Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pro Bar Giveaway

I have talked a lot about Pro Bar over the past couple months, but they are my new favorite snack. I was excited when Pro Bar contacted me to be an ambassador for their products and let me try a variety of their bars.

Fruition Bar
Perfect afternoon snack to get through the slump. A combination of fruit, dates, oats, chia seeds, cashews in great flavors. I think my favorite is peach (at least today), but you can't go wrong with lemon, blueberry, raspberry either. These taste great, almost pie like flavor. Perfect preworkout food and gluten free!

Halo Bar- Nutty Marshmallow
These are awesome; sweet but without the guilt, best yet they are vegan and low sugar (no refined sugar)! These are my go to when I need to cure a sweet tooth.Just the right combination of sweet and salty. The Halo bars also come in Smores, Rocky Road and Honey Graham

And now for the best part, Pro Bar has given me a mixed box of the Original Pro Bar to share with someone. Want to try this great bar. Wholefood, organic bars in flavors in fruits, chocolate, nuts, etc. What better option for post workout or a quick, healthy meal bar.

Here is you chance to win your own box. All you need to do is leave a comment telling me your favorite pre or post workout food.
Other ways to enter (leave a comment for each)
Follow my blog (subscribe on the right side)
Follow ProBar on Twitter

Contest ends Saturday Nov 3rd and winner announced Nov 4th.

    A little reminder with just a couple days left...I was nominated as a top mom health/wellness blog, thanks for all the votes so far. I'm barely in the top 25, help me out and please take a minute to vote here, thanks! Vote and you get bonus entries (ok not really, but lots of appreciation)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Strange things while running

Looking back I wish I had taken pictures on my run (or in the past) but instead here is a list...

The strange things seen on a run
  • A large rawhide dog bone
  • Multiple half lemons: this wouldn't be strange except it is cold and lemons do not grow here
  • A man running in a cowboy hat
  • A girl running in a bikini (this was in the summer)
  • An entire loaf of bread dropped piece by piece down the trail
  • Banana peels (okay not strange) am I the only one who immediately thinks Billy Madison when I see a banana peel on the side of the road?
  • Single adult size shoes, I get the kid shoes since we have been donors of these (and socks) in the past, but adults don't you miss one shoe? 
  • A man walking along a road (no water in sight) wearing a lifejacket, expecting a flood??
  • A woman rollerblading while pushing a kid hanging out of a stroller, okay maybe not strange but dangerous!

What is the strangest thing you have seen on a run?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Menu Planning 10/28

 Check out what others are planning and link up with Laura and Jill who are hosting a weekly menu planning link up every Sunday. I love having this to look back on as the week goes and I forget. It is always fun to see what others have planned and get new ideas. How are you with menu planning? So far so good here, we usually make 1 or 2 changes during the week.

Almond Butter on GF bread (quick dinner before running)

Quick dinner before Halloween (?? Chipotle)
      Chickpea/Quinoa Stew (making a few changes)


Pancakes, tofu scramble


I love fall for stews, soups, winter squash and pumpkin. Here is one of mine. What are your favorite fall foods?

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

  • 1 Cup Oats
  • ½ cup Almonds
  • ½ cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 Scoop Protein Powder (or ¼ cup more flour)
  • 1 Cup Plain Pureed Pumpkin
  • 2 Tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 2 Tsp stevia (or ½ cup sugar)
  • ½ Tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ Tsp Baking Soda
  • Banana – very ripe (mashed)
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup Pumpkin Non Fat Greek Yogurt (could do plain)
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup Raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grind Oats and almonds until powder consistency. Mix all dry ingredients together. Then mix in all wet ingredients. Stir until smooth and blended. Add raisins.
  3. Place batter evenly in muffin tins lined with papers.
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes
  5. Remove from the oven, gently remove them from the tin and place on a cooling rack.

I was nominated as a top mom health/wellness blog, thanks for all the votes so far. Just a few more days to vote and I'm barely in the top 25, help me out and please take a minute to vote here, thanks!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Beating the afternoon energy slump

Ever have those times when it is about 2 or 3pm and you are in desperate need of a nap? I do, way too often especially on my long days and this is often time for a meeting or driving home, neither times work well for sleep! Lately with my heavy loaded early week, less exercise post-marathon and changing season this has become more of an issue. There I days when it hits so hard I end up with a headache and my only options are sleep or a snack (which tends to result in mindless eating).

Unfortunately this is a natural thing build into our body's sleep-wake rhythm (Source). But this can also be part of our own doing.

A few things to consider:
  • What was breakfast? (was there even a breakfast): Make sure to eat a quality breakfast with protein and carbs.
  • What was lunch? Are you experiencing a crash from the high amount of carbs or sugar.
  • Avoid high fat foods that sit in your stomach and take a long time to digest.
Pro Bar has become a go to snack

What to do:
  • Move (especially if you are sitting all day): get up go for a walk if nothing else, workout if you can
  • Go outside and get the fresh air and natural light
  • Drink water
  • Eat a healthy snack (carbs & protein): fruit & nuts, trail mix, yogurt & granola, cheese & crackers, hummus & veggies
  • Take breaks from work, sitting and the computer
  • Nap (15-30 minutes) to re-energize
  • Get in a regular sleep routine
  • Get regular exercise, my days are better when I get in a morning workout
  • Grab a cup of coffee (okay not the best option but if all else fails or is impossible)
Love my coffee!

Some of my favorites from the Experts:
  • Avoid stress
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Relax
Honestly, how many of us do the above? Between work, family, friends, kids, school, etc how can we avoid stress. I don't know about everyone else but I have tried and will not give up my coffee! When I am home I love this time to workout, while O naps. Even an easy ride on the trainer while I look over some work papers helps wake me up and avoids the kitchen!
What works to get you through the afternoon slump?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Exciting news

A little randomness for Thursday, first my exciting news...

A few weeks ago I took the RRCA coaching course and yesterday passed my test! Just waiting on the official word that they received my information and then I will be an official RRCA Certified Run Coach! Next I need to pass my NASM CPT test (next month).
I am so excited to finally add this certification and utilize all my new knowledge in coaching. Starting in November I will be starting a new adventure and coaching a 5K group (much different then my usual half and full marathon runners). I am excited for this and being part of the huge iniative of Commitment Day; a New Year's Day 5K in cities throughout the United States. Want to join all the runners/walkers? Use code CHA0070 for $5 discount and access to free group training at many locations. 
The finish line is only the beginning.

What better way to kick off the New Year! What is your Commitment to better health? 

Now one last request: There is a week left in voting for the Top Mom Health & Wellness blog which I am excited to be nominated for. I have fallen into 28th, so I need some votes! So please vote here or here for Marathon Mom, thanks so much

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Races and Headbands

I have been on the look out for a good headband that stays put while working out now that I am in the process of growing out my hair. Last month at a race I saw a table for Simple Trends and Nicole was nice enough to give me a headband to review! And she even sent me a fun purple one.
Sorry for the lack of good pictures but I always seem to be wearing it post-workout and no one wants to see that!

So what do I think? Love it! It stays in place and I like that it can be wide or narrow. Works great for the early morning workouts to cover up my crazy, messy hair. Not only are they great to keep hair back and sweat off my face, but they are cute. The headbands are available in many colors and fun prints and only $10 a piece. Check out Simple Trends for the prints and other (much better) pictures.


Now I eed a little help from the runners out there...I am thinking ahead to 2013 and planning races (half and full marathons mostly). I get in the habit of running the same ones each year and am always on the look out for new ideas. So my questions to you...

What is your favorite race? What races do you always suggest to other? Why do you love these?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Guest Post: Angela's Journey


Today I am posting a story from Angela on her journey to become a runner...
Hi, I’m thrilled to be part of the Sweat Pink Blog Swap! Many thanks to Jill for hosting it and to Jen for featuring my guest post! I thought I’d share my journey with you.

I was underweight for most of my early childhood because I was hyperactive and anemic. I was a picky kid and didn’t eat much, and my parents were always worried because I was so thin and short. When I was about 10, I started to eat more, which made my mother so happy, she would push food into me, because for a change, I was finally at a normal weight. That only lasted a couple of years. As I hit puberty, my hyperactivity phased itself out and I slowed down. My parents had split up, we had moved to a new town, and being painfully shy, I had a hard time making new friends. Instead of running around outside, all I wanted was to sit in my room and read… hide, actually (although I did- and still do- love to read!). My weight went from normal to pudgy.

I was only about 15 pounds overweight. However, that was enough to cause the kids to start teasing me. I’d come home from school miserable, and my mom would make me feel better the same way her mother had, by having cookies or cakes or some other kind of yummy foods ready. She cooked like she had been taught: fried chicken, butter laden veggies, cheesy mashed potatoes, and other southern dishes. It didn’t take long to go from pudgy to fat. The bigger I got, the worse the teasing, and the more I took comfort in food. I was caught in a vicious cycle that my parents didn’t understand and didn’t know how to stop, as they both had similar childhoods.

Throughout junior high and high school I was still moderately active, having to walk back and forth a mile each way to school. I’d lose a few pounds during summer vacations, when I was more active with outside activities, but come fall, the teasing (bullying, actually, but that’s another story) would begin anew, as would the overeating. By the time I was old enough to really understand the correlation between overeating and being fat, I was about 35 pounds overweight. I had already developed the habits of sitting in front of the TV or lying in bed with a book. I had issues with motivation and willpower, and no one to turn to, no one to show me or tell me how to change my eating and activity habits.

I weighed about 180 pounds (I’m 5 foot 6 inches) when I got married at age 20. I got pregnant immediately and packed on another 40. Only about 25 of that came off when I had my daughter. Being a young, inexperienced, stay at home mom didn’t help. I’d eat from loneliness and boredom. My weight slowly inched up. Less than two years later I was pregnant again. I only gained about 15 pounds, but it all stayed after my son was born. The cycle of poor eating continued, but this time it was exacerbated by a crumbling marriage and lack of close family and friends.

When my husband and I divorced, I weighed almost 300 pounds. My metabolism was so slow that all I had to do was sit on the couch and five minutes later I was asleep. I felt terrible, my blood pressure was through the roof, and my knees hurt. It took me 10 minutes to climb the steps to my second floor apartment because I had to take a break to catch my breath halfway up.

I now had to get out and work, and that activity, combined with the stress relief of being out of a bad marriage, led to me losing about 70 pounds. I didn’t really change my diet that much, except for the simple fact that I was no longer angry and miserable, so I wasn’t eating as much, and I was moving around more at work. However, the weight loss had me feeling great, and I became much more active, getting out and meeting people, and enjoying life.

The fact that I didn’t really change my eating habits would eventually be my downfall. By 2007 I was working at my dream job with the Humane Society of Missouri, taking care of animals that were unwanted and/or abused, and I had just gotten married to a wonderful, caring man. Then, I got badly hurt on the job. While wrestling with a large dog, I wrenched my back and had to be hospitalized. It took several months of painful physical therapy to get back on my feet, but my back was never the same. I eventually had to leave my dream job, and I was never without pain again. During those months of physical therapy, I was upset and depressed, and as always, I turned to food for comfort. With my reduced mobility, I wasn’t burning calories. My weight slowly crept up. Over the next few years, my life went through major changes: my mother passed away in 2008, I was laid off in 2009 and unable to find work for over a year, we moved across the country (away from all friends and family) because of my husband’s job, in 2010 my husband was laid off, and eventually we became homeless in Arizona before finally moving back to Missouri to live with my father this past year. During these years, some of the minor health issues (like high blood pressure and depression) flared up and other health issues developed. I was eventually diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, borderline diabetes, Hashimoto’s (low thyroid), and low adrenal function (borderline Addison’s). I also sustained an injury to my left arm, resulting in permanent nerve damage and chronic pain.

The more depressed I felt, the more I ate. The more I ate, the more weight I packed on. The more weight I packed on, the worse my health issues became. The worse my health issues became, the less I moved. The less I moved, the more depressed I became. I was once again caught in a vicious cycle, but this time, I knew it, and I had given up. I figured with all of these health issues, there was nothing left for me. I was in constant pain, was on 12 medications, and figured what was left of my life was pretty much useless. I was destined to be bedridden, just like so many others in my family had wound up. I was missing out on life, and to be honest, I just didn’t care anymore.

One day I was sitting on the couch, half dozing, and it suddenly hit me: I was going to die. Soon. That’s all there was to it. I was fat, sick, and headed for death. And it scared the heck out of me.

I don’t know why, but I got up and decided right then and there: I needed to fight back. I had people who cared about me, I had friends, I had talents I hadn’t pursued in a long time, and I had a lot to offer. I may not be able to do much about my health issues, but I could do something about my weight, which just may help those health problems lessen. So I went outside and took a walk.

oct142012 023.jpgIt was a slow, painful, gasping walk around the block that took almost 20 minutes because I had to keep stopping to catch my breath. But I did it. And the next day I did it again. I kept walking, slowly pushing myself just a little bit further every day. Eventually, after a couple of weeks, I went online and mapped the route I was walking. I was stunned to discover that I was walking almost a mile a day! The next day, I pushed further and hit that mile mark. I wasn’t just walking, either. I also started to change the way I eat. I knew the basics: cut out the soda and junk food, eat more fresh fruits and veggies.

That was just three short months ago. Since then, my workout routine has grown to walking three miles a day, four or five times a week, one yoga class, and two water aerobics classes. I am starting to run, but because of my Fibromyalgia, I can’t make it very far. Imagine running with a sack of sand on your back… the weight pounding on your knees and ankles. That’s what it’s like for me right now. Despite that, I’m up to about 30-45 seconds of running, and during a three mile walk I can manage about 6 running intervals. 

I’ve lost 14 pounds. I started at 298 and as of today, I’m down to 284. I haven’t noticed the weight loss (except in my breasts… what is up with that???), but others have started asking if I’ve lost weight, so there must be some kind of change. Also, some of my health issues have lessened. My blood pressure has already come down slightly, my knees and back are less sore (although I still have Fibro flare ups which can put me back in bed for a day or two), and I have more energy. Mentally, I’m feeling refreshed and alive for the first time in a long time. I know that I have an active and awesome future ahead of me!

There’ve been other changes as well: I started doing weight loss research online and not only found healthier recipes and exercise tips, I’ve discovered much more: a whole community of people committed to healthy living. I’ve started connecting with so many people who were once where I am now, and have lost weight and gained a healthier lifestyle; people who are still working on their weight loss, people who are marathon runners, and people who are health challenged like I am, but still doing whatever they can to be healthier. I’ve even met athletes who have encouraged and challenged me to be the best I can possibly be.

I had been half-heartedly writing a blog about this and that, and it became a blog about my own journey ( I soon found a whole neighborhood of fellow bloggers who welcomed me with open arms. I now have friends all over the country and people who are cheering me on in ways I never expected.   

sept292012 054.jpgI’ve participated in three races since starting my journey. I did my first race in September, just two months after taking that first walk around the block. It was a non-timed one mile fun walk to raise money for brain tumor research. The rush of pride and accomplishment I felt when I crossed that finish line was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. This is something I never dreamed I would do. I never joined an athletic team in school, so to be part of an organized athletic activity was anathema to me. I felt so amazing that I immediately signed up for more, completing three walks in three consecutive weekends.

I’m still in the infancy of my journey toward wellness. I’m learning what works for me and what doesn’t. I am, above all else, a realist. I know that I may never become skinny, but I can lose weight, and be as healthy as my limitations allow. Even with those limitations, I can still push the boundaries; I never know when one of those boundaries will expand or fall away. A few weeks ago I never thought I could walk three miles at a time, but now I am, and I’m slowly increasing that distance. I’m aiming for a 5K by spring, and after that, who knows? I may never become a marathon runner, but I can still run as much as my body will allow me, and walk the rest. I may never be able to run an entire race, but I can keep moving forward. I’ve learned that it’s all about balance and moderation. I’m eating better: lots and lots of fresh veggies and fruits, lean meats, eggs, nuts, healthy snacks, and smoothies (and the occasional gluten free brownie!). I’m not always perfect, sometimes I still indulge in some kind of junk food (Mc Donald’s fries are my downfall!), but I am working toward being the best me I can be.

I’m living by one motto: Stop eating junk and get your butt up and move! It really is that simple, and it’s amazing how much the world opens up when you walk through that door.  

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Circuit Training: Guest Post

I want to thank Jill for her post on circuit training for runner: Check out her blog  Fitness, Health and Happiness

As a runner I’m always looking for ways to train smart and improve performance. This year I’ve
come to realize that training smart and improving performance means consistent cross training.
As someone who would be perfectly happy to only run, what are my options? More importantly, what are my options that will benefit running? The answer to that is circuit training.

What is circuit training?

Circuit training is the effective combination of cardio vascular fitness and resistance training that
maximizes the volume of work done in a short period of time. After looking at a variety of circuit
workouts the routines typically:

1.      alternate between muscle groups allowing for adequate recovery
2.      include a rest interval of 30-90 seconds
3.      allow for 1-3 minutes between circuits
4.      combine cardio training and resistance training

What are the benefits of circuit training?

  • a total body workout
  • an easy way to combine cardio benefits and strength training in one workout
  • routines can be easily created for all fitness levels
  • can be done at home or at the gym and with or without equipment
  • shortened workout time

How will circuit training benefit running (and pretty much any other sport)? Circuit training is
specifically designed to give the entire body a workout, so it improves cardio fitness as well as
enhancing strength, stamina and mobility. Circuit training workouts can be designed to be low
impact making it a great option for cross training. Last, but not least, circuit training minimizes
the risk of common running injuries, such as Plantar Fascitis, ITB pain, runner’s knee, and shin

A circuit training workout would look like this (Spartacus Workout for Women http://
  1. Plie squat plus triceps french press
  2. Burpee plus pushup plus overhead press
  3. Alternating plank row (from knees or toes)
  4. Split lunge plus tricep kickback (same leg and arm behind; switch sides next round)
  5. Weighted squat jumps
  6. Side plank plus weighted core rotation (switch sides next round)
  7. Tricep dips
  8. Side lunge plus reach (switch sides next round)


1. 8 moves; 45 seconds work, 15 seconds rest
2. No breaks until the end of the 8-minute circuit
3. Three of the exercises (#4, #6 and #8) are done on one side at a time. The first time
through the circuit, perform all reps on one side; next time through, switch sides (much
more tiring than alternating sides within a set).

4. Repeat for a total of 4 or 6 rounds.

Pinterest is a great resource for circuit workouts! Check out my Workout Board for complete
circuit routines.
I'm a wife of an ultrarunner, mom of 2, psychologist and fitness enthusiast. I’m passionate about
running, plant-based nutrition, strength training, and an overall healthy lifestyle. Living a healthy
lifestyle is not about perfection. It's about commitment, effort and progress!

Have you ever tried circuit training?

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