O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may become righteous. (Surah Al-Baqarah: Verse183)
With Ramadan approaching in just a few short weeks, many of you, like myself, are wondering how to maintain a level of fitness throughout the month of Ramadan, so as not to lose endurance and muscle tone (neither are completely true). Fear not! There are several habits you can adopt throughout your day, and can maybe even enhance the spiritual aspect of fasting by giving you a little extra energy here and there. I’ve share below some of my own lessons learned. Feel free to share your own!
For my readers who are not familiar with the logistics of Ramadan, allow me to share. Fasting for 30 days during the month of Ramadan (one month on the lunar calendar) is one of the five main pillars of Islam. This year, Ramadan begins at the end of June. Physically and mentally able Muslims (there are several exemptions) will fast from dawn to sunset, abstaining from food, water, smoking, and sex during those times. At sunset, it is tradition to break fast with a date, which is essentially a superfood, water and the company of others. It is such a beautiful time of togetherness and camaraderie. Many faiths participate in fasting on some level. The first few days are tough, then your body gets into a groove, the last 10 days are hard, knowing the end is near. It is a time for physical cleansing, and spiritual resetting. Many will attend the Mosque for prayers more often than, others prefer to stay at home. We end the month of Ramadan with Eid ul Fitr, a celebration lasting three days, with gift giving galore! Continue reading Be Fit for Ramadan
If you have ever been a part of planning a huge party or a wedding, then you get it. That empty feeling you have as the last guest leaves, and your heart swells up with joy and your mind is sorting through all the new memories you created. Maybe you are wondering, when will I see them again? It’s a dramatic sentiment, but it’s exactly how I am feeling now, post-triathlon. I feel like I said goodbye to a dear friend. One that I trained with for months and months. It kept me company every day and because it was new, every week was exciting. I loved the highs and lows of learning how to swim all over again. Oh, and the gear?? Buying a new swim suit after YEARS. Experimenting with goggles, paddles, flippers and buoys. Some things I never knew existed for the water before this year. The drama with my bike, wavering between, ‘will I like triathlons and if so should I buy a road bike’, or ‘Nah, I’ll just hybridize my mountain bike and deal with it’. I installed a bike computer and pedal cages which made me feel accomplished. I had the run covered, no sweat. But it was tricky learning how to successfully complete brick workouts from bike to run!
The 2014 Esprit de She Sprint Triathlon. Here’s how it went down.
The standard 4am wake up call: adrenaline woke up me and got me out of the house. I was in transition by 5:30am, set up all my gear as you can see below, and started eating my overnight oats. That was one of the smarter things I did that morning…
Then my fellow race pals and I decided to walk the T1 and T2 paths to familiarize ourselves with the course and stay warm. Transition would close at 6:45am, so by this point, we had about an hour. It was really great to walk around and see everyone’s transition setup, especially swoon over the elite bikes! That’s when it really hit me that my mountain bike with hybrid tires wasn’t going to cut it.
The 750 m Swim
Swallowed some EnergyBits tablets and it was time to head out. Grabbed my goggles and swim cap and we made our way. I had a mylar blanket to keep myself warm until my start time of 7:52 (Wave 14). In my mind I was thinking, I’ve got this! All I need to do is get into a groove and I’ll be set. I had NO IDEA what I was in for. For those of you who have done a triathlon, you know what I’m chaos I am referring to! A friend and fellow racer from my running club did warn me that it would take about 100-200m before my nerves would calm down / HR would come down. What I wish I had prepared for was that feeling of ‘HEY, is that woman trying to drown me?!?!’ Surely she is not, she is trying to do exactly the same as me, which is find some space and get into a groove. I was so anxious I had to flip on my back and swim backstroke for about a full lap. It’s simply very hard to swim well when you are constantly being kicked and smacked. No lane lines to see where you are going, you constantly have to look up. I kept trying to look out for my vista points but would lose them moments later. Maybe that’s just the beginner’s swim, and now it won’t happen again? I know I lost a LOT of time panicking and doing this. Despite the drama, my total time for the swim was 19 minutes.
Couple notes on T1. My bike was racked towards the end of the entry, so it was a long shuffle from the swim. Getting my bike off the rack – should have practiced after racking it in the morning. Lesson learned.
The 13.3 mile Bike
Got the bike off the rack, grabbed a fig bar, water bottle was already loaded but I FORGOT to add a Nuun tablet. And rushed out to mount. I had taped a Clif gel to my bike the night before so that would be my source of carbs for the ride. THE WIND WAS AWFUL. It was a double loop course so I thought I’d be safe on the way back since I was getting so much headwind, but no, not at all. Wind found me head on both ways, both times. Drank water every 5 miles, took the gel at mile 8. All I can say about the bike is that I was being passed up by mostly everyone and their mom and by the end if I heard someone say “On your left!!” one more time, I was going to S C R E A M! I made a point to pass up a few people and finished strong with a lousy 54 min.
Notes on T2. There is be no reason why this cannot be under 2-2 1/2 minutes. Especially because I was not wearing cycling shoes. Alas, I racked my bike, took off the helmet, grabbed the visor, Garmin but FORGOT my bib. I ran out, stepped on the timing belt and it wasn’t until a woman quickly called out ‘HEY you forgot your bib!!’. I ran back to transition and ran back out. So there’s my awful T2 time.
The 5k Run
The run was awesome! I got into a meditative groove right away, knowing it is my strength. However, the last race I did was the Soldier Field 10 mile and I cramped at mile 8. The cramping got me through the finish line until my legs started spasming so bad that I was wheeled into the medic tent. All I kept thinking about was thanking God for giving me the opportunity to race today, and to please keep my legs in check and let me just get through pain-free! And I did!! Also, I don’t race short distances so there was no time to complain My average pace was 8:27 and my time was 26:15 (53/246). I will say one more thing, the finish line deceived me. There were two timing belts, placed about 20 m apart, I don’t know WHY I nearly stopped at the first one, until I heard a woman yell out to me to KEEP GOING (maybe the same one who said my bib was missing??). I have never ever done that in any race, so either fatigue set in or the race layout is all wrong
I know there was room for improvement in everything I did. And that’s the beauty of your first time, you create the framework from which to improve and make modifications. My overall time was 1:48. I planned for 1:45, mostly because it sounds like a really great number. Otherwise I have nothing to compare this to, so until I sign up for another sprint triathlon, which I will, I will happily take my beautiful medal and enjoy the fact that I set out to complete a triathlon, and now I can finally say, I’m a triathlete!!
Raceweek! The homestretch! Whatever you call it, it’s here. I’m thrilled with my training, and can’t wait until I get into the pool on Sunday. When I consider the swim alone, I’ve come SO FAR in just a few months. I have successfully overcome my traumatic near-drowning experience in Kauai a little over 4 years ago, which kept me out of the water all this time. Time is both a great healer and mentor. I have done the hard work: the laps in the pool, the miles on the road, the indoor and outdoor rides. This week I need to focus on nutrition, sleeping and stretching. I’ll get in the water once or twice, ride and run twice. Friday is REST DAY! The two days before the race I will load up on complete protein and complex carbohydrates to top off glycogen levels. Can’t forget to hydrate! For race-day endurance I plan on taking my EnergyBits before I hit the pool, and again in T1 before I get on the bike. I will load my water bottle with Nuun and have a backup ready to go. Fig bars will be the energy of choice – they are a great source of potassium, sodium and are extremely portable.
Do you have a big race coming up? What does your raceweek look like?
Recently I joined a weekly #Runchat twitter chat sponsored by ENERGYbits. I was very intrigued to learn more as I had increasingly spotted their travel tin all over on Instagram by fellow runners and plant-based athletes. Organically grown spirulina for energy? Heck, I’ll try anything once. I was very excited to receive a sample to review and tell you how you can win a sample for yourself. I also have a discount code for you!
What is spirulina algae?
Spirulina algae is a super hero in the world of super foods. Research done by NASA showed that that 1 kg of spirulina had the nutritional equivalent of 1000 kg of fruits and vegetables! (Yes, NASA feeds astronauts algae!) Spirulina’s nutritional pedigree is so impressive that The World Bank, NASA and Olympic athletes have all declared spirulina to be the most nutritious food in the entire world. Why? Well for starters, it effortlessly and naturally boosts your energy like an energy drink, energy bar or coffee but without the downside of chemicals, caffeine, calories, gluten or sugar. Gram per gram, there is no denser source of nutrition than spirulina algae. (www.ENERGYbits.com)
What are the ENERGYbits tabs?
Have you ever (un)intentionally drank ocean water? The tabs remind me of the salt water and of seaweed. They’re very small and can easily be swallowed with any liquid.
I looked at the tin of dozens of tabs and thought, ‘How on earth am I going to take 30 right now?’. For those of you who aren’t the pill popping, vitamin consuming types, this may pose a problem. I decided to start easy and take a few at a time. I took 5 tablets every 90 minutes and found them to be remarkable. I had sustained energy throughout the day, which included numerous exercise activities (swimming, running and lifting). The tabs are VERY green, so it’s best to swallow them instead of chewing.
They have the highest concentration of protein in the world (64% protein which is three times the amount of protein in steak), over 40 nutrients, and are just one calorie per tab.
The next couple of times I took the tabs I was expecting similar results, and I tried them at different times of the day, knowing when I would be at an energy deficit. I was pleasantly surprised that the bits delivered every time.
Just a handful of 30+ bits will not only fill you up, they will meet most of your daily nutritional requirements, and all for just ONE calorie per tab.
I’ve taken my fair share of energy gels which often leave my stomach unsettled. I had absolutely no negative after effects from the tabs.
Why does this product work?
Spirulina is a nitrogen based algae, and since nitric oxide opens up your blood vessels, taking our ENERGYbits® will give your brain and your body a steady and natural supply of oxygen and nourishment.
As any plant-based athlete knows, searching for protein sources can be a full-time job. These bits not only sustained me with energy throughout the day enduring multi-sport training, but it also curbed my hunger, revved my metabolism and helped me avoid the infamous 3pm slump. Perhaps the best benefit from the product was that the day after I did a mini practice triathlon, I was not sore or overly fatigued in any way. These tabs are essential for endurance training. Here are some listed benefits of the algae spirulina tabs (and I most certainly can vouch for most of them):
Best used for:
Increasing Mental Vitality
High Protein Snack
***Leave a comment below, or click HERE to enter yourself in a raffle to win a sample tin of ENERGYtabs! They also provided me with a discount code for you. Enter the word “BLOG” into the coupon box and the 10% discount will be instantly applied.***
** Raffle winner–>
To learn more about ENERGYbits, join their Health and Fitness Twitter chat, held Tuesday nights at 8pm (EST) at #PoweredByBits
You can also find them at www.energybits.com or at http://www.pinterest.com/energybits/fit-with-bits/
They say carrying a tin of ENERGYbits is like carrying around a salad and a steak! Check out the nutrition label: