Eat This Much

April 3, 2013

Meal planning is not an easy task. It takes a lot of thought, plenty of preparation, and a bit of creativity to think of new things each week. I have to admit – I have never food prepped in my life. I have grand plans to do so each weekend, and then plenty of other things get in the way – usually couch time, naps, and really just being lazy. Marcus introduced me to a new (to me) website a few days ago, and I feel like I really need to share it. The idea behind it is awesome, and I really think it is great for a few reasons:

Gives you the chance to vary up your meals

Helps you learn calorie counts of certain foods

Introduces you to the macro-nutrient balance

Customizes your nutrition to your lifestyle

So what is this awesome site – Eat This Much!

Eat This Much 1

I would say the site is in its early stages, as it isn’t exactly all to visually appealing. However, it gets the job done. You start by entering in the number of calories you want to eat a day, based off of a nutrition calculator, which is customized to you. Of course, it doesn’t take everything in to account, but does a good overview. Eat this much calculator

After the calculator generates your requested calorie intake based on your information, it automatically uses the information to create your meal plan.

Eat This Much Calculator 2

Eat This much Menu

The meal plan is easily changed and altered if you don’t like an item. All you have to do it press the change button. Each item is broken out into ingredients, calorie count, and price per serving.

Eat This Much Choice

Do you follow a specific diet or have any allergies? You can make everything to be exactly the plan you follow – yes, including vegetarians, vegans, and even the paleo diet. There is a dedicated section where you can uncheck foods that you are not interested in keeping on the menu.

Eat This Much Options

You can also dictate which meals you want to have the most calories in them, based on how you eat each day. I know that I like to have a big breakfast each morning, as I usually workout early and need the extra fuel.

Eat this much meal size

After you put in every preference and option (you need to register to have all if the info saved), you are emailed a grocery list each week, complete with ingredients, recipes, calorie count, nutrients – you name, it has it! Note: The menu below is a sample menu from their site – it isn’t one specific to my choices above.

Eat This Much Sample Menu

You can get a free 14 day trial for the site, which is actually enough to give you a pretty good variety of meals if you aren’t up for paying the $9 a month fee (I didn’t pay for it either ;). 14 days of 3-4 meals per day leaves you with 56 meals to choose from, which may be out of the ordinary for you. The big part of this site that I am taking away is just the ability to vary up meals a bit more. I get stuck in making very similar items quite often, so I am hoping to change that soon.

There aren’t too many changes that I think need to be made to the site, but there are a couple:

  • Incorporate similar ingredients into multiple meals so that money is saved by buying in bulk
  • Have the option to plan for more than 1 person if food preferences are the same

Are you a meal prepper/planner? What do you think of Eat This Much? Is there anything you think needs to be changed?

Disclaimer: Eat This Much did not provide me with anything for this site review. I came across and thought I would share. I am not a registered dietician or nutritional professional. Please approach a professional (like Anne!) for nutritional coaching. 

My Summer Race Calendar

April 1, 2013

Happy April Fools Day! Has anyone had an jokes played on them yet? With the first day of April here already, I can’t even help but start to think about summer, which of course leads me to … triathlon season! There are a ton of races around my area, and I have my eye on a few. Now, to find the funds for all of these races! One thing at a time… 😉

The IronGirl Triathlon


I am completely bummed that I can’t make the Irongirl Triathlon it Clermont, Florida. If you haven’t heard of it, The Irongirl Triathlon was formerly the Danskin triathlon, but Irongirl took it over, and is going to make big improvements for 2013! The race is the week following my marathon. I know I can complete it, but I also know that rest is far more important for me during those first 7 days post 26.2. I am hoping to at least get over there and watch it (or volunteer!), since I have a few friends competing. It is being held on May 4th this year, so it is a great race to kick off tri-season!

The Crystal River Triathlon Series

Crystal River Triathlon

DRC Sports hosts a 3 race series held in Crystal River, about a 90 minute drive from Tampa. These races are held on May 25th, July 6th, & August 31st. I will not be able to compete in the July 6 race because I will be on vacation (wooo hooo!!), but it is possible for me to make the other two. They are nice and short sprint races (.25 mi swim, 15 mi bike, 3 mi run) so a whole lot of training isn’t necessary. As long as I can get on the bike and swim more regularly, I will be ready.

Dunedin Sprint Triathlon


I am super excited for this race! I am going to compete in the Dunedin Sprint Triathlon as part of a relay team! Lululemon is forming a few teams and they were nice enough to ask me to be a part of it. I am not sure which leg I will be covering, but I am hoping for either the run or the bike portion. I can swim, but it’s not exactly the sport that comes to me easiest.

The Twilight Triathlon

Twilight Triathlon

This race is a bit different from the rest. As I am sure you have guessed, the Twilight Triathlon is held at night, with 90% of finisher’s coming through the chute at sunset. It is held on the same course as the Crystal River Triathlon Series, so it will be a familiar course. A very unique part of this race is if you combine it with the Top Gun Triathlon, which is held that morning, you get a special shirt and recognition for finishing the Sunrise Sunset Triathlon Challenge.

I am sure a 5k will pop up here and there, which I will hop into at some point. Since I am not running a fall marathon, I plan to keep my fitness by running shorter distances, participating in triathlons, and completing some fun cross training – hello yoga and swimming! Training in the Florida summer is quite an experience, so finding sports that compliment the heat well is key.

Are you doing any triathlons or focusing on cross-training this summer? Any other Florida triathlons that you would like to recommend?

So You Want To Run A Last Minute Race

March 29, 2013

How many times have you had a race pop up on Facebook, Twitter, or just heard about it from a friend, and then have an immediate interest to do it? First, you count the days until the event. Then, you assess your current mileage. Next, you look to see what your long run schedule would look like between now and then.

You ask yourself a few, very valid questions…

Can I pull it off?

Will I be able to finish?

Will it even be enjoyable if I do cross the finish line?

Seems simple enough, but this is where it starts. Think about races in the past that you ran. Was this same distance easy or hard the last time? How much training did you have back then? Remember, it is safe to increase your mileage by 10% each week. If you end up jumping from 20 to 50 miles per week to fit in a really long run and some longer weekday runs, you have a very big chance of getting injured. An injury could sideline you for weeks and even months if its bad enough. One race isn’t worth that.

Chicago Marathon 3

A very logical question to ask yourself is whether or not this race will hinder other training you are working towards. Jess talked a bit about this last week, and it really got me thinking. She brought up some great points in her post.

Running is supposed to be something that we enjoy. Sometimes it is very uncomfortable, but in the end, you should have a smile on your face. If you think during the whole race that you regret each step, then save yourself some time (and money) and just for-go the registration fee. Put the race on your calendar for next year.

Yes, I still have a paper calendar :)

Yes, I still have a paper calendar :)

So a logical question would be how soon is too soon to sign up for a race? I think it all depends on the race distance, the running base you are starting with, what you have been doing to elevate your heart rate, and your past injury history. I know, probably not the answer you want to hear, but everyone’s body is different. For a 5k, you can sign up for within a few weeks until race day. Even if you end up walking the entire thing, it is not going to put a whole lot of strain on your body. You won’t be on your feet for more than an hour (ish), so recovery is pretty minimal. As soon as you get to the 15k and higher, it gets a bit trickier.

If there is one piece of advice I want to make sure I mention, is please do not sign up for a distance at the last minute, for the first time. If you have never ran a half marathon or full marathon, giving yourself a few weeks to train is a very bad idea. You definitely don’t want your first experience of the distance to be a negative one. And trust me – if your max run has been 16 miles, one time, 26.2 is a heck of a lot further. All I am saying is respect the distance. This is no joke. The last 6 miles of a marathon are incredibly difficult, mentally and physically, whether it is your first or fiftieth race.

Chicago Marathon 11

If you do decide that a last minute race is possible, keep a few things in mind while you are racing:

1. Don’t expect a PR

2. Be ok with walking if you need to

3. Listen to your body – if you need to drop out, that’s ok

4. Don’t set a goal pace – if you end up running quicker than expected, great! But don’t put the pressure on yourself from the get go

5. Have fun! That is the most important part of racing anyhow, isn’t it?!

Are you a last minute sign up kind of person, or are all of your races pretty well planned? Have any other tips to add?

My Running Mantra

March 27, 2013

Ever heard the term that running is 80% mental and 20% physical? Just about every runner hears this at some point – whether it is while training for an event, during a race, or even after you have finished a race. The only real way to understand this is to get through a tough run or race, and have to use it in practice.

I remember first time I really dealt with the mental toughness of running – I was doing a track workout at UCF, where I ran in college. We were doing 28×200, with a 200 jog, at 37 seconds. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that workout. It was tough, and I really thought I was not going to be able to finish the workout. However, I knew that was not in my coach’s plans. It was up to her to have me finish it.

She always told me that I could handle the workouts. I just need to buckle down and conquer each repeat. I needed to believe in myself. From all of that coaching, I figured out the racing mantra during that workout that I have been using now for years.



This couldn’t be more true. In the past two half marathons that I have recently PR’d in, I told myself this many times throughout the race.

When my legs were burning like crazy…

I am stronger than I think I am.

When I have someone holding onto my back so tight, and I just can’t seem to drop them…

I am stronger than I think I am.

When I just want to slow down, because it would be so much easier…

I am stronger than I think I am.

This holds true to every runner out there. You can push your body so much further, faster and harder than you ever imagined. The moment that it starts getting tough, push a little bit harder – that is the moment that you will start to improve.

Moments in life that are easy aren’t worth working for. The ones that give you the challenge are the ones you will always remember.

Social Fresh East 2013

March 26, 2013

Attending conferences in a subject that interests you is one of the best and most effective ways to learn valuable, cutting edge information. Having one of these conferences in your hometown is an even bigger bonus.

On April 18th and 19th, Tampa is the host of Social Fresh East, a social media conference being held at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Tampa Westshore (4500 West Cypress Street). It is a two day conference that starts around 11 on the first day, and heads straight through the evening on Friday the 19th. Their sessions are limited to just one speaker at a time, rather than the standard conference tracks of 2-3 speakers, and of course, has only 1 track. According to their website, 95% of past attendees would recommend the conference to others. I would say that is a pretty great track record!

Expanding my knowledge to get better at my job, along with getting great new ideas in the social realm is hands down the reason that I am heading Social Fresh. I really can’t beat the fact that is in my backyard either. 😉

Social Fresh East

The Speakers

The conference features 15 of the industry’s brightest social media professionals, and I am very excited to see a few people in particular speak. Here are my top 3:

Adam Kmiec is Director, Global Digital Marketing and Social Media at The Campbell Soup Company. He is responsible for developing a global digital marketing and social media strategy that encompasses both consumer-facing and corporate initiatives to make Campbell one of the most digitally fit organizations in the world. Adam is speaking in the session “Building an Insights Driven Social Media Organization“, which focuses on driving results, rather than just likes.

Morgan Johnston is the Corporate Communication Manager for JetBlue Airways. He leads both internal and external communications focusing on online/new media applications and is in charge of JetBlue’s social media efforts including Twitter, online video, and community efforts. In Morgan’s session, “Learn How to Leverage the Voice of the Customer“, he shares the lessons JetBlue has learned in building their award-winning social media program over the last several years. If you have ever travelled with Jet Blue or interacted with them on social media, then you can understand why I want to learn more about their program. Spoiler – its pretty awesome!

Chris Tuff, SVP – Director of Earned and Emerging Media at local ad agency 22squared, was one of the first marketers to work directly with Facebook, back in 2005. Chris brings his eight years of digital marketing experience and six years of social media experience to help lead the social media team. His session, Breaking Through the Clutter: Using Content, Analytics, and Paid to Achieve ROIsquared, looks like a session that I will be able to really learn a lot from. It is a bit more advanced than some of my current knowledge, so I am really looking forward to learning some more, valuable information.

For my full-time position, I plan conferences similar to Social Fresh – the one track atmosphere, intimate setting, and amazing speakers. Those three aspects are really what makes conferences amazing. I had the same experience last summer at Healthy Living Summit in Boston, and just can’t recommend it enough. I can’t wait to check out another conference in my industry, and learn some incredible valuable information while I am there!

Social Fresh is a social media education company whose goal is to inspire people to create better businesses through social media.




Are you heading to Social Fresh? Let me know and I would love to meet up!