Just a week was the start of a brand new year, and we of course welcome 2022 with open arms. At the start of this new year, I was on a New Years Retreat zoom call with some of my favorite women. We were having conversations about goals, resolutions, re-starts and so many other things of similar nature.

And it dawned on me that just a small four letter word was really overwhelming for some people. GOAL. I am not talking about your typical new year’s resolution. I don’t do resolutions. I don’t push my friends, family, followers, or clients to do resolutions. However, I do like goals. I like goal-setting. I like goal mapping and goal planning. I enjoy planning out my own goals, as well as helping others. And, a new year right after a busy holiday season seems to be the perfect time to set and write-out goals. Notice, I said AND write-out goals. Because setting goals is just a dream until you sit down to focus, write, and follow through.

A worksheet to help plan out and navigate your goals.

But yes, setting a GOAL is overwhelming. Should we set multiple? Should we focus on family goals? career goals? business goals? friendship goals? Self-care goals? Or, should we fall into the path of most of our country at the new year and focus on health goals?

It’s hard to think about. It’s difficult to determine. It’s overwhelming to decide. I hear ya.

In case you do relate to any of these above questions and challenging concepts, I do want to share the zoom call recording (video below) I did with my clients/friends in helping them set up goals. In our zoom, we started with a worksheet that led us through discussions (see photo of my worksheet above) of what we enjoy, who we enjoy, what we do for work, for fun, for enjoyment, for others, and for ourselves. We focused on our mindset towards these parts of our lives; are we happy and content with those categories or are we ready to move forward with bigger commitments and goals. Once we determined our mindset, we talked about gratitude and affirmations.

While reading just a short blog on goals may not feel like the most inspiring thing ever, having the video + worksheet may be a tool to keep in your back pocket. Watching this video may help you determine some small goals for 2022. I’d love for you to take a watch of this video below and use the blank worksheet attached.

If you made it this far and past the worksheet + video, thank you so much. Thanks for being here on this journey. If at any point you need help with your goals, focus, follow through – let’s chat.

And, to end with some fun and never leave you hanging, I’d LOVE to share my 2022 goals. As I said, goals can be set in categories. I usually do exactly that.

Marriage goal: just live daily in each other’s company. Bike, hike, and complete the Michigan Dalmac together this year – Josh as the cyclist, Heather as the lead crew guide. You can read about our experience doing this last year here.

Business goal: grow my business by 10% each quarter of the year, by doing what I love, sharing the fitness and foods that bring myself and my clients happiness and health. And, if you do ever want to join in on that fun, we invite you.

Running goals: to complete the Las Vegas Mt. Charleston Marathon in April, to complete the Bears Ears Ultra 50-miler SOLO in June, to complete the NeverSummer 100k in July.

Mantras: I can do anything for a day. Whether a tough day of work, teaching classes, talking with clients or a tough training day of 8+ running in the mountains, I can and I will do anything for a day.

Miles of Matrimony: a season of riding

And… Training for our first century ride & beyond – TOGETHER!

When I got married and my friends put on my bridal shower, they gave Josh and I a questionnaire to complete for a trivia game. One of the questions was “What was your first date?”  Josh answered that our first date was meeting at Horsefly and going hiking at Curecanti Canyon the next day. Wrong answer. 

The day you randomly meet and go hiking is not a date. Regardless of what the answer is, the truth of the matter is that I really only got into physical activity and outdoor adventures because I met Josh.  Right there, from day one, he was taking me outdoors for all kinds of hiking and biking adventures.

I met Josh in 2012 – in a bar nonetheless – because I was a drinker and he was Mr. Colorado Outdoorsman. From the day we met, I knew I had to fake til I make it in the world of hiking, biking, and all other outdoor fun. He had a passion for backpacking, mountain biking, and motorcycling. If I had any chance at all in making that relationship work, I had to learn and adapt! Biking, included. 

That first summer we were dating, Josh bought me my introductory mountain bike and helmet off discount days from the REI Outlet site. On our first ride to Ridgway Reservoir, I threw my bike off the trail into the reservoir. If we could survive the trail side temper tantrum, for sure we could survive a summer of road biking and training for our first Century Ride together, right? 

Our First Century Ride! 100 miles Naturita to Gateway Canyon and back!

Absolutely! So anyways. It’s been a solid 8 years and a few different bikes since that initial bike ride. To say that biking together had been my least favorite hobby, is an understatement. For years, I shared that I liked it better when Josh biked with me while I ran/trained for my ultras. It was such a great bonding time, outdoors, together. And, I didn’t have to bike. WIN WIN. 

Fast forward to 2021. In a very roundabout weird strange way, we both got into road biking. Prior to 2021, we only had mountain bikes. But as our circle of friends shifted over the years, and so many of my friends were road bikers, I decided to purchase a roadie and sign up for the Michigan Dalmac. You’ve all seen that blog. 

While training for the Dalmac, Josh got really interested in road riding and training with me. We decided that for our 5th anniversary in July, we’d purchase him a really nice road bike from a friend. It’s the mutual gift that keeps on giving and we’d have plenty of “Miles of Matrimony” ahead of us riding together. From our anniversary in July to the Dalmac ride in September, we biked together hundreds of miles, tons of hours. We carted our camper with the bike rack all over the states of Colorado and Utah in order to enjoy roads and sceneries of all kinds. 

And though people have asked what the real details are and if we ever fought about it, I don’t think we actually did?! On the contrary, mid-August we sat down at a computer together and started researching the Mountains to Deserts Century ride. After emailing the race director and getting details, we decided a century ride together was exactly what we wanted to end the summer of riding with. 

Mile 80 of our first century ride.

We signed up one night, and the next night decided we needed to go on a ride together to practice riding down the Keystone section of Highway 145 (if you know, you  know that highway.) We have a messed up version of celebrating things. 

So, the week of the Dalmac arrived and all went well. While I rode hundreds of miles, Josh still logged well over 100 miles that week just riding out towards me on the course and riding alongside me for various sections of that route. He managed to ride really well, yet still took care of my needy self and all my whining for 5 days. Again, I don’t think we really ever had any arguments or disagreements. It was just a lot of hours of being on the bike, and another ton of hours being tired/hungry. Somehow, we manage our riding and our relationship pretty well. 

Between the Dalmac and our century ride was exactly 20 days. So, just less than 3 weeks for me to recover/taper all in one and time for Josh to get one last long ride in. He did his final training ride of 63 miles totally solo, on his own. While we did most of our training together, I think he really enjoyed that time out on the road in the SPEED by himself. Without me there to slow him down, that was probably the fastest 63 miles of his life. 

8 days prior to our Mountains to Desert Century ride, the event was cancelled due to unfortunate circumstances with COVID, staffing, people, and other needs that couldn’t be met. While we could have easily decided not to do it, we made arrangements to take on 100 miles from the Mountains to the Desert. We booked camping at CampV in Naturita and biked from there to Gateway Canyons Resort Coffee Shop in Gateway. 

Like all summer long, we carted the camper and our bikes out to Naturita. We spent the evening before getting the bikes prepped and ready. We filled our water bottles and packed enough food to do the full 100 miles solo, self supported. 

Day of: 

On the day of our century ride, we left at 7:15am – a very cold chilly morning in the canyons. It was so cold that we rode FAST. In the first 50 miles, we only stopped one time. We made it 50 miles to Gateway in 3 hours, 18 minutes. Coming back was a totally different story. It was hot, and mostly uphill back to CampV. 

It’s normal that Josh rides way ahead of me and occasionally waits.

And, since y’all ask for the real deal on how we ride together – this is the answer of where we ride apart. From miles 50-80ish we didn’t ride together a whole lot. And, if we did, it was pretty quiet.  Between it being hot, managing water, and just overall fatigue, we both struggled but at different times. While I was doing okay on the uphills, Josh was tired and his feet hurt. While he can haul on the downhills, my upper body was struggling. We did stop together at mile 80, where Josh declared he was “Low on attitude.”  Thanks dude, thanks for recognizing that you’re hangry, hot, and tired all in one. 

Mile 80 blessed us with a surprise aid station though. Even though the race was canceled, many people were still riding the course. So the race director organized for her and a couple others to be out there with water, lemonade and snacks. We refilled on water, food, and energy from seeing them. Off we went. 

Miles 80-100 weren’t all that great. It was in these miles we just wanted to be back to camp and probably felt annoyed with each other. While we enjoy riding together, 7.5 hours is a long time. Though, we still didn’t argue or disagree on anything. 

Our self-made finishers awards!

We finished up our hundred miles, had dinner at our camp, and enjoyed a bottle of wine. It wasn’t your traditional “end of the race” setting. There wasn’t a finish line or spectators, but it was quaint and cute for us. My mom had made us these super cute Cycopath Biking shirts and I had gotten some dollar store toy “medal” with some superhero decor. It was our own celebration of victory and accomplishment, and we fully enjoyed it. 

We weren’t there to just wrap up at 7 hour, 100 mile riding day. This was literally a summer in the making, possibly even years since that first bike temper tantrum at the Ridgway Reservoir. 

It’s been several weeks since our century ride, but you know it hasn’t stopped there. Being that we (surprisingly to some) still like each other and still enjoy our bikes, we’ve still carted our camper and bikes around the last few weekends. A few weeks back, we biked 70+ miles around Grand Junction, Palisade, and the Monument area. And couple weeks ago we biked 60+ miles around Canyonlands and Deadhorse Point. Just this past weekend, we covered 50ish miles in the Durango/Mancos areas. The adventures and views are endless. 

Since purchasing Josh’s bike in July, we have biked over 1,000 miles (1,200 miles for me total, not sure how many for Josh). Majority of our miles have been riding together. But even if not riding together, we have been the best crewing/supporting team for each other. Whether doing each other’s laundry, having meals ready before or after riding, or packing each others bike packs, we mostly share the biking tasks. And, by sharing I mean, he probably does 70% of the leg work, me 30%. I will absolutely be the first to admit I am the weaker link when it comes to the actual bikes. Josh is the mechanic who cares for the cleaning, tires, chains, and everything else that requires mechanic maintenance. 

I am no biking-marriage pro, but since friends and others ask how we manage it to enjoy it all…. I simply suggest knowing each other’s strongpoints, and slowly back away when you know it isn’t your expertise. While Josh is fixing bike pieces, cleaning chains, or checking tire pressures, I do my best to back away and try not to annoy his space. While I am getting our snacks, packs, and meals ready, Josh is pretty good at getting out of the kitchen area and letting me do my thing – whether it be at home or in the camper getting ready for a long ride. I highly suggest communicating very well the day before a ride of your plan of action, communicating who is doing what. I suggest having a checklist that you each have your own gear ready. Don’t assume other one has packed your items such as socks, shoes, helmets, gloves and whatnot because in that case, an item is likely to be left behind with the mentality “I thought you packed it….” Simpy communicate who is doing what, who is packing what. Discuss your route together so you know where you are headed and can mentally prepare for the terrain, climbs, downhills, and whatever else you may encounter.

Where biking may take us, I am not sure. When will we do another century? That I am not sure of either, but we are on the search for different bike events for 2022 – still hoping that Mountains to Deserts works out for us. While I am for sure NOT riding the Dalmac next year, Josh has full intentions of training and completing it.  I will be crewing him.

Like I said, back away and let the other person have their space while doing their part.

Like marriage, life on two wheels takes focus and balance. It takes hard work. It takes communication. It takes the right tools and proper gear. It takes dedication.  Enjoy the ride.

Miles In Michigan: The Dalmac

Just a few short days since the 335 mile Dalmac Ride wrapped up and I am still trying to wrap my mind around the thought of biking for 30+ hours.  As you may, or may not know, cycling is not my sport of choice. Even running didn’t come natural to me. 

A little backstory for you: my sister is 13 months younger than me, and she learned to ride a back before me. I still remember only getting enough confidence to ride my bike around our childhood farm without training wheels because she could!  I was not born with innate skills of balance or stability. I have always been clumsy. So, as you can imagine – clipping into bike pedals and trusting two wheels to hold me up wasn’t the easiest of tasks. 

When I met Josh in 2012, he made it very clear that he likes any sport on two wheels. His BMW motorcycle is his first love and his mountain bike was a close second. When we were dating in 2013, he convinced me to buy a cheap mountain bike from the REI outlet website for their semi annual sales. My first bike ride with him to Ridgway Reservoir, I threw the bike off the trail, sat on the side of the trail, and cried like a child. It was beyond difficult for me. Riding was not my jam at all. I don’t think we rode together again for at least a couple years. 

Fast forward to 2021. In February (just 7 months ago), I decided to buy a $100 road bike. I figured for a hundred dollars, I’d cross train for my ultra with it. As it turns out, I fell in love with the speed and adrenaline of road biking. I was also pretty fond of the time Josh and I got to spend together biking as a “couples thing.”  Being from Michigan, I had heard about the Dalmac since I was a child. I have aunts and uncles that have ridden it. And, I remember riders passing by when we were kids. I decided to research the ride, work out some details, and see if I could sign up. I signed up, downloaded the training plan, followed their social media pages, and the fun started. 

Always Choose Adventure

We flew into Grand Rapids, MI on a Saturday and spent a couple days with various family. We went out to my Uncle Ken and Aunt Kathy’s to get our gear ready. They were riding the Dalmac on their tandem, and Josh was going to be crewing all of us.  Let the fun begin! 

Tuesday night, Josh and Uncle Ken loaded up all our bikes and gear while I walked around aimlessly looking into the pink skies wondering what the heck I had signed up for. 350ish miles from Lansing, MI to the Mackinac Bridge felt like a huge journey on my butt! 

Wednesday morning we pulled out of the driveway by 5:45am and arrived to Michigan State University by 6:30am. While I did not go to college at MSU, my sister and several of my friends did. And, my mom has worked at the university since I was very young. So I know this campus very well.

As soon as we pulled up the MSU Pavilion, I felt nervous, but I just reminded myself “this is where I brought my nephew to a tractor show when he was a toddler.” Anything to take my mind off getting on the bike sounded good. We met up with the group we were riding with, took some photos, and headed out.  

Day 1 (Wednesday) we were riding MSU to Vestaburg, MI. We passed through so many areas that I knew from my teenage years: Dewitt, St. Johns, Maple Rapids, Alma, and finally Vestaburg. Being that this was the day closest to my hometown and family, it was the only day we’d really have spectators and see family. One hour into the ride, I got to see my Aunt Mary and Grandma. Two hours into the ride I got to see my Uncle Lonnie and Aunt Cindy. It was great to see family the first day to remind me that this is meant to be a tour, fun, enjoyable. Just think of it as a biking meet and greet. No need to rush anything.  The route that day was pretty hot and 75 miles of a headwind.  One of the highlights of Day 1 ride is that Josh rode to Alma so that he could ride the last 12ish miles with us. Anytime I get to ride with Josh is a great time! 

Day 2 (Thursday) we were riding Vestaburg to McBain. I know very little about this section of Michigan. Every single road that we explored that day was new to me. I just know it was farm after farm after farm. Plus, there were so many windmills!! I left camp at 7am with my aunt and uncle (riding tandem) and their large group of friends. But within 30 minutes, I knew that I could not keep up with them for the day. I quickly lost speed and fell behind. At our first stop that day, everyone recognized I’d be the slow one for the day and they introduced me to another gal my age who rides similar to me (Christine). We got on together really well. We chatted and rode together for a few hours. It was great. Turns out, we spent the next few days leapfrogging each other and occasionally riding together.  This day was also my only hiccup of the journey: a flat tire. 

Oh, the irony of that flat tire – I wasn’t even on the bike! I was taking a break in a park in Farwell, MI waiting for our group (because I randomly got ahead of them). I literally set my bike on the side of a picnic table and the tire went flat. UGH! But, a very kind man changed my tire in less than 3 minutes and we were on our way. Next stop was McBain. I very vaguely remember coming into McBain – like not at all remember. I don’t even remember where we camped that night. 150 miles in 2 days had me exhausted.  I was really wondering how the heck all of these other riders significantly older than me were not sore or fatigued? 

Day 3 (Friday) was the day that I had been dreaming about! We were riding McBain to Elk Rapids. I had never been to Elk Rapids, but I knew it was just a skip away from Traverse City and almost right on Lake Michigan, but closer to Elk Rapids Lake and Torch Lake. I was dreaming of lake days! While I am a mountain girl through and through, I was born and raised in Michigan – the lakes hold a very special place in my heart. I absolutely love Traverse City and the Grand Traverse Bay area, so I knew Elk Rapids would be amazing! 

Anyways, I knew that it was a shorter day – mileage and hours wise. So,  I had it in my mind to ride pretty straight through from McBain to Elk Rapids in order to enjoy the town and sit at the lake. We rode a solid ride that day, with just one short stop in Fife Lake. Since it was a solid ride and we covered miles pretty quickly, we arrived on Main Street of Elk Rapids by 12:05pm! It was barely noon and we had a whole day ahead of us to hang out. We had lunch at a local brewery, where I proudly drank a caramel apple cider beer to celebrate riding through Michigan. 

Since my body still felt okay that day, Josh and I went for an afternoon ride through Elk Rapids and on Bayshore Drive. It was beautiful; and we could see the Leelanau Peninsula directly across from the bay. It was really nice to be able to ride with Josh and share this whole experience.  Camp that night was right on Elk Lake so I went for a solo walk to the lake to just sit in the stillness and take it all in. 

Day 4 (Saturday)  was absolutely stunning. We rode McBain to Petoskey, riding right through Charlevoix. Anybody who has seen the west coast of Michigan along Lake Michigan knows – words and pictures will never be able to portray the beauty of this route and these towns. One thing I will say though – a car tour through this area is nothing compared to a bike. The lake, the trees, the colors are absolutely stunning from a bike. Being in a car and being on a bike are two totally different experiences. I highly highly suggest at least riding that section of Michigan on a bike (even if it’s an ebike or motorcycle) at least once.  

Being that this was the day we (Uncle Ken, Aunt Kathy, and myself) were really looking forward to “touring” and exploring Charlevoix before the rain was torrential, we left camp early. We departed at exactly 7:00am and rode along Elk Rapids Lake, then Torch Lake, then Lake Michigan. We had a solid mix of trees, orchards, and lakefront views. We leapfrogged with each other for about 20 miles, but then I took off solo. The group stopped for a quick stop at mile 20, but I had an agenda of doing photos, videos, and getting to Charlevoix before the rain. I rode a solid 42 miles before stopping. This segment was my farthest distance and longest amount of time on the bike without stopping – in my life. There was a large portion of that segment of torrential downpour and really reconsidering why I would ride in such conditions. But, I made it to Charlevoix by 10:30am and Josh had a change of clothes and dry socks for me. That was also the first time of the journey that I felt an incredible amount of hunger. I literally ate all the food from my bike pack in that one stop. I had about 900 calories in a five minute time frame, and felt no shame. Thank you Honey Stinger for the quick and efficient calories! 

Be a tree. Be rooted, be grounded. Stand proud in the toughest of situations, even when it feels like the world is flooding in around you and all you can do is stand up and say “I am strong. I am beautiful. I am independent. And I got this.”

The next 22 miles, Charlevoix to Petoskey were amazing. We were on the bike path the whole way, on and off the lakefront. I have no words for the colors or views – just photos. If I ever get the chance to return to this bike path for one of their foot races such as the marathon, I will be there. 

We arrived in Petoskey to beat the rain. The hills coming into camp were NO FREAKING JOKE. People were walking their bikes and falling over from going so incredibly slow on an incline. I just know, I felt pretty proud to have ridden the whole way into camp. That felt like a victory to me. Thank goodness I trained on Dallas Divide, Norwood Hill, and Lizard Head Pass for these hills! 

Petoskey was a great stop. We visited the food trucks venue, the chocolate fudge/ice cream shop, a local Michigan shop of random items, and went walking at the Bayshore Park.  I hadn’t been to Petoskey since I was about 14 years old (21 years ago) and it was just so different than I remember. 

Day 5 (Sunday) was our final day – Petoskey to The Mighty Mackinac Bridge. Like many other portions of the route, all of these roads were new to me. While I have been to the west coast of Michigan, I don’t think I have ever been on these “back roads” along the lake that we rode. Petoskey to Harbor Springs, then Harbor Springs to Good Hart, Good Hart to Mackinac City. Almost this entire day was on the lake, along the famous route for the “Tunnel of Trees.” Again, these routes and “tunnel of trees” are very famous for car tours. But, if you get the chance to go on a bike, it is a completely different experience.  

Riding on this day was my first real experience of drafting with another group of women. That’s a whole other experience. While I was with a large group for these 5 days, we didn’t ride together all the time. I spent a lot of time riding solo, taking it all in. About 15 miles before the finish, these ladies circled back for me and I heard them talking about how to stagger so I could draft with them. I insisted that they don’t have to slow down or wait for me. Then suddenly one responds, “Hey, you’ve done this entire thing yourself. All your training. All your miles. Most of these days. You’ve done great by yourself, but we are all in this together.” That was touching and I got so teary. In that moment, I recognized – I literally trained for 6 months solo (Josh did join me for some), I stayed dedicated to my training, I put in the time, I rode the miles. And here we are in the final hour and someone recognized and reminded me: you’ve done this. 

Coming into Mackinac, our group made a plan to meet up together right before town to ride in together. Of all of us that were riding, I was the “Dalmac First Timer” and got the honor of riding the group right into Mackinac, around the lake shore, right to the bridge, into the water. I was so tired and emotional; I tried not to get teary. Thank god Ken makes good jokes because right as I was about to let my eyes water, he made a joke about me getting a flat tire in the final mile (did not get a flat tire, just a joke). 

While the Dalmac is just another tour for some people, and others have ridden it dozens of times, it was a huge accomplishment for me. And, I cannot / will not downplay that. I am not a natural athlete. I only got into wellness and physical activity a few short years ago. I only got into biking this past year. So, the Dalmac is more than just a 5 day tour to me; it was a journey of learning about myself as a person, as an athlete, and finding a ton of inner strength and determination.

While I am not a great cyclist, I actually know very little about cycling and bikes. I spent the first half of the tour just learning. Just understanding it all was a battle of it’s own that I feel good to have experienced. It took/takes a ton of hard work and dedication. It took a serious mindset to put myself on training mode for 6months and then put my butt in a bike seat for 30+ hours in 5 days. 

I will forever be grateful for my husband, all my family, friends, and my aunt and uncle for the support I got in doing this ride (and Kathy for letting me use her bike/gear of course). From the day I signed up, until now – they’ve all given me the guidance on what to expect, how to navigate training, how to take it day by day and even now to navigate the organized chaos of camp. Honestly, as a first timer, preparing for a 5 day event – I didn’t really know where to start or how the start/finish, camp or anything works. Ken and Kathy laid it all out for me and helped me feel less stressed/nervous about it all.

The Dalmac is a true first class tour of Michigan that I’d highly recommend to anyone. Whether choosing 2, 3, 4, or 5 day route options – give it a go. Believe in yourself to learn a new sport, get on a bike, and just pedal into the beauty.

Fun Facts: We rode a total of 335 miles. My cumulative hours of biking was 30 hours. My average speed was 12.2 miles/hour. (not very fast, but I rode a leisure “take photos/videos” pace.)

Will I do it next year: I will be support crew for Josh, Ken, Kathy. It will be amazing!

Counting Your Macros Isn’t Enough!

Why micros matter even more! Or, do these even matter? Or, do they matter even more?

Let’s jump right in and talk about a topic you have seen all over my social media for the past two years: MACROS. You have heard me use the term macros and micro nutrients. You’ve heard me talk about the three types of macros. So, now, you’re going to be shocked to hear me say that paying attention to your macros doesn’t cut it. Paying attention to your macronutrients isn’t enough. If you want serious results, in your gut, in your body, in your energy, in your weight, in your lifestyle, in your sleep- counting and tracking your macros isn’t going to cut it. Macros aren’t enough. That’s the fast, hard truth.  And, I talk more about this listed in the video at the end of the blog – be sure to read that far.

But, before we do get to the truth of the matter, let’s talk about what macros are. Macros is a short word that means “macronutrients.” They are the three main nutrient groups that make up the mass of your food. They are fats, proteins, carbohydrates.  You hear of diets/plans every day that tell you to eat high fat, low carbs or other plans that tell you to eat high protein, high fats. But you mostly hear of plans that tell you to cut carbs to lose weight. 

Protein packed, colorful macro dense dinner!

What you will NOT hear from these programs (mentioned above) is how to manage, how to balance your MACROS + MICROS in order to feel great and maintain weight and maintain body function for everyday living. Because most programs/plans are out there to sell you a weight loss program, they aren’t going to tell you the small details of getting your micros/macros lined up with each other to feel good above and beyond what the scale says. 

Now, I know a lot of people ask what their “numbers” should be. How many proteins? How many carbs? How many fats? What should my percentages be? Or, questions come into my inbox about what the app, MyFitnessPal, suggests for them. Well, no two people are alike and numbers are like the scale: they’re only a tool. I am not going to give you specifics in those numbers here in this blog. Though, if you are looking for numbers, I would highly suggest my nutrition program for September. But… let’s skip that part and talk the truth about micros. 

When I say that macros aren’t enough, I want to expand on your MICRO nutrients. As I said, macros are your carbs/fats/protein that make up your food in general. Micronutrients are the even smaller nutrients that make up your macros. So, within your micro nutrients (which make up your macros) is where you will get your vitamins and minerals. In the case of vitamins – we are talking about vitamin A/B/C/D and so on that are often found in your plant based foods. In the case of minerals, we are talking calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, potassium, zinc, iodine, iron and so forth. And, fun fact – water is a mineral as well, so we are also talking about the water volume/content of your foods.  

The big question/confusion/concern that we have about macros and micros is this: do all macro nutrients contain the micro nutrients you need? The hard fast truth: NO. The expansion: the whole foods macros will contain micronutrients.  Keep reading. 

Getting your macros + micros all together through real foods.

Let me expand. You can get your macronutrient food categories from any food you want. You can get your carbs from wine, chocolate, beer, soda, donuts, candy, protein bars, sugary oatmeal, and many other sources. You can get your proteins from protein bars, cheap protein powders, canned meats, dried meats such as jerky. You can get your fats from sugary nut butters, sugar coated almonds, coconut candies and many others.  Will these junk forms of macro nutrients give you your micronutrients? The hard fast answer is NO. So, no, not all macro nutrients contain your micronutrients. 

On the flip side, if you think WHOLE FOOD and think “farm, not factory” and you choose your macros wisely, they will give you the micro nutrients you need to keep your body running. In the case of whole foods that essentially come from a farm or field at one point, you could take in your carbs in the form of sweet potatoes, yams, beans, lentils, quinoa, rice, oats, barely, and many other plant based items that were  once planted and harvested by a farmer. In the case of proteins, again, think farm not factory. Your proteins could come in the form of fish, poultry, meat, eggs, tofu, tempeh, or vegan forms or yogurts/creams. Again, these items were once grown and raised by a farmer, not a factory. In the forms of fat that comes from a farm, you have seeds, nuts, oils, olives, coconut, cheese, cream, whole milks,  and many others.  These are all MACRONUTRIENT items that will provide you a wide variety of MICRONUTRIENTS in your minerals and vitamins. 

Even if you are not a fan of “farming” or “industrial farming” or raising animals for the sole purpose of being food – I still highly suggest that you consider if your food has come from a farm or factory in order to have thee highest quality, most micronutrient dense out there. 

In the next couple of paragraphs, I am going to give you some farm versus factory examples: 

Carbohydrates: Let’s compare beans, which are planted and harvested versus granola. Yes, both of these foods are your macronutrient group carbs. They are both going to give you the carbohydrates that you want to increase your “fuel.” They both yield about the same number of calories per serving. But, do they both yield the same micro nutrients? Are they both going to be the micros to give you the maintenance work your body needs to sustain function and remain full for a few hours?  Let’s look at what nutrients are in each one. Beans: protein/carbs/iron/potassium. Granola: carbohydrates, possibly a small amount of protein along with a long list of ingredients, but not a whole lot of micronutrients. Not a whole lot of vitamins and minerals. And even if there is, is it  the cleaner form or your micros? Your beans were once the item planted and harvested on a farm. Your granola was processed in a factory. 

Proteins: Let’s compare a protein bar to a serving of eggs. A typical protein bar has about 130-150 calories. Two eggs is 140 calories. 140 calories in a bar versus 140 calories in your eggs – your macro protein is met in both amounts of that protein. But, are your MICROS met evenly? It is likely that yes, the protein bar is going to give you some micros, but are they the cleanest form you can get? And, are you getting fillers in addition?  In eggs, you’re going to get more than just protein; eggs also contain healthy cholesterol, potassium, calcium and iron without packing in a ton of extra carbs and fillers. In your bars, you’re going to get extra junk carbs in what they add, you’re going to get fillers, fake colorings, fillers. Again, the bars have come from a factory, whereas eggs are a product of a farm. 

Fats: Let’s compare peanuts to a cheap off brand peanut butter. In your serving of peanuts, you’re going to get about 160 calories, 2.4 grams of fiber, 4.6 grams of carbs, 14 grams of fat and some protein. In your typical off brand peanut butter, you will get 190 calories, less fiber, 8g carbs (twice as many as peanuts alone) and some protein. What you will also get in an off brand of peanut butter is a longer list of ingredients: sugars, molasses, vegetable oils. So again, you’re choosing the real food form that originated as a plant, from the ground instead of a jar that came out of the factory. 

Greens/Veggie for your micros, rice for your carbs, chicken for your protein – one of my favorite chicken curry salads!

When it comes down to the nitty gritty of getting in your REAL foods, versus fake foods, it is about getting in REAL MACROS, REAL MICROS. It is about really working the small pieces of your body as a machine. Think of your body as a car. You are the mechanic. You have to do the dirty work to keep your machine, your car running.  Now that we are on that analogy, let me talk about macros/micros. 

If you want to just look at the big picture of Macros, filling your body with your allotted macronutrients is like filling your car with just gasoline and expecting your car to run for a decade and go on a road trip without ever checking any other details of the car/machine.  

If you want to look at the more detailed picture of your micros, filling your body with your more specific MICROnutrients is like checking everything in your car: your fluids, oils, windshield wipers, brakes, engine, wheels, tires, and more. Checking your MICROS is like checking in on these small maintenance pieces that keep your gut, your energy, your hormones in check – all the things you need to have functioning all day. 

Let’s talk further about this analogy. What happens to a car when you put in the wrong gas or the incorrect oils? Your car recognizes these items as foreign and doesn’t use them to function properly. Your body is the same. 

When you decide to consume real macros and real micros, your body knows its job. The body’s job is to use, absorb, and excrete calories/nutrients. This simply means, your body will use the energy to get through the day feeling energized and focused. What your body doesn’t use, it will either absorb and retain, or excrete via bathroom visits. 

The opposite happens when you decide to consume your macros through junk foods. When you make the cognitive decision to eat the processed junk, your body is taking in a ton of fillers that do nothing for our nutrient count. So now, instead of just using/absorbing/excreting these calories, your body is seeing these ingredients as “foreign objects” “dirty”  – “toxins” much like a car would. Now, instead of using the calories right away, your body recognizes these objects and foreign, and quickly gets confused. Your body gets confused and reacts before it can use any of what you fed it. So, how will the body react? Well, it reacts in a variety of different uncomfortable ways: constipation, bloating, inflammation, stomach ache, headache, lethargy,  or diarrhea. Majority of the women will end up with bloating and constipation – being backed up for days.  ANd, why is this? All because we choose cognitively to eat fake foods as our macro/micro nutrients. 

That being said – my next point is that women are very prone to being “backed up” due to the ingredients that our body cannot and does not recognize. Yet, we continue eating it out of “comfort.”  The average female body is capable of holding and storing up to 8 undigested meals. That is how backed up we can get. Almost two days of undigested meals, sitting… in our gut, on our bones, in discomfort.  These habits are creating chronic pressure, chronic pain on your body, on your gut, on your spine, on your skeleton structure. It’s so unhealthy on your organs and it is so unnatural to be so full of “filler food.” What eventually happens with these “fake macros” that are stuck in your body disguises itself as back pain. And, from your back and from your spinal cord, the entire body gets messed and just feels miserable. Again, it is disguised as chronic pain, but often starts in the cognitive decision so eat poorly and choose foods that are not contributing to your true micronutrient needs. 

For more about COOKING / APPLYING the concepts of macro/micro nutrients in your kitchen, be sure to catch my COOKING WITH THE COACH video here, where I teach a short class on screen about how to apply these to real life. But also keep reading below the video.

Again, I reiterate – Macros Isn’t enough. When meal planning, meal prepping, cooking and choosing snacks – ask yourself: Do these macros also give me my micros. Can I make a meal from these? How can I use these micro/macro nutrients give me a meal?  For further information macros, micros, meal planning and other nutrition consultations, be sure to check out the coach services Heather has listed for September and how to enroll in the Nail Down Your Nutrition workshop before August 28th. For all other services, visit the “2021 options.”

Personalizing Your Workouts to YOU!

Who knew that home workouts on zoom would become so popular and STAY popular over the last year? I know that home workouts have always been a thing. Beachbody, Les Mills, Peloton and so many other companies have been successful in creating home gyms for years. But there is just something more intimate and more special about joining a zoom with an instructor you know and a group of women that you connect with. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

And, if you missed my previous blog posts about bringing your health home, be sure to check them out here and here to learn more about how workout in your own space successfully.

While most programs do have a modifier on screen, you are able to choose which moves to follow to personalize each block of work to YOUR ability. However, in the case that you are working out with an instructor like myself, it may be hard to determine how to make the moves move with you. That’s where my demonstrations, my tutorial videos, and visuals come into play.

Just a few months back, I created this first visual for my clients to help them determine if their movement would be considered basic exercise, intentional workouts, or full on training. This visual itself helped motivate some to step up their exercise routines to becoming a full on workout objectives. But now that we have identified our workouts, we should talk about how to tailor the workout to YOU even with a dozen or so others on screen.

In your routine, you need to be able to go out full force with 100% effort in some moves, and maybe slow down and modify some others. You don’t have to modify an entire workout, but it is okay to modify the moves that aren’t working for you.

Speaking of modifying – modifying isn’t meant to make it easier. It’s meant to make it work for you. Plus, some times modifying is adding challenge in order to accelerate calorie burn and maximize your time.

Many trainers will tell you that you should workout for longer periods of time, and more often. Gym rats may tell you that you should spend 30+ minutes just in the cardio room, 30+ in the lifting area. Some may say you need HOURS in the gym. In my humble opinion, I disagree. I believe that you can MAXIMIZE your success in less amount of time if you follow a few differnet strategies:

Now, if you are looking to maximize your calorie burn in less amount of time, be sure to follow the “increase your intensity” column. If you are looking to take it easy on your body in order to make it the full session, be sure to follow the “decrease your intensity” column.

If you have never followed one of my zoom workouts or recordings, I invite you to try one. Know that I do not have a modifier on screen with me. But if you use the strategies listed above and the methods I teach, you will leave with an excellent session challenging your mobility, balance, and strength.

Just a little road ride adventure…

Now, I know that I normally write to you about wellness, fitness, food or something else in the health industry. But once in a while, I like to invite you into my life, what I do for fun, and what the non-running/biking weekends look like. I like to share how we live life on the edge, manage to live in one pair of clothes for 4 days, and just go with the flow.

It has become a yearly tradition that when I am tapering for a marathon or ultra, my husband and I take a long motorcycle trip. In previous years, we’ve ridden the motorcycle Zion, Bryce, Capital Reef, Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and other places. We tend to choose the warmer, desert states.

This year, we chose to stay in Colorado and do a large loop around the bottom of the state. The main point of our trip was to visit the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

How does this relate to wellness? It’s simpy that I want to share the fun adventure of feeling free from things in general – like, what it’s like to go in one set of clothes, and only take one other pair of running clothes and a swim suit. I literally packed everything for 4 days in a gallon size dry bag. But, that was all part of the adventure and just feeling free and well.

The packing: The packing is always left up to my husband. The case on the back of the bike is about the size of a carry on. In that, we managed to fit a few snacks, a couple water bottles, a change of clothes for each of us (which was our running clothes and swim suits) and flip flops. And, one hiking pack for us to share had we decided to hike along the way.

Usually, that amount of gear is fine for us for 4-5 days. However, this trip we encountered more rain, hail and storms than we’d like to talk about. There was a day of just drying out clothes over and over again.

Do I drive? Hell no! I don’t drive a motorcycle. I get the pleasure of riding passenger on back, taking photos and videos along the way. Riding that motorcycle is my husband’s first love and passion, so he gets the joy of riding, taking the curves too fast, and enjoying the scenery. It is always great to spend a weekend focused on his hobbies, rather than mine. That’s exactly what our motorcycle trips are.

On this particular trip, we rode Telluride to Durango in one shot, and stayed the night their. The next morning we attemped to make it through rain storms from Durango to Pagosa Springs, where we stayed a second night. The ride to Pagosa was wet and cold. Very cold! Luckily, Pagosa Springs is home to some of the best hot springs in the state and we warmed up right away. On day 3, we rode Pagosa Springs to The Great Sand Dunes and then To Alamosa.

Riding over Wolfe Creek Pass was one of my favorite sections of the trip. It was stunning – cold, but very stunning. Wolfe Creek Ski area had loads of snow, so it was chilly. But with the green ground and blue skies showing through, the colors radiated energy. It made coming off the pass a great experience.

We reached the Sand Dunes just before storms started. Much different in color than Wolfe Creek Pass, it was still beautiful. We aren’t usually into riding sandy or rocky terrain, but…. how could you pass up the opportunity?

Day 4 was our longest ride: 250+ miles in one stretch. It was also the best weather day. We rode Alamosa to Gunnison, via beautiful canyons. From Gunnison, we headed back to Telluride.

It was a glorious trip – highly recommend even if you do it by car. Absolutely enjoyed every bit of it – other than the rain.

May we all continue to be well (part 2)

Last week my husband and I were talking about summer, races, events, training and more. We started talking about what summer was like last year. He mentioned that I was running a lot, training for my 50 miler, and outdoors more than I was indoors. For the first time since my ultra training, I expressed to him that “training for a 50 miler was the loneliest thing I have ever done.” He looked at me ready to listen. I explained to him that when you are ultra training in the mountains, on single track trails, in the back country you are literally alone for hours on end. There aren’t people there to listen, no one to chat up with. It is just you and the serenity of nature FOR HOURS – from sunrise, sunburn, sunset. Most days, that is great and well. But after 6-7 days in a row, 6-8 hour at at time, that is the loneliest thing I have ever done in my life. Not to mention, when you aren’t alone – you don’t have the energy remaining to interact and engage in conversation Then, I was explaining to some friends that some days when I just want time to myself to relax and reconnect with my thoughts, I go on an 8 hour run. My friend replied, “most people choose a massage and spa day….. not 8 hours running alone.” That’s when I realized that it’s super odd to spend that much time alone, lost in your thoughts, and sometimes lost from the world.

I share that situation in order to share how lonely this past year has become. Most days I don’t feel lonely and lost. I have great friends and a fantastic online tribe of women. I connect with others on facebook groups, zoom workouts, hikes and runs. But, there are days that I do feel alone. It is time to stop covering up how lonely 2020 was and how difficult it has been for some people to re-connect with others. I have spoken with enough women about this topic to know that I am absolutely not alone on this sentiment. There are many people struggling to overcome their loneliness and reconnect on a positive note.

With it still being the month of May and mental health awareness month, I think it’s just as important as ever to acknowledge these struggles. After one year of isolating, staying home, quaranTEAMing, and vibing with your tribe, it is important to recognize your own level of comfort with gathering back up with people. And, I am not talking about social distance, masks, groups, gatherings. I am talking about your ENERGY – the level of introvert, your level of enthusiasm, your level of ambition to interact. No doubt, interacting on a positive note takes both energy and enthusiasm. It’s not easy to do. And re-interacting with others is going to take stimulation out of what vitality you have to give to others. You have to be able to gauge your level of stimulation, but also respect yourself when enough is enough. And, we all have to respect each other’s level of stimulation.

Furthermore, what I am seeing is that as the world begins to open up more and more, some people are more anxious than what they realized they would be. The anxious energy is creating various forms of emotions from self doubt, to hatred towards others, hatred for going out, meanness, stubbornness, or just solid rudeness. While there really isn’t a good excuse for this, we also have to learn not to take it personal. (myself included) Each and every human is approaching new territory these days; it is territory that we haven’t experienced. We have to work together to chart these uncharted waters.

While I don’t have the answers for this uncharted territory, my best suggestion is to take small steps. Start by getting together in outdoor groups with people you know and trust: hikes, run group, outdoor fitness classes. Progress forward by joining up with friends of friends that you know you could trust. And as awkward as it sounds, hug someone or shake hands or high five. But physically interact with someone and mean it. Let that hug teach you it is okay to bring the human touch back to reality. And, if that physical touch is too much, take back to the good ol’ smile. Just smile.

We are all in this together! For the last two weeks of May Mental Health Awareness month, I encourage you to come into connection with your mental health and smile to others around do you. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses in this area. Offer the energy you can, and come home with a happy heart.

May We All Be Well

With May being Mental Health Awareness month, I know that there are posts, blogs, videos, podcasts and resources all over the internet with sources of help and suggestions. While I’d like to offer some sort of solution, help, or assistance with Mental Health, that’s just not me and my credentials. I am all about wellness, working out, eating right and feeling healthy in our own bodies, but the coaching about mental capacity is a tad bit different. Though, I am always happy to offer up my story and my life.  You can see my full video here, as well as read the blog post below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDsKRl_X3wI

In honor of mental health awareness month, I thought I should offer you a little insight into my life that I’ve been hesitant to share over the years. In my 34 glorious years on this planet, I have only considered myself “healthy” for the last 6 years. Prior to getting healthy, I did dabble in the world of nightlife, partying, drinking unreasonable amounts, and smoking my fair share of hooka. During college and in my first “big girl job” I was a city girl. I went to college in Saginaw, MI and then moved to Doha, Qatar. City life, right? My idea of fun was beach days and disco club nights. 

In 2014 I decided it was time to get healthy. I started running more and I enrolled in a workout program. Over time, nutrition became important to me and I started learning how to eat for the healthiest version of me. Long story short, the last six years have been the healthiest years of my life. But, just like a virus, I am not immune to mental health concerns or struggles. 

I’d like to say that I don’t struggle often or that anxiety attacks are a thing of the past. However, a year of social isolation from my family and a lot of my friends has been a challenge for me, just as it is for everybody.   For the last couple of months I’ve been struggling with some other health issues, sleep, anxiety, irrational fears, emotional roller coasters, crying for no reasons, and other drama that a year of isolation has brought on. Like many others (even if they don’t want to admit it) one of my largest mental struggles this year has been choosing a vaccine.  And, I was really scared to admit and share that. I wanted to be that person, who looks out for others, cares for the good of all. But I really struggled. A lot. Spoiler alert: I did get vaccinated.

But anywho, I’ve really struggled with the idea of vaccinations, medical experiments, what’s authorized, versus approved. I’ve struggled with deciding on a vaccine, and the fear of adverse effects. I’ve struggled with all the “what ifs” that could negatively occur with or without a vaccine. Honestly, (and yes, selfishly) I struggled/feared about how to manage my anxiety if adverse effects make it escalate. I honestly didn’t know how I could manage.  It’s been a long hard internal battle for a while. And, I know I am NOT alone, so I am sharing in hopes of others relating to this as well. 

While this past year has been extremely difficult, it has also been wonderful as far as finding myself, finding a great group of “quaranTEAM” friends, discovering an online community of like minded women, and realizing that outdoor events are great.

However, I’ve spent a full year mainly gathering outdoors for hikes, runs, biking, paddle boarding, camping. I really haven’t participated in many indoor gatherings. I’ve run/biked over 2,000 miles in the last year, mostly solo – which is some of the loneliest minutes you’ll ever have. I’ve spent more time in my own head than I ever have, and it’s not always great for my mental health (hence, we are honoring Mental Health Awareness Month). 

So, needless to say, even a coach like myself struggles with the mental health piece of wellness. It’s hard. There are hard moments, there are hard days. Sometimes there are hard weeks. The truth of the matter is that hiding these hard times won’t make it any better or any easier. It is important to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is okay to say to a friend “I am in a funk, and that’s really hard as a coach to admit.”  Your friends will understand and be there for you. And, quite honestly, your clients and co-workers will be, too. 

In honor of Mental Health Awareness month, I encourage you to recognize one thing going really well for you right now and capitalize on that. And, also recognize a thing or two that aren’t perfect and talk about it with someone. Choose to talk about it instead of holding it. If you’re a mom/grandma/daughter/sister/friend to someone, reach out, say hi, ask them how they are doing. Just talk with no agenda. Go for a walk. Get outdoors. Just get together. 

Exploring Your Potential, Finding Your Worth

Last month we hit one year of living the new, “virtual” lifestyle. While it hasn’t been ideal for everybody, we did take time you celebrate one year of our virtual communities, new friendships, and our newly found value of health over the year.

If there’s one thing a year of COVID precautions has taught our culture, it’s that we do indeed want to live, we want to keep our bodies safe, healthy, and protected. Whether in terms of COVID or not, we value our lives and the lives of others, including the elder. We are willing to go the extra efforts to protect ourselves and others in order to live out a life of quality and potential.

We are learning to go the extra mile to prioritize our own health, our potential, our self worth.  This is a topic I presented my clients with last week.  I asked some very tough questions and scenarios…

I challenged the ladies to think about the theme “peak potential.” I challenged them to recognize that there are some areas of our lives where we are living above and beyond potential, yet on the flip side there are areas where we are not fully reaching maximum potential.  

I presented a few open ended questions and let the ladies take notes. A week has passed and we’ve had a chance to explore our potential.   Exploring the answers within, where our potential is, where we are maxing our energy, has not been an easy feat whatsoever. It’s a deep topic, and can be overwhelming.  But one thing for sure is that my wish for all women and their mental health is to not only know their potential, but value their worth.

Speaking of potential + self worth together….

Every day that you spend working towards your potential is 24 hours of honoring your worth, knowing your value.  Every hour that you spend bettering yourself is 60 minutes of honoring your that. Every minute is 60 seconds of time well spent.

As you inch closer and closer to your potential each day, you will see, recognize, and honor your worth. Your value will shine. You will no longer question the concept of taking care of you. 

If you, the reader of the blog, relate and/or struggle with your potential, value, self worth I leave you with a few tips to try each day:

  1. Speak kind to yourself.
  2. Move and stretch your body each day, always ending with a hug to yourself. 
  3. Drink your water, slowly and intimately with relaxed deep breaths for self awareness.
  4. Breathe: Take in fresh air, outdoor breaths everyday.
  5. Journal and write positive affirmations.  Read them.
  6. Hold your head high and radiate confidence.

As you begin to follow these practices, you will inch closer and closer to your maximum potential all the while finding your worth. You will recognize the importance of valuing your worth and never accepting less.