Friday, May 20, 2011


I guess summertime isn't that exciting for people who are going straight into jobs, but my internship doesn't start until June 1st so I am going to get a couple of weeks of vacation/relaxing time - vacation and relaxing time does not mean that I won't be working out or eating well, it just means I have a free schedule and my brain gets an academic rest!

I'm in miserably humid Dallas, TX right now which is making working out outside that much harder, but I have my bike now and it feels great to be back on it riding around White Rock Lake!

This week home has been a lot of preparation for the rest of my summer, doctors appointments, visiting family, gathering up stuff I'll need for the summer like a new bike rack for taking my bike across the country (I had a lot of fun hanging out at REI with my sister looking at all the different bike racks!) I also have time to go to yoga, run, bike, swim and do some strength training. The rest of my downtime I've been trying to be productive and kept the TV off (except to watch basketball games, GO MAVS!) I bought a bunch of books from half price books and I've been trying to be productive while online as well.

In addition to following and trying out Steve's body weight workouts on his website and following where he is in the world, keeping up with what Matt on nomeatathlete has to say, and learning a lot about whole food nutrition from Brendan at Thrivein30, I have also found a new person to follow - Chris Guillebeau, writer for a blog called the Art of Non-conformity: Unconventional strategies to life, work and travel.

Chris is the ultimate travel hacker and a guy who wants to see artists and entrepreneurs succeed in their unconventional business goals, he generally wants to help people become healthier, happier, more fulfilled and more generous. If you want to learn the travel hacking ways then click the icon I have pasted in below - full disclosure: if you sign up for the $1 trial of Travel Hacking Cartel then I get some miles, but if you do the same then you are going to get miles as well :)

Basically I am trying to filter through all of the crap that does exist out there on the internet and really follow people who believe in the same things that I do
- be active, eat better, be happier, travel, share what you learn and give back to people.

My summertime homework assignment for you is to try and do all of that list, or as much as you can, and find people with the same values as yourself whether its a family member, friend, or a blogger like I have found. This is my last school sanctioned summer break, I'm going to use it wisely!

Join the Travel Hacking Cartel

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

a confession to make...

I seem to be full of confessions lately since I have already confessed to being a nerd, but I have another confession to make -

       I want to be a badass.

Seriously, I've been super fortunate to do some amazing things in my life and I could not be more thankful, but I want more! I always want to do more, to set new goals, to challenge myself. Once I do these sprint triathlons I plan to do an Olympic distance one, and then within the next year or so, barring any injuries, I hope to do a half-ironman. And on the non-fitness side I've read a lot of books but I want to read all of modern library's list of 100 best books. And this isn't because I want to show anyone up, or flaunt what I've done, its because I want to be the best that I can be. I want to be fit, I want to be well read, I want to be well-traveled, I want to do awesome things like 100 consecutive pushups or go sky-diving because I am a healthy 21 year old who has the drive and ability to do those things.

I have so much life ahead of me and I know that, but if I don't have short term and long term goals then I don't feel like I have much direction in my life.

There was a long period of time at the beginning of this semester where I didn't set goals to accomplish and didn't have a good sense of what direction I was headed but then I set goals: sign up for a triathlon, get an internship in DC, figure out what my senior thesis will be. And guess what? I got an internship in DC, I am training for two triathlons I've signed up for and I have a narrowed down topic for my senior thesis! Badass right?

I want all of my friends and families and even strangers to be the best person that they can be, and to always strive to live better, and I want everyone to feel like they're a badass! My challenge to my blog readers is this: make a badass bucket list of things that you can achieve, and if you do achieve them you will feel like a total badass. Other people don't have to think you're a badass, YOU have to think you're a badass. Steve Kamb has his Epic Quest of Awesome on but I like to feel like a badass, so I am gonna go with Badass Bucket List.

Here are a few of mine, I have 25 so far but I'll keep some of them to myself:
 - visit at least 6 of the 7 continents by the time I'm 30 (four down, two to go!)
 - climb Mt. Kilimanjaro
 - do 100 consecutive pushups
 - run the 8 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning
 - go heli-skiing
 - bike ride across a country (Thailand or Vietnam)

etc. etc. All of these goals are doable with a plan, none are totally beyond my reach, and yet all of them, once completed, will make me feel like a total badass.

On totally random other topics:
The. Socks. Are. Awesome.
Check out this movie trailer (courtesy of about failures of the western diet:
And since someone told me they did some reading about the Paleo diet after my last post, here are a couple of links to good sources about the diet, courtesy of and

Monday, May 9, 2011

my nerdiness, exams and .... socks

My friends and family know that I am a nerd. This blog showcases that I am a pretty big nutrition and working out nerd since I spend so much time researching and trying out different workouts and foods and even socks (which I'll get to later,) but that isn't the full extent of my nerdiness. I seem pretty normal and like a typical smart college student, but if you quiz me on my knowledge of Harry Potter or ask me when the last time I watched one of the Lord of the Rings trilogy movies, what books I've read recently not having anything to do with school work, or start asking me to talk about religion (my major) you will find that- I have reread all of the Harry Potter books more times than I can count, I watch Lord of the Rings movies with absurd regularity, I read over 30 books in 7 months of last year which weren't related to school work, and I could pull a passage from the Bible or the Qur'an because I have copies of both at home and at school sitting on my shelf. 

Now that I have established my nerd status I would like to introduce my soul-mate-blog Steve Kamb, who started this website, is a self-identified nerd on an "Epic Quest of Awesome"fulfilling a bucket-list of tasks around the world, fitness and life related which he checks off in order to 'level up.' It's a total workout nerd/nerd paradise. Steve isn't a vegetarian or vegan, he lives by the Paleo diet (which has a lot of similar philosophies about whole natural foods but also advocates eating meat and avoids cultivated grains, if you want to know more about it look it up, its some interesting stuff and a diet many athletes adhere to now,) but his life philosophy is all about making your life better by just getting up and doing stuff, having fun and turning your life around. And he makes references to Lord of the Rings, the Matrix, Superman, and even the Shawshank Redemption! I loved this post because it all comes down to finding inspiration to make your life better through things that you already love, like the words of JRR Tolkien. 

I also mentioned exams in my post title- its exam time on campus again and I still have two religion papers to do this week (I am actually sort of enjoying writing them... again nerd,) plus I have to do my triathlon training. During exams I actually find it fairly easy to fit in working out because there aren't classes to work around so I actually build my daily schedule, planning when I'll eat at home, if I need to pack a lunch or dinner for the library, when I can get to the pool or gym, or when I can put aside some time to hit the road/trails for a run. I already wrote a post last year about studying and making sure to take breaks, get some exercise and especially eat brain-power food during exam time so I'll reiterate a few things. 

Drink water!

Nuts - walnuts and almonds especially are great brain foods with the good type of fat that the synapses in your brain need to work well and are an easy on the go snack. A small bag of almonds is a fantastic library snack. And a great lunch is an old fashioned pb&j with peanut or almond butter, your choice of jam/jelly, on a good whole grain or sprouted grain bread.

Green vegetables - I attempt to have a green vegetable with every dinner and dark leafy greens have so many benefits to your immune system (who wants to be sick during exams) your iron and calcium levels and even helps your eyesight, important especially if you stare at your computer all day trying to type up a paper. This green can be incorporated as easily as a spinach salad for lunch or raw broccoli with some hummus as a snack, or you can saute some spinach, kale, or mustard greens as a side dish with dinner.

Berries - blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc. good healthy natural sugar carbohydrates to power your brain while you study, plus they are full of anti-oxidants and are super easy to incorporate into your diet. I use frozen berries in smoothies everyday but you can also throw them on cereal, in oatmeal, or in yoghurt for an easy breakfast or snack.

Whole grains full of fiber- these are good carbohydrates that won't make you 'crash' when you are studying or taking a test, and will fill you up longer than any type of simple sugar or refined flour. Oats, in oatmeal or granola, barley/farro with dinner, whole grain bread or english muffins for sandwiches and quinoa or buckwheat. 

And lastly your brain needs protein - whether this comes from lean meats like chicken, fish, eggs or from vegetarian/vegan sources like nuts, legumes, or seeds is up to your own diet, but your brain needs those amino acids because it is another tissue in your body that needs restoration and growth. A good vegan protein source are split peas which I made into split pea soup using this recipe but fresh caught salmon is a great brain food since it has good fat in it as well and you can get it pretty easily canned and use it to make a salmon salad sandwich the same way you would make a tuna salad sandwich. 

I hope these food tips help you studying ability! My other advice is don't stay cooped up too long, move around, get some fresh air, and schedule a workout into your schedule, even if its only 30 minutes, its good to take your mind off of work and just let your muscle memory take over.

Okay and now for socks! I went on a 7 plus mile run today and ever since I have been wearing my new Zoot compression socks for recovery. I won't know exactly how well they work until I get up tomorrow, but right now my calves and shins would normally be starting to feel sore already and they feel fine! I ran on some trails but I can feel the extra support around my ankles in these socks so maybe my ankles will be fine tomorrow (although I also could be getting used to running on the Mystic Lakes trails!) So far though wearing tall recovery socks with shorts while cooking dinner for my friends is just another nerdy thing that I do!

Really good brain food: This is a typical breakfast for me - steel cut oats, farro/barley and buckwheat hot cereal with raw cacao, walnuts and strawberries (and other superfood add-ins like maca, hemp, chia seeds, etc, if I have them)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

great weather for the great outdoors

If you live in the Boston area then I hope you have taken advantage of the fact that there has finally been multiple days in a row of fantastic weather! Even all of my fellow college students studying for exams should take an hour out of studying to get some vitamin D and exercise or just walk around in the sunshine! I wanted to make this post about triathlon training updates, so here it goes!

As I had predicted my swimming will need the most work! Its not the most natural of the sports to me since I don't have a strong background int it, so even when I get in the pool it takes me a few minutes to warm up and get my breath control correct. I was never on a swim team and doing swimming drills self-motivated is also a bit of a challenge - I may get a coach or mentor of some kind just for the swim, probably one who has done triathlons before since the open water swim will be much different than the nice and warm indoor pool.

As for the bike, my spin classes have made my legs really strong on the bike! In my strength training I am making sure to incorporate a lot of core work so my balance can be really strong too. I haven't had my bike in Boston so I only rode it when I was home a couple of weekends ago but I felt good on it and I think the spin classes have done a great job and that my core and balance work will compensate for the differences between a spin bike and my road bike.

For the first time since I got shin splints over a year ago I ran more than five miles yesterday! I made it really fun by running on some trails (which additionally strengthens ankles) and picked a scenic route. I have really focused on stretching and foam rolling after my runs whether long runs or shorter interval or hill runs so that I can prevent injuries. I am also making sure not to overtrain and did a short swim and short bike today and avoided running so that I could better recover. Most of my runs have been between 3-5 miles since the first triathlon only has a 5k run, but longer runs will make sure that I have the endurance to run the 5k after swimming half a mile and biking 16! Another thing I have ordered and will post about I'm sure after I try them out are "recovery socks" just so I can make sure I don't get anymore shin splints!

Speaking of recovery, my recovery nutrition maybe starting to piss off my housemates with the blender running so early in the morning, but I feel a difference in how much energy I can have for the rest of the day! I am pretty much vegan during the week unless I eat out for dinner (which is usually reserved for weekends anyway) and I feel great! I made a variation of these superfood vegan lemon bars for a quick breakfast/snack with great success (they kind of taste like Heart Thrives vegan energy bars if anyone has ever had those.)
I also got some wonderfully fresh corn yesterday and made a kind of salsa medley with boiled sweet corn, avocado, roasted jalepeños, lemon juice, chopped fresh mint and tomatoes. The pictures are below