5 Ways to Welcome New Year’s Resolution Members to Your Gym

The time is coming! The New Year is just around the corner and folks and the most common resolution is related to getting/staying fit and losing weight. This means that you will likely see many new folks at your gym or running groups eager to start living a heathy lifestyle, get in better shape, challenge themselves, and gain more confidence!

5 ways to welcome new years resolution members to your gym.

I can’t wait to see all the new members at the gym!  I look forward to it each year. Partly because I was one of those newbies once and have been lucky enough to build a group of acquaintances and friends that support my fitness endeavors.

So here a few tips developed by Fit Home and Health to help make the new people at your gym or running group feel welcome:

  1. Don’t be that person that complains about all the “New Years people” that will be at your gym. Everyone has to start somewhere. You were once new to your gym too and I’m sure you wouldn’t have wanted anyone to complain that you were there.
  2. Introduce yourself and make them feel welcome. As a new member I’m sure it’s intimidating walking in and not knowing where everything is at, your routine, all the people there or feeling like the new kid
  3. Please, please put your damn camera away and do not video people when they are doing something incorrectly. It’s not funny. It’s mean. Take a moment to go introduce yourself and offer to help them and show them the proper technique and let them know you just want them to get the best workout they can and do not want them to get injured.
  4. Make these new members feel welcome. Your support and encouragement will help them feel welcome and want to keep coming and help them hold true to their resolutions.
  5. Just remember: Always treat others as you would have them treat you. And who knows, maybe you will make a new friend who will help keep YOU accountable to your goals.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew {21 Day Fix Approved}

21 Day Fix Approved Beef StewWow, what a crazy few days here in Oklahoma. The freezing rain that has taken down many trees and power lines in the metro area and left so many without electricity has really wrecked some serious havoc. I can’t think of a better meal for these cold days than beef stew. It’s so filling, comforting, and when you make it fresh (not from a can) it can really pack layers of great flavor.

I was able to adapt the Beef Stew recipe from Autumn Calabrese’s 21 Day Fix Cookbook, Fixate, to create the following slow cooker recipe. With busy family schedules, I turn many recipes into slow cooker friendly recipes. There is nothing better than a balanced, 21 Day Fix approved meal ready in your slow cooker once you get home from work.



Ingredients – Beef Stew

1 tsp olive oil

1 lb. 10 oz raw lean beef stew meat

1 medium onion chopped

2 medium carrot, sliced

1 medium celery stalks, chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

8 cups low-sodium beef broth, divided

1/2 cup red wine

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

3 bay leaves

1 can diced tomatoes

2 large sweet potatoes or parsnips, cut into 1 in cubes


Directions – Beef Stew

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat
  2. Add stew meat; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until browned
  3. Add onion and celery; cook stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
  4. Add garlic; cook stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  5. Add 1 cup broth and wine; cook, stirring constantly scraping bottom of pan so beef doesn’t stick, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until liquid is reduced in half.
  6. Place contents of saucepan into slow cooker. Top with salt, pepper, bay leaves, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and remaining broth.
  7. Cook in slow cooker on low for 8 hours or high for  5 hours

21 Day Fix Beef Stew


Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Pork carnitas are so versatile. They’re an easy and filling meal you can enjoy all year round. Sometimes when meals are cooked in the slow cooker all day they can end up bland and mushy. The chipotle peppers, spices, and juice come together nicely to create a slightly spicy and sweet heat that isn’t overpowering. After the first time I made these, they quickly became a family favorite.


  • 1 (3-pound) boneless pork shoulder, trimmed (I substitute pork loin cause I can get those packages of two for one at Sams)
  • 10 garlic cloves, sliced (Substitue 1 and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 chipotle chiles canned in adobo sauce, drained and chopped
  • Fresh Salsa, pico de gallo, lime wedges, and Carb Smart tortillas for serving


  1. Combine garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Place roast in a 3 1/2 quart slow cooker. Sprinkle pork on all sides with spice mixture.
  2. Combine juices and chipotle chiles. Pour juice mixture over pork. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or until pork is tender.
  3. Remove pork from slow cooker; shred with 2 forks. Skim fat from cooking liquid (if you use pork loin there will be no fat and very little cooking liquid). Combine Shredded pork and 1/2 cup cooking liquid; toss well.

Spoon pork into Carb Smart tortilla, top with salsa, pico de gallo, fresh lime juice. Serve with black beans, brown rice, or a sauté of corn and zucchini.

Adapted from Cooking Light Slow Cooker Tonight
Adapted from Cooking Light Slow Cooker Tonight


I’mmmmm Baaaaack – Summer 2015 Recap

Wow! What a summer it has been. Posts to Run Oklahoma have been few and far between lately because I have a job that has some seasonal aspects to it. The summer months tend to be the busiest where workloads increase by almost double. So I’m so excited that my job is starting to slow down and come to a much more normal pace, meaning that I can use my spare time to work on things I love, like Run Oklahoma! Yay!

Even though I wasn’t posting much to Run Oklahoma, that didn’t mean I wasn’t thinking about running. If you follow my Instagram account I’ve been diligently training for the Tulsa Half Marathon. Training has been going well. I’ve been able to remain injury free and even though I have to make adjustments to my training schedule due to LIFE I’m getting my miles in.

running 10 miles

Other exciting news is that I joined Oiselle Voilee.  Oiselle is all about helping women run free and fast! Currently Voilee has 750+ women from across the country who represent the Oiselle brand as they train and race toward their running goals. I’m lucky enough to be one of them!  Above all, the team is about  seeing running not just as a sport, but as a life philosophy. I’m so excited to be connected to such an amazing group of women (and some “bro birds” too) and encourage and support each other in our running endeavors. I’ve recently received my racing singlet and am sooooo excited to wear it to my fall races!


Last, but certainly not least, this summer was a moment of reckoning for me in terms  of my nutrition. As my running goals get a bit more aggressive I was continuing to take short cuts with my nutrition. I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted to.  Obviously, I’m not 21 anymore and I can’t continue to put junk in my body and hit my fitness goals. So I decided to take the plunge and give the 21 Day Fix a try. One of the reasons I decided to give it a try is because it is NOT A DIET. But rather a simple, no-fuss eating program that uses a portion control system to help determine how much of each food group you should consume daily. Besides, who doesn’t like the brightly colored tupperware that comes along with it! I’ve seen great results and have actually enjoyed the way I feel and energy I’ve received from using the program. I don’t want to give too much away cause I’ll have separate post on my 21 Day trial coming soon.


Pheeeewww! A lot’s been going on this summer. What have you been up to? Training for upcoming races? Taking a break with pool parties and cookouts? Just starting out as a new runner? Whatever you’ve been up to I’d love to hear from you!

Product Review – Soleus Pulse Heart Rate Monitor

I recently purchased the Soleus Pulse Heart Rate Monitor because I was looking for a reliable, entry-level heart rate monitor to use while running to help me improve my training. As a first time heart rate monitor user I was excited for this watch because with the sensor directly in the in the wrist band there would be no need for a chest strap to fuss with or ultimately misplace.

soleus pulse

As the product name would suggest, the primary benefit of the watch is to offer heart rate readings on your wrist. Heart rate monitors can be a useful tool to track and trend your fitness by telling you how hard your heart is working. It can also help you avoid making the common mistake of running too fast too often, which puts you at risk for injury and burnout. But beyond the heart rate monitor, the watch boasts many other features such as step counter, 3D accelerometer that can calculate your distance and pace, as well as a timer for interval runs and an easy to manage price point.

Typically the Soleus Pulse retails at $149. However, I purchased this watch from Backcountry because they were having a big sale marking the watch at a 65% discount. The other great thing about ordering from Backcountry during this sale was that they offered two day free shipping with orders over $50.



It may seem frivolous but everyone enjoys a gift in appealing packaging. Soleus products are no different. The bright yellow and black box and beautiful ‘S’ design make the packaging a fun item to open. I was a little worried about charging the watch. I really didn’t want to add one more device to the crazy pile of wires plugged into my surge protector. However, the charging process for the watch was really very easy. The watch has a USB, prong charger. It ‘s an easy system to use if you have a computer or AC Adaptor handy. I used my Apple AC Adaptor that comes with the iPhone and it worked just fine to allow me to plug in Soleus charger. Pictures don’t seem to do the overall appearance of the watch justice. Once it arrived, I felt like it looked a bit more sturdy and sleek than in pictures. Also I do like the mottos they place on the back of the watches. Each model has a different motto.


I’ve seen others post about the ineffectiveness of the quick start instructions that come with the watch. I was no different and had to watch YouTube videos to understand the interface and basic functionality of the watch. I also found the watch uncomfortable. I am relatively small is size so the watch felt big and clunky on my wrist. Also in order to the get the heart rate monitor optical sensor to work properly the watch had to be pretty tight on my wrist. The sensor pressed against my wrist was scratchy and uncomfortable.

I took the watch for a test spin on the treadmill so that I could compare the heart rate monitor read out on the watch to that of the treadmill. Unfortunately, the watch was off by about 30 beats per minute the entire time. I wasn’t able to get an accurate reading on the watch the entire 30 minute run. The only time I got reading on the watch close to the treadmill reading was while walking.

I also tested the watch on a stationary bike. The heart rate monitor read on the watch was much more accurate while riding the bike. I attribute this to the lack of arm movement and providing the sensor with greater stability.


Final Opinion

As a data geek, the Soleus Pulse Heart Rate Monitor is just not going to work for me. The inability to get an accurate reading while running was my biggest dislike. However, the price along with the long list of functionalities would make for a good watch for someone that just had a general curiosity of heart rate while engaging in activities such as hiking or biking. I’m going to return the Soleus Pulse and try a different Heart Rate Monitor.

chocolate strawberry smoothie

Post-Workout Chocolate Strawberry Banana Smoothie

If you’re anything like me, you graciously enjoy the 5AM drive to the gym each morning for a little “me time” while the rest of your family sleeps.  But hectic schedules filled with work, family, and errands make meal planning difficult. So the hard work put in at the gym is thrown away with less than ideal food you choke down throughout the day out of convenience rather than nutritional value or even taste.

That’s how protein smoothies became my savior. They are easy and help to meet your nutritional needs in only 5 minutes. Better yet, getting the right mix of protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of a workout or race can help with and replenish glycogen stores to help shake that tired, zombie feeling.

My favorite smoothie right now is a chocolate, strawberry, banana concoction. I like to think the strawberries are helping with inflammation of my sore muscles, but really I just love chocolate and strawberries together.  I find that drinking one of these after my intense workouts prevents me from becoming ravenous a few hours later and regretfully finishing off whatever snacks or junk food I can find.


In a blender, mix the following together until smooth:

1 scoop of protein powder

2 oz almond milk

2 oz chocolate milk (for an extra chocolate flavor, otherwise you can use just almond milk)

1 ripe banana

1/2 cup sliced strawberries

1 cup of ice

In addition to a smoothie like this, it’s important to drink plenty of water after your workout. I personally aim for drinking at least 8 to 16 oz right after my workout.

Oklahoma Ranked Lowest Five in Physical Well-Being

The Gallup-Healthways recently released an annual well-being index. Well-Being Index includes more than 2.1 million surveys and captures how people feel about and experience their daily lives. The well-being index data provides a comprehensive view of well-being across five elements. One element is labeled ‘physical’ and described as “having good health and enough energy to get things done daily”.

Oklahoma was ranked 39th for overall well-being and a disappointing 46th for the specific element of physical well being.

The top ranked ten states in overall well-being were:

  1. Alaska
  2. Hawaii
  3. South Dakota
  4. Wyoming
  5. Montana
  6. Colorado
  7. Nebraska
  8. Utah
  9. New Mexico
  10. Texas

Some of the top ranked states are in relative close proximity to Oklahoma such as Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Nebraska.  Therefore, it appears geography isn’t the sole reason for ranking higher. Oklahoma did rank well in social, community, and purpose elements of the index. This type of report will hopefully aid lawmakers and communities of Oklahoma in identifying areas of improvement and encourage continued efforts of making Oklahoma a happier and healthier state.

Do You Need Another Reason to Complete a Triathlon?

The word ‘Ironman’ is intimidating all on it’s own. It conjures visuals of incredibly fit individuals with an insane dedication to fitness that many don’t understand. An Ironman Triathlon is one of a series of long-distance races consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a marathon 26.2-mile run, raced in that order and without a break. Typically, these events are held to a strict deadline of 17 hours to complete.

What if you weren’t restricted by the 17 hour time limit but rather a 30 day limit, would you consider an Ironman Triathlon? Whether you are looking to lose weight this year or need a boost to your current fitness routine, starting Saturday, March 7th your local Oklahoma YMCA is providing an opportunity to compete in an Idle Ironman Triathlon. The distances are all the same as a typical Ironman you just get more time to complete the challenge.

There are some hardcore runners thinking this will take you away from you first love, running. But really, cycling and swimming are great cross training exercises that will help you grow into a stronger, well balanced runner.

YMCA Idle Ironman 2015
YMCA Idle Ironman 2015

March 2015 – Oklahoma City Area Races

The cold and snowy weather that Oklahoma has been experiencing this week makes the spring and summer weather arriving soon that much more appealing. March is a great month for races in Oklahoma. The lingering chill in the air, budding trees, and occasional rain showers make these early spring races a nice warm up for the sweltering heat that summer races will be waged. Here at OK Run we have put together a list spotlighting a few March racing events. A more comprehensive list of events can be found on the events page.

Trail RacesThe Trail Madness race at Turkey Mountain in Tulsa, Oklahoma has a distance for just about anyone. The race is entirely on the Turkey Mountain trail system so it will offer a technical course that will require you to maneuver sticks, rocks, and mud. Also, the area is beautiful and offers a nice overlooking view of the river. Sunday, March 1st at 1PM CST.

St. Patrick’s Race – March 14th is the 13th Annual O’Connell’s St. Patrick Day 8K in Norman, OK. Proceeds benefit Special Olympics Oklahoma. In addition to the 8K, they are also having a one-mile fun run, prizes for runners, door prizes for the event, and prize money for participating schools. With all of the prizes it’s sure to be a great party. Besides is there any better way to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day than relaxing with a beer after a run?

Long Distance – The 5th annual running of the A2A Arbuckles to Ardmore Race for Mercy is a two-day community wide event offering opportunities for Oklahomans personally involved in fighting cancer right here at home. The race is being held in a lovely part of the state and offers distances of 5K, Half Marathon, and Marathon.