Why This is Your Year to Run an Ultramarathon

woman from back running on the trail in the mountains with first

It wasn’t all that many years ago that I didn’t know what an ultramarathon was. I have a distinct memory of chatting with a friend of a friend at a party, and the exact moment he mentioned that he was training for a fifty.

Fifty… miles?

I stood there, a few months off my first marathon, the feeling of utter physical and mental exhaustion (and accomplishment) fresh in my mind. The prospect of someone running anything longer left me flabbergasted.

Yes, fifty miles. Just think about it.

But immediately after that conversation ended, I knew it was something I had to explore. And not too long after that, I registered for my first 50K race.

I’ve spent a lot of time since then explaining (and justifying it) to myself and others what it is that drove me to ultrarunning, but until recently, I didn’t even understand it myself.

Read more »

3 Comments

 

8 Ways to Start Running Again When You’re Just Not Feeling It

Healthy young people running race on seaside promenade

When you’re on fire, you know it.

Running is all you can think about. You plan your meals, sleep, and social life around your workouts, and although those runs may be tough, they’re the best part of your day.

After each one, you feel unstoppable, and you can’t wait until tomorrow, so you can do it all again.

But…

When you’re not on fire? When you’re not living for each run?

Well, that’s when running is hard. I’m talking really hard. It feels forced, and you know deep down that even if it looks like you’re running, you’re really just going through the motions.

As a runner, this is a dark place to be in. Not because a few bad runs are a big deal, but because as soon as running is no longer fun, it’s no longer productive. You get into a training funk, where workouts aren’t where they should be, and your mental game isn’t on point.

Runs get skipped. Workouts knocked down a notch. And race day disappoints (if you even make it to race day).

And though you may give yourself a pat on the back after you grind out a workout, you can’t help but remember all the times when you didn’t need to fight for each run — when you ran because running was all you wanted to do.

8 Ways to Break Out of Your Running Funk

Let me start by saying, “it’s okay.”

It’s okay to get in a rut like this. It doesn’t mean you don’t still love running. It doesn’t mean you can’t go on to achieve great running goals. It just means you’re in a rut, plain and simple.

And thankfully, ruts end.

I’m on the other side of a nearly year-long rut, and when I say that was discouraging and tough to deal with, I mean it. Running has been my life for a long, long time. And when I found myself no longer wanting to do it, it was like I had lost a piece of my identity.

When you’re in a funk that deep, quick tricks or hacks — like listening to a podcast or testing out a new pair of shoes — just don’t cut it.

So I made some pretty drastic changes to the way I trained, and how I viewed my running.

Matt has been in that same boat before, and together we’ve come up with eight ways to break free of the funk.

Read more »

74 Comments

 

The Gluten-Free Cheat Sheet: How to Make Any Plant-Based Recipe Gluten-Free

gluten-free

I grew up eating a diet primarily composed of “beige foods.”

You know what I’m talking about — breads, cookies, pancakes, crackers, and noodles. The kind of carb-heavy, often brown, food you can mindlessly chow on without filling up.

And to no one’s surprise, a diet like that caught up to me. After eating this way for many years, I not only began to realize I desperately needed more vegetables to round out my diet, but after extensive blood work to explore why I always felt so uncomfortable, it was clear:

I had a sensitivity to gluten.

Cue the panicked, “What on earth will I eat now?!” response.

What would breakfast be without boxed cereal, muffins, or toast with jam?

What about dinner without pasta?

Birthdays without cake? Gasp!

You may have gone through this very panic yourself. As research sheds light on how some people’s bodies react to gluten, many of those people are opting to reduce or eliminate it from their diets.

In an effort to take control of my situation, I dove head-first into research and soon discovered that gluten makes its way into the food supply not only via familiar wheat products like breads, pasta, and cereals, but it’s also hidden in a surprising number of inconspicuous foods like soups, sauces, and even candies.

But that’s the stuff you likely already know. Where people often get stuck is how to avoid all this gluten and still eat “normal” foods.

That’s what I’ve dedicated my work to — creating delicious plant-based recipes, free of gluten, that you’ll be thrilled to share (like the ones found in the free cookbook at the bottom of this post). And today, I’ve put together this resource to help you do the same, without using the highly processed flours and gums found in many gluten-free recipes.

My hope is that you bookmark this post to pull up whenever you’re looking to convert any of your favorite recipes into gluten-free masterpieces for yourself or someone else.

But first, let’s take a minute to understand why gluten-free is talked about so often.

Read more »

1 Comment

 

Building Muscle and Losing Fat on a Vegan Diet with Marcella Torres and Derek Tresize

EP222

Resistance training can be an enigma, and many of us have heard for years that building muscle on a plant-based diet is difficult if not impossible.

But on today’s episode of NMA Radio, we chat with Marcella Torres and Derek Tresize, former competitive body builders who know what it takes to bulk up, and they do it on a completely vegan diet (and with a family!). Their resistance training philosophy has helped countless people improve their lives by getting stronger, losing weight, and staying injury-free — even as they age.

If you’re looking to build muscle, but aren’t really sure you can do it on a whole-foods, plant-based diet, check out today’s conversation with Marcella and Derek.

Here’s just some of what we talk about in this episode:

  • What vegans need to know about building muscle.
  • Do plant-based athletes need supplements to get stronger?
  • How strength training can improve your life.
  • Body-weight exercise routines… are they enough?
  • Doug’s experience using Derek and Marcella’s plan.
  • Is being sore good or bad?

Female instructor leads boot camp class in power yoga pose high

Click the button below to listen now:

Read more »

1 Comment

 

The 15-Minute, Strength-Building Bodyweight Routine for Plant-Based Athletes

Getting back to basics with pushups

“No pain, no gain.”

That’s what strength, or resistance training is all about: big pains, big gains, and giant muscular men, straining and grimacing as they lift heavy weights.

Right?

Not so much.

As personal trainers, former competitive bodybuilders, and plant-based nutrition bloggers, who have worked with hundreds of clients, we’ve heard time and time again that resistance training is…

… too complicated.

… too intimidating.

… too “meat-head.”

We’re here to tell you that body- and free-weight training is a lot less complicated than you think. It goes way beyond massive muscles and sweaty grunting in the gym, and it’s not just for the young and lean looking to show off in a bathing suit.

Anyone can do it, and everyone should do it.

Regardless of age, gender, or gym access, everyone can see benefits from resistance training, since consistent training can help you add muscle, lose weight, reduce common aches and pains, and prevent injury. And you can do all that while eating a plant-based diet.

In this post, we’ll give you some background that will motivate you to get started, and provide a simple, beginner-friendly 15-minute routine that even the busiest individual can find time for and benefit from.

No equipment, gym membership, or tickets to the gun show required.

Read more »

1 Comment

 

Are We Improving Ourselves Too Much?

Self-improvement together. Women meditation class

It’s no secret that we like self-improvement strategies here at NMA Radio. We often talk about the value in setting big goals and how to create habits that help with performance and productivity.

But is there a price to pay for constant personal development?

After reading a recent article on the pitfalls of the self-improvement craze in the New Yorker, and following it up with a few not-so-hip-on habit and life-hacking books, Matt has found himself asking a burning question: Is focusing on self-improvement even a good thing at all?

In today’s episode, we try to answer that question.

Click the button below to listen now:

Read more »

1 Comment

 

How to Not Suck at Sleep: 5 Simple Tips for Catching More Z’s

Modern bedroom design, Double bed

Yeah, yeah. We all know sleep is pretty important. But there’s a pretty big disconnect between our understanding that sleep is important and the actual practice of sleeping well.

In fact, lack of sleep is an epidemic. The CDC estimates that one-third of Americans — over 100 million people — don’t get enough sleep. That’s a problem; having adequate and quality sleep is paramount to overall health (and ability to function).

I mean think about it…

How many times this week have you yawned your way through a work meeting or class?

Or suffered your way through a workout, feeling groggy and low on energy?

We suck at sleep, and it’s affecting our health.

Sleeping fewer than seven hours a day is linked with a higher risk for developing heart disease and plenty of other health issues that plague our nation. Not to mention, sleep is critical for athletic recovery, proper metabolism, and overall mood.

Clearly we need to change something. But how?

Why Sleep is so Important

Read more »

5 Comments

 

Supplements for Vegans: What do You Need? (Replay)

Vegetables on shelf in supermarket

It’s a compelling story, and an easy one to buy into: that with a diet so rich in micronutrients as a whole food, plant-based one is, we don’t need to supplement much.

That all we need is Vitamin B12, and the power of plants will take care of the rest.

Well, I’ll give you that this diet is pretty incredible … every month, new research backs this up. But at the same time, the research is shedding more and more light on what might be missing from even the most well-rounded plant-based diets.

In this episode of replay NMA Radio, I sit down with my friend and Lightdrop co-founder Matt Tullman — a big thinker whose “30 by 30” goal is to help the plant-based diet reach 30% of the population by the year 2030 — to talk in-depth about which nutrients vegans really need to think about, perhaps even consider supplementing with, to maximize long-term health.

Matt and I agree that the best advertisement for the vegan movement is millions of strong, thriving vegans, and I hope listening to this interview will help you become (or remain!) one of them.

black painted wood

Click the button below to listen now:

Read more »

1 Comment