Hi Flexible Warriors!
Training consistently is of course key to all fitness. Since everyone is so busy, runners and athletes often skimp on stretching, cross-training and eating healthy. There is only so much time in the day! Juggling kids, full-time jobs and a logging miles is no joke!
That’s why superfoods, smoothies and yoga is so perfect for busy athletes …
Both yoga and smoothies are fast, efficient and super effective at helping runners boost energy and recover faster. Like running, yoga doesn’t require any equipment. All you need is 10 – 15 minutes plus consistency, commitment, showing up and doing the work. A yoga mat is nice, but not a necessity.
To help you stay consistent, I recently added a Yoga for Runners Playlist to my YouTube Channel.
As for smoothies, all you need is…
- A blender (I LOVE my Vitamix)
- Superfoods in your fridge and pantry (here are some of my favorites)
- An open, creative mind
- About 10 minutes 🙂
If superfood smoothies are new for you, it may take some extra time in the beginning, but as you gain experience you’ll be in and out of the kitchen faster than a drive-through window and WAY healthier. Pour your smoothie into a mason jar and off you go… it’s delicious, healthy fast food to go!
If you’re really motivated, get your post-run smoothie prepped before your run, and drink it during your post-run stretch! That’s my kind of mulit-tasking 🙂
WHY YOGA & SUPERFOODS?
Adding both Yoga & Superfoods to your training schedule will take about 20-30 minutes a day total and will reap you a ton of benefits…
- increased energy, endurance and core strength
- decreased inflammation, pain and chances of injury
- improved flexibility and performance
- even weight loss and a faster recovery 🙂
Even if you only do yoga and add a smoothie 3 – 4x a week, you’re likely to see and feel the benefits.
Superfoods are the perfect nutrient-dense fuel for warriors and are packed with tons of vitamins and minerals. I’m a big fan of an anti-inflammatory superfood diet because it decreases inflammation in the body (which can lead to pain and chronic health issues along with a slower recovery)… Anti-inflammatory superfoods can also naturally boost energy, stamina, immunity and speed recovery.
Some of my favorite anti-inflammatory superfoods for runners are coconut oil, ginger, turmeric, lemon, avocado, sweet potatoes, chia seeds, raw cacao, himalayan sea salt, bean sprouts, pumpkin seeds, kale, bananas, blueberries, maca, matcha, spirulina and goji berries (Honestly, I could go on and on but that’s a start).
As you add in superfood smoothies, it will help you “crowd out” and limit unhealthy inflammatory foods like sugar, artificial sweetners, refined carbohydrates, fried foods, soda, processed meats, dairy, and gluten.
Weight loss is often another nice “side effect” of incorporating an anti-inflammatory diet 😉 Weight loss isn’t necessarily the goal, it just happens naturally for many people as they increase nutrient-dense superfoods and decrease inflammatory junk food.
WILLPOWER VS CHLLPOWER
The Flexible Warrior approach is all about the balance of opposites…
Do hard things that require willpower, perseverance and determination and balance it out with what I call “chillpower” to recover, rest and recharge.
Superfoods and Yoga are both great ways for runners to incorporate more self-care and chillpower into a busy training schedule and a hectic life.
My favorite chillpower yoga pose for runners is called “legs up the wall” (pictured left with Tarah Willson at one of my Yoga for Runners at classes Charm City Run Timonium). This pose helps to restore tired legs and feet!
Be sure to add Legs Up The Wall pose to your post long run / race day recovery routine. Again, no equipment is required. Stay in the pose for about 5 minutes. Breathe, relax and recharge.
I also encourage runners to incorporate these easy and inexpensive self-care and self-massage tools… an Epsom salt bath, a magnesium supplement, oil or lotion and some essential oils on the bottoms of feet before you go to bed can all support a restful and rejuviating nights sleep.
TIME TO STRETCH
Taking 10 – 15 minutes at the end of your run can make a big difference over time. Again, the beauty of yoga is you can do it at home! Subscribe to my YouTube channel for lots of quick, efficient segments and superfood recipe demos.
Here are two post run stretch routines to try (the first one is a little more basic and the second is a little more advanced so go at your own pace, honor and protect your body and give them a try)…
POST RUN CHOCOLATE BERRY SUPERFOOD SMOOTHIE
This smoothie is packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, protein and healthy fats to help you rehydrate, refuel and recover.
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1/2 cup coconut or almond milk
- 2 T goji berries
- 1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 T coconut oil
- 2 T chia seeds
- 1 T raw cacao
- 1 T raw honey
- 1 scoop Vegan protein powder (I use Sunwarrior vanilla)
- Optional, top with cacoa nibs and extra goji berries and chia seeds (beware, chia seeds will stick between your teeth – don’t say I didn’t warn you 🙂 )
To make: place goji berries and coconut water in the blender and let soak about 10 minutes to soften. Add all the other ingrediants and blend well. Add extra water or ice to desired consistency. Enjoy while stretching (hint hint 😉 )
Acai Berry Smoothie Bowl
I get a little obsessed with smoothie bowls in the summer but you can make superfood smoothie bowls anytime of year. They are great pre-run fuel, superfood breakfast or a healthy dessert! Naturally sweet, nutrient-dense, colorful and super fun, Your kids will love them too 🙂
Here’s an easy recipe to try:
- 1 packet frozen Acai berry (available at Trader Joes and most grocery stores)
- 1 cup frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)
- 1 banana, frozen
- 4 – 5 Tablespoons almond, hemp or coconut milk
- 1 Scoop Sunwarrior Vanilla Protein
Blend all ingredients until smooth (like ice cream). Add these optional toppings:
- bee pollen
- cacao nibs
- hemp seeds, chia seeds or flax seeds
- top fresh berries like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries (optional)
Healthy Sports Drink Recipe!
Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do for performance and overall health. Instead of grabbing a florescent green sports drink that’s full of artificial colors and sweetners, you can make your own natural sports drink 😉 Coconut water is natures sports drink and has electrolytes and potassium, but by adding a few extra ingredients to your coconut water, you can truly make your own healthy sports drink to rehydrate and replenish the body. Just combine all ingrediants in a mason jar, shake and store in the fridge…
- 2 cups Coconut Water
- 1 cup 100% fruit juice (like POMwonderful)
- 1 t Pink Himalayan sea salt
- 2 T coconut sugar or raw honey
- 2 lemons or limes, juiced
- Dozens of Yoga Videos
- Superfood-Based Recipes
- Self-Care / Recovery Tips
- Members-only private Facebook Group
Here are some testimonials from previous program participants…
Karen’s Willpower / Chillpower approach and Spring Supercharge program affirm the benefits of home yoga and self care. As a runner, I log a lot of miles that really tax and tighten my body. I have learned from Karen about the importance of balancing my running and cross-training routine with flexibility and recovery. She always promotes and reminds runners that consistency is the key and that it is not about being perfect in yoga poses. Her short 10 – 15 minute sequences fit in great pre or post-run and really keep me feeling limber, strong and able to keep going… And learning the myriad of benefits of Superfoods has been dramatically beneficial to my energy and recovery… Without even trying to lose weight, I had less bloat and more leanness! – Gaby Fishpaw
I met Karen doing a yoga for runners class years ago, so I was already an athlete trying to take care of myself but Karen’s knowledge, attitude and fun nature have been key to my growth and boosting me to the next level of running, cycling, and feeling great. Karen focuses on habits of self-care, recovery, and a powerful super-food-based way of eating. These habits are so necessary to feeling good, and energetic, not run-down – plus adding longevity for those of us over 40! I want to be strong and flexible until I’m 100!! She talks about balancing chillpower and willpower – nourishing yourself (body, mind, AND spirit) and challenging yourself to do hard things! Karen’s health coaching and challenges have provided me with knowledge but also tools so these rituals can be part of my daily life instead of knowledge in my head about what I’m supposed to be doing. I love waking up and doing one of her 10-minute yoga or stretching YouTube videos. I hear her voice in my head when I struggle, “Progress, not perfection.” She is a huge part of my journey to complete my first marathon! And she makes it fun by sharing her love of nature, her sweet rescue pups, and a giant smile! – Tarah Wilson
Stay Flexible, Warriors!
Join these lovely warrior spirit women in our Flexible Warrior online community. Enrollment is open September, January and April. CLICK HERE for more info on how to get started with online yoga, cross-training, superfoods & self-care to boost your energy, performance and overall health & wellness.
Sign up for the Flexible Warrior ENEWS for a free chapter of my book “Find Your Flexible Warrior: think, stretch & eat for balance & resilience” plus a free e-book with 5 Recipes to Bust your Sugar Cravings.