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30 Minute Poolside Punch

Looking for a summer workout? Grab your dumbbells + join us by the pool ; ) Not familiar with the exercises? See below!

2X — 40 sec Single Arm DB Punches + 20 sec Rest
3X — 40 sec Standing Rows + 20 sec Rest

2X — 40 sec Alternating DB Punches + 20 sec Rest
3X — 40 sec Hammer Curls + 20 sec Rest

2X — 40 sec Alternating Front Raise + 20 sec Rest
3X — 15 Burpees + 30 sec Rest

2X — 40 sec Single Arm DB Punches + 20 sec Rest
3X — 40 sec Military Press + 20 sec Rest

2X — 40 sec Alternating DB Punches + 20 sec Rest
3X — 40 sec Overhead Tricep Press + 20 sec Rest

2X — 40 sec Alternating Front Raise + 20 sec Rest
3X — 15 Squat Jumps + 20 sec Rest

 

On Nutrition — Top 7 Episodes From The CHAARG Podcast

Below, our top 7 episodes [currently!] on nutrition from The CHAARG Podcast — get ready to be inspired in so many ways.

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#110] Julie Ohlemacher: Health At Every Size, Set Point Weight Theory, + Anti-Diet 

Why I Love It — Julie’s [@julie.ohlemacher] nutrition beliefs: intuitive eating, anti-diet, + the Set Point Theory, don’t just make you feel good… they are backed by research! This podcast made me reevaluate *for the better* the women I follow, look up to, + talk about. #OSUCHAARG girls — we totally understand the Julie hype!

Mic-Drop Moment — “Follow all shapes + sizes [on Instagram] — that’s huge. Think about what bodies you looked at growing up… no wonder we thought our bodies were wrong.”

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#80] Jenny Westerkamp: Sports Nutrition, Dietetics, + Fat Burners

Why I Love It — Although Jenny [@jennywesterkamp] works with elite pro athletes, her advice is simple + relevant for CHAARG girls. Listen to this podcast for nutrition advice for both everyday life + workout performance! 

Mic-Drop Moment — [What being #inCHAARG means] “Confidence + being obsessed with yourself in a really healthy way… that love you search for in someone else, you should be searching for that in you as well.”

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#23] Rachel Helfferich: A Day In The Life Of A Heath Coach ++ Simplifying *Food Rules* 

Why I Love It — Simple is ALWAYS better in my opinion. I loved listening to Rachel’s [@rachelfferich] nutrition philosophies + incredible wellness advice. Her Instagram graphics + little pieces of advice always come at the right time — get more of her wisdom there! 

Mic-Drop Moment — “The message with nutrition that I would love to help people learn is that it just all boils down to loving + accepting your own body!”

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#62] Alexis + Simi: Intuitive Eating, Food Triggers, + Birth Control 

Why I Love It — There is *so* much power in two great minds coming together. Alexis [@hummuspien] + Simi [@simibotic] will leave you feeling educated, encouraged, + empowered.

Mic-Drop Moment — “I just want my brand [Hummusapien] to be uplifting + to not make anyone feel like they’re doing anything wrong. No one can dictate what someone else’s *right* or *wrong* is because it’s so different for everyone.” — Alexis

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#9] Lydia Nader: Running + Nutrition Tips From A Registered Dietician

Why I Love It — If you are a part of #CHAARGRunClub — look no further! Lydia [@lydianader] is the CHAARG running expert + will be joining us for the #CHAARGRunClub! I encourage you to listen to this podcast during your first few weeks of training! : ) [PSA — if you didn’t sign up for CHAARG Run Club, but want in… email hello@chaarg.com!]

Mic-Drop Moment — “Be open to what your body is telling you what you can + cannot do.”

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#42] Alex Mazzurco: Diets, Macros, + Gut Health 

Why I Love It — If you follow Alex [@almazzurco] on Instagram you know she is so honest + raw — a refreshing take on health + fitness. I love that she teaches her followers to listen to their bodies [+ find the root of any problems/discomfort] + shares how her health + fitness adapts to the highs + lows of life. She is full of knowledge, experience [coaching + competing], + empowerment. 

Mic-Drop Moment — “Take ownership of the suck, so that you are in control. If you don’t like the way your body looks, you can make the decision to change it… you need to pull yourself out of the suck, + you need to take ownership of that! Be in charge of your health because it’s no one else’s responsibility.”

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#56] Chef Sarah: Meal Prep Tips, Celery Juice, + Sugar Detox 

Why I Love It — Chef Sarah [@chefsarahrusso] creates beautiful + delicious food — with holistic nutrition in mind! Listen to this podcast to learn about meal prepping, veganism, sugar, + SO much more. 

Mic-Drop Moment — “Stop looking for places [+ things] to point blame on. Face your challenges + the things you need to work on head on.”

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New episodes every Tuesday! Listen on Spotify + iTunes! #TheCHAARGPodcast

10 Things I Learned From “Anti-Diet”

During my last semester of college, I took Medical Nutrition Therapy as a final requirement before I was officially announced a dietetic grad. Although typically this class consists only of how to treat diseases through the eyes of nutrition – I was lucky enough to have a professor who cared to expand our critical thinking beyond our textbooks [shoutout to Dr. Laing].

My professor bought the class a set of a new book that had just been released + was sparking a bit of controversy in the field. See, for most of our dietetic curriculum [or any clinical curriculums] we are taught that most diseases can be improved if only people would just lose weight. Weight loss was always one of the top solutions with any disease – Heart disease? Weight loss. Diabetes? Weight loss. High blood pressure? Weight loss. Back pain? Weight loss.

Most students in the class argued that obesity was a pandemic in the United States [only 7 out of 150 students disagreed – one of them being me].

This book argued that all of that was a lie.

#1] BMI Is NOT A Reliable Marker For Health 

The Body Mass Index [BMI] uses height + weight to compare where you stand next to others as a marker of health. What it doesn’t account for: muscle vs fat mass, gender, age, ethnicity, + fat distribution. However, BMI is the standard for quick analysis of a patient. When Adolphe Quetelet created the BMI formula, he explicitly said it should not be used to gauge the amount of fat an individual might have. It was simply designed to be a quick hack at the time.

#2] Fat Shaming Is A Tool Of Systematic Oppression 

People who genetically carry more fat tend to be women + people of color. Fatness was quickly weaponized as a means of inferiority around the 1800s since white men were usually skinnier. If you’re too worried about being ashamed of your physical existence + starving yourself – you’re not going to have the energy to fight against systematic oppression.

#3] Wellness Diets Are The Same As Any Other Diet 

“Clean eating” + “Wellness diets” are almost always going to be the same kinds of diets we’ve seen throughout history – just with a different narrative. Don’t be wooed by the tone of “detoxes” + “lifestyle changes” – eating only raw fruits + vegetables is still a form of starving yourself no matter how you romanticize it.

#4] Dieting Does Not Work 

What blew my mind the most in this book is that hardly anyone keeps off the weight they lose on a diet. Not because they’re lazy, or they return to bad habits – but because our bodies just put the weight back on in 3 to 5 years. Often times you gain even more weight back after dieting. “Success stories” usually stop after a year of exposure, which isn’t long enough to track what your body does in the long term.

#5] Fat Shaming Damages Health More Than It Fixes It 

The stress of daily prejudice someone in a larger body faces outweighs the benefits of losing weight. When you are constantly concerned about being in public or even partaking in activities that might improve your physical health [like going for walks or going to the gym] you are going to experience a drop in your health. If losing weight isn’t sustainable or even a good marker of health – then limiting healthy behaviors that people in larger bodies feel comfortable with can do serious damage.

#5] Intuitive Eating Does Not Mean Eating Junk All The Time 

When you are listening to your body about what foods taste good + how you feel after eating them, it might seem like you would crave cookies + hot dogs every day.  While you may want those at first, because they were restricted foods in the past, at some point your body DOES crave fruits, vegetables, grains, + lean protein – you just have to trust it + follow your gut [literally].

#6] Fat Bias Breeds Poor Treatment In The Medical World 

The book tells a story about a woman who went to see a doctor because she was having difficulty breathing. The doctor told her it was because she was overweight + that she just needed to exercise ++ lose weight. A few months pass by + the patient finds out that she has lung cancer ++ that it was the cause of the breathing issues. Had the doctor treated her like they would treat a patient in a smaller body, they might have been able to give her proper treatment instead of assuming that her weight was the issue. 

#7] Fat Shaming Damages Health More Than It Fixes It 

The stress of daily prejudice someone in a larger body faces outweighs the benefits of losing weight. When you are constantly concerned about being in public or even partaking in activities that might improve your physical health [like going for walks or going to the gym] you are going to experience a drop in your health. If losing weight isn’t sustainable or even a good marker of health – then limiting healthy behaviors that people in larger bodies feel comfortable with can do serious damage.

#8] Binge Eating Is A Symptom Of Deprivation

The reason why so many people feel like they have no self-control around certain foods is because those tend to be their “cheat foods.” By not allowing yourself to eat foods that your body craves occasionally, you create a psychological attachment to it.

#9] Hunger Cues Come Can Look Different For Everyone

I’ve always been really bad at identifying when I’m hungry – I don’t experience the traditional stomach pains or gurgle-y noises. This book helped me understand what my hunger cues are – like headaches, nausea, + irritation.

#10] Health At Every Size Does Not Mean Healthy At Every Size

A big misconception about HAES is that it promotes unhealthy behaviors just because it accepts people at whatever size they’re meant to be at, which is just not true. There are going to be people who are probably at weights that are unhealthy for their bodies, but weight loss shouldn’t be the focus of that patient’s treatment – changing behaviors that allow them to live healthier lives should be the focus. Adopting healthier habits may or may not result in weight loss – but it will result in improved health.

I’ve decided that regardless of if I need the patient to lose weight, I will not be the one to vocalize that to them, instead I’m going to focus on the medical nutrition therapy aspect of it. If a patient is overweight + has no health issues then there’s probably nothing to do there outside of what diet culture wants. But sometimes there are medical issues like hypertension or pre-diabetes that can be fixed with diet changes or increased exercise + I want to focus on the behaviors instead of the weight.

For me, it comes down to behavior science as well. People in larger bodies don’t seek out medical help as often because their doctors most likely will tell them to lose weight regardless of what they’re there for + that can feel upsetting ++ not helpful. I want to have a safe space in the field for patients to feel like they can be included in healthy behaviors without it coming from a place of shame for their bodies.

Vegan Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread

Our favorite recipe to come out of quarantine — vegan chocolate swirl banana bread. OMG.  The perfect way to use up bananas you may have laying around + SO easy. Let us know what you think with #CHAARGeats!

  • 3 Large (or 4 Medium) bananas — about 1 1/3 cups, mashed
  • 1 Cup apple sauce (can sub 1 large egg or 1 flax egg)
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Heaping teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil (or unsalted butter)
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • Optional: chocolate chips ; )

#1] Grease a standard 9×5″ loaf pan.
#2] Mash bananas in a mixing bowl. Combine all ingredients.
#3] Separate batter into two bowls. Mix cocoa powder into one of the bowls. Gently stir in olive oil or melted butter.
#4] Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Choose Your Time: 10, 20, + 30 Min Booty Band Workout

If you don’t have a pair of booty bands yet — run, don’t walk. Today, we are sharing three different booty band workouts to complete [all bodyweight workouts!]… depending on how much time you have! ENJOY : )

Exercise Videos:

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Exercise Videos:

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Exercise Videos:

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Muffins

I tried a recipe from the CHAARG Run Club Athlete Cookbook [PSA — if you are a member of CHAARG Run Club, you will receive this cookbook!] + it was AMAZING! I usually have a hard time deciding what to eat after a hard workout but these muffins cover all the bases — carbs, protein, absolutely delicious… +  SO EASY to make!

The peanut butter banana protein muffins have a spongey texture that are a little surprising at first — but in the best way possible! It’s hard to believe that these could be considered a recovery treat when they taste just like a dessert… I definitely have a new go to in my kitchen now ; )

  • 2 Bananas [brown bananas are the best!]
  • 1 cup All Natural Peanut Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Agave
  • 1/4 cup Protein Powder — we love this Vanilla Bean flavor
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 cup Organic Dark Chocolate Chips

#1] Preheat oven to 400 degrees + spray a standard muffin tin with cooking spray.
#2] Place all ingredients except the chocolate chips in a blender. Blend mixture approximately 30-45 seconds or until completely smooth.
#3] Using a spatula or spoon lightly stir in the chocolate chips.
#4] Scoop batter into muffin tin + bake 12-14 minutes [or until muffins have set!].

When To Replace Your Running Shoes + Why

As much as we love a new pair of kicks, there’s often that one pair of running shoes that you can’t seem to kick off for good. They seem to have molded to your feet after many miles + they still look [somewhat] presentable. Good shoes are not cheap, so it’s easy to stay in your comfort zone with your Cinderella pair. Still, it’s important to replace your running shoes every once in awhile to avoid injury + to keep you running your best.

Experts often recommend replacing your shoes every 300-500 miles, but who is really counting? Depending on the way you run, your mid-sole or the bottom of your shoes may wear out before the other. Some miles may be on tougher trails + the more you weigh may create more stress on your shoes. Of course, more expensive shoes will probably last longer than cheaper ones.

The best rule of thumb is to listen to your body. During + after a run, do you feel like your feet + ankles had enough support? If not, it’s likely time to replace them! Your body knows a good run versus a bad one + it’s important to listen to those cues to determine if you need new shoes. It’s not about wanting a *fresh-out-of-the-box feel*, but needing shoes that provide enough support!

If you also wear the same shoes to cross-train, the wear will be significantly more. Running shoes aren’t made for lateral movements [think side-to-side jumps or lunges] so you might want to reconsider using one shoe for every type of workout. The way your shoe strikes the ground can affect the wear and tear of your shoes as well. If you scuff your feet at all when you run, they might wear out more frequently.

Shoes that have lighter materials may also wear out more quickly than stronger materials. Your shoes might be light and bouncy, but that could mean their durability is lacking. If you overpronate, you might need more supportive + stable shoes to keep from rolling your ankles too much when you run anyway.Your body will adapt to your shoes, however, so your feet will naturally adapt to a less supportive shoe — that is, until there is nothing left to give in your shoes.

You can also rotate your shoes to extend their wearable life. The longer you go between wearing shoes, the longer the tiny air pockets within the soles have to bounce back from being compressed during use. Studies have shown that rotating two shoes every other day lasts the same time as three pairs not rotated. This also helps keep your feet from being stressed in identical ways every day. This is most important if you run late at night + again early the next morning.

Potential running injuries from overused shoes can include runner’s knee, Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, shin splints + even stress fractures. If you’re training for a race or trying to get serious about running, it might be worth it to have a running specialist at a sporting goods store help you out! They can help you determine the best shoe for your gait and stride. Always remember, every sales expert isn’t wearing the shoes — you are!

When it’s time to retire your running shoes, don’t feel obligated to throw them away! As long as they’re still looking good enough by your standards, they are still A-OK to keep for walking + normal daily activities. If they’re in good condition but you want them out of your space, share them in our Fitionista Detox group!

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Do you have a style of running shoes you swear by? Share with us on insta!

PSA: Looking for a running-focused workout program + community this summer? Always wanted to run 13.1 miles without stopping? Join CHAARG Run Club! Registration is open until May 29 — see more details here!

Pre-Race Tips To Race Your Heart Out

I’ve been running + racing for over 15 years now — so I know all too well the feeling of jitters you get before running a race! Here are my tricks to beating the pre-race jitters + being able to race your heart out! 

Do an easy workout – like yoga or a short walk/run to relieve some stress + shake out some tension! This is a great way to get rid of some nerves as well as keep your body feeling loose for the race tomorrow. The day before a race is NOT the day to try an intense new HIIT workout ; )

Start drinking plenty of water the day before your race! Making sure you are fully hydrated before you start running will help with feeling good for the entire race + making sure you don’t get dehydrated. You’ll be surprised at how the adrenaline the morning of might make it hard to drink water — so drink up ahead of time! 

Eating a meal rich in carbohydrates is a great way to fuel your body before a race. Your body will store most of the carbs you eat in your muscles + liver as glycogen — which can then easily be used as energy during your race! Focus on carbs that you like [I know I love simple buttered pasta noodles ; )] — but bread, fruit, etc is all great! Try to choose foods that you know are *safe* + won’t upset your stomach. 

Have your gear packed + ready to go for the early morning you’ll have on race day [I’m all about snoozing as long as I can!]. Things to make sure you have ready to go: 

  • Race day outfit 
  • Number pinned on your shirt 
  • Hair ties, bobby pins, etc 
  • Water bottle 
  • Gu, Gels, Fuel! 
  • Shoes + lucky socks ; ) 

++ Finally, try to get a good night’s sleep! Don’t sweat it if you’re too nervous [or excited!] to sleep well – but do your best. Sleep is the best recovery tool we have!

Yes — it’s smart to eat something the morning of your race! Wake up so that you’ll have plenty of time to eat + digest your breakfast beforehand. Hopefully you’ve played around with what breakfast is best for you prior to long runs you’ve had. My go-to is typically a banana with peanut butter + a piece of toast or english muffin! ++ Yes, coffee is OK to have – but have plenty of water too ++ make sure you have plenty of time to get to the bathroom ; )

Complete a dynamic warm up + treat your race like any other run. If you’d typically jog a mile prior to starting your long run, do that. If you had a set of dynamic exercises you’d complete – do those! Whatever you’ve found works for you prior to a long run is what will work for you prior to a race! 

This is by far the most important step to beating the pre-race nerves. Remember WHY you signed up to do this race + trust all of the hard work you’ve put in leading up to it! No matter what happens during the race — you’ve committed to something for 15+ weeks + have put in a ton of effort… if that isn’t already an accomplishment, then I don’t know what is! 

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I hope that by following these steps, you’re able to beat the pre-race nerves  + have an awesome race day experience! However, I did want to share — I don’t really get pre-race jitters anymore + it’s not because of any of these steps! 

Of course, I got pre-race jitters in high school before every cross country + track meet. After all, you want to do your best! I was on varsity every year, never wanted to let my teammates down, + thought that I *might* be able to run in college. However, during my senior year, spring track season… something changed. I realized that I wasn’t going to run in college [so no scholarship money on the line] + I remembered why I run: to have fun + make friends. So, why get nervous before a race? As long as I did my best + had fun, that was all that mattered. 

This is a reminder I still have to give myself every *race season* + when workouts don’t go as planned. I constantly remind myself that I am not making any money doing this — in fact, I’m paying money to do it! So I might as well have fun with it, use it to stay in shape + better myself, + make new friends : ) 

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PSA: Looking for a running-focused workout program + community this summer? Always wanted to run 13.1 miles without stopping? Join CHAARG Run Club! Registration is open until May 29 — see more details here!

I Got Injured While Training For 13.1K… Here’s What Happened

I was never a huge runner for pleasure until my Freshman year at college. Don’t get me wrong, I was super active in high school but all of the running I did was while playing a sport or training for a specific sport. I never went on runs just because I wanted to. When I didn’t have lacrosse, swimming, or soccer to occupy my time in college anymore, I decided that I did enjoy running a lot more than I realized. So, I started going on more runs. A quick 2 miles around the res, a 5k with friends around campus, to accidentally running 8 miles to Fenway + back to campus. I fell in love with running all over again.

After my first taste of Marathon Monday, a holiday for Boston students, I knew that I wanted to run it someday. Instead of just jumping the gun to go straight to a marathon, I decided it would be best if I ran a few half-marathons beforehand. The summer before my Junior year, my best friend and I signed up to run the B.A.A Half Marathon in October! I was so excited that I went out for a long run right then + there. I spent my first training weeks doing 3 short runs on weekdays, 2 days of cross training, ++ went on my long runs on Saturday with Sunday being a rest day.

The weeks of training flew by and being my clumsy self, I tripped on one of those runs + ended up with a grade four high ankle sprain that left me in a boot for 3 weeks. One month before the race. One month. I was so upset but knew that I still wanted to at least try to complete this race. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to run the race and I knew that I probably wouldn’t get back to exactly where I was before the injury in my training, but I wanted to give it my all.

While I was in the boot for those 3 weeks, my workout routine primarily consisted of working on a stationary bike to keep cardio into my routine + doing upper body exercises. I would usually do about 30 minutes on the bike with very low resistance until I could work my way up + then about 20-30 minutes of upper body exercises. These exercises were mainly ab routines + toning for my arms. I remember feeling so bored doing the same thing everyday but knew that it was going to help me get better while keeping my strength up. As the race crept closer, all I wanted to do was go running but knew that I couldn’t rush it. My physical therapist + doctor kept telling me that I would be cutting it close with the race but that they thought I would be able to make it, only if I took it easy + didn’t jump into anything too soon. RICE [Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation ; ) ]was my best friend while I was in the boot + starting to workout again, still is to this day. After every workout I would go home, take my boot off while leaving the Ace bandage on, grab as many pillows as I could find to put my foot up above my heart, + plopped down on the couch with a bag of ice. I would do this for about 15-20 minutes a couple times a day to help the swelling to go down. I went to physical therapy about 2-3 times per week to help bring the strength back in my lower body ++ specifically my ankle. They would hook me up to a machine at the end of the session that was for electrical simulation which was supposed to help speed the recovery process along. It was the weirdest feeling making my foot feel like it had fallen asleep for about 10 minutes.

When I was able to start to ease back into my running I took it very slow. I ran only a couple times a week to make sure I didn’t re-injure my ankle on one of those runs. I kept up with physical therapy leading up to the race, which helped a lot with building my strength back up close to where it was before the injury. I didn’t follow the “traditional” training plan that I had originally put in place for myself, but I did what was best for my body. I knew that I had the ability to run 13.1 miles because of all the training I had done before the injury, so I wasn’t too concerned about getting those long runs in before the race. All I wanted to do was make sure that I could still run for an extended period of time. I wasn’t looking to get a specific time during this race, I just wanted to finish. Whether or not that meant I would be walking for most of it, all I wanted was to cross that finish line.

Race day came + I was so nervous. Nervous that I would re-injure my ankle ++ not be able to finish or nervous that I wouldn’t have the endurance to run for 13.1 miles. Luckily I had my best friend with me every step of the way. She kept encouraging me to keep going because she knew that I had it in me to finish the race. I wouldn’t have been able to cross that finish line if it weren’t for her pushing me at each mile every time I wanted to give up. Let me tell you, it wasn’t easy but it was possible and so worth it. When I got to mile 11, I saw my parents looking at me with tears in their eyes + then I started crying. When I crossed the finish line, I was so proud of myself for accomplishing this goal I had set for myself. Through all the pain + training I endured, it was 100% worth it seeing the look on their faces of how proud they were of me.

While my training experience did not go exactly as I had planned, it all ended up working out in the end. It wasn’t easy + not necessarily fun all of the time, but finishing the race made it all worth it. Through this experience, I learned that training for a race will never go exactly as you plan, but those up + downs that you endure along the way are going to make you physically ++ mentally that much stronger when race day comes. While I was running my race, there were times that I wanted to stop + give up right there, but I kept thinking about all that I had gone through to get to that point. Then I knew that if I could do all of that, I could run a little bit longer to finish the race.

I still have recovery tools that I use before + after I go on a run. I make sure to always stretch out my ankles + do the routine that I was taught during physical therapy. This helps to take away any lingering pain + overall just make it feel better during a run! Making sure to keep up my strength, whether that be my ankles, knees, hips, or anything else, is something that has helped dramatically improve how I feel after a run. To this day, I love running more than anything. I use it as a way to cope with my anxiety ++ an outlet for my stress. Running is a way for me to clear my head + put a smile on my face, no matter the circumstance. It doesn’t matter how fast I go or how long I run, running always puts me in a good mood.

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PSA: Looking for a running-focused workout program + community this summer? Always wanted to run 13.1 miles without stopping? Join CHAARG Run Club! Registration is open until May 29 — see more details here!

How To Adjust Your Training Plan When Life Happens

For anyone who has committed to an extensive training plan before… they know, things don’t always go *as planned*. For those of you who are committing to our CHAARG Run Club + maybe haven’t committed to a long term training plan — this is your head’s up: life will happen + you will miss workouts because of it! 

Life, work stress, illness, injury, global pandemics… things happen + they can upend our training plans. Last September I was training for my 2nd marathon + had nagging injuries that were keeping me from completing my workouts [at one point, I thought I had torn my meniscus — dodged a bullet there ; )]. Even though I had a less than perfect training season, I was still able to complete the marathon + do so with a smile on my face! Here are the some tips + lessons I’ve learned for when life happens + gets in the way of your training plan: 

There is no reason to try to *make up* missing a workout or two throughout this process. Listening to your body is an essential part of the training process! If you sleep really poorly one night, are super stressed with work or school, or just not feeling it — it’s OK to take a day off + not do what was *planned*. 

Here are a few helpful tips I’ve learned for what to do when you skip a workout. Did you skip your workout because you… 

#1] Slept through your alarm? You probably needed some extra z’s! Don’t beat yourself up about it. Try to pencil in your workout for later in the day. If you don’t have time, adjust the workout length to make it fit in your schedule. Doing a shorter workout still counts + is better than nothing. 

#2] Feeling really stressed with class or work? Take the day off. Stress takes a toll on our body similar to workouts — better to take some time to reset + re-center yourself rather than push through a workout [unless that workout will make you feel better… often times it does!]. 

#3] Super sore? During the first few weeks of training especially, you might find yourself really sore. Listen to your body! If you are too sore to run, focus on a different activity [like yoga, or gentle swimming]. Give your body rest as needed + don’t try to *push through the pain*. You can also always adjust your paces to go slower… no shame in slowing down! 

#4] Just not feeling it? Everyone gets in slumps + has days where they just simply are NOT feeling like they want to run, swim, lift weights, etc. This is normal + a very human experience! When you’re not feeling like you want to workout – try this: do 15 minutes. Typically this is enough time to do the warm up + start your workout — if after 15 minutes you still aren’t feeling it, then unlace your shoes, go home + rest! But the vast majority of the time, getting laced up + getting out there is the hardest part… you’ll be surprised at how often you decide to keep going! 

If you’re at the point where you have missed more than a few workouts, are averaging missing one workout every week, or have had to take more than a week off — you’ll need to adjust your plan + your goal! This is natural + happens — in September when I had to take 2-3 weeks off due to a supposed knee injury, I didn’t count out my race, but did adjust my plan + goals. I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle a lot of long runs leading up to my race + I knew that my race *goal* was going to be out of reach. So, I adjusted — I looked at my mileage + worked in what would be reasonable to me ++ what would still be enough to get me across the finish line, I also focused more heavily on cross training + building endurance that way! Finally – I adjusted my goal to be very simple: just finish + be healthy. It took a lot of pressure off + was something I knew I could focus on! 

Here are a few tips for adjusting your plan + adjusting your goal when you’ve had to miss a few weeks of workouts. 

#1] Missing one week: Don’t sweat it + do your best to jump back into training after. You won’t lose fitness for just one week off. The workouts might feel hard, but you’ll be OK + be back to where you were in no time. 

#2] Missing 2+ weeks: Depending on how much time you’ve had to take off or workouts missed + the reasoning – you’ll want to adjust your workouts to get back into the swing of things! Reducing mileage + building back up into the plan is the best way to remain injury free – you don’t want to jump back in + go from 0 – 20 miles in a day. Focus on *time* of the workouts rather than mileage + supplementing with more cross training. For example — if you are supposed to run 10 miles, but haven’t ran in a couple of weeks, it would be better to ease into that with running 4-5 miles [or a distance that you are pretty comfortable with] + biking, swimming, or cross-training for the equivalent time to get you to 10 miles. 

You might have an unconventional training plan + that is OK. Your *longest run* might look like running 5 miles + biking for an hour — while you might not *PR* during race day, you’ll still be able to get to the finish line! 

The best part of being a part of a running club is the ability to connect with other runners + hear what they’ve done when their training isn’t going to plan! This is also why we are so excited for the CHAARG Run Club slack group… you’ll easily be able to connect with all of the other CHAARG run club members for extra support, motivation, + ideas for when you need to adjust your training plan! 

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PSA: Looking for a running-focused workout program + community this summer? Always wanted to run 13.1 miles without stopping? Join CHAARG Run Club! Registration is open until May 29 — see more details here!

5 Recipes To Try From Food Bloggers We Love

When I have free time there’s a good chance you can find me in the kitchen whipping up something to eat for my family. I’ve been cooking for over TEN years! Food brings people together + I love seeing others make memories while enjoying tasty dishes I put together : ) Cooking is a way for me to show my gratitude to others, to get creative, calm down, +  have FUN! Quarantine has given me *all the [extra ; ) ] time* to be in the kitchen. I put together five of my fav recipes from a few of my fav food bloggers!

*The dreamy photos below are all from the food bloggers. 

#1] Ambitious Kitchen Seriously Good Sweet Potato Cheddar BBQ Chicken Burgers

Why I Love It — I love these burgers because honestly I really love sweet potatoes + feel they’re underutilized! Sweet potatoes are a high quality carbohydrate choice + are loaded with vitamins + minerals – B Vitamins, Vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, + SO many more. I love switching it up from a regular russet/baking potato.

Recipe Notes — I struggle with finding a tasty barbecue sauce that isn’t loaded with added sugar, but @primalkitchen classic bbq sauce works really well in this recipe! You can also sub turkey for chicken.

#2] Ambitious Kitchen The Best Chicken Soup You’ll Ever Eat

Why I Love It — Another AK must try… it is literally the best chicken soup you’ll ever eat. I’ve made this recipe at least once a month since Monique posted it back in January. It’s packed with nutrient dense foods, lean protein, and is easy to change up if you don’t have an ingredient on hand. Around last October, I listened to Monique’s episode on The CHAARG Podcast + I started making her recipes shortly after. To start, she has a recipe for almost anything you could possibly want. It ranges from breakfast to dessert + they’re all really freaking good. From a cooking perspective, I’ve found that Monique does an incredible job working with flavor combos and thinking outside of the box! 

Recipe Notes — I’ve omitted the chicken to make this vegetarian + also replaced chicken with mini italian meatballs : ) 

PSA! Make sure to check out episode #67 with Monique + let us know what you think! #TheCHAARGPodcast

#3] Minamalist Baker 1-Hour Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Why I Love It — Minimalist Baker is an AWESOME food blogger to follow because most of her recipes have ten ingredients or less! This is a really easy meal to make with items you have on hand + I love the use of lentils! Lentils are a legume, plant-based protein source, and packed with fiber — great for the digestive system ; ) I’ve made this twice + my family loves it!

Recipe Notes — I’ve even made this with boxed mashed potatoes! Gotta do what you can during quarantine! ; ) 

#4] Hummusapien Creamy Vegan Broccoli Cauliflower Soup

Why I Love It — Clearly I love soups! They’re *full* of great flavor, packed with vegetables, typically low-cost, + soups provide SO many meals! I love when soup recipes incorporate immersion blenders into the game! This is a great way to thicken the soup + add a depth of flavor + creaminess!

Recipe Notes — If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender + it works the same! Just be careful – soup is HOT + heat will expand in your blender so don’t put *too* much in at once! : ) If you don’t have nutritional yeast on hand + you’re not vegan, feel free to sup for real cheese. Nutritional yeast is a great vegan cheese replacement! : )

#5] Rachaelsgoodeats Healthy Twix Bars

Why I Love It — I believe in getting your information from credible sources. Since I’m in school to become a Registered Dietitian [RD], I try my best to support other RDs in the field because I know they are credible sources with years of nutrition education. Rachael does a great job at promoting overall health and wellness, and advocates for simple swaps in the diet that have a high payoff. These healthy twix are INCREDIBLE + a must make for your next [post-quarantine; )] dinner party!

Recipe Notes — In the shortbread layer I replaced coconut flour with all purpose flour + in the caramel layer I replaced almond butter with peanut butter! Any chocolate chips will work!

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I know the weather is warming up, but these are all great comfort food meals to make while you’re spending *extra* time with your families at home! ALSO! One of my favorite things about ALL these food bloggers is their email/newsletter subscription! They send tasty recipes right to your inbox to keep the cooking inspo going strong. If you make one of these recipes, make sure to share a photo on instagram with #CHAARGeats! 

 

Running Injuries: Prevention + Recovery

Let’s just say it: injuries suck. ++ no one is *immune* to them — they can happen to anyone. Whether it’s an acute injury or one of those nagging pains that slowly becomes its own monster — they set you back not only in your training but can take a toll on your mental health too! 

As we’ve been gearing up for CHAARG Run Club, so many of you have shared your fears + questions regarding injuries. As someone who has been running for 15 years, I’ve faced my fair share of injuries + setbacks while running + training; I wanted to share what I’ve learned from my injuries, how you can *hopefully* prevent them, + what to do if you do get injured! 

I want to preface this by saying: I’m not a doctor. But here is what I’ve learned for *why injuries happen*: 

  • Doing too much too fast 
  • Structural imbalance or weakness
  • Bad luck!

I throw in option c because honestly, life happens. You might get in a bike accident, you might trip over a sidewalk crack on a run, you might sprain your ankle playing basketball with your little brother, etc, etc, etc. You can do everything right + still get injured — you still have to live your life! 

Given that all of us will have our fair share of bad luck — let’s focus on how to prevent injuries: controlling our controllables. 

A] Doing too much too fast. Well, this one is simple: don’t overdo it too fast. Start slow + slowly build your mileage. Start slow in the literal sense — keep your easy runs EASY + build your confidence with pace — I believe that being conservative in the beginning is a good way to stay healthy for the long term. It’s also recommended that you don’t build your mileage by more than 10% every week. CHAARG Run Club is 16 weeks long which allows you to really slowly build your mileage up to your goal of running 13.1! 

B] Structural imbalances + weaknesses. This is specific to everyone. You might have one leg that is a little longer than the other, maybe your feet overpronate, maybe you have weak glutes or tight hips… the list goes on + on. Figuring out your weaknesses + focusing on exercises to strengthen those weaknesses is the best approach to combating injuries that you may face. As you start running, you might find yourself feeling a gradual pain in different areas of your body — maybe it’s in your knees, your shins, or your hamstrings. Connecting with a physical therapist, doctor, or chiropractor + telling them about the pain you’re having before it becomes a full-blown injury is a great way to get some exercises that you can do to help combat the injury + prevent it from spiraling out of control! The key to this? Actually doing the exercises. I can’t tell you how many times I myself have had exercises to do but then I would stop doing them as soon as whatever was hurting felt better. 9 times out of 10, it’d come back a few weeks after I stopped doing my exercises. This is how I got hooked on doing a Strength + Mobility Routine — mine incorporates different exercises I’ve learned over the year + addresses imbalances in my body [weak hips, glutes that don’t activate, etc]. 

It can be hard to tell when you’re getting injured. You’re going to feel aches + pains in some runs ++ they don’t all become a huge cause for concern. I want to preface this by saying: I’m not a doctor — but just sharing my own experience with injuries. Here is how I typically determine what is an ache or pain vs maybe cause for concern: the walk test. 

Scenario 1: I’m on a long run + I notice my hamstring is feeling especially tight. It loosens up while I’m running + I feel good by the end of my run. Cause for concern? Nah. Keep doing my strength + mobility routine + give my hamstring some extra love with the foam roller + lacrosse ball later! 

Scenario 2: Let’s say the tightness in my hamstring does not go away by the end of my run. It stays + if anything is getting a little bit worse. However, I notice when I’m walking around later that day that my hamstring isn’t bugging me — it was only tight while running. Cause for concern? Not heading to the doctor yet, but definitely listening to my body. Continuing to do my strength exercises + definitely icing after my run. I’ll also definitely give my hamstring some extra love with the foam roller + lacrosse ball later ++ potentially give myself an extra rest day or cross train instead of run the next day. 

Scenario 3: The tightness of my hamstring does not go away by the end of my run + furthermore, I notice that I’m feeling super tight walking around later that day. My concern is raised — because the pain has progressed from run only to now it hurts when I’m walking around. Instead of heading straight to the doctor, I focus on giving it some TLC. I take a few days off + back off my paces — focusing on recovery efforts + conservative pacing. I continue my strength exercises, I ice for 20 minutes every day, + I continue hitting it with the foam roller + lacrosse ball. If after a couple of weeks of being conservative + focusing on strength/recovery I am still not feeling better, then I’ll head to the doctor to see what’s going on. 

Scenario 4: The tightness in my hamstring doesn’t go away by the end of my run + it hurts all the time — not only when I’m just walking around but even sitting at my desk. I’ve taken a week or so of resting + it’s gotten progressively worse. Time to make an appointment with the PT or doctor! 

Each injury is different + will have different protocols for rest + recovery. However, most will use the RICE method [rest, ice, compression, elevation] + encourage you to take an anti-inflammatory such as motrin or tylenol. If you’re feeling injured — being sure to rest + head to a specialist to get some more insight is the right move! Do not try to diagnose yourself via Doctor Google… leave it to the professionals! I’d also encourage you to work with them in order to develop a re-entry plan. 

It can be tempting to think “Oh. I’m injured. My training is over!” — but this all or nothing mindset does not really serve us when training. Focusing on recovery as well as cross-training activities you can do to maintain fitness is a great way to continue training. You’ll most likely have to adjust your goals [for example — if you had a goal of running 13.1 sub 2 hours, maybe your new goal will just be finishing 13.1] — but this is OK + it’s good to remember: injuries are [more often than not!] a part of the process! They happen to *almost* everyone [I’ve never met a runner who hasn’t faced an injury before] + it’s an opportunity to learn how to listen to your body + become stronger. 

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PSA: Looking for a running-focused workout program + community this summer? Always wanted to run 13.1 miles without stopping? Join CHAARG Run Club! Registration is open until May 29 — see more details here!