This past week I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Chicago to attend a sports nutrition seminar and photo shoot for Optimum Nurtition. Neil and I have used O.N products for years. I love their products! In my dream house I would have a magical water fountain that spouted 100% Gold Standard Whey or Amino Energy. Many questions come to mind when you think ‘sponsored athlete.’ What does it mean to be a sponsored athlete? What sort of responsibilities must you uphold? Being sponsored by the leading supplement company in the world requires more than the occasional product plug via social media. Being a sponsored athlete is an important role. It is my role to educate and inspire others to live healthy fit lifestyles. I like to think of my role as a spokes person not a spokes model. I am more than a pretty face in an ad. I aim to positively effect the lives of others, which is definitely attainable working with Optimum Nutrition – True Strength.

While in Chicago I had the opportunity to work with Jay Jacobson, the brand advocacy manager at Optimum Nutrition. Jay has been involved in the sports nutrition industry for over 20 years. He began taking supplements way before it was trendy, back in the days when protein powder tasted like sandy puddle water. I could write an entire blog post about how profoundly this man has changed my life, but I will save that for another time. Lets just leave it at this, after meeting Mr. Jay Jacobson I felt like I had the tools and skills I needed to be a better person. The one thing he said that really resignated with me was this, “Erika I can teach you skills, I can’t teach you passion. You have the passion to do whatever you wish. You are only contained by the limits you set for yourself”. I sat back and thought, wow – I feel so powerful. I need to find a way to make others feel this empowered.

In order to achieve self betterment you must surround yourself with those who are better than you. You must watch these people and learn from them. This is why I applied for a sponsorship with Optimum Nutrition. I want to learn from people like Jay. I wanted to be directly allied with the best supplement company in the world. They have had the number 1 spot on the’s top 50 list for over 10 years. Securing the number 1 spot on the’s top 50 is not easy. The company delivers great tasting, scientifically formulated, result driven products. Their label’s are non assuming. The fonts are clear cut. They do not contain any persuasive images or subliminal messages, just a plain text in a plain color. The brand is basic and non assuming a trait I can definitely relate to.

What is True Strength? True Strength turns adversity into opportunity. It is a brand that leads the way, and inspires others. O.N is competitive, respected, tenacious and uniquely defined by the individual. The athletes endorsed by Optimum Nutrition  must connect with the ON brand, via emotional engagement and reliance. Athletes such as myself must connect with the consumer and articulate the brand’s essence at all times. Every day I try to live True Strength. I am constantly pushing outside my boundaries and seeking self improvement. I try to maintain an energetic, confident, genuine, dedicated edge at all times. While in Chicago I had the opportunity to spend time with the international marketing manger Kris Gerulski. Kris taught me the importance of brand essence. I want to exemplify True Strength, and even more importanly I want the people in my circle of influence to do the same. Pay it forward if you will.


“Tell me and I will forget, Teach me and I may remember, Involve me and I will learn” Benjamin Franklin.

While in Chicago I attend a three day sports nutrition seminar put on by Glanbia. Glanbia is the parent company to O.N, ABB and BSN – the top three supplement companies in the world. Jay instructed the three day course where I learned everything I could have ever wanted to know about supplementation, training and nutrition. I even had the opportunity to work with a few optimum employees and get them into the gym lifting weights. It all goes back to my first meeting with Jay. I want to make others feel powerful. I think I did just that.


The questions is, how can I apply the fundamentals of the Optimum Nutrition brand in my every day life? How can I take what I learned in Chicago and use it to accomplish my goals?

Here’s how… I will live the True Strength essence. I will keep in contact with influential people like Jay, and Kris. I am not a model. I am super awkward, modest and at times very shy. I am a spokes person. I am an ambassador. I will use my position as an Team Optimum Athlete to change the world. I want to empower others to live their True Strength.

I invite you to do the same. You are stronger than you think…

My O.N teammate Alicia Harris made some delightful brownie cookies a.k.a ‘Brookie’s’ for a few of the ladies to enjoy after their photo shoot. Here is a healthy version to enjoy post photo shoot or whenever your heart so desires. I made some for a recent family birthday party and they were a hit!

Brookie Recipe:


1 cup oat flour

4 egg whites

2 scoops Optimum Nutrition 100% whey extreme milk chocolate

1/2 cup stevia

1/2 tsp baking soda

8oz berry flavored organic baby food

3 tbsp baking cocoa

4 oz water


1 1/4 cup canned chickpeas, well rinsed and patted dry

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp PB2 or natural PB

1/4 cup honey

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup chocolate chips


1. Throw all of the brownie ingredients into the food processor and process until smooth. Pour batter into 24 silicone muffin molds or a greased muffin tin.

2. Put all of the cookie ingredients (except the chips) into the food processor and process until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.

3. Put 2 tbsp or 30g cookie batter on the brownie batter.

4. Bake at 305F for 20-25 minutes. I did 23 minutes.

MACROS: cal 199 – protein: 13g – carbs: 23g – fat: 7.4g

With love from the Trench kitchen,

xo Erika♥