Running Basics: How Coffee Improves Athletic Performance

Running Basics: How Coffee Can Improve Running Performance

If you are a runner looking to improve your performance, then it is important for you to be aware of the various ways that nutrition can be used to gain an edge. Although normally associated with giving people a wake-up jolt in the morning and a nice beverage to drink while having a chat, drinking coffee can actually significantly improve your running times. Let’s take a look at the research behind this claim!
Getting Out The Coffee Table!
Due to the overwhelming evidence of the benefits of coffee consumption for athletes, a large percentage choose to get out the coffee beans, grinder and coffee table at one or more times during the day to give themselves a boost. Coffee tables are perfect for coffee lovers who want to enjoy their favorite drink in a convenient and elegant manner. By choosing a lovely coffee table for your sitting room or kitchen, you will be able to create a nice place to drink your performance-aiding drink and mentally prepare for going out to run your fastest time ever!
How Coffee Improves Athletic Performance
Various scientifically rigorous studies have concluded that consuming coffee gives a performance boost to most athletes across a variety of different sports, including both short and long distance running. Due to the overwhelming benefits of coffee’s effectiveness at increasing sporting performance, it is now regularly consumed by approximately two-thirds of elite athletes. Increased mental clarity and focus, a feeling of greater energy and aiding the conservation of glycogen are just a few of coffee’s benefits for runners of all ages!
If you are a runner and up until now have not been taking advantage of the clear and documented athletic benefits of coffee consumer, then now is the time to seriously consider making it a regular part of your running regime. You will be able to reduce your times, feel more mentally alert and benefit from the copious quantities of antioxidants contained within every delicious cup of coffee you drink. Furthermore, investing in a nice coffee table is an excellent idea for accompanying this new performance habit, as you can sit down and relax, reflect on your performance and start making even more improvements in your running times!

Deleted Pictures & My New Planner

I am seriously talented and I seem to have deleted all of my pictures from my run last night. Just please know that they were mostly blurry action shots showing that Brady can ride his bike faster than I can run and that Jeff and Carah have long legs and run faster.

I ended up running 3.36 miles last night and I felt pretty good. I think my small/moderate heart issue is flaring up right now, making it hard to take in deep breaths. Because of this I have suffered from side cramps during both of my runs this week. I have only had a side cramp one other time during a run, so I am fairly certain it has to do with my inability to take a proper deep breath currently. I am headed to the cardiologist next week and hopefully I can get something figured out before the Ohio Michigan 8k on Thursday! As long as I run at a 12:30 average pace during the race, I’ll beat my times from the past two years. Here’s to hoping, right??

I have a longer run planned for this weekend but the real gem of the weekend is a trip to Cedar Point. Yes, I know it will be STUPID busy and other people’s sweaty arms may brush up against me, but we figured that the kid ride lines wouldn’t be horrible. Hopefully we figure correctly!!

Since I lost my pictures I’ll show you something that I fall in love with all over again every year. My Erin Condren planner. It is a touch $$ for a paper planner, but for the adorably cute factor, it is well worth it! This is my fourth year ordering one of her planners and every year I have customized the coloring and font and wording on each cover. I have picked a quote for the year for the past three covers and I always try and remember that quote during my daily life.

PicMonkey CollageI ordered the same style cover as 2013, Party Pops. I love the polka dots and decided to just change up the colors to keep it fresh. I am in love with it, of course, and it really does help to keep me organized throughout the year. Without my planner I have no clue what is going on in my own life.

Have you ever been to Cedar Point?
Do you use a paper planner or just your phone?

Puma Fitness Apparel & Shoe Review

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of PUMA. All opinions are my own.

The weather in NW Ohio is strange. The saying, ‘If You Don’t Like The Weather Just Wait Five Minutes’, proves true here almost every single day. Dressing for runs has been pretty easy this winter actually, rare because our weather typically changes a lot. All runners in the area have dressed like we are Sherpa’s who are on a month-long expedition. We are bundled up so much that eyeballs are the only thing showing most of the time. My running legs haven’t seen the light of day since the fall.

It was 45* today! 45*! Holy hell. I stepped outside wearing capri running tights. CAPRI! My neighbor did tell me that according to the farmers almanac it is supposed to snow a lot in two weeks. They did state that the almanac has been right the entire year so far…how much can we hope that it is suddenly going to be wrong? Back to my legs showing while I ran, I can’t believe it was so warm. I loved it!

Thanks to FitFluential and Puma I was able to test out a few new pieces of Puma fitness apparel. They sent me the Gym Tank in black, Gym Color Me Up 3/4 Tights in black-turbulance allover, Gym All Eyes On Me Jacket in spectrum blue heather and Mobium Elite v2 Beta Women’s Running Shoe in beetroot purple-spectrum blue-black. This was better than Christmas at my house when these boxes came because this is great stuff! I have been a Puma fan for a long time. I have three pairs of Puma ‘everyday’ tennis shoes that I sport and a also have a few t-shirts.

Each piece fit perfectly. The only things that didn’t fit well had to do with my height. Being 5’1″ means you have to get used to sleeves and pants being too long. If I was of a normal height, things would be 100% perfect instead of only 99%.  The Gym Tank was my favorite piece Puma sent me, by far. The criss cross straps on the back really wowed me, plus the tank is extremely comfortable. It doesn’t feel like there are multiple straps on my back, it feels like a normal tank. I was really skeptical of the shelf bra. Really skeptical. I have issues with the hold they get on the girls. This shelf bra did shock me. I ran and didn’t feel unsupported.

The Gym Color Me Up 3/4 Tights were so different than any fabric I’ve worn before. All of these Puma apparel items have coolCELL technology. This means the fabric has highly functional materials that draw sweat away from your skin. The tights are thin and not in a I’m afraid my pants are going to split open kind of way, but in a holy cow these are amazingly thin and comfortable kind of way. Length was an issue with the tights as I mentioned, but that is due to my height.

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Plus, I noticed after I took the pictures that I was wearing two different height running socks. You’ll notice the one on my right foot is higher. Do you see why I need Puma? I can’t even dress myself in the one thing I am wearing that was mine before they sent me amazing things. Fail.

The Gym All Eyes On Me Jacket is comfortable, even with my short arms. Did I mention THUMBHOLES???? Seriously, thumbholes. I truly think that if thumbholes in shirts/jackets were studied correctly that people would find out that they can cure the common cold. Or create instant happiness. Either way, they rock. The jacket is lightweight but holds warmth when necessary and it has a woman’s cut, so it isn’t boxy. There are also air-flow features to keep your temperature regulated during exercise.

Puma’s Mobium Elite v2 Beta Women’s Running Shoes are way different than anything I have ever tried. Ever. They are the most unique feeling shoe I have ever put on. Mobium’s are designed for a neutral runner with a forefoot or midfoot strike. Three proprietary Puma technologies operate together to move the foot through an entire gait cycle and may increase efficiency during a run. The advanced technology includes the Mobium Band, Expansion Pods and the Windlass Chassis. Not only are the shoes really cute, they feel so unique compared to anything I have ever worn.

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I have been a Puma fan for a long time now and I will continue to be one. I will be a stylish and comfortable runner from now on thanks to Puma. Now, if Puma could just send something to my house to pick out my running socks for me then I’ll be all set!

Thumbholes – yay or nay?
Do you own any Puma gear?

Friday Update

Not only has work been a bear lately, but my personal life has been the same.

Writing, what’s that? Unfortunately There Are Two Sides has taken the backseat, I am finished letting that happen!

I am going to give a brief update on my races for this weekend! That’s right, raceS.

Tonight is the Run for Pi (or pie). I picked up my packet last night and it is pretty good. Totally forgot that they were giving out tank tops, this will be awesome for summer runs. And everyone’s bib number is 314, so clever. Plus, there is going to be PIE there.
Photo Mar 13, 6 37 50 PMSunday is Wearin of the Green. I have run this race the past three years…maybe I had to skip 2013. I know I ran it in 2011 and 2012 though and I am back at it this Sunday! This race is always fun because it is right on the shores of Lake Erie and since the March weather in Ohio is really touchy it can be somewhat pleasant or downright hellish. This year it is supposed to be *crosses fingers* 24*. Sure, 24* is cold, but it is much better than the alternative. This race always gives a nice long sleeve shirt. They have given both tech shirts and cotton shirts.
photo 2I am taking it as an awesome sign that my numbers are in succession. It’s got to be a good sign, right?

Are you running this weekend?
I LOVE double race weekends. Review

Everyone SHOULD still be riding the 2014 goal train. I hope that you haven’t given up on your goals yet! If you set them on the back burner already, try to get back on track. Baby steps people!

I have really been trying to cut back on the late night snacking. I don’t know what it is exactly, but the clock hits 8:00 p.m. and my brain says LET’S EAT ALL THE THINGS! So I do.  And the things all taste very, very good. I really want to be better with this, I do. Sometimes my brain convinces my hands to get all the things from the pantry and shove them into my food hole. I am making a large effort to limit myself to one snack per evening.

I have fallen off of the meal planning wagon, but I am making sure to stock up on healthy, fresh food. I have been prepping all of my food on the weekends so I am grabbing healthy food all week. See…my fridge is packed with yummy stuff!! And on the left on the middle shelf I have some Healthy Oatmeal prepared and ready to eat!

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I was given the opportunity to try last week. I love to eat my steel cut oats a few times a week. I am pretty boring and only add brown sugar to them or I’ll add some vanilla while they are cooking and slice some banana on top of it. Nothing ground breaking, but I know what I like and it works.

2014-02-21 17.46.37 allows you to select everything that goes into your Healthy Oatmeal blend. You select the type of oats, the size of the bag they send you, flavors, fruits, nuts/seeds, sweeteners and you can even have them auto-ship your blend of Healthy Oatmeal every month or two. I made two bags to try out, here is what I mixed:

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Bag #1 – Cake Batter Kessler

Size – Small
Oats – Steel Cut Whole Oats
Flavor – Cake Batter
Fruits – None
Nuts/Seeds – None
Sweeteners – Brown Cane Sugar Granules
Shipping – I had this as a one-time shipment

Bag #2 – Honey Blueberry and Strawberry
Size – Small
Oats – Steel Cut Whole Oats
Flavor – Honey
Fruits – Blueberries & Strawberries
Nuts/Seeds – None
Sweeteners – Brown Cane Sugar Granules
Shipping – I had this as a one-time shipment

CollageI didn’t know that the ‘name’ I gave my oatmeal was going to be printed on them or else I would have come up with better names. Like Slow Runner Cake Batter and Rockstar Honey Oats. I was SO excited to try them both that I busted out two pots and got to cooking them both at once. Right when you open the bag you are hit with an amazing smell of your oats. My cake batter bag smelled so sweet and inviting while my honey and berries bag was more of a subtle scent, but equally inviting! Each bag gives instructions on how to cook them in a pot and also how to make overnight oats with them. Overnight oats are such a sensation now so the directions are welcomed I’ll bet. I’ve never made overnight oats, am I missing out on something here?

I love that supplies you with the nutrition facts for each serving of oats that you make. I typically have to work out how much each serving of a recipe is calorie-wise, so this makes it so much easier to eat some Healthy Oatmeal.
I made a double serving of oats (1/2 C dry) and it ended up making 1.5 C of prepared oats. So each kind gave me six 1/2 C servings, so I am set for breakfast this whole week. Let’s talk about the flavor. It is not a punch you in the face flavor. It is a subtle flavor. I could have gone with a little more cake batter or honey flavor in each, but that is just me. They both taste wonderful. Let’s talk about the blueberries and strawberries. I ordered the ‘regular’ option for the number of berries in your oatmeal mix. There is also ‘light’ and ‘heavy’. In the future I will order heavy because I like berries in every bite! In each 1/2 C serving I have around 2-5 blueberries in each. I haven’t come across any strawberries in the batch I made, but that is just the luck of the mix. I’m sure that I’ll have them in my future Healthy Oatmeal servings. I think they just weren’t sitting at the top of the bag.

All in all?  I really like I like how you can personalize everything about your order and that they give you nutrition information with each order. Plus, their shipping was super fast and reasonably priced. This is one company that I will order from again because there are millions of flavor combinations and I know that I’d like to try a few others out. Did you see that some of the flavor options include Carrot Cake, Vanilla Frosting, Red Velvet, Creme Brulee and Cookie Dough? See, this is why I will definitely be ordering from them again.  You can even cook other things with these oats. Check out the Crisp and Chewy Oatmeal Cookies Recipe. Looks delicious, right??

I received the product via Fit Approach for your original thoughts and opinions on My Oatmeal.

How do you make your oatmeal?
What flavor combination would you order?

What I’m Loving Lately, the Food Edition

I have been really jonesing on a few things food-wise lately…

Detour SMART bars


I have had plenty of the low sugar Detour Bars before and they really do taste great. I sampled them at Costco and they taste amazing! Naturally I had to buy a box then and there. It had two flavors inside, Blueberry and Apple Cinnamon. There is also a Cranberry Flax flavor that I have not tried. The nutrition on this little bar is fantastic, 130 calories and 10 grams of protein! I have been having them as a snack on-the-go and also as the occasional breakfast, I am in love.

Baker Mills (Kodiak Cakes) Minute Muffins


To be honest I haven’t tried these yet because they are new, BUT I am in love with the Kodiak Cakes flapjack mix so I can guarantee that these muffins are going to be to die for! I’ll give an update once I actually try them!

Crunch Pak Fresh Sliced Apples (bought at Costco)


I have been super hesitant to buy them because I was afraid they would taste chemical-y. My friend convinced me to try them and I am convinced now. They taste fresh and don’t have any taste to them other than apple. I have a brown thumb when it comes to keeping fresh fruit in the house. My bananas go from green to brown in a day or two. My apples get mealy. The only thing I have kept going for a while now is some oranges. Anyways, these are a great snack that I have been loving.

Florida’s Natural Fruit Snack Nuggets


I bought these at Costco (shock) in the large 70-count box. We go through fruit snacks pretty steadily in our house. Surprisingly, not by the monsters, but my Jeff and myself. They are our treat in the evening sometimes-especially lately because these aren’t regular shaped fruit snacks, they are tiny nuggets of magic. Normal fruit snack bags have 8-10 snacks approximately. I’ll bet there are 40+ little nuggets in these bags. The picture above isn’t the exact one I bought, but it is close enough. The ones at Costco are organic and come in three flavors: fruit punch, berrylicious and fruit grove. There are a lot of the fruit grove flavor in the box and only 6 of the berrylicious. Not so even in MY opinion, so that could be better.

What are you loving lately food-wise?

Note – None of these companies know I’m alive. I purchased all of these products with my own money. These are just my opinions on products I am loving right now.

CoverGirl Bombshell Collection Review & Giveaway

Heather R is the winner!

I am horrible with makeup. Horrible. Horrible.
What color do I buy?
Am I putting this on the right way?
Is it supposed to be that dark?
Why is my face three shades darker than the rest of my body?

Like I said, I am horrible with makeup.

When CoverGirl asked me to try out their new Bombshell collection I was pretty hesitant. Luckily, the Bombshell collection is easy to use and almost foolproof in my opinion.
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The Bombshell collection includes:
Volume by LashBlast Mascara (Comes in Very Black, Black, Black/Brown & Brown, I chose Black)
This is now the best-selling CoverGirl product at Walmart. This is a new mascara experience, unlike any other two-step offering available. It features a first-of-its-kind Boost System that has two brushes and two formulas for mega volume and dramatic intensity. The first is the Extreme Volume Basecoat that loads volume with a big brush and mega volumizing formula to thicken lashes; the result is volume that’s even and clump-free. The second is a Dark, intensifying topcoat that seals the look with a dark, smooth finish; the proprietary micro-thin layer offers maximum impact and lasting power in only one coat.

Bombshell Shine Shadow by LashBlast (Ice Queen, Platinum Card, Color Me Money, Gold Goddess, Copper Fling & Ooh La Lilac, I chose Ice Queen)
With the big volume that the Bombshell line provides, this shadow provides shimmer and shine that lasts all night. Shine Shadows feature reflective pigments that play with light to bring dimension to any look. The shades are all buildable and blendable, easy to use and leave behind a creamy shimmer finish.

Bombshell Intensity Liner (Pitch Black Passion and Chocolate Kiss, I chose Pitch Black)
This liner helps to make your eyes even more intense. The Intensity Liner is a precision felt tip pen with a smooth formula that glides on for a little or a lot of deep, dark sexy. It is a longwear liner that provides liquid intensity for 24 hours of sexy Bombshell eyes.

With being utterly horrible at makeup, especially eye makeup, I searched out a few videos to see what the hell I was supposed to do with a liquid liner. This was my first experience with a liquid liner and it was actually just as easy as my pencil liner. Totally surprising.

CoverGirl is offering one of my readers a $100 Walmart gift card to try the Bombshell collection!

Mandatory Entry
**What CoverGirl Bombshell item are you most excited to try? (1 entry).    

Please do not forget to include your email address. Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

**For extra entries do any of the following:
– Follow me on Twitter (1 extra entry)
– Become a fan of There Are Two Sides on Facebook (1 extra entry)
– Follow me on Instagram (1 extra entry)
– Follow me on BlogLovin or through your email (1 extra entry)
– Follow me on Pinterest (1 extra entry)

(This giveaway ends on February 19, 2014 at 12:00 pm EST)

The Walmart gift card and information have been provided by CoverGirl.