The Hike and Sip Packing Essentials

From snorkeling off the shores of St. Lucia to getting lost in the Great Smokies closer to home, whenever Jon and I plan our trips we create an itinerary that appeals to both our adventurous side and chill side. As we head up to the northeast in a couple short days, this time is no different. We will adventure to catch the sunrise before 6am and then mosey over to a coffee shop for an hour or two to relax. Some people are GO GO GO, and some people are like “please don’t make me move”, but packing for trips a combination of the two can be tricky. Having to be prepared for everything can sound like a chore, but trust me: it’s easier than you think.

  1. Set an itinerary – I am all for spontaneity, but there is some good that can come from having some set activities especially if you are having a mix type of vacation.
  2. Use packing cubes – back your undergarments in one, and your sports attire in one, then you can rightly figure out how much non active, nicer items you need and that will fit! My go to: @Amazon
  3. Wear your sunnies – regardless of what you might think sunglasses can be just the right accessory to make you presentable even after an active morning or afternoon along with a fresh shirt. My go to: @Goodr (in all the colors)
  4. Bring your snacks – this sounds oddly placed, but if you make sure you have substantial food along the way you won’t feel like you will barely make it to the meal you have planned for after. My go to: @rxbar
  5. Have a durable, yet light and sleek backpack – something to carry your water, snacks, the item below and a shirt change.
  6. Bring your toilettees – yes having a refreshing cloth with you is not only great for sweaty activity, but it takes up basically no space so you can transition quickly. My go to: @goodwipes
  7. Portable chargers – these are life-giving, at least to your phone. And you won’t have to rush back to charge your phone, but can head out for lunch or for coffee and you can post that sunrise photo no problem. My go to: @anker
  8. Shoes – one of the biggest things struggles when packing. Simply: pick three pairs of shoes that will go with anything you pack. (1) Outdoor pair for hiking, running, etc. (1) Casual around town pair, and (1) sandal or heel for fancy occasion.

Nothing on this list weights a lot, takes up a lot of space, or is incredibly expensive. Take the time to set aside your transitional gear so you can seamlessly go from sweaty to savory in a moments notice.

So where are we headed? Acadia National Park with moments off the coast of Maine with our books and coffee and a lovely 60 degrees. I will bringing my professional camera so I’ll be excited to share some of the views, tips and surprises along the way.

Until then!

Jordan

Navigating the Bar Craze When the Whole Aisle is Consumed By Them

It seems like every day there is a new protein, health, or real food bar hitting the market, and honestly it can seem overwhelming. I walked into my local grocery store the other day and saw three new brands I had never heard of. Now, most bars have a particular purpose: snack, protein, energy, but how do we organize those and what’s best for our individual day-to-days? To be honest I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but I hope this helps just a bit!

My biggest rule of thumb is, and we all know it, whole foods first! But what does that even mean in a culture of 50 bars to choose from all with claims on their label of being this or that? Hopefully this little break down will help you clarify just a bit!

Snack Bars:

  1. RxBar this one is my favorite because the sugar isn’t off the charts and its all natural, and there are so few ingredients – which are all listed on the front of the label. This bar gives you a well rounded option when you’re hungry in the middle of the day or on-the-go! This can ALSO fit into an adequate protein bar so win-win.
  2. Larabar – the sugar here is a little bit more substantial but again the ingredients are all whole foods that are pronounceable and generally good for you. Personally I’m a little fuller when I eat Larabars, they are richer on my stomach even though the calorie counts of RxBar and Larabar are similar, but Jon LOVES them and I know he’s eating a decent snack instead one of the super processed and sugared granola bars or Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.
  3. CLIF Whole Lotta – we all know this brand and the multiple lines of bars they make, however depending on which bar you are consuming the ingredient list can be a little lengthy and the sugar count high. HOWEVER, this option is short on ingredients and gives you just what you need to curb hunger, and from a reputable brand.

Biggest bar to avoid: standard CLIF. In my view CLIF stands in a unique place. If you are an endurance athlete and need a boost during long training sessions then a CLIF product is NO problem, however, for their standard bars their ingredient list is long and sugar high. So, if you need a boost of energy it’s so much better to find some whole foods that can give you something more well-rounded and nutritious.

Protein Bars:

  1. Quest – Quest came into my life a little over a year ago when I was still trying to put on weight. While they don’t have the simplest of ingredient lists they do supply a healthy dose of fats, protein, and fiber and very little sugar. They keep me full and balanced on long days of work and training. **NOTE: not every flavor is the same so check the ingredients before you indulge 
  2. Epic – while they don’t have an ample amount of protein I love these pars because they are whole animal, low ingredient, and low sugar, all while being filling and delicious.
  3. Health Warrior Protein Bar – plant based, real food, low sugar bar that I have come to really enjoy for a boost.

Biggest bar to avoid: ThinkThin. I actually used to love these as one of the first bars to burst on the scene of the bar-pandamonium , but their sodium and sugar alcohols are through the roof, and their list of ingredients is just not worth it!

Energy Bars:

  1. Picky Bars – Lauren Fleischman and Jesse Thomas are the brains behind this brand and being endurance athletes themselves I was intrigued by what they were creating. While the added sugars aren’t my favorite in the case of endurance athletics and a pronounceable ingredient list these bars are perfect and definitely rise to the top! Just make sure you are using them in the correct setting!
  2. ProBar – These can also be used as meal replacement so be careful of consuming too much. However, they have pronounceable and clean ingredients and can be a GREAT source of well rounded nutrition in a bind or after a long workout!
  3. Kind Protein – these are substantial, and while they don’t have a super fighting power sugar content they are well rounded with almost anything that your body requires when you are grinding through the week or pounding the pavement.

Biggest bar to avoid: PowerBar. One of the originals. But the first ingredient is cane invert syrup and Maltodextrin follows closely behind it, just not the whole food, well rounded nutrition that’s best.

Honorable Mentions:

*Goodness Knows – Snack

*Jimmy Bars – Protein

*Bonk Breaker – Energy

I hope this guide helps you breakdown some of this bar craze, and that it helps you find the best products for your activity level and overall health! Enjoy!

Summer Fueling + Fitness

Ya’ll we went for 40 to 90 degrees in a matter of days literally like 2 weeks and that two week period was rainy as mess. But here we are, I always remember the first few super hot and muggy runs of the season leave me feeling drained with head pounding as I adjust to the climate and my intake of electrolytes + water. So tidbit #1: this is okay for a day or two, but if the headaches continue you either need to adjust your fluids or hold back a bit. Heat exhaustion is a real thing yo.

But most importantly you can do more than you think you can, because you were created by the one who does immeasurably more always. Keep moving, stay healthy, you have so much purpose & potential

So a few of you wanted to know my favorite fueling products and nutrition habits, and also some fun summer activities (that are mostly free/low-cost). So here we go!

Favorite products for pre & mid-training and/or racing:

Nuun – I bet you could’ve guessed that one. I’m on year #2 of being an ambassador for #teamnuun and still wholeheartedly believe in the product.

Honey Stinger – This is year #1 as part of the #hshive and is always my go to pre race fuel! They have gluten free options and they sit lightly on your stomach. They also have gummy options if you are carrying while racing.

Favorite products for recovery:

Quest – A few years ago I tried their cereal bars and while they were good they didn’t beat out my go-to’s. However, at the Hotlanta Half Marathon (which is always amazing) they gave out ample amounts of free product and their Protein Bar with only 1g of Sugar was a huge hit for me. And yes it’s gluten-free !

Apple + PB Fit – And now you might be thinking what is with the powdered peanut butter? And isn’t it a pain? It’s a slight inconvenience, but all of us need a little bit more inconvenience in our life but for a good taste and super high protein with out feeling weighed down it’s a great option for being on the go!

Van’s Ancient Grains GF Waffles – Really I can actually sit and eat a whole box of these easily, but they are delicious and nutritious – it’s cliche but real. Add some PBFit on there and it’s quality recovery on the go

Disclaimer: None of these replaces an actual meal, and water is always the number one workout + recovery fuel! 

Other notables:

I like all the clean ingredients so a few other favorites are RxBar & Larabar – these are a little heavier and higher in sugar, but they are a great option for a quality snack.

Nutrition: What I’ve learned:

Over this past year nutrition has been a primary focus of mine. And one thing that always got me was how to add the fat + carbs without all the sugar. Now, I enjoy a cupcake, donut, or muffin just as much as the next person, but these should be an exception not a rule so here are a few ideas:

Limit your protein or snack bar intake: these are great for once a day or once every other day, but they are *typically* full of sugar and they don’t replace a meal.

Eat high protein: Jon and I go through eggs like it’s our job, but we also like to keep things like beans, nut butters, and regular nuts and seeds around that we have besides the familiar animal protein.

Healthy fats are friends: Not only do things like almonds contain protein and healthy fats, they are also great for keeping you satisfied, reducing cravings, and helping you sleep. Snacking on almonds and adding avocado/guac to everything are a great way to keep your fat level normal and healthy!

So let’s look at a normal day:

Breakfast –

a. Two egg scramble with veggies (tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and yes sometimes brussels b/c I love them), apple + nut butter, Vans Gluten-Free Ancient Grains waffle

b. Western Omelette with corn, black beans and salsa. Mixed fruit bowl w/ berries, honey, and lemon juice, and piece of toast.

Morning snack – 

a. Apple + Pb Fit and Low Sodium organic popcorn

c. Almonds + Carrots w/ hummus

Lunch –

a. Turkey Sandwich w/ Udi’s gluten free bread, tomato, mustard, and lettuce add some berries and/or dipping veggies for a complete meal!

b. Summer Salad – Lettuce, Pumpkin seeds, berries, grilled chicken, with a lemon vinigarette. Add some homemade Texas Toast, or a handful of chips and guac to get your carbohydrates covered. Just remember portions!

Afternoon snack – 

a. Any of the morning snacks

b. Snack bar with clean ingredients – see above for ideas!

Dinner – 

a. Tacos w/ shredded chicken spiced with red chili powder, garlic, salt, and pepper with roasted veggies, black beans and corn, and salsa on top! Don’t forget the chips and guac!

b. Chicken & Veggie Stir Fry with roasted chicken, veggies over brown rice

d. Burgers topped with all the fixings (go easy on the cheese if you please) and a summer salad (minus the chicken) and easy on the dressing.

Dessert/Snack – 

a. Trail Mix – My forever go to of almonds, popcorn, dried cranberries (low sugar), and chocolate

b. Anything dark chocolate – just take it easy 😉

If you want any of my specific recipe feel free to comment or reach out to me via social media! 

So now we play: Check Em Out this summer:

November Project Atlanta – FREE – Various workouts Wednesday & Fridays around Midtown – check out: https://www.facebook.com/novemberprojectatlanta/

Corepower Yoga on the Roof Series at Ponce City Market – $10 : https://www.facebook.com/events/2103039469985272/

Big Peach Running Co – Group Runs (all around the city) – FREE – https://www.bigpeachrunningco.com/group-runs/

Dekalb 4-miler (7/14) and The 680 The fan Tailage 5K (8/4) – FREE for ATC members and $10 for Non-members : https://www.atlantatrackclub.org/

Can’t wait to see you all out there this summer – if you have any questions let me know!

Jordan