How We Use Summer for Motivation and Reset

Excited Child in Beach Towel on Summer Day

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy — am I right?

Summer means warm weather, fresh veggies, and vacations. All the things we loved as young kids and still love today.

But for Matt and I, the mid-year months also provide an opportunity for renewed motivation and reset.

Maybe it’s the fresh food. Maybe it’s the simple desire to look good at the beach. Whatever it is, we’re both making changes this summer.

In today’s episode we discuss the power of the summer season, and how to use it to set new health, fitness, and nutrition goals to round out the year.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Why a mid-year reset?
  • How access to fresh vegetables changes our diets
  • Matt’s new daily food routine
  • Motivation for fall races
  • Running and eating your way through vacation

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3 Marathon-Specific Workouts to Help You Set a New PR

African female athlete training on race track

At first, a marathon goal is all about finishing … a challenge so big it’s hard to comprehend before it happens.

Then, after your first or second 26.2, the desire just to finish turns into a desire to finish faster. And faster.

What if I could drop below four hours? What if I could qualify for Boston?

The opportunities for improvement feel endless.

But how? How on Earth are you ever going to finish a marathon and do it with more strength, endurance, and speed?

The answer is more straightforward than you might think.

Train Fast (and Slow) to Race Fast

Have you ever heard of “junk miles”? Whether you’ve heard of the term or not, chances are you run them.

Junk miles are miles considered too fast to effectively build endurance, and too slow to help improve your speed. And unfortunately, after working with dozens of runners as a coach, I’ve discovered that a lot of runners spend most of their miles right there.

In the junkyard.

To improve your speed at the marathon distance, you must become more strategic with each run. Spend most of your time running at an easy pace building endurance and base strength, and sprinkle in speed work once or twice a week to boost your power and speed.

It’s there — during those strategically planned speed workouts — that the magic of a faster marathon begins to take shape.

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3 Meditation Hacks for People Who Can’t Meditate

meditation

What if I told you that in just 10 to 20 minutes per day, you could improve immune function and memory, increase focus, and even physically change the structure of the brain?

You’d think I was crazy.

But these are just a few of the proven benefits of an ancient practice that is experiencing a major resurgence.

Meditation is no longer reserved for monks and yogis, with everyone from Oprah to Arianna Huffington is raving about the benefits. Even I, a guy who not that many years ago considered microwaved tortillas with cheese and pepperoni dinner, now count myself among the throngs of modern-day meditators.

Meditation has officially gone mainstream, and although mindfulness meditation has become particularly buzzworthy, this simple practice appears to live up to the hype.

There’s just one problem. Many people give meditation a try and find the experience uneventful at best and terrifying, frustrating or anxiety-producing at worst.

I was no different … allow me to explain:

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The (Fourth) Big Q&A Episode

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My favorite part of being the co-host of No Meat Athlete Radio is the connection Matt and I make with listeners.

Writing for the blog is great, but being inside your earbuds feels different. It’s as if you get to know us better, and in return you reach out and we get to know you better.

Win, win.

And one of the best ways we get to hear from you has been through the Big Q&A Episode series. If you’ve missed them, check out parts one, two, and three now.

Today we’re back with another edition, and this time we answer questions on long bike ride nutrition, blood pressure, protein, and knoxing.

Don’t know about knoxing? We didn’t either …

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Benefits to running on an empty stomach?
  • The big supplements question
  • Losing and gaining weight on the vegan diet
  • What to do when your sport requires non-vegan equipment
  • How to fuel for a long bike ride

Click the button below to listen now:

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Summer Running Camp, Part 1: Building Consistency

A man in a sports uniform is running along the shore of the lake

Summer has officially arrived, which can only mean one thing:

Summer Camp … No Meat Athlete style.

Today’s episode is the first in a new summer series on the fundamentals of running. First topic, building a consistent running routine.

As Matt and I planned this series, it quickly became clear that before we can talk about running form, speed, or nutrition, we have to start with consistency. Running and training consistency is at the core of any progress within the sport, but is often ignored, specifically by beginners.

In this first week of Summer Running Camp, we discuss why consistency is so important and how to develop a sustainable routine, even before you begin training for a goal race.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • Consistency as a running fundamental
  • Why the time of day you run matters
  • The habit side of running routines
  • Writing your own training calendar
  • Does running damage your knees?

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18 Recipes for the Ultimate Vegan-Friendly 4th of July Cookout

BBQ Grill and glowing coals. You can see more BBQ, grilled food, fire

The 4th of July weekend is upon us, and you know what that means …

Cookouts, cheap beer, fireworks, and American flag undies.

Let’s ignore the underwear for now and focus on my favorite part of the independence holiday, the cookout.

It’s no secret that options at a non-vegan cookout are often limited. The host may throw a freezer-burned Boca burger leftover from the last cookout you attended on the grill — and that’s if you’re lucky.

But I don’t let that stop me. Cookouts are one of my absolute favorite summertime activities, so if I’m not hosting my own, I’ll offer to bring a few dishes to share when invited out.

In preparation for this year’s holiday weekend, I reached out to my fellow No Meat Athlete team members, Matt, Susan, and Esther, for menu suggestions.

Cookout food is all about keeping things simple, fresh, and easy to share, and together we’ve developed an absurdly delicious menu with options you can prep ahead or throw on the grill at the last minute.

Here’s what we’re grilling up this holiday:

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The Simplest-Ever Guide to Your First Triathlon

bicycle waiting at triathlon

It’s hard enough to master one sport. But three? No way.

Making the leap from running to triathlon, which consists of a swim, bike, and run, sounds complicated. More often than not, the complexities of multisport hold people back:

“I don’t have enough time to train for three sports!”

“Don’t you need a lot of gear for triathlon?”

“All I have is a crappy commuter bike.”

“No way could I learn to swim.”

Complicated, right? Except it’s really not.

If you can do a 5K, you can do a triathlon.

The sprint triathlon, which consists of a 750-meter swim, 12.4-mile bike, and 3.1-mile run, is well within reach for most people, especially those who are already reasonably fit.

Of course, you should ease into this type of training — just like any other athletic endeavor. If there are health issues, talk with your doctor before embarking on any sort of fitness journey. But if you’re well, your basic fitness most likely allows you to ride a bike for 30 minutes and run/walk for 30 minutes. If you can swim, you can probably make it from one end of the pool to the other.

That’s where you start … taking small steps to gradually work your way up.

If you’re already running on a regular basis, it’s easy to adjust your training to incorporate time swimming and cycling.

Important Note: I said “incorporate,” not “add.” Most people can prepare for a triathlon with the same amount of training hours as they would a 5K, believe it or not.

How to Adjust Your Training for Triathlon

Ready to get started? Here’s your five-point checklist to becoming a triathlete:

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Vegan TV Chef Jason Wrobel on Eating for Longevity and Finding Inspiration in the Kitchen

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People seem to get upset when I say this, but it’s true, so here goes: I’ve never enjoyed cooking as a vegan or vegetarian the way I used to before I started eating this way.

That’s not to say I don’t love being vegan … the benefits in virtually every other area of my life far outweigh whatever passion for cooking I’ve traded in.

But does it have to be a tradeoff at all?

Jason Wrobel, our guest on today’s episode, doesn’t think so. His passion for cooking didn’t start until he went vegan, and he turned that drive into the first ever vegan cooking show on a major TV network.

And he does it by focusing on how to eat for health and longevity, one of my favorite topics of all.

In today’s episode we discuss how Jason went from failing actor to celebrity chef, his new book, how to ignite your passion in the kitchen, and using food as a tool for healing.

Here’s what we talk about in this episode:

  • How Jason went from actor to celebrity chef and host of the world’s first vegan cooking show on mainstream TV
  • Why his approach to spreading the plant-based message is on health
  • Raw foods, nutrient density, and can they help you live longer?
  • How to reignite your passion for cooking
  • Plant-based food as a healing tool
  • Oil and alcohol … okay in moderation?

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