Don’t worry, there is a recipe for kale chips at the end of this post.
I said I don’t do New Years’ resolutions, and in all honesty I don’t. Is it my fault that my gym is offering a six week challenge that just happens to be in January after I’ve had my fill of desserts and need a bit of a detox? No, it’s not (and that means I still don’t do resolutions). I’m always looking for something new to change up my work out routine, and I think this will be a good addition to the increasing hours I’ve been spending on my trainer.
So what is it?
A six week challenge that promotes an active lifestyle, exercise, nutrition, and sleep. The program includes weekly check ins, helpful tips, and most importantly – people to do it with. For me, I’ve always found that having someone to hold you accountable helps me stick to a plan.
What am I looking to gain from participating in this challenge?
Let’s talk about goals for a minute. I talked a bit in my first post of the year about some of my goals for 2016. I said I wanted to read more, focus on bike racing verses triathlon, and put more time into Dana’s Edible Affair. Those are all very do-able goals. Why? Because I haven’t quantified anything. Some people do really well with saying “I’m going to run 1,000 miles in 2016” or “I’m going to read two books a month”. What happens if you hurt your knee and can only run 700 miles this year? Then you’re going to be bummed. If that’s your approach, that’s okay too. I just know I do better with ideas than exact numbers because I obsess over it. The best example I can think of is the fat verses muscle battle. So many people get upset when they don’t lose weight right away when they start exercising even though they gain muscle mass and become stronger. Sure you might be the same weight, but your clothes probably fit better, you have more energy, and you’re probably a bit happier, too. Muscle wins!
My goal is to become stronger, focus on eating a decent amount of protein (something I have really struggled with since going vegan), and get enough sleep to feel well rested every night. Like I said – if you think you’ll achieve your goal by saying “I want to squat 210 lbs by this time next year”, then make than your goal.
I’m not a life coach, just an engineer telling you what I like to do.
In addition to having realistic goals, have a PLAN in place to help you achieve those goals. Whether you have made a resolution for the New Year, or just for yourself, you have to set yourself up for success. If you want to eat healthier, make sure your friends and family know it’s important to you. It’s way easier to eat a balanced diet if you cook with your friends than if you grab a bite at happy hour (+ 2 beers, and chips/guacamole… oops). Yes, I do believe in moderation and it’s important not to deprive yourself or you will never stick to the plan. If you have a big sweet tooth, then don’t say you aren’t going to eat ANY sweets for 2 months. That’s just silly. Try limiting yourself to a small square of dark chocolate after dinner a few nights a week and don’t keep things that might tempt you in the pantry. Out of sight, out of mind.
So, what am I actually doing for the next six weeks?
Exercise: I’ll continue to build my base miles on my bike as planned. I’ll be adding in strength and yoga to increase my power and encourage me to break up some of that lactic acid on rest days by stretching.
Food: Like I said, I’m going to make more of an effort to fit plant based sources of protein into all my meals so I can hit my target for the day. Also – no alcohol. I do not drink a lot of alcohol at this point, so I think this is a very reasonable goal since I don’t have any vacations or holidays coming up, minus my trip to New York this week. I’m also giving up bread, which is going to be really hard for me.
Sleep: I’m going to be making a conscious effort to sleep at least 7 hours a night. In all honesty, I think this is going to be the hardest part. I struggle with “sleeping in” and sometimes have a hard time falling asleep when I work out in the evenings.
As I said before, I’m not a life coach, or nutritionist, or personal trainer. I am just telling you how I like to try and achieve the goals I set for myself.
What else is on the agenda for this week? A short week for work and then I’m headed to New York to visit my friend, Albert, from college. He is there for a temporary assignment so I’m taking advantage of his strategic location and fitting a quick visit in. I’ve never been to New York so I’m excited to do a few touristy things while Albert is at work on Friday. We are also going to a show on Broadway, which is indeed a stereotypical New York activity but I am so excited! I’m excited to catch up and eat some tasty food.
Oh, hey! The good news is, now you get to make these tasty kale chips. You might have even skipped this entire post and scrolled straight to the recipe.
Servings: 3-4 depending on how much you love kale chips
Time: 45 min
- 2 bunches of kale
- 3 TBSP olive oil
- 1 tsp finely ground sea salt
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 300 deg F. Many recipes for kale chips call out a higher temperature. I have found that the lower the better, else they tend to cook unevenly and burn. Remove kale leaves from the stems and wash thoroughly. If you have a salad spinner, feel free to use that to remove the excess water – else you will need to pat them very dry.
- Add leaves to a large bowl and pour the olive oil over them. Use your hands to stir the leaves around and ensure that they all have decent coverage. Spread leaved evenly onto two bakings sheets lined with parchment paper. I like to use parchment paper for easy clean up.
- Mix all the dry spices in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the leaves. Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating once half way through. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. These guys are best eaten within 24 hours, 2 days (MAYBE). Store in an airtight container with a paper towel bunched up against the side to absorb moisture, else your chips will get soggy. Enjoy!