On The Consummate Athlete Podcast, my husband Peter Glassford and I talk all about how to have an all-around active and adventurous lifestyle. And oh boy, do we try to practice what we preach! While I’m no longer chasing the dream of being an elite cyclist, I’m more active now that I was at my spin-heavy zenith a decade ago. To give you a taste, in the last month I finished a 200-hour yoga teacher training, speed-hiked 80 kilometers of what’s been called the most technical trail in Ontario, run a few dozen miles on trails and on road, lifted weights, hit the pool for some laps, and jumped into the three-day Killington Stage Race for my first dose of racing on the road in eight years.
And that’s a pretty tame month of activity, on top of my day-to-day work schedule.
When it comes to maintaining a super-active lifestyle, staying healthy is key. Because of that, there are three habits I never break: I’m crazy about getting enough sleep, I do the same morning core and yoga routine every. single. day., and most importantly, I make sure that my nutrition is on point.
That doesn’t mean that my nutrition is always perfect—when I was writing the cycling nutrition book Fuel Your Ride, the best advice I got was to aim for somewhere in the 80-90 percent clean food range, and have fun with the other 20-10 percent.
The more elite you’re hoping to make your performance, the higher the percentage of food you’re consuming should fall in that clean category. And we know generally what clean eating means: Lots of veggies, clean sources of protein, healthy fats, a wide variety of fruits, and a focus on real, unprocessed foods. If you can’t pronounce something on the nutrition label, put it back on the shelf.
You might have noticed that in that list of habits I don’t break, there are no supplements listed. That’s because as a rule, I prefer to get my vitamins and minerals from whole food sources, and I find that the more I rely on whole foods, the better I feel. But still, it can be hard to sneak in enough B12, iron, or even antioxidants on more hectic days. As a former vegan, I had tried spirulina supplements in the past, but the taste and odor of the dried powders wasn’t great. When I heard about SP2 being a tasteless and odorless form of the superfood, I was skeptical. But I was intrigued—with more iron than spinach, a full range of B vitamins, and almost 5 grams of protein per serving, it packs a massive nutritional punch. And you can’t beat when something ethically sourced, ecologically friendly and GMO-free will show up to your front door with a full month’s supply. So, I tried it out.
The small cubes of SP2 are essentially in an ice cube tray, and once a day, I find a way to pop one out and mix it into something I’m already eating. No muss, no fuss—just a simple way to deliver more nutrients than a multivitamin, all readily bio-available. I originally assumed that it was a smoothie addition, but since I don’t really do ‘daily smoothies,’ I needed to get creative. Luckily, since it is odorless and tasteless, it can go into anything sweet or savory—I just tried to keep it raw, so anything that avoiding cooking was on the table.
A few key ways I’ve tried to mix it up, with zero added work required:
I’d be lying if I said the results were miraculous—but I did notice an uptake in my daily energy, especially when I’d have the spirulina during my normal afternoon lag time. For anyone relying on a multivitamin or a handful of supplements to make their daily quota, I really do think most pills can be swapped out for a single serving of SP2, and it makes a simple addition to any post-workout recovery shake or meal. As someone who knows the value of eating clean, but still loves "junk food” on a regular basis, I think having such a potent source of micro and macro-nutrients in an easy-to-eat package is a fantastic way of tipping the needle on your healthy eating percentage more towards the 90 percent clean side of things.
My partner-in-crime/podcast co-host/husband and I have a packed couple of months: Racing crits on the road, mountain bike nationals, clinics we’re hosting, and a lead-in to a 50KM trail race plus an attempt at a 50-mile fastest known time on that same trail we speed-hiked. So there’s no slowing down anytime soon—which means my daily nutrition is going to stay as clean as possible. Wish us luck—and follow along on our adventures on Twitter or Instagram by following @MollyJHurford.
Molly Hurford is a runner, cyclist and health & fitness journalist, running her site TheOutdoorEdit.com as well as The Consummate Athlete Podcast, which she co-hosts with her equally active husband. When they aren't on the trails, she teaches yoga and works to get more women and girls out riding bikes and having fun outside! Follow her adventures on Instagram and Twitter @mollyjhurford