by Carrie Adams

We’re back with another installment of some of our biggest stories of 2012!  Not surprisingly, many of our top 10 blog posts dealt with, what else, training and nutrition!  Spartans commit to a healthy way of living and it was clear that our community was paying attention and getting it done.

Some of our biggest blog posts of the year were centered around how to get fit and how to eat right.  In addition to providing resources on our blog, at Spartan HQ, we are trying to make it even easier to get these tips delivered to you, so if you want our daily WOD delivered directly to your inbox for FREE, click HERE.

Here are our three biggest training posts of 2012!

Breaking down the Warm-Up: As our own Spartan Coach manager Jeff Godin, Ph.D. CSCS always says, “Always start your workout with a warm-up.” Although flexibility and unrestricted movement may be important for long term injury prevention, static stretching and flexibility exercises are not an important part of a warm-up. Stretching moves a joint through its full range of motion, however it does this passively and does very little to increase the temperature of muscle. The warm-up should be active and move the joints through their full range of motion. The warm-up progresses from low intensity towards high intensity. For some, the warm-up may actually have them gassed by the end. The benefits of a warm-up include; increased tissue temperature, tissue compliance, energy metabolism, movement efficiency and reduced tissue stiffness. The warm-up can also be used to reinforce fundamental movement mechanics related to speed and agility. The warm-up should emphasize proper foot placement to promote acceleration and prevent deceleration.  Read the rest of the post by clicking HERE.

Spartan Ab 300:  In this post, Dr. Jeff gives a great ab workout for the ages!  300 reps never felt so good!  Click HERE for the full workout and breakdown.

Buck Furpee Day:  The burpee is quintessentially Spartan in that there is nothing wasted in the activity.   It carries with it efficiency,  and, therefore, concentrated effectiveness.  When you train, focus on training – don’t over-complicate things.  When in doubt, do burpees.  How did Buck Furpee Day go down?  Click HERE and find out.

Spartan Race Nutrition:

It should come as no surprise that training, while a critical piece of the Spartan equation, it isn’t everything.  You need the right fuel to get that Spartan body and keep moving!   Whether your goals are to lose weight, get lean, or perform better, nutrition has to be a part of your plan.  And if you’re not sure where to start and you want some help from the Spartan team, we have good news!  Just like our daily WOD’s we offer FREE daily Food tips and recipes as well.  Simply click HERE to get signed up for yours!

Eat to Live: Spartan Performance Nutrition: Not sure what to eat the night before a race?  This popular blog post solves that problem with ease!  Our own Spartan Champion and Chick Rose-Marie Jarry provides her favorite recipe for a pre-race trio.

Click HERE for the full recipe.

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by Rose Marie Jarry

What a fun way to enjoy tempura veggies without deep frying them! Less guilt and more pleasure!

Directions:

Slice the eggplant into 10-11 thin slices. Lay them on a cutting board and sprinkle some sea salt on every slice. Set them aside for 10-15 minutes.

Mix the water, flour, and spices with a whisk. Make sure it’s a medium-thick texture; it can’t be too thick or too liquid. Dip each slice of eggplant in it one by one to make sure the mixture is evenly distributed to all of them.

In a preheated pan, melt the coconut oil and place each slice to be grilled. Cook each slice for 1-2 minutes for each side on high heat. After that, place the slices on a greased cookie sheet and cook in oven at 400F for 10 minutes.

When they are all crispy and toasted, it’s time to eat.

Serve with a refreshing tomato and cucumber creamy balsamic glaze.

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by Rose-Marie Jarry

Meal on the go! The words “easy, healthy and refreshing” best describes this salad. Low in calories, this homemade dressing will encourage you to eat more salad on a daily basis. Full of vitamin C and Iron from the parsley and pumpkin seeds, these are the nutrients that your body needs. Did you know that parsley is more than just decoration; it’s a really good source of calcium as well! Believe it or not, there is more calcium in parsley than you would find in milk.

Directions:

Cut all the fruits, veggies, and herbs. Mix in a bowl.

Squeeze the lemon then mix the juice with the strawberry purée and the spices. Pour the dressing over your fresh salad and enjoy.

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by Rose Marie Jarry

Even if wild rice is more expensive than other types of rice, its taste and texture make it worth it. Wild rice is also loaded with health benefits. Wild rice is a very healthy food choice. First of all, wild rice is not really a grain, but an aquatic grass seed. Native Americans have been cultivating this food since before we arrived on this land. It has more protein than regular rice and is richer in the amino acid lysine.

Directions:

Cook both types of rice together in a rice cooker. When it’s cooked, add the coconut oil and the dried coconut into the rice and then mix. Add half of the lemon juice and half the spices. Set aside.

To make the avocado-stuffed eggs to go with the rice, start by boiling the eggs. Then peel them and cut them in half to keep the white intact. Remove the yellow and put it in a bowl.  With a fork, mash the yellows with 1 ripe avocado; pour the other half of the lemon juice and spices in your purée. Fill the white part of the eggs with the green mixture.

Ready to eat! Enjoy!

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by Rose Marie Jarry

This is an example of a complete and balanced meal that you can get done when you’re in a rush. In only 30 minutes or less you can have this delicious meal ready on your plate for the whole family. Light and easy to digest, this meal provides all the protein you need and a fair portion of your daily veggies.

Directions:

Salad Preparation

Slice the cucumbers and scallions into pieces. Separate all the endive leaves and mix them in with the chopped cucumber, scallions, oil, and spices.

Portobello Preparation

Warm up a pan that can be used both on the stove and in the oven. Add 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil and the 3 mushrooms. Let them cook for 3-5 minutes on medium heat.

While your mushrooms are cooking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Beat the eggs and spices in a bowl with the goat cheese.

Slice the bell peppers and the red onions into tiny pieces. Incorporate into the egg mix.

Turn the Portobello mushrooms upside down and pour the mix into the 3 Portobello mushrooms so they are like bowls.  Return the mushrooms to the pan.

Put the pan into the pre-heated oven and finish cooking in the oven at 400F for 10-12 minutes.

Best served hot with the cucumber salad.

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by Rose-Marie Jarry

This is a healthy idea for making your own homemade macaroni. This macaroni will definitely be loved by all of your kids. Give it a try!

Warm up a big wok and pour the olive oil. Add the diced garlic and onion into it. After 2 minutes, add the ground beef, spices, and tamari sauce. Cook for 5 minutes and stir at the same time. Add the rest of the veggies into the work. Cook for another 5 minutes. Save the fresh herbs for the end, just before turning the heat off.

Serve immediately.

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by Rose Marie Jarry

I would suggest always trying to incorporate white beans into your diet. As an athlete, you need a lot of the iron and magnesium that white beans provide; white beans contain around 8 mg of iron and 134 mg of magnesium in a 1 cup serving.

Directions:

Cook the quinoa, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and set aside.

You can use canned cooked organic white beans if you don’t have time to soak and cook them.

Pour the coconut milk concentrate in a pot as well as the curry powder, lemon juice, chili sauce, and salt and pepper. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes and then add the cooked beans.

Steam the broccoli only 5 minutes to keep them crunchy. Then add those into the coconut mix.

Slice the scallions. Serve 1 portion of quinoa on a plate and 1 portion of beans on top. Finish it off by adding fresh scallions to your plate.

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by Rose-Marie Jarry

This is a light and reinvented version of the traditional lasagna recipe that we all know. Everybody knows that Italian lasagna is really good in the tummy, but not so good on calories. This one is really different and will make you discover a healthy way to eat lasagna.

This lasagna contains 6 different veggies to help you get all your greens.

Directions: 

Cook the lasagna noodles, when they are cooked, drain and cut each noodle into 3 squares. Set aside.

Steam the yellow beans for 10 minutes. Once they are cooked put them in a bowl and pour some olive oil and salt on them along with a tablespoon of the chopped dill. Set aside.

In a little pot, warm up the olive oil and roast the garlic and scallions. After 1 minute, add the slices of bell peppers and the Tamari sauce. Right afterwards, add the water into the mix. Let simmer for 3-4 minutes. Once all that is done, add some of the chopped fresh dill and set aside.

When everything is ready to assemble take your plate and follow the instruction bellow.

Put 1 tablespoon of the garlic, some dill and the pepper sauce on the bottom of the plate.

Place 1 square noodle over it.

Place 5-6 yellow beans over the noodle + 1 slice of raw tomato.

Place 1 square noodle over top along with 1 tablespoon of the garlic, dill & bell pepper sauce.

Repeat this for 4-5 layers. At the end, on top you could add a piece of goat cheese and put it in the oven on broil for 1 minute. If you want to stick with the Vegan style, then forget the cheese.

Serve immediately!

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by Rose-Marie Jarry

Eating healthy doesn’t mean that you lose out on flavorful food.  With the sweet addition of peaches and the savory pork, this makes on delicious meal.  Try it for your next family dinner.

Directions:

Once again, make sure you choose your meat Organic. We want to avoid all the chemicals, GMO and hormones in the regular meat.

Marinate the pork in the tamari sauce, sugar, water and oil.

Chop the kale and red onions thinly.

Cook the pork and the kale in a pan. While cooking, add the sesame seeds. When it’s done cooking set aside.

Grill the Endive leaves in the same pan with the coconut oil. When it’s done, set aside.

In a small pot, cook the fresh peaches in pieces with the water and sugar. Let it simmer for 5-8 minutes, until the peach slices break into many pieces and the sauce gets a little bit thick.

Serve the pork on a plate, lay some endives leaves on top and surround with peach sauce.

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by Rose-Marie Jarry

Chocolate lovers looking for a sweet treat?  Try this banana cookie recipe for a guilt free option.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a bowl, smash the banana with a fork. Mix with the cane sugar, coconut oil and hazelnut oil. Add the milk, chocolate chips and then pour in both flours.

Mix well. Slightly cover your hand with coconut oil and form the cookies. Place them on a cookie sheet and cook for 15-17 minutes.

For the chocolate lovers, melt some dark chocolate and sprinkle it onto the cookies.

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