Thursday, August 2, 2012

Olympic Trail Mix

Oh, yes, that happened today. Recipe below, don't you worry.

I kicked off the morning with a new Thursday tradition. For the last three weeks, Jenn and I have been meeting up on Thursday mornings to work out together, and it's been great! I've mentioned before that Jenn and I are at the same fitness level, so we are awesome workout partners. Plus we're just awesome.
This is what awesome looks like. (Circa 2005)

Working out with Jenn has always been fun, but soon I'll be able to use the opportunity to practice, because...I'm currently studying to become a certified personal trainer!

Back in April and May, when I knew I was leaving my former job but hadn't yet found my new position, I thought perhaps it was an ideal time to try something new, just in case another job didn't come along. So I did some research, chose my program (more info below), and bought the study materials. I've been studying a little at a time throughout the summer and hope to be ready to take the test within a few months.

Now that I do have a teaching job for this school year, my plans aren't changing. I'll still study for and take my personal training exam, but I view it as a way to enhance my advice on the blog, perhaps create training programs for family and friends (I have a few requests already!), and improve my own approach to fitness.

Scout helps me study sometimes, but it's not quite as helpful as one might think.

As for the program, I chose NASM, the National Academy of Sports Medicine. The program is textbook-based, and I simply study and take the exam. I chose NASM because it comes highly recommended by other personal trainers I've met, including Courtney and Tina (yep, that's boot camp Tina!), it's widely accepted at most gyms and considered a very reputable program, and it is extremely science-based (though my English-major brain is aching trying to learn about long bones and short bones and epimysium and perimysium!). I have to study a lot of anatomy, physiology, and even some nutrition science. But I'm very excited to become more knowledgeable about the human body and how movement works.

By the way, both Tina and Courtney offer online personal training services if you're interested. It's a personalized version of the boot camp I've been doing--how could you go wrong?

Okay, about that trail mix...

I used ingredients from Trader Joe's, because they're quality, inexpensive, and unsalted. Except for the dried cranberries, each of these products only has one ingredient!

Yes, I opened the sunflower seeds bag upside down, and no, I don't regret it.

 I've noticed this week that in the afternoons I'm on the hunt for a crunchy, flavorful snack. Rather than cave and buy my weakness (Cheez-Its!), I opted to make a healthy, high-protein snack that I can eat over the next several days (though I'm sure it'll go much faster with Terry around!). I also realized that a lot of folks are hosting or attending Olympics viewing parties, and this crunchy bowl of deliciousness would be perfect in place of chips.

Olympic Trail Mix
Makes 3 cups

  • 1 cup unsalted almonds
  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds (I bought roasted, unsalted, and they are delicious!)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large container and shake to distribute everything evenly. You can keep them in an airtight container for several days and scoop out your snack as needed. You can also divide it all ahead of time and then just grab and go.

A few notes on this snack:

  • Watch your serving size! While it's very healthy, it's also easy to eat too much. Keep your portion size to about 1/2 cup, wait to see if it satisfies you, then go back for a little more if you're still hungry. If you're eating these while watching the Olympics, it's best not to put the whole container out in front of you. Studies show people eat far more when they're watching TV, so put your portion in a bowl so you can watch and munch without a worry.
  • When shopping for ingredients, try to find products with the fewest ingredients. Nuts already have plenty of oil in them; you don't need more. If you like salty trail mix, add your own salt at home. 
  • Roasted nuts (or toasting them yourself!) are great; try to find roasted and unsalted, and again, watch that ingredient list.
  • To be more budget-friendly, buy nuts in bulk. Store them in your freezer and they'll last for months and months. Keep raisins and dried cranberries in the fridge to extend their shelf life.
I hope you love this delightful treat!

What is your favorite Olympic event?
I'm all about gymnastics, but I can't wait to see trampoline!


  1. I'm still trying to decide which program I want to go with for personal training but I really need to get it on it. I'm down to about 2 or 3 choices....ahh!

    1. Good for you! I can't wait to hear how it goes!

  2. Hey Julie, That is so great that you are studying to become a personal trainer! I did it about 3 years ago now...It has helped me on my journey to become a healthy person/role model and of course it has helped me in the gym! Let me know if you need help with any of the information! I can try to help all the way from Pittsburgh!! : )
    And the trailmix looks awesome!!

    1. Thanks so much, Jessica! I'm really excited to just learn as much as I can!

  3. What an awesome trail mix! Man that stuff does not last long around me at all. I easily eat 500 servings in one sitting. :P

    1. Thanks, Shannon! It's delicious! Today will be my last serving because Terry took a bunch with him while scuba diving. But it was great while it lasted, and I'll definitely be making more!

  4. Julie!! Thanks for the trail mix!! It looks delicious! I really need to go to Trader Joe's soon!
    How expensive was the NASM study materials?? I am thinking of doing that but I don't know how I would use It?! What do you want to do with it?

    1. Technically, it's the test that's so expensive. If you check out their website (above), you can see all the different options for ordering materials; there around several different packages. I definitely want to use the information to inform my own fitness first, and eventually I'd love to do some private training or perhaps work a few evenings a week at a local gym. Lots of options, I guess! Let me know what you decide!