Team Feature: Traci

I'm excited to introduce you to my sweet, sweet client Traci today. She is an absolutely light of my team, and I can't imagine not having her. She has been working with me for 5 months now, and she just signed up again so I'm very excited to just let her share her story on the blog today. 

Without further adieu... 

I want to start by saying how honored I am for Katie to ask me if she could feature me on her blog.  Katie, you are amazing!  Thank you for the opportunity!  I’ve trained in the gym for 8 plus years and started because I was tired of being overweight, I didn’t eat healthy nor did I like how I looked or felt.  My brother helped me in the beginning with workouts and after a few years of following his workouts and doing weight watchers, I decided I wanted to get more serious about my weight loss….I wanted the “ripped body” so many strive for, so I started working with a trainer several days a week and he helped me lose 45 lbs (and keep it off!!!!) with diet and exercise. 

I continued to chase the “ripped body” and several years later had gained muscle, but just couldn’t achieve the killer body I wanted.  I began hearing about IIFYM and the amazing results people were seeing by counting macros so I started researching it.  The more I read about nutrition and training, the more I realized I wasn’t eating right and I needed to fuel my body with more food, provide a better balance of nutrients and stop restricting calories and certain foods.  I learned that less calories and more exercise weren’t the answer, they were actually the problem.  I also needed to lift heavier weight to tighten up and build muscle, which I started immediately. 

My trainer and friend has been so supportive through this entire journey, when I went to him in April 2014 and told him I wanted to start lifting heavy, we immediately discussed my goals and changed course; he pushes me to be my best.  He challenges me every day in the gym to push myself to do more and be more and his motivation and belief in me helps me push past the mental barrier and raise the bar (literally! haha!).  On the nutrition side, I worked with a nutrition coach for a short time, but after gaining weight and the person going MIA on me, I was left to figure out what to do next.  After six weeks of following my previous plan of restrictive eating, aka eating clean, and no weight loss or fat loss, I realized something was really wrong and I needed more specialized help. 

I had followed Katie for quite a while on IG and her blog and respected her for her strong faith, fitness/nutrition knowledge, positive attitude and honesty.  Once I finally got up the nerve to reach out to her, she responded back quickly and said she had seen my situation far too often and recommended I follow her metabolic adaptation program, which meant reverse dieting to increase my calories and jump start my metabolism.  My metabolism was shot from all the restrictive dieting I had done over the years.  She carefully explained how the process worked and assured me this would change my future.  I had so much fear, anxiety, and tears over eating more calories, but I also knew I had to do it for my health. 

I was in a bad place and I knew it.  I made the decision to embrace the process with my whole heart, trust God and trust the process.  I knew it would require patience on my part to undo all the damage I had done.  After all, I had followed restrictive eating for years, so it would require me to take each day one step in front of the other.  I slowly increased each week and checked in with Katie every two weeks and after about a month in, I started getting a glimpse of what Katie meant by doing this for my future. 

The empowerment and freedom I felt from eating more food, eating foods that had previously been off limits was liberating.  As each month went by, I felt giddy with excitement as I would plan my meals and that feeling of empowerment and freedom continued to grow until I fully realized this process was changing my life.  I was so excited – my quality of life was back!  Something else happened along the way, my mindset of self-acceptance, self-love, trust and understanding changed dramatically.  I also let the number on the scale go – I weigh once a week to keep in check, but it no longer has a hold on me, it doesn’t define me or set the tone of my day.  It’s a number – I step on the scale, see it and step off and go about my day. 

There aren’t words for the freedom that brings you!  I was one of those who weighed morning and night every single day!  Ridiculous, I know!  But, that was me.  I finished my reverse diet program last week and I am a different person.  I was beaming a week ago because I actually worked a hamburger and shoestring fries (made at home) into my daily macros and it wasn’t considered a cheat meal.  I remember sitting, staring at the screen and just smiling ear to ear.  It was a moment for me that I realized wow! my carbs are pretty high and then my next thought was I’ve done this, I’ve successfully reversed dieted and tears came to my eyes.  My weight stayed consistent throughout the five month process, my measurements dropped by half inch and I leaned down quite a bit as I increased 50 carbs and 10 fat over this timeframe.  What this process brought to my life is beyond words. 

I’m grateful to God for leading me to Katie, she is such a blessing.  Each check-in, she cheered me on and encouraged me to continue increasing my macros, but at the same time allowed me full control over how I felt in increasing or holding my numbers.  I’m just so overjoyed with the process and feel I have my life back.  I’m continuing my journey with Katie, this time with a slow cut to lose the extra body fat I need to lose so I can show off those muscles I’ve worked so hard to obtain.  This time I signed up for the Double Trouble program because my husband started working with her too!  Woohoo! I still have improvements to make, but for the first time, I truly believe this is my year!  I can see it!  I can feel it and I’m hungry for it!  It’s so close I can see the finish line and more importantly, I see myself standing on the other side. 

With love and beautiful clients, 

Katie



Faith Abounding

I don't do this often because this is a fitness & lifestyle blog and I just like to keep my topics relevant. However, I think that having a spiritual fit and healthy lifestyle is so essential to overall health. I just wanted to share my faith a little today. 

I've grown up in the church so faith has never been an issue for me. I seriously was in the church since I was born and my family was super active. We went Sunday morning and evening and Wednesday evenings. I have so many memories growing up in youth group, and I plan to do the same for my children. However, when I went to college was when I really figured out what faith meant for me. 

I think that's when we basically figure out what life means to us. We are constantly influenced by our parent's views, opinions, and politics that I think it takes some time to really figure out who we are as individuals. I think that our families are going to always have an influence on those decisions that we finally end up with and most likely will align just perfectly but I think it's so important to establish our own. My political views and my exact approach to religion is not the same as my moms and THAT'S OKAY! 

I like to always say that I grew up thinking about "Jesus in a box". I love Jesus. I am "saved" but you don't want to be one of those "Jesus freaks". Like, don't be weird Katie. You gotta keep it contained because then you just get weird. It's not culturally accepted and you can't be the cool kid if you are also the Jesus lover. At least that's how it felt sometimes by my peers.

This has slowly evolved over time. I've had to learn that what makes me, is just what makes me. It may not be what makes someone else happy and what makes them tick. I certainly know that lifting weights and having a feminine but muscular body is looked down upon in society. It's just "too much" so "don't be weird Katie". We are told as strong women to sit down and get quiet about who we really are so that we can be more accepted. {Side Note: I am NOT feminist and do not feel like I'm targeted as a woman. I just think society can be hard on women so we have to learn to be ourselves.}

I have wavered with my faith through the years, and not in the believing way. I just simply forgot about Jesus. He just wasn't on my to do list. I had to become a SOMEBODY whether that meant in fitness or in pharmacy school. This life was about ME and how accomplished I could be. I'm sorry Jesus, I just can't come to church. I really need to study. 

I think that it wasn't until this past year in New York City that I truly learned what it looks like to walk the walk and talk the talk. Like, put me down for the weird card if that's what you want to call it. My box hath burst open. My Jesus is worn on my sleeve. For me, it means being in the word every single day and committing to more and more of that every single day. For me, that means engaging in community almost daily with believers. I think it has been absolutely INTEGRAL in my growth. My friends are my community group. We do everything in life together, and we meet on Wednesdays to hash out what the words in the Bible mean to us individually and how to live that out. 

I always say that New York City is a very secular city so if you decide that you love Jesus, then you are either all in or nothing at all. Thankfully, I met people that are all in and taught me what that looks like. I have such amazing leaders around me in my friend group that pray with me, fast with me (yea I'm really not good at that), and encourage me. Even when I don't want to hear it, they speak truth from the Bible into me. 

I've found this has also led me into a season of doubt and grieving within myself. Like, DO YOU EVEN JESUS KATIE? I'm kidding, but I've felt so much guilt as to the way that I live out my life. I've felt like I can't ever be what these people are to me. And I've felt like I'm truly not living out the purpose that God has for my life. So, I've had to seek him for that. Every. Single. Day. And I still don't know. I know that I make daily decisions and that God's plan is perfect and will align with my decisions but I have to seek to point it all back to him to make sure I'm finding that perfect plan. It's very vague. I'm well aware, but I'm seeking it. 

I know I seem bold on this blog, but I'm definitely not in person. I'm very meek for lack of a better word. I cower in defending my God because again, I don't want to be the weird girl. It all goes back to being accepted. It all goes back to being confident in WHO YOU ARE, so I continue to work on that in other avenues of my life. It's fun to hash it out as I grow in adulthood.

I don't want this blog to be a self help, but just simply my story and how I hope to live my life. I want to live a life so abundantly in Jesus that when people look at me, they see nothing else. I don't think I'm there yet, but I'll continue striving and growing maturity in my faith. I want to look to my future, and not worry because with worry means that I don't trust the infinitely perfect plan Jesus has for my life. And in the end, I do believe that. With all of my heart. 

So, there you have it. This is my heart on my sleeve. Thanks for joining my journey. 

With love and Jesus, 

Katie


Long Time No Blog

HIIIII BLOGGING FAMILY! 

Do I even blog? What is blogging? Am I even a blogger? 

I'm kidding but I really hate taking almost a full week off. It like stunts my topic generator that I constantly have flowing through my mind, it makes me feel really disconnected from you wonderful people, and every day I'm like "I should blog. I should blog." 

To explain why I haven't, I'll give two reasons: 

1 ) I found some "haters" last week. Yes, I know that you shouldn't let things get to you. I KNOW THIS. I know "haters going to hate". I know "if they are hating then you've made it." But, I also know that when Sandra Bullock decided to google herself one day, she spent the entire day crying, so I know I'm not alone in that you just can't help it. So, I wanted to hide. I also know that I'm not doing anything wrong, so I'm going to just keep trying to do what I'm doing and ignore it!

2 ) I'm moving so it's crazy town in NYC! For right now, we are going to be moving in with a friend in midtown. The apartment that we are hoping to get (we just applied) has super beautiful views and is really nice so I'm really excited about that. They also have a free gym. HOLLER.

LIKE IS THIS REAL LIFE? I just can't believe it sometimes.

LIKE IS THIS REAL LIFE? I just can't believe it sometimes.

Some fun news of things in the works: 

I'm going to be starting my apparel line Embrace and Empower. This is an old video post about starting this back in October when I wanted to start this and it's finally kicking off. I have a huge vision of many different items to be apart of this but just wanting to embrace women of every shape, size, color, religion and generation empowering them to feel beautiful. This is a semi previous (but not really because these are images that I created myself so they will probably look very different but I will release the final tank when available. My logo will also be in the lower right corner and the color is going to be old gold with a 91polyester/9cotton bella flowy racerback tank. They will be on sale soon!

Lastly, I have joined classpass. If you aren't familiar with class pass, it's wonderful but only offered in big cities. You get unlimited access to any class that is offered throughout the city. This week I have tried more fitness endeavors than ever before. I have done spin, yoga, hot yoga, power yoga, worlds toughest trainer, drill body fitness, personal gym time, and barre. I'm hoping to take pilates and some dance classes next week. I absolutely love it, so check it out if you have one in your city. It's such a fun way to get moving! I'm going to be doing a post on this specifically and how I felt about each individual workout soon and how I think it can benefit you depending on your goals! :) 

I promise not to be gone so long from now on! I hope you guys are having a wonderful week! 

With love, 

Katie

Simplifying Life

So, I'm pretty sure I'm like the poster child of fitting too much into my life. I tend to want to fill every day to the max and if I have a free day then I end up finding things to fill it from 5am-10pm. I honestly actually wonder how people rest because like how do people have time to work full time and get all the chores done. And it never fails, when things wind down, something else winds back up. For example, we just finished doing my taxes (which was really hard as it was my first time doing this), and now we are moving from our apartment. This seems to always happen.

While we were on our trip across Europe, we saw our relaxed everyone is. It's so different than NYC. When in the city, everyone is in such a rush every single second of every day. It's not that I notice this when I'm here. I don't even see it. However, when I leave, I see how much slower they move. When I go to North Carolina, I feel as if I could like go run some errands before the cashier even finishes my transaction it feels so slow. 

I recognized that my mind was CONSTANTLY so clogged that I didn't even know what it felt like to clear my mind. I just got done with pharmacy school, so of course I felt as if things would calm down. Well, then I started a business. I think any small business owner can relate to the fact that your mind NEVER shuts off.

I feel as if I'm complaining or typing failures in myself which maybe I'm doing, but I just wanted to tell you what I have planned to change. This is not tips that I'm trying to say I have figured out but just simply thoughts I'm having and what I plan to do.

1. TWENTY MINUTES OF FAMILY TIME EVERY DAY 

Twenty minutes is seriously no time at all, but it makes such a difference to just zen out with your family. We just sit on the couch with no TV and do nothing and just talk to one another and play with the dogs.

2. BE INTENTIONAL

I always plan on doing this, but I have made serious efforts towards it now. I have a list of things that I do in the morning and in the evening so that all of these little tasks get done daily and this way I don't end up spending Sunday afternoons that should be relaxing, just working on chores. This one basically means to get out of my head, and start focusing more on what's going on around me. I want to pay attention to details in my life such as little notes for my husband, care packages for my family, hand written letters to friends, and that sort of thing. These are the things that truly matter in life.

3. STOP SIGNING UP FOR THINGS

There is always a time and a place to say YES to an activity. This is also a way that I mentioned previously to keep motivated and it works! However, I have a long long life to live, and plenty of time to do really fun things. I don't have to do them all in the year that I graduate pharmacy school. I do want to do a half ironman in October but I'm not signing up for ANYTHING for at least 2 months (that's big for me). 

4. START THINKING MORE ABOUT OTHERS

I think the best way to relax for me is to really take the focus off what I can accomplish and how much I can plug into other people. I really plan on putting the most focus on friendships for the next few months. I really want to invest in PEOPLE not my accomplishments.

5. CLASSPASS

I know that this seems like something else that I have signed up for but it actually is really good for me. These classes are not difficult and I'm not going to sign up for the difficult ones. It forces me to go to places that the fitness level is not super high, and therefore I can relax into workouts and just enjoy movement. I think it's going to be a BLAST to try barre, pilates, yoga of all kinds, boxing, cycling, dance lessons and boot camps! I'm thrilled to be doing this! And most of all, FRIENDSHIPS! I tend to always say "I workout alone" but this forces me out of my comfort zone and allows me to spend time with friends during fun workouts.

6. KEEP A WAITING LIST WHEN NECESSARY 

I haven't had to put up one yet, but I have a set mark that I will stop accepting clients. I want to be there 100% for the clients that I do have, and I never want to over extend myself. I want to be able to start new programs, and start an apparel line and I can't do any of that stuff if I'm just constantly in my email accepting new clients. I think it's really good for my mental health to step back from the hustle and bustle of building my business fast and just slowly do things in the right way, respectfully and actually put serious thought and attention to detail on graphic design as well. 

Just writing this makes my heart so happy. I want to watch TV (shocker I know), and I want to maybe even take a nap once every 6 months. I seriously don't think I have taken a nap since I've been born (this is a joke but really-I'm 100 mph every day all day). I'm excited to relax. I hope you'll take this challenge with me.

With love and the simple life, 

Katie

Hydration & Nutrition for Endurance Athletes

I'm going to go ahead and let you guys know that I'm not a pro on this stuff. I'm brand new (kinda) into this world, and so this is all things that I've had to learn along the way, but I thought that I would share some helpful insight to get you started on how to take care of your bodies when you are pushing it to limits that you normally wouldn't do. 

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1. TRIAL AND ERROR

This is honestly the biggest thing. I will get into the details of what to even try but everyone is so different and what works for me may not work for someone else. Before a marathon, you should utilize each and every long run to test your nutrition the night before and the morning of to see how your stomach responds. You can adjust this through training so that the day of the marathon, you aren't constantly running to the porta potties or worse, not being able to finish because of dehydration, gut pain, etc.

2. WATER 

I think this is a no brainer obviously but the day before a long run or the day before a race, you need to be drinking lots and lots of water. It's not going to help you if the morning of a workout, you chug a lot of water. It needs to be something that you have done the day before so that you are hydrated up. 

During a race, there is always going to be water stations for you to stop at. They always say that if you pinch the top of the cup then the water can slide into your mouth without splashing all over you. That's not my forte. It always goes all over my face. I normally stop, walk like two steps to chug, and then start running again. It's not going to hurt your time, and it's going to help you to get water in. 

During your training runs, if you don't like to carry water (like I don't), then I would recommend a route that has water stops along the way even if it's a bathroom faucet (I've done this before haha). If not, then you could even go with your car and set up water beforehand. If it's a 16+ mile run and you are not intaking something along the way, then you are really wrecking havoc on your body and you really should consider changing that. I was stubborn about this for awhile until I have read stories of people dying from this. It's no joke folks.

3. DON'T FORGET ELECTROLYTES. 

When you drink too much water, you can actually flush out some of those electrolytes on top of the fact that you are going to be losing a lot of fluids. You have to be DILIGENT about this because this is where you can run into trouble. Many people will chase salt packets with water the morning before runs. I personally just take a salt tablet that you can get online. I also use COCOGO which in all honesty is an amazing product (y'all know I won't promote one supplement I don't think is worth it). For example, Gatorade has sodium and potassium which you need but cocogo has triple the amount of potassium, more appropriate sodium amounts, calcium, less sugars, and magnesium (which is an electrolyte that most sports drinks tend to forget). So, obviously I really stand by this product (which I did not use before my half and I normally do sooooooo there's that).  

I promise this isn't my little plug, but if you do want to try Cocogo then you can use KATIESFITSCRIPT when you check out for 10% off, and everyone loves a discount. 

4. GUS/GELS 

Gus and gels are vital in those long runs and you have to be on top of it. This is all a learning process. I've learned that if I'm doing a training run of 12 miles and below, I don't really need a gu. However, if I'm doing something more than that, then I take a gu about halfway through and it really helps me to finish strong. During my marathon, I used 3 spaced out evenly and then I ate candy along the way. You are depleting lots and lots of glucose and you want to make sure that you are on top of fueling your body before it gets depleted because then it's going to take time to get back to normal. Gus and gels also have electrolytes as well! This is why they are better than just candy (however candy is better than nothing). 

5. CARB LOADING 

The night before you always hear about the carb load. I honestly am somewhat against this. I believe that you should definitely eat more the day before. However, I don't agree that you should just stuff your face with unending amounts of pasta because you are going to feel heavy and like crap the next day. As always, test out different things the night before your long runs. I like to have a big bowl of oatmeal extra right before I go to bed to have some long digesting carbs through the night. I normally make sure to have a heavy carb dinner as well, but I stop when I'm full and don't just stuff my face. 

6. BREAKFAST THE MORNING OF 

I think that a great breakfast is oatmeal like I said I have the night before, and then a banana right before the race. This way you are getting the slow digesting carbs in the morning, and then the banana for that extra sugar right before you go. You also are going to be taking gus along the way so that's going to keep that constant stream of glucose. 

I think that you can see that carbs on carbs on carbs is very vital during training and race day nutrition. Make sure to drink separate from the food that you eat, so that your food can be absorbed better. Basically, you should have a water bottle with you at all times during marathon training and then make sure before those long runs to not forget about electrolytes and you should be good. 

The first time that you experience the "gut pain", you will never forget it. I've had it in the past but never as bad as this half marathon, and I will know from now on how diligent I need to be about this stuff! 

I hope that this helps you fuel a little better for your races. 

With love and fuel, 

Katie 

Goodbye Sybil Ludington 50K :(

This is not a post I ever want to write. I hope to never write a post like this again. I promise you, come hell or high water, this type of post will not happen again. 

However, we are not going to continue training for the ultra. *INSERT EXTREMELY SAD FACE*

But you thought today's post was supposed to be about hydration. I'll get to it, but this was weighing on my heart so I wanted to explain why. 

Life.....is insane. And injuries.....are abundant. 

To be quite honest, it just always seems silly. We over here in the Ringley household like to complicate and add in as much to our lives as possible. We have realized the beauty of simplicity. Life is not all about how successful can you be. I'm not trying to die by age 45 because I'm so stressed out, or worse.... grey hairs (kidding). 

I will admit....it's Tanner's fault! hahahah jk jk jk! 

But, I will admit that I'm struggling because I want a race to train for. When we decided to not do the ultra, I immediately started looking up marathons. But the truth is, we aren't sure where we are going to be in the next few months and I just need to take this time to continue weight training and preparing for my first half ironman that I'm going to do in October. (prelim training will start May 17th)

The reasons we are not: 

1. Tanner herniated a disc a few years ago. Just recently, he felt a pop in his back. We thought it was the same injury. IT'S NOT! However, we are not playing any games because it seriously put him out and we don't want that. 

2. We are moving. This means SO MUCH WORK. Training for an ultra is a part time job, and trying to add a full time job plus training plus moving gets really intensely stressful. 

3. I think I have runners knee. It has gotten much better and I don't have much pain from my half, but the more I run, the worse it gets. I just probably need to rest it. 

4. We are so behind schedule now. After our vacation and then Tanner tweeking his back, he hasn't trained in 2 weeks. An ultra is serious business. We don't need to be stupid about it. Someone could get hurt. 

I wanted to still do it to be honest. I probably would but it would break Tanner's heart. This was a both of us or none of us thing. So, it's going to be a none of us thing. 

I really really wanted this for us, but now is just not the time. I hope to convince Tanner to do something like this with me again, although I'm not sure if I will be able to. Haha! We were talking today how training for an event like this or ironmans, you need stability. You need to live in a home with a regular routine and regular gym hours and regular work hours. He works 330-1130 every day, we live in the exhausting city of NYC making it extremely difficult to train (no trails whatsoever), and we are moving so everything is just all over the place. 

So, this is my blog to say, The Ringley's are chillin for a bit. Stay tuned for regular programmed entertainment of extreme athletic events. 

I'm gonna go wallow now. 

Whomp. 

With love and {sometimes things happen},

Katie

NYC Half Marathon Recap

Normally, I would think that a recap wouldn't be that eventful. This one was a different story.

I have a lot to tell about this half marathon. First and foremost, I ran one day while we were in Europe. I simply say that to show others that honestly, training is wonderful. If you are diligent with training though, it's okay to take a few days off (even a week) and you'll still be okay. You can still run your races. Life is going to happen, so you just gotta roll with the punches. 

The race start time was 7:30, and you were supposed to get there at least 30 minutes early in Central Park. I live in Battery Park on the opposite end of the island so that meant I had to wake up at 5am to be able to get fueled and make it there on time. There were TONS of people going so I had no fear of getting lost (HA!) and I was able to just follow the crowd. We were all searched which I think is great after what happened in Boston. 

I was like RIGHT on time. When I got in line, it was like 10 more minutes until we started running which is how I like it. While you stand there, all you do is get cold and your feet turn to rocks and it's boring and you're nervous so yea. haha! 

I had put my finishing time as 1:35 which was a JOKE to me. I knew I could never finish that fast, however I felt dumb because I was in line with people who could go that fast so I at least wanted to keep up in the beginning. My first mile was 7min 2 seconds. I was like WAIT WHAT? SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! 

I have mapmyrun on my phone so it tells me each split time. Each mile, I was shocked. I never really think about my pace too awful much during a race. I just go! I was like doing a partial jog/sprint and I just knew I was gonna die by mile 10. HA! I knew I was going too fast, but I was just going to see how long I could keep it up. 

The first loop was central park. Tanner and I have run this loop many times on our long runs, and it sucked just as much this time too! HAHA! It's LOADED with hills, but I just focused on those around me and keeping up with them as I knew they probably knew more about what they were doing. The competitor in me could not be left in the dust! HAHA! {{Funny story-I totally read a book by it's cover. This lady like had no shirt on, and I knew she was serious. Only serious runners can not wear shirts in 40 degree weather, so I kept up with her! HAHA!}}

WOOHOO! Times Square running! Haha!! We passed Carnegie Deli and this was Walgreens that I worked at 3 years ago!

WOOHOO! Times Square running! Haha!! We passed Carnegie Deli and this was Walgreens that I worked at 3 years ago!

Mile 6-7 was in Times Square after exiting the park. This was the best part. The energy was INSANE!!! All the lights and all the people! I just couldn't stop smiling and I took a lot of videos that were just terrible so I deleted them. Haha! This is the single reason you should try to do this run because of that mile! SO COOL! I was snapping pictures and not having a care in the world and my split was 6:50! I was so shocked, but excited too obviously. I knew it was gonna get bad past 10 (it did haha). 

I would say it wasn't awful until mile 11. Remember, I'm in training for an ultra. I should be able to easily run 13 miles and I could have, but not at this speed. My body started to crash. I was so jacked up that I hadn't even taken a gu and I took it at that point. I knew it was too late! HAHA! It's so crazy how awful 2 miles can feel. The worst part is when you are not on course. I ALWAYS run the long route, so my GPS on my phone was showing that I was 0.5 mile ahead of what I actually was on the course which for time, is really really frustrating. 

We started through the Holland Tunnel which was fun, and then when we got to the other side, my GPS said "13.1 miles" and gave me my pace so I just took my phone out and stopped the GPS so I could get a real picture of what my half time was even though I wasn't at the finish. I wanted to know my true speed. 

That's not my official time though. My official time was 1:38. I know everyone is like "but that's awesome too" and I get that but it took my average pace from 7:05 to 7:30 and no matter your speed, if your average pace is decreased by 25 seconds per mile based on the fact that you ran 14 miles versus the routed 13.1 then it just stinks a little. OH WELL!!!!! I'm so proud of myself nevertheless!!!!! I'm competitive, what can I say? HAHA! 

When I hit the finish line, I really thought I might pass out. My legs were completely numb (like tingling) and I had this wave of nausea hit me and you know when you can't see, and you think "oh lord, I'm about to go." This has never happened to me before, and it should have been a sign of my day to come (which was miserable). My friends came to watch me which was absolutely so exciting for me. It seriously meant so much but they had to fight crowds to get down to me so I waited there for about 20 minutes on them to get there. They had made signs-so so cute!!!

I had this little thing called DEHYDRATION! I had drank a lot the day before, but obviously not enough and I hadn't supplemented electrolytes. I know some people may think this is stupid but honestly, I run these distances and don't do this stuff. I thought I would be fine. But normally, I don't run them at 7min miles so that was the difference. If you have never experienced severe dehydration, I wouldn't recommend it. Your gut wants water and starts to pull from everywhere. It feels like you have taken 10 laxatives. It hurts so so bad. So of course, this made me not want to eat. I wanted to go out to TJMaxx so we left, and while we were there it kept getting worse and worse. I didn't know what to do because I was out already and I was afraid to leave in fear I was going to pass out. My speech started slurring and we realized I was experiencing serious blood sugar plummeting and had to get food fast!! We got home and I got a banana in me, and like IMMEDIATELY felt better. My stomach was still in so much pain but I forced down a chocolate muffin. 

The rest of the day was terrible pain and nausea and blood diarrhea. I have learned my lesson!!! FUEL AND HYDRATION ARE SO VERY IMPORTANT AND CAN'T BE FORGOTTEN!!! 

Back to the half though, it was an incredible experience. Every race I do leaves this imprinted memory with me forever. I love it!! I officially love racing and I can't wait to do more and more!!! There is absolutely nothing like crossing that finish line! If you can get into this half, DO IT!! It's one of the best! 

With love and half marathons, 

Katie


Chocolate Protein Muffins

So, I have been really trying to cook/bake more. It's not easy to make the time, but I really want to try new things and have more recipes for you guys to try. I always have ideas running through my head but I just don't do them. 

So, with that, I present to you, chocolate protein muffins. I wanted them to be cupcakes but I am going to have to classify them as muffins based on the texture that turned out. I'm going to try this similar recipe with some different flavors to bring you guys some cupcakes. 

Am I the only one that makes a complete disaster in the kitchen? That was today! My kitchen is too small. I can't wait to have a home and a bigger kitchen to be honest but for now, I'll make a mess. Honestly these ingredients, if you are going to make healthy recipes should just be in your kitchen at all times. They are staples and normally used interchangeably in different ways and different flavors to make different protein-ish things.

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 3 tablespoons chocolate whey of choice 

  • 5 tablespoons (or 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoons) coconut flour

  • 1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt

  • 1 tablespoon baking stevia 

  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened apple sauce

  • 1 whole egg

  • 1 egg white

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Optional yet not so optional: I would add 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil which will add ~1g of fat per cupcake but I think it will taste better and moist)

Here's a tip when making cakes. You need something with fat in it or it's not going to be very moist. I tried to just use one whole egg to get that fat, but I think a little coconut oil would have done some good to add some moisture. Sometimes greek yogurt can help, but not always. 

DIRECTIONS: 

  • Preheat oven to 350 

  • Mix all ingredients (I didn't use a electronic mixer as it's a small amount and can slowly be worked all together). 

  • Spray mini cupcake baking pan 

  • Add 1 tablespoon mix to make 12 muffins 

  • Bake for 10 minutes

The protein icing is super easy and I'll be using this for different recipes in the future! 

PROTEIN CHOCOLATE ICING:

  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt 

  • 1/4 cup chocolate whey of choice 

  • 1/2 tablespoon stevia 

If you add these two together, your macros would be 32 calories // 1 g fat // 3g carb // 3g protein. They are like hilariously low calorie. Like I'm gonna go eat the entire 12 now. Haha! 

Enjoy! 

IMG_3587.JPG

With love and yummy muffins,

Katie

TIPS TO STAYING MOTIVATED

I get this question a lot, and I think that it's hard to put into words, but I'm going to try. I think that unfortunately, we are all born with a certain "gumption" and we all have predispositions to be one way or the other. I was predisposed to be the energizer bunny.

I also think that it helps that my parents put me in sports from a really young age (like 3 years old), I always played 3 sports in high school so I was busy year round, and if I wasn't busy about sports then I was at youth group, playing an instrument or hanging out with friends. I've been engrained to "go go go." I know that some would be like "blah blah that's not good for you" but I've had too many memories to count and I am SO INFINITELY grateful for the life that my parents sacrificed to give me. I just can't even explain how much it means to me the sacrifices my mom made financially and time to allow me to do all that I did. So, here's my thanks mom plug ;) 

But, nevertheless, when you leave for college you have to figure these things out on your own and so I had to come into my own and find my own motivation. So, that's what I want to share with you. 

1. WRITE OUT GOALS 

Everytime you join one of those pyramid companies, they are like "Find your why!" and I giggle. They all say that though because it WORKS. When you have a reason that you are doing something (your "why") that you have formulated into thought, written it down and are acting upon that, it helps you to stay motivated. There is something about actually putting it to paper.

2. FIND A REASON APART FROM SUPERFICIAL REASONS

If you want to change your body because you just feel like you need to lose weight, I think that it typically ends in a lot of anxiety and failures. If you find a reason separate from that such as that you want to be able to play with your children more, you want to live a more healthy fulfilled life, you want to FEEL better, you want to surprise your husband when he comes home from deployment or whatever it may be. Find those external reasons that motivate you based on people that you love, and I promise it helps. 

This is my morning to do and my evening to do and it's been life changing for me at least. It's silly but it's the little things that I end up piling up and then spending hours doing. If I just tidy up every single night then it's so much easier to manage. And yes, I have to remind myself to brush my dang teeth! My mind is way too clogged sometimes! HAHA

3. SIGN UP FOR THINGS 

This ALWAYS works for me. I have a continuous stream of events that I plan on signing up for. I have half marathons, marathons, sprint tris, half ironmans all planned for the following year. It may not happen, and life always happens but it will make you train. I'm in the midst of a move right now, and life is seriously so insane coming back from our trip, managing all my clients, finding a new place to live and packing up our house can feel overwhelming and if I wasn't signed up for things, even me, I would probably let training fall to the side. However, I know I have an ultra on April 25th and a half marathon Sunday so there's no excuses. I need to show up everyday so I'm ready for these.

3. UNDER OR OVERCOMMIT 

Everyone is different which is why I put either or. I've actually come to learn that I need to stop overcommitting and maybe actually under shoot. People always say they want to run to relieve stress, but I'm the opposite, I want to get things done that I need to do and not focus on training. However, there are others that perform better under pressure and need that motivation of business to get their butts moving!

4. FORM A COMMUNITY 

This is so huge. I have learned that half of the reason that I will always remain active now is I have this huge solid community of fit friends. I have people also that look up to me to be their inspiration so I certainly can't let them down. I really encourage you to find a running group or lifting group in your community. Join a crossfit gym even if it's expensive because you will meet people. Take classes if that helps you to be more social. All of these interactions are going to be people that hold you accountable. It's a game changer

407 active members! This group rocks!

407 active members! This group rocks!

5. TOUGH OUT THE FIRST FEW WEEKS 

In anything that you are trying to do, the first few weeks are always the hardest then you start getting a habit or a groove going and then it just becomes natural. You've GOT to fight for that. There's no other way around it. Yes it's hard. Yes it may suck but it WILL be worth it for whatever you are trying to accomplish. Once you get thru the first few weeks, results and habits will push you through. 

With love and motivation, 

Katie

Protein Pumpkin Bars

I have been wanting to try recipes for so long, but just never do it so I decided I was going to take the leap and START this week! It actually is really hard in NYC because getting groceries home is a huge to-do with carrying it all back!

pumpkin bars .jpg

Let's get right to it! 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup oats
  • 2 scoops vanilla whey of choice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk 
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • Optional: chocolate chips (those were added for the picture actually haha)

DIRECTIONS

  • Mix all ingredients in blender (should be cookie consistency) 
  • Let dough sit in fridge for 30 min to 1 hour 
  • Preheat oven to 300
  • Spray loaf pan (9x5) and fill it up! 
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes 

NOTE: Serves 8 

All recipes that I make, I have no idea how they are going to turn out. This could have been a total bust and I actually thought it might be when the dough was cookie like. Cookies normally take 6-8 minutes at 350 to cook, but since I made a loaf I set the baking to a little lower temperature but for longer and just stuck a fork in it to make sure it was done. I don't do timers on things (but maybe I'll start for recipes for you guys lol). I'm hoping one day to not have to use measuring spoons/cups either. I always think that's a sign of an awesome cook! 

Hope you enjoy! Let me know if you try it! Tag me and all that fun stuff! 

With love and pumpkin, 

Katie

Maintaining During Traveling

I think that in the health and fitness world, people view traveling with two mindsets: 

  • I must try to count macros as best as possible 
  • I'm going all out and who cares what I gain? 

I take a different approach. Honestly, in my every day life, I try to live a healthy lifestyle in the most "normal" way as possible. Because I know that this is a lifestyle for me, so I think that we put too much pressure on ourselves on what to do in that very moment and not at the big picture. We get wrapped up in "what if I gain five pounds this trip?" when I think that if we just thought about it less, we probably would do better. That's my approach. I don't think about it. So, I'm trying to make this a blog, but at the end of the day, I think that's the best advice I can give you. I've been able to master this thing called mind over matter. Whatever it is that you have to do, all you have to do is show up, and execute. Execution for this being food. My goal for everyone I work with is to find this place of peace. 

On trips, I eat when I'm hungry. I stop when I'm full. I know this is harder said than done which is why I'm writing a blog on it. Yes, there may be fries on the plate. I don't finish them. It may be lunch time and I'm not hungry because we had apple crumble and coffee so I eat at 2 instead.

Now, I'm a macro counter and I've done it longer enough that I know the nutrition in foods. Many times such as desserts and what not, I'm like "ehhh I have no idea" or the cultural food that I'm eating, I could care less and just want to enjoy. However, I know the balanced intake that I need to get. For example, we were in the airport and starving waiting on our layover. We had no food and wanted to just get something cheap. I got one of those wrapped up sandwiches from the convenient store type place (ha). I looked at the nutrition and it had like 30g fat which is a lot but it didn't have much carb comparatively, so the way that I deal with that is that I don't add chips with my meal as they are high fat. I add pretzels!!! Pretzels are fat free. 

When we went to get dessert pancakes for breakfast, I had a salad for lunch. I know my limitations. I know how to get balance without having to track every meticulous morsel and without any deprivation. And I FEEEEL good doing this. After I ate those pancakes. I had absolutely no desire to go out and have some big meal with french fries or something. That would make me feel miserable. A salad was perfect. 

Another tip would be just knowing what you have planned for the day. If I knew that Tanner and I were going to have a big dinner like we did in Amsterdam for tradition, I had a quest bar for breakfast (which keeps me full for like 10 minutes lol). We brought 2 boxes of cliff bars and 2 boxes of quest bars with us for back up! (This was only so we didn't get hungry-not to be "prepped" to count macros because I don't mean it rude but I just think that's crazy talk).

I feel as if I'm rambling because at the end of the day, the answer is this: Your body gives you more signals than you could ever give it credit for. When we are children, we don't think about these things. The inability to listen is developed through environment not nature. If you simply never thought about it, you would most likely remain the same. 

Lastly, I always like to think worst case scenario. Let's say that for 10 days, I was forced to eat complete crap with no choice. At the end of that 10 days, I had gained 10 pounds. Well, I'm still Katie. My husband still loves me. My family still loves me. My God is still faithful and well, it just doesn't matter. I know I'll jump right back into the fit life and be perfectly fine.

Love on that sweet soul of yours and don't be afraid to walk away for a minute. Your body will thank you. 

With love and peaceful eating, 

Katie

Cheap Trip around Northern Europe

I would like to go ahead and start this with a disclaimer as usual: 

Kids, don't try this at home. 

No really, if you want discounts, most of the time, that means that you are also going to have to make some sacrifices and we sure did. At 3am in a freezing cold train station waiting for our next train, I questioned our sanity. However, once the night was over, I looked back and was so excited that we did it and got through it together. It's moments like those that grow your marriage (am I crazy? Probably). 

So, to start, the reason that we were able to do this is because of: 

  • living in NYC (but it still would be much cheaper even from other places but cheapest here)
  • We did Northern Europe (any other places would have been more) 
  • Airbnb (if you aren't using it when ya travel, who are you anyway? haha jk but really, it's amazing)

So, there is a flight called Norwegian air that has a hub from JFK in NYC to Oslo, Norway. It's cheap. Like dirt cheap. We got our one way to Oslo for $161 each ($322). We found a flight home through the same airline coming out of Berlin. The kicker is that it comes out of Berlin with Norwegian air which means it's going to have a long layover until Oslo has their one little flight back to NYC. If you don't live in New York, for example when I lived in North Carolina, it's around $200 for a round trip ticket to New York and sometimes cheaper if you get it early. I would probably book another flight out of New York because it would still end up being LOADS cheaper. Our flight back from Berlin was $526 for the both of us.

That totals $848 on flights. 

To get from place to place (Oslo --> Copenhagen --> Amsterdam --> Berlin) we took trains. We mapped this out based on the cost of the Eurail. When we looked it up, the cheapest option for us would be to go to 4 countries and to buy our ticket together. We wanted to go to Paris, but that was going to take too much time, and then we would have had to buy the global Eurail pass which would have cost us more. The Eurail pass was $650 for both of us together. 

For both of those, we are up to $1498. 

Note: This is so important when considering places to stay and what you will eat. I think that many times, people view money differently. We have learned that if you save in EVERY spot, you will end up saving LOADS and LOADS. An example of money saving I did today. I live in NYC and need a flash drive. I went to get one and it was $23.99. That's ridiculous but I feel that most people would just say "whatever I need it." Not me. I'm going to take the extra step to get the deal. So, I went home and looked on Amazon. I found one for $6.99 with free shipping and I'm having it sent to me. Like I said, everyone views money differently and I'm not telling you how to spend your money. I just choose to do mine this way. My mac computer is off craigslist, my nice DSLR camera is refurbished, my road bike for training is used off craigslist, my coffee table, end table, living room chair are all off craigslist. I think you get the picture. 

My point is: I'm not going to say "Oh I'm going to Europe so this is a once in a lifetime experience and I deserve to stay somewhere nice" 

I'm going to just pick the cheapest airbnb place, with the best reviews. If it doesn't have reviews, we aren't staying. I'm not trying to get killed here. And if I'm with girlfriends vs my husband, I would be a little more picky as well. 

Our airbnb stay for each place was as follows: TOTAL = $306

  • Oslo one night: $44 (second night we traveled on train and hung out in a hotel lobby from 1am-5am
  • Copenhagen one night-$46 (second night we were traveling again-we slept in a cold train station from 2am-7am; hot coffee never tasted so good) 
  • Amsterdam (two nights)-$63 x 2 = $126
    • Shameless plug for City Hub-everyone should stay here. It's freakin sweet.
  • Berlin (two nights)-$45 x 2 = $90 

Our total for flight + Eurail + airbnb = $1804 

Now, we get to the food. I actually have a  lot of tips in this area that could have saved us even more. 

  • Every transaction on your credit/debit card will have a foreign transaction fee
  • Every time you have to take money out-you are going to pay $5 or at least with Chase Bank you will 
  • Don't be afraid to hit up grocery stores in the area
  • Look up the type of money that you will need for each location and their currency before you leave. If you have the chance, it would help you to get out money that would match. That's really hard though, so what I would recommend is taking out cash. They normally have a Western Union at each location and you can do the transition for free. That's what I wish we had done. We ended up spending like $30 total on fees with just being able to use our money-not a lot but again, we save everywhere. 

We eat a lot, and we like coffee a lot, so it may not be a fair guestimation of how much you are going to spend. However, we spent a total of $700 in food/coffee/tickets/subways to things. 

So, our total for the trip was $2504 (I guess I lied-it was $2500 not $2000). I'd say that's pretty AMAZING considering all we did. Here are some other things to consider.

We don't pay for tickets to anything that cost over like uhhh $10. I think the most we paid was $9 to go to the Anne Frank House. We would show up to museums (like in Amsterdam) and they would be $20 for a ticket, and we would say ... NEXT. We got to see PLENTY, we got to experience SO MUCH, and we asked all of our hosts at each airbnb stop what the local things to do were so that we were able to really get a feel for the city. They are able to tell you tons and mostly free activities. In Amsterdam, when we "couldn't" go to the museums for cost, we went for a run through their beautiful parks instead and even like played on the playgrounds (are we 5? who knows?). And, I'd have to say that was probably a better time with better memories.

I'm so thrilled that we were able to do this at such an affordable price, and I hope this can help someone else do the same!!!

With love and savings, 

Katie

Berlin and Trip Recap

You know those times that you do what you say you’re going to do and then you do them and you’re super excited about it? That’s how I feel about blogging while I was gone on this trip. I didn’t want it to take much time, which it didn’t, but I wanted to keep up. I am excited that I can look back at those posts forever now.

And to wrap it up, I’ll finish up with Berlin. We are actually currently sitting in Oslo airport right now, and I’m going to tell my current emotion:

  • I’m not traveling again for the next 5 years
  • Why do you have free Internet that has full signal on my phone that doesn’t work?

I’m so so very grateful for this trip but wowaweewa I’m ready to return home. This trip has taught me so much, but this trip also was traveling across five countries and traveling is never pain free. You always want it to go smoothly but the reality is that it never ever does.

By the time we got to Berlin, we were completely exhausted. I know this sounds like this is just going to be Complainer Blog 101, but it’s not. I’m just being real about our experiences. Some things to note like I did in the other countires:

  • Berlin is a MASSIVE CITY! The subway map is really confusing, no English, and you should honestly study it before you go. Of course we didn’t, and our airbnb host in Berlin wasn’t the best so we were kinda like “uhhhh hope we make it” but we eventually did.
  • Not many people speak English at all, and they seem to get really mad if you don’t know any of German. Like……really mad. I was so shocked as we were in touristy areas.
  • The alcohol is cheap so that’s nice and different than anywhere else.
  • Conversion Rate for Euros is better than it’s ever been. 1USD=1.28 Euros

We got really lucky this trip as it seems that all the countries that we went to had lost value on their coins and the dollar has finally strengthened, so therefore things were “cheaper” than they would have been. We don’t eat out much at all (like ever) and we had to eat out at least 3-4 times per day so we were a little shell shocked at how much money we were forking out, so the beauty of Germany was that we found a really cheap grocery store. At least that helped for 2 days of the trip! Haha!

Berlin reminded me the most of Italy and Greece because of all of the structures and buildings. There is so much history in Berlin. We set out to explore. Tanner wanted a brat immediately upon arrival so we grabbed that as well. Some highlights that we visited were:

  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Fassenbender & Rausch Chocolate Shop 
    • All the famous buildings made out of chocolate is what impressed me the most!
  • Jewish Memorial
  • Berliner Fernsehturm (tall spire aka tv tower)
  • Parliament Building
  • French Church of Berlin (Gendarmenmarkt)
  • Berliner dom
  • Walked down the river Spree

When we looked on the map for our airbnb host, we were like “oh man that’s close.” Hahaha! NOT! Berlin is so massive that it just looked close, but it really wasn’t. It took us about an hour and a half from the center city. We thought the subway system was free for the first day, so we were just riding everywhere until we talked to someone who said that it was not in fact and that if they do random searches, we would have been fined. OOPS! Haha!

The place we stayed reminded me of what Brooklyn is to NYC. It’s right outside of the city, but the apartment was massive (and very old) probably because it was further out.

I had Tanner give me history lessons as we were walking. We talked about the Holocaust, and we talked about the history of the Berlin Wall. It’s cool to see where so much has happened, and be there standing in person. Also, every single place we went, the hosts had what we like to call "Burrito Blankets" for each one of us. Maybe this is a European thing we don't know about, but apparently it's a thing.

I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunities that I’ve been able to do in the past 10 days. I will possibly never do a trip like this ever again (who knows?) but now I can say that I’ve seen so much of the world. We were able to really spend so much time together with no distractions and really talk about how we want to mold the coming months and years of our lives based off lessons that we learned from culture, travel, and time alone. We had many days of travel with hours upon hours of just train rides, and so we talked a lot. We realize that as much as we love experiencing so much of the world, we love the simplicity of just enjoying one another and family which we can do in North Carolina so I think we will park our butts for a while.

We also really missed training and routine. I guess that’s why I have a fitness blog right? Haha! We were not able to workout much at all, and we weren’t able to eat much at all. We aren’t that cheap I promise, but food was SO so expensive (and 3 meals per day was enough). I would say we both lost at least 5lbs this week. HA! I plan to get all that back this week!

We have talked so much about our plans for training in the next month. We are so excited to finish up ultra training (ultra is April 25th and we probably won’t be “ready” but we will make it there and we will finish I’m sure haha). I think I have runner’s knee which is one of the reasons that we rested. I have no idea how it’s going to act in the coming weeks but my plan is mostly to just ignore it. You’ll probably read that sentence and think I’m crazy but yo, I paid for a race and I really don’t wanna bail out.

I feel like I’m in this weird universe right now and have come back to home a new person. A cultured new person. And for that, I’m forever grateful.

With love and world travels,

Katie 

Amsterdam

Not gonna lie, this post is being made from the city hub. We are EXHAUSTED! haha! We keep trying to plug away but after 7 days of non stop city exploring and walking miles on miles from start to finish, you start to fiss out a bit.

Amsterdam is probably the coolest city ever though. It's almost like New York City in that you could explore and do fun things all day long. It also can cost ya a lot of money. Today started at the Anne Frank house which is probably one of my favorite museums to date. I don't know why but I have this odd obsession with the holocaust. I like to know all about it. It was so unreal to think about all that went on, and to hear the entire story from start to finish. It was so sad to be in the actual house that they hid for two entire years until someone told where they were, and they were discovered and sent to Auschwitz. Fun fact, Auschwitz means "Asshole of the World" and I think that's pretty accurate. They probably meant this for the Jews, but I mean it for the Nazis!

The actual building is the one on the far left!

The actual building is the one on the far left!

This was the ACTUAL bookcase that was a fake entryway into the Secret Annex upstairs. So cool that it was preserved. And also, this guy kept hitting people with his bag! HAHA!

This was the ACTUAL bookcase that was a fake entryway into the Secret Annex upstairs. So cool that it was preserved. And also, this guy kept hitting people with his bag! HAHA!

Again, I'm tired so I'm going to hit the highlights of our day. 

  • Anne Frank House
  • Pannenkoekenhuis aka Pancake Bakery
    • By far my favorite restaurant yet! Pancakes bigger than your head. I'm going to link up their MENU so you can see how epic.
  • I Amsterdam Sign 
    • The skies were beautiful for an amazing picture
  • Museums in Amsterdam
  • Heineken Brewery to find out it was $20 each
    • We decided we have spent enough money as it is, and it wasn't worth $40
  • Coffee and Dessert (a daily activity) 
  • 3 mile run through Voldenpark (beautiful park in Amsterdam) 
  • Showers and rest 
  • Begijnhof (hidden secret courtyard that closed at 5 and we went at 6-BOOO)
  • Public Library (view from the top shows the entire city and it was closed-buzz kill again)
  • Dinner at Subway and chilling 
  • Headed out for drinks tonight downtown! 

Amsterdam is a beautiful city that is super touristy so there is tons to do and see. You will not get bored here, and you will enjoy every moment, so it's a top rated spot for everyone if I had to choose ONE. We leave for our last spot tomorrow....BERLIN! We will be there until Sunday in which we finally return home. We can't lie that we don't miss our puppies! :) 

With love and travel,

Katie & Tanner

Copenhagen

So, the place in Amsterdam is the coolest modern day hostel I've ever witnessed (and this guy is trying to extend this into other countries) but it's called CityHub and he has everything we could ever need including an adapter for me to be able to plug in my mac and write this blog! :) The adapter that we had didn't match my three prong charger for my mac! BOO! 

Plus, the place that we stayed in Copenhagen was a sweet mom who didn't have the best internet so it was impossible to keep up! Copenhagen was so different than Oslo, so I wanted to update on that!

Copenhagen is known for this street I'm standing on (if you google it, this street comes up). There are restaurants and colorful buildings out on the water. It was COLD! And if you can't tell, my adapter also doesn't work with my straightener therefore Tanner loves the braid so I do the braid! haha! He says he wants to break my straightener so I always braid it. ;) 

Back to travels! :)... 

When we got to Copenhagen, we took showers and went out and about. We ended up as usual at first in cities walking SO MUCH! We just don't know their public transit at first and end up wandering a lot, but we ended up seeing so many beautiful buildings. Unfortunately, Copenhagen has Monday's off so almost everything was closed. Europeans don't work near as much as Americans which GOOD FOR THEM!! But, the castle we went to visit was not open! 

We ended up going to St Peters Bakery which is famous and oh my goodness, so worth it! DELICIOUS! We just basically explored then as we are doing now in Amsterdam, we can't keep going with no sleep so we come back midday before dinner to take naps. After our nap, we met our host and she told us all the local spots, so we hit up Doner Kabobs on our street (for only $5 each! SCORE!). We then headed out to the bars and had some drinks and played pool. We never do this kind of thing so this time together is so special. We just can't stop talking about our future together, building our lives together, building our family together, building a house together. We are just so excited living life together. 

Copenhagen is absolutely picturesque. It's much bigger (or feels that way) than Oslo.

The second day we went to the district where apparently there is hippy life everywhere. Apparently, drugs are openly sold on the streets and it's a crazy part of town. We didn't exactly see all that much craziness however we did stumble upon a church where we climbed to the top for only $5 and were able to have a view of the entire city. It was the SCARIEST location we have ever been. It looked SO unsteady up there, and it had a sign saying that we enter at our own risk, and that we did. We both decided we don't love heights too much! haha!

Before lunch, we decided we had a little extra time so we wanted to hit the gym at least one time while we were gone. It was about halfway through so we googled a gym, and found one! We ended up staying for almost two hours and just did an all body workout. We are currently training for an ultra (and have not run one day). The problem is this: Tanner is not going to run it without me, and I have bad runner's knee. I'm not one to complain so I'm not going to go into details, but I'm just going to do my best. We don't know if the ultra is going to happen and I may have to get an X-Ray when we return because it's pretty severe (and y'all know how much I hate that...I can't even think about it because it makes me so upset). Okay, enough about that but just so you know where we are at in training. 

Lifting session at Fitness World in Copenhagen!

Lifting session at Fitness World in Copenhagen!

We got the same wraps again for lunch. We actually bought four of them because we have been so starved on this trip! Hahaha! Europeans eat SO little!! And we are only eating 3 times per day because we eat out every meal so we feel like we are just forking out so much money. So, we load up when we find a deal! hahaha! At around 3, we headed for the train station for our LONGGGGG trek to Amsterdam (17 hours). 

We rode Copenhagen to Hamburg with a layover in Hamburg for 2 hours. Hamburg led us to Duisburg. We were in Duisburg from 2:30am - 7:30am. We had no heat for that entire time, so of course we couldn't sleep and just bundled in the back of a croissant shop. :( It was a pretty miserable night, however we did it together and we will never forget it. 

I know we sound INSANELY cheap. It's not like that because we do airbnb so our night stays are only like $40-60. It's about more than that. It's about wanting to go through the night so we can experience more of Europe in fewer days, and we both believe in being tough through some things to experience things. So, we manned up and endured. HA! I won't ever forget it. McDonalds breakfast soothed all the wounds though at 7am. #hashbrowns 

He gave me his coat as more of a blanket for me, and his toboggan for me to double up on my head. And this was the maybe 5 minutes he slept! haha! 

He gave me his coat as more of a blanket for me, and his toboggan for me to double up on my head. And this was the maybe 5 minutes he slept! haha! 

I will do a separate post about Amsterdam, but we are here now and Tanner is napping. I'm going to join him now! 

With love and traveling all over Europe, 

Katie & Tanner

Oslo Day 2 and Overnight Train

It always takes you one day to get warmed up in a place, and that's just about the amount of time we have in one place so this trip is all about figuring things out. It's been a HUGE learning curve as the last time I've even been to Europe was in 10th grade, and I was following adults blindly. 

Oslo was absolutely amazing the second day. You probably saw from facebook that we rode the metro to the very top (our airbnb host told us there was a cute restaurant at the top and boy was he right). We made our way through the snow. 

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We visited Holmenkollen which is the ski jump used in the Olympics. It was surreal, and HUGE but we couldn't appreciate it fully because the visibility was awful in the blizzard they were having. It was so fun to see everyone cross country skiing and all the little kids on these fast sleds they have going down these crazy snowy hills. Even though we haven't been far, I'd say this trip to the top of the mountain will be one of my favorites! 

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By the time we finished all of this it was time to go back and pack up to leave Oslo. We headed to the train station an hour early as we weren't sure what to expect. It was super easy though so we ended up reading and ate Burger King for dinner! haha! (we're so american)

Our train left at 6, and we headed to 10. These trains are never late like they would be in the US! SO STINKIN NICE! We got to Sweden (Goltberg) at 10 and left 11:40. We got to Halmstead at 12:55 in the morning. SPOILER ALERT: We ride trains at night to save money. Turns out, there is no where to sleep at the train station. HAHAA! We ended up begging a hotel manager to just let us camp out in their lobby for like 3 hours until the train station opened. We thought about asking for the continental breakfast when we left. Jk jk! Ohhhh the memories! We rode Halmstead to Kopenhaven (Copenhagen) this morning 5am-730am. We just got to our next airbnb hosts apartment where we will spend the day here. The snow flakes are the biggest I've ever seen, and we plan on having danishes in about 5 solid minutes. 

Things to Note:

  • We have a 4 country Eurail pass (Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany). That doesn't include Sweden. They tell you that you need to buy a ticket for those intermittent trains. We thought we would try NOT to do that as they are super expensive. They still let us ride ;) 
  • The conversion rate in Sweden (SEKs) to USD is 8.34. The conversion rate in Denmark is 5. From the very short moments we have been in Copenhagen, it seems to be cheaper. 
  • Our adapter is very finicky. It doesn't always want to work so that makes charging things tricky. It also doesn't have the three prong outlet so blogging may stop soon if I can't charge my computer :( :( 
  • People don't speak English as much here. The language is German. 

WHY AREN'T WE TAUGHT OTHER LANGUAGES IN SCHOOL? Every other nation is taught English. Uhhh so frustrating. We are determined for our kids to be bilingual. 

Until next time! The internet here is not the best, so I'll put up lots of pictures on these blogs later. If they aren't showing up, sorry about that. I just wanted to blog each day for like 5-10minutes!

With love and Denmark,

Katie & Tanner


Oslo, Norway Day 1

I wanted to really remember this trip because it's honestly one of those trips of a lifetime for us. We don't just go galavanting off to Europe on a whim. I'm going to do a blog post at the end of the trip on how we did the entire trip for around $2,000-$2,500 for absolutely everything (that includes both of us-airfare, room stays, trains to different countries, food, etc). I'm really excited to show y'all that. However, in the meantime I just wanted to document little memories so I can look back! :) 

I will say, yesterday was a nightmare. We love getting to airports SUPER early so we can just chill, eat the yummy airport food and hang out. We just like airports (weirdos I know but sometimes I even like when I get delayed). We left our apartment at 4:30 for a 9:30 flight. Our subway got stuck for an hour and 15 minutes because something happened with the brakes. We couldn't even get off because we were in between stops. So, we decided we didn't want to risk and got a cab NOT EVEN THINKING that it was 5 o'clock rush hour traffic on a Fri-YAY! We got to the airport at 8:30 needless to say in rough spirits. 

However, fast forward to just sleeping on the plane, reading Gone Girl, and waking in Oslo, Norway! HOLLA!!!! It was tough at first because we had NO idea what were doing, everything was in another language. We ended up walking around ALOT but found our way through the metro system to our airbnb host. Y'all, this. apartment. It's like a dream. It's a family renting out a bedroom, and it's like a modern day oasis. Pictures don't do it justice.

See THIS LINK if you wanna check it out (and side note on the budget Europe trip-this stay was $44 for the night)

I'll go through our day quickly because I just want to hit the highlights! 

  • Norwegian Cafe for sandwiches and coffee 
  • Met Airbnb host and road around in his car back to his home
  • Went to get pizza at a local pizza shop
    • She told us the weather was awful and we thought it was fine. It did turn out to be INCREDIBLY cold and windy. We ended up stopping at an H&M we saw for cheap sweaters haha! On the plus side, I got a sweater for $4.50. Like what?
  • Vigelsparken Sculpture Park
  • Walked to the water (that was LONG)
  • Drinks on the water front and walked into little shops 
  • Dinner at Peppes Pizza (but we didn't get pizza again haha) 
  • Back to airbnb host home and talked with them for a long while 
  • Out for drinks in downtown Oslo

We are JET LAGGED to say the least. We have been up for 40 hours and are going to be going to bed VERY soon!!! I wanted to share some fun facts about Norway too if you've never been

  • They are all tall, blonde and beautiful as you imagine. 
  • They are the SWEETEST, and kinda shy people. 
  • Norwegian dollars are called "NOK" or "krona" and the conversion rate is 7.67 kro for a dollar. So they will say things such as "Your check is 260" and you gasp. That's actually $37 for dinner. 
  • Oslo, Norway is known to be the most expensive city in the world. Recently their coin became worth less and the dollar has strengthened so therefore just this summer the conversion was 5 kro. We calculated this to save us $100 for just one day. 
  • They have a 25% tax on almost everything. That also adds to the expense. 
  • They don't "salt" the sidewalks so therefore there is gravel on every single place you walk. It makes it hurt to walk after awhile.
  • You ALWAY take your shoes off at the door. 
  • It's MUCH MUCH quieter and smaller than NYC (of course) but is considered the "city" which is kinda cute. It's very peaceful for us. 
  • We are 6 hours ahead of y'all so it's 6pm there and 12am here. 

On that note, I think that's it for today! GOODNIGHT! 

With love and travel, 

Katie

Multivitamins

So, when you start on your weight loss journey, we all know how this works. You want to get healthier, and with that, comes a multivitamin. There are a few things that normally go along with a diet even if they really aren't 100% necessary: 

  • Limit diet soda intake 
  • Limit sugar, salt, cholesterol intake
  • Start taking a multivitain

It's what society has shown us goes together, right? Haha! Any who, I have realized how very important a multivitamin is. While it's really super great to get your macronutrients in place for weight purposes, it's really important for long term health to look at your micronutrients. 

You won't be able to get this in your foods unless you are superwoman/man. The amount of micros that are listed on your label are just the minimum requirements to not go into deficiency but you need more than is listed. The easiest way to get all of this is just taking a simple multivitmain every day. Do I take one everyday? No. Should I? Yes. My husband saw me taking pictures of the multivitamins and he said "You better not say you take them everyday" because he knows I'm the worst at remembering! Hahaha! 

I know that we always think that we need to take them, but do you know WHY? I wanted to share what was in your typical multivitamin and why it's important for your health. 

There are SO many companies out there, and many of them just want your money so make sure that you have a reputable brand and website that you are ordering from. We always use Allstarhealth.com, and I know this can even be overwhelming because there are still tons to choose from. We chose Body Strong Woman Multi High Potency based on: 

  • PRICE PER TABLET
  • DOSING- The amount of each vitamin and nutrient that were included in the tablets 

You can break down your vitamins into two categories: 

  • FAT SOLUBLE VITAMINS (Vit A, E, D, K)
  • WATER SOLUBLE VITAMINS (B-complex, B1-thiamin, B2-riboflavin, B6-pyridoxine, B9-folic acid, B12-biotin) 

I would like to go ahead and let everyone know that I did that from memory. HOLLA! Thank you brain for working for once. ;) 

Now, let's break down what's important in those vitamins. This is going to be like the shortest version you will ever find. These vitamins do FAR more than you could know and are important for many many reasons. However, I doubt that you guys want to be reading all day. If so, maybe take a multivitamin class as I'm sure there's one out there. 

  • Vitamin A-eyesight
  • Vitamin E-increasing energy (can even help with muscle fatigue whoop whoop)
  • Vitamin D-strong bones
  • Vitamin K-skin
  • Thiamin-breakdown of carbs so that they are utilized properly in the body
  • Riboflavin-helps metabolize fats, increasing energy, healthy skin, aging, nails, eyesight
  • Pyridoxine-PMS, fatigue, depression, boosting immunity
  • Folic Acid-mostly used in pregnancy for neural tube defects or cancer prevention
  • Biotin-healthy skin, hair and nails

Now, let's move into minerals. There are so many minerals it's overwhelming. I'm just going to give those that are included in my multivitamin so that we can keep this brief and why you need one. I think even from just the vitamins listed above, you can see why it's so important for your health to take one of these daily. I know we tend to not think about these things when we are younger (or at least I don't).

  • Calcium-strong bones, prevention of osteoporosis
  • Iron-prevention of anemia (only for women because of the menstrual cycle)
  • Iodine-thyroid function (needed but not made in the body)
  • Magnesium-energy, endurance and help with bowel movements
  • Zinc-growth and wound healing
  • Selenium-heart health 
  • Copper-helps reuptake of iron {impaired growth, increased risk of infections}
  • Manganese-weak bones (osteoporosis)
  • Chromium-controlling blood sugar, cholesterol, and depression
  • Potassium-heart health or used in the event of high calcium
  • Boron-building strong bones
  • Silicon-fake boobs (jk jk), weak bones and heart disease

My point of going through all of those and listing them all out was to make a point to myself and to you guys that there is almost no way that you could get all of these vitamins and minerals in things that you eat everyday. If you are able to, then I'm impressed and I'm sure there is some shake out there that promises to fulfill all of your needs but for me, I'll just stick with my multivitamin. 

I know that it can be overwhelming with knowing which one to pick. There is no right answer. You should look at how many tablets you are going to be taking a day. Mine is three, and I'm not a huge fan of that. You should look at price obviously but if it's super cheap then you know that it's probably not the best. Google the company and read reviews and you will be able to discern if you think it's reputable or not. 

With love and multivitamins,

Katie



Layne Norton Interview

Well, today is super special to kick off an interview series on the blog! I thought there could be no one better than Layne! I think you'll love to hear from him as much as I did. I also just wanted to formally tell him thank you again for taking the time out of his day to answer a few questions for me. 

LAYNE NORTON TALKS

Hi Layne! I think we all know who you are, but if you could just give us a quick intro of who you are, what you are currently competing in, and the credentials that you hold?

ell I guess the best way to describe myself is a meathead science geek.  I love to train heavy and I also love to understand why and how the body gets stronger, more muscle, and changes body composition in response to training and nutrition.  I have a BS in Biochemistry, a PhD in Nutritional Sciences, I’m a Natural Pro Bodybuilder, and a Drug Free Pro Powerlifter.  I also own BioLayne LLC a consulting company that I offer training and nutrition consultations as well as seminars and camps across the globe.

How did you originally get started in bodybuilding and the fitness industry? 

I was picked on a lot as a kid and didn’t get much attention from girls so I figured that if I started lifting weights I might be able to fix that.

You are well known for your flexible dieting approach. It gets a really bad reputation for people just eating junk. Can you explain what you feel that means for the average person looking for weight loss or just one piece of advice for someone starting out? 

It’s all about sustainability.  We don’t have a weight loss problem.  People can lose weight just fine.  In fact, research shows that obese people at some point in their life will lose a significant portion of their bodyweight.  So what’s the problem?  They do not keep it off, in fact they end up regaining all the weight and in approximately half of those cases they actually put on more than they had originally.  Why? Because they follow diets that aren’t sustainable.  The research shows that the number one thing for success in maintaining weight loss is that people make it a lifestyle.  Thus if someone loses weight by eliminating carbs from their diet, they aren’t going to maintain that unless they never have carbs again.  Good luck with that.  Or someone decides to do paleo… so you’ll never eat bread again? Good luck.  So I focus on trying to make fat loss sustainable by TEACHING people how to use skills that they can use for the rest of their life to effectively self monitor.

I remember when your wife first started her reverse diet and all of her videos. Was she technically the first client that you ever had to try this new approach? 

No I had other people try it, I guess I just had not called it a reverse diet.  But in the offseason I was always trying to add more calories if I could to people’s diet as it just made logical sense that if they could maintain their bodyweight on higher calories, it will be easier for them to drop bodyfat when they start a fat loss phase.

For funsies, what are your current macros? I know others want to know what to eat to sustain your physique. 

Right now I’m consuming 225g protein, 420g carbs, and 95g fat on training days and 225g protein, 280g carbs, and 95g fat on my offdays.  Right now maintaining just above 205 lbs and pretty lean at that intake. 

I know that we all set goals for ourselves, so I’m sure everyone would love to hear what your personal goals are in powerlifting and/or bodybuilding and in the industry professionally?

My goal is to continue to push for evidence based recommendations in nutrition and training programs and to hold people accountable when they give bad advice.  It’s gotten ridiculous.  Just yesterday I saw an Instagram account with 1.4 million followers that was promoting chin exercises to help lose chin fat… I’m not making this up.  This garbage needs to stop.  {{I'm just gonna give an amen on that one}}

For me personally I try not to look too far ahead but I’m doing IPF Worlds in Finland for powerlifting in summer and I’d love to medal representing the US, I think that would be amazing. 

Lastly, do you have any motivational tips or quotes to share?

Probably my favorite quote is by Admiral William McRaven at a commencement speech where he was talking about the hardest part of Navy Seal Training.  He said “You will fail.  You will likely fail often.  It will be painful.  It will be discouraging.  At times, it will test you to your very core.”

It’s so true from the perspective that whenever you have a goal you are going to have setbacks and failures.  The one constant with people who are successful is that they never quit.  No matter the obstacle, no matter the enemy, no matter the odds, they keep going no matter what.  And that is the most important determinant of success. 

Find Layne on all social media outlets as he shares tons that has been life changing for many people.

FACEBOOK

YOUTUBE

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

With love,

Katie

Weekend without an iPhone

One word = peaceful. 

I learned a lot about myself in the past three days. I'm almost glad that my dad didn't overnight my phone (when at first I was like UH) because it gave me a serious amount of time to reflect. I think this is the longest span that I've went since I started this blog as well that I didn't blog, and that actually I was not excited about. This week just got crazy with going to Shelby and so I focused 100% on keeping the girls on my team taken care of and then I knew I'd get back to blogging this week. 

I love my iPhone. It has every capability that I could ever need, but I find myself {sinfully} almost addicted to it. Even when I have things that I need to do, I find myself scrolling through instagram for no good reason just mindlessly. Many times, in the middle of scrolling through social media, I'll snap out of it and realize how much more valuable my time could be spent. 

This weekend my emails piled up. This weekend I was out of the loop on some texts with friends. But this weekend, I also spent the most quality time with my husband that I have in a long time. This weekend I was able to relax and just worry about the emails that were piling up for today. This weekend, I was able to disappear into a book for a few hours with no distractions. This weekend, I went to the gym and worked out without constantly checking instagram between sets which really actually throws me off and I was able to go to a house party and dinner with friends without worrying that my emails were getting crazier and crazier.

A good habit I started in January was getting up before the sun, reading my Bible for the 365 program of SheReadsTruth, jotting down what I read, then reading God Calling.

A good habit I started in January was getting up before the sun, reading my Bible for the 365 program of SheReadsTruth, jotting down what I read, then reading God Calling.

Ironically, I was reading in Matthew where the Lord not only makes it a choice for us to take a Sabbath but he makes it a COMMAND. We have to step back sometimes and focus on Him for one day. He knew then and he knows now that we are all VERY busy and he gets it however it doesn't make it okay to not have one day with him. So, he commands that we take a Sabbath which I'm committed to doing now. One day per week, I'm putting the phone AWAY.

I realized how much I was letting social media have such a clutch on my heart. I think that many times girls look to social media and think how they want this girls body or this and that and I preach how we should do otherwise. I firmly believe that. However, I compare myself to their following. I see pages BLOW UP overnight, and I think "what am I doing wrong?" (I'm talking like hundreds of thousands). I look through pages, and think how I really need to work on doing "this more or that more" to be able to build a name for myself better. I look to my own page and think how a certain post may not be getting very many likes, and how I guess people aren't that into what I said or posted (Now you know what I'm really thinking hahaha).

I went for a run and didn't have something to track my mileage and time. I find myself hitting a mile mark, hearing the split and thinking "uhhh I need to speed up" and it was so nice to just run 16 miles without any of those thoughts. 

The last thing I learned is a cool one to me. I learned that it's okay to have a thought and not tell someone immediately. Everything in our generation is "urgent" and everyone is constantly talking on texts. If I have a thought, I text it to a friend which then becomes a conversation. I love catching up with friends, but sometimes there is nothing to catch up on because every thought is always texted to one another. I want to resolve to stop that completely and instead of just constantly being on my phone texting people, I want to internalize thoughts more and decide if it's warranted to be talked about in more detail and then catch up in person or over the phone more.

It's not that I don't want to be connected, and that I hate social media or something like I hear people say sometimes. I've built what I have because I LOVE it. It's absolutely fun for me, however I just think that obviously there is a time and a place and my husband and my God deserve my undivided attention when they are talking to me. 

Seems to me like every time something bad happens, it's always a blessing in disguise so I'm going to keep that in mind.

With love and peaceful weekends,

Katie