Monthly Archives: September 2015

Yasso 800s Workout & NASM Registration (!!)

Well hello there :) It’s been a whirlwind of a week already and I’m excited to share a life update, but first….my variation of Workout Wednesday.

Any marathoners out there have surely heard of Yasso 800s. It’s a fancy name for a speed workout that is highly regarded in many marathon training programs.

If you’re NOT training for a marathon, then why aren’t you training for a marathon don’t stop reading now! I promise not to bore you with running jargon for too long :)

Marathon training involves a careful combination of long runs and recovery, endurance, speed, and strength training. Add in injury prevention, hydration, nutrition, and mental strength and you have quite a lot to juggle. Best way to look at it is one day at a time! Just like in the race…one mile at a time.

If you couldn’t guess, I ran Yasso 800s this morning. (Geez, how many times can I say YASSO in one post?) This is a standard marathon training workout that is considered a “race time predictor.” The workout consists of ten intervals of 800 meters (approx. half a mile) with equal recovery time in between. The goal is to run all ten intervals at a consistent pace. The average of your 800 meter times is considered a pretty accurate prediction of your race time potential.

Essentially: if you run all of your 800 meter intervals around 3 minutes 30 seconds, then you will likely run a 3 hour 30 minute marathon. Apparently its proven surprisingly accurate. The first few weeks of this workout should begin with 5-6 intervals, building up to ten over time. According to this model, I should be looking at a 3:15-ish in a couple months!

Aaaaand that’s enough math for one day.

Life Update: I enrolled in a certified personal training program from the National Academy of Sports Medicine this week! I have a great office job that I’m very thankful for, but it has proven that I am not well-suited for a sedentary desk job that requires long hours in front of a computer. I crave to be active and engaged with others! Given that, and the fact that I’m overly passionate about living a healthy lifestyle (um, hello, I only blog about it every other day…) I decided that I would be so fulfilled with a job in the fitness industry.


After learning about exercise science, anatomy, nutrition, body mechanics, training planning and fitness development, I will take the CPT exam. Lots of late night studying coming up, which I’m not upset about :) I miss being a student and my brain is ready to be challenged!

Once I pass the exam, I will be qualified to “help clients achieve their personal health, fitness, and performance goals via the implementation of exercise programs, nutritional recommendations, and suggestions of lifestyle modification” and “design safe, effective, and individualized exercise and conditioning programs which are scientifically valid and based on clinical evidence” (

My health and fitness related future posts should have a bit more science backing them up! But for now, this girl still has her day job and it’s time to get to it :)

XOXO Kenz.

6 Healthy Tips for Navigating Campus Dining

A few months ago, I was asked to write an article for another blog that related to health and fitness in college. I came up with “6 Healthy Tips for Navigating Campus Dining” and now I’m sharing it on my own blog because it’s perfect for the back-to-school season! A Monday seems like the best time to give ourselves some healthy reminders, especially if you had a particularly splurgey (<– new word!) weekend. Which, hello, it’s COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON, so it’s understandable. ;)

6 Healthy Tips for Navigating Campus Dining

By: Kenzie Estes of

I remember my first dinner in the campus dining hall my freshman year of college. It was called “The Hot Spot” and the buffet of food was completely overwhelming. My eyes widened as I tried to take in the wall-to-wall counters of food lined with a salad and sandwich bar, pastas and pizzas, stick-to-your-ribs mashed potatoes and gravy, Asian stir fry bowls, and everything in between. Freshly baked cookies under vanilla soft-serve would have made the “Freshman 15” a very real experience had I not been so devoted to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Easter Girls with Space Filter

Nutrition is particularly important to me in college because I was recruited to my university’s NCAA Division 1 Track and Cross Country team. Even without my athlete status, continuing to make healthy choices in school is incredibly important to thrive in your new environment with the stress and workload that comes with being a student.

Nutrition 101A healthy transition from home-cooked meals to campus dining requires some effort. Here are six tips that I find helpful for navigating through the dining hall:

1.) Leave the “Get My Money’s Worth” mentality outside.

Buffets and their unlimited offering can invoke a mental need to get the most bang for your buck, which has more to do with quantity than nutritional quality. Focus on building a plate that is full of color and nutrition. If you have a difficult time choosing your meal, remember that everything will be there again tomorrow!

Green Leaf Pizza (

2.) Pre-plan your plate.

Have some sort of idea of what you are craving before you enter the dining hall to avoid having to examine all of the food. Without a plan for your meal, you might end up “sampling” a little bit of everything (been there, done that) which can add up to more calories than you realize.

3.) Pick one splurge meal each week.

It’s also important to note that it is not healthy to completely deprive yourself of the ice cream station or cookie cart either. If you occasionally treat yourself to something indulgent or plan a “cheat meal,” you are likely to stay on track with your health goals.


4.) Use entrée plates as a base & add to it.

Oftentimes buffets offer a variety of pastas, pizzas, sandwiches and soups because they are widely popular and simple to feed the masses. One of my favorite ways to pack a nutritional punch in cafeteria meals is to grab fresh vegetables or salad bar ingredients and mix them into the pre-served entrees. Stir a handful of spinach and carrots into a bowl of soup, and tomatoes and bell peppers into a plate of pasta. Cut up an apple over a salad or slice a banana into your oatmeal or cereal.

Hearty Healthy Harvest Soup

5.) Be picky.

Don’t eat something just because it’s there. Be selective with what you put in your body! If it’s not amazing…skip it.

6.) DON’T be afraid to bring your own ingredients!

A friend of mine has a bag of chia and flax seeds in her purse to add to oatmeal or cereal. Many times I’ll bring in Quest protein powder and a shaker to mix with almond milk. Salsa, pepper and liquid amino acids can spice up any dish if your campus’s cooking is particularly bland. And of course I always have my own powdered coffee creamer.

Cafeteria Cuisine Breakfast Bowl

Brunch in the Hot Spot was always my favorite way to start a Sunday morning. Everyone comes in their pajamas, some bring notes to study, some just talk with friends. Everyone cozily enjoys their omelets and coffees before Monday kicks in. With a little effort, your college dining experience can be fun and healthy.

Conference Team Dinner (

Product Review: Extend Nutrition Bars!

We made it to another weekend! Celebratory Cyber Coffee Mug Clink!

Everyone is talking about Fall and excited for Autumn, but it feels a little premature here! We’re still experiencing 106 degree days. It’s still summer if you’re sleeping with the air conditioner on, I don’t care if it’s #pumpkinspicelatte season or not. When I can trade my evening treadmill session for a run along the bike path in crisp air, then it’s Fall. :)

Trail Running

Until then my workouts have been primarily indoors or before 7:00am, followed up by a new-to-me protein bar.

Extend Nutrition Anytime Bar Blog Review

Extend Nutrition reached out through my blog to offer it’s nutrition bar products for review. I was intrigued by the low sugar and high protein content of the bar, and you know I’m always up for trying out new health products!

Full disclaimer: Extend Nutrition provided its products free of charge to sample, however this review is 100% my personal and honest opinion. I am not otherwise affiliated with this company (other than being a new customer!).

It should be noted that I have high standards when it comes to packaged products. Obviously I don’t want to waste my money or my calories on something that isn’t healthy AND satisfying. This picky girl is absolutely impressed with Extend Nutrition Anytime Bars! The variety of bars are sweet and flavorful, contain minimal sugar, have a perfect portion size, and are surprisingly filling due to the high protein and fiber content. The macro-nutrient ratio is ideal for a post-workout snack or just a replacement to something more processed and sugary.

Extend Nutrition Anytime Bar Review on Blog

Many of the “protein bars” or “nutrition bars” on grocery store shelves list some variation of sugar or syrup as their #1 ingredient (and #3, and #5, and #6…..). When I’m looking for something quick and convenient to curb my post-workout hunger, I want something with protein and complex carbs. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that really doesn’t offer any nutrition to my body that I’m demanding so much activity out of! Extend Nutrition bars are gluten-free and aid in managing your blood sugar for 6-9 hours.

The bars are ideal for endurance athletes, runners, or anyone looking to lead a healthy lifestyle.

There are two different textures, one that’s chewy and another that’s crunchy. The dessert-y flavors like Cookies N’ Cream and Chocolate & Caramel totally satisfy any sweet tooth without any guilt. They are sweetened with stevia, the all-natural plant-based sweetener. It’s great to see companies using alternatives to corn syrup, refined sugar, and aspartame.

Extend Nutrition Bar Blog Review  Stronglikemycoffee.comPersonal fave is the Chocolate Peanut Butter, hands down! My mom favored the brand new Yogurt & Berry flavor, which reminds me of a (cleaner) Nutri-Grain bar.

Overall I really enjoyed the texture and flavor of these bars, as well as the portion size and the macro-nutrient ratios. You can find them in Walgreens stores or just order online: (Again, I’m not being compensated for any sales, just sharing some product love!)

Learn more on Facebook or Twitter!

This weekend holds a 16-mile long run as part of my marathon training, which will likely be followed by overindulging in Gilmore Girl episodes, homemade iced coffees, and general laziness. Enjoy your Friday!

XOXO Kenz.

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