Fitness During Tournaments for Tennis Players Trying to be Elite

Courtesy of Todd Widom
Courtesy of Todd Widom

Here is another helpful article from coach Todd Widom on one way elite players set themselves apart from the rest of the pack.

This past December I had a discussion with a young touring professional  who was having trouble sustaining his level of fitness during matches on the ATP tour.  He had some very good chances to win matches against good players, but he would run out of gas and not be able to sustain his level of play.  After telling me his physical issues during his matches, he asked me if he should be doing fitness during tournaments.  My quick response was of course.

The vast majority of your children are not going to do what this article is discussing.  To be elite in this sport, you have to be different than the rest, and it is the small things that make the biggest difference if you want to be special.  If you do not go above and beyond the call of duty, you will be like the rest.  It all depends what your child wants out of their tennis.

Included in this article is information on fitness for those who are trying to become elite junior tennis players.  The norm for a junior tennis player is to warm up for their match, play their match, maybe stretch 5 to10 minutes, get food, maybe play another match or go to the movies, or hang out with their tennis friends for the rest of the day.  If the junior tennis player trains well for a tournament, they should be physically fit entering each and every tournament.  The reality is that if this player does not keep up their level of fitness during tournaments, they will be out of shape when they come back to train once their tournament is complete.  For every day they skip doing some physical fitness during a tournament, they will lose a bit of their physical conditioning, which will have to be boosted up again when they come home to train.

Doing fitness during a tournament will help maintain one’s fitness level and it is not about becoming more fit or stronger.  You want to try your best to maintain your level of fitness so that when you get home to train, you are not starting from scratch, and you can keep progressing to becoming more fit and stronger.  From a parental perspective I know what you are thinking:  I do not want my child to be tired for their next match the next day, I want them fresh.  If your child has been training well and is fit, doing 30 minutes of exercises is going to keep them sharp, because they should be used to doing lots of tough physical work at home.  If your child has two tough matches in a day at a tournament, then doing anything strenuous is not too smart, but if your child has some easy matches or one easy match, I would highly recommend them doing some very sport specific exercises to keep them sharp at tournaments.

This comes down to common sense.  For example, if your child has an easy match or two in one day, they definitely should proceed to do fitness for at least 20 to30 minutes.  They should do tennis specific movements to keep their fast twitch muscles firing for the matches the next day.  They could also do some body weight exercises, core or band work for some upper body strength.  If your child had a brutal day at a tournament and is tired, they should have a very good cool down session and recover well for the next match.  This may consist of a light jog or bike ride to flush out all the lactic acid that developed in their muscles.  Then you need a great recovery plan to make sure your child wakes up the next day with a fresh body so that they are able to compete again.  I will discuss the recovery plan in a future article.

As I discussed earlier in the article, most kids are not going to do this without someone helping them, and if they do this on their own, you have a very special mature young person on your hands.  Tennis is becoming a more physical game and the ball is going faster generation after generation.  I can tell you that many injuries come from improper training.  Also, tennis players who have become out of shape and then trying to push their bodies to higher levels of fitness or tennis when their bodies cannot handle that type of training at that moment, is a recipe for injuries.  When a player is at a tournament, it is all about trying to maintain your level of fitness so that when you come home to train, you are not out of shape and having to start from zero.  I always tell the players I train on a daily basis, that if you think your matches at tennis tournaments are very tough physically, then you are not fit enough.  Your training should always be tougher physically than your tournament matches, and if this is not the case, then you need to train tougher physically.  Best of luck and remember that going to tournaments are fun, but you also need to keep up with your fitness if you want to keep progressing physically.

Travel Like A Pro and Score A Winning Advantage

car-roadtrip-red2-945x563The following was written by Registered Dietician, Jeff Rothschild, for his website www.eatsleep.fit and is reprinted here with his permission. If you missed my radio show with Jeff, you definitely need to check out the podcast on the ParentingAces YouTube channel!

Most people are familiar with the term home field advantage, but how many have ever stopped to think about just what that means? It goes far beyond playing in the comfort of your own field or court, and includes eating home cooked food, waking up in your own bed, and having the clock in your body match the clock on the wall.

Competing in different cities is a part of day-to-day life for many athletes. Instead of watching your game/race/match performance decline when traveling, take advantage of the less than ideal circumstances to gain an advantage against your opponents!

This post is the first in a series that will examine different aspects of life on the road for a traveling athlete including making good food choices, acclimating to a different climate, jet lag and airplane travel, and keeping your body healthy.

Making good food choices can be difficult when traveling, and a little planning can go a long way.

Before you go

Whether you’ll be traveling by car, train, or plane, you can plan ahead so you’re not stuck eating fast food. Things to pack:

  • Water (unless you’re traveling by plane)
  • Sandwiches
  • Bananas/apples/oranges
  • Bars (my two current favorites are Larabar and Oatmega)
  • Jerky (Trader Joe’s has a nice variety)
  • For plane flights when bringing fresh food isn’t an option, individual packs of whey protein plus a bar can make a nice meal

In addition to packing for your travel day, don’t forget to pack the food-related items you’ll need in the new city, like sports drinks/gels, vitamins, and other supplements.

 In the new city

Finding a grocery store is usually near the top of my priority list. Most stores have a deli counter where you can get food that is ready to eat, including hot items and sandwiches. This can be very convenient for a traveling tennis team, and is usually much cheaper than eating at a restuarant. Assuming the hotel room has a fridge, you can also stock up on some essentials. This can vary widely depending on your preferences, but my suggestions usually include….

  • Water
  • Bread, peanut butter, jelly
  • Deli turkey
  • Avocados (good for adding some calories to the hotel breakfast)
  • Bananas and dates (good for on-court or off-court snacks)
  • Smoked salmon
  • Bars
  • Milk/ chocolate milk (remember chocolate milk is one of the best recovery foods after a hard workout)
  • Potato chips (because they’re delicious)

After finding the grocery store, I would also find out where the nearest Chipotle and Subway shops are. These are both places that can provide a fairly healthy meal for the traveling athlete, though they can also provide quite unhealthy meals depending on how you order. Let’s take a quick look at a few options:

Chipotle – This is usually my first choice for athletes. While people often scoff at it and think of it as unhealthy fast food, I don’t really see much wrong with ordering a bowl with chicken, rice, black beans, veggies, salsa, and guacamole. As you see, something like that can provide a good source of carbohydrate and protein, as well as healthy fats from the avocado.

However, let’s say you were to order a burrito with sofritas, rice, pinto beans, salsa, sour cream, cheese, and guacamole. And while you’re at it, why not have some chips and guacamole, along with a 20 oz. soda. The same amount of protein, with 3x the fat, 3x the calories, and 16x the sugar!

Chipotle label

Subway is another popular option for traveling athletes, and again there are good choices and not so good choices.

Subway label

The differences become even more obvious when you compare them all….

fast food table

Hopefully this post has given you some ideas to step up your travel game on the food side of things. In the next post I’ll discuss the impact that going from a colder to a hotter climate can have on athletic performance, and ways to mitigate the detrimental effects.

What strategies do you use when traveling? Any favorite food I left off the list? Add a comment here or on Facebook! And to stay updated on new posts, leave your email address. I won’t bombard you with emails, just a brief note when a new post comes out.

An Interview with Keith Parmenter: The Man in South Florida Who Keeps the Top Tennis Players Injury Free

Todd & Keith

Today’s post is another gem from coach Todd Widom. Enjoy!

I thought it would be very interesting for you to read about how athletes cure some ailments and how the bodywork specialists can get these athletes cured at an extremely fast rate compared to general medicine. Being the son of a foot and ankle surgeon, when I was younger I would watch ESPN SportsCenter before school and be amazed how quickly some of the athletes could recover from injuries that looked quite severe. While I was on the ATP Tour, I was often told by doctors to have an MRI, rest, ice, have injections, wear a boot on my foot, or have surgery. This advice was from the top surgeons in South Florida that see elite athletes in all sports. As a professional athlete, there is no time to waste guessing what an injury is and sitting at home resting while taking anti-inflammatory medications or having injections to mask the pain in hopes of recovering after a certain number of weeks. Unless you absolutely need surgery, I can tell you that there are solutions, and professionals can cure issues in a matter of minutes without surgery, injections, or pills.

This article is an interview with one of my very good friends who cures athletes’ ailments on a daily basis in South Florida. I was introduced to Keith Parmenter when I had a knee injury in 2005 that multiple orthopedic surgeons could not solve. I had multiple MRI’s and saw the best surgeons in South Florida and they all were baffled at what was wrong with me. It was time to think outside the box and see a bodywork specialist who deals in muscles and tissues. I was one of Keith’s first professional tennis players to have regular treatments and it really opened my eyes and taught me about the body and how to cure many issues that hamper athletes.

Keith was a top notch athlete himself growing up in South Florida as a highly competitive swimmer. He swam for 19 years and as a junior swimmer he was a record holder in multiple events in the International Swimming Hall of Fame and an All American in college. Having this background as a phenomenal athlete, he understands the mind and body relationship than just someone who learned the muscular skeletal system out of a book in school. On a daily basis, he sees all types of people ranging from a child to a geriatric and a world class athlete to a person who has a 9 – 5 job. He sees professional athletes in all major sports and has done so for 23 years. At any time, you could see these top notch athletes in his office receiving treatment so that they can return to their sport.

So what exactly does Keith Parmenter actually do on a daily basis that cures these athletes so quickly? Keith specializes in Rolfing. You then ask, what exactly is Rolfing? Rolfing is realigning the body by stripping muscle fibers and using cell memory to track with proper biomechanics. In other words, he is breaking down tissues to put them back in place because they have become misaligned over time. For example, when you look at an infant, they have perfect musculature as they do not have any muscles out of place. Over time, whether you are an athlete or not, the tissues can become misaligned which can cause pain and in some circumstances, severe pain. Keith will strip the muscle fibers so that the body is back in alignment. You are probably thinking that stripping muscle fibers sounds painful, and you are right, it can be very painful depending on the severity of the injury or the body part becoming realigned.

I hope you enjoy my interview with Keith Parmenter.

Todd Widom: What is Rolfing and why is it so beneficial for tennis players?

Keith Parmenter: Rolfing allows muscle memory to make the muscles track properly. It increases range of motion. 90% of the injuries are due to improper tracking. An example of this is Osgood-Schlatter disease which is due to improper tracking of the knee joint and it is usually caused by tight hamstrings.

TW: What are some of the common injuries that you see on a daily basis with tennis players?

KP: Most of the injuries I deal with are strains and sprains of the muscular system.

TW: What do you think is the reason tennis players come to see you?

KP: The reason I see not only a great deal of tennis players, but also many other athletes is that they have a lack of range of motion and flexibility.

TW: What can the players do to not have to come to see you?

KP: Athletes in all sports need to warm up properly, possess proper techniques, and recover from their workouts properly. This should include stretching, ice baths, and proper protein intake.

TW: What types of training causes injuries so that the tennis players need treatment from you?

KP: Many of the tennis players I see are overtraining, doing improper weight training, not warming up properly, and not cooling down properly. Many junior tennis players are wasting too many hours on the court overtraining.

TW: How can the athletes heal so quickly with your treatments compared to conventional medicine?

KP: Strains and sprains cause inflammation which is glue like for muscles and that causes muscles to stick together and that causes a decrease in range of motion. Rolfing breaks up the muscles so they can properly heal and track and the athlete then has proper range of motion and a decrease in inflammation.

TW: What is your philosophy behind strength training for young junior tennis players?

KP: I think it is absolutely worthless. If you take a look at Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, they have incredible power from range of motion, agility, and speed. A 15 year old will get much stronger by natural physiology by 18 years old. Stretch cord training is the optimum way to train for the kids. Weight training will close the growth plates before the natural time.

TW: What is your philosophy behind heavy strength training for young junior tennis players?

KP: Free weights or any weights at all will close the growth plates prematurely. That is why I believe in isometric training because that type of training will leave the growth plates open.

In closing, Keith has been a very close friend of mine for over a decade. He was instrumental to me going through bodywork school when I retired from the ATP Tour. Going through the schooling helped me understand the muscular system and how to minimize risk to any of the athletes I train on a daily basis. It is because of Keith’s persistence, I went to bodywork school and became one of the only tennis professionals in the world who is legally allowed to work on athletes and cure ailments that they may have. My tennis career was riddled with injuries and it is because of this that I take the health of the players I train very seriously. I am proud to say that I have never had any of my students have any type of serious injuries that have taken them off of the tennis court for any substantial amount of time. Proper technique, training methods, nutrition, and bodywork are essential for these athletes to stay healthy and continue to work at their craft. The vast majority of tennis players I have trained see Keith regularly to stay healthy because tennis is a very tough sport and the students I train put in some very tough hours on the court and in fitness drills. Many of you reading this article have children that have probably seen Keith and if you are a parent who is in south Florida with your junior tennis player, there is no one I would recommend more than Keith Parmenter for nonsurgical ailments.

21-Day Challenge Menus with Recipes

Queen of the Kitchen

Here it is! Each day’s menu with live links to the recipes! Just click on the name of the dish to go directly to the recipe (you may have to scroll up or down slightly). Be sure to check out Queen of the Kitchen’s Instagram feed at the bottom of this page for photos of many of our amazing meals.

Daily before each meal
4-6 ounces of Green Juice. And, it goes without saying, you need to drink at least one full glass of water with each meal. Be sure to drink water as needed throughout the day, too, especially if you’re incorporating exercise (click here to view our Challenge Workout Schedule) into your 21-Day Challenge.

Day 1
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Jicama sticks (for my husband: mix of whole raw almonds and goji berries)
Lunch: Antioxidant Love Salad (for my husband: leftover baked lemon-garlic salmon on mixed salad greens, celery with almond butter)
Afternoon snack: Celery with almond butter
Dinner: Grilled Chicken Pesto Quinoa with Roasted Cauliflower

Day 2
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Jicama sticks and/or nuts
Lunch: Veggie Soup
Afternoon snack: Baby carrots with hummus
Dinner: Organic Cumin-Crusted Wild Black Cod with Sauteed Garlic Spinach & Brown Rice

Day 3
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Apple slices with almond butter
Lunch: Chef V’s Chipotle Bowl
Afternoon snack: Cucumber slices with hummus
Dinner: Chicken & Veggie Stir Fry with Brown Rice

Day 4
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Jicama sticks
Lunch: Leftover Chicken-Veggie Stir Fry with brown rice
Afternoon snack: Cucumber slices with hummus
Dinner: Chipotle Bowl with Grilled Chicken

Day 5
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Jicama sticks
Lunch: Super Food Power Salad
Afternoon snack: Apple slices with almond butter
Dinner: Grilled French Rack of Lamb and Organic Farmers Market Baby Carrots with Tricolor Quinoa

Day 6
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Jicama sticks
Lunch: Butternut Squash Salad with Quinoa (for my husband: grilled chicken breast & avocado slices)
Afternoon snack: Emma’s Sauteed Chickpeas
Dinner: Chili-Lemon Salmon with Sweet Potato Wedges and Broccoli

Day 7
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Apple slices with almond butter
Lunch: Leftover Veggie Soup (for my husband: leftover salmon and sweet potato wedges)
Afternoon snack: Hummus, cucumber, & jicama
Dinner: Organic Roasted Chicken with Cumin Black Rice & Green Beans with Almonds

Day 8
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Apple slices with almond butter
Lunch: Antioxidant Love Salad (for my husband: leftover chicken, black rice, & green beans)
Afternoon snack: Hummus, cucumber, & jicama
Dinner: Hong Kong Style Black Cod with Brown Rice and Sautéed Bok Choy, Mango with Coconut Sticky Rice for dessert

Day 9
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Apple slices with almond butter
Lunch: Veggie-Chicken Stir Fry
Afternoon snack: Hummus, cucumber, & jicama
Dinner: Grilled French Rack of Lamb and Organic Farmers Market Baby Carrots with Tricolor Quinoa and Sautéed Garlic Kale

Day 10
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Apple slices with almond butter
Lunch: Chef V’s Chipotle Bowl with Chickpeas
Afternoon snack: Jicama sticks
Dinner: Grilled Garlic Lemon Salmon with Roasted Cauliflower, Sautéed Garlic Spinach, & Emma’s Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges

Day 11
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Apple slices with almond butter
Lunch: Super Food Power Salad
Afternoon snack: Organic blackberries
Dinner: Spicy Grilled Chicken Breast with Avocado Papaya Salad and Black Rice, fresh persimmons for dessert

Day 12
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Organic blackberries
Lunch: Queen of the Kitchen’s Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
Afternoon snack: Apple slices with almond butter
Dinner: Queen of the Kitchen’s Lamb Vindaloo with brown rice & organic baby kale

Day 13
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Organic blackberries
Lunch: Emma’s Sauteed Chickpeas with Kale & Roasted Cauliflower
Afternoon snack: Apple slices with almond butter
Dinner: Kale Root Veggie Bowl with Grilled Chicken, Organic Medjool Dates for dessert

Day 14
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Organic blackberries
Lunch: Leftovers
Afternoon snack: Apple slices with almond butter
Dinner: Chili Lemon Salmon with Sweet Potato Wedges and Broccoli

Day 15
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Organic blackberries
Lunch: Emma’s Sauteed Chickpeas with Kale & Roasted Cauliflower
Afternoon snack: Apple slices with almond butter
Dinner: Spicy Grilled Chicken Breast with Super Food Power Salad

Day 16
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Organic blackberries
Lunch: Creamy, Zesty Spinach Soup & Grilled Chicken Breast for Matthew
Afternoon snack: Apple slices with almond butter
Dinner: Greek-Style Grilled Lamb Chops with Grilled Artichokes and Sweet Potato Wedges

Day 17
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Organic blackberries
Lunch: Queen of the Kitchen’s Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Grilled Chicken
Afternoon snack: Apple slices with almond butter
Dinner: Grilled Trout with Cumin Black Rice & Sauteed Greens

Day 18
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Organic blackberries
Lunch: Avocado Green Curry
Afternoon snack: Apple slices with almond butter
Dinner: Organic Roasted Chicken with Roasted Cauliflower & Sauteed Greens

Day 19
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Organic blackberries
Lunch: Antioxidant Love Salad
Afternoon snack: Apple slices with almond butter
Dinner: Chili Lemon Salmon with Sweet Potato Wedges and Broccoli

Day 20
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Organic blueberries
Lunch: Emma’s Sauteed Chickpeas with Kale & Avocado
Afternoon snack: Asian Pear slices, almonds
Dinner: Grilled Red Snapper with Grilled Artichokes, Roasted Carrots, & Organic Tricolor Quinoa

Day 21
Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast spread with fresh almond butter & sliced apple)
Mid-morning snack: Organic blackberries
Lunch: Chef V’s Chipotle Bowl with Chickpeas
Afternoon snack: Asian Pear
Dinner: Baked Balsamic Chicken with Sweet Potato Wedges & Grilled Squash

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21-Day Challenge Workout Schedule

blogger-image-1720511501

The following is a day by day list of the workouts we incorporated into our 21-Day Challenge. If you click on the name of the facility, you will go to its website. All of these classes can be found on ClassPass (click here to receive a $20 discount off your first month).

Day 1
Qi Gong at Decatur Healing Arts (Lisa & Emma)
Barre-Stretch Express at IB Yoga-Barre (Lisa & Emma)

Day 2
Pink Barre Classic at Pink Barre (Lisa & Emma)
C1 at Core Power Yoga (Lisa & Emma)

Day 3
Core Cycling at Exhale (Lisa & Emma)

Day 4
C2 at Core Power Yoga (Lisa & Emma)

Day 5
TRX at FitWit (Lisa)
C1 at Core Power Yoga (Lisa & Emma)
Cardio (Emma & Matthew)

Day 6
Intro to Aerial Yoga at Vita-Prana Yoga (Lisa)
Yoga Sculpt at Core Power Yoga (Emma)
Cardio (Emma & Matthew)

Day 7
IMPACT at Chaos Conditioning at the Forum (Lisa & Emma)
Tennis (Lisa)
Cardio (Emma & Matthew)

Day 8
Abs, Thighs, & Glutes at Fit TO BE (Lisa & Emma)
Cardio (Matthew)

Day 9
Define Mind Hammock Class at DEFINE-Atlanta (Emma)
Tennis (Lisa)

Day 10
Core Cycling at Exhale (Emma & Lisa)
Power Walk (Lisa & Matthew)

Day 11
C2 at Core Power Yoga (Emma & Lisa)
(Matthew missed his workout today – bummer!)

Day 12
TRX at FitWit (Lisa)
Barre at Solstice Urban Retreat (Emma)
Hot 60 Yoga at Evolation Yoga Atlanta (Lisa & Emma)

Day 13
Pace45 Cycling at Pace23 (Lisa & Emma)
C2 at CorePower Yoga (Emma)
Discover Hip Hop Fit at dance101 (Lisa)

Day 14
Boxing Fitness at Atlanta Sports Complex (Lisa & Emma)

Day 15
Core Cycling at Exhale (Lisa & Emma)

Day 16
Define Mind Hammock Class at DEFINE-Atlanta (Lisa & Emma)
Power Walk (Lisa & Matthew)

Day 17
Warm Hip Opening at onlYoga (Lisa & Emma)

Day 18
Tennis Drills (Lisa)
Metabolic Conditioning at Urban Body Fitness (Emma)
Mellow Flow + Meditation at Solstice Urban Retreat (Lisa)
Cardio (Emma & Matthew)

Day 19
TRX at FitWit (Lisa & Emma)
Cardio (Matthew)

Day 20
Pace45 at Pace23 (Lisa & Emma)

Day 21
Boxing Fitness at Atlanta Sports Complex (Lisa & Emma)
Bikram Yoga at Still Hot Yoga (Lisa & Emma)

Queen of the Kitchen Show Instagram Feed

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Day 21: We Did It!

Image courtesy of www.ichemeblog.org
Image courtesy of www.ichemeblog.org

We did it! And we finished with a bang, squeezing in 2 tough workouts (well, Emma and I did at least!) and 2 delicious meals!

Savannah (my middle daughter) came over for lunch this afternoon. She was recruited to act as Official Taste-Tester for the batch of chocolate chip cookies Emma was baking for one of her students. You have no idea how much will-power it took for Emma and me to stay away from that cookie dough! I mean, seriously! The cookies are delicious, sure, but that dough – omigosh! As soon as Emma finished scooping up the last bit and placing it on the cookie sheet, that mixing bowl went straight into the sink and was filled with dish soap and water. Breech of Challenge averted!

While Emma was baking, I was on lunch duty. We had prepared Chef V’s Chipotle Bowl several times over the past 3 weeks, so we felt pretty comfortable making a few tweaks for this last go. Instead of the salad greens, I used the kale we had picked up at the farmer’s market yesterday and marinated it in olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and pink salt (see Queen of the Kitchen Episode 4 for how-tos). I also sauteed some chickpeas following Emma’s recipe to add into the dish. The final product was delicious and gave us that extra protein boost we needed after Micah kicked our tushies again in boxing class. It was a gorgeous day, so we ate on the patio, soaking up the sun as well as all the nutrients in our salad. It was such a nice treat having both of my girls there for lunch. 🙂

Tomorrow morning we will do our final measurements and tally our food costs over the past 3 weeks. It will be interesting to see how we did. Regardless of the numbers, though, I think I can speak for all three of us when I say we’ve enjoyed the Challenge and are all feeling really good about what we were able to do in terms of fueling our bodies. Despite coming down with a nasty cold, poor guy, I’m guessing even Matthew would agree that this has been much easier than anticipated and that it’s something we can see ourselves doing long-term (in a slightly modified version). We will have to build in days for eating out and the occasional cocktail (and, let’s be real, DESSERT), but, otherwise, I will definitely stick to the weekly menu planning, my morning protein smoothies, and several of the delicious dishes we’ve been cooking and eating these past 21 days.

If our Challenge has inspired any of you to make healthy changes in your family’s eating habits, I would love to hear from you! Please share in the Comments box below.

NOTE:

Don’t miss Emma, the Queen of the Kitchen herself, on this week’s ParentingAces Radio Show discussing the 21-Day Challenge and tips for busy Tennis Families!

Day 21 Menu

Pre-Breakfast: 8-12 ounces of water plus 8-12 ounces of Green Juice

Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast with sliced apple)

Mid-morning snack: Organic Blueberries & almonds

Pre-Lunch: 4-6 ounces of Green Juice

Lunch: Chef V’s Chipotle Bowl with Chickpeas

Afternoon snack: Apple slices with organic almond butter

Pre-Dinner: 4-6 ounces of Green Juice

Dinner: Baked Balsamic Chicken with Emma’s Sweet Potato Wedges (made with that giant sweet potato I posted yesterday!) & Grilled Squash

Recipes

Baked Balsamic Chicken (Recipe by The Cookie Writer)

Ingredients:

4 bone-in, skinless chicken breasts (Note: We used boneless breasts that were butterflied)
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. dried rosemary
Salt and pepper

Directions:

*You can marinate the chicken overnight or make it as is. Combine all the ingredients into a Ziploc bag and give it a good massage with your hands to coat the chicken. Preheat oven to 400F. Place the chicken into a glass dish in a single layer and pour any excess marinade on top. Season with extra salt and pepper if desired. Place into oven, uncovered, and bake for 20 minutes. Baste chicken if desired. Cook for another 15-20 minutes or until chicken reaches 160F. Serve over rice if desired!

Helpful Links
Click here for Chef V’s website
Click here for the Queen of the Kitchen website
Click here for a Google list of Green Juice recipes

Workout of the Day
Boxing Fitness at Atlanta Sports Complex (Lisa & Emma)
Bikram Yoga at Still Hot Yoga (Lisa & Emma)

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Day 20: Our Last Big Marketing Trip

papaya1

We decided to do one last marketing trip to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies to get us through today and tomorrow. After our morning cycle class, Emma and I hit up the Dekalb Farmers Market, this incredible array of produce, spices, grains, canned goods, meats, and seafood sourced locally and internationally. When I tell you this place has everything, I really do mean EVERY THING! Like Australian micro-citrus finger limes and Kabocha squash and the biggest papayas you’ve ever seen!

And, we had a last-minute change of menu. One of Emma’s college friends who is also an actress here in Atlanta came over to help Emma tape an audition and joined us for dinner. She’s vegetarian, so we did another fish entree tonight with the Red Snapper we had picked up at the farmer’s market. Matthew fired up the grill again which was an added flavor bonus!

Speaking of Matthew, as we were talking at dinner last night about how we were so close to the end of this Challenge, he lamented that it was almost over and said he’d be up for continuing it indefinitely. That really took Emma and me by surprise! Matthew has been the one of us having to make the most changes, food-wise, over the past 3 weeks, and we just kinda figured he’d be more than ready to get back to his Diet Cokes and Kind Bars. But, no. He’s not just willing but actually wants to keep up the clean eating, throwing in some not-so-clean dinners out every now and then. If that’s the only result that comes out of this Challenge, I will most definitely view it as a raging success!

NOTE:

Be sure to check out Emma, the Queen of the Kitchen herself, on this week’s ParentingAces Radio Show!

Day 20 Menu

Pre-Breakfast: 8-12 ounces of water plus 8-12 ounces of Green Juice

Breakfast: Smoothie (for my husband: gluten-free toast with sliced apple)

Mid-morning snack: Organic Blueberries

Pre-Lunch: 4-6 ounces of Green Juice

Lunch: Emma’s Sauteed Chickpeas with Kale & Avocado

Afternoon snack: Asian Pear slices, almonds

Pre-Dinner: 4-6 ounces of Green Juice

Dinner: Grilled Red Snapper with Grilled Artichokes, Roasted Carrots, & Organic Tricolor Quinoa

Recipes

Grilled Red Snapper

Ingredients:

4 Red Snapper fillets
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Place fillets skin-side-down on a large piece of heavy-duty foil and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic, salt, & pepper. Top with rosemary sprigs. Grill (on the foil) 4-6 minutes or until cooked through. Enjoy!

Helpful Links
Click here for Chef V’s website
Click here for the Queen of the Kitchen website
Click here for a Google list of Green Juice recipes

Workout of the Day
Pace45 at Pace23 (Lisa & Emma)

Queen of the Kitchen Show Instagram Feed

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