It’s January 2016 and there’s no better time to take control and tip the scale (no pun intended) toward living a healthier lifestyle. The key word in that sentence is “lifestyle”. Choosing to do one thing better or more often is not a lifestyle change, it’s a singular goal. Living healthier typically involves doing many things, making shifts in your habits and perhaps even altering your daily routine. This may all sound daunting, but really it’s the right path toward health and wellness. And it’s pretty simple if you want it to be. Here are 5 ways to live a healthy lifestyle in the new year.
Go to the gym. The gym is great because you’re not limited to one activity or exercise. You can run, bike, row, walk, lift, jump, stretch, and more. Going to the gym is a great habit. Choose a time that works consistently and dial it in. If waking up early is too hard or not an option, go at lunch or after work. Otherwise, starting the day with a workout will leave you feeling fresh and energized and is a fantastic way to start the day.
Move your body. Invest in a good pair of shoes and use them regularly. Running is a great option, as it doesn’t take much to get started other than a good pair of shoes and some motivation. But it’s not for everyone. So maybe walking or hiking is more your cup of tea. It really doesn’t matter, just move, and move often.
Change your eating habits. Eating healthy can be time consuming. We get it. Eating healthy can be expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. Eating healthy is simply about making better choices. The above photo reflects two similarly priced options. One is made out of who knows what, while the Meal bar is made out of real food ingredients, things you recognize and can pronounce. Eating healthy is easier than you may think. Make the right choice.
Get sweaty. Work hard, burn calories and build muscle. Yoga is a great, low-impact way to get strong, flexible and sweaty. Don’t trust us? Just try it. It’s also important to remember that getting sweaty goes hand in hand with nutrition. Drink water throughout the day and while working out to avoid dehydration. And fuel your body properly before, during or after to maintain energy levels and aid in recovery.
Simplify. Declutter. Eat real food, including more fruits and veggies. Drink coffee every day? Skip the cream and sugar. There are so many simple changes that you can make that will go a long ways toward living a healthier lifestyle. You’d be surprised to learn that your body really doesn’t a need a footlong sandwich for lunch. A protein bar and a piece of fruit will suffice for an average day at the office.
We hope you find these tips helpful. We hope you find these tips to be simple. Our goal is to show how easy it can be to make some small yet impactful changes. Be all you can be. Happy New Year.
The end of the year holidays tend to be one of the most anticipated times of the year. Friends, family, lights and gift giving provide just a few reasons to love this season. Oh…and the food! Whether you eat vegan, gluten free, or just try to maintain a healthy and balanced diet, the holidays are sure to bring out some of your favorite treats. While the food at holiday parties and family gatherings can be incredibly delicious, it can also provide a challenge for those trying to maintain their lifestyle of healthful eating.
Here are a few healthy holiday eating tips that will help you enjoy this special time of year, without feeling like you can’t enjoy any of the seasonal goodies.
Eat Before the Party
One of the worst things that you can do is starve yourself the entire day leading up to a party. This causes overeating once you finally get to the meal, and at that point you often aren’t even in control of what you’ll be eating. In order to prevent this, be sure that you have a few healthy meals throughout the day leading up to the event. If you really want to make sure that you don’t overeat, try eating a full meal right before the party. That way you’ll already be full when you get there, and are much less likely to overindulge on unhealthy holiday treats.
Don’t Stand Next to the Snack Table
Another big mistake is standing too close to the table that houses everything you’re trying to avoid. Sure you should have some of your favorite holiday treats, but if you spend the whole evening right next to the table, there’s a much higher probability that you’ll eat more than you would like. To prevent this, make a trip to the snacks to grab a few goodies on a napkin or small plate, but then go somewhere else. It is surprising how much you’ll eat without even wanting to if the food is right in front of you, so do your best to just avoid the table whenever possible.
Save Your Calories for Treats You Really Love
It’s probably inevitable that you’ll eat a bit more over the holidays than you normally would, but you can still keep it within reason. Rather than trying everything at the party, make an effort to limit yourself to just a few of your favorite treats. Doing this still lets you enjoy what you love and keeps you from feeling restricted, but it prevents calorie overloading so that you’ll still be feeling good long after the party is over.
Don’t Forget to Drink Water
With so many food and drink options, it’s quite easy to forget to drink water over the holidays. Not only does drinking water provide health benefits by itself, but it also fills you up and prevents the intake of extra calories. Try drinking a glass of water before a meal or party and you’ll be surprised at how little you’ll need to eat to feel full. Another idea is to try to limit the number of high calorie drinks, and instead drink water. Drinks can often contain hundreds of calories, which can quickly add up to a few thousand after a couple nights of celebrating, so be sure to balance it out with a few glasses of water here and there as well.
Remember the Healthy Snacks
It’s important to realize that although you eat a lot of different foods this time of the year, it shouldn’t mean that you have to alter your diet completely. Remembering to eat healthy snacks in between meals (that often aren’t very healthy) is a great way to keep at least some control of your diet. Natural foods, high in fiber, protein and complex carbs such as nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables make some of the best choices to solve the in-between meal munchies. Some of our favorite snacks, that combine all these healthy and organic ingredients are bite and Meal bars from PROBAR.
Follow these helpful tips and you’ll be able to enjoy all the incredible foods that often only come around once each year, but at the same time save yourself from feeling like you’ve taken a break from healthy eating.
Runners don’t often think of how their daily life habits tax their bodies: we recognize the aches and pains of our training and may seek to alleviate tension and tightness that goes along with it. But we take it for granted that we can still get out an run after a long work day spent sitting in front of the computer screen or after a long drive or flight for a location race. However, our mainly sedentarylifestyles contract our hips and round our shoulders, causing potential imbalances and affecting our running form.
The two areas of tightness: hips and shoulders, often go together. While sitting we slump our shoulders down which causes our low back to round and hips to tighten. And in reverse, all the sitting and reclining back causes us to tuck our pelvis under, and to balance that curve in the spine our shoulders end up hunching down.
Yoga for runners can help tackle these imbalances by both strengthening the core and creating openness in the chest/shoulders and the hips. The result is that the pelvis, hips, and lower back are better aligned, and promote the right muscle groups to fire when you run, reducing risk of injury and improving performance.
Melting Heart Pose (Anahatasana) and Seated Twist Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana) are complementary in that they allow for the stretching of the front body chest and abdominal muscles and the back muscles responsible for scapular movement (such as trapezius) as well as the muscles of the outer hip(such as tensor fasciae latae, piriformis, and the gluteal muscles), and thus addressing and balancing all of the core.
MELTING HEART POSE:
Start on all fours on your mat with your shoulders above the wrists and hips above the knees. Walk your hands towards the front of the mat while keeping your hips over your knees and thighs perpendicular to the floor.
Engage the core slightly to help lift your tail up and back away from the mat.
Press the hands into the mat, activate and stretch through the arms, and wrap the triceps down the arm bones. Extend your arms and don’t let your elbows rest on the mat.
Drop your forehead to the floor or to a block and let your neck and the tops of the shoulders relax.
If you have more space in your shoulders and upper back, try resting your chin on the mat. But only do this if you are comfortable and able to relax in this space.
Keeping the hands pressing, arms extending, and hips actively moving up and back will let you stretch and decompress the back.
Breathe into your back, feeling the spine lengthen in both directions. When you are ready to come out of the pose, release your tail onto your heels into Child’s Pose.
SEATED TWIST POSE:
Start sitting in Staff Pose: legs extended in front of you, sitting bones planted into the mat, with a long tall spine extending upwards.
Bend the right knee and place the right foot onto the floor on the outside of the left hip, as close to the left sitting bone as possible. Step the right foot onto the mat and point the right knee directly up.
If the right hip or the inside of the right foot is lifting off the mat, inch the right foot away from the left hip and towards the toes slightly to give yourself some extra space in the hips.
Bring the right hand onto the floor either outside of the right hip or behind you. Hug the right knee to your chest with your left hand.
On inhale, extend the spine and reach the crown of the head upwards. On exhale, press the right hand and the right sitting bone into the mat and twist your torso to the right.
Press the right foot energetically into the mat and lengthen the spine from the tailbone through the crown of your head. With each inhale lift a little more through the sternum. With each exhale twist a little deeper.
You may choose to look over your right shoulder to continue the twist into the cervical spine or to look over your left shoulder to avoid hyperextending the neck.
Repeat on the opposite side for the same length of time even though the sensation may not be the same.
If you have a tendency to arch the lower back, you may feel most of the sensation in Melting Heart Pose through your lumbar spine. In order to avoid that and allow the upper back to find opening, keep the core slightly engaged the whole time.
If the Seated Twist Pose puts too much tension in your hips, or if the hip or the foot are lifting off the mat, try sitting on a folded blanket, a pillow, or a block. This elevation will give you the space you need in the hips but still allow for an effective stretch.
If you end up leaning too far back or feel too much tension in your wrist in Seated Twist Pose try placing your hand onto a block instead of the mat.
In Seated Twist Pose soften both shoulder blades away from the ears and allow the twist to come from the hip opening and the mid back. If you notice tension in the shoulders, untwist a little, soften the scapulae, and twist again on exhale.
If you would like to deepen the Seated Twist Pose and increase the sensation in the hips, try bending your left knee, laying the outside of the left leg onto the mat, and bringing the left foot to the right sitting bone. Notice if the right sitting bone or foot lift off the mat, and if they do, extend the left leg back out: the stretch is much more effective when the right sitting bone is firmly planted on the mat.
This year we’re thankful for the many new friends we’ve made, the delicious food that we’ve tasted and the experiences we’ve encountered. We’re thankful for our loyal and passionate customers and promise to continue providing high quality products with fantastic taste. We encourage you to share the gift of PROBAR this holiday season, a gift of health and wellness that can truly have an impact. We’ve also rounded up a collection or complementary gift ideas from our friends and partners who strive to do good and inspire the best in each of us. Enjoy our gift guide and happy holidays.
For adventurers looking for a charge while out in the wilderness, there’s the Power Pot by Power Practical. This nifty cooking pot uses thermoelectrics to create electricity that can be used to charge a phone, camera or any other USB device. The Power Pot can be used over stoves or fires and because of the pot’s lightweight design, backpackers will hardly notice a weight difference between this and regular pots that do nothing but cook.
Because they are certified non-GMO, gluten-free, and downright delicious, PROBAR BASE® makes a great gift for any gym rat, adrenaline junkie, or health nut on your list. Knowing that recovery will taste this good will have anyone eager to hit the gym, and 20 grams of protein per bar just adds to the list of benefits. The Variety Pack includes all 6 flavors, so each member of the family is bound to find a favorite.
The folks at Pink Elephant Coffee Roasters are under the impression that things just taste better when enjoyed outdoors…and we couldn’t agree more. Their coffee sampler pack brings the tastes and aromas of Honduras, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Colombia straight to your mug, and makes a great gift for any coffee enthusiast. Pink Elephant’s flavors are just as wild as the company name itself, and provide a great caffeine boost for any adventure.
The Doyonater beanie from Discrete Clothing provides a stylish way to keep your dome warm through whatever El Niño throws your way this winter. The beanies look and feel just as good on a fall backpacking trip as they do discovering powder stashes at the local resort, plus there’s no better way to hide your bedhead and the fact that you woke up 10 minutes before class started. The huge variety offered by Discrete lets you match the unique style of anyone on your list because remember: looking good comes first.
PROBAR bite® bars are a great tasting, on-the-go, any time of day snack bar. The six delicious flavors including Mixed Berry, Coconut Almond, and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip give everyone a chance to pick and enjoy their favorite. Not only do the snack bars taste great, they’re also non-GMO, USDA organic, and dairy, gluten & soy free. A satisfying snack to energize your day.
Gnarly Nutrition makes it easy for all athletes to get the protein that their body needs after an intense workout, and most of their products have vegan friendly options. The Gnarly Vegan Stack includes BCCA amino acids, the PUMP nitric oxide booster, and Gnarly Vegan protein powder, all of which contain 100% natural ingredients and are GMO-free. This holiday season, help anyone on your gift list reach their new years resolution fitness goals.
Swoob not only provides comfortable and stylish products for active women, but it makes them highly functional as well. This stylish functionality can easily be seen in the line of sports bras which each contain pockets, making it easy to keep a phone, keys, snacks or even dog treats close at hand. The bras make a great gift for active women who live each day to the fullest and inspire others by the way they live. The Hummingbird is a seam-free base layer sports bra that provides low impact support for everyday wear, yoga, or travel. An interior pocket helps you store your precious items, and the bra stuffs into the pocket to safe space when traveling light.
The PROBAR Endurance Pack comes with everything needed for proper nutrition before, during and after a workout…whether in the wild or at the gym. The FUEL bars and BOLT chews provide sustained energy throughout, while the BASE bars provide a healthy way to recover and gain strength. For elite athletes and first time 5K finishers alike, the Endurance Pack provides the nutrition necessary to take it to the next level.
The Feed makes it easy for all types of athletes to get the sports nutrition they need, and get it delivered right to their door. The Skiing Nutrition Box contains 14 different products that will help you keep up with your friends on your next ski tour, or keep the kids happy with some healthy snacks for your next day at the resort. With a huge variety of products and flavors, the box is bound to have something (and probably lots of things) for everyone to enjoy.
The original PROBAR product and the bar that created the meal replacement bar category, PROBAR Meal® is one of the best tasting bars on the market. Made with real food ingredients such as oats, seeds, nuts, fruits and chocolate, Meal is a plant-based and nutrient-dense bar formulated to give sustained energy and replace your quick, unhealthy meal temptations. Meal is blended and not baked, which gives it a wonderful texture and also maintains the nutritional benefits of the ingredients. As with all PROBAR products, Meal is Non-GMO Project Verified and vegan.
Cotopaxi products are all about looking stylish while you help make a difference in the world. The packs featured here come in a wider and wilder variety of colors than an ice cream truck menu board, and are just as functional as they are fashionable. The durable, packable, versatile Luzon del Dia holds everything you need for a full afternoon of exploring. Each Luzon Del Día is designed with total creative control by employees in the Philippines meaning there are no two bags alike. The Bataan 3L fanny pack carries only the essentials for quick trips to the mountains or everyday errands, built with repurposed fabric.
Why try just one when you could try 15? The Ultimate 15 Pack gives you a sample of everything PROBAR has to offer. The pack includes 3 Meal bars, 3 BASE bars, 3 bite snack bars, 3 BOLT energy chews, and 3 FUEL energy bars. Because of their great taste, and crazy amount of health benefits, giving a friend or loved one PROBAR products this holiday season is sure to make them love you even more than they already do.
This year I plan to spend Halloween in Santa Cruz, California!! I’ll be dressing up as a mountain biker, sailor, trail-runner, and beach babe. Never mind the fact that it’s not abnormal to play these roles every other day of the year But really…there are WAY too many fun things to do in Santa Cruz. Halloween is just the icing on the cake!
The ideal weekend starts with some early morning Saturday mountain biking in the hills behind the college campus. There is an endless supply of gnarly downhill for the extreme bikers, and then great easy-intermediate trails for learners like me
The afternoon is best spent on a boat!!! The Monterey Bay is incredible and the sunsets are amazing. You will see dolphins jumping and seals playing in the water every 2 minutes. Check out yelp for more affordable commercial prices from sailors in the area.
Sunday morning is a great time to drive into the Santa Cruz mountains and go for a hike or trail run. There’s a beautiful 6-7 mile loop in Castle Rock Park. The temperature drops up there so bring a jacket! There are awesome lookout points half-way through the trail…a perfect PROBAR picnic spot!
And of course…it wouldn’t be Halloween without a pumpkin carving party. I love bringing friends together on a porch, making mulled wine, and seeing what interesting Jack O’lanterns appear. I usually designate myself as the pumpkin seed baker. Half salt, half cinnamon sugar!
A surf or swim in the ocean the next morning usually makes the Monday blues disappear
In the fourth installment of Yoga for Runners, Nari Malkhasyan takes us through a key posture in all yoga practice and one that is always beneficial for runners. If you missed parts one through three, you can them here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
Downward Dog is a staple posture in any kind of yoga class, often used as a starting and resting place for Vinyasa sequences. But for runners it can be more meaningful: it can help with many common aches and pains, such as plantar fasciitis, calf and hamstring tightness, IT band tightness, lower back soreness, etc. It can help improve one’s running form by decompressing the spine and correcting the posture.
But Down Dog can also be a lot more work for runners than for your average bear: all the areas of tightness that benefit from this posture also prevent us from getting into it with good and safe alignment. While it’s easy to want to get into the most intense expression of this pose, the main focus for runners should be spinal extension and alignment from the top of the neck down towards the tail. The rest of the lengthening through the back body will come with practice.
DOWNWARD FACING DOG:
This posture resembles an upside-down V with your hips at the apex of an equilateral triangle. The body is supported equally by both upper and lower body.
Start with the hands shoulder width apart. Spread the fingers wide, with every joint of every finger planted into the mat. Point the middle fingers straight ahead.
Place your feet hip width apart and parallel: heels and toes in one line. If you look back at your feet, you shouldn’t be able to see your heels. Keep the ankles, knees, and hips aligned, without knocking the knees together to prevent harmful tension on the inside of the knees.
Unshrug your shoulders and allow the shoulder blades to melt down your spine. Shake out the head and neck, and look behind you between your knees. Avoid looking down at the mat as it will strain your neck.
Put a small bend in your knees. On an exhale pull the belly button to your spine, and send the sits bones even higher to elongate the spine. The knees can stay soft to prevent additional strain in the hamstrings.
Think of rotating the inner thighs towards one another. This will allow you to create more space in the hips and find some more length in the back of the legs.
Feel free to pedal the feet and make this posture dynamic, to relieve some of the strain. This will also help find additional ankle and calf mobility.
If knees are knocking together and alignment is difficult, try bending your knees a little, lifting your hips higher, and focusing on rotating your inner thighs inwards towards one another. This should allow you to create some additional space in the hips but also will align the knees more easily.
If your hamstrings and hips are very tight and you find that your body pitching forward, you may end up supporting a lot of your weight in your arms, making the posture very tiring. Keep your knees bent to whatever extent that allows you to take your hips back. (above)
If your shoulders are tight and the previous modification doesn’t help, and you are still bearing most of your weight in the upper body, it may cause discomfort in the shoulders and wrists. Try practicing your Down Dogs with your hands placed on blocks. (below)
PROBAR ambassador, musician and adventurer Christine Donaldson reports on a recent trip to Big Sur and why she loves it at this time of year. Check out more from Christine here.
Big Sur is an incredibly beautiful little town on the central coast of California, nestled between the Santa Lucia coastal mountains and the Pacific Ocean. People flock here during the summer for sunny hiking, camping, and coastal explorations. But I’ve discovered that October is actually my favorite time to visit this place. There are lots of places to camp, so it makes for a fun and affordable trip!
While it’s getting too cold for summer camping in the majority of the US, October hosts sunny 70-degree days in Big Sur. It’s a much more comfortable time to hike than the sweltering summer. In the evenings a cool fog rolls in, almost in sync with the setting sun. It makes it all the more fun to bundle up and gather around the campfire In the mornings I love to make coffee and nibble on a PROBAR at the campsite before leaving to hike.
Hiking is definitely the highlight of being in Big Sur! Trails wind up the coastal hills and lead you to waterfalls and spectacular views of the jagged coastline. There are also lots of beautiful little beaches and coves to explore. A few of my favorite are McWay Falls and Andrew Molera State Park.
Whether you’re leaving or going to Big Sur from the North, it’s amazing to stop and look at Bixby Bridge. It’s a crazy concrete arch on a cliff that was built in 1931!! To me, it’s sort of like the historic gate to the magical lands of Big Sur.
Last week, I wasn’t in New York City, Hong Kong, Tokyo, or any such city. Yet I found myself surrounded by skyscrapers. These skyscrapers were of an ancient form of architecture, preceding humanity’s invention of the skyscraper – a mere 20th century development – by hundreds if not thousands of years. I found myself in the jungles of Borneo, and the skyscrapers I’m referring to (some might call them the original skyscraper) are the towering trees of the tropical rainforest. Nature has been building upwards for millions of years, and their green jungles are, in many ways, much more advanced and complex than our concrete ones. Just 25 acres of Bornean rainforest may contain more than 700 species of trees, a number that equals the total tree diversity in the entire North American continent. But amidst all the life and biodiversity that surrounded me, I was on the tail of one very particular red ape: the orangutan.
My name is Robert Rodriguez Suro, and I’m an orangutan researcher and photographer from Isla Verde, Puerto Rico. In 2014, I was awarded a National Geographic Young Explorer’s grant for a year-long research expedition, “The Lives of Orangutans” in West Kalimantan (Borneo), Indonesia. My mission is to uncover the mysteries of male orangutan ranging behavior. Male orangutans have huge home ranges, larger than most (if not all) research sites in Borneo. This means that in order to fully map out their territories, it’s not enough to follow orangutans within just the research site. Unfortunately, due to the difficulties of following orangutans away from research site, this is not often done. As a result, we are missing a lot of data regarding orangutan ranging and movements beyond the borders of research site, and thus have an incomplete picture of their home range. That’s where I come in.
For the past month, I’ve been living in the jungle. I spend every day following orangutans, or thinking and planning about how to follow orangutans. It’s not the typical job…there is no 9:00 to 5:00 schedule, I have no office, and no commute home. There is no shower and warm meal waiting for me at the end of the day. If I had a dress code, it would be “wear mosquito-repellant clothing”. But I get to go where no orangutan researcher has gone before in these forests. Nobody has tried to follow orangutans beyond the borders of my research site, and the data that I get will truly be new. But it’s hard work. On a typical day, I can be following these orangutans from 4:00am to 6:00pm (14 hours!), all the while hacking through the rainforest with my parang (the Indonesian version of the machete) in an attempt to keep up with them. Me and my trusty research assistant, Evan Sloan, do this every day in a row for up to 10 days, before finally returning to camp to camp to catch a break and plan our next follow. That’s our schedule for the next 10.5 months. We’ve only just begun.
In order to follow orangutans outside the borders of the research site, and map out their movements and territory, we need a few things:
First, a GPS. There does not yet exist a technology that that allows us to non-invasively tag and remotely track orangutans, and so in order to map out an orangutan’s movements, we must physically follow them with a handheld GPS unit. The GPS unit is vital not only for the research, but also for our safety, as it is our primary tool for navigation once we exit the research site trail system.
Second, we need reliable methods of communication. I carry a satellite messenger, which I use to communicate with camp and keep them updated on our movements when outside the research site. It’s not perfect: it requires an open view of the sky, and so in order to send and receive messages, I must look for tree fall gaps in the thick canopy. Finding a suitable location to send messages can sometimes take a long time, so to keep in touch, we also use cellphones. It is incredible that in a place as remote as this rainforest, there are places with cellphone signal. We truly live in the future! (And if that wasn’t enough to convince you, as of this week, the entire Back to the Future trilogy takes place in the past.) It doesn’t work everywhere, but if you look hard enough you can eventually find a place with enough signal to send an SMS. We also use handheld radios for short-range communication. With all of these methods combined, we can stay safe and connected in case of emergencies.
Third, we need a place to sleep in the forest. The jungle floor, often times uneven and covered with many roots and stumps, does not lend itself for the use of tents. Instead, we use hammocks. Specifically, a lightweight mosquito-proof hammock made by Warbonnet Outdoors. In some ways, sleeping in a hammock resembles the way orangutans sleep: they sleep up in trees by bending and crushing branches into a nest shape, and pad it down with leaves for comfort and insulation. When I go to sleep, I feel a certain connection with the orangutan that is sleeping somewhere above me, as we’ve both figured out the comforts of sleeping off the ground.
Last, but certainly not least, is food. This is arguably the most important part of our orangutan follow kit. To keep up with the orangutans all day, we have to navigate through tough terrain and obstacles like swamps, mountains, and rivers. This means we’ll be burning tons of calories. Since we’re already carrying a lot of gear, we decided to go as ultralight as possible with the food. Our philosophy is to pack as many calories as possible in the least amount of weight possible. In a country like Indonesia, this is easily achieved, as there are many high-calorie canned and processed foods available that are suitable for the field (think cookies, cake, canned sardines, corned beef, tuna, chocolate, peanuts, etc.). However, consuming enough calories to power us through our day does not necessarily mean that they are healthy calories that incorporate enough vitamins, minerals, proteins, and healthy fats (such as Omega-3 fatty acids) into our diet.
This is where PROBAR comes in. The PROBAR Meal and BASE bars are the perfect food solution for a project like this: a high-calorie meal that is tasty enough to preserve our morale, compact enough to not encumber us on our adventure, and made up of natural, healthy ingredients that provide a large variety of the vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats we need to stay healthy and fit in the field. We each have two PROBARS a day: a MEAL bar for lunch, and a BASE bar as a snack. The variety of flavors is great, and a great respite from our daily dinner of crackers and canned corned beef. Evan and I are very happy and lucky to be #FueledByPROBAR out here in the jungle. It makes a huge difference in our diet, and will keep us healthy and fit.
Stay tuned, and follow my adventure along as I study orangutans in the rainforest for the next year, fueled by PROBAR.
Ottawa couple announce cross country photo project to shine light on mental wellness
Photographer John Rathwell and Tracy Guenard announce Searching For Sero, a mental wellness project. Sero, being short for serotonin, is the chemical believed to contribute to the feeling of happiness. The photo project will share the stories of people that are passionate about outdoor adventure as the key to happiness, well-being and balance in their lives.
The couple is preparing to hit the road on a 2 year cross-continent journey starting in the spring of 2016 in their 1991 VW Westfalia. More information will be released following the start of their crowd-funding campaign in late October, 2015.
PROBAR is a proud supporter of Searching for Sero. We believe strongly in the spirit of adventure and can’t think of a better way to seek happiness than to hit the open road. We also feel that a key to lifelong health and happiness is a strong focus on what you put into your mouth. We look forward to following along with John and Tracy as they embark on this 2-year mental wellness project.
We love this time of year. The leaves are changing, the harvest is abundant, and the weekends are full of seasonal activities like raking the leaves and watching football. When it comes to food however, one meal really stands out: chili. This comfort food is so versatile and can be made with any combination of ingredients. You can take advantage of the fall squash harvest or add some root vegetables. Heavy on beans or light on beans. The options are endless.
We think it’s important to point out that vegan chili is a great option as well. There are some delicious recipes out there, and we rounded up 5 that are so good, they won’t leave you asking “where’s the beef”?
Anytime beer and chili are used in the same sentence, you’ll catch some attention. But in the same recipe? Unique for sure. Beer really helps bring a rustic, deep flavor to certain dishes. This recipe serves 8 and is super simple.
A friend of butternut squash is a friend of mine. This butternut squash and black bean chili is just right for fall weather and football games. It strikes a perfect balance between spicy and sweet. Chipotle and chili powder provide ample spice to round off the sweet, seasonal flavor of butternut squash. Top with crispy tortilla strips and plenty of creamy, diced avocados that will satisfy vegans, carnivores and gluten-free eaters alike.
This one just screams homemade comfort food. It doesn’t win the award for simplest, as there’s a long list of delicious ingredients including hot peppers, beans, and other vegetables. But it wins for depth of flavor and heartiness. Make a big batch and freeze half for a cold snowy winter day.
Welcome to the Eat No GMO Sweepstakes. We’ve partnered with 15 of the top Non-GMO Project Verified food and beverage brands to offer up spectacular prizes and raise awareness for Non-GMO Month. Enter today for your chance to win. One entry per person per week, with a new winner chosen each week. Scroll down to view the weekly prize packages.
Contest begins Monday October 5th at 12pm ET and ends October 31 at 11:59pm ET. Weekly winners announced each Monday.
The sweepstakes has ended. Thank you!
By submitting your information, you agree to receive email communications from PROBAR and participating partner companies. Entrants may unsubscribe from communications at any time. We do not send spam or share your personal information with any other parties.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. ODDS OF WINNING WILL DEPEND ON THE TOTAL NUMBER OF ENTRIES RECEIVED. Only one entry per person per week. Multiple entries in one week will disqualify you for that week. Must be 18+ at time of entry to participate. Eligibility and other restrictions apply. See Official Rules for more info. Sponsored by PROBAR, LLC.
CONGRATULATIONS TO WEEK 4 WINNER – JOSHUA F. FROM PORT HURON, MI
Rules and Eligibility
We are thrilled to add two new flavors to our BASE® protein bar line. Chocolate Bliss and Coffee Crunch make their debut as our only bars with added caffeine. Whether you need a post-workout energy boost to aid in recovery or are simply looking to satiate your midday hunger, protein and caffeine complement each other perfectly.
PROBAR BASE™ has seen rapid growth across several channels since the initial release in spring 2013. With the addition of the two new flavors, the line now features six delicious flavors of gluten- and dairy-free protein bars. Unique to Chocolate Bliss and Coffee Crunch is 55mg of caffeine from yerba mate, the equivalent amount to roughly half a cup of coffee or two bags of green tea.
Customer demand from key accounts encouraged us to deliver more SKUs and REI will carry the new flavors from day one. As the BASE® product line continues to gain distribution worldwide, the two new flavors were created to have international flavor appeal.
BASE® Chocolate Bliss and Coffee Crunch will be available online at theprobar.com and at retail in early October.
As runners we tend to think of yoga as a tool that can help maintain or improve our flexibility or we turn to our mats when we are injured and need to nurture our bodies. What we may forget is that yoga can also be a powerful tool to help build strength in all the right places, which may help prevent injury in the first place.
A strong core can help keep your pelvis, hips, and lower back aligned, and promote the right muscle groups to fire when you run, reducing risk of injury and improving performance. Core strength also significantly improves balance, helping you on technical trails as well as crowded sidewalks.
We may think of the core as just the abdominal muscles, but really anything between our shoulder girdle and hips can be grouped under this category. And it’s all the more relevant for distance runners to address not just the muscles in the front body, but also the upper and mid back, as our form begins to suffer towards the end of long runs or races. This can not only slow you down, but also open you up for potential injuries. Building a strong core helps maintain good posture longer into your runs.
Boat Pose and Locust Pose are complementary in that they allow for the reciprocal strengthening and stretching of the front body abdominal and hip flexor muscles as well as the spinal erectors and the upper back, thus addressing and balancing all of the core.
Start seated on your mat with your legs extended in front of you. Bend the knees, and place the feet on the floor. Place the hands on the mat a little behind your hips, fingers pointing towards the toes.
Sit on the “tripod” of your two sitting bones and tailbone. Lean the torso back, while lengthening the tailbone into the mat, and extending the spine up.
Catch the backs of the thighs with your hands, and lift the feet off the mat on the exhale.
If possible, straighten your knees, raising your toes to about eye-level. If this isn’t possible, keep the knees bent, and perhaps lift the shins parallel to the floor.
Extend the arms alongside the legs, parallel to the floor. If this isn’t possible, keep the hands either on the backs of the thighs or on the floor.
Keep the abdominals engaged to find balance and avoid rolling off the sitting bones and onto the tailbone.
Relax the shoulders and allow the breath to flow with ease.
Start laying on your mat face down, with your arms by your sides, palms facing up. Bring the big toes together and inwardly rotate the inner thighs.
Lift the head, upper body, arms, and legs off the mat on inhale. Reach through the heels and toes to lengthen the legs.
Firm the glutes to support the lift of the legs without scrunching them so as not to compress the low back.
Reach the arms in front of you and stretch actively through the fingertips.
Face the palms towards one another, broaden the shoulder blades, and press them firmly down your back. This allows you to fully engage the spinal erector muscles as well as deltoids and trapezius.
Look at the mat a few inches in front of you as opposed to too far forward to avoid hyperextending the neck.
In both postures soften your shoulder blades away from the ears and lengthen through the neck.
If you can’t stay in Boat pose without rolling off your sitting bones and onto your tailbone, bring one foot down and place the toes on the mat to help balance yourself. Switch feet after 20 seconds.
If you can’t lift both arms and legs in Superman without feeling compression in the lower back, try alternately lifting right arm and left leg, holding for 20 seconds, and switching to left arm and right leg, and holding for another 20 seconds.
Professional skier and PROBAR athlete Griffin Post knows a thing or two about ski trip planning. He’s traveled around the world in search of the the perfect turn while filming with Teton Gravity Research. Here is some advice to take into account when planning your next ski trip.
All trips are not created equal. This may seem obvious but beyond airlines, weather and the mood or your guide, there’s a lot that can effect whether your ski trip is the adventure of a lifetime or another story that starts out, “It was good, but…” Sure, every trip has a number of variables that are beyond one’s control, but there are several ways to curve the odds in your favor before you even leave home. A little planning and decision-making on the front end can save a lot of potential headaches when it comes time to shred. While there’s no way to guarantee the trip you anticipate all fall and winter delivers, at least you can minimize the odds you’ll be kicking yourself in the butt once the time comes. Here’s what I’ve learned over a decade of having “epics”—for both the right and wrong reasons.
Choose Your Crew
This may sound secondary to location, but your company will have a far larger impact on your trip than where you end up going. It sounds obvious, but make sure everyone is on the same page from the get-go. Are you looking for bluebird every day or are you okay with storm skiing? Do you want to ride lifts or tour every day? Are a few beers at après sufficient or do you want to take it deep every night? Have you budgeted $1,000 or $5,000 for the trip? The more common goals you have with your crew the better, and the first chairlift ride isn’t the time to figure out what the rest of your group is after.
Choose Your Destination and timing.
This might be the most difficult part of the planning process, particularly when you get to the next step. Weather is fickle, but through a little research it’s pretty easy to get a good idea of where to go based on what you’re looking for. Deep powder? Japan in January. Epic big mountain lines? Alaska in April. Lift service powder with a base? Jackson in February. Partying and skiing? Tahoe in March (hopefully). There’s never a guarantee, but it’s easy to stack the odds in your favor through twenty minutes of Googling.
Buy the ticket
“Buy the f$%king ticket,” notes Kelly Cordes, paraphrasing Jim Donini and Jack Tackle’s first step to planning an expedition. If you want to go on a ski trip, go on a ski trip. There will be a lot of excuses to not pull the trigger once the time draws closer, so eliminate any opportunity for back peddling by giving your credit card a workout early. Plus, many guiding services offer discounts for early bookings and plane tickets are much cheaper when you don’t buy them a week in advance (or so I hear).
There’s no exact science to trip planning, but there are some pretty well proven theories based on others’ mistakes (myself included). Don’t end up bummed out because you got lazy on a Google search or weren’t honest about your expectations up front. While there’s no guarantee that every trip will meet everyone’s expectations, every time, a little homework and commitment upfront can minimize frustrations later and at least guarantee, one way or another, you have something to look forward to.
PROBAR®, maker of delicious, convenient, healthy, plant-based food products, is thrilled to help meet the growing demand for sustainable food products by announcing a new retail partnership with Target. Starting in September, Target will carry PROBAR bite™ organic energy bars in all locations around the country as part of the retail giant’s effort to double it’s stake in the organic and sustainable grocery business in 2015.
“Our customers have come to trust us to deliver the best tasting, highest quality products,” explains PROBAR CEO Jeff Coleman. “We are excited to share bite® with Target’s loyal customer base.”
PROBAR bite™ was launched in October 2014 and is USDA-certified organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, gluten-, dairy- and soy-free. At just 190 calories, the energy bars pack in 6g of plant-based protein and 3-4g of fiber.
Variety is the spice of life, and PROBAR is proud to offer unique Variety Packs available on our webstore. The Ultimate 15 Pack is a great way to try a bit of everything we make. Today we’re giving you the chance to win one. Earn extra entries with social media options.
Act fast, the contest lasts just a few hours and is only open to the first 50 US residents age 18 and up. Good luck!
In case you missed it, click for Part 1 of the Yoga for Runners series by PROBAR Ambassador Nari Malkhasyan.
In the last Yoga for Runners post we touched upon the concept of reciprocal inhibition. This is the process that our body uses to promote movement: one set of muscles contracts while the opposing set relaxes to create smoothness of movement.
This is a reflexive action that we do not control, but we as runners certainly get hit hard by its effects. Since most of us spend the majority of our days sitting down, this leads to tight hip flexors (specifically, iliopsoas muscles). These in turn inhibit the optimal recruitment of the glutes, leaving the synergists, the hamstrings, to pick up the slack. And how many of us wind up with tight and sore hammies? Everything is connected!
Yoga for runners needs to take into account not just the muscles that promote the movement but also the reciprocal muscle groups, in order to maintain a balance in the body. So if you spend time stretching your hamstrings after your run, be sure to balance that with a quadriceps/hip flexor stretch.
Start on all fours, step the right foot through between your hands, and come up with hands on hips.
Keep the lunge very short: 90 degree angle between the thigh and shin of either leg. This way you can create a productive sensation without overstretching the muscles in the front of the left leg.
Tuck the pelvis under (“Michael Jackson” the hips) until you feel a stretch through the front of the left leg, either the hip flexor or the quad. You’ll feel whatever is tighter first.
Depending on the hip flexor tightness you may notice that the right hip comes up to reduce the sensation on the left side. Pull the “sassy” right hip in line with the left and square the hips.
Keep the right hand on the right hip and lift the left hand up overhead. Think of this as “yawning” the armpit up, rather than reaching with the fingertips, in order to keep the left shoulder blade relaxed and away from the ear.
Find the connection between the left knee, hip, and armpit, and give yourself a nice side body stretch before switching sides.
Widen the lunge by either shimmying the right foot forward or the left knee back. On the inhale, elongate the spine, lift the belly off the right thigh, and soften the shoulder blades down your back.
On the exhale, keep the spine long, send the hips back by straightening the right leg. The hips should wind up in line with the left knee not behind it.
Keep the hips squared. Depending on the hamstring tightness you may notice that the right hip comes up to reduce the sensation. Pull the “sassy” right hip in line with the left.
On each inhale extend your spine and on exhale think about pulling your heart forward, as if to place it on the mat in front of your leg (NOT head to shin).
You may need to walk your hands back or rest them on some blocks to avoid hunching forward.
Engage the quadriceps to feel facilitated stretching (reciprocal inhibition is working for you this time). This may intensify the sensation in the hamstring so try not folding forward as deeply.
Use deep, unforced yogic breath to relax and soften into the stretch. This helps prevent pushing past your limit and resulting in microtears in the muscles being stretched.
Keep your spine long, your heart lifted, and your shoulders soft in both postures. This may not seem as impressive since you feel farther from the leg in Half Split, but it is and should feel more effective.
Keep the knee soft in Half Split if the sensation in the hamstring becomes painful: you want productive discomfort but not pain.
If you feel a spasm in the opposite muscle group, this is due to the extra flexion work the reciprocal muscle has to go in order to stretch out a tight muscle group. If this occurs, gently back out of the stretch for a few seconds before returning to it.
Lora Mays is a marathon-obsessed runner and RRCA certified running coach. In this post, she shares what she’s learned over the years about fueling right during marathon training. Check out her blog, Crazy Running Girl, for more tips and advice, and to follow her everyday running adventures.
Marathon training amps up your workouts and as a result, you need to make sure your nutrition and eating habits match what your body needs. Over the past few years, I’ve learned what that means for my body… but it did take some trial and error.
For one, I’ve learned that you must eat before a run, especially if you are a morning runner. I never used to do this and would feel sluggish and slow during my runs, never really feeling like I could hit the paces I needed during tempo runs. Since then, I’ve started to eat a handful of Bolts before I run and it’s amazing to feel the difference.
Secondly, runners need iron and protein. Your body needs iron to make red blood cells, which are responsible for transporting oxygen to your muscles. Without iron, you’ll feel tired and even nauseous. Runners tend to lose more iron due to sweating and foot strike hemolysis. Eating foods rich in iron, including watermelon seeds, spinach, kidney beans, and of course red meat, will keep your iron levels high.
Protein is also just as important. When we run, we break down muscle protein and fibers, which we need to repair with protein in order to keep them strong. Eating protein within 30 minutes of a work out can make a huge difference in recovery. (P.S. One of my favorites? PROBAR Bite.)
Eating a treat here and there isn’t the end of the world. I’ve tried cutting out sugar from my diet and eliminating all sweets. Not a good idea. It’s okay to have a bowl of ice cream or a handful of candy. It probably isn’t the best idea to live on that stuff while training, but having it once in awhile as a treat can be rewarding.
Lastly, and perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned about marathon nutrition, is that you need to listen to your body. For years, I’ve tried different types of diets that simply did not work for my body. I had read expert advice and heard from other runners that it worked for them, but it just didn’t for me.
And, that’s okay! Our bodies are all designed differently and will need different fueling strategies during marathon training. I’ve learned that the idea of eating every four hours (so your body doesn’t go into starvation mode) doesn’t work for me. This may work for you, or the next person, but it’s important to know what you need to do in order to ensure you are keeping your body happy during marathon training.
How do you get iron and protein in your diet during training?
Any advice in finding a fueling strategy that works for you?
PROBAR Ambassador Christine Donaldson checks in with a report from a recent biking and camping trip in Utah:
Stretching across 100 miles of the Wasatch Plateau in Central Utah, the Skyline Drive dirt road provides views and access to forested mountains, alpine meadows, and beautiful lakes – all above an elevation of 9,000 ft. In order to bike the Skyline Drive, a 4-wheel drive support vehicle is necessary. There are no built-out camping areas, but having a vehicle that can carry all your food and gear makes it an almost luxurious experience on the 4-5 day mission.
I got the invite on this trip about two weeks before it started. My dad and our family friends had planned it several months beforehand, and then a buddy of theirs had to bail. They needed a 4th person to help take turns driving the support van, and someone who could keep up with them on a bike.
Luckily I had dusted off my brother’s old Cannondale Jekyl this year and started mountain biking more regularly. I ride my road bike around 3 or 4 times a week so I knew my bike fitness would be okay. I was nervous that biking at 10,000 ft elevation would have me huffing and puffing for air, but interestingly I didn’t really feel the altitude until the 4th day in when my body started getting tired.
We rode about 25 miles a day in order to finish the trip in 4 days. Every afternoon the van would pull ahead and go find a camp spot, keeping track of the distance where we’d finish for the day. These spots were usually little clearings in the Aspens that sometimes contained a rock fire ring. The only other people we crossed paths with were the shepherds (with their sprawling flocks of sheep) and the occasional family on an ATV, day-tripping from the little canyon towns below the plateau. I was shocked that Skyline wasn’t more crowded, but we were there at the beginning of August when the rain storms start more frequently. I would bet that July is a lot more crowded.
The mountain biking is not technical on this route – there is no single track and it’s generally all a wide, smooth, dirt road. There are a few sections where the road is not maintained and water run-off creates divots or obstacles. What’s challenging about this road is that (at 10,000 ft, mind you) there are lots of long steady climbs. It seems like you climb a lot more than you descend until you get to the last 25 miles of the road, where it’s basically all downhill.
Between the views, the wildflowers, and the wonderful camp dinners each night, the experience is entirely uplifting – despite the long days of physical exertion. There is only one thing that you must be very, very, very cautious about. Rain…
The rain came early in the morning of our last day. When it rains on the Wasatch Pleateau, the dirt transforms into the deepest, stickiest, slipperiest mud you’ve ever seen. We knew going into the trip that if it started raining, we’d need to evacuate the van immediately. The van would probably sink into the mud and stay there forever if we didn’t. Luckily we drove down to a lake off of Skyline the night before in order to find a camp site out of the wind. We packed up camp early in the morning and found the closest exit canyon road. The mud was more slippery than ice in some spots, but the van made it down safely. We celebrated our escape with a big diner breakfast in a little mining town called Price.
We finished up our time in Utah with a few days in Park City. It was nice to try my hand at the built-out single track trails. We also spent a few days on road bikes to switch it up a bit. Coincidentally the Tour of Utah was happening while we were there! I’d love to go back and ride Skyline with a group of friends again! Every time I go back to Utah I never want to leave.
PROBAR Ambassador Nari Malkhasyan is a runner, a yogi and someone who is genuinely stoked on life. Enjoy the first installment of her Yoga For Runners series, and read more of her stories here.
As many runners ramp up their training for Fall races, they start focusing on training plans, nutrition to support their training and fueling strategies for race day, and of course, injury prevention. Often, yoga becomes a big part of it. However, the runners’ bodies often need a special practice that’s tailored to complement their main sport. Yoga for runners needs to take into account not just the muscles that promote the movement but also the reciprocal muscle groups, in order to maintain a balance in the body.
Reciprocal inhibition is the process that our body uses for movement: one set of muscles contracts while the opposing set relaxes to create smooth movement. For example in when you are running as you lift your leg to propel yourself forward, your quadriceps must contract to lift the knee forward, and the hamstrings must relax. When the muscles are balanced they have the right combination of inhibition and facilitation during movement. When the inhibition and facilitation are not in the right combination, muscle imbalances may occur, leading to inefficiencies at best, and injuries at worst.
Many runners often step on their mat looking for relief for tight and achy iliotibial (IT) bands that are giving them trouble. I see people collapse into Pigeon Pose with blissful expressions on their faces. The stretch feels good. But more often than not there are no lasting results. You may even find that the stretches muscle group is tighter the next day.
In my experience with teaching yoga, running, and learning from my own injuries, the key to Yoga for Runners is reciprocal stretching and strengthening. It is critical to stretch both muscles groups in the reciprocal pair. So if you spend some quality time in Pigeon Pose to stretch the outer hip, your next stop should be Frog Pose, to show you adductors the same kind of love!
Start on all fours and bring the right knee forward to touch your right wrist.
Inch the right leg forward until the right foot is just below the left hip.
Lengthen the left leg parallel to the long edges of the mat.
Softly lower the pelvis to the floor. If your left hip ends up higher than the right, tuck a block or a blanket under the right side to level the hips.
Walk your hands forward as you lengthen the torso on the inhale. Exhale as you fold forward over the right leg.
You can have either your forearms or hands on the mat, which will support more of your weight. If there is more space in the hip, you may want to lower your torso all the way to the mat.
Start on all fours and bring the knees farther apart, as wide as sustainable over a minute or two, as you hold the stretch.
Keep the hips directly over the knees. Bring the shins to form a 90 degree angle with thighs, and the feet to form a 90 degree angle with the shins. Flex the feet.
You can have either your forearms or hands on the mat, which will support more of your weight. If there is more space in your adductors, you may want to lower your torso all the way to a bolster or to the mat.
On an inhale lengthen the spine and engage the core just enough to prevent the low back from arching.
Pad the knees with a blanket if needed.
Use deep, unforced yogic breath to relax and soften into the stretch. This helps prevent pushing past your limit and resulting in microtears in the muscles being stretched.
If you feel a spasm in the opposite muscle group, this is due to the extra flexion work the reciprocal muscle has to go in order to stretch out a tight muscle group. If this occurs, gently back out of the stretch for a few seconds before returning to it.