Do you ever feel like you are being dragged down by things that surround you in life? Whether it's your job, workouts, your social circle, or other influences, what keeps you going? There are good days and there are bad days and it is important to remember why your goals are important to you through it all. Making sure to rest when your body is screaming at you to rest but knowing the difference between when your body needs rest and when you can continue to push yourself is an important lesson to learn. Studies have shown that cutting out enough time to rest will improve our ability to function mentally and physically exponentially. If the work week is a difficult time to sleep, catch up on the weekend. Think of the amount of sleep you get like a bank, and when you get low it is important to put some more sleep in the bank otherwise we overdraft, and no one enjoys that. We improve beyond measure when we push ourselves past our limits, to our breaking points and beyond. Knowing what our limits are and continuing to push through them creates new boundaries that prove we can become mentally and physically stronger and better adapted to life. Setting priorities is important; making a schedule for yourself is very important as well. There are 24 hours in a day and on average two hours of that is spent on social media. If those two hours are broken down, it's simple to realize that there was definitely a 30 minute window in there somewhere that could have been spent on getting through a quick workout or enough time to make one or two quick meals. This isn't easy, and it can definitely be tiring, but if becoming a healthier you is something that is important, it is valuable to look at the hours in a day and see where some time can be managed better to work towards a goal. Reaching a goal has tremendous value on our mental state and can be motivating to set new goals and continue to work towards them. If goal setting is hard for you, work backwards. Where do you want to be in a year, 6 months, 90 days, 30 days, and take note of a few realistic steps that can get you there. Habits take a few weeks to form, so try something new for 30 days and after that, you may have found a new routine that works for you and that you have become accustomed to.
Protein Powder is not just for people who want to build muscle and lift the most amount of weight possible, it is also a great snack to get you through your day and properly take care of your muscles.
After exercising there is an optimal 30 minute window to re-fuel your body to allow your muscles to repair themselves without the aid of breaking down your current muscle tissue. Muscle synthesis, or muscle growth, occurs after a workout and consuming carbohydrates and protein are the ideal nutrients to take in after any type of workout. Entering the catabolic state, which is the breakdown of molecules (in this case muscle tissue and essential fats) into smaller blocks, is not beneficial after a workout as your muscles are breaking down instead of building themselves up. Having a quick protein shake can prevent muscle breakdown and allow you to get the most out of your workout.
Whey protein is a great supplement for almost anyone. Due to the fact that it does have some lactose in it, it is not ideal for some types or vegetarians or vegans. Healthy options include hemp protein, pea protein, even egg white proteins. There are lactose free versions of whey protein including whey protein isolate.
Whey protein is a great way to build lean muscle. Whey includes all 9 essential amino acids and minimal fat and cholesterol. Great ways to include protein powders in your diet (including hemp and pea proteins) are:
In Yogurt or granola
Substitute for baking (try using a protein powder/flour ratio)
In your coffee
Whey protein is a great way to maintain cell growth, fuel your body, reduce inflammation, and reducing hunger because it is highly satiating. Always look for a good brand when you are purchasing whey protein. Check out your local Vitamin Shoppe or GNC to find some great products.
Start with Water:
Hydration helps regulate body temperature and flush out toxins. Starting with hydration helps to set yourself on track for the rest of the day. Drink one glass of water before eating breakfast. Water will help your metabolism and make you feel more full, something that's important after not eating for several hours overnight.
Eat your Protein:
Protein is in every cell in our bodies. Protein helps to build and repair cells and should be about 20-30% of our diet. Eggs and/or lean meats are a great way to nourish ourselves throughout the day and are excellent sources of protein as they contain essential amino acids (amino acids that must be ingested because our body cannot synthesize them). Protein is a crucial building block and helps restore our muscles after a workout and prepare them for the next one.
Getting and staying active is one of the best things we can do for long-lasting health. Cardiovascular exercise strengthens our hearts and increases lung capacity. Strength work, such as lifting weights builds our muscles and protects our bones. Skill training such as gymnastics or any activity requiring smaller muscle groups improves our coordination and balance. Being active for 20-30 minutes a day can rapidly improve how our body is functioning. Keeping track of the workouts we do is a great way to notice improvements and keep track of weaknesses. Try this quick workout to increase your heart-rate, then try it again in one month, three months, how have you improved? Have your push ups gotten easier? Can you get your hip crease below your knees on your squats to reach full depth?
Set a timer for 10 minutes and do As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP) within the 10 minutes
5 push ups
Try Something New
We can get into a routine that lacks excitement and spontaneity. Seeking something new can help us expand our comfort zone into something we may not have believed it could be and we can learn a lot about ourselves. Set your alarm early one day this week (give it one early morning chance) and go for a run or a walk if you usually exercise later in the day, or vice versa. Try making something completely different for dinner or walking a friends dog. Go to a new store or drive a new way home from work. All of these ideas are abilities to see your world differently and maybe find something you will thoroughly enjoy that you might never have known.
This one can be surprisingly easy. There are a ton of apps, articles, and daily emails you can get to help you achieve this. One app that I have found very useful is Duolingo when I am trying to learn a new language. Duolingo makes learning a language fun and quite simple, and very easy especially if used on a regular basis. Find something that you are interested in and subscribe to a newsletter. We can exercise as often as we'd like, just don't forget to strengthen your brain as well.
As serious as we may take ourselves or as rough of a day as we may be having, we can always find a way to laugh. Laughing can help our mentality as well as our body and soul in more ways than we know. Laughing can actually boost the immune system, help the body relax, relieve stress, helps us connect to others, and feel grounded. Laughter can be contagious, so laugh at yourself, host a game night, open up and share funny (or embarrassing) stories, or if nothing else get a joke sent to you on a daily basis. This is something so simple yet crucially life changing.
Life can be busy and we can often forget to take time for ourselves. I'm not necessarily suggesting going on vacation every week and forgetting responsibilities (I think that's called retirement, although we don't chose to forget our responsibilities at that point), unless your life lets you do that, but take a breathe. Take ten breaths, try twenty, now try breathing thirty times with your eyes closed, just not while you're driving. This is something called breathing and we all can take a few moments to slow our day down and refocus on what's most important. Put emotions aside, if a thought comes into your mind while you're breathing, let it flow in and flow out, focus on your breath. Practice makes this easier and one day we hope to be able to breathe and relax and maybe even meditate for a few moments. The most important part of this is giving yourself the time to start with ten slow breaths at some point during your day. Try it. Let me know how you feel.
It's near the end of the Crossfit Open and as the leaderboard is constantly shifting I'm reflecting on where I was a year ago compared to where I am now. It is important to evaluate our own diets, nutrition, fitness routine and make sure we take all the variables into consideration when looking for reasons of why we may or may not be reaching our goals. I am constantly taking pictures and videos of the movements I do for coaching and training purposes so I am able to monitor my growth. I am able to see that I am a lot happier with where I am physically than where I was last year and this leads me to this blog.
Nutrition plays such an important role in achieving any fitness goal, eighty percent to be exact, yes, eighty percent of reaching any fitness goal is from nutrition. I am currently a young female who most people believe can eat whatever I want and because of how I train I should be able to burn it off, right? Wrong. I have played around with my diet for years trying to find what works and what doesn't only to find out that there isn't one solution because nutrition is not a destination, it is a constantly changing journey that needs to be monitored correctly and adjusted accordingly.
The hardest part for me was combining nutrition with my career, which was very demanding and provided minimal time to eat properly for the training and goals I had set for myself. One thing I learned that helped me go from day to day is that a cheat meal doesn't have to turn into a cheat day. One bad meal will not alter your path if you don't let it and tracking your macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) will help keep you on track no matter what slip ups you may have. No one is perfect and we all run into situations that aren't ideal but eating is better than going hungry. I know I have to fuel my body any chance I get and there are always options no matter where I am, but it is up to me to make the right choice. Choosing to eat according to your fitness goals time after time does take time, remember your are building a habit and that realistically takes about thirty days, so be patient. I have my fair share of cheat meals (I'm a sucker for Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream) and that doesn't mean that my fitness suffers, that my mentality changes, or that I feel bad about my choices because I make plenty of good choices and I will never claim to be perfect. I am in this for the long run and I know that watching my nutrition and moving forward after I have a cheat meal will give me long lasting results.
This time last year I was bulking up for weightlifting, which was something I had never tried before and to my demise it didn't work out so well. I have goals to be the best all around athlete I can be and I learned that being at a heavier weight doesn't relate to lifting more weight; complex movements like muscle ups or handstand walks become a whole lot harder. This past year of training has consisted of learning how much of each macronutrient I need to eat on a daily basis and making efforts to achieve that, as well as attacking my weaknesses with a positive mentality and bringing a high level of intensity for the duration of any workout.
I do at times struggle with the mental aspect of Crossfit and being able to be as intense and focused as I can be every single day; having the right mentality has been a real challenge for me and I'm realizing how important being mentally strong is in order to achieve my goals. There are days where I keep myself from giving 100% and where I feel like I don't want to see the inside of a gym, however, I know that Crossfit is my passion and once I make it to the gym I'm determined to get through my programming for the day as best as I can. I don't train every day out of the year and for me personally it's because I need a mental break. I've learned to listen to my body on a whole different level this year and for me to maintain a strong level of intensity I know what I need to do on my off days.
Fueling my body properly, making sure I get enough rest, and finding a fun activity outside of the gym such as walking my dogs, cooking, or long-boarding helps me restore my mind and body. I've learned the reward of finding a weakness and working through it, changing it from a weakness to a strength so it doesn't have to mentally or physically crush me. I chase the feeling of satisfaction and rarely am I satisfied. I enjoy the process of becoming better and look for new ways of achieving success. I without a doubt feel at times like my goals are too far fetched and I know several people who share this feeling. I know my mentality is a big weakness for me as it acts like a roadblock sometimes... Physically, nothing will stop me.
We hear about how healthy eating is a great choice, how they don't have to be expensive, how we are supposed to buy local, eat more kale, but how many people know when to eat, how much to eat, and how many people really want to eat kale? We are here to explain some of they why so maybe you can understand a bit more in depth of why healthy eating, which we define not only as eating more fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and some carbohydrates, but also the timing around when you're eating can help you with all your life goals. Yes, all of them.
To kick this off let's start with the timing around meals. Many people that I have worked with prefer not to eat prior to a workout, and I used to be the same way. When I tell people to eat before a workout, it's not because I enjoy watching them be sick, or complain that they are going to be sick, it's because the body can adapt to digesting food before and/or during a work out; it will come down to trial and error for what each individual can eat before a workout. If working out in the morning is a good time for you then I highly recommend trying a protein shake to get some carbohydrates and protein, which will fuel your muscles, give you necessary energy, and liquids are easier to digest than solid food. Your metabolism will be slower in the morning because of the fast between dinner and your first meal and therefore finding foods that are easier to digest is part of the solution. Our bodies main source of fuel are carbohydrates and is important to have enough energy in our body to maximize the effectiveness of any workout. Food should be consumed every two to three hours to maintain adequate blood sugar levels throughout the body as well as maintaining the metabolism. If our bodies are getting enough nutrients on a consistent basis throughout the day we will have an increased energy level, properly absorb the nutrients within our foods, and be able to flush out toxins more effectively, yes this includes drinking water throughout the day as well. Having too many stored carbohydrates can lead to an excess of fat storage, and if we have too little we can begin to break down muscle tissues, which isn't helpful for anyones fitness and nutrition goals. Quick fix: keep the higher glycemic foods, the foods high in starch (such as bread, cereal, granola, even some fruits) to earlier in the day, and fill up on lean proteins, vegetables, and healthy fats like avocados in the afternoons and evenings.
Nutrition plays a huge role in all aspects of our life, from mental health to physical health and everything in between. Our brains need to properly function throughout the day so we can be successful in our careers and adapt to whatever life throws at us. Consuming foods like blueberries, broccoli, whole grains, chicken, and omega 3's from fish, improve brain function and help to prevent the risk of strokes and diseases such as Alzheimer's. Maintaining a healthy blood sugar level from eating every few hours can help with cognitive brain function, something that we could all benefit from!
Taking baby steps towards embarking on a nutrition journey can be hard, but we are here to help. Anything is better than nothing and building habits takes time, changing behaviors takes time, but once the journey is started anything is possible. If you have more questions feel free to contact us today. Stay hungry and stay patient.
The holidays are here and if there's one thing that's easy to let go of, it's nutrition. We understand no one is perfect but we have some tips that may help you decide to stay on track towards your fitness and nutrition goals!
-Apple cider vinegar for wine
-Avocado for butter
-Apple Sauce for Sugar
-Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream
-Black Beans/Coconut Flour/Almond Flour for regular Flour
-Cauliflower for Mashed Potatoes
-Vegetable Purée for Sauce
-Spaghetti Squash for pasta
-Almond Milk/Coconut Milk for Milk/Heavy Cream
-Find a buddy to hold you accountable and communicate throughout the day
-Set alarms on your phone with reasons of why your nutrition and fitness goals are important
-Stay hydrated, water helps to flush out toxins
-Set an alarm on your phone for when it is time to wind down at night, lack of sleep causes stress which results in weight gain and lack of brain function
-Have fun, enjoy friends and family, and find time to relax, laughing is one of the best things we can do for our mental health
-Remember to portion your plate, small portions to start, you can always go back for seconds, but our brains need time to realize we are full.
This is a very simple recipe and offers lots of room for variety. Let's be honest. All these recipes will be pretty simple, thats part of what we do here. You will know exactly what you're eating and all of the ingredients are nutrients that will help you get closer towards achieving your goals. Yes, we are that simple. Carrying on...
Butter-flying chicken is a very simple process that allows the chicken to cook equally on both the thick and thin side, as well as a great way to stuff chicken . Start with the breast on the cutting board and slice the chicken breast horizontally almost all the way to the other side. Open the chicken like a book, this is when you can put the chicken into a plastic bag or in between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound the meat, starting from the inside until it is about 1/4-1/8" thick.
Once the meat is even, season with your choice of seasonings, including salt and pepper. Stuff the chicken with your desired filler, I used spinach, mushrooms, and shaved almonds. Once the chicken is stuffed, be sure to season the outside of the meat as well, then, close the chicken breast and if desired, tie with butchers twine. Bake chicken at a 375F oven for 45-60 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165F and the juices run clear. Pull the chicken out and let rest 20 minutes before serving, letting meat rest keeps it moist and flavorful prior to cutting into it. I like to serve this chicken with quinoa and a sweet pea pesto, as quinoa has 3 blocks of carbs per serving and sweet pea pesto has less than 1 block of carbohydrates per serving and is full of nutrients.
I hope you enjoy this one!
Today’s meal is wonderful. With a simple way to portion protein, fats, and carbohydrates you can’t go wrong with this one, I mean, yummy balls! Come on!
The quinoa I cooked prior to and kept at room temperature, with your quinoa use a 2:1 liquid:quinoa and experiment ! Always experiment! Use broth and seasonings or water or stock or even wine… why not!
Portioning meatballs can be tough so I use a yellow disher, which leaves it easy to measure the portions. A full yellow scoop is 0.2 Cups, so about 3 meatballs is one portion!
A tip for sweet potato mash is to add about 1T of maple syrup per three large mashed sweet potatoes and then salt to taste. This adds a wonderful flavor but is not overpowering and still healthy.
Finally, seasonal vegetables! There are so many options for this, roasting, boiling, sautéing, but something that I enjoy is to make purees out of whatever is available, like a broccoli puree, cabbage puree, beet puree, as it will add a nice color to any dish as well as a different texture than the typical vegetables that are served so often. Try it out and let me know what you think! I did boiled vegetables as they are easier for me to digest as well as easy to grab and go for a quick snack! Enjoy!