We’re on the brink of a New Year-- it’s an exciting time filled with clean slates and fresh starts. If there is one thing I get weary of hearing it’s that all of the sudden these “magical days” in between Christmas and New Year’s must be spent ambitiously planning all the ways we will “improve.”Read More
How and When to Use them with Macro Counting
To be perfectly honest, having a meal plan sounds pretty restricting, especially to people who have found all of the freedom that counting macros brings! With macro counting you are not eliminating foods of any kind, you are simply arranging the foods and portions you choose with a daily goals for each macronutrient category (carbs, fats, and protein). So if we can eating ANYTHING, why are we talking meal plans? Well, sometimes life is busy and sometimes people get overhwhelmed when they can eat anything they want and a little structure goes a long way.
So the kind of meal planning I’m talking about is flexible and PERSONALIZED to your macro numbers. It takes the tetris out of trying to fill your protein at the end of the day because you have already mapped out meals that help you fill your goals, so simply eating the food you planned gets a successful day of eating every day!
My meal plan example is based off of macros that are probably NOT your macros. A person’s macros dependent on highly specific characteristics and I don’t recommend winging them. One of my favorite aspects of Tighter Together challenges is that hundreds upon hundreds of people given CUSTOMIZED macro counts. I read each questionnaire and am confident that you are eating in a way that is going to be effective for you and your needs. The details for participating in that challenge can be found here.
My Current Macros:
So those are the totals I’m looking to fill with the meals I eat throughout the day. I’m truly not picky about the ratios of each in my meals as long as the totals add up at the end of the day.
Also, my meals are not fancy! Most of them are put together quickly with relatively basic ingredients combined in different ways that I enjoy eating! Some people thrive with recipes and others don’t-- I’m a simple girl when it comes to flavor combinations and I find that with some good seasonings, I’m happy!
(Favorites: Everything But the Bagel from Trader Joe’s, Garlic Salt Seasoning (TJ’s), and 21 Seasoning Salute (TJ’s)
Also, the “recipe” I’ve been making for lunch is adapted from Lillie Loves Macros blog and the main things I have changed are: spaghetti squash instead of pasta and then I leave out the chicken from the dish, and also use Fat Free Mozzerella as my topping instead of breadcrumbs. But I have made her recipe as called for and it’s DELICIOUS!
And here is one she has made with spaghetti squash!
Meal 1: (breakfast) 31 Carbs / 4 Fats / 22 Protein
Meal 2 (morning snacks): 29 Carbs / 8 Fats / 38 Protein
Fage 0% Greek Yogurt + Rice Cakes
Meal 3 (lunch): 38 Carbs/ 2 Fat / 24 Protein
Meal 4 (snack): 28 Carbs/ 12 Fats / 11 Protein
Better Oats (maple flavor)
(chocolate drizzle) 10 grams dark cocoa powder + 7g Powdered PB + 1 liquid stevia and a little water mixed together— sometimes I get it too watery :(
1 Tbs Jiff Peanut Butter
ALSO: I had added Walden Farms Sugar Free Caramel Sauce to this so the colors are a little scary! (Peanut butter is underneath)
Meal 5 (dinner): 19 Carbs / 2 Fats / 24 Protein
Meal 6 (treat): 26 Carbs / 16 Fats/ 26 Protein
This picture is not my current daily bowl, but I have included the information in the MFP screen shot! I add a little water + 1/2 Nutribullet of ice and BLEND
I wanted to show you my app entries as an example, but I won’t necessarily take the time to log them each day since I know from my first day and my meal plan the totals!
Once I know that my meals for the week add up to my totals, I just eat! I know what the approximate sizes of the portions and ingredients look like, BUT I will measure/weigh out things like peanut butter and proteins just so I get those correct. Lower calorie foods like zucchini and cauliflower rice I’m not concerned about being perfect.
What If you Eat Out or Plans Change?
Let’s say it’s a day that we go out to eat of plans change unexpectedly-- what happens? First of all, if I’m this accurate 5/7 days a week, then I know the unplanned things will not derail my consistency, so I don’t fret, I re-arrange! I usually will just pull macros from my dessert and dinner and eat something that is generally balanced from a restaurant and call it even. If I know I didn’t get close to the calories I would have consumed with my normal dinner + dessert, then I’ll still make my protein ice cream (maybe leave out the chocolate). And I DON’T STRESS.
This Stresses Me Out
I tell every client or new friend that there IS a learning curve that comes with a much more intentional and accurate way of eating, but there are also ways to simplify! So if logging things into your app daily is becoming a chore, make a meal plan that FITS your macros and just eat! I promise it’s better than winging it :)
You should also know that these macros are NOT my personal fat loss macros, so when Tighter Together rolls around and I am eating with a different goal, my macros will change. Be sure you are eating in a way that supports your current goals. For those of you who need help with macros, I HIGHLY recommend participating in Tighter Together as it gives you fat loss macros AND the tools to transition to maintenance macros afterwards.
Sign Up Dates (shop page of the blog): January 1-14th
Start Date: January 14th
UNLIMITED PARTICIPANTS (unlike 1-1 Macro Coaching)
A little preface to this blog post: I do not plan these trips, nor can I take credit for the itinerary or leg work that goes into them. I am in charge of snacks and it’s a role I take quite seriously, but other than that….I’m a beneficiary of Drew’s research and planning.
I’m going to keep the bulk of this post related to the itinerary and travel details with a few comments and tips along the way…..the photos can do more describing than words afterall.
A few details— we pack a LOT into our trips. Drew and I slept in 8 beds in 16 days— we were not staying put very long, but that’s in an effort to see as much as we could! For some people this would probably be more exhausting than vacationing, but everyone is different! We were also splitting lodging with two other couples and that helps save money! We shopped at grocery stores for breakfast and lunches at every stop we made! Switzerland is an expensive country, so it’s important to save where you can!
Day 1: Flights: Greenville - Newark- Geneva
We arrived at 7:45 am, but it was the only day we had in Geneva, so we wanted to make the most of it! We hit most of these that day!
Day 2: (rental van)- Geneva- Chamonix, France- Zermatt
This was a travel day, so I knew I wanted to wake up and get a workout in. It ended up being a little more of a memory than I anticipated with an encounter that left me upset, but here’s the full workout written up in this IG post.
I also have to include a funny story (and second workout from this day). When we arrived in Zermatt, we already knew that no cars were allowed in the city. You can taxi in small electric cars or walk. We had been sitting all day and are all fairly adventurous, so we decided to walk to our aribnb with all our luggage. Little did we know it was actually a 30 minute hike to our Chalet on the side of a mountain. We were all sweating and laughing and dying by the end and we joked how easy of a walk it was the rest of the time since we felt so light without our baggage.
Day 3: Zermatt
Zermatt is the place I find my mind wandering back to the fastest— it had all the charm, the amazing Matterhorn and it was absolutely the highlight of the trip for me and the place I feel like embodies Switzerland
We took things a little easy in the morning and went for our daily trek to the local grocery store which was down in the town (about a 15 minute walk). We usually ate out one meal a day, so breakfast and lunch everyone bought what they wanted and it worked great! I know that lots of people get a little overwhelmed with travel and then trying to find healthy options in new places and it can be tough! I will say that the U.S. prioritizes snack foods (especially health-conscious options) much more so than I found in European grocery stores, but I always make sure to bring my own protein bars because the rest is easy to find elsewhere! I really enjoyed by stash of ONE Basix bars (there is actually a 20% off discount through this link!) for hikes and just snacking! There was so much chocolate being tasted and shared because we were in the Mecca of Swiss chocolate, but having a chocolate chip cookie dough bar made it that much easier to take a taste, but then be done knowing I had a great alternative!
20MOVESONE Saves you 20% on the bars!
That afternoon, we did the “Five Lakes Hike” as a group. It was beautiful and not difficult or strenuous for anyone. We played a game the whole week that started on this hike-- one person chooses a category “favorite ______” and everyone answers. By the end of the hike it was pretty much anything that anyone wanted to know, but it was hilarious and we all learned some things to say the least.
Day 4: Zermatt
Helicopter Tour- This was such a neat experience! We all said it was worth the money for the 20 minutes and it felt like plenty long to be up in the air. We got to fly all around the Matterhorn and surrounding peaks!
Later that day, we took the Gornergrat train to the top for amazing views of the Matterhorn and decided to hike down to the town. In retrospect, we probably wouldn’t recommend this just because it was the downward incline for so long was tough on everyone’s knees. There was just no relief or many flat portions at all, so it got rather old after 6-7 miles. I will say that the views were incredible for almost all of the hike (especially the first 3 miles).
I will just insert that eating out 1-2 meals a day can get tough, and for the majority of the time we kept it to once a day, but it’s easy to feel like you are unable to make healthy choices while traveling and it’s just not the case. After this hike, we went to a restaurant and I got a grilled chicken sandwhich (protein + carbs), without cheese or condiments (I always recommend adding your own) and they let me substitute a side salad for the french fries. When I got back home, I had oatmeal with some peanutbutter and was plenty satisfied. It’s just being willing to take the time to adjust a few things, keep portions in mind and do the best with your current options. What more can you do?
Day 5: Zermatt to Grindewald
Stopped at Oeschinen Lake, took a gondola up and then walked about 30 minutes to the amazing lake!
Ended up taking a train that evening to Wengen for sunset and dinner. It’s an amazing view down into the valley of Lauterbrunnen and we had some delicious pasta at a restaurant in town appropriately called “Pasta and More.” One funny thing we noticed is that you kind of have to hunt down your waiter if you ever want to pay and leave. We tried lots of tactics throughout our trip, so if someone knows the proper way to wrap up a meal in Europe, let us know! We always felt like we were those “hasty Americans who never relax.”
Day 6: Grindewald
Our friends decided to travel to Bern for the day while Drew and I opted for the gondola ride up First and the 10 mile Schynigge Platte hike. Truly an amazing hike that I couldn’t recommend more! The first 2-3 miles are the toughest climb, but if you’re in good shape or are willing to take breaks, it’s stunning! I truly think this hike is in my top 4-5 and we have done quite a few epic hikes!
Day 7: Grindewald to Mennagio, Italy
We stopped and toured the Aare gorge on the way and also made a pit stop at an epic bridge and jump off rocks in Lavertezzo
I’m going to save the Italy part for a second blog post, but hopefully this will get your mind turning for some travel plans-- Switzerland was truly a fairytale and I would recommend it to anyone!
If you have specific questions, I’ll recruit my travel agent husband to help you out!
It’s short, intense, and with the help of a community striving for the same physical and internal improvements, you will thrive! I never could have accurately described Tighter Together until I completed with over 1300 likeminded men and women. We had individual macros, but were all on the same workout schedule pushing through and encouraging each other! We came together to offer answers to common questions on the Facebook page, cheered with other in their triumphs and picked each other up on their low days.Read More
In a lot of ways, the end of summer and beginning of the school year is like the New Year all over again. The “routine” is upon us, the days of cookouts and lake days are coming to an end and I think we can really choose to mourn or choose to move. It’s a NATURAL time to re-establish goals and have a schedule that more easily lends itself to consistency. So let’s get to it!Read More
Teaching the past four years was a blast-- there’s not much convincing you have to do when you’re a P.E. teacher, you see-- most kids having been squirming in their seats all day waiting for other classes to end and MY class to start. And I LOVE that. I love watching them master a skill that took them weeks to perfect. I love watching them fall on the floor dramatically after running half a mile convinced that their lungs were going to explode. I love knowing that they are building the foundations of lifetime activity while learning the intricacies of their bodies and how to care for them properly. I love knowing that sending them to the water fountain for a "quick drink" will solve 99% of their bumps, bruises and tears. Ok, I’m done….Read More
Wrapping up over four weeks of being on the move and I'm so happy to be on my couch eating out of my own fridge! When I asked for your input on how this travel post could be most benefiial, there was quite a bit of feedback (thank you!) and I intend to be thorough, but also try to cultivate and reinforce the fact that vacations are FUN and should be a deviation from our normal routine by definition!Read More
Sharing workouts often is my passion, and the most user-friendly way to do that is through an app platform. This allows me to update often, provide weekly workouts, and also upload more structured start-to-finish plan like MOVE SWEAT SHRED in one place.
Access to the App is a monthly subscription and will give you the freedom to complete Move Sweat Shred or jump around as you do while incorporating some of the weekly workouts (45 minutes with the option to extend to 70 minutes). App subscribers will have weekly full body workouts! (which I know have become a favorite)Read More
If I could give you a glimpse into this year from the not-so-edited or curated side, I would tell you that it’s been extremely busy, but even more rewarding. If you told me some of the things I now know are possible through hard work, creativity, and a very talented husband-- I wouldn’t have believed you, so you might not believe me, but I’m going to tell you anyway. Actually, I’m going to let Amy Carmichael tell you in words I couldn’t agree with more than I do in this moment--Read More
The Boston Marathon is a unique experience for anyone and to try to put the details that create the experience into words will always fall short of the real thing, but how can I not at least try?
I'll start by saying that this was my first Boston Marathon and I was determined to soak it up without adding pressures of paces or expectations on my performance and I couldn't be more pleased with the result. That mindset started in my training (or lack thereof) because if you know m history at all, my love for running has been slightly infringed upon by circuit training and more strength-based workouts over the past year. As Boston approached and most people were diving into their 20 week training cycles, I was doing very little differently than I had been in regards to my workouts. I have personally seen the benefits of strength training and I also enjoy the diversity of them more than strictly running at this point, so I stuck with them while adding in 10 mile runs once a week that were primarily longer speed workouts....and that was about it. I ran 2-4 miles a few times a week as a warm-up before a normal workout, but really didn't get into higher mileage than that which is unorthodox to say the least. But I trust the circuit training that I do and I know the workouts are building muscle and paired with plyometrics and high intensity bouts of cardio I was creating both anaeriobc (muscular) and aerobic (cardiovascular) strength. I can honestly say that I did not run more than 10-11 miles as my longest run in training for Boston because it just wasn't my favorite way to exercise at the time and I'm a big proponent of enjoying the way you move and I did. Ok, so with that being said-- Boston was going to be tough, I knew that....it's tough whether you've trained or not. Every runner's training should include strength, I'm more convinced of it than ever in creating a stronger and faster runner, BUT if your PRIMARY performance-related goals are running-specific, I do recommend more long runs than I was doing, but again---that's determined by your goals and mine currently are less running related.
As the race got closer and closer, people would ask me if I was getting ready and excited and I was, but it also kind of snuck up on me as I had been pretty busy creating workouts and content for Tighter Together, teaching school and traveling for Spring Break. I guess you could say that I had diversified a little bit prior to this point and no longer felt the tunnel vision of Boston that some runners have because their passions are so strictly running-related (and I absolutely respect that, it just wasn't this year for me). So yes, I was excited to visit a new city, excited that my parents and Drew's parents were coming, excited to experience the hype, excited that I would get to run in such a prestigious race, and excited to celebrate the fact that I had qualified to be there. There were some nerves that this might not go well and for one reason or another (marathon distance leaves a lot of room for variables) I wouldn't be able to finish, but I also consider myself a pretty determined individual and I knew it would take a lot before that happened.
Before I knew it, the weekend leading up to Boston had come and gone-- we had gone to a Red Sox game, walked parts of the city, gone to church, eaten delicious food, shopped for extra layers and tried to avoid listening to the weather reports that promised miserably cold, rainy and windy conditions for Monday. Before I knew it, I was going to bed the night before the Boston Marathon and really not knowing what the next day would hold, but at the same time, I had a feeling it would be memorable...just a hunch. The day feels like the three days in one-- the first is all pre-race and kind of a wet frenzied blur as a followed poncho-clad runners into lines, the lines into busses (where I met the nicest Charity runner Sean who made those 40 minutes fly by and I'm so thankful), from busses into a very muddy Athletes Village, and then somehow a porta potty and all the sudden we were getting into our corrals. I had been told that you would wait at Athletes Village for a while, and maybe it was all longer than I felt because I was overwhelmed with the mud and rain and trying to decide what to wear and what to throw away, but I never felt I had extra time.
The best description I can give to the .7 mile walk from Athletes Village to my start wave at 10:50 was that it seemed like we were all walking to some form of punsihment-- nobody really talked, instead, everyone kind of kept their heads down as the rain pelted our faces. It was almost a coming to terms with our new reality and how the next few hours were actually going to be. I will say that the excitement grew as we got to the start and as we actually started running--we were doing what we had come to do and as I got into that motion and people started lining the streets and cheering it become much more tolerable and even exciting--and it grew and grew from there. When a big gust of wind would come, a runner or two would cheer loudly as if to remind the others that we're tough and this is still Boston, so buck up! I wasn't running with ear phones in at this point so I caught all the cheers, the cow bells, the stereo systems set up under tarps along the route and enjoyed it all. I also haven't mentioned that my watch and phone hadn't fully finished upating from the night before and despite Drew's best attempt in a short amount of time, I had no way to track paces whatsoever. Normally this would throw me off, but if there was one day that I was truly going to try to run based on feel, it was this one. Drew had made me promise to 1) not go out too fast with excitement 2) drink at almost if not every aid station and I was determined to stick to the plan. I even drank so much in the first 7 miles that I stopped to use the bathroom (never done that during a race). Things were going fine, the miles were clicking by and I estimated I was running below a 9 minute mile but not by too much and with the elements what they were, I was happy with that.
I fumbled my phone out of my pocket underneath my poncho around mile 10 and Drew had texted me saying that my cheering squad (my parents who flew up for the day, Drew's parents who were with us the whole weekend and of course, Drew) would be at mile 13 on the right side of the road past a big American flag-- I was so excited, but I told myself not to speed up, but just enjoy Wellsley and keep my eyes peeled for them. I can't explain my excitement to see them and I don't think I have to because you can see below, but just to know that they were standing out there for the 30 seconds I would pass by just to hop in the car and get to another spot meant so much. I wanted to thank them with enthusiasm. It was heartwarming to see fellow runners connect with their loved ones along the course. There's such a support system behind these runners and many of them would never be toeing the line in Boston without many people in their corner. Drew informed me later that he takes credit for the next 3-4 miles because my pace increased to about 8 minute mile after seeing them-- it was the perfect boost!
Around mile 14 I decided I would try to break things up before the Newton Hills and the time I would see them next, so I put on a podcast...and I know that sounds like a snooze fest, but it was nice to hear something else for a change and was a welcomed distraction (my Spotify also wasn't synched on my new phone, so the technological issues persisted, but I really didn't care). I saw a few signs that notified me we were heading into Newton, so I mentally prepared myself for hills, and I'm sure there were some, but honestly it was nothing menacing or too difficult. Even at the end of "heartbreak hill" I remember thinking that it was really just a hill and nothing more. I felt strong and consistent through the whole race and I attribute that to strength training. In fact, when I saw my family for the second time, around mile 20 I really didn't know if I had gotten to them, passed them or was in the Newton Hills. I just knew that I was going to be fine and that this crazy day would end well despite the factors that could have caused many different outcomes.
Des Lidden (winner of the Boston Marathon) said it best, "the marathon doesn't start until Mile 20," and it's true. There's a world of difference between a 20 mile run and a 26.2 mile run and I can't explain it, but if you've done one then you know. You just have to find a way to keep going even though those last six can seem longer than all the previous. For me, it was miles 21-23-- they seemed unending, but by 24 it was just getting so close I could hear the crowds getting thicker and louder. Then the things you've heard about start HAPPENING. You SEE the Citgo sign and it's the prettiest thing to you in that moment and when the rain really picked up in those last two miles, it seemed to add to the drama of it all. Then before you know it you are MAKING THE TURN that everyone talks about.....but this time I was actually turning and I picked up speed, right and then left and the a straightaway to the finish and i just ran what felt like a freeing sprint (really only about 7'30 pace, but you know how that's different given your legs condition) all the way to the end passing people and it seemed like everyone was cheering for me....and then it was over. I smiled so big and had a twinge of sadness that it actually had to end, but it was all I could have hoped for and more. As I walked towards the capes the volunteers give you to keep warm, I realized how cold I actually was-- I couldn't really lift my arms up to find the arm hole and clumsily tried without success, but the elderly man volunteering just smiled and helped me until it was on, then turned me around and velcroed the top and didn't let me leave until I was situated. I just looked at him and for the first time the emotions of the day and all the people who stood out there for hours in the cold and rain for US with outstretched amrs, encouraging words, water and aid culminated in that man and holding back tears I just said "thank you, thank you so much."
The rest is a very cold blur until I found my family and then a very cold eurphoria set in until we made it back to the Airbnb for a hot shower, Italian food at Bricco, chocolate cake at Mike's Pastries and a very warm bed. I knew waking up on Monday morning that I would go to bed the same place I had woken up, and at that point I didn't know how the day would go, but I hoped there would be at least 26.2 miles in between and there were that many and each one filled with memories of a lifetime. God knit the love for movement deep inside my heart, and I consider the Boston Marathon another gift from Him.