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July 2018

Find Your Community Find Your Tribe

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The Power of the Tribe

 

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb

 

As an endurance athlete I have spent years training alone.  Bike, run, swim, weights workouts all designed with specific metrics of power, pace, heart rate, etc. to hit made these training sessions a “party of one” activity.  To be honest I didn’t mind it, I got to be by myself, focused only on me, and my goals for the training session.  Outside of a few weekly group master’s swim workouts, I would say about 95% of my training for an 8 year span was done alone, and I will admit that even though I actually enjoyed 6 hour solo bike sessions, it was much more fun and motivating when I had a training partner, or partners, with like minded goals and abilities with me.  That’s where the tribe comes in.

 

Some call it a community, some call it a tribe, you can call it whatever you like, the point that I am trying to make is on the importance of linking up with like minded individuals, with like minded goals, that “get” what you are trying to accomplish and are there to support, encourage, and constructively critique you when needed.  The power of the “tribe” as one of my good friend’s says is that “the is the collective work of everyone for the good/growth of the community. At any given point the weakest member can become the leader and visa versa, but the tribe always works together to make sure everyone involved is successful”.  After years of training alone I found myself unmotivated and honestly a bit lonely, which was a rare feeling for me. I began to search for groups, Cross-Fit gyms, anyone that I could connect with on both a physical and mental level that would be able to push, encourage, and critique me. I NEEDED community, I needed a tribe, and so do you.  Here’s why.

 

  1. Support & Accountability:

You know those days when you’re tired, sore, etc. and just don’t want to go workout? Those are the days your tribe gives you strength.  You walk through the door and learn that many others may feel the same way, but they showed up and so did you. That may be the day you learn a new trick to overcome the soreness and/or mental and physical fatigue. If you know you have a tendency to slack off on your own, knowing that others are depending on you to show up holds you accountable for being there, even if it is just to offer moral support.  Just showing up and encouraging your tribe mates could have a huge positive impact on their performance that day, and this is a good example of when you are feeling weak, you show up to for moral support, and you end up becoming the “leader” by emotionally encouraging your friend(s).

 

  1. Motivation:

I can’t tell you the number of times, if left to my own decision, I would have skipped a training session because I was too tired, too sore, or just didn’t want to do the workout, but because I had training partners counting on me to show up – there’s that accountability piece again – I showed up and got after it. Often times, to my surprise, I would end up having a really great training session because we would challenge each other, tell jokes, and make the “hard work” fun.

 

  1. Community:

Surrounding yourself with like-minded people that share your same interests and goals is paramount to you becoming the best version of yourself possible.  This, or any of the aforementioned points don’t have to be sport related. It could be any type of group, club, or community – it doesn’t matter -find YOUR tribe. A lot of people like to give Cross-Fitters a hard time saying they are a cult, and “look at them, they all eat Paleo and talk about WOD times, etc. etc.”.  Here’s the deal. Cross-Fit athletes could give a shit about your opinion and/or what you think of them.  THEY are excited about what they are doing and THEY are excited about life and about motivating the members of their tribe to be the best they can be. The same can be said for triathletes, OCR athletes, speed walkers, or people who REALLY dig a good book club. As long as it’s feeding your soul and helping you become better and returning the favor, keep doing it.  No one else needs to understand and you surely don’t have to defend or justify yourself or your goals to anyone that doesn’t understand.

 

In closing I will tell you this: in all my years as an athlete I have never ran, biked, or swam faster, nor have I lifted more weight, done a few more reps, and therefore pushed beyond my perceived “limits” than I have than when I have been surrounded by my tribe on that day.  As such I have become stronger. I have been able to lift up and encourage my friends to do the same. We have all grown stronger mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially, and THAT my friends is the power and the importance of the tribe.

 

If you live in the Dallas/Ft Worth area and need a tribe to train, and do life with, check out www.linkendurance.comand join us for one or more of our group sessions.

 

Grain Free Strawberry Blondies

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Y’all!!! I think I may have officially out done myself on these. Can I say that? I feel like this is a safe space to toot my own horn! 🙂

I have been craving strawberries! It’s got to be the fact that it is summer and hotter than hades outside in Dallas! Truth be told, I don’t really like strawberries. Eeek! I know! A nutritionist that doesn’t like fruit. Yep! You found her! It’s definitely a texture thing… I LOVE the flavor of fruits! Well, except bananas! YUCK! Ok, anyway…

So I came across a recipe for Strawberry Brownies but it used a narley boxed strawberry cake mix with Red 40 food coloring and all sorts of stuff that I choose not to put in my body. So, true to form, I decided to make my own clean eating version!

Holy moly these turned out spectacular AND on the first try!

The batter will look off when you put it in the pan. You will think, NO WAY these are going to end up looking like Alix’s pictures. But hang with it. Pop them in the oven and just wait. I am so excited for you to make these! Don’t wait another second! GO! NOW!

These will be your kids new favorite and you’re new go-to summer, easy to make dessert! Promise!

I KNOW you will love these!

Grain Free Strawberry Blondies

Makes 16 blondies…

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup fresh ground almond butter
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup monk fruit sweetener
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 16 slices of fresh strawberries, approx. 5 strawberries

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8” square baking pan with parchment paper and spray with coconut oil cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, using a hand or stand mixer, mix together the almond butter, coconut oil, coconut sugar, monk fruit, egg, and vanilla extract until smooth and combined.
  • With a spatula, stir in the almond flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • Spread evenly in prepared pan and arrange sliced strawberries on top in rows of 4×4. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  • Cool completely, and then cut into 16 squares.

 

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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8” square baking pan with parchment paper and spray with coconut oil cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, using a hand or stand mixer, mix together the almond butter, coconut oil, coconut sugar, monk fruit, egg, and vanilla extract until smooth and combined.
  3. With a spatula, stir in the almond flour, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Spread evenly in prepared pan and arrange sliced strawberries on top in rows of 4x4. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  5. Cool completely, and then cut into 16 squares.
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Episode 162: Johnny Luna-Lima Talks Spartan European Championships

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In this episode we sit down with another you OCR rising star and 3rd place finisher in the recent Spartan European Championships Johnny Luna-Lima. We get to know Johnny, his background, his mental toughness, and also discuss:

  • The importance of his daily meditation
  • His Austrian Alps training program
  • The critical importance of being able to run downhill well
  • His breakdown of the European Championships
  • His love for goats 🙂
  • and a lot more!!

CLICK HERE to listen or download from iTunes or Stitcher

Follow Johnny: IG & FB @johnnylunalima & Johnny Luna-Lima

Check out the Tim Ferris Podcast #238 to hear Ryan Flaherty talk about the importance of concentric only deadlifts and speed

Health Episode #12: Michael Mark on Overcoming His Season Ending Injury

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Back in episode #147 Alix and I discussed how you can train through an injury by focusing on what you CAN do vs. what you can’t do.  In this episode our guest, and one of the top Elite Masters OCR athletes on the planet Michael Mark talks about how he is overcoming a devastating, season ending achilles tendon rupture last month during a warm-up run before the TMX World Championship. Michael was arguably in the best shape of his life when his season ended in a split second.

We talk about the injury, what could have lead to the rupture, and how Michael uses his positive mindset to make a 180 degree shift in focus and continue moving forward during bad days, sad days, angry days and happy days. This show will hopefully give you a great perspective on life and how you can always stay focused on becoming the best version of yourself possible.

 

CLICK HERE to listen or download from iTunes or Stitcher and share this one with a friend!

Follow Mike on IG @michael_mark_ocr  or @selfmasterynow

Strawberry Balsamic Summer Salad with Grilled Lemon Chicken

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Can you tell I’m on a strawberry kick? I think this is my second post in a row centered around strawberries! What can I say? It’s screaming hot in Dallas right now and anything “citrusy” and refreshing sounds amazing!

And, when I can make a meal without having to turn the oven on or stand over the stove, COUNT. ME. IN!

I know you’ve read my salad schpeal before so I’ll keep this short for anyone who hasn’t read previous salad posts… I LOVE salad. Would eat it almost daily. But I don’t just love any salad, I love BIG salads that have lots of ingredients and textures and feel like a meal vs bird food. THAT is a salad in my book!

And this recipe will not disappoint that criteria. This recipe was actually started by Mo and then I swooped in and amp’d it up a bit.

We really believe in eating seasonally and we practice coaching out clients the same way. When you eat seasonally you get far more nutrition out of the food and you’re body is able to operate cyclically. Meaning, when you begin to pay attention to eating per the season, you will notice that you will crave lighter, brighter foods in the spring and summer months and heavier, more rich foods in the fall and winter months. Unless of course you live in SoCal and you have one season per year. Okay, okay, maybe one and a half. 😉

This salad recipe is super quick to make and is so refreshing and light. It is perfect for the hotter months!

If you’re practicing strict Paleo, feel free to sub the couscous with cauliflower rice. I offer directions on how to cook the cauliflower rice in the Notes section.

Hope you enjoy!

Strawberry Balsamic Summer Salad with Grilled Lemon Chicken

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 free range boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 large lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • ¾ cup dry couscous*
  • ½ large container pre-washed baby spinach
  • 8-10 fresh strawberries, leaves removed and sliced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2-3 tbsp crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, halved and toasted
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • Place chicken breasts into a large Ziploc bag with the lemon zest and juice, paprika and a good pinch or two of salt and pepper. Seal the bag, toss well to coat the chicken and place in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes, up to overnight.
  • When you’re ready to make the couscous and put the salad together, get the chicken out of the fridge and place a grill pan sprayed with avocado oil cooking spray over medium heat. Once hot but not smoking, place the chicken breasts onto the pan and grill for approx. 5 minutes per side or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F.
  • While the chicken is grilling, make the couscous. In a medium pot, combine 1 cup filtered water and a good pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then stir in couscous (do not just dumb the couscous in without stirring or it will all clump together – stir as you pour it in…). Cover, remove from heat immediately and set aside for 5 minutes. Uncover, gently fluff with a fork and set aside until ready to assemble the salad.
  • While the couscous is cooking, place the spinach, sliced strawberries, avocado and goat cheese into a large salad bowl. Pour approx. ½ cup of the cooked couscous (while still warm) on top. Top with a good drizzle of olive oil and balsamic, salt and pepper to taste and toss gently to combine.
  • Slice the chicken and place on top or dice into bite-sized pieces and toss with the salad. Serve!

Notes:

  • To make this Paleo, sub couscous with approx. 1 1/2 cups uncooked cauliflower rice – saute in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until softened and slightly browned.
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Instructions
  1. Place chicken breasts into a large Ziploc bag with the lemon zest and juice, paprika and a good pinch or two of salt and pepper. Seal the bag, toss well to coat the chicken and place in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes, up to overnight.
  2. When you’re ready to make the couscous and put the salad together, get the chicken out of the fridge and place a grill pan sprayed with avocado oil cooking spray over medium heat. Once hot but not smoking, place the chicken breasts onto the pan and grill for approx. 5 minutes per side or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F.
  3. While the chicken is grilling, make the couscous. In a medium pot, combine 1 cup filtered water and a good pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then stir in couscous (do not just dumb the couscous in without stirring or it will all clump together – stir as you pour it in…). Cover, remove from heat immediately and set aside for 5 minutes. Uncover, gently fluff with a fork and set aside until ready to assemble the salad.
  4. While the couscous is cooking, place the spinach, sliced strawberries, avocado and goat cheese into a large salad bowl. Pour approx. ½ cup of the cooked couscous (while still warm) on top. Top with a good drizzle of olive oil and balsamic, salt and pepper to taste and toss gently to combine.
  5. Slice the chicken and place on top or dice into bite-sized pieces and toss with the salad. Serve!
Recipe Notes

To make this Paleo, sub couscous with approx. 1 1/2 cups uncooked cauliflower rice - saute in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until softened and slightly browned.

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Mindset & Meditation: Create Your Power Phrase

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What’s Your Power Phrase

 

At the time of this post I am listening to the e-book “Unbeatable Mind” by Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine for the 3rdtime. I like to revisit this every year to refresh my memory on the lessons it teaches.  A few weeks ago I was talking to a good friend and he was telling me that a buddy told him DO NOT collapse at the finish line after your race no matter how hard you ran or how bad it hurts. Doing so can signal to your brain/muscles/etc. that you just gave 100% and couldn’t possibly go any harder and that isn’t true, you’ve got more to give.  Commander Divine calls this your 20X factor, or the 40% rule, meaning that you are capable of 20 times more than you think you are, or when you think you’ve reached your limit, you’re really only 40% maxed out.  Your “central governor” aka your brain is telling your muscles to shut down, but you have the power to override that “need”/desire to shut down and keep pushing, or in this case standing.  Therein lies your Power Phrase.

 

Every Monday I run 800-meter speed intervals at a local track.  If you have ever ran 800’s you know how bad they suck. This last Monday I was physically & mentally tired from a hard training week and still sore from a brutal workout the Friday before. My body hurt, my legs felt heavy, and I had accepted the fact that this session probably wasn’t going to be “stellar”. After a 1 mile warm-up run followed by the first 2 of 4×800’s I was coming back to life. I don’t listen to music when I run these sessions because I want to be 100% connected with my body, mind, and breath.  If I take myself out of the present moment with music and don’t learn to deal with the pain and discomfort in training, how the hell do I expect myself to push my hardest during a race? So I am right in the middle of my 3rd800m interval when it hit me.  I had my mental anchor set, I was focused on my breath, I looked down at my watch to see my pace and my mantra “power phrase” immediately became “I’ve got more, I’ve got more”.   I continue to repeat this phrase as I run and I see my pace get faster.. 6:04 pace – 6:00 pace – 5:55 pace – 5:50 pace. Then immediately after crossing the 800m line, instead of stopping and putting my hands on my knees/head, or dropping to the ground, I turn around, pull my shoulders back, lift my chin, and start declaring out loud “I’ve got more! I’ve got more” as I walk back to the start line with confidence.  I still have one more interval to run.

 

Two weeks prior to this session my fastest 800m interval was at a 6:17 pace.  I had just beaten that by 27 seconds with a 5:50 average and now, armed with my new power phrase I am determined to go harder.  Time to go!! I try not to look at my watch pace too early during an interval because I want to learn to “feel” my pace.  So with 300m left to go in my last set I look down at my watch… 5:55 pace – 5:50 pace – 5:45 pace – 5:40 pace.. I crossed the line, my lungs were on fire, my legs were jell-o, and I immediately turned around, lifted my chin, pulled back my shoulders and began to declare out loud again “I’ve got more, I’ve got more”.  Last 800m pace was 5:47.  I had just beat my time from two weeks prior by 30 seconds! However my session wasn’t over, I still had a 1-mile tempo run to go.  The last session my mile pace was 6:57, so armed once again with my mental anchor and my power phrase I take off, every 100m repeating to myself “I’ve got more, I’ve got more”.  Time to beat 6:57… My time for this mile, 6:37, a 20 second improvement!  Side note: I don’t know what the hell is up with all the 7’s in my times J, kinda cool though…

 

 

The lesson in my story is that you do, in fact, always have more to give.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t hard, or the pain goes away, you simply shift your mindset to being powerful and strong with your own unique power phrase. It can be anything that speaks to you. It can be one word, or it can be 10+ words.  You can apply your power phrase to any physical activity. You can apply the same, similar, or different power phrase to any stressful/hard/challenging situation in life, work, or relationships.  Regardless of the scenario create a mantra or “power phrase” that will give you the confidence and mental resilience to not collapse at your own physical or personal finish line, rather you will stand tall and lift your chin, because just like me YOU’ve got more…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mindset & Meditation: Pre-Workout Meditation

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To get the most out of your body you MUST prepare your mind.  Taking just a few minutes prior to your training session to focus on your breath and get your head in the right space, can make a huge difference in your performance, strength, & endurance for that session.  Practicing a pre-workout meditation prior to every training session no matter how challenging or how easy it may be will take you to the next level of self-awareness and performance.

Give this pre-workout meditation a try before your next session.