Back in the Saddle

Today’s post is written by  Rob Medsger, founder and owner of 3Strong Gym in San Ramon, CA.

Sunrise on a rocky beach.

 

Today is a new day.  This is going to be the beginning of a new you because today is the day you stopped buying into your own excuses.  You’ve decided to pull yourself up off the couch from a marathon Netflix binge, and start exercising.  First of all, let me congratulate you.  I think that’s an excellent decision.  Next, let me give you a few tips on how to get back into exercise the right way, so you can keep yourself motivated, seeing progress, and staying injury-free.

 

DEFINE A GOAL

Before you jump back into things, it’s good to have a vision of what you’d like to accomplish.  Declaring that you want to get back into exercising is a good idea, but it’s not really a clearly defined goal.  Identifying specifically WHY you want to exercise can give you a sense of purpose.  And, it is that purpose that will be the driving force behind your progress.  It’s what you can dream about while you’re working out.   Continue reading

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The Easiest Green Smoothie You’ll Ever Make

Ingredients for a green smoothie

Why Green Smoothies?

In order to support a heavy training load, I consume an abundance of vegetables. Preparing and eating this many vegetables is time-consuming, and I strive to streamline my days so I can fit in training, work, and family time. Blending vegetables in a  green smoothie is a great way to save time and get in the nutrients that our bodies crave. Many different recipes call for precise measurements and a lot of specific ingredients I never seem to have at the same time.

 

How many times have you given up on a recipe because you lacked one or two ingredients?

I don’t know about you, but the answer for me is way too many times. Sometimes I take care to cook a recipe following the directions in order to produce a great meal. But on a regular basis I want to make things easy to do so the odds increase that I will actually do them. That’s why I make my smoothies based on whatever is in the fridge. I usually make my smoothies like this:

The Steps to make an Easy Green Smoothie

  1. Take a leafy green (kale, collard green, chard, spinach). Wash them and chop (or rip)  into small pieces and put it in the blender.Washing leafy greens and carrots for a green smoothie.
  2. Add ice, a little water, the juice of a lemon, and blend. Using a few squirts of lemon juice concentrate will do the job, but won’t taste as fresh.Blender with leafy greens and lemon juice for a green smoothie.
  3. Cut up the avocado, fruits & vegetables and dump them in. The avocado will emulsify the smoothie so it is thicker and stays together. It is also a great source of fat and will keep you full. Common fruits & vegetables I use are carrots, cucumbers, berries, apples, pears, and melon. Aim to use only one or two fruits to keep the sugar content low. Green smoothies are about packing in the vegetables without spiking your insulin.Sliced vegetables on a cutting board for a green smoothie
  4. Give your dog a carrot slice. He’s hoping you will-  look at  him.
  5. Add any roots, seeds, herbs, probiotics, adaptogens and spices. Some won’t work well together, but the avocado, lemon and berries go a long way to mask other flavors. I usually throw in ginger, turmeric, kefir, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and maca root. Occasionally I add some almond butter, but it’s easy to go overboard with nut butters. If you’re feeling masochistic daring, throw in a clove or two of garlic. Again, it will be masked by the other ingredients in your green smoothie.
  6. Blend together and taste. Too thick? Add some water. Not thick enough? Toss in another avocado. If you are new to blending vegetables or eat a lot of sweets, expect it to taste a little bland. Avoid the temptation to throw too much fruit in there, your taste buds will adapt eventually.Blended green smoothie in a glass.
  7. Store in the fridge for a week or so. I go through jars of peanut butter and almond butter on a regular basis. A few months ago I started washing them out to reuse them and found they are the perfect size to store enough green smoothie for a day’s worth.Blended green smoothie stored in used peanut butter jars.

 

Keep it simple

Like I mentioned earlier, the end result won’t always be amazing. Sometimes it will be a bust, but it won’t take long before you develop a knack for what works well together and in what proportions. I’ve tried a few different things at times that haven’t worked like pureed pumpkin, broccoli, and cauliflower. I’m sure you’ll also stumble across a few things that don’t work along the way.

 

The point is this: eating healthy does not need to be overly complicated. Small, simple, everyday things add up and are sustainable for the long term. Think of these as utility meals – nothing fancy, but serving a purpose. The blast of nutrients you are drinking is a quick and easy way to get your body what it needs.

 

Remember, every sip is a victory.

 

 

What do you put in your green smoothies that works?

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Ironman Training with the Maffetone Method

Over the past two years I have been training for and competing in triathlons. From Sprints to Olympics, and now Half Ironman triathlons, the goal has been to complete a full Ironman. What once seemed like an impossible goal now appears realistic and reachable. Since Ironman races have grown in popularity, more and more races have started to appear around the United States and in countries around the world. With that, there are lots of ways to train for an Ironman triathlon. In searching for a training method, it was important for me to find one that:

  1. Incorporates natural, whole foods, as much as possible.
  2. Is sustainable for the long term, which will in turn
  3. Keep a balance between training and family time.

 

After listening to a podcast that featured Marc Sisson, author of the Primal Blueprint and Primal Endurance, I decided I wanted to choose the Maffetone Method.

Continue reading

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3 Good Fitness and Nutrition Blogs I Follow

Books on fitness and nutrition in my bookshelf

You might have noticed I have been posting a bit more recently, thanks to  blogging challenge from ProBlogger. Over the last week in this challenge I have discovered a few other fitness and nutrition blogs that struck a cord with me. I am constantly reading what other fitness enthusiasts are up to and most of the time there is one small thing that makes a big difference in my life. Recently I’ve gotten into making zucchini noodles for a filling lunch or dinner and thanks to one of the blogs below I’ve found some other filling recipes.

 

It’s exciting to see what other people are doing to stay active and how they love what they do.

 

Good Reading

  1. The Magic of Running: The author, Katherine, provides race reviews and discusses what inspires her to run. She’s included a lot of photos to make her posts more engaging and set the scene. If you’re a road or trail runner, this is a blog you will enjoy.Katherine from Magic of Running fitness nutrition blog posing at a race booth.
  2. Run Away from Zombies: Yeah, you read that correctly. Here you’ll find running tips from Rebekah, who stated her blogs aims to “help new runners transition from excited, curious, and a little scared to experienced, limit-pushing, and successful.” Check it out and get a free Ebook designed to turn you into a better runner.Rebekah from "Run Away from Zombies" running. This is a great fitness and nutrition blog I follow.
  3. A Living Laboratory: While this is not a fitness blog, Cheri writes about healthy lifestyle and how to include more healthy food in your everyday life, among other topics. Check out her post on how to eat more zucchini.A logo from Living Laboratory's fitness nutrition blog on eating more zucchini.

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How do you stay active?

Throughout my life I have had gone through different phases and many different ways of staying active. Growing up I played little league baseball, basketball, and soccer. During my time in the Marine Corps I spent a lot of time running and even more time in the gym, especially on ship. Lifting weights was a great way to burn off stress while training the body to be more effective in combat.

 

My triathlon bike posed near a scenic view overlooking Donner Lake in California. Bike riding is how I like to stay active

Since getting out of the Marines I have tried out a few different ways to stay active and fit. I’ve played softball,  WOD killed at Crossfit, swung kettle bells, and taken a few backpacking trips in the mountains with friends. Over the last couple years my favorite sport has been triathlon. One might argue that it’s really three sports, but I have a hard time choosing what I like best so it’s a good fit for me. When it comes down to it, there is no one right way to stay active.

 

Humans were designed to move and one of the best ways to do that is through having fun. If exercising becomes a chore without any enjoyment, then most people are likely to give it up after a few weeks. Some of my lulls staying in shape have come after being burnt out at the gym or working out but having no measurable goal. Not everyone needs a goal or a race to train for, but I noticed it works much better for me if there is at least a little pressure to get up in the morning and hit the pool, climb on my bike, or lace up the running shoes.

 

So far I’ve spent a lot of time talking about myself, but I’m curious- what motivates you? Take the survey below and leave a comment to let us know what does it for you.

 

How do you like to stay active?

 

What is your favorite way to be active?

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3 Steps To Your First Triathlon

Running to train for a triathlon.

 

When I was 11 years old I raced in my first triathlon with my dad. It was a “one and done” experience up until I watched the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii 20 years later. The energy among the athletes, volunteers, and spectators was exciting in a way I could not resist. Shortly after coming home I decided to give the sport another try. Continue reading

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