Category Archives: Health

My first low carb day, aka I would commit murder for a bite of French bread

I mentioned in my last post that I’d be eating low-carb on my rest days during my cut, and Friday was my first low carb day of the week. Here’s how it went:

8 a.m.
Bacon, eggs, avocado, veggies. Yay bacon!

10 a.m.
I ate so much fat for breakfast I’m not even hungry for my snack!

Noon
I’m STILL not hungry, but I guess I’ll try and force my delicious salad down!

2 p.m.
I feel great! Why do people even complain about eating low carb?

4 p.m.:

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My coach, who recently did a pretty intense cut, warned me to save my carbs for the end of the day and I’m SO GLAD SHE DID. My end-of-the-day carb treat was one of the delicious peaches I brought home from the farmer’s market this week. I ate it while watching an outdoor concert, and the sounds I made while eating it made the people around me really uncomfortable.

 

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Actual footage of me in my post-peach afterglow

My coach also warned me that I’d be super hungry the next day, which turned out to be absolutely true. It probably didn’t help that I did two workouts on Saturday,then went to a local coffee shop where they kept talking about all the delicious baked goods they’re going to be offering next week. I was like SOUNDS GOOD GUYS, LET ME KNOW HOW THEY TASTE, and cried into my cold brew.

Anyway, at the end of week one I’m only down 1.5 lbs, but more importantly I’m feeling awesome during my workouts and PRd both my back squat and split jerk last week, at 200 lbs and 145 lbs, respectively. I took some before photos on Sunday, which was a REAL TREAT. You know the Friends episode where Monica and Chandler are trying to take engagement photos and Chandler has the worst photo smile in the world?

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It’s a lot like that, but instead of an awful smile I look I like someone just punched me in the stomach and then told me Forensic Files was removed from Netflix FOREVER. #restingbitchfacealways

For this week’s meal prep, I baked a big pan of chicken, bell peppers and onions (I used this recipe).

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I also threw  pork loin in the crock pot with 1/4 cup of water and let it cook for about 6 hours. YOU GUYS. I could have eaten the entire pile in one sitting:

Pork.jpgI can’t reiterate enough how stupid easy this week’s prep was. Between cutting the veggies and then putting it all into containers once it had cooled, it was about 15 minutes of actual work. And with that 15 minutes of prep work I’ll be able to build healthy meals all week: chicken tacos, chicken salads, pork with rice and veggies, pork tacos, pork salads, pork/egg/veggie scrambles I’M PRETTY SURE YOU GET THE IDEA.

Do you meal prep? If you do, tell me what you made this week …

Operation: Get Lean

I posted on Instagram earlier this week about how I’m doing a three-week cut to try and lean out a little and my friend Sarah peer pressured me into blogging about it. So if this post sucks, you can blame her.

First off, a little background: my friends Abigail and Carolyn (hi, guys!) came to visit me at the end of June, and we had a great time. I dragged them around to my favorite local restaurants, and we ate lots of food and drank lots of cocktails. And then the Fourth of July rolled around, and I ate lots of food and drank lots of cocktails. And then my birthday happened, and I ate lots of food and drank lots of cocktails.

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Not surprisingly, my monthlong trip to Sangria Town, Population: Me did a bit of damage scale-wise – I usually weigh around 132, and I weighed 137 Monday morning. I’ve been wanting to get leaner for a few months now, so I figured this was the perfect time to adjust my macros and see where I wind up! I don’t really have a specific end weight in mind: I’m going to weigh myself regularly because I like data, but mostly I’m going to go with how I feel during my workouts.  (And yes, I will take before/after photos and post them here at the end.)

My “normal” macro breakdown is:
Carbs: 180g
Protein: 130g
Fat: 60g
1800-1900 cals/day

The breakdown I’m using for my cut is:
Carbs: 150g
Protein: 140g
Fat: 50g
1550 cals/day

On rest days, my fat goes up to 70g and my carbs go down to 35g. You read that right. Thirty-five. THREE-FIVE. I apologize in advance for the things that will come out of my mouth on my rest days.

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It’s alarming that all the relevant gifs I’m finding to depict my life are from Toddlers & Tiaras.

And speaking about inappropriate things coming out of my mouth, we’re about to take a sharp turn into Rants-ville, but I feel like it needs to be said: You wouldn’t believe how many people feel inclined to tell me their opinions about how female bodies should look the second I tell them I coach CrossFit.  So it came as no surprise that many of the people I’ve told about my little cut experiment have felt the need to weigh in with their two cents on my body composition goals. I get a lot of, “But you don’t NEED to lose weight!” and “Be careful, or you’ll start looking like a man!” (If you say that to me, you risk getting punched in the throat which will hurt extra bad on account of my ULTRA MASCULINE ARM MUSCLES.) One person was like, “If you think YOU’RE fat, you must think I’m huge!”

So, here’s the thing: I DON’T THINK I’M FAT. Saying I want to get leaner does not mean I dislike my body. Or that I dislike YOUR body if you’re built differently than I am. My primary goal is getting better at my sport, which involves lots of pull ups and muscle ups and handstands and push ups, which are easier to do if your body has enough fat to support performance but not weigh you down excessively. I do OK at these movements with my “normal” bodyweight, and I’d like to see if I’m better at them if I’m a little leaner. Saying I want to get leaner is not a commentary on how I feel anybody else’s body should look. It’s me wanting to feel less shitty after doing ring dips. END OF STORY.

(This post went downhill fast. #blamesarah)

Anyway, I’m going to be primarily posting about this over on Instagram, but I’ll try and check in here along the way as well.

CrossFit competition results and my Level 1 experience

The last time I blogged, I was freaking out about my upcoming CrossFit competition. I’m happy to report that I didn’t get made into a gym fail meme! (That I know of …)

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I wound up taking second place in the competition, which I was super happy with. However, I really need to learn to control my competition nerves – the first event was to establish a max for a snatch complex, and in the video my friend took you can totally see my arms shaking! It was super frustrating to know that I could have gotten at least 10 lbs more on my lift if my arms weren’t wobbling around like limp noodles. If you have any suggestions for me, I’ll gladly accept them!

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The WOD that destroyed my soul – wall balls and unbroken double unders.

In other news, I’m officially a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer! In order to coach at a CrossFit affiliate,  you have to attend a two-day seminar and pass a test at the end of it every five years. My coaches were due to re-take the seminar, and they were generous enough to sponsor myself and a fellow athlete to come with them! We all had a ton of fun and learned a lot. We had a bit of a “holy shit” moment when we walked in and realized that one of our seminar staff members was Adrian “Boz” Bozman, the head judge of the CrossFit games.

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Our gym crew with the Level 1 Seminar Staff

The two days were split up into lectures and breakout sessions, during which we practiced the nine foundational movements and got feedback on our form from the seminar staff <– This was the highlight of the weekend for me, and I came home with plenty of things to work on. (Oh, and Boz totally complimented my ring dips, NBD.) We also did a big group workout together each day, which was a lot of fun. Participants ranged from longtime coaches to beginners – one couple taking the seminar had only been doing CrossFit for a week!

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The CrossFit Northern Limits gang post-WOD on Day 1 – thrusters and burpees! My least and most favorite movements.

At the end of the first day, the staff brought in beer and invited the participants to stick around and chat with them. And THIS is what I love so much about CrossFit – even the most elite athletes are super humble and friendly. They have more power in one ab than I have in my whole body, but they are so nice that I wasn’t afraid to go up to them and ask questions, or in the case of Pat Barber, tell him he is Charlie Day’s doppelganger. (OK, that one was the product of drinking a beer right after finishing a workout.)

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Me, every time one of the staff members talked to me.

The weekend concluded with an exam. I had heard from past participants that the exam was easy, but that wasn’t my experience at all (and I’m a good test taker). I would HIGHLY recommend reading the study guide they send you when you sign up, as a lot of the answers weren’t actually covered during the seminar. Our staff didn’t really make it obvious what would/wouldn’t appear on the test, and though it made the test a bit tougher I think it’s better to make sure people know all the material instead of just paying attention to what they think they’ll be held accountable for knowing.

ANYWAY, we had to wait a week to receive our results and I kept having nightmares that I failed and had to stand up in front of all of our gym members and tell them I didn’t pass. (Anxiety! It’s fun!) Last Friday, I got the email telling me that I passed, which means I spent a week freaking out about nothing. Which is basically how I spend 90% of my life, so yeah.

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As for what’s next, I’m going to shadow my coaches for the next six weeks, and then  transition into coaching classes on my own. And here’s what that will look like:

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Seriously though, I’m so excited for this next chapter in my fitness journey. If you have questions about my Level 1 experience, feel free to ask!

 

Meal Prep Monday: Slow cooker turkey chili and jalapeno honey cornbread muffins

Good morning! I’m still in my pajamas enjoying my coffee, as I have the day off for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. I spent some time this morning reading his letter from Birmingham jail. It took me a while, since I had to stop every 30 seconds to scream into a pillow. How are we still fighting these same issues over 50 years later? I don’t know about you, but for me January 20 is going to involve sweat pants, beer, and ugly crying.

Actually, it WON’T involve beer because I have a CrossFit competition the next day and I’d like to minimize the chances of me throwing up in front of a crowd. (<– Please admire my not-at-all-subtle subject changing skills.) I’m pretty nervous, since it’s only my second individual competition – I usually do them with a partner, which is way less scary to me. It’s also my first “RX” division competition. (Most CrossFit competitions have two divisions: scaled and RX. The RX division involves heavier weight loads and more advanced movements like handstand push ups, toes to bar, chest to bar pull ups, and whatever other evil movements the event planners can think of!) I just keep reminding myself that the worst that can happen is that all the other people finish before me and then everyone in the building stares at me while I struggle to complete the workout and then a few days later I find out that somebody was taking video and now I’m a sad gym fail meme.

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Welcome to my mind. It’s terrible here.

Anyway, I’ve been pretty good about keeping my nutrition dialed in since Christmas, although I did eat a slab of German chocolate cake the size of my head at a birthday celebration at work on Friday. It tasted really good, but I spent the rest of the day wanting to unzip my pants and take a nap under my desk, which wasn’t the greatest.

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For my meal prep this week I made a huge batch of this slow cooker turkey chili. It’s really good topped with plain Greek yogurt and a little cheese,  but you could also roll it up in tortillas with some avocado to make tacos or burritos, plop it on top of a bowl of greens and eat it as a salad, or even use it to make stuffed peppers.

And since chili is basically useless if you don’t eat it with cornbread, I made some cornbread muffins to go with it. I was going to use a box mix until I looked at the macros and HOLY SUGAR, that shit is not great for you. I made them myself instead, using Greek yogurt and decreasing the amount of oil. I also added finely diced jalapenos to the batter, and these babies are SO good eaten warm with a little butter and raw honey.Here’s the recipe for those:

Greek Yogurt Jalapeno Honey Corn Bread Muffins
Ingredients:
1 egg
8 oz plain Greek yogurt (I used Fage 2%)
1/2 cup milk
3T oil
1T raw honey
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 large jalapeno, seeded and finely diced

Method:
Preheat oven to 425.

Mix together wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients, then add to the wet. Whisk until just combined. Add the jalapeno.

Grease a muffin tin, and fill the cups 3/4 full with the batter. (I wanted my muffins a little larger, so I only got 11). Bake for 12-14 minutes – you’ll know they’re done when the tops begin to brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

They’re SUPER tasty, and the calories/macros are WAY better than the boxed stuff:

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Of course, the macros will vary slightly depending on the brands you use!

Stop what you’re doing and make them right now!

 

Meal Prep Monday: Chicken curry + coconut rice

Happy Monday! Our weather over the past week has been insane. It started out gorgeous on Tuesday and Wednesday, with over a foot of fresh powder:

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And then it got ridiculously cold (like, negative degrees cold), then snowed some more, and then poured rain all weekend. The storm drains are all blocked up with snow so the roads have flooded on top of the packed snow/ice, so driving around town right now is like a real-life version of the winter level of MarioKart. I may start carrying a stash of banana peels around with me so I can throw them out the window in front of tailgaters.

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Me on day one of the storm.

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Me right now.

Anyway, on to this week’s Meal Prep Monday! If you’re new to meal prep, you can read about my meal prep method here.

This weather has me craving warm, rich comfort food, so for this week’s lunches I decided to prep coconut rice and chicken curry. The idea for this came from my coach, who told me she adds coconut milk to her rice to make it creamy and delicious and I was like YES I MUST TRY THIS.

To make the rice, I just replaced half the water with coconut milk and cooked it like usual. I co-hosted a baby shower on Sunday and knew I wouldn’t feel like coming home and slaving over homemade curry, so I kept it super simple and used this simmer sauce:

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I try not to eat too many jarred sauces because they tend to be really high in sugar and artificial ingredients, but the ingredient list for this isn’t too terrible: Onion, Water, Tomato, Tomato Puree, Coconut Cream, Tomato Paste, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Spices (Including Turmeric), Lemon Juice from Concentrate, Salt, Sugar, Garlic, Ginger, Gum Arabic, Xanthan Gum, and Carrageenan.

I just sauteed some onions,  mushrooms, and chicken in a little olive oil, then threw in this sauce once the chicken was cooked through and simmered it on low for 15 minutes. It tastes AMAZING with the rice – I’m super excited to eat it for lunch next week.

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Since I’ll be eating the same lunch throughout the week, dinners will have a bit more variety: I plan to make Pioneer Woman’s Sausage, Potato, and Kale soup (using turkey sausage) as well as PaleOMG’s slow cooker Barbacoa (which I will likely wind up throwing over the coconut rice since I’m not actually Paleo). Both of these make enough to provide ample leftovers, so I’ll be cooking a grand total of two days this week. Which means I can spend more time huddled in front of the wood stove trying not to freeze.

What are you prepping this week?

Meal Prep Monday!

I put all my Christmas decorations away yesterday and now my house looks so sad and boring. But do you know what is NOT sad and boring? Meal prep! OK it’s kind of boring but it will definitely make you happy to have delicious and healthy food at your fingertips every time you get hungry during the week.

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LIES! You totally got time fo that.

Meal prep has 100% changed my nutrition game. I didn’t start to see real changes in my body until I started paying more attention to my food, and the only way I’m able to stay on track with my nutrition is to take some time on the weekend to prep healthy meals for the week ahead. I’ve been thinking of starting a Meal Prep Monday feature where I tell you what I’ve prepped for the week, and I figure the new year is probably a good time to finally kick it off! I love getting new meal ideas from bloggers so I don’t get bored, so hopefully this will help you think of some different ideas to try.

I should note that I subscribe to what I call a “flexible meal prep” philosophy. Some people find it easier to prep and eat the same meals/snacks every day of the week. If I ate the same meal every day I would go crazy by day 2, so what I like to do is make a big batch of a healthy protein and/or carbs on Sundays and use it in a bunch of different meals throughout the week. Sometimes I do chicken and sweet potatoes, other weeks I’ll do ground beef and rice, etc.

If you’re new to food prepping and are feeling lost, here’s a bit about my method: I do my grocery shopping on Saturdays and my prep on Sundays. On Friday evenings, I sit down and make my shopping list for the next week. My first step is figuring out what I want to prep for lunches for the week. I work full time, so it has to be something that’s easily re-heatable and also portable in case I have to take it to work with me. Then I take the extra step of entering my lunches into MyFitnessPal for the next week. After that, I add my breakfasts to MyFitnessPal. I basically alternate between three breakfasts (protein pancakes, oatmeal with egg whites, and Kodiak Cakes with eggs), so this step is really easy.

After that’s done, I’m able to look at my macros for each day and see what I’m short on so I can plan for dinners. This sometimes involves what I call “Macro Tetris.” If I’m high on carbs one day, maybe I’ll switch my breakfast from oatmeal to protein pancakes. Or maybe I’ll plan a dinner of chicken thighs and veggies. If I’m low on carbs, I’ll plan a dinner that involves rice or pasta. It sounds high maintenance, but once you do it for a few weeks it really takes no time at all. The key is to find a lineup of recipes you love, and then cycle through them so you never get bored.

If you’re just getting started and all that is giving you a panic attack, then just start by prepping some healthy food on Sundays so that you don’t find yourself in the McDonald’s drive through at lunchtime or after work.

One of the easiest things to prep is chicken. If you have a slow cooker, just dump some chicken breasts in there with salt/pepper and a little bit of water or chicken stock (or salsa if you’re feeling fancy!) and let it go for 6 hours or so until you can shred it. Then you have a giant pile of chicken you can use for so many things throughout the week. Here are some of my faves:

Chicken burrito bowls
I start with cauliflower rice/crumbles (available in most grocery stores, including Walmart), then top with chicken, avocado, onion, plain Greek yogurt, cherry tomatoes, salsa, and sometimes cheese if I have enough fats 🙂 I’ll usually dump whatever greens I have in my fridge on top as well!

Healthy chicken salad

Avocado chicken salad
Mix shredded chicken with 1/2 an avocado and season with salt and pepper. I’ll eat this as a sandwich on whole wheat bread, or roll it up in a FlatOut wrap.

Another thing I like to prep are snacks. Sometimes I’ll hard boil a dozen eggs to have on hand, or just pre-portion Greek yogurt so I can grab it and go. It doesn’t have to be hard!

For lunches this week, I made a double batch of Juli Bauer’s Pizza Spaghetti Pie.

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You guys, this recipe is SO AMAZING. I know I said I get bored eating the same thing multiple days in a row, but this is one recipe I look forward to eating for multiple days. I modify the recipe just a tad by adding mushrooms to the sausage and onion, and sprinkling a little Parmesan on top for the last 15 minutes of baking. It’s one of those recipes that seems to get even tastier re-heated, making it a perfect make-ahead meal.

Do you have any favorite food prep meals/recipe? Let me know!

Oh hey there

I’ve had the last four days off of work and it has been glorious. We were supposed to go to the coast, but shit happened and instead I spent 96 hours hanging around my house doing WHATEVER I WANTED. Sleep in until 8 a.m.? Sure! Re-watch Grey’s Anatomy (the good seasons) for the nine thousandth time? Come here to me, Mark Sloan. Mid-morning ceramics painting? YES PLEASE.

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Via Instagram

This super cute ceramics painting place opened in town recently, and I finally got around to going a few weeks ago. Naturally, I am now totally obsessed and want to paint all the things. It reminds me of when I discovered paint by numbers in third grade and realized I had finally found an artistic outlet for people with zero talent. This is basically the same thing – I just Google mugs I like and then painstakingly copy them down to the last detail. (SPOILER ALERT everybody I know is getting mugs for Christmas.)

Anyway, in between ceramics and Grey’s Anatomy, I did a lot of catching up on blogs and realized I kind of miss blogging … Out of curiosity I looked back at my last post, and it was back when I first started to count macros so I figured I’d give a little update on that.

It’s been 8 months (!) since I started my macro-based nutrition plan, and I still love it. It’s been super easy to stick to, probably because I get to eat a ton of food and it doesn’t require cutting out certain foods or drinking special shakes or anything like that. Every Saturday I make a meal plan/grocery list, then enter my meals for the coming week into MyFitnessPal (I start with dinners and then adjust my breakfasts and lunches accordingly to meet my daily macro/calorie goals). Then it’s as easy as just eating what’s already programmed in my app every day. Of course stuff comes up (or I just feel like having two beers and a cheeseburger for dinner), and when that happens I just get back on track the next day. I’ve only lost like 8 lbs since February, but I can see a huge difference in my muscle tone:

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(I should also note that I’m still doing CrossFit 5-6 times per week.) If you’re interested in learning more about counting macros, let me know in the comments and I can post about tips and tricks that I use to make it really easy to stick to my plan. I’ll leave you with a little 100-calorie snack I made up today because I was craving something pumpkin-spicey:

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Pumpkin Spice Pudding

Mix the following together:
4 oz plain Greek yogurt (I used nonfat Fage)
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp pure maple syrup
Pinch of pumpkin pie spice
Optional: pinch of stevia (makes it extra sweet!)

Nutritional info: 102 cals/13g carbs/0g fat/13g protein