad decision. 
Not even 5 minutes after I took my last bite, I was in the bathroom with stomach cramps from you know where. My body was not happy with me, and it definitely showed it. This lasted for about 20 minutes, and luckily, they subsided after then. 

Sure, there were other places we could have stopped at, but I thought there would be some good healthier options there. I guess I should have searched the menu better. 

Moral of the story: it’s not worth it to cheat, even if you have a race the next morning. The initial satisfaction of eating something that “tastes good” on the way down doesn’t overshadow the stomach distress afterwards. So, just beware and think twice before cheating!

Spicy Hawaiian Pulled Pork

This weekend, I attempted to make this tasty-sounding recipe. The original attempt did not go so well. After talking with my Grandmama and Mom, their suggestions ultimately fixed my issues. 

  
The recipe I used is from the Not So Desperate Housewife website. I used about 4.5 lbs of pork loin instead of what was recommended (I think this was the culprit), and I only added two jalapeños. After cooking this concoction on low for 6.5 hours, the meat was not soft enough to pull apart. It was fully cooked, so I thought maybe that was the best it was going to get. It was spiiiiiiiiiiiicy. Like, holy cow spicy. It wasn’t the best lunch, but I could deal with it for a week. 

My Grandmama and Mom suggested, however, to cook it in the oven for 1.5 hours. I added another can of crushed pineapple with the juice, sprinkled a little bit of brown sugar on the top, and wrapped it up in foil. Fast forward 1.5 hours, and it was perfect! The super spicy taste had been toned down a bit, and the pork pulled apart very easily. It’s low in fat, carbs, and sodium and is high in protein and potassium. 

Overall, I’m glad I messed up the recipe the first time – otherwise I’d be sweating while eating my lunch! 

I’d definitely recommend this recipe… But add another can of crushed pineapples and some brown sugar. I know the brown sugar isn’t exactly Primal, but about a pinch of it wont be too bad for you. It’ll be worth it – just ask all of my coworkers who tried it at lunch (Mom and Grandmama liked it too)! 🙂
Nutrition Information

I split this up into 6 servings, but it could have easily made 8 servings. The below nutrition information is for 6 servings:

  

The Struggle is Real

I’ve really been having a difficult time choosing my foods wisely. I will admit that I had a few slips on our mini-vacation, and they were completely deliberate. I knew what I was doing, and I did it anyway. It’s natural to have these slips, and even though I semi gave myself permission to do it, I still feel like it was counterproductive.  I guess what’s important, though, is that I’m fully on-track again, thanks to school starting back. Even though this signifies that the summer is over, it’s refreshing to be back on a routine. Routines are the key to success, especially with nutrition. As we say in the teaching world, unstructured time creates discipline problems. This can easily be applied to nutrition, as well. Here’s to a great school year… and even better choices!

Egg Muffins: An Easy Breakfast Alternative

Egg Muffins

The teacher schedule requires you to get up early, leaving very little time to prep for breakfast… unless you get up way earlier, but that’s no fun. Getting enough sleep is a big part of the Primal lifestyle, right? 🙂

Since the beginning of school is just around the corner, I searched for a quick breakfast alternative that I can make on the weekends and prep for the entire week. Egg muffins are a fantastic option because it only takes about 10-20 minutes to prep and about 20 minutes to cook. The recipe makes 12 muffins that are easily frozen if you don’t eat them within a few days. Then, you can just reheat them for about 30-40 seconds on 70%, and you’re good to go!

The original Scrambled Egg Muffin recipe is located on the Taste of Home recipe section of their website. To make it fully Primal, just substitute real butter out for Pam Cooking Spray. I also substituted the sausage out for ham, but you could also use bacon. I think next time, I’ll try the sausage option. I also want to experiment with adding freshly diced tomatoes or maybe even Rotel. I’ll update this post after I try out those options. After reading through the comments, it also seems as if the silicone liners are the only ones that work, so make sure to not use any paper liners with these muffins.

Let me know what you think if you try it out! 🙂