Overnight Oats for a Healthy Breakfast On the Go

I used to think that people who meal-prepped were those kind of people who really had their $hit together. The kind of people who threw those Pinterest-worthy parties with home-baked goods and hand-made decorations. The sort of people who made their beds every. single. day. You know, really together.

I'm kind of a mess. I couldn't bake or craft if my life depended on it and I run out the door every morning in a frenzy. I wouldn't say that I make my bed, more like I try to straighten-up the covers a bit so they are not in a big lump in the middle. That counts, right? Who has time? (and I'll mention that I don't even have kids, so honestly, I have no idea how you do it.)

I figured out that meal-prep is actually perfect for people like me. I don't feel like I have it all together all the time, so if I take a little time up front, I end up spending less time and energy (not to mention money, oops I mentioned it) in the long run. If I spend 30 minutes prepping on a Sunday I know that I'll always have a healthy meal ready to go for breakfast no matter how frenzied my morning turns out. 

Overnight oats saves breakfast. It is easy to make a healthy choice in the morning when it's already prepared and waiting in the fridge. Just grab a spoon and dig in. As a nutrition coach I love it because overnight oats have a mix of healthy carbohydrates, protein and fats. If you are an athlete especially, you want to make sure you are covering all your nutritional bases. 

I experimented with a few different flavor combinations and I came with up with these varieties.

Overnight Oats - Save on Pinterest for later!

Overnight Oats - Save on Pinterest for later!

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I used one pint mason jars, all of the flavor combinations have the same base

1/3 cup of old fashioned 100% whole grain rolled oats (uncooked)
1/3 cup of milk
1/3 cup of plain Greek yogurt (this is where you get your protein)

The topping varieties are endless. Here are a few that I loved:


1/3 cup of old fashioned 100% whole grain rolled oats (uncooked)
1/3 cup of milk
1/3 cup of plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons of peanut butter powder (or you could use natural peanut butter)
1/2 banana
coconut flakes


1/3 cup of old fashioned 100% whole grain rolled oats (uncooked)
1/3 cup of milk
1/3 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
sliced almonds
coconut flakes

overnight aots ingredients


1/3 cup of old fashioned 100% whole grain rolled oats (uncooked)
1/3 cup of milk
1/3 cup of cottage cheese (changed it up from Yogurt for this one)
1/2 large peach chopped
sliced almonds
coconut flakes


1/3 cup of old fashioned 100% whole grain rolled oats (uncooked)
1/3 cup of milk
1/3 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup of crushed pineapple
sliced almonds
coconut flakes


If you are worried about soggy oats, then some people recommended making only two jars in advance. I however, thought that by the end of the week they were even more delicious as the flavors were soaked up from sitting in the fridge all week. It's really a personal preference. I liked making five mason jars ahead of time and eating them all week. I ate the one with the banana on the first day just to be sure. 

What do your mornings looks like? Are they hectic like mine? I have another idea for a breakfast on the go that I will share next week.

Will you give these a try and let me know what you think? What's your go-to breakfast? What strategies do you use to eat healthy on the go? 

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Five Benefits of Being a Beginner

I still remember what it feels like: You just started working out and it seems everyone on Instagram* is running an eight minute mile marathon and deadlifting double their body weight. It can feel hard to be a beginner when everyone else seems to be so far ahead of you, but don't be discouraged, there are benefits to being a beginner. 

* OK I lied, Instagram didn't exist when I started working out. I should have said AOL chat rooms or MySpace.

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As a beginner you will see improvements more rapidly and drastically than during any other time in your journey. You see a lot of initial improvement when you go from nothing to something, then after your 'newbie gains' the improvements will slow down. You will still improve over time but by much smaller percentages than in the beginning. It gets harder to continue to make drastic improvements year after year. Enjoy it while it lasts.


A beginner's body is less efficient than a more experienced athlete's body, so you are likely burning more calories in less time. Your body adapts and becomes efficient over time. In the beginning when your body is less efficient, you are working harder and burning more calories than your more experienced friend. 


Being a beginner leaves plenty of room for growth and improvement. You don't need a lot of training volume. You can start small and still see improvements. You can build up your fitness slowly over time. Once your body adapts you can change a variable in your workout and see noticeable progress. There is a lot of work to do before you hit your peak fitness, enjoy the ride getting there. 


Beginners are more willing to reach out for help and expertise. Sometimes the more experienced athletes think they are already know everything and stop seeking out new information. Science evolves, common practices and industry trends change over time. A beginner can benefit from the latest information because they are more willing to hear it. As you get more experienced you're more likely to get stuck in your old ways. Try to keep a beginner's mindset throughout your journey. 


Your enthusiasm will likely be highest in the beginning. You may never look your own potential with such fresh eyes again. You don't know yet your personal limits. It is a fun time to experiment and grow. Set your sights high and work hard, you never know how far you can go. 

If you are a beginner, dream big, set goals and get to work. Enjoy the benefits of being a beginner while they last before you can move on to enjoying the benefits of being more experienced. Like they always say, in life and on the course "run the mile you're in." 

Everyone was a beginner once. Enjoy it while it lasts. 

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Try Aerobic Power Intervals to Improve Your V02MAX

Welcome to the latest edition of workout Wednesday when each week I share a new running or runner-specific strength training workout! Are you new here? Sign up to receive all the running, strength training and nutrition tips right in your email box each week. 

This week I am sharing an effective workout to train your cardiovascular system. I know you already have a big heart, but this workout will train to give you a bigger heart so you can pump more blood and become a more efficient runner. 


V02MAX is the size of your aerobic engine, it's the maximum rate in which your muscles can consume oxygen and the best indicator of your aerobic fitness. You can train to improve your V02MAX with aerobic power intervals. 


V02max aerobic power intervals - Pin for later!

V02max aerobic power intervals - Pin for later!

This is an intermediate level workout. You should be fairly comfortable with running before attempting this workout. You should have built up a solid running base by running on a regular basis for at least four to six weeks.


Always warm up before a workout. Here is a dynamic warmup to try before your next run. I also recommend this five minute hip strength workout, then jog for 5-10 minutes before you begin the workout. 


The first interval is 3-5 minutes at max or near max heart-rate. The pace should be feel hard, a 9 effort on a scale from 1-10. While it should feel hard, it shouldn't be so hard that you can't maintain the pace for 3-5 minutes. If you know your 5K pace from a recent race, run this interval about 15 seconds faster than your 5K pace. You should be able to maintain a consistent pace throughout the interval. It's tough. Hang in there.


Recover with a brisk walk or jog to prevent heart-rate from dropping too much.


There is no set numbers or repetitions. You should repeat until you are fatigued. To start you may just do the work interval two times. 


This is the most important part of the workout. Always allow adequate time for your body to recover from hard workouts. Do not attempt to do this workout on back-to-back days. Take a rest day, an easy run day or an active recovery day on the day following this workout. Our body adapts (gets stronger and faster) during rest, not during the workout. You will not see the full benefit of hard workouts without adequate rest periods. Got it? Good. 

Give it a whirl and let me know how it goes. 

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Plan to Fail in Order to Succeed

How does that saying go? "When you fail to plan you plan to fail." Yeah, I like that one, but I also think that you need to plan to fail in order to succeed. 

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We often think about failure as something we want to avoid. Who wants to fail at something? Failure sucks, but failure is a part of the learning and growing process. If you aren't failing, you probably aren't trying to learn, grow or improve in life.

I often run into this with my nutrition clients as they go through the program. A common sentiment is "I didn't do what I was supposed to do last week, I feel like a failure."

It's a great opportunity to remind you that failure is part of the process. Behavior changes are hard. No one decides to eat healthier, to start working out or change bad habits and then immediately changes their whole life. It just doesn't work like that. No one reads one article on the internet, goes to one exercise class or enrolls in one nutrition course and instantly changes all their bad behaviors. Change is hard, it takes time and practice and it is never linear. A lot of times you have to fail a bunch of times before you get it right. 

Trying and failing is part of the process. One of the lessons in the nutrition program is to eat our meals slowly. No one reads the lesson one time and starts eating slower for every meal from there on out. It takes practice. One of my clients said, "I feel terrible, but I was so busy this week, I didn't have time to eat slower! My toddler was throwing mashed potatoes at me while I was trying to eat my dinner. I had to eat it as fast as possible. I didn't do what I was supposed to do, I failed!"

This may feel like failure, but this is real life. Two year olds will always act like two year olds. If you plan to only "do better" when your two year old matures, then you'll never get there. Expect that something will almost always go awry. It's not about doing everything perfectly, but just trying to do the best you can in your current circumstances. 

It's a learning process. It's all about making lifestyle changes that fit into your already busy life. Life is always going to be busy. What can you do today that is slightly better choice than what you did yesterday. How can you improve an inch?

If you ate your meal too fast but afterwards thought about how you ate your meal too fast, I call that a win. It shows your awareness is improving. In the past you weren't even aware you were eating too fast. This is a step in the right direction. Recognizing our behaviors is the first step to changing them.

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I know it doesn't seem like much, but the little things add up over time. The most successful people make changes slowly over time. You can try to do everything all at once and beat yourself up when it doesn't work out, or you can make small changes that are sustainable over the long term. You can try and fail and try and fail again. I do. It's all part of the process.


Failure is feedback. When you fail, you have an opportunity to improve. When you don't do what you thought you wanted to do, look at it as a learning experience. Ask yourself, what went wrong? Why didn't this go as planned? What stopped me from doing what I thought I wanted to do? What can I do next time this happens to make a better decision? What's one thing I can focus on in order to do better? 

You could beat yourself over it and feel bad about it, but that's not productive. When things didn't go as planned, you now know what doesn't work. What you can try next time?

It's also taking responsibility for what went wrong. You can blame your kids or your husband or your boss or your coach for what went wrong, but really thinking about how you could have handled the situation better and what you could have done differently is the path to improvement. Life will always have obstacles.

It was life changing for me to realize that healthy living isn't all-or-nothing. I used to think if I wasn't perfect, then what's the point of doing anything? If I messed up and missed a workout, I already failed, I might as well eat the ice-cream. If I brought my healthy lunch to work, but then was tempted to dine out with co-workers instead, then I might as well order pizza for dinner that day too, since I already messed up. When I missed too many workouts, I should just quit the program, I'm already too far behind.

That kind of thinking doesn't move us forward. It teaches us to make good decisions only when everything goes perfectly, instead of teaching us how to make healthier choices inside our messy lives. When you make a choice that doesn't fit your goals, move on and try to make a better choice at the next opportunity. When you miss a workout, maybe can you do 5-10 minutes of bodyweight exercises before bed instead. When you eat an unhealthy lunch, you can make sure you get your lean protein, smart carbs and healthy fats at dinner. Every small healthy decision moves you forward. Every failure is a learning opportunity. 

The people that are the most successful are the people who have failed the most, because they keep trying, moving forward and learning when faced with setbacks. Failure is only truly failure if you give up on your goals all together. 

Set your expectations. Failure is part of the process. Plan to fail in order to succeed.

Have questions? I'd love to help. Want to jump in on my nutrition habits program to learn to how to make healthier choices that fit into your busy life? 


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How To Break Through a Running Plateau

When you first start running, just making it around the block feels like a big accomplishment...and it is one. Then you successfully make it around the block a few times, build up to a mile without stopping, then three, then six miles and maybe even achieve a half or full marathon (or beyond)! It's just amazing what our bodies can do. What once seemed impossible has become a reality.

But sometimes once you build up your endurance to run longer distances, your progress can stall. Maybe you're not getting any faster anymore. It seems you run the same distances at the same paces and are not improving. You want to qualify for a big race, achieve a new PR, beat your husband (just sayin') or just improve your running for your own satisfaction, but it seems you have hit a running plateau.

It happens to the best of us. Why does it happen? Because we are human. Our bodies are adaptation machines. They are built to adapt to the stresses we place upon them. That is why it seemed impossible to run three miles when you started, but now you can run 13. If you challenge your body (in a safe and predictable manner) it will improve, grow stronger and faster. Once your body adapts to the work you are currently doing, if you don't continue to challenge your body in new ways, your progress will stall.

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If you hit a running plateau the first thing to look at is if you are running consistently. It is hard to improve if you aren't running enough to adapt. To continue to improve you need to run regularly over the long term. That means week after week you are putting in the miles. If you run for two weeks, then take a week off, then run for a week before taking another two weeks off, you won't see much improvement over time. Consistency is the key to success (in everything, not just running!). Before you follow any of the other tips in this post, make sure you have built up a solid running base by running on a regular basis for four to six weeks. If you haven't been doing this, you'll likely see improvements by just running more consistently.


Once you are running on a regular basis for a period of time, most people will be ready to start varying their paces. If you run the same paces at every workout, your body will adapt and you will cease to improve. There are two ways I recommend my runners to add in faster paces into their routine. Varying your paces during your workouts can help you break through a plateau.


Tempos are run at a pace often described as "comfortably hard." Notice I am not telling you what pace you should run. Only you know (and your coach if you are working with one) knows what a comfortably hard pace feels like to you. It is just what it sounds like, it should feel hard, but not so hard that you can't maintain it over 3-5 miles. Most people are not able to hold ongoing conversations at this pace (maybe just a few words or a sentence between breaths). It is not a sprint. It is a faster pace than a comfortable pace, not so fast that you are gassed after 500 meters. Play with it. Experiment. Find the pace for you. You may find that you go out too fast and can't maintain it. Slow down, catch your breath and try again. Tempo runs help train your body to run faster with less effort. 


Fart...what? Fartlek is a swedish word that means speed play. I like Fartleks because they are unstructured and fun! You don't have to try to hit certain paces for a predetermined amount of time. Leave the GPS watch at home at hit the streets for a fun and unstructured interval session. Always warm up before your workout, run at an easy pace for five or ten minutes, then pick up the pace when you hit a landmark, choose another landmark ahead and sprint until you get there.

For example, you may increase your pace as you run from the bottom to the top of a hill. You may start running faster at the park bench and keep going until you reach the red truck. You'll speed up at the brick mailbox and slow down to recover once you hit the stop sign. See how that works? It's unstructured, you pick up the pace based on what feels good, you run slower to recover for as long as you need. You work within your own limits and abilities without trying to hit predetermined paces or distances. It is an ideal for a runner who wants to introduce running intervals into their training plan.


Hill repeats are an excellent way to build running strength and break through a plateau. Find a hill on a moderate incline for about 1/4 mile or one that takes about one minute to climb. Warm up before your begin your workout and run on a flat surface for 5-10 minutes before beginning your hill repeats.

Start at a relaxed pace slowly increasing speed as you crest the hill. Be sure to keep your chest and head up with your shoulders back, eyes looking forward (not at the ground). Lead with your hips as if a rope was tied around your waist pulling you forward. Once you reach the top of the hill, slow to a jog or walk and return to the bottom. Start with 3-4 repeats and increase the reps over time.

In the beginning, it may be enough to just jog up the hill on repeats to break through a plateau. You can run them faster as you get stronger. Always leave yourself room for improvement. Most athletes will thrive on just one or two hill repeat sessions a week.


Have you been running and not getting faster? Strength training can help. Runners who strength train are stronger, faster and less prone to injury. Just 2-3 full body runner-specific strength training sessions a week or 10 minutes a day after your run will make you a more well-rounded athlete. I saw my biggest running PRs after I started strength training.


We don't get stronger and faster during those hard workouts. Our bodies actually adapt and get stronger during rest. If you don't rest, you don't allow your body the time it needs to recover so you can run stronger and faster in your next workout. If you are not seeing improvements in your running, take a good hard look at your rest protocol. Are you resting after hard workouts? Are you allowing your body the time it needs to recover? If you push your body too hard without adequate rest, it will eventually break down on you.

We don't train in a bubble, which just means our whole lifestyle affects our running. Are you getting enough sleep (7-8 hours a night), are you managing stress, keeping alcohol and nutrition under control? If you're not sleeping and fueling properly, your body won't have the resources available to make you stronger and faster. 


Are you still stuck? A running coach can help determine your current fitness level and create the best programming to improve your running and smash through that plateau. They can help make sure you progressing properly (not too soon, not too slow) to avoid injuries and make the most effective use of your training time. A coach will incorporate the above strategies tailored to your unique needs to help you meet your goals. Need help? Have questions? I'd love to help. 

We are limited, to a point, by our genetics. Some of those genetic freaks will out-perform us mere mortals no matter how hard we work. However, there is almost always room for improvement unless you are already performing at the highest level (most of us are not). It's just important not to compare our progress and performance with other runners. That's how runners get injured. Go at your own pace. Push your own limits. Don't compare yourself to anyone else except who you were yesterday.

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