Age: 26 State: WI
Experience: Iron Woman
Age: 46 State: NY
Age: 29 State: NY
Age: 22 State: CO
Age: 26 State: CO
Age: 25 State: WI
Age: 34 State: WI
Age: 32 State: WI
Annie Weiss has found her balance through a healthy combination of fitness and nutrition. As Dirty Girl’s fitness ambassador, she will use this space to lead you through a weekly session of training that will help you not only prepare for your Dirty Girl event, it will help you find a better balance in your own life. Feel free to message her on this blog or email email@example.com
After a fair amount of DG physical training, mental preparation, and pure food focus, you completed the obstacles, got down n’ dirty, and crossed the finish line. But now that it’s over, what do you do? How do you train? How do you continue the athletic high you are on? How do you keep eating for fitness?? These types of questions are common after a successful event. But don’t get caught up in them; rather, ask yourself… ‘what is my next goal?’ And ‘what do I need to do to be as successful, if not MORE successful, after DG?’
Athletic and food maintenance is extremely difficult…not only physically difficult but mentally difficult as well. To continue a demanding training and eating regimen is one of my greatest personal challenges when it comes to running. I train, race, train, race, train, race….do you see a break in there?! Or any sort of maintenance? Many athletes get stuck in the train/race pattern and forget that taking a break is as important as training and racing.
So once you set your next goal…maybe it’s another 5k mud run, or a road 5k or 10k, or even a bike event, or sprint triathlon….plan your break time first, and then start training again for that event. If you are doing DG this month, give yourself a week of relaxing, low to moderate activity. That would be walking, easy swimming, elliptical training, leisure biking, hiking, or just playing with your kids outside. Your muscles will get a break, your body will ‘reset’ and be ready to go for more difficult training. If you prefer to continue your moderate to high intensity regimen, then I would suggest taking one more rest day (2-3 days) a week while in maintenance mode. This way your body can still take a little more time to recover from training/racing mode. So for example, Monday you jog, Tuesday you weight lift, Wednesday REST, Thursday jog, Friday elliptical/weight train (or REST), Saturday bike, and Sunday REST. Some people get antsy when they can’t work out or work out in a high intensity zone. This gives those people a way to have the best of both worlds…high intensity with more full rest days.
Food maintenance is important too! Continue eating for your sport…ensuring you consume enough carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals found in fruits and vegetables are vital for the body – eat them! And don’t stop! Drink … water, water, water. Treat yourself to your guilty pleasure (but under control of course) – maybe it’s a beverage, dessert, or bag of chips – this is important. Never deprive your body of anything you love – just think moderation and portion control. This is key when in training and maintenance. Just because you are giving your body a break, don’t think you can’t eat anything or you have to eat less because you’re not working out as much. Your metabolism is still moving, so give it the gas to go! Once your training starts again, your body will tell you it’s hungrier – just listen to it.
You have all successfully completed the first ever Dirty Girl obstacle course and I look forward to next year’s event. Like I said, set your next goal – and do it sooner than later! It will keep you on track so you can reach your lifetime fitness and nutrition goals!
September 12th, 2011
Before Dirty Girl, I checked out the obstacles on the website to see what I was up against. When I rolled my mouse over The Hangover to see tires hanging, I thought, ‘ooooh my goodness, this is ridiculous.’ I wasn’t too sure how this obstacle would work, or really how to prepare for it. I decided building upper body strength would be my best bet. My typical routine is to weight lift, just focusing on my upper body, 3 times per week. It sounds easy, but as a cardio junky, I don’t always get in my weight training. I made a point 3 weeks before DG to weight lift in order to successfully complete this obstacle.
Before picking up a weight to work any muscle in your body, stretch or warm up….5-10 minutes. I would do 1 exercise each for my biceps, triceps, and chest. Typically a bicep curl using a body bar and triceps extensions using a weight machine; but push ups or triceps dips work great too – really efficient and cause a nice burn!
This obstacle seems to use your shoulders and abdominals most. I incorporated 2 different shoulder exercises – an upright row and an overhead lift, both using the body bar. Sets for me are 12-15 for 3 times. If you are not accustomed to weight training, 1-2 sets at 8-12 reps will get your muscles burning and working…ready for the obstacle. Abdominals will help you through this obstacle as well. I like to do side bends using a single weight, basic abdominal crunches on the mat, and the ever so hated PLANK (don’t forget the side plank too!). The plank will work not only your upper abdominals, but the lower abdominals that sit under your belly, which we always forget about. Definitely an intimidating obstacle, but TOTALLY one any DG can overcome.
Vitamins …Do Athletes Need More?
This is one of the top questions I am asked when consulting athletes, because like most people, athletes want to perform at the highest possible level and do their best. Does that mean taking more or higher doses of vitamins/minerals…or supplements? NO. But if you are questioning your vitamin and mineral intake, or have any symptoms you find are a result of lack of nutrients from your diet, you need to consult your doctor.
Many women are health conscience and try to consume a variety of foods. If you eat fruits and vegetables on a regular basis, and are not a vegetarian, you more than likely get enough vitamins and minerals in your diet…you would not need supplements or even a multivitamin. From a consumer point of view, you are better off buying tasty fruits and veggies than a pill or powder! Even as an athlete, vitamins and minerals will be consumed in your food…the idea of “more” or “extra” or “mega dosing” is unnecessary. It will not help your performance. In an earlier blog, I mentioned my top 10 food picks…which are jam packed with vitamins and minerals – super important to the athletes’ body. Eat those foods, and you wouldn’t need a supplement. OK, but what if your doctor says you do? Or you are a vegetarian? Or maybe you just want to know more of the facts….
There are 2 types of vitamins – fat soluble and water soluble. The fat soluble vitamins are: vitamin A, D, E, and K. Right now, the media has made vitamin D the new HOT vitamin to supplement, but there is something you should know….Fat soluble vitamins can cause toxic reactions if taken in excess. Are you taking too much? Well, if you consume foods that are high in, for example, vitamin A and then take a multivitamin and then take vitamin A supplements (because the container for that supplement said it would make you perform better) twice a day, yes, you will see toxic reactions….headache, nausea, vomiting, and in horrible cases, birth defects and changes to your hair, skin, and nails. Vitamin D can be obtained from the sun during certain parts of the year, and is very common in foods….just drink your milk every day! Vitamin K is in your green leafies…so eat a salad or cut up some veggies with dip as a snack, and vitamin E….eat a handful of nuts or toss some seeds on your salad. WHALA! Your fat soluble vitamins, in adequate amounts, without spending the dollars on pills or powders.
On to water soluble vitamins…vitamin C and B-complex vitamins, like B12, niacin, and riboflavin to name a few. Water soluble vitamins, if taken in excess, will not cause toxic reactions; rather, it will be eliminated in your body wastes. Why pay more for vitamin C supplements…cause you think you won’t get a cold, right???…EAT YOUR VITAMIN C….all citrus fruits are high in C, cantaloupe, grape juice, strawberries, and papaya are also among the highest C foods. B-vitamins are your energy producers and typically these are the one athletes toy with in mega doses. If you are a vegetarian, first check out your lab work from your doctor, and then yes, a multi-vitamin or B-complex supplements may be needed. FYI – meats, eggs, milk – your protein sources – are high in B-vitamins, but for the vegetarian, it can be found in legumes and beans and must be paired appropriately with a carbohydrate source such as rice.
Vitamins are SUPER important for the functions of your body, whether you are an athlete or not. Just to name a few….vitamin A is crucial for eye functioning, vitamins A, D, and C help keep your teeth strong, vitamin E aides blood cells, Vitamin K affects blood clotting, and vitamins A, C, B6, niacin, and riboflavin keep your skin healthy. So yes, vitamins are essential for everyone!…but probably not in mega doses. Eat a variety of foods every day and your body will be happy!
September 9th, 2011
Have you ever said to someone, “eat my dust???” or “eat my dirt???”… because after this obstacle, you will be saying that to everyone you just flew past…or slid past, or one of the two! The biggest challenge here is not having the energy or strength to push through…it’s not getting mud in the face. Don’t try to sprint up to the top….take your time going up the mud hill because if you fall, A. you’re muddy, and B. it will be hard to get up and find the momentum to keep going to the top. Once you get to the top though, I wouldn’t sprint…save your legs so you can sprint from the bottom of the hill to the next obstacle. You took your time getting to the top, if you see a mud slide, you know ladies are going butts down…it’s an easy and fast method…or you can slide on your feet (like you are snowboarding) to the bottom. And if you don’t want to risk hurting yourself, do the side walk or run down to the bottom…again it’s like snowboarding but take small steps instead of sliding. All three methods get you to the bottom and on to the next obstacle. For training purposes, if you want to prepare for a muddy, sticky hill, incorporate some squats, lunges, and stair stepping into your workouts.
The Powers of Caffeine
Before I begin to tell you the nutritional and scientific facts about Caffeine, and if it’s good or bad for athletes, etc…I want to tell you about my experiences with it (and just remember, every athlete has different experiences with its use, some swear by it, and others won’t touch it).
Spring 2010, I was gearing up for my 2nd marathon….The LA Marathon. Unfortunately, I was also in PT at that time trying to remedy my IT Band. Therapy was helping, but my leg would not be 100% in time for the marathon. They knew I was still going to run…that wasn’t a question….but they told me to keep track of pain levels during the race. My plan of action was not a plan I would EVER recommend to anyone….I was a desperate, injured athlete just wanting to qualify for Boston. My solution for the pain was to take pain medication before and during the run…and my solution to get to the finish line faster than I knew I could, was caffeine. Like any other race, I used caffeine, so I didn’t think it would matter to take it for the LA Marathon. My typical routine was a caffeine pill before and during…plus whatever caffeine was in my 1 cup of coffee before the run in the early morning and whatever caffeine was in my gels during the marathon. Each caffeine pill is 200mg caffeine, each gel has ~20-40mg caffeine, and generic coffee is usually 90-200mg per cup. I can’t even tell you how many caffeine pills I popped thinking it would make me faster, and how much pain medication I took during the run…and to top it off, I didn’t drink much water because when you run in the desert, sweat just evaporates off your body.
I was able to run pain-free until mile 11…my pace gradually slowed until mile 18 when I walked to the finish (which was a total death march)…the pain continued to get worse and worse….unbearable….i was in tears for miles. And to top it off….my heart was racing…my head was spinning…and I still wasn’t thirsty (nor did I realize I had nothing to drink for a few miles).
By mile 25.5 I started to run…there was no way I was going to finish walking…I dashed to the finish line, and found my sister waiting for me. I was balling my eyes out…in pain. She knew what would help…an ice cream cone of course. After, we left and started driving home. About 10 minutes into our drive, I began to feel sick…I started to vomit…
Okay, so it was the ice cream cone, right?….nope. We got home and it was non-stop vomiting for the whole day. After admitting to my sister what I took through the race, it ended up being ~2000mg caffeine mixed with 2 different pain killers…and again, no water. The caffeine overdose (and for some, 2000mg might be nothing) caused my racing heart and dehydration/vomiting. A lethal dose of caffeine is 10g, so it certainly wasn’t that much! Since that marathon, all caffeine pills have been disposed of, and my intake pre-race has dwindled. I now drink my cup of coffee (it’s a routine piece for me), and whatever caffeine happens to be in my gels is all I consume. It doesn’t affect my racing times as I thought it did taking it – I still qualify, place, and beat my times.
I know it’s a long story, but it’s a good lesson for any athlete getting a bit nutty about their training and goals. Caffeine can spark my legs for a couple miles of a race, which feels great, but the crash made the rest of the race so much worse and hard to bounce back from.
My greatest suggestion from my own personal experience is prepare your heart, lungs, and legs properly….train with a program and if you run, add 10% to your base every week. If you are injured, take out 10% until the pain goes away….or see a PT…or stop your activity. I know it’s not fun to stop, but it usually is short term, better than not being able race again.
Caffeine fast facts:
Caffeine is the most commonly used psychoactive drug. It affects mood, stamina, metabolism, stimulates the nervous system, and GI system. It can be found in coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and chocolate. It certainly can be addictive for some regular caffeine users, and when withdrawal occurs, those people may have severe headaches, tiredness, fatigue, lack of energy, decreased alertness, difficultly concentrating, and irritability (to name a few!). If not in withdrawal, caffeine in appropriate doses can cause the opposite…jolts of energy and full alertness.
September 6th, 2011
It is not the easiest thing in the world to think about what to make, have all the ingredients, and then find the time to make a meal. So when I say “recipes” I really mean awesome grocery list items and quick eats that are energy packed and healthy all in one. KABAM!
So for starters…it’s 6am, you roll out of bed to work out or get ready for work, you’re running late…and then I tell you to make egg frittatas and jazzed up oatmeal. No. If you aren’t a morning person and can never find time to make something in the morning….stick with the Quaker Oatmeal packet with a piece of fruit, or have a supply of hard boiled eggs on hand, with a 1/2 bagel and call it a day. For those who have the time to heat up the oven…here’s that egg frittata recipe I ABSOLUTELY love…for breakfast and I’ll admit, I eat them after long endurance runs for recovery. The staple to add to your grocery list here is EGGS.
You will need a muffin tin – full or mini.
Ingredients: Eggs (3 whole, 6 whites) and anything you want in your frittata (that’s what I love most; changing and adding variety!) – ok, my favorite is…
Diced ham (about 1/2 cup)
Shredded cheddar cheese (1/4 cup)
Diced tomatoes (usually i cut up cherry tomatoes in quarters – 1/4 cup)
Cooked spinach (~1/2 cup cooked) – usually if I know I’m making frittatas, ill steam it the night before with dinner
Other options: peppers, onions, mushrooms, Swiss cheese, Parmesan cheese, sausage, bacon bits, Canadian bacon
Preheat your oven to 350-375 degrees. Spray your muffin tin if needed.
Whisk together your eggs (depending on your muffin tin, typically its 6-8 eggs – what is listed above is what works for me)
Add in your ingredients and pour into your muffin tin to almost the top.
Bake until the egg mix puffs up and just sets in the middle (usually for me, it’s about 10 minutes)
Eat them hot! Or save for later!
Staple #2 on the grocery list…white potatoes (yes, the 5lb or 10lb sack o’ potatoes). I go through a 5lb bag every week on my own – they are great and lots of fun things to do with them – here’s a couple ideas I use….
Greek Mashed Potatoes
Grab a large baking potato (say around 10oz raw) and ~1/2 cup of Greek yogurt. Mash that together with seasoning to taste (salt/pepper/garlic/cheese – no more than a 1/4 cup) and WHAAALA!…a high protein/carb recovery meal. Make it alone or on the side of your meat and veggies.
Cut up in small sections a few baking potatoes. Throw them into a large Ziploc bag with 1-3 tsp of olive or canola oil and your favorite seasonings. I will use seasoning based on what meat I’m making….you can put together a garlic mix, just salt/pepper, or Cajun….Caribbean jerk…something fun you usually don’t have! Seal the bag…shake the bag….pour the bag of seasoned potatoes on a baking sheet (either spray it or foil it and spray it) and bake in your preheated over at 350 degrees until nicely browned. Taste test one of course
Baked French Fries
So easy….take about 10oz of potatoes….thinly slice the potatoes, season with seasoning salt, and spread on a baking sheet (sprayed or foiled with spray) and baked in your preheated over at 350 degrees until brown and crispy. One of my absolute favorites!
On to another staple…RICE. Start with this easy fried rice recipe and add your meat!
Ingredients: 2 eggs (or I usually don’t do the eggs if I’m adding a meat: shrimp/chicken/pork)
Scallions (I usually wouldn’t make a point to get this at the grocery, but it makes the rice taste awesome!)
Frozen green peas – I get the sugar snap kind
I will also add if I have it (and usually I will if I’m making this)….baby corn, mushrooms, and water chestnuts.
Soy sauce, to taste
Rice, make what you need – usually 2-3 cups raw makes a lot!
Cook off your eggs if you are using them…scrambled egg of course and set aside to add in later.
With a tsp of oil, sauté your carrots and scallions, add in the other veggies of choice.
Cook your rice (its okay, we all use Minute Rice…its quick and easy!…use it!)
Add the rice to your veggie mix, splash with soy sauce to taste, and serve.
Great pre race meal….add tons of protein with eggs and meat and it becomes a recovery dish!
Last one….I like to call it….Basil Chicken Pasta
Pasta (3oz for a serving usually works, but make enough for all and pick your favorite kind…I love angel hair, but bowties are fun!)
Chicken breast tenderloins or full breasts cooked (use a meat you love, this is great with shrimp, salmon or tuna too – even the canned version!)
Olive oil, 1-3 tsp
Basil, Basil, and more Basil!….up to you how much you add.
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Cut up your chicken into small pieces, bite size, but not too small. Cook off your pasta and drain. Put the pasta back into your pan, still on low heat and add in the olive oil, chicken, and basil. Mix together and let it cook together….plate and shake your Parmesan cheese on top (you can also add this to the mix and let it cook together too – totally your preference).
This is a great pre race meal and recovery meal all in one! I typically use this dish the night before an event.
August 28th, 2011
As you know, there a gazillion books, websites and TV shows that tell you what you should be eating for any given activity. When you are training for an athletic event, no matter what size or intensity, there are particular foods that may help enhance your energy level at every stage of your training. Obviously, the macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat, and protein) are essential, but don’t forget about the micronutrients (minerals and vitamins) that are found in pretty much all foods. So which foods are the best? Here’s my top 10 picks to spark your energy level right now:
1. Kale: A green leafy vegetable, kale is loaded with Vitamin K for maintaining strong bones. It also contains Vitamin C, B-Vitamins (for energy!), Iron, Calcium and Folic Acid, all of which are essential to the female athlete.
2. Avocado: Avocados are packed with monounsaturated fats to help keep hearts healthy. They also contain Potassium, B-Vitamins, Folic Acid and Vitamin C.
3. Berries: ALL berries (blue, black, straw) are super awesome energy foods.Blueberries contain the most antioxidants (which help get rid of the “yucky stuff” – free radicals – that float around the body after activity). Berries are abundant in Vitamin C, which produces Carnitine, a nutrient that helps turn fat into energy. In addition, they contain fiber and vitamins that strengthen bones, increase brain function, reduce inflammation and ward off muscle cramping.
4. Figs: A carbohydrate- and vitamin-rich food, figs contain high amounts of potassium and fiber. The dried kind are even more concentrated with nutrients, especially Iron, Sodium, Calcium and B-Vitamins.
5. Greek Yogurt: Even though Greek Yogurt seems to be the hippest food around these days, it’s insane benefits are still fairly unknown by the public. Greek Yogurt is PACKED with protein (20 grams per 1 cup serving!) and helps to repair your muscles after long endurance events.For those sensitive to lactose, it contains less carbs – and therefore less lactose – making it easier to digest.
6. Ground Turkey: Ground turkey contains one more gram of protein than beef and has less saturated fat. It provides the body with absorbable Iron,which is necessary for energy. If athletes have low levels of Iron, they have low levels of oxygen and, therefore, low levels of energy. Because as you know, you need oxygen to move!
7. Baked Potatoes: Number One on my list of carbs, potatoes help replenish energy stores for later. They contain fiber and antioxidants that help with muscle recovery, Potassium and Vitamin C to protect from cholesterol buildup and help control blood pressure, and B-Vitamins,Magnesium, Iron and Folic Acid for increased energy.
8. Pasta: Whole-wheat pasta contains carbs that are easier to digest and leave you feeling fuller longer. Starches in the pasta are absorbed more slowly, adding a powerhouse bonus for endurance athletes need long-term muscle fuel. Also, cooking pasta al dente leaves in more B-Vitamins,meaning you enjoy more energy!
9. Milk: Dairy is essential for ALL females. Chocolate milk, as I’m sure many of you have heard about, is great for recovery because it lowers muscle breakdown after activity. Plus, it prevents osteoporosis, regulates blood pressure, strengthens boons and teeth, fights cancer, lowers cholesterol,and helps with heart, nerve and muscle cell functions.
10.Chia Seeds: Chia seeds contain Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, all of which are great inflammation fighters. Chia seeds contain more Omega3’s than flax seeds and are packed with Calcium and fiber. Historically Known as “the running food,” chia seeds are great for energy and endurance.
Next blog: I promise I won’t talk anymore about food science, but I will offer you a few energy-packed recipes to use when training for your event. They’re fast,easy and taste incredible!
August 24th, 2011