Thursday, January 23, 2020

6-week Macro Motivation Group Challenge

I’ve never done a group challenge like this before!

So many of you have inquired about macros and how to get started, but weren’t quite ready to commit to the investment of a 1:1 coaching relationship. I totally understand and wanted to make a group challenge a more affordable way to learn about macros and discover how they can work for you. This group challenge is designed to support both macro newbies and veterans alike.

If you’ve struggled with consistency or tried programs in the past that left you frustrated, overwhelmed, and provided very little with regards to lasting results, this challenge is for you!


The 6-week Macro Motivation Challenge is all about… you guessed it: MOTIVATION! You’ll have my support as well as that of the other women participating in the challenge.

In a private Facebook group just for challenge participants, you’ll be able to ask questions, brainstorm solutions, and connect with like-minded women about anything and everything related to macros, healthy eating, meal prep, fitness, and much more!

Our goal is to find a way of eating that works for YOU and YOUR lifestyle, and the last thing I want is for you to have your face in your phone tracking macros when you could be enjoying the experience around you!

During the 6-week challenge, you will:

  • Learn how to navigate “situational eating” – from restaurants and travel to dinner out and special events
  • Develop confidence in your ability to be consistent with your diet while also living your life
  • Increase your macro and nutrition knowledge with me as your guide
  • Discover that it’s totally okay (more than okay, actually!) to have some flexibility in your diet
  • Ditch the all-or-none mentality as well as the mental debate over what to eat or not eat
  • Find a realistic and livable path to follow, so you can maintain your transformation for the rest of your life!

Normally, the cost of this 6-week challenge is $199, but from now until Tuesday, January 28th, it’s 20% off ($159).

Sign up here, so you’re ready to roll on Monday, February 3rd. As soon as you sign up, you’ll receive your macro goals within 48 hours, so you can start tracking on your own even before the challenge officially starts.

This will be the only time to get this exclusive pricing. On Tuesday, the price will increase. Space is limited so make sure to grab your spot today and SAVE BIG!

If you have any questions, please let me know! 🙂

The post 6-week Macro Motivation Group Challenge appeared first on Carrots 'N' Cake.

from Carrots 'N' Cake

Learn Proper Running Form to Increase Efficiency and Decrease Injury Risk

proper running formRunning is the most simple and straightforward of fitness activities, so we generally don’t pay much attention to learning and refining proper running form. Consequently, there’s a widespread problem of joggers and runners with extremely inefficient technique that can lead to slower times and increased risk for injury.

Unfortunately, when you plod along at a jogging pace, the penalty for inefficient running form and lack of explosiveness is minimal. In contrast, when you sprint, you try to generate maximum explosive force with each footstrike, so even the slightest technique inefficiency or wasted motion delivers a severe performance penalty. Sprinting, Primal Blueprint Law #5, is a great way to clean up technique errors and drift in the direction of proper running form.

Read More: See The Definitive Guide to Sprinting, Part 1, and The Definitive Guide to Sprinting, Part 2 for everything you need to know about sprinting.

Here, we’ll break down the components of proper running form. If you struggle with some of the technical explanations, watch the technique instruction video to help you grasp the concepts.

The Fundamentals of Proper Running Form

The basics of proper running form are pretty simple: Your body should be in stable position with your center of gravity balanced over your feet at all times. The classic image you see on trophies or in clip art of a runner with legs extended way behind or in front of the body represent egregious technique errors.

Instead, check out this slow motion video of the greatest sprinter of all-time, Usain Bolt. Wait until the sprinters get up to speed and are standing tall, then notice how Bolt and the other sprinters preserve straight and elongated spines at all times. Their feet land right underneath their bodies with every stride. The sprinters never lurch forward unless they’re diving for the finish line tape!

Proper Running Form: Like Riding a Bike?

The illusion that you must run forward—extending your legs or torso forward to cover ground—leads to overstriding at all speeds. If you alter the position of your torso relative to your moving legs, you’ll have a significant energy cost to recalibrate for the next stride.

Instead of trying to cover huge chunks of ground with forward-lurching efforts, envision running like you pedal a bicycle: Your upper body is upright and stationary (like sitting upward on the bike seat); feet cranking the pedals in a smooth circle, then feet returning to the same position under the seat with every revolution.

For the most efficient energy transfer on each stride, focus on getting your feet onto the ground and off the ground as fast as possible—as you would to pedal a bike faster. You can also strive to run like a deer or a canine companion, who exhibit a stable center of gravity (albeit over four legs, not two), incredible explosiveness off the ground, and zero wasted energy.

3 Common Running Form Mistakes

The biggest issues I see that disrupt proper running form:

  1. Upper body instability: Leads to unecessary side-to-side motion of the torso, arms, and pelvis
  2. Destabilized core: Leads to overstriding
  3. “Lazy feet”: You land and sink into the ground instead of exploding off of it

When you implement proper running form, you’ll feel lighter on your feet and more explosive right away. Let’s cover each of the fundamentals of proper running form so you can begin striding like a beautiful deer.

How to Correct Upper Body Instability

When your spine compresses and your neck retracts toward the shoulders during running, you lose kinetic energy, promote inefficient breathing, and instigate a fight-or-flight activation. Dr. Kelly Starrett, creator of The Ready State, author of the bestselling injury prevention and rehab masterpiece, Becoming A Supple Leopard, and all-around legend of the elite athletic performance scene, explains:

“We’ve seen up to a 30 percent decline in VO2 max due to compromised breathing and a misaligned load anywhere along the spine. When runners fatigue, they become destabilized. The pelvis gets overextended and their man-bellies hang out. Mechanically, the nervous system becomes compromised and unable to generate maximum force, or transfer energy into the ground. Furthermore, when the 11-pound head is destabilized and the neck is destabilized, the athlete defaults into a shallow, ‘stress-breathing’ pattern. This over activates the sympathetic nervous system—the fight-or-flight response—and makes workouts more stressful than they should be, and more difficult to recover from.”

Hold your head high and onward we go! To correct upper body instability while running:

  1. Keep the torso and head quiet and tension-free at all times. Pay special attention to keeping the cervical spine elongated.
  2. Keep the hips and shoulders forward-facing. Don’t swivel or rotate from side to side, and don’t rock the pelvis forward and backward.

The only energy output from your upper body should be to pump your arms for momentum. The faster you run, the more energy you’ll exert to pump the arms. At jogging speed, you essentially relax your arms and achieve a gentle, natural counterbalance swinging of the arms to help balance the swinging of the legs. When you sprint, you drive the arms forward and backward powerfully.

Regardless of running speed, you don’t want your shoulders to lurch forward, nor should any part of your arms or hands cross the centerline of your body. Envision your arms pumping back and forth in one plane like a locomotive engine or oil well.

All the energy for arm swinging should come from the larger muscles in the shoulders, while your hands, forearms, and upper arms should be completely relaxed instead of tense. Sprinters make a point of extending the fingers to prevent a natural inclination to make a fist and tense the forearms. For the arm swing, pick an angle, such as 90 degrees, and preserve that angle throughout the arm swing. Avoid the common error of straightening your arm on the backswing, as this results in a loss of energy backwards.

How to Correct a Destabilized Core

While we emphasize relaxation instead of tension, realize that you need to generate explosive forward propulsion from your extremities from a stable base—your core and pelvis area. Again, the urgency of keeping your core and hips stable instead of loosey goosey is minimal while jogging, but extreme while sprinting.

Correcting a destabilized core seems simple, conceptually:

  1. Make a concerted effort to slightly engage the core muscles throughout the stride pattern, especially at impact, and especially as you start to run faster.

This will preserve that straight and elongated spine as well as prevent the disastrous error of energy collapsing into the ground. This energy collapse is quite common and can cause the hips to become un-level upon each stride impact. Remind yourself to engage your core muscles—pull in those abdominal muscles—as you run. This will also help keep your spine elongated and your neck straight.

How to Correct “Lazy Feet” or Shuffling

To maximize explosiveness and minimize energy loss on each stride:

  1. Dorsiflex the foot as soon as you launch off the ground. Aggressively flex the ankle and foot upward as high as you can (up to 30 degrees, toward the shin) as soon as your foot leaves the ground.
  2. Through the stride pattern prior to the next impact, point the toes forward with the sole nearly parallel to the ground. This achieves an energy coiling effect in preparation for the next footstrike, where you’ll transfer that energy onto and off of the ground ground as quickly as possible.

You can also visualize the instructions above in the context of pedaling a bike. Pushing the pedal forward requires dorsiflexion of each foot in order to keep your feet on the pedals while completing the circle.

The opposite of dorsiflexed feet: lazy feet, which occurs when one leg leaves the ground and that foot remains relaxed in a drag through the air, toes pointed toward the ground.

When that uncoiled foot hits the ground on the next stride, there is no kinetic energy to leverage. The foot lands, spends much more time on the ground than a spring-loaded foot would, and the impact of your entire bodyweight transfers onto the pavement or trail. Then you recover from the impact, summon a bit of force, and get your foot off the ground again. This practice wastes potential explosive energy that could be returned by consciously (at first) dorsiflexing the foot.

Advance the video to the 4:30 mark and watch the slow motion of lazy foot. Look carefully and you’ll notice a barely perceptible collapsing of energy into the ground, even on that very slow jogging stride. Due to the energy collapse, the foot spends more time on the ground than it does with a quick stride generated by “strong foot” running.

Pretend that your running surface is hot lava. As soon as your dorsiflexed foot hits the ground, explode off the ground before you get burned. “On the ground, off the ground” is a great mantra as you move at any running speed. While a sprinter drives the knees high into the air, exploding off the ground and taking long strides accordingly, a jogger makes smaller circles and takes shorter strides. Nothing changes in your running form as you speed up except you take longer, more explosive strides.

Advance the video to 5:15 to notice how my technique looks the same at a variety of speeds.

Every time you jog, run, or sprint, strive to achieve the bicycling over hot lava technique and you will soon ingrain the “strong foot” running form to the extent that it will feel terrible to jog with lazy feet. Good luck and enjoy a more graceful and explosive running experience.

Have you tried these or other running form corrections with success? What’s worked and what still feels difficult? Share in the comments below.

Tremendous credit and appreciation for these lessons goes to retired U.S. Olympic team 1500-meter runner Michael Stember, who presented his running technique clinic several times at our PrimalCon retreats in Oxnard, CA. Michael captivated the crowd each time with an incredibly passionate and precise clinic on how to run properly. Now he does the same making sushi in Brooklyn, NY.

Recommended Related Reading and Videos:


The post Learn Proper Running Form to Increase Efficiency and Decrease Injury Risk appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

from Mark's Daily Apple

Eggs And Oats – Two Breakfast One Week Meal Prep

This eggs and oats meal prep breakfast plan will give you alternate days of egg muffins and overnight oats. This is one of the simplest, easiest and fastest way to prep a full week of breakfasts with minimal ingredients and a small investment of time.

I like to have an affordable, quick and easy prep I can do for breakfasts for when the budget is as tight as my time. This combination comes together quickly and with minimal fuss, as you’ll see below.

Two containers filled with mini egg muffins, blueberries and raw almonds sit next to each other, ready to go into the fridge for busy mornings. This is part of the Eggs and Oats Meal prep Plan

You’ll find a clickable link just above the recipe for a printer-friendly version of this that prints both the recipes AND a shopping list. If all you want are the recipes, click the print button in the recipe area below the photo.

Eggs and oats are a great combo both for fiber and protein. Alternate days for the best use of your food and make sure you keep the extra egg muffins in the freezer. You can either take some out to thaw in the fridge on Thursday night or you can microwave them to warm them up. But definitely keep the extras in the freezer because they won’t last the entire week safely.

5 Clean Eating Overnight Oatmeal Packets You Can Prep In Minutes!

Note that the sides shown in the photo above are not on the shopping list. Use whatever sides you prefer. The blueberries and almonds just happened to be what I had on hand to round out my breakfast.

Here’s your eggs and oats, budget and time-friendly meal prep plan!

Remember to subscribe to my free, Gracious Pantry Newsletter to receive all my latest recipes in your inbox! Click here to sign up!



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Eggs And Oats Meal Prep Plan – With Shopping List

Eggs And Oats Meal Prep Plan – Printer Friendly

Eggs and Oats Meal Prep Plan

These combined-instructions recipes will get your breakfasts prepped for one person for the week, quickly and efficiently. Multiply easily for the number of people you need to feed. Start with a set of egg muffins on Monday and alternate through Thursday on the fresh meals in the fridge. On Thursday night, add milk to your "dry jar" for Friday morning. On Friday night, take extra egg muffins out of the freezer and let them thaw in the fridge overnight for Saturday's breakfast. This will keep your food fresh, safe and tasty.

Course: Breakfast

Cuisine: American

Yield: 4 breakfasts

Author: The Gracious Pantry


Breakfast Egg Muffins

  • 6 large whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (the real stuff)
  • 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp. milk (dairy or unsweetened non-dairy)

Overnight Raisin Oatmeal

  • 1 1/2 cups old fashion oats
  • 3 tbsp. coconut sugar (or your favorite clean sweetener)
  • 3 cups milk (dairy or unsweetened non-dairy)
  • 3 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup raisins


  1. Crack eggs into a medium mixing bowl and whisk briefly.

  2. Add in all other ingredients and whisk well to combine.

  3. Pour into an oiled muffin tin and bake for 30 minutes.

  4. While the muffins bake, place your jars on your work surface without their lids.

  5. To each jar, add 1/2 a cup oats and 1 tbsp. coconut sugar.

  6. To TWO of the jars, add 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 1 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy).

  7. Close lids on ALL jars and store in the fridge. You can add the vanilla and milk to the third jar on Thursday night.

  8. Just before eating, add raisins if desired.

  9. When the muffins are finished, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool until you can handle them with bare hands.

  10. You will have six mini muffins for each meal. Portion the muffins into your meal prep containers along with some cut apples or berries and nuts or nut butter to round out the meal.

  11. Any remaining muffins should be placed in a freezer-safe container and frozen for up to three months for future breakfasts.

  12. To thaw, simply place them in the fridge overnight or warm them in the microwave in 20 second intervals.

Recipe Notes

No nutrition data for this combination of recipes.

from The Gracious Pantry