What’s in my Swim Bag?

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I’ve been swimming pretty much all my life.  I grew up in swimming lessons, I lifeguarded and taught swimming for six years, I swam masters, and I swam in triathlons.  Though my love affair with swimming is a bit of a rollercoaster, I always end up back in the pool… But first, I have to pack my bag.  And that’s never an easy task.

What’s in my Swim Bag?

1. A suit (of course).  The longest lasting swim suits are made of a lot of polyester (check the tag).  Without it, chlorine will chew through your suit very quickly.  Always make sure you rinse it out in fresh water after swimming in a chlorinated pool!  I have a long torso, and long torso styles are few and far between, but this Nike style fits great (I think because the back is so open).

2. Flip flops.  So important if you want to avoid a brush with plantar’s warts. Trust me. Do not go to the pool without flip flops.

3. A swim camp.  Some pools require them, but they’re a lifesaver if you have long hair anyway.  I’m cheap so I just keep the free ones I get from triathlons, but they aren’t too pricey at Walmart.  Again, rinse with fresh water after, or they will get gunky.

4. Goggles. Baby shampoo can help stop them from fogging up.

5. Finis Swimp3– an underwater mp3 player.  I hesitate to recommend this because a) it’s a little buggy and b) you’ll never be able to go back to non-music swimming again.  Seriously, these revolutionized my swimming.  This particular brand is great because it works through bone conduction, so you don’t have to put ear buds in your ears (which I imagine would be brutal while swimming).

6. Two towels. I always need more than one.  Lucky people everywhere get free towels at their gym, but not me!

7. Pull buoy & flutter board.  I like drills because they break up an otherwise monotonous swim.  Some people also like flippers and hand paddles, but I just use whatever my pool provides.

8. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, body lotion, face lotion.  I’m not normally someone with a long beauty routine but chlorine is an absolute monster on your hair and skin.  Rinse, cleanse, and hydrate after every swim. 

9. Hair brush.  To rip out those monster tangles.

10. Lululemon “sweaty unmentionables” bag.  My Lululemon gym bag came with great little bag (pictured above) that I can throw my semi-wet suit and goggles, etc. in for the walk home.  It stops everything else from getting wet.

 

That’s about it for me! Am I missing anything key?

What’s in your swim bag?

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Bananas: The Miracle Fruit

Bananas for bananas!

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image from http://artbananas.blogspot.ca

If you haven’t figure out already, I love bananas. Brown, spotted – give me all of the bananas. Frozen bananas are my saving grace from dairy ice cream cravings. They are sometimes enough to distract me from wanting chocolate… actually, they usually are. I think it all started from when I was a child; the only thing that made me at peace with falling sick was knowing I’d get to have the banana medicine (if you don’t know know what the banana medicine was you missed out!)

Since I am prepping for this competition and am already learning a lot along the way, I understand that I need to keep my sugars low and for now I will have to keep fruit to a minimum. Thank goodness bananas are low-glycemic otherwise I don’t know how I’d cope without them. I ate 4 of them in a row on my first day of training and knew that was probably a mistake… especially because they were not spotty so I was going to have an issue digesting them (under-ripe bananas do not digest well) especially having that many in one sitting.

Anyways, I’ve reduced my banana consumption down to two a day (not all at once!) and thought I’d share how I prepared them :).

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Fro-yo 

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What I used:

  • 1 frozen banana, cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs for some crunch
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 scoop of Vegan Proteins+ Vanilla Protein Powder (optional)

Blend in a food processor and enjoy as a breakfast snack :). I loved including the cacao nibs. It gave me some of the necessary fats that I needed today plus the chocolatey crunch. Chocolate + Bananas + Happy, happy girl!

Sweet Vegetable Protein Smoothie (I don’t have a better name for it)

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What I used:

  • 1 cup of pure organic carrot juice
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cup of organic spinach
  • 1 frozen banana cut into chunks
  • 1/2 scoop of Vegan Protein+ Vanilla Protein Powder (optional)

This sound like a strange mix but it’s amazing what a banana and some vanilla flavouring can do. I love this as a pre-workout snack and think I will use the recipe more often. Maybe not everyday because of the sodium content (260-something mg) but is definitely an option that will be repeated.

Now I’m off to actually work out!

Love,

Nidhi

Training, Sauerkraut and Other Noms

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Hello all, Nidhi here.

So begins the rigorous training for the fitness competition in June… Made a visit to Whole Foods ❤

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Day two has come to a wrap and I am already learning that I’m possibly doing this whole thing wrong… already…

It seems I cannot abide by my own “rules” by just eating very healthy and exercising. Although I knew this; it is much, much more than that. It IS calories and it IS counting your macros… so I can’t just rely on high carbs along with low fat and low – no sodium and sugar.

My friend who is a registered holistic nutritionist (who is also doing the competition) explained to me why she has cut her calories from 2500 to 1600 and not only is she training like a beast at the gym, she is struggling to feel full. She explains why she can’t have as many greens and vegetables as she wants.. Why she must be so strict to aid in her cutting her weight down. She has been training for two – three weeks and she’s been pretty strong throughout the process. But her explanation was a good wake up call and early enough for me to learn from it for this competition.

Whoever is reading, I’m not trying to take light of what fitness competitions are. Please don’t take my “I’ll eat healthy and not count calories/macros” attitude as a way of undermining these competitions. Call it ignorance, that’s fine. I knew it would be hard but I’ve discovered I may have to do the calorie counting that I didn’t want to do. But you know what, I’m up for the challenge and I will do my best to keep a healthy attitude. If anyone has any advice/comments, feel free to send them my way. Again, we’re not professionals here… just sharing our life experiences and journey :). A small part of me hopes I don’t have to be as disciplined with my macros since I am not needing to cut weight and just build muscle (I know it’s a short time, this competition isn’t pro). If anyone has input on this… would love to hear! Need as much advise as I can get :\.

Also… I say this is hard because although I consider myself very active, I do not enjoy working out unless it involves me hitting things i.e. muay thai, slam ball, etc. My body is already aching from being on a bike and doing HIIT with kettle bells! The only way you can get me to train for an hour of cardio is for you to give me a weighted hammer and let me beat the sh** out of a tire with it… same thing with gloves and bag. THAT I can do! Furthermore, I’ve lost some confidence in my physical abilities as well because I’ve torn ligaments in my right knee a while ago so I am only teaching kickboxing these days and not training so the activity is minimal… so this may boost my confidence and keep me feeling good about myself… Even though the gym isn’t exactly my happy place, my desire to tighten and strengthen my body is way stronger than my horrible feelings towards to the stairmaster and bike. Regardless, I’m pretty happy this opportunity came along and just in time for bikini season!

P.S. Does anyone have any great exercises that work the glutes that puts minimal stress on my knee?

Moving forward… I have had a couple of great meals that I’ve enjoyed. Although they didn’t exactly fit in my macros – they fit within my original plan: low sodium, low sugar, low fat and generous in carbs.

The first picture you see way above my ramble is a taco salad I made sans any taco shells or tortilla chips. Spices can definitely go a long way with some cumin, chilli and cayenne pepper without the salt. I missed the salt a little bit in this meal but I need to adjust my tastes to not want so much of it… also need to do some experimenting.

I love these salads as they’re so versatile to put together; any veggies, corn, beans and greens combined with the those spices… instant taco salad! You can also make “meat” out of grinding walnuts with those spices and a little bit of soy sauce believe it or not! I missed that too :(.

The puple topping you see on the salad is homemade sauerkraut with red cabbage and carrots. The recipe is seen below at this gorgeous website:

Ruby Kraut (and Why It’s So Good For You)

I’ve been getting into the sauerkraut before meals because if prepared at home; it is a fantastic probiotic enzyme to aid in your digestion. And it’s yummy!

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I think Jack is a closeted vegetarian.. He’s always whining and reaching for veggies when I’m chopping them up… He successfully reached the peppercorns as I was taking this picture… pepper… everywhere.

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Those colours just scream nourishment, I love it!

See you in the next post 🙂

Love,

Nidhi

Merrells are a Foot’s Best Friend

I have been through an arduous journey with shoes.  It took me years to find a pair that worked for me.  I have very flat feet and overpronate.  Years of figure skating in a high, tight boot left some of the muscles around my ankles underdeveloped, which meant that once I started running, my ankles started rolling.  I was always prescribed shoes with a big ol’ arch support, and I spent a couple years in and out of physical therapy. Then one day, after a 5 km fun run that took me 45 minutes to limp out, I gave up.

But of course, I didn’t give up for very long.  Thanks to some prodding from my mom, I decided to give barefoot shoes a try.  I didn’t ease into it. I bought the least soleful shoe could find– the ZemGear Ninja.  I started slow, and at no more than 3 km runs.  The calf DOMS were brutal, but I pushed through.

Eventually I needed something with a little more structure for longer runs, but I didn’t want to lose the minimalism of the show I had.  I learned to love the feeling of the ground under my shoe.  It kept me grounded, it stopped from rolling off the high heels of traditional shoes, and once I started lifting, I realized the great benefits of a zero-drop shoe while squatting and deadlifting.

Enter the Merrell Vapor Glove.  This shoe is incredible.  I have been through three different pairs of the wild color schemes, and I’m never looking back.  It has a little more structure than something like a Ninja, and a little more sole too– but I can still grip the ground and feel what I’m stepping on.  I use them for running, hiking, and lifting.  While an endurance runner may need something with a little more cush for long runs, I did hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim in these babies– so they have some staying power.  They just require some foot training.

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I love the zero drop, the lack of toe curl, and the super breathable mesh.  These shoes have saved my athletic life.  If you’re looking for something more minimal than the popular Nike Frees or New Balance Minimus, check out the Merrell Vapor Glove.

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Triathlon Training – The First Week

Hi all, Jen here.

Well, I’m now halfway through my second week of triathlon training: redux.  Nothing too exciting to report, except that my new, more balanced menu of cardio and lifting.  I will try and take some pictures this week so that I actually have an exciting post to update with.

Now, I’m off to go grocery shopping…and probably make some of Nidhi’s vegan mac and cheese.

Stay tuned for a substantive article on breaking out of a rut!

Triathlon Training Day 1: Revenge of the Tailbone!

Hi, Jen here!

Today I started my first day of triathlon training.  I’m incorporating Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program that I’ve been doing for six months or so (with modifications, as always) into it three days a week.  As far as cardio goes, for the first month of training I’m just building up all the cardio that I lost from years of not training for triathlons. So it’s all at in a fairly easy training.  I’ll start speedwork next month.

I haven’t been on a bike pretty much since I moved to NYC and left my beloved bike in Canada. So I hopped on a spinner for 40 minutes today sans bike shorts and it. was. brutal.  My tailbone is screaming.  I’ll have to get my mom to send me my bike shorts ASAP.

I did my bench workout before I biked.  Day 1: conquered! (maybe not so glamorously).Image