Cinnamon Roll Recovery Smoothie

For you smoothie lovers, here’s a quick video we did while making the Cinnamon Roll Recovery smoothie. It’s basically a cinnamon roll in a glass!

You can find this recipe along with 23 more delicious smoothie recipes in my latest book Smoothies For Runners 2.0.

 

**If you’re looking for a powerful recovery aid for those intense workouts or races, look no further than PerfectAmino by BodyHealth. I’ve been using this quality Amino Acid supplement for the past couple years and I also recommend it to those I coach. Give it a try by using code HITZ10 for 10% off your order at BodyHealth.

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Lose Weight…Not Energy

Low Fuel

Many endurance sports reward lower weight. But sometimes losing weight can cause you to feel weaker than you did when you were heavier, simply because you’re running on fumes.

If we cut back on calories but maintain our workout schedule, our fuel tanks are going to be running low. Simply put, glycogen depletion can lead to a loss of pure power & energy.

It’s important to time your fueling properly—and consume the proper fuel—to prevent that from happening. Here are six tips to help you run strong while working toward your ideal training & racing weight, regardless of your body type.

Tip #1: Eat to Run

Quality runs and high-intensity workouts will help you lose weight, so you don’t want to sacrifice your performance during these key sessions. Fuel your workouts and cut back during the rest of the day.

That means topping off your tank with a 150 to 200 calorie snack that will provide sustained energy, such as a Larabar, banana with peanut butter, or a light smoothie. If you’re planning to be out for more than 90 minutes, take extra hydration which might include Nuun tablets or Hammer Heed mixed in your water bottle.

Afterwards, have some recovery food available. My personal go-to recovery is a scoop of Garden of Life protein mixed with water in a shaker bottle. It’s 15-20 grams of quality protein that provides my body with immediate rebuilding material.

When possible, time your run so you finish around mealtime. That way, you can just eat as you normally would when finished. Sometimes my wife will have a good breakfast ready and waiting for me upon returning from my long run.

Tip #2: Pace Your Weight Loss

Gradual weight loss will be less disruptive to your training and ultimately less draining than trying to lose a lot quickly. If you’re aiming for significant weight loss, you have to be fine with the occasional failed workout.

I’ve had many high-intensity workouts where my body simply fell short on fuel yet I was still able to finish most of what I had planned. When this happens in training, it’s not a big deal. If it happens during a key race, you may fall short of your goal. This is why it’s important to make sure you have a full tank before that big race.

Tip #3: Eliminate Empty Calories

If you’re running a lot, including racing, and trying to cut weight, you need maximum nutrition with little fluff. That means cleaning up your diet to avoid empty calories.

I enjoy a tasty craft beer from time to time but when I go into lean mode, this is one of the things I cut out. I sometimes refer to beer as “liquid fat” due to its high empty calorie content – a whopping 7 fat calories per gram!

These are things most of us know (heck, even kids know it), but it’s also important to cut out chips, cookies, donuts and soft drinks which are all filled with empty calories. “Empty” means they’re void of any dense nutrition. It’s like filling your car with watered down fuel.

Aim for high quality, real food such as fruits, vegetables, quality carbohydrates (i.e. brown rice, sprouted grain bread), high quality protein sources (i.e. wild caught salmon), and healthy fats (i.e. avocados) as they come in whole foods. I try to get a large green salad with lots of variety everyday if possible.

Tip #4: Increase Protein

Weight loss puts you in a catabolic state so it’s important to take in extra protein to prevent unnecessary muscle loss. Losing muscle will only hurt your running performance.

Research shows that people who eat diets that are rich in protein maintain their lean muscle mass which you need to turn those legs over. This is possible even as you’re trying to lose extra fat.

This is another reason I like having a good quality lean protein powder on hand like Garden of Life. By throwing a scoop in my shaker bottle twice a day between meals, I’m adding an extra 30-35 grams of protein at a cost of only 200 calories. That’s what you call nutrient dense!

Tip #5: Go to Bed a Little Hungry

If you’re looking to maintain fitness while losing weight, go to bed a little bit hungry. It won’t kill you and it’s an easy way to lose a pound a week. In times where I go into lean mode, I typically have a rule of not eating after 7:30pm. If you must eat something after that time, stick with a piece of fruit like an apple or an orange which is low calorie and high fiber.

Tip #6: Make Sleep a Priority

Shortchanging sleep puts your body in a constant state of stress, which increases stress hormones like cortisol which promote fat storage and make it that much harder to drop those pesky pounds. This effect can be even more pronounced if you don’t get enough sleep while also trying to lose weight.

Cutting calories has already put extra stress on your body, not to mention the extra training. Don’t add more stress if you can help it, or you risk overtraining symptoms and a lowered immune system.

Here’s to staying lean and mean on the roads and trails!

 

**If you’re looking to lose a few stubborn pounds without losing valuable muscle mass, look no further than PerfectAmino by BodyHealth. I’ve been using this quality Amino Acid supplement for the past couple years and I also recommend it to those I coach. Give it a try by using code HITZ10 for 10% off your order at BodyHealth.

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How to Use a Foam Roller for Injury Prevention in Running

 

Foam roller - injury prevention in running

 

Roll Those Injuries Away!

It all started on a chilly evening in early December 2012.  A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to join him in a track workout where he was planning to do a 12 x 200 meter interval session with each repeat being 3-4 seconds faster than 5k race pace.  Thinking I could use the leg turnover, I happily responded, “Sure I’ll join you!”

We did less than a mile and a half of warm-up (should have done at least 2 miles) and then hit the dirt track at a local middle school.  The first 7 repeats felt pretty good but then I felt a slight twinge in my lower right hamstring on the eighth rep.  As I continued to push, it got worse so after 8 repeats, my workout was finished.

What was I thinking by doing 200 meter repeats in chilly weather without a proper warm-up?  Part of the reason I shortened my warm-up was to get started with the workout before we ran out of daylight.  I paid the price for that mistake.

For the next couple months, I continued to re-aggravate this injury anytime I would push the pace below 6:45 per mile pace.  It was frustrating to say the least.  I finally decided to visit a massage therapist that a friend of mine recommended.  Pam lived up to her reputation of making grown men cry as she worked on numerous stubborn areas, especially in my legs.  Pam said I was as stiff as anyone she had worked on.  As she put it, “It’s like you’re running on boards!”  That’s pretty stiff.

It was then that she asked me if I ever used a foam roller, to which I replied no.  She said it would be one of the best investments I could make, especially considering all the stiffness my body was carrying.

 

Why a Foam Roller Helps Runners

Over time, running can create overuse injuries and tight muscles.  If these aren’t addressed, it can create pain that prevents us from doing what we love which is putting one foot in front of the other on a daily basis.

A good foam roller can help iron out areas that have become tight.  We all have trouble areas where knots can develop.  By taking a foam roller and targeting these knots, we allow our muscles to have a more full range of motion.  Think of a knot in a rope.  When you remove the knot, you lengthen the rope.  For every knot you add to the rope, you shorten it.  You want your muscles to have their full range of motion when running, otherwise, those knots can progress to muscle strains or even muscle tears.

Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way by enduring a lower hamstring strain that lingered for over three months before I finally turned a corner.  For some people, their injury may occur in the calves.  Others may experience pain in their ITB (illiotibial band).  Regardless of where the pain crops up, tight muscles can lead to a chain reaction where various parts of the body carry too much load and finally give us a warning signal.  It’s when we continue to ignore these warnings that injuries occur.

Common areas to work on with a foam roller include…

  • Calves
  • Hamstrings
  • ITB
  • Quads
  • Gluteus muscles (aka “glutes”)

 

How to Use a Foam Roller

In the video below, running coach, CJ Hitz, will show you how to use his favorite foam roller to address the ITB, hamstrings, calves and quadriceps.

 

 

My Favorite Foam Roller

best foam rollerIn my opinion, Trigger Point Performance Therapy makes the best quality foam roller on the market.  I happen to own “The Grid” version of their foam roller which offers even more targeted massage action with the grooves and grid pattern on the roller.  This matrix pattern also helps increase circulation.

Trigger Point also makes a “Grid Mini” which is the most travel friendly foam roller on the market and easily attaches to any gym bag, backpack, or can fit inside your suitcase.  On the bigger end of the spectrum, they also offer “The Grid 2.0” which is double the size of the standard Grid foam roller.

 

Conclusion

If you can get into the habit of rolling out those trouble areas once a day, or at least every other day, you’ll be on your way to nipping potential injuries in the bud before they rear their ugly heads.  Some runners prefer to use the foam roller immediately after a run.  I prefer to use it before going to bed along with a ten minute routine of exercises I do to end my day.

What are you waiting for? Let’s get rolling!

 

**If you’re looking for a powerful recovery aid for those intense workouts or races, look no further than PerfectAmino by BodyHealth. I’ve been using this quality Amino Acid supplement for the past couple years and I also recommend it to those I coach. Give it a try by using code HITZ10 for 10% off your order at BodyHealth.

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3 Holiday Tips to Keep You Running Strong!

Holiday Tips For Runners

I hope this finds you running well as we move into the Winter!  Here are 3 holiday tips to keep you healthy as we move into the holiday season…

1.) Load up on fruit & veggies – as we move closer to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, it’s very easy to increase our sugar intake with all the holiday treats available. Make it a point to stock up on healthy snacks and limit the amount of unhealthy snacks you have in the house.  Instead, save the sugary treats for those special gatherings with family or friends. My wife and I love to cut up broccoli and cauliflower and load up a container full to have handy. We then use hummus or Annie’s Goddess dressing as a delicious dip.  Apples and oranges are also great to have available since they’re packed with immunity-building Vitamin C. Apples are also a fantastic source of Quercetin, a flavinoid that helps guard against cold or flu bugs and also has been found to decrease inflammation.  As a runner, lingering inflammation can be an injury waiting to happen.  Refined sugar also creates more inflammation throughout the body.

2.) Vitamin D Supplement – depending on where you live, this can also be a time of year when the sun can be a little more elusive which means our bodies don’t make as much Vitamin D.  For the runner, Vitamin D levels correspond with our immunity which is the body’s ability to fight off disease and illness.  So during this season, a Vitamin D supplement can help boost immunity, especially as we endure more intense training.  Based on research, it’s tough to beat Maximized Living’s Vitamin D3 Complex

3.) Don’t Forget Water! – As the weather gets cooler, it’s easier to back off on water since the body doesn’t alert us as quickly to our need.  A nice formula to ensure you’re drinking enough is to change your body weight to ounces and cut that in half.  For example, I weigh 150 lbs.  Therefore, my minimum intake should be 75 ounces each day.  This number will increase on days when we run.  Water helps flush out waste and toxins. One way to know you’re drinking enough is notice a clear to light yellow color in your urine.  Dark yellow is a sign you’re under-drinking.

Practice these 3 tips over the next couple months and you’ll give your body an extra layer of protection it needs despite the distractions that are inevitable this time of year.

On the Run,

CJ

 

**If you’re looking for a powerful recovery aid for those intense workouts or races, look no further than PerfectAmino by BodyHealth. I’ve been using this quality Amino Acid supplement for the past couple years and I also recommend it to those I coach. Give it a try by using code HITZ10 for 10% off your order at BodyHealth.

PerfectAminoXP

Are All Protein Powders The Same?

Through the years, I’ve tried many different brands and varieties of protein powders for my smoothies.  I’ve found that many brands are simply selling cans of trash in terms of ingredients and what they do for our bodies.  At the same time, the companies that produce these “trash cans” have elaborate marketing campaigns and fancy labels that attract the uneducated consumer in hordes.  Promises like “Bulk up Fast!” or “Gain Muscle Now!” are slogans we need to run from.  First of all, our bodies can only process a certain quantity of protein before the excess is stored as fat.  Second, the quality of the protein is something we need to research before we put it into our bodies.

Why I Prefer Plant-Based Protein

In my own research, I’ve found plant-based protein powders to be the most efficient for my body for a few reasons…

1.) Digestion – Plant-based protein is going to digest more quickly and be readily available for use by our bodies.  Whey-based protein is made from dairy which means the body will need to take it through a longer process for digestion as it breaks it down.

2.) Allergies – I’ve also found (as many others have) my allergies have decreased as my dairy intake decreased over the years.  As I was growing up, I consumed large amounts of dairy in the form of milk, ice cream, cheese, yogurt, etc.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I suffered with Hay Fever on a yearly basis, especially from Spring to the beginning of Fall.  My body was also producing a large amount of mucus which is the body’s way of trying to get rid of something it doesn’t agree with.  I can’t remember the last time I experienced a Hay Fever attack which used to include itchy eyes, itchy & scratchy throat, runny nose and obnoxious sneezing bouts.  I attribute this to dietary changes and improved fitness.

3.) Health Concerns – Studies are also finding soy protein to be dangerous for our bodies.  Some of these concerns include increased cancer risks due to estrogen levels, enlarged thyroid and adverse interactions with some prescription medications.  Most soy products have been genetically modified which is always a red flag regarding health and nutrition.

4.) Whole Food Nutrition – Stay away from protein powders that use the word “isolate” in their labels or ingredients list.  This means the company has isolated and separated various parts of a food in order to cheapen the product.  Study after study has shown that maximum benefit is found in whole food-based nutrition.  For example, an apple contains thousands of individual phytonutrients that work in synergy together.  Some well-meaning folks have isolated these phytonutrients to find out which ones are healthiest for the human body before putting them into capsule or powder form.  Bottom line: if you want the maximal amount of nutrition, simply eat the whole apple!  The same goes for protein…when you see the words “soy isolate” or “whey isolate” you’re not seeing whole food nutrition.

Garden of Life Sport Protein Is My Choice

GOL Sport Protein PicAgain, there are many different brands of protein powder on the market today including those that are plant-based.  My absolute favorite has become Garden of Life Sport. My favorite part about Garden of Life Sport is that it’s 100% plant-based, free from dairy, gluten and soy, and contains no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners.  In other words, you won’t find fillers, isolates or non-food additives in this mix!

My body just feels cleaner since I’ve begun using Garden of Life Sport for my smoothies.  I also love the taste!  Unlike the bland, chalky taste of so many protein powders on the market, Garden of Life Sport is a delicious way to enhance your smoothie.  It only makes sense as you’ll be adding real food (in powder form) to your blend.

The protein found in Garden of Life Sport contains all of the following in each can…

  • Organic Pea Protein
  • Organic Sprouted Navy Bean
  • Organic Sprouted Lentil Bean
  • Organic Sprouted Garbanzo Bean
  • Organic Cranberry Protein (seed)

Garden of Life Sport is no “lightweight” in terms of the amount of quality protein, boasting 30 grams per serving (two scoops).  You can rest assured knowing you’re feeding your body the protein is craves most and an amount it will use to build a strong, lean body.

Garden of Life Sport Protein is available in Chocolate and Vanilla flavors.

Start using Garden of  Life Sport protein powder today! Use code Ambassador20 for 20% off your next online order

Click Here to Discover 6 Proven Practices to Help You Run Faster