5 Keys to Happy, Healthy Travel

Whether your flight is early, late, short or long, it takes a lot out of us. Every time i see a plane land at the airport, it unleashes a hoard of tired, hungry, cranky, and dehydrated zombie-like humans that look effing miserable. If you’re trying to sustain a healthy lifestyle, flying can be even more daunting.

I’ve done my fair share of travel, and standby travel at that – so I’ve learned a lot of lessons the hard way. These 5 steps are easy, cheap, and help you stay happy and healthy no matter where you’re headed to.

1. BYOB

I know this one seems obvious, but it’s sooo easy to forget to byob when it’s 5am and you’re headed to the airport. Plus, airlines seem to barely even hand out water these days. I bring a full water and chug it on the way through security, then fill it back up and sip on that sizzard throughout the flight.

2. Bring Electrolytes

Not only do I bring a water bottle, I also bring an empty shaker bottle with an electrolyte packet to drink. Depending on how long the flight is, you might want to bring more than one. My personal rule is one packet per 5 hours of flight.

3. Snacks on SNACKS

Back in the good ole days, the airlines used to feed you. While they’re forced to feed you on international flights, you’re lucky if you get more than a packet of five mini-pretzels and 4 oz of water flying domestic. So, I keep myself stacked with items that won’t get taken away at security. My faves are fruits, veggies, hummus packs, Lara bars, protein packets, and nuts. I would not recommend bringing any nut butter – mine always gets taken away. Sad.

4. Melatonin is LIFE

I used to have the hardest time sleeping on planes, but was scared to take any sleep aid because most of them give me terrifying nightmares. Which, naturally, I don’t want to experience in the air.

However, personally, melatonin is my bestie during times of travel. On a 12-hour flight to china, I spaced them out so nicely that I slept for eight beautiful hours straight. For long flights, I like to take two 3-5mg tablets at first, and then take 1 every 4 or 5 hours as the flight goes on.

5. Bring a Book/Journal/Planner

I’m not sure why, but traveling – even en route – brings about a lot of clarity. There’s been many, many times when my electronics die or I’ve exhausted my playlists or the movie selection is lame (or not free) and I’ve wished I brought a damn book. Flights are a great place to plan out your day/week/trip/life, or catch up on a great book. BRING IT ALL.

The Body Positive Athlete

A friend asked me how you can be body positive and an athlete at the same time. It’s a great question, because I don’t think the two have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, they can go hand in hand, if that’s what you’re about! All you need are these key points:

✨all bodies are worthy or respect & love

✨athletic ability & health can’t be judged by appearance

✨athleticism and health doesn’t make anyone superior to another

✨movement should come from a place of joy, not punishment or sacrament

✨bodies are beautiful and capable of so much!

That’s literally it! Shifting to a body positive mindset allowed me to actually enjoy the activities I love – soccer, running, hiking, swimming. It disconnected me from the ingrained need to “work off” my food/weight and brought me back to a place of fun.

You Don’t Need a Makeover: Food Freedom Friday


You don’t need a makeover.
Yep, you read that right – no matter your weight, size, shape, gender or age, you DON’T need a makeover. The fitness/diet industry does. 


Imagine if you had a store that sold a single size of clothing – or offered a single, specified entree – or if Jamba Juice offered ONE smoothie?

It’s illogical to sell one specific item because we all know people are different. Some people like berries, some people like citrus fruits. Some people are short, others are tall. 

Yet, the diet and fitness industry gets away with selling us a single ideal per gender – a tall, muscular, chiseled and well portioned man, coupled with a slender, yet muscular, yet still distinctly feminine woman. And they make billions of dollars a year on the mere fact that the majority of the population is physically incapable of achieving the image they’re selling.


If you sell an unreachable image, customers will never stop buying. If we all looked perfect, why would we buy powders and pills and capsules and workout programs? There’s no money in the achievement; there’s money in the chase. 

So no, you don’t need a makeover. Healthy eating and exercise do yield a wonderful breadth of benefits, like increased energy, deeper sleep, higher dopamine and serotonin levels, better focus and cognitive function, improved digestive health, and the list continues. But being healthy looks different on every. single. person. Be you, and be healthy if you choose – but don’t let clever marketing and photoshop make the choice for you.

Week 1 of Marathon Training!

marathon memeAs always, marathon training did not exactly get off to a smooth start this year (suspiciously, just like every year so far) but hopes are still high. I kicked off the first of my 12-week training plan to get ready for the fabulous Honolulu Marathon on December 10th. I’m all about supporting my city and running on my own turf, through a course I know all too well by the time race day rolls around.

This marathon will be lucky number 5, and I’ve got myself on a pretty fun plan of preparatory races leading up to the big day. I’ve got my absolute favorite – the Xterra Gunstock Trails Half Marathon – at the end of October, as well as the Val Nolasco Half Marathon – which mimics the final leg of the real deal – in November.


I’m coming off a sprained ankle a few weeks back, so I’m treading carefully and doing my super boring ankle exercises when I actually remember to do them. On the bright side, my first long run – eight hot & steamy miles around Honolulu – went by super quick & easy. So, there’s that.

Anyways, I’m using this super flexible plan from He and She Eat Clean to train. I chose it because it’s 12 weeks (sweet!) and works in tons of cross-training, which is the only way I can mentally handle preparing for a marathon.

NB Marathon

Training While Injured


It’s been almost two weeks of non-soccer/non-running existence and let me tell you – the injured life is not a fun one. With lots of life changes like moving apartments & possible career shifts, it’s been a major struggle not being able to run through it all. Running is my mediation, my quiet, precious ‘me’ time, and I’m going a little bit crazy without it.

In a nutshell – resting ain’t easy.


To keep myself in shape for a busy marathon season, I’ve been supplementing as best as I can with bike riding, swimming, and lifting at the gym. The only good news is that I’m able to lift a lot heavier than usual because I’m not running. So, I’ve gotten to play around with compound movements like squats and snatches to keep myself strong.

I’ve also been stuck with the very boring task of ankle PT. I can’t explain why I hate it so much, but I totally do. I hate every second of it. I know it helps, but it’s so boring it’s like watching paint dry, except you have to be an active participant. Ugh.


Anyways, I just go cleared to ‘lightly jog’ for a few minutes and come back next week to get the final go ahead. I’m still benched from soccer, which starts this weekend, and banned from my Old Pali Road race this Sunday. So, for the next week, I’ll still be grumpy and difficult but hopefully will get my happy time back soon. 🙂

Happy Healing!

Nicole

Half Marathon Training!


It’s that time of year again – when the island weather is cool, soccer is in full swing, and my life is filled with short, beautiful runs to get ready for half marathon season. Half Marathon training is my very favorite, because the runs are short and easy and don’t totally disrupt my life or turn me into a nap queen the way marathon training does.

My next race is the Hapalua Half Marathon, an awesome event that kicks off in downtown Honolulu and winds its way around diamond head and ends at Kapiolani Park. It’s one of my fave races here in Hawaii. It’s on April 30, 2017, so I have about 12 beautiful weeks to train!

Here’s my training plan:

training-plan

After sending my plan to some friends that are also in training, they all asked the same question: why are you using a beginner’s training program?

My answer: because LIFE is hard. A beginner’s plan like this one is easy, flexible, and – most importantly – it works. I can control how fast or slow I run, where to incorporate intervals, and it’s simple enough for it to work in with my soccer schedule.


I encourage everyone, honestly, to stick with an easy, simple, open, adjustable, and flexible training plan, regardless of what race or event its for. Why? Because if it’s not easy, simple, open, adjustable and flexible, it won’t work with your unique schedule, circumstances & life.

Keep it simple, folks! It does work.

Anyways, I’m very excited to be back on a training plan  and on the road and trails. It’s been beautiful having a break, but I’m more than ready to be in racing shape 🙂

Happy training!

Nikki

 

 

Marine Corps Marathon – Part 1!


Last weekend, my dad and I flew out to Washington, D.C. for the Marine Corps Marathon. In 2015, we completed the MCM as our very first marathon ever – both individually and together. It was one of the coolest and most touching thing we’ve ever done. So when registration for 2016 rolled around, my dad hopped on it immediately and bought us two kickass VIP registrations.

These beauties include two registrations, a 5k run and brunch the day before, a pasta carbo-load dinner the night before, a VIP bus to the start line and – my very favorite – VIP PORTA POTTYS. Nope, this is not a drill!


We both started training hard from the start, logging or pace and miles and always checking in on each other. Sadly, about halfway through my dad totally blew out his knee. I mean, possible surgery status.

We patiently waited for his knee to heal, but it just didn’t 😦 my dad was devastated, and we were both unsure if the race would even happen. It was our special thing, and it didn’t look like it was going to occur.

However, after tons of back and forth, we chose to DO IT. I was running, dad was supporting, and we were going to make the best of it. (or, as my dad said, he’d be at the bar until I crossed the finish line).


Let me say – WE HAD A TOTAL BLAST! My dad is always so much fun to travel with, and we made the most of our trip. We flew in to D.C. and hit the 5k and brunch in the morning.

One of the major perks of our VIP status was staying in the super swanky Gaylord Resort right on the Potomac River. All glossed floors, marble and gold, the place gleams from top to bottom. The coolest part is the 19-story atrium, that houses the u-shaped hotel and boasts a small village at its ground floor. Yep, you read that right – a brick road that winds down from the lobby into a cute little village of cottage-like shops, bars and cafes.


The next morning, I absolutely loved the 5K! It was a really fun, gorgeous run along the Potomac in perfect weather. The air was golden and green and crisp, and I made some friends along the route. It was a great way to stretch out my legs before the marathon.


The real treat was brunch, though – we heard an awesome speech from Bart Yasso, the Chief Running Officer at Runner’s World! I definitely freaked out a little – I’ve been reading his articles for years.



We took some time to run around D.C. and explore the city. I don’t get to spend a lot of time with my Dad, so it was really sweet to just walk around and catch up on everything going on in our lives.


The night before the race, we headed back to the hotel just in time for our carbo-load dinner. We dined on big plates of salad and gluten free pasta and cookies and bananas. We met some other runners and heard an incredible, touching, moving speech from Native American activist and Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills.


It was the perfect speech before a race – especially a notoriously hilly & challenging one. I went to sleep more than ready to tackle the course 🙂

Motivation Monday: Do what feels right.

The other day I woke up at 4 a.m. for a 15-mile long run before work. I was sore, tired, under slept, achy, grouchy, hungry, and cranky the day before. I was positive I wouldn’t wake up for my run and subconsciously sleep through the alarm as an avoidance tactic. Begrudgingly, I set my clothes, shoes and water out the night before. Just in case.

When the alarm rang at 4 a.m., I popped right out of bed and laced up my shoes. I didn’t feel any of the cranky feels of the previous day or even tired or mildly annoyed at such an early wake up time. It just felt right.

As I took off on my run, it felt even more right to be winding through dark, empty streets and cool air before the heat kicked in and the rest of the world woke up. I watched the city I so dearly love awaken, as the light gently began to creep in as the darkness faded away. Honolulu slowly rubbed its eyes and awoke and unfolded its morning and I was there, with each and every step and breath, to see it.

The key with a healthy lifestyle – just like every other aspect of life – is to find something you truly enjoy. Even something you love. If I had to cycle, or lift, or swim for over two hours I would have been ready to throw a temper tantrum – in fact, I probably wouldn’t have even made it out of bed.

Find something you dig. Discover what works for you, and then run with it – literally 🙂

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Motivation Monday: Reaching Goals

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Every Monday is a gift. A fresh start, a clean slate, a chance to start the week with an open mind, positive vibes and a grateful heart.

We all have goals. Whether it’s to eat better, or run farther, to train for a race or show or just to see some definition in our arms or abs, we all work towards something. Goals are the ultimate motivation, because our efforts are moving us forward. With that momentum, we’re pretty much unstoppable.

Here’s some goal-oriented motivation for your goal-oriented selves and a kick off towards a great week!

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Bob’s Red Mill Review Giveaway!


Aloha all! Apologies for my absence lately – life has been crazy-full of adventures, injuries, soccer games and marathon training. Between training and work, it’s hard for me to carve out time for my blog, which is a bummer because I absolutely adore writing and seriously miss meeting and engaging with badass women bloggers around the world.

I officially promise to make this blogging stuff more of a regular thing 🙂

Anyways, I just got done doing a super fun Instagram challenge for Bob’s Red Mill with my #sweatpink sisters! I’ve been using BRM products for ages, from their flaxseed meal to almond flour to gluten-free baking products. When they came out with a plant-based, chia-seed-and-probiotic-infused protein powder, I kinda nearly lost my damn mind. So much radness, right?!
Oh, and they also sent it in a gigantic, loud red box that was lovingly waiting at my doorstep after work one day. It was so big, in fact, that my roommate silently came over from the couch for moral support as I cautiously opened this beauty and surveyed its glorious contents.


Let me just say – Bob’s Red Mill, you the real MVP. Y’all hooked it UP. I got four full-size flavors – Chocolate, Protein & Fiber, Vanilla, and, my very favorite, Chai – along with some recipes, sample/travel packs, and a super cute shaker bottle.


THANKS Y’ALL!

While I liked all the flavors, my one true love was the chai. I blended it with coconut milk, bananas and dates for a milk-shake-like smoothie of vegan goodness. Aside from taste, the nutrient content on these totally make the geek in me freak the f out. A vegan powder that has amino acids, probiotics, and chia seeds? Yes, please. Gluten free and sweetened with monk fruit, these babies are some freaking gems in the very rough world of plant-based powders.
I’m so excited, in fact, that I’m gonna host a giveaway for the Protein & Fiber flavor! Check out the link below and follow instructions to enter – the winner will be announced next Monday 🙂

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7402e5bb5/?

Love, happiness, and plant-based protein,

Nikki ❤