Giving thanks

THANK YOU

… for being the love when I needed to feel loved

THANK YOU

… for being the ears when I needed to be heard

THANK YOU

… for being the pure page when I needed to write my life chapter

THANK YOU

… for being the courage when I needed the compassion

THANK YOU

… for being the passion when I needed to see my life purpose

THANK YOU

… for being the silence when I needed to feel your presence

THANK YOU

…for being

 

THANK YOU is a magical expression.

It breaks the coldest hearts, it opens up the most closed minds, it melts the most stubborn souls and it brings the joy to the most resentful egos.

It is meant to show an appreciation, a gratitude, love, an accomplishment, pride and happiness.

It means a world to the most tired mother and approval to the hardest working employee.

It connects the furthest relationships.

It expresses the hidden feelings.

It is meant to be used often… because world deserves to be appreciated for all beauty and magic it provides.

 

THANK YOU FOR BEING beYOUtiful! ❤

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Baked Banana with Rum, Cinnamon and Mascarpone (Weight Watchers debunked)

This dessert was modified in order to cut on the amount of sugars the original recipe was calling for. It was mind blowing to me how much of sugar was in, apparently, one of the healthiest recipe. At least considered by many as that! Hope you like the beYOUtiful version of it now 😊

The original recipe was calling for ¼ cup brown sugar and vanilla fat-free frozen yogurt, which in the end was giving 64g of carbs per serving!!! WOW that is a lot!

Check out my 12-week program Challenge Up launching January 4th, 2018 here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium bananas
  • 2 tsp grass-fed butter
  • 1 tsp of vanilla powder
  • 3 tbsp of Erythritol
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 45 ml of dark rum
  • 3 tbsp of mascarpone

Instructions:

  1. Cut the bananas crosswise in half, then cut each piece lengthwise in half.
  2. Melt the butter into a large nonstick skillet and set over medium heat.
  3. Add the bananas, cut side down, and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side.
  4. Add 2 tbsp of erythritol, dark rum and cinnamon; cook until the erythritol is dissolved and the mixture is syrupy, about 1 minute. Stir in ½ tsp of vanilla powder.
  5. In meantime mix mascarpone with ½ tsp of vanilla powder and 1 tbsp erythritol to have a smooth mixture.
  6. Top each pieces of bananas with mascarpone mixture and the syrupy mixture from skillet  and sprinkle with cinnamon.

ENJOY IT!

 

Nutritional Facts:

Servings 2

Per one serving: 211 calories; 11g fats; saturated fats 8g; monounsaturated fats 0g; polyunsaturated fats 0g; carbohydrates 43g; fiber 3g; sugars 12g; proteins 3g; cholesterol 34mg; sodium 23mg; potassium 361mg.

 

STAY HEALTHY!!!!

YOU ARE IN IT TO WIN IT!!!!

You got this beYOUtiful! ❤

Garlicky Beef with Snow Peas and Bell Pepper (Weight Watchers debunked)

This dish is so simple, and it takes so little time, that I made it already few times at our house. It is delicious, especially considering the little work you need to put into preparing it! Hope you liked the beYOUtiful version of this dish 😊

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of beef stew meat
  • 1.5 tbsp of avocado oil
  • 5 tsp of raw ginger root, crashed
  • 5 tsp of raw garlic, crashed
  • 2 scallions (green onions), cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
  • 1 tbsp of low-sodium soy sauce or Bragg’s aminos
  • 1 medium (around 6 oz) bell pepper, red or orange
  • 6 oz of snow peas, cut into halves

Instructions:

  1. Add avocado oil into a nonstick wok or large deep nonstick skillet and set over high heat.
  2. When a drop of water sizzles in it, add the garlic and ginger; stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the beef and stir-fry until browned, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the scallions, snow peas, and bell pepper; stir-fry about 1 minute.
  5. Add soy sauce and bring to a simmer.
  6. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.

ENJOY IT!

 

Nutritional Facts:

Servings 2

Per one serving: 480 calories; 21g fats; saturated fats 6g; monounsaturated fats 8g; polyunsaturated fats 2g; carbohydrates 16g; fiber 4g; sugars 7g; proteins 53g; cholesterol 145mg; sodium 473mg; potassium 1042mg.

 

STAY HEALTHY!!!!

YOU ARE IN IT TO WIN IT!!!!

YOU got this beYOUtiful!!!! ❤

Dump those motivational fitness photos…..

“This is my remedy for depression.” “This is my happy space.” “This is the place where I feel most comfortable!” Do these statements sound familiar?  Often, these words are paired with a picture of dumbbells, or a treadmill. Perhaps we do this subconsciously, but it emphasizes that the ONLY happy place for us is at the gym. I am guilty of this as well. I have been there, seen it, and done it! I used to think that the gym was the happiest place on the planet. How mistaken I was!

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I recall miserable moments at work. The only thing I could think about was going to the gym. All I wanted to do was a heavy workout. It was my safe place, where I could hide away for three hours a day. It was my only escape from the misery, discomfort and challenges at work.

As soon as I thought about my morning and evening cardio session (before the bodybuilding show), I could physically sense the goosebumps on my skin. I was obsessed with becoming leaner and leaner. It got to the point where I couldn’t even hold my own body, due to an overwhelming lack of food (eating 800-calories a day is not exactly “healthy”). Regardless of what I was putting my body through, I was ecstatic! I could see my veins and muscles, and I was down to 6% body fat. This was my “dream”, or so I thought…

To this day, I still get anxious whenever I think about not being able to race due to an injury. I feel like I’ve lost my best friend. Despite this, I push, perform, and force my body to run. I lift and do 222 burpees. Without this, I feel like my worth and value is gone.

Why is fitness thought of as a remedy for unhappiness? Why does it often become a substitute for friendship, or the only means of value one has? Why is this ideology so strongly embedded in our society?

Yes, exercising is good for health. It helps us to feel better physically and emotionally. Getting our endorphins released and having our metabolisms sped up is helpful for many things! As a biologist, nutritionist, and fitness professional, I see these benefits clearly. I encourage every single client and friend of mine to be active.

With that said, I strongly dislike the fact that the gym can be used as a substitute for personal awareness, mindfulness, and self-understanding.

How do you feel when you don’t go to the gym? How about when you “fall short” and don’t push yourself beyond your physical limits? Do you feel unworthy? Do you feel like you’re losing yourself and your identity?

If you answer “yes”, now is a critical moment for you to realize that self-worth, self-value, self-identity, self-power and self-strength needs to be found within one’s self.

It is not given to us for free.

It is not miraculously appearing in front of your eyes.

It does not land on your lap out of nowhere.

It is not a magic pill, nor a magic moment.

It is not a sparkly angel coming down from the sky.

It is none of these!

 

It is countless hours of self-work.

It is finally coming to the realization of where you are.

It is a frustrating trudge through trial after trial.

It is a limitless list of affirmations repeated over and over.

It is a mind blowing, eye-opening, and shocking moment of self-truth.

It is an emotional spiral between YOU-the-Best and YOU-the-Worst.

It is a powerless feeling when you become vulnerable.

It is a transformation that doesn’t happen overnight….in fact, you might not even know it’s happening!

It is a love that you need to surround your most sensitive inner-child with.

It is the compassion you need to find and create.

It is the painful memories you need to face to move forward and grow.

It takes the present moment to realize who you really are.

 

It is that time you need to spend with yourself, and only YOURSELF, to find happiness and self-belief. It is during this time that we can find self-validation, confidence, self-worth, value, acceptance, compassion, respect, and love. These enormous treasures of energy and power are within you.

YOU are NOT your worst enemy. YOU ARE YOUR BIGGEST FRIEND, SUPPORTER and ALLY!!!

You got this beYOUtiful! ❤

Herby Italian Meatballs with Tomato Sauce – whole house smelled with Italy!!! :-)

I so craved Italian cuisine. My sister lives in Italy and I have never eaten better prepared Italian dishes than the one she does. I even thought I wouldn’t be able to cook like that, ever! Hear me on that now. Her frutti di mare carbonara, or mushroom risotto is unbeatable. However, my Herby Italian Meatballs are amazingly delicious!!  I did it! And I am proud of myself… I am sure my sister would be, too!!!

The new recipes, new life style, meal plans and new approach to new YOU is coming soon: January 4th, 2018 we start the NEW Challenge-up!

http://beyoutiful.fit/challengeup/

https://www.youtube.com/user/izabela4000/ 

So, give a try and enjoy it!!!!

IngredientsItalian Meatballs #1.jpg

For the meatballs:

  • 1 lbs ground beef (85/15 or leaner)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried onion flakes
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup warm water

To cook the meatballs:

  • 1 tsp avocado oil
  • 3 cups easy keto marinara sauce (Recipe below)

Instructions

  1. Combine meatball ingredients in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly by hand.
  2. Form into approximately 15 two-inch meatballs.
  3. Coat the bottom of the large pot insert with the avocado oil.
  4. If you wish to brown them, you can do it in a separate nonstick pan first.
  5. Layer the browned or raw meatballs in the pot, leaving 1/2 inch of space between them. Don’t press down.
  6. Pour the marinara sauce evenly over the meatballs.
  7. Cover the pot and the cook for 10-20 minutes.
  8. Serve the meatballs with sauce over zoodles or spaghetti squash if desired.

 

Nutritional Facts per one serving (without the zoodles or spaghetti squash):

Serves: 14. Serving size: 1 meatball.

122 cal; 9g fats; 3g saturated fats; 1g carbs; 0g fiber; 0g sugars; 9g proteins; 53mg cholesterol; 170mg sodium; 33mg potassium

 

Easy Keto Marinara Sauce (Low Carb and Gluten Free)

An easy low carb recipe for marinara or pizza sauce! Dang it, so delicious.

Ingredients

  • 14 oz can dices tomatoes, unsweetened
  • 1 large tomato (around 8 oz)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp salt (add more if necessary)
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil

Instructions

Puree the tomatoes in a small blender or magic bullet. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 6. Serving Size: 1/2 cup

105 cal; 9g fats; 1g saturated fats; 5g carbs; 1g fiber; 3g sugars; 1g proteins; 0mg cholesterol; 295mg sodium; 109mg potassium

 

STAY HEALTHY!!!!

YOU ARE IN IT TO WIN IT!!!!

YOU got this beYOUtiful!!!!

Keto/Paleo Almond Date Cookies

My goal is to create the recipe for White Chocolate Coconut Almond Cookies because my boyfriend loves those. However, he gets the not-really keto, paleo, fat-approved ones, which is still good, especially when you perform on a very high level at obstacle races.

This is my first trial with a little modification to add sweetness into it. I didn’t have unsweetened white chocolate chips in my pantry, so I decided to use dates as sweetener together with a little organic raw maple syrup.

In notes I listed options to use other sweeteners instead.

I hope you like these “devil”-delicious cookies!!! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of almond flour
  • 1/3 cup of pitted and chopped dates
  • 3 tbsp chopped dried cherries
  • 3 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spray with coconut oil.
  2. Combine almond flour, dates, cherries, walnuts, chia seeds, baking soda, and sea salt in a large bowl; whisk to blend. Add coconut oil, egg, maple syrup, and vanilla extract; blend well with a spoon or fork until dough comes together.
  3. Scoop dough onto prepared baking sheets with a small cookie scoop.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until edges are golden, about 15 minutes. Turn off oven and let cookies sit with oven door closed, about 10 minutes more. Remove from oven and let cool.
  5. Enjoy them with a spoon of heavy cream or butter when aiming for a real keto option, or sprinkle with a little of honey for a carb-up option.

Notes:

For Keto and Whole 30 version of these cookies:

  • Use dates and dried cherries with no sugar added.
  • Omit maple syrup and substitute with sweeteners such Stevia or Swerve.
  • Substitute almond flour for coconut flour if needed or allergic.
  • Use more nuts for crunchiness.

 

Nutritional Facts per one serving:

12 servings.

134 cal; 10g fats; 4g saturated fats; 9g carbs; 2g fiber; 6g sugars; 3g proteins; 21mg cholesterol; 91mg sodium; 26mg potassium

Keto Polish Stuffed Cabbage (Golabki)

Polish stuffed cabbage is the dish which I remember my both grandmas, and later on also my mom, were doing very often. It is a very traditional meal made of ground pork and beef mixed with rice, rolled in the boiled cabbage leaves and baked in tomato sauce. There are as many variations of Golabki as there is the housewives in Poland. Every woman will tweak the recipe a little different and each time stuffed cabbage meal will taste just delicious!

Here I am presenting the traditional Golabki recipe with changes made to create a great Paleo/Keto dish! So let me transfer you to my family house for a bit!

Serves 12.

Ingredients for the stuffed cabbage:

  • 1 large head green cabbage (around 20-24 ounces)
  • 1 lbs of grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 lbs of ground pork
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 white onion, diced finely (around 4 ounces)
  • 1 ½ cups of grated or rice cauliflower
  • ½ tbsp garlic powder or minced garlic
  • 2 tsp sea salt or Himalayan Pink salt
  • 1 ½ tsp black pepper

Ingredients for tomato sauce:

  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes (2 cans)
  • 1 tbsp of dried or fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp of dried or fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp of dried or fresh cilantro
  • 5 tbsp of avocado oil
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Rice or grate the cauliflower. I use my food processor. Save 1-1/2 cups for this recipe and the rest could be used as fried or sautéed side dish.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the beef, pork, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Put a large pot of water on the stove over high heat. Cut the core out of the cabbage and place it in the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. As the leaves soften, peel them off with a spoon. Take care not to rip them in half. The whole process usually takes about 15 minutes.
  4. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the onion and grated cauliflower and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until the onion is translucent and the cauliflower is softened. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Combine the onion and cauliflower with the meat, and mix by hand to incorporate all the ingredients.
  6. Roll the golabki by holding a cabbage leaf, concave side up with the stem toward you, and placing a large spoonful of the meat mixture at the stem end. Then roll forward, fold the sides in and end with the seam down.
  7. Mix the crushed tomatoes and spices and avocado oil in a bowl. Put ~1 cup in the bottom of the slow cooker (or casserole dish). Lay the golabki in with the seam side down. Cover with the remaining tomato mixture once the slow cooker is full.
  8. For a slow cooker, cook on low for 5 hours. If using the oven, cover the top of the dish with foil and bake for 60-90 minutes at 350°F. You can cook them also in the deep pot in the tomato mixture on the stove pot on medium for around 45-60 minutes.

 

Nutritional Facts per serving with ¼ cup of tomato sauce:

284 cal, 22g Fats, 8g saturated fats, 7g carbs, 3g fiber, 3g sugars, 14g proteins, 53mg cholesterol, 448mg sodium, 91mg potassium.

 

STAY HEALTHY!!!!

YOU ARE IN IT TO WIN IT!!!!

YOU got this beYOUtiful!!!! ❤

Sprouted Barley Power Pancakes

Being on ketogenic lifestyle requires me to be fat adapted, which means to eat fat and then eat fat and then maybe have a dessert such as the fat bomb. Seriously, it is a ‘fat’ life and I am so happy to be the “fat” girl and the “fat” athlete. The latter one, however, brings in the picture another approach: the cyclic ketosis. What that simply means, is having the carbing-up days especially on heavy weight lifting days (endurance is perfectly fine to be performed while being fueled with fats only). Also, for me as woman, it is important to have those days because of my feminine nature: the proper hormone production, to keep thyroid and adrenals happy, to keep my mood swing on point and my skin shiny and beautiful.

For that days, I prepared great keto-friendly pancakes which still help me with carbing up and feeling happy by catching two birds at the same time – yeay!

Let me explain to you why grains can still be healthy, keto-approved and delivering great nutrients to my body. The grains I mean here are: quinoa, couscous, millet, farro, buckwheat, barley, rye and bulgur. The great carbohydrate’s source is white rice. Turning brown rice into white rice removes phytate – an anti-nutrient that stops us from absorbing minerals – and leaves a clean source of starch.  It also reduces arsenic – brown rice was found to have up to 80 times more arsenic than white rice.

The only thing you need to do with them is to take some time and sprout them!

The process of sprouting is, in the simplest terms, the process of seed germination. In the case of grains, the grain “seed” is kept warm and damp, just as it would be in the soil, and after some period of time a tiny sprout begins to emerge from that grain “seed”.

The sprouting process is a complete biological transformation of the seed. In this process there is a lessening of the starch of the grain and at the same time an increase in the protein, fat, amino acid composition, and B vitamin content. Through the enzymatic action that occurs in the sprouting process the anti-nutrients found in the grain are also lessened. Sprouting is also a good way to prepare whole grains that will be consumed as a side dish.

OK, so let’s get to the actual recipe:

Begin by sprouting and fermenting your grain, in this case it is whole barley pearls.

  1. Wash them with water four or five time and leave to soak them in filtered water overnight in a glass bowl with a plate on top.
  2. In the morning, wash and rinse your grains thoroughly and cover with filtered water again. This time, add about 1 tbsp of the juice of half a lemon (or ¼ tbsp of citric acid) to the water and cover again for 12–24 hours.
  3. Rinse the grains and strain out the water. They are now ready to use.

 

For your pancake recipe use:

3 cups of your sprouted, fermented grain

4 organic pastured eggs

6 tbsp of grass-fed butter or coconut oil

2 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp vanilla powder

Blend all ingredients in the food processor for at least 5 minutes until nice and smooth. Make pancakes spraying the pan with coconut oil.

Serve with grass-fed butter or almond butter, or some organic, grass-fed yogurt or kefir, and a small amount of sliced bananas or berries of your choice. Enjoy your carb-up day or your dessert!

 

Nutritional Facts:

Servings 10

Per one serving: 151 calories; 9g fats; saturated fats 5g; monounsaturated fats 1g; carbohydrates 15g; fiber 2g; sugars 0g; proteins 4g; cholesterol 74mg; sodium 324mg; potassium 71mg.

 

STAY HEALTHY!!!!

YOU ARE IN IT TO WIN IT!!!!

YOU got this beYOUtiful!!!! ❤

Ginger-Coconut Mashed Sweet Potatoes

This recipe for WONDERFULLY- TASTING mashed sweet potatoes with ginger and coconut. It is a perfect side for any holiday meal. It is even better for any carbing-up days for athletes. It worked magic when eaten at breakfast for my recent endurance event at Spartan Race 😊
Ingredients

  • 5 pounds of sweet potatoes, peeled and cooked
  • 8 tablespoons of unsalted grass-fed organic butter
  • 1 cup of canned coconut milk or cream
  • ½ – 1 cup of regular coconut milk
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2-3 tsp of Himalayan Pink salt
  • 1 tbsp of ground white pepper
  • Finely shredded unsweetened coconut, for serving

Directions

Cook sweet potatoes until soft. Melt the butter in microwave or in a small sauce pan. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until fluffy. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with the shredded coconut. Serve and enjoy.

 

Makes 10 servings.

NUTRITION FACTS per serving:

232 calories; 13g fats; 9g saturated fats; 27g carbohydrates; 4h fiber; 9g sugars; 2.5g proteins; 22mg cholesterol; 328mg sodium; 1.6mg potassium.

You got this beYOUtiful! ❤

 

 

Nutrition for a Spartan Endurance Event (HH, HH12HR and HH24HR) — before, during, after.

You just signed up for the upcoming Hurricane Heat HH12HR event and I know how excited yet scared you are. I know you can handle it physically; you are a beast!!! As a HH12HR veteran, a nutritionist, PhD in Cardio-respiratory Science, MSc in Human Biology & Anatomy and Physiology, and Spartan SGX coach I can clearly say that the nutrition part of the training is key to successfully managing, completing and recovering from the event.

 

Two to Four Weeks before the HH12HR Event

As you are training very differently from other people, i.e., carrying heavy loads for extended periods of time, doing extremely vigorous high-intensity circuits and hiking with loads for half a weekend, your body pretty much wears out. It is under constant stress and has very little time to recover. In order to perform well and allow your body to rest and rebuild itself, you must fuel it very carefully with the specific foods it requires. You may need to increase caloric intake compared to previous weeks, which should come from very high-quality macro-nutrients such as proteins, fats and carbohydrates (aka carbs).

High quality protein sources include wild caught fish (salmon, cod, sardines, herrings, mackerel), free range chicken and eggs, organic turkey, grass-fed beef, bison and lamb, as well as a reliable sources of seafood (to avoid heavy metal contamination).

You also need to consume good beneficial fats, especially for your long endurance training days: avocados, organic nuts (avoid peanuts as they may be very inflammatory and allergenic), olive oil, macadamia oil, avocado oil, organic nut butters, uncured sugar-free bacon, egg yolks, organic grass-fed butter, ghee butter, coconut oil, coconut butter and coconut full-fat milk.

Concerning carbs, you really want to focus on eating the starchy ones and the varieties that include a low glycemic index.  This will replenish the glycogen that you burn during your workouts: sweet potatoes, organic rice, organic quinoa, butternut squash, sprouted grains (avoid these if you are gluten-sensitive). I hope I don’t need to emphasize that huge loads of vegetables and fruits (5-10 cups a day is recommended) are going to benefit you even more, supplementing your tired body with vitamins and micro nutrients.

You want to have at least two meals (pre- and post-workout) that consist of all the macros: colorful salad, good source of protein and fat, and complex carbs. Yes, even if you work out in the evening, I want you to have that meal – you are burning calories after your workout, and your glycogen is used up during sleep.

In terms of supplementation – for me the important part was to keep my adrenals happy by supplying my body with B vitamins, selenium and magnesium. I tried to get them from food: yeast flakes, Brazil nuts, and green leafy veggies, respectively. Also, you may add glutamine and BCAAs for muscle recovery and rebuilding. A very good powerful anti-inflammatory supplement is turmeric – in either pill form or powder mixed up in warm water. Make sure that in both cases it comes with black pepper for proper absorption. Proper electrolytes are also crucial for your training and for the event itself. They can come from salt tablets, liquid version of trace minerals or electrolytes (which you can get in any whole foods store) or 1-2 tsp of Himalayan Salt added to your water one to three times a day.

I strongly recommend that you first test any carb gels, energy bars, and foods that you plan on taking for the event, during your longer runs or training sessions. You don’t want to end up having diarrhea during the event or being medically DNF’d due to GI tract issues.

 

Two Days before the HH12HR Event

During the last 4 weeks, you should already know which foods give you energy, which make you feel grumpy and inflamed, or bloated and sleepy. Make sure that, during the two days leading into the event, you completely avoid processed foods loaded with hydrogenated fats and processed sugars (this includes pizza, fries, fast food burgers, donuts, ice cream etc.). Sorry Spartans, but how you fuel your engines determines how they will perform during the event. Bad foods will definitely make your body unhappy and unready for 12 hours of extreme activity.

It is also very important to have extra starchy/complex carbs during those two days. ATTENTION: do not overload them in just one meal; eat them in an evenly distributed manner throughout the day. You don’t want to wake up on a race day with diarrhea, upset stomach, or other GI problems. Make sure you drink a lot of water and electrolytes.

 

One Day before the HH12HR Event

This day is the most important of your last 4 weeks. Whatever damage and lack of nutrition you allowed into your workout routines and lifestyle cannot be reversed by just one day of proper fueling; however, if you find yourself in a less than ideal situation, make sure you eat a very good breakfast, lunch and dinner. All meals should consist of good sources of protein, fats and carbs, as well as vegetables and fruits. Try to avoid too many fibrous vegetables 5-6 hours before the event. If you wish to eat them, put them in a smoothie for better digestion. Hydrate and drink more electrolytes than during the previous days. You may have up to 2 cups of black coffee; however, more can cause you to crash in the middle of the event. I wouldn’t suggest taking any pre-workout supplements, thermogenic pills, energy drinks or foods that you already know will make you feel bad.

My favorite breakfast consists of oats with coconut milk, shredded coconut, pecans, blueberries, a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of Himalayan salt. For lunch, I eat a huge salad with green leafy veggies: spinach, kale, and sunflower seeds, beef burger and baked sweet potato with coconut oil. For dinner (the last meal before the event), I like lean ground turkey with a large sweet potato, coconut oil and banana with cashew or almond butter. Avoid too much protein, it can cause slower absorption of the carbs and fats, which you need as fuel for the event.

 

On HH12HR Event Day

There is just one rule I follow on event day and I strongly suggest you do the same: START EATING EARLY AND EAT OFTEN. Do not wait until you start feeling weak, lightheaded or begin cramping before you put some food or electrolytes in your stomach. If you do, it is already too late. Start as early as 30-45 min into the event, and keep snacking every 30-45 min. I always keep carb gels, nut butter pouches, carb chews and energy bars in different pockets and whenever it feels right, I reach for one.

My great invention during the last event was protein waffles (made from protein pancake ready mix bought at a supplement store) with some nut butter and jelly. I ate them during down times, and the rest of the time, I had other snacks to chew on. For electrolytes, you may want to take tablets every 1-2 hours, and make sure you drink lots of water with them.

You may need to test many options a long time before the competition in order to find the right foods for event day. They must be portable, easy to store, carry and grab during the very uncomfortable conditions of the event. Store them safely in multiple Ziploc bags – I had to eat some chews mixed with mud because I failed to do this…oh well, the things we will do to perform better!

 

After the HH12HR Event

You did it! You survived and I am sure you don’t want to look at carb gels or chews for the next several months. It is ok, because now all I would like you to do is eat very very well (don’t overload again, it may cause you to have a stomach ache). Post-event meals should have all sorts of veggies (the more the better, the more colorful the better), huge amounts of protein (yes, grass-fed beef or bison burger or steak is allowed), some nice quinoa salad or rice with veggies, maybe sushi. Splurge but do it intelligently and properly. You may think you’ve earned the donut, but your body will shout for help!!!

During the next two days, I personally suggest taking lots of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory foods: tart cherry juice, coconut water and oil, blueberries, pineapple, green leafy veggies, tomatoes, fatty fish such as salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, beets or beet juice, turmeric, ginger and bone broth. Hydrate very well, too! Add lots of magnesium and electrolytes into the diet. And go to bed – sleep is the best remedy for anything!

 

The HH12HR was the biggest challenge, the best life lesson and my proudest moment. I spent at least 5 months before the event researching and studying proper foods, testing them on myself during workouts and eventually preparing a plan that would help my body perform well, feel energized during the cruel sufferfest tasks, finish injury-free, and recover properly. I have coached Spartans and other endurance athletes for over 2 years as the owner and head Spartan SGX coach at beYOUtiful , LLC.

 

Izabela Chrobak​

Sport, Healthy Lifestyle and Motivation Coach

Founder of beYOUtiful, LLC

Spartan SGX Coach

NASM Certified Personal Trainer (CPT)

NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist (FNS)

PhD in Cardiorespiratory Sciences

MSc in Human Biology, Anatomy and Physiology

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