Fuel your workouts on the go

Fuel your workouts on the go

Three weekends left till I leave for the World Championships in Mexico. This week’s training program is huge and I need to eat and rest well to fuel each session so I can get the best results from each session. When I’m training hard I need to have good food on hand to compliment my effort in the sessions.

Maybe the Mexico thing has sparked my recent love of black beans, but I love them. And nutritionally they are hard to beat. High in protein, magnesium, iron and cacium these little suckers have a lot of what you look for when replacing energy after training. So on the weekend I tried soaking and pressure cooking them myself and they worked out perfectly. I now have a big tub in the fridge to use to my heart’s content.

In view of the huge training workload ahead I took 5 minutes to whip up my big ‘go to’ salad for the next few days. I pretty much just throw in all my favourite things:

  • Black beans
  • Fresh corn off the cob
  • Red onion
  • Avocado
  • Fresh tasty tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Carrot

You can add or subtract to suit your taste. Now for lunch or snacks I can scoop out some yummo salad and I’m set to go. I will be getting some chicken to chuck in and some low fat cottage cheese or feta would be awesome as well.

Squeeze over some lemon or lime or a dash of light salad dressing and its delicious. Today I added some raw cauliflower and lettuce.

The importance of rest and recovery

The importance of rest and recovery

I am 6 weeks out from my race at World Champs in Mexico and I feel like training is going well. After the initial sickness and a couple of hiccups we have hunkered down and cracked into a solid few weeks of training. If you read my last blog you will know I was tired.

Well I enjoyed my rest week and tried to focus on eating well and refuelling my body for the next training block. To be honest I found myself scratching around to do some training but instead heeded the advice of my coach and just went through the motions on some easy-ish sets.

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Friday night was a nice surprise when he sent though my analysis (see attached). That yellow line was my fatigue and as you can see it dropped quite low and stayed there for a bit. This showed I am quite good at working under fatigue but also screamed a rest was necessary before I hit a wall. But look how it kicks up again after a few days of taking it lightly! Getting back up to zero. This says I am rested, and ready to rumble!

Today kicked off well with a great set in the pool with steady, increasing and full steam efforts. It felt good to be swimming, I felt good in the water and after, buzzing even. When my training buddy asked how I felt, I replied “ready for a bike ride!”

The theory is the rest has refilled my tank, ready for me to hit my program with a renewed sense of energy and power. This means I will be stronger in the set and therefore gain more results from the set so it’s a win-win. And some of the sets this week are BIG so I’m looking forward to bringing it as well as I can.

This has been a good lesson for me to revisit. As a trainer I know the importance of rest and often chat to clients about it and incorporate it into their programs and training. But if you are of the mindset that every session has to be a beasting, maybe think again and listen to your body (or your coach!). Beasting is certainly necessary as part of a program for improvement but you cannot sustain this high intensity without some recovery sessions, or days depending on your intensity and training duration. Oftentimes when a bit tired, you will feel better for the workout but sometimes when you feel tired from your bones you need a rest. If this is how you feel, don’t ignore it, have an easy session or even a sleep in. Enjoy some recovery and be ready to come back harder after the rest.

Fatigue blowout on road to Mexico!

Fatigue blowout on road to Mexico!

When fatigue sets in you have to go with it.

This time in 7 weeks I will be relaxing (or partying) in Cozumel, Mexico after my first race as an Australian athlete at the Triathlon world championships. I have been race training for 5 weeks now and it’s been going well. I hired a coach and he is really making me approach training with a different mindset and to trust the process. A process that is different to one I have used before or with clients of my own.

The results are showing this approach is paying off. I am getting fitter, and building strength and endurance so I am a happy girl. My coach sent my stats through Wednesday afternoon and after showing me my fitness line, my effort line and my fatigue line, expressed some appreciation for how well I continue to perform fatigued but also concern that we should rest before I hit the wall. I then told him about that morning at Run squad. We had to do 10x400m at effort. Big, full steam ahead can’t hold much longer than the lap effort. I usually love this kind of training but that morning I got to about lap three and thought ‘I’m tired, I could really do with a rest soon’. I told coach this and well “there you go, right on target” so rest week it is.

Unfortunately I still had a couple of days of big training to get through including swim squad that evening. That’s when the carb monster hit. I was just feeling flat, tired and generally shagged. On the way to pick Katie up from school I found myself in Coles ‘getting some things for dinner’ but you know where I was… yep the lolly aisle. I bought a honey nougat log and a packet of allens retro party mix. While Kate was at her drum lesson I devoured the log and picked all the honey bears, pineapples and red ones out of the party mix. Oops! Should I tell you I had a few choc chop biccies and a small bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes before swimming as well!?!

This is the oldest trick in the book and I was too tired to care that I was falling for it. Girl gets tired, too tired to prepare good food, too tired to care what food, gets overwhelming craving for quick high sugar carbs, tries to resist craving for about 5 seconds, succumbs to the sugary carby goodness determined that it WILL make her feel better… You know the drill.

Very common when breastfeeding a new born bub, bub is awake a lot through the night or just sleep deprivation in general – the all body tiredness that overwhelms you.

So that night after swimming as is becoming our lovely new tradition we headed to the Three weeds to have a wine and dinner by the fire. Are you ready? I had a lovely glass of pinot, buttermilk soaked fried chicken wings and French fries and enjoyed every mouthful. Who orders those usually? Who eats like that? I’m pretty sure not many of the other athletes going to worlds eat that much crap in one day. Very strange, totally inexplicable and kind of sad. I had been doing so well, no chocolate, only drinking one night a week, felt lighter and like it was paying off. Today however I feel like it’s all back on. Not surprising either I guess considering I ate 2-3 days calories in one afternoon!!!

Good Grief!

So It’s not pretty but its real. It’s not stuff of legends but human. It’s a slip up that I regret yes, but will move forward with a new sense of commitment to getting lighter for the race. When I am less tired I will prepare some go to nutritious snacks to keep in the fridge and have on hand for those moments.

A week of recovery and good fuel to get this machine of mine firing for the next block of training is just what I need so I’m going to enjoy it.

6 weeks of training till race day!!

The Magic of Magnesium

The Magic of Magnesium

The magic of magnesium and how to get more!

Today I want to talk about Magnesium. A session with a long running client ended short this week as she experienced a sharp cramp in her calf. The conversation that followed triggered me to ask whether she was taking magnesium and in fact had I asked all of my clients that question so here I am.

Do you use Magnesium? Do you understand how important magnesium is for a healthy lifestyle and why as active, sleep deprived, working, exercising, life juggling mothers it is even more critical to ensure we get enough Magnesium to stay on form for all that life throws at us.

Why Magnesium?

Experts estimate that 80-95+% percent of adults are deficient in magnesium, and this can have negative consequences on our health, mood and lifestyle since the body uses magnesium in the processes that regulate heart health, mental health, blood pressure, and during pregnancy. In fact, magnesium is one of the most-needed minerals in the body and is involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions.

Low magnesium levels are often diagnosed by symptoms alone, and I fyou suffer any of the following there’s a good chance you may need to address your magnesium levels:

• Muscle soreness or spasms
• High levels of stress
• Headaches
• Heart “flutters” or palpitations
• Fatigue or unusual tiredness
• Inability to sleep or insomnia
• Irritability
• Sensitivity to noise
• Mental disturbances
• Anxiety, depression or restlessness
• Infertility or PMS
• Coldness in extremities
• Fuzzy brain or difficulty concentrating
• Allergies and sensitivities
• Lack of appetite
• Back pain
• Body odor
• Bad short term memory
• Carbohydrate cravings
• Constipation
• Frequent cavities or poor dental health
• Gut disorders
• Thyroid problems

If you have more than one of the above symptoms and more importantly over five then it is highly likely you are low in magnesium. It even got me wondering whether baby brain is really a thing or whether we are all just magnesium deficient!?

Either way it is highly likely that you could benefit from magnesium supplementation. And unlike other minerals and vitamins, ingesting Magnesium is not considered the most effective approach. Often times taking an oral supplement is not ideal as ingestion of the magnesium can be as little as 20-50% and can often make the kidneys work a lot harder than they need to in order to digest the supplement.

How To Get Enough Magnesium

Magnesium can be found in many of the foods that are readily available such as yoghurt, almonds, spinach, pepitas, avocado, dark chocolate. (In fact craving chocolate can often be a sign you are magnesium deficient).

The tricky part of the magnesium puzzle is that our lifestyle, the way food is sourced and prepared, fluoride in out water supply, high levels of caffeine, alcohol and stress, f can deplete our levels of magnesium as fast as we try to absorb it.

Added to this, magnesium is often not well absorbed by the digestive track, and is even more difficult to absorb if you are deficient or are low in vitamin D, have poor gut bacteria or suffer from a number of other conditions.

Either way, ingesting Magnesium is not considered the most effective approach. Often times ingestion of the magnesium can be as little as 20-50% and can often make the kidneys work a lot harder than they need to. The best way to add magnesium to your life is topically. Ideally a good soak in the bath is brilliant but if you are like me, baths are something you have time for on holidays or that one night you skip off into the city and dump the kids on a poor unsuspecting relative for the night.
Lucky for us magnesium comes in crystals you can add to baths, foot soaks or even drinking water. You can buy or make your own sprays, creams or roll ons. Magnesium is far more effective absorbed straight through the skin which I find very convenient. Unlike internal doses of magnesium, topical magnesium does not have to pass through the digestive system and kidneys and can more quickly enter the blood and tissues of the body.

I rub some on after workouts and on all my soft spots before I go to bed ie. soles of feet, behind my knees, underarms and behind my neck. With all the training (and sweating!) I do I am actively working against cramps and tired legs so for me life is not worth living without magnesium, and I definitely cannot lie down, let alone sleep with the restless legs and cramps I get without it.

I have experimented with a variety of magnesium supplements over the years and now drink a post sports magnesium/electrolyte powder to help with rehydration and magnesium replacement after workouts. Sometimes if I’m training twice or doing a particularly demanding session I will also have a magnesium supplement powder for muscular energy or recharge. Then at night I apply a topical roll on as mentioned above.

After races and when I can I try to soak in the tub. I will be trying a foot soak this weekend too. Figured it will make me relax for twenty minutes after a four-hour bike ride, plus give me a good dose of healthy magnesium without the stress of the bathroom door knocking every 2 minutes with another question from the kids!

Super salad super tasty recipe

Super salad super tasty recipe

I had 15 mins to whip up a yummo lunch today and as I have a pretty busy week wanted something that would last a few days.

This was not only perfect but really does have all of my favourite things.

¾ cup quinoa
1 chicken breast
1 red capsicum cut into small bite sized pieces
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed well)
½ red onion, chopped
I fresh corn cut from the cob (or frozen kernels)
Half bunch of coriander – finely chopped

½ lime
2 teaspoons honey or maple
Some of the cooked garlic and ginger from the pan.

To serve

¼ avocado chopped fresh into cubes
small piece of feta

Cook ¾ cup quinoa through absorption method. Allow to cool.
Chop garlic and grate ginger throw in a pan with a touch of olive oil.
Gently simmer then pop a chicken breast straight in to cook through.

While that is cooking away chop and chuck all the ingredients in a bowl.
Shake lime juice and honey in a jar until mixed through.

When chicken is cooked, slice into bite sized pieces.
Mix through salad, with dressing.
Sprinkle with fetta and avocado.

Note: you could add the fetta and avocado into the bowl. I jut prefer it fresh on the day I have had dodgy avocado in the past and its an experience I am not keen to repeat. Fresh is best.
Sweet potato would be a good addition as well for a longer sustaining meal.

Keep in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy.

Balance, Oreos and Unicycles.

Balance, Oreos and Unicycles.

I was scrolling through Facebook today and came across a post about making Oreo ice cream sandwiches.

I love cooking, I love desserts, I love ice cream and I love food in general but the convoluted process involved with making these ‘sandwiches’ was pretty full on. A sizeable chunk of time and commitment. It got me thinking. Thinking about priorities. Whether the author(?) of this recipe, or any person for that matter that goes to such great lengths for a quick treat that can be scoffed in a moment (think cake pops!?! Wtf?) is also as committed to their health and wellbeing. Do they go to the same level of effort to find a good workout on line or a good trainer, commit a nice 30-60 mins to that decision and follow through with a heart raising, blood pumping workout that will not only last longer, but raise their endorphins for a lot longer and without the sugar slump that follows.

I always say you can lose 5kgs in one workout simply because you like what you see in the mirror better after a session. Do you get that buzz when you look in the mirror after an Oreo sandwich or cake pop? Hmmm.

And before you say but its just a special occasion, its not like you make cake pops or oreo sandwiches everyday, I know that. I’m just questioning priorities. DO you value your health and wellbeing as much as having a stand out treat at a party for a kid who lets face it is too young to remember really. I’m not saying throw some food on a paper towel at the next party you host and go for a run, but I am saying if you can prioritise and make time for this kind of effort I really believe you can prioritise and make time for exercise or movement.

Crazy world we live in if we are all so busy we can’t make some time for our healthy future.

I would rather be an active healthy role model for my kids than too busy making cakes or something similar to spend quality time with them. I would rather run beside her as she learns how to rollerskate than sit on the sideline unable to share this achievement with her.

I am a baker, I love to bake. I love cooking a delicious cake and sharing it with friends and family. I love to cook, experimenting in the kitchen and eating with friends and family, its how I grew up and have many cherished memories of love and good times around a table.

I also love, value and need regular exercise to regulate my mood and energy. If I gave this up I could not enjoy myself no matter how many treats you gave me anyway.

There is a balance, which I continually strive to achieve. On my scale of balance a big party cake to share is far more practical, fun and representative of life than hours spent on individual mouthfuls that are gone in an instant. Movement makes you feel good. When you feel good you make better choices. About everything including what you put in your mouth. So by all means cook what you like, eat what you like, but please balance it with some good quality time dedicated to moving your body, cleansing your mind and recharging your soul.

Note: for a 65kg woman to burn the calories in one oreo-icecream sandwich you would need to so one of the following:

  • Jump rope for 30 mins,
  • Run for 30 mins ,
  • Swim steady laps for 40 mins or
  • Walk fast for 1 hour and 20 mins.
  • Ride a unicycle for an hour. 🙂Oreo-Cookie-Sandwich_v1_webready

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