The “D” Word… Discipline

Discipline.

It can be the ugliest of words, because you know the potential of beauty it holds, but the painful steps it takes to get there. People don’t necessarily like discipline, they like routine. And if you can adjust routine just a bit then change will happen. Those two words can often get confused or used to mean the same thing. My argument – routine is just part of discipline and yes changing some things about it can influence discipline in different (and important) areas of life, it isn’t everything.

It’s a complicated equation that adds up to discipline and that’s usually why in the busyness of today’s culture we miss developing it  – usually there is a quicker solution to  patch the problem. No longevity, no consistency, no chance to see the real beauty that it holds.  So let’s dig into the ugly and talk through some real life ways to trudge through to the beauty that discipline holds, specifically in the areas of fitness and nutrition.

Disclaimer: Discipline does not mean obsessive. I have fallen into this category in the past, and am still learning just as much as everyone else, and if you find yourself there – talk to someone! Message me, reach out to someone! 

Fitness:

  1. You aren’t the only one. Yes you, text that friend, research groups or gyms in your area, invite someone. In most of the community around me people are constantly looking for people and places to help them get started. But it takes that two or three google searches or texting those two or three friends to actually press START.
  2. Goal set – seriously get a pen and paper with this person or persons above and write it down, put it where you can see it. What you want to accomplish, but also how!
  3. Try things out – try one thing a week, put a calendar reminder on your phone on a certain time every week to try something out until it clicks !
  4. Then write it down some more. Log your workouts and your progress, and check in with your counterparts.
  5. Set a reasonable alarm, or actually work on making space. Maybe you don’t go from 8am wake up calls to 4am, but if you started by twice a week waking up at 6:30a or even 7a to do a quick walk or small body weight circuit then that is step, and ANY step is a great step

Nutrition:

  1. Make it colorful and nutritious: berries, and greens, and sweet potatoes, and avocado on everything! Mix in some almonds, and carrots, and throw in some protein whether thats beans – vegan style – or chicken / fish. If you breakfast is grabbing a bar, wake up 10 minutes earlier to scramble an egg, grab a piece of fruit, and pop that piece of bread in the toaster. I promise it’s worth it, you’ll enjoy your food more and it will leave you feeling fuller!
  2. Just because you have a coupon doesn’t mean you should use it. Just because Chick Fil a is giving a free large waffle fry with mobile order doesn’t mean you cash in – on occasion of course, not if you’ve had Chick Fil a 3 days in a row. Just say no.
  3. Don’t leave food out on the counter for extended periods of time. I know it’s totally our culture to have all the food everywhere, but that’s a sure fire way to not watch what you eat.
  4. If you know you have a particular food you struggle with don’t keep it in the house. One of my biggest struggles is peanut butter, I love the gooey goodness but I’ve set parameters around only buying it so often so if I run out before my next pick up then I am out of luck. No your limits and no that that treats are actually treats and should NOT be staples in our week (like cupcakes).
  5. COOK: you never truly know what all goes into your food if someone else makes it. The good, the bad, the ugly.. so get into a habit of cooking the majority of the time. Try recipes, invite people over to cook together, experiment with colors, flavors, and actually attempt those 300 Pinterest recipes you pinned 5 years ago.
  6. Or… go to Whole Foods – I mean, because it’s Whole Foods.
  7. Portion Control – while I, admittedly, read food labels too much, they do suggest serving sizes on the back for a reason. Don’t get obsessive but don’t hesitate to do a little look just to see if you are in line with them.

It’s a journey that lasts a lifetime so put in the work to develop those disciplines now. There is no convenient or quick fix. It takes time and effort, but we are all doing this thing called being human together, and even from behind screens we all have things in common and can relate to one another. Be bold, and leverage relationships!

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

The Art of Working Remotely & Finding the Right Coffee Shop

Trendy coffee shops have been around awhile, but this revolution of working remotely and the WiFi everywhere craze brings on a whole new meaning to the clientele that these coffee shops serve. Working from home is now a normal for me, and I find myself itching to check out more and more of these coffee shops I hear about from friends and the social media accounts that keep me up to date on the all things Atlanta.

But what makes a coffee shop suitable for work? Or just life in general? Why do some of these places make it and some do not? Here are just a few of the criteria I base when I head out and work:

  1. Friendliness – do the Baristas know the regulars? Do they engage and serve well.
  2. Environment – Is it a mix of chill & cheery? Do they have multiple seating options? And maybe even a standing bar option for people with back problems like me? And of course noise level is a big deal.
  3. Food & Drink offering – Obviously is the coffee good, but also in regards to sitting and working for hours, do they offer food that could be eaten throughout the day, do they offer snack foods (like a bar or piece of fruit)?

So let’s break down a few coffee shops around Atlanta, but remember, ultimately you have to prioritize what’s best for YOU.

Dancing Goats (Ponce City Market) –  TASTE WIN. Probably one of the first coffee shops I tried in Atlanta after moving back to the city in 2013. In regards to taste, this place is one of my favorites, their outside seating area is amazing, and the inside environment is a great mix of cozy and confident. The drawback: it’s always busy and the traffic around PCM is usually heavy so come at off times.

**There is also a Buckhead location of Dancing Goats I have yet to try – would love to hear your experience!

Taproom (Kirkwood) – NEIGHBORHOOD WIN. This is a newer experience for me, but I’m already in love with it. Kirkwood is Atlanta’s trendiest up and coming neighborhood (in my opinion). The environment says a lot as it represents Atlanta in a humble way. Big windows and lots of seating options give this one two thumbs up, plus their taste is an “A” so far.

Spiller Park Coffee (Toco Hills) – OFFERINGS WIN. Coffee taste is great, and the service is wonderful with the barista’s seeming to know the regulars and friendliness is at a high for new and normal alike. The environment is not my favorite for working remotely, with windows everywhere and the noise level at top volume, plus it’s not wonderful for those with back issues as all seats are low and wooden. However, their menu is extensive with all the yummy toast combos, and regular breakfast eats that can keep you fueled for quite awhile.

**There is also a Ponce City Market Location – if you have different notes about it let me know!

Mocha Moes (Flowery Branch) – ENVIRONMENT WIN. So this one is a haul from the city (my parents live close by), but it’s my favorite place to sit for several hours. The lighting and volume level are perfect, and they have every type of seating accommodation from tables and chairs, to couches and high tops. The taste and offerings are good as well. The drawback is the service, it could be a fluke in the times that I go, but they seem to always be different people scrambling in every direction.

East Pole (Lindbergh) – ALL AROUND WIN. Taste, friendliness + service, and environment, and location, this place (to me) has it all. Plus, they partner regularly with others for unique events in the city!

Other notables: Octane – Octane is a staple in Atlanta, and it’s great on all fronts, the biggest issue is proximity for me. Revelator – I’ve actually only been to a Revelator Coffee Co in Charleston, SC it’s great for a stop in and go, but not designed for a sit for hours and work day. Chattahoochee Coffee Company – has to be at the top for me but mostly for the life experiences I’ve had. Jon and I’s first kiss was on the lawn out back, so was our engagement, and Jon has numerous gigs with our friends, but again proximity for me is the challenge.

What would you add to the list? What is your favorite coffee shop in Atlanta?

 

Top 5 – Beginner Races in Atlanta

Having several friends starting to run, somewhat intimidated by what training and doing a 5k looks like, I thought I would throw together some amazing 5Ks that Atlanta offers for those just pushing the START button; these are chalk full of amazing organizations, great vendors, and the incredible running community that I have come to love in our city.

  1. Shamrock N Roll 5K/10K – hosted by the Junior League of Atlanta, and sponsored by the some of the best including the Fresh Market, California Pizza Kitchen, Kind Bar (ok you guys I really focus on the food here – guilty). Yes, it always falls around St. Patricks Day and the past two years rain has threatened and miraculously disappeared during race hours.
  2. Atlanta Mission 5K – hosted by the Atlanta Mission. Do you really want a way to make your miles matter as you conquer a race for the first time. Comes with a dance pre-race party, and so many goodies afterwards this one is surefire fun and in the heart of Atlanta.
  3. Dogwood Festival Mimosa 5K – Piedmont Park. Every year we LOVE hitting up the Dogwood Festival at Piedmont Park as we head into spring, and now you can begin your day with a 5K around the park to get ready for a day of Festival Food and Fun.
  4. Rise Up and Run / Back to Football 5K – Sponsored by the Atlanta Falcons/Atlanta United & hosted at Mercedes Benz Stadium – for all the sports lovers this one is too much fun, ending on the 50 Yard Line of the field.
  5. Atlanta Women’s 5K – Hosted by the Atlanta Track Club – Another wonderful even the Atlanta Track Club puts on just for women! Celebrating the beauty that we were all designed in, comes with a great encouraging community, a medal, and a rose to boot.

Bonus: Publix Atlanta Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K  – so you might not be ready to conquer those longer distances, but regardless of distance Publix & the Atlanta Track Club do a great job bringing the running community and city of all levels together for this event in the heart of the city. Start in Centennial Park and watch the sunrise over the skyline with this city supported event!

If you ever need training or nutrition advice don’t hesitate to follow up!

Jordan

Publix Half Marathon Recap

The Hills don’t lie. Knowing that a colder winter and more treadmill miles could make this race interesting helped me process when the burn started halfway through. The first two miles of this race are relatively easy, straight or just slightly rolling makes it a great way to get warm and let your legs loosen up, especially when the weather is fair. It wasn’t my best half marathon, but it was so amazing in so many other ways.

Typically after waking up on race day and brushing my teeth, the inhaler comes out, when you typically race in Georgia and Florida that humidity can do a number on weaker lungs. This morning though, for whatever reason it didn’t happen. After pulling up to park at the Georgia Aquarium Deck the realization hit me, and the medium sized panic button was pushed; not because I haven’t run without it before, but because the air was slightly stuffy and in 4.5 years of racing, the inhaler had never been forgotten for longer races.

After doing a mile or so warm up, with some shakeout intervals, going ahead into the corral made the most sense. Disney races change your views of corrals, you get in them early and you learn to adjust to warming up in confined spaces. Feeling right at home and simply hanging out until race time the nerves hit me. But why? This was a city that I had conquered more times than could be counted, and yet toeing the line of another half marathon completely caused the butterflies to invade.

The horn went off, my legs got in their groove, and away we went passing through downtown Atlanta and the surrounding neighborhoods. 7am start times are my favorite, because the sun hasn’t quite come up yet, which means you are in prime racing form by the time the sun peaks in all it’s beauty over the buildings and trees. And apart from running around my own city and enjoying everything it has to offer in the form of views, running with the sunrise is one of my favorite things. So combine the two and there is nothing better when the Lord is trying to grab your attention, and in this race He was.

The nerves were there, my legs weren’t quite all the way there and realizing that it might be better to just let myself go on this one helped shape my perspective for this run. “SEE PEOPLE”. See the push assist partners running down the street, see the officers standing in the chilly early morning making sure you stay safe, see the volunteers who have been setting up since 4am to keep you fueled, see the dad who brought his kids out to the course to cheer on every runner new, experienced, old, and young, and show them what it’s like to engage with a community. And see the community with which you are surrounding yourself with.

The hills made it challenging, but the engagement made it fun! Striking up conversations (until the last mile and a half, because breathing became really hard ya’ll), and cheering each other on to more had to become a standard. It’s one of the reasons this community is so pressing on my heart.

Crossing the finish line was just another line, with another time, but the memories on course is what really stuck. Thanks to the Atlanta Track Club and Publix for putting on another great event; and to the brands that keep me going – thank you for continuing to make products that keep people in the game and around the people and sport they love!

The Lord is good!

What fuels me:

Nuun Hydration, Honey Stinger, Balega Socks, Mizuno Wave Rider

The Hotlanta Half is on deck next, but if I can add another half marathon in there before that – I will be looking to travel for one! This week I will get in a 10-miler in the morning, I will ramp to 13 the week after and 15 the week after that before we head off to Thailand for 10 days.

Happy Weekend!

Jordan

I’m here because…

Why? Why do I run, why do I feel pulled to the community, why do I wake up at 4am sometimes to run my body to the ground? Part of me says the competitor in me and the need to be active. By nature, busybody would be an accurate description of my days, but the other part of me feels a true calling to the world of endurance athletics and the community around it. Contrary to what people believe, I don’t enjoy every single run, but I do appreciate every day that I get to put one foot in front of the other. While being a morning person is in my nature, not every wake up call is enjoyable, but it’s always worth it.

The community is worth it, the engaged and encouraging people that surround the running environment is tops, and for a year or so now running for a cause has been a forefront of my heart and love of running. Remembering that any day the ability to do something you are so passionate about could get taken away, and every day you have the ability to support those who can’t. The app Charity Miles, the charity runs, even just the simple email to a friend to say “you can do it”, “just 10 minutes today”. It’s the people that are the because, the running is a decompressor and stress relief in and of itself, but people help keep the drive, and the dreams alive.