Monday, February 29, 2016

Rest Is A Four Letter Word

So, if you've spent any time in your life on an exercise program, you've probably heard that you should have some designated rest days.  These days are supposed to be times for the muscles to heal from all of the damage that you've unleashed upon them.  Perhaps they are intended as a special time for self-reflection and stretching, or maybe a leisurely walk around the block.  Any runner will tell you that rest days are an integral part of any good training program.  However, ain't nobody got time for that!

I don't think I've had many intentional rest days.  They usually come as a result of injury, extreme weather conditions, or sheer boredom with a training plan.  The countdown on the race calendar does not stop  while you take a break right?  Wrong.  My body is dead.  It decided at some point last week that it was just over me and all of the things that I wanted to do.  What's that Natasha?  You'd like to run hill intervals, lift heavy and then go to the pool for some laps?  I'll show you!  So now I'm sidelined with my back and hip hurting, bunion throbbing, and eyes rolling cause I need to get back to it.  I didn't feel so good on Saturday so naturally I thought it would be a good idea to run 8 miles at dawn on Sunday morning.  The run was amazing!  The cold that I have now, not so much.

Listen to your bodies people!  Your body always knows what it needs.  I know that Rome was not built in a day, but I am always afraid of losing momentum.  I'm afraid that 1 day off will turn into 100 and my motivation will be lost forever.  (Also, the way I eat, exercising is really not optional!) Tonight, while I take my NyQuil shots and groan in bed, I will be secretly plotting my next escape to the trail or the gym or the pool.  I'll just have to wait another day or two.

Happy Resting!


Monday, February 15, 2016

Whatcha Got Cookin', Good Lookin'?

"The secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside." -- Mark Twain

I love food. I like eating it, I like buying it, and I like talking about it. Tell me about a good restaurant, and I'll probably eat there at my next opportunity. As a self-proclaimed chubster, this is probably not something I should be admitting in public... and certainly not something I should admit to on this blog! But in the in spirit of transparency, here I am! Waving my foodie flag proudly, and asking for forgiveness. 

As a food lover, you would think that I enjoy cooking, right? Well... I often joke that the best thing I make is reservations :) It's not that I can't cook, mind you, because I totally can. I just choose to be lazy! Why? Well, it's oftentimes cheaper for me to eat out than eat in, and cooking for one is hard when you hate leftovers. Oh, and I really hate doing dishes afterwards. All this being said, I know that this is a bad habit that I really need to kick so I've been trying (with varying results) to do the same for the last few months. 

In an attempt to save my health (and my sanity), I've been looking for the easiest version of my favorite foods to recreate at home. My rules are simple - it has to cost less than eating out, has to take around 30 minutes from prep to plate, and it has to taste and look good. Sound good? Let's begin!

Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin

  • Pork tenderloin - small
  • Fresh rosemary 
  • Honey mustard - 4-6 tablespoons, depending on the size of your pork tenderloin
    • For the adventurous, I would use this recipe. I tried it, and totally approve of it. It's easy and very tasty! I add crushed pecans or walnuts if I make my own, but you don't have to do that. 
    • For the lazy, I would buy honey mustard of your choosing. My favorite? Terrapin Ridge Farms Pecan Honey Mustard, which you can buy online here. It's all-natural, gluten-free, and vegan friendly :)
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. You should also prep your baking pan at this time. I like using Pyrex, which I lightly grease with olive oil (just coating the bottom). If you use a metal pan, however, you should line it with foil and use a greased rack.
  2. Baste the tenderloin in the pan using the honey mustard. (Recommendation: If using a store bought honey mustard, take about 5 tablespoons and microwave until very soft. For the Terrapin Ridge Honey Mustard, I microwave it for about 30 seconds.) Set aside the remaining 2-3 tablespoons for additional basting while cooking. 
  3. Top the tenderloin with rosemary. If you leave the tenderloin whole, use 4 sprigs and place them diagonally along the length of the tenderloin. If you cut the tenderloin prior to cooking (as pictured), lay one sprig of rosemary on top of each cut tenderloin slice. 
  4. Bake the tenderloin in the oven uncovered, occasionally basting with the remaining honey mustard glaze as needed. Cook for approximately 25 minutes, or until your meat thermometer reads 150 degrees. 
  5. Allow the meat to stand for five minutes before serving.
Nutritional Information:

For a 3oz serving (pictured with Terrapin Ridge Honey Mustard, less vegetable side): 212 calories, 7.5 g of fat (1 g saturated), 62 mg cholesterol, 18 g total carbohydrates (9 sugars), 368 mg sodium, 22 g protein. [Values will be slightly higher with homemade honey mustard using the recipe linked above]

Fast Food Burrito

  • 1 slice of flatbread (I recommend and use Flatout Flatbread - Light Original)
  • 1 small chicken breast (alternative - 1 turkey burger patty; different texture but great taste)
  • 1/4 cup (or 1 slice) of jalapeƱo jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro (optional)

  1. Lightly toast the flatbread in a pan on the stove. I use a quick spritz of olive oil on the pan so it won't stick, but you can skip that step if you have a non-stick pan. 
  2. Thoroughly cook the chicken breast (I like to do this on a Foreman grill, which takes about 5-6 minutes). Slice the chicken breast into strips and set aside.
  3. Lay the flatbread flat on a plate. Layer the slices of chicken breasts on the flatbread, and top with the black beans and cilantro if desired. Top with cheese, and wrap tightly.
  4. Place the burrito back in the pan, cooking for about 30 seconds or until the cheese melts. 
Nutritional Information:

For one serving/one burrito: 412 calories, 20.8 g fat, 577.5 mg sodium, 37.6 g carbs (12.4 g fiber/1.3 g sugar), and 36.2 g protein.  (Compare to Chipotle, which would be approx. 700 calories, 25.5 g fat, 69 g carbs (15.5 g fiber/1 g sugar), and 52 g protein)


Hope you enjoy the easy-peasy meals I have shared with you here. They're definitely worth trying if you're looking for something tasty and easy. My goal for the remainder of the month is to eat at home more often than I eat out. I know this is a pathetic goal for most people, but it will be harder for me than you think. Do you have any easy recipes you'd like to share? Please do! As I play with more food options and recipes at home, I'll try to remember to share them here. Until next time, have a happy and healthy week!



Thursday, February 11, 2016

Guest Post: Awesome Anushika's Virtual Runs (#SoMuchGood with the Hogwarts Running Club!)

I've introduced the awesome Anushika ("Shika") in previous blog posts, but only recently thought to ask her to do a guest post for this blog. While "Awesome Anushika," as she is known on the Mike the Fanboy fan blog, has been blogging for a while, she's relatively new to the whole race craze that Natasha and I have been into lately. It all started with an invite to join me in the Disneyland Tinkerbell 10K in May. What sounded like a crazy, lofty goal soon turned into an obsession, and well... I'll let Shika take it from here. So, without further adieu, introducing... Awesome Anushika!
Greetings awesome humans!

This one goes out to anyone struggling to get themselves out there - To anyone who thinks running is not for you... To all who believe you have to be in great shape to get out there.
Sure, I enjoyed the occasional charity race, but it wasn’t enough to motivate me to run regularly. Knowing my obsession with the Harry Potter series, your Occasionally Fit friend (Becky) introduced me to the Hogwarts Running Club. Yes people, this is a real thing. Hogwarts Running Club exits! Becky sent me a link to one of their races thinking it would be a fun thing to do together. I was pretty much hooked instantly. I kept signing up for more and more races until I ended up doing them all (during the Time Turner yearend event).

The best thing about this running club is that it's a virtual running club, so you have absolutely NO excuse not to do the races. After signing up, you can complete your miles whenever you want. You can even break the mileage into comfortable portions and complete them in different sessions. It's perfect for a person like me who loves to go out running during ungodly hours. It would be a crime not to talk about the wickedly awesome medals. If you are a Harry Potter fan, these medals are a must. They are beyond fantastic!
The club itself is absolutely amazing. They have their own Facebook group and each Hogwarts house has their own group with awesome head-girls/boys to help out all their fellow students, especially the first year "students" that are new to the group. In addition to be fan friendly, the Hogwarts Running Club does so much good! It’s definitely more than just a simple running club. It’s more like a massive fandom coming together to do so much good in every way possible. A portion of each race's proceeds go to charity, and runners also use the Charity Miles app to help even more charities while keeping track of all the exceptional miles done by all the members. (Anushika Note: If you are serious about your pace and miles, please do not rely on the app. We have experienced some glitches with its accuracy. We simply use it to earn our chosen charities funds with every mile possible.) 

On top of doing such a stellar job with all the charity races, the groups log miles daily to compete for the House Cup end of each year. I mean seriously, how fun is that? I can’t imagine a better way to keep me moving than a friendly competition with all my fellow witches and wizards.
I don’t want to ramble on and bore you guys because trust me I could go on talking about this forever. I love this running club! Go check out the Facebook groups and see if the Hogwarts Running Club is for you. They’ll have answers to all your questions. The only regret you might have is not knowing about this club sooner.

(Note from Becky: Of course, Shika would run into Harry Potter himself on the same day she did the Voldemort V-Miler)

If you aren't crazy about everything Harry Potter related, there are other virtual running websites that celebrate other randoms and causes you might be interested in. Who knows? Maybe this will help you to get back on track or bring the inner runner within you. It sure helped me to get my butt out there. I have to thank Becky big time for getting me into this. I went from being a simple walker to logging some serious miles each week. Yup, she created a monster! =D

Expecto Patronum!
Awesome Anushika