Chocolate & Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

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As I’ve probably mentioned lately, I’ve been focusing a lot more on upper body strength since I got my cast off at the end of August. And as my strength has increased, those who are my friends on Snapchat or who follow me on Instagram have had the pleasure of seeing multiple pictures of me flexing at the gym…whether they like it or not 🙂

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See? Obnoxious. I am the worst.

While I am probably in the best running shape of my life right now, I’m not interested in pushing myself too much further in that department distance-wise. I’m definitely looking forward to running more 10k’s and 5k’s…but I recently realized I wanted to work on improving my all-around fitness, which for me means increasing my muscle mass in areas other than my legs! (They are like freakin tree trunks, you guys. Running and biking everywhere will do that…)

I’m not gonna lie, it has been really great to see and feel improvements in my upper body strength — it’s always been a {literal!} weakness of mine. But I can now currently do 15 consecutive CORRECT push ups, and I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say that before! I’m not ashamed to say that I’m proud of myself 🙂 Hence the excessive Snaps and Insta pics of my guns. Haha.

Something I’ve been re-learning over and over throughout this process is the importance of protein post-workout. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up the morning after a tough strength training workout (or after a plank-off at the dodgeball bar…) and have been extremely sore. The culprit for me, more often than not, is a lack of protein, which delays my muscle repair. I’m by no means a vegetarian, but I only eat meat a couple times per week and rarely do I buy it at home. So what’s a girl to do? One can only eat so much beans and quinoa…

Luckily for me, a way to ensure I get lots of protein was awarded to me last month when I was entered into a contest by the lovely Becky when she was at the Healthy Living Summit. We ended up winning the Ninja Ultima Blender, which is probably now the nicest piece of kitchen equipment I own! And the best part about it is that it has a single serving size (think Magic Bullet status) that makes it PERFECT for making protein smoothies!

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Now every Saturday after my long runs, I have the perfect tool for making sure I get my protein. Plus, I’ve perfected a recipe that not only refuels me, but it also basically tastes like a milkshake.

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This blender is soooo smooth! Also, for this particular smoothie I used Vega Sport Performance Protein, which I love for post-workout smoothies because it is specifically formulated to help build and repair muscles. I also use Onnit Hemp Force, which is great because Hemp protein provides a lot of fiber and is one of the most easily digestible sources of plant protein.

{Full disclosure: I received both for free at this year’s Blend Retreat}

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So grab your Magic Bullet, your blender, your food processor…whatever you have on hand! And make this smoothie after your work out. Your muscles will thank you for it. 🙂

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

1 small/medium banana, frozen (about 3/4-1 cup chopped)
1/2 cup frozen strawberries (optional)
1 tablespoon peanut butter
3/4-1 cup milk (I use unsweetened plain almond milk)
1 serving/3 scoops chocolate protein powder of choice

Add frozen fruit, peanut butter, protein powder, and 1/2 cup of the milk to blender. Blend until combined, adding 1/4 cup milk at a time if needed to achieve desired consistency. Once you’re sure of the consistency, keep the blender going for a good 30 seconds to make sure any chunks of fruit get blended in. Remove from blender and enjoy!

Notes: I added strawberries for a little extra sweetness, and because I didn’t have enough banana on hand. I’ve also substituted Greek yogurt for some of the milk for added protein, but you may have to add extra milk to get things movin’.

What is your favorite kind of protein?

How do you incorporate strength training into your workouts?

Weekend in Photos

Good afternoon, blog land!

I am currently coming to you in between coffee jitters. For some reason I’ve been craving hot (and iced) coffee lately, even though it gives me stomachaches and makes me tweak out. I generally drink tea, but I love the taste of coffee. I also just love having a hot drink with me in the morning…it was 45 degrees outside when I woke up this morning! So I had 2 cups of coffee and have switched to decaf so I don’t completely crash before lunchtime 😉

On to the weekend!

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I took a short (not even half) day at work on Friday and started it off right – got a pumpkin latte from Peets (actually probably better than S*bucks if you ask me!), bought a pumpkin, and since they don’t have pumpkin kombucha I settled for the also very fall-like cranberry flavor. It wasn’t my favorite, but it’s good to add another flavor into my not-very-expansive kombucha repertoire.

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I took the short day at work because my dad and I decided to go to the Bay Area to hang out with my grandma, as it was the 1st anniversary of my Papa’s death. Some of you may remember my Papa passing suddenly last year (see that post here) and that my dad and I went to be with family that day. I baked pumpkin bread for everyone who was mourning with us that day, and decided to keep up the tradition this year, roasting up the pumpkin I bought that morning and making it into pumpkin bread (it totally stuck in the pan, so Grandma and I went at it with a fork! 😀 )

I also made us a simple little ravioli & tomato sauce dinner. I had a great time catching up with my grandma, and especially enjoyed our obligatory Happy Hour where we talked about life and boys while watching her favorite Westerns on TV 🙂

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My dad and I made it back that evening, so I called it an early night. I woke up well-rested, knowing I wanted to run at least 5.5 miles…after 3, I was feeling fantastic and decided to go for it- I ran another 10k! I also beat my race time by a whopping 3 minutes — I attribute this to the fact that I a) have been keeping up with my long runs and b) ran on my regular completely flat running path. Afterwards, I went to the Farmer’s Market for and picked up just a couple of things. (Flowers, brussels sprouts, greens, and my favorite salsa)

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After my run, I refueled by making a smoothie with my new NINJA ULTIMA BLENDER!!! Thanks to Becky, who tagged me in an Instagram contest at the Healthy Living Summit, I won this beaut! It created probably one of the smoothest smoothies I’ve ever made, and the single serve cups are awesome. I loaded it up with frozen bananas, plain greek yogurt, a spoonful of peanut butter, chocolate protein powder, and some almond milk.

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Not so smooth…. was my phone falling out of my pocket while biking on Saturday night. No insurance + no AppleCare = looks like Katie’s gonna be payin at least $140 to get it fixed! Anyone have an old AT&T iPhone they don’t need? 😉

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After less than 5 hours of sleep, I woke up bright and early on Sunday morning (7:30am!) stressed out about life and my phone and couldn’t get back to sleep. So I did the only thing I was sure would make me feel better – went to the gym and watched Food Network! I was the only one at the gym at 9:30am on Sunday morning…. quelle surprise 😉

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I had a few hours to kill before our first Sunday dodgeball game of the season, so I did some food prep! Not much, but it is enough to keep me eating clean for at least a few days. I thawed a chicken breast, made roasted tomato salsa (also with my new Ninja!), chopped up veggies for stir frying throughout the week (um, shredding brussels sprouts with a mandolin is amazing!), and made a pot of brown rice. Easy peasy!

I’m pretty proud of myself for exercising a fair amount of moderation and working out both days this weekend, especially after the debauchery of last weekend. To be honest, I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress at work and in some aspects of my personal life, so it’s nice to know that there’s something I can control that makes me feel good!

What’s your favorite smoothie combo?

Any advice on the shattered iPhone screen?

Did you food prep this week?