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Recovery Day – Hitting the Hay

When we were kids we hated sleep. Now, sleep is a luxury.

A lot of top-level CrossFit athletes track their sleep. The elite seek to maximize their bodies’ performance, i.e. they must sleep to completely recover before their next arduous list of work.

However, that begs the question — should we be tracking our sleep?

The CrossFit Journal argues that because “exercise, nutrition, and sleep are three elements of fitness”, we should. However, for the average Jane & Joe, “tracking” sleep doesn’t have to be buying a $100 app — it could just be going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.

It’s been argued and well documented, almost widely assumed, that the sweet spot for adequate sleep is around 7-8 hours a night. Sleeping more or less than that has various effects on different types of people. Not all good, not all bad.

Healthy sleep habits include not eating 3 hours before bed (digestion can keep the body awake), putting away your electronics (seriously!), and maintaining a routine before bed. By making your body and mind relaxed, you’re setting yourself up for waking up satisfied the next morning.

You’re busy, we get it. You have work, a kid, maybe both, but taking care of yourself should be a priority. Drink your tea, go to bed early, and hit the hay.

Research from Martin Rawls-Meehan

*Credit Nikita Tiffany. Follow @niki.eats for more cool food action!

Recovery Day – Be about ‘YOU’ in the New Year!

“New year, new me!” 

You hear this phase over and over again as the year comes to a close — but how true is that? Are you really about to do a 180 and completely change the way you do things?

Probably not. 

There’s no problem being motivated and wanting to change your current situation. In fact, it’s a great way to get you rolling and to change a couple things about your life you’ve been meaning to fix. For example, my resolution is to focus more on my health and fitness goals since I strayed away from them during the later part of this year. Specifically, it’s to track my macros and go to the gym 5x a week. To me, that’s pretty doable.  

But does that mean come January 1st, I’m going to go crazy, do crossfit 2x a day, and only eat Paleo? 

No. That’s neither sustainable nor enjoyable for me. In fact, it’s completely unreasonable. 

Making an extreme change is almost pointless. The chances of sticking to something that crazy are slim to none. There will be no real change that will occur if I have one foot out the door before I’ve even started. 

Focus on something small, and change it. We want ACTUAL changes here, not something that you promise doing January 1st but will fall off the wagon on the 2nd. Maybe give up soda for a little bit. Or stop eating fast food. Those two options aren’t too extreme, but they will keep you healthier. 

In short, motivate yourself, but be realistic. There are plenty of chances to get back on track. New Years isn’t your only option to make an impact on your own life. 

*Credit Nikita Tiffany. Follow @niki.eats for more cool food action!

Recovery Day – Happy Holidays

The Holidays are in full swing, so stop looking at your food as either “good” or “bad” for you, and just eat. 

I’m not going to tell you to eat differently on Christmas. Nobody wants to miss out on the pecan pie or to skip the extra cheesy mashed potatoes. At this point, you’re well aware of what fuels you and what doesn’t. 

But that’s not the point. The point of the holidays is to celebrate what you believe in, your family, and the experiences of the past year. 

In a one-to-two day celebration, what will you lose? Even if you eat a thousand calories more, you’re not going to completely undermine your health. It’s okay to take a break from meticulously counting your macros and to focus on the present.

However, if you just want to expend a little bit of energy between the festivities, join in on our Christmas Bodyweight WOD Challenge, from 12/24-12/29. There’s a $60 buy-in, but you win your cash back and split everyone’s cash who missed a workout. For more info, check out our Facebook page. 

What we’re trying to show you here is that there are options to keep you in check and in shape over break. Take advantage of them, or just take a couple days to recoup, enjoy your family, and indulge in the food.

Just focus on your happiness and have a Happy Holiday. 

*Credit Nikita Tiffany. Follow @niki.eats for more cool food action!

Recovery Day – Brown Rice Salad

Salad doesn’t have to be boring . . . we’ve talked about that before. But your carbs (potatoes, rice, etc.) doesn’t have to be boring either. 

Today we’re putting your carbs and leafy veggies together to make a scrumptious “salad” recipe, which you can substitute for your previously boring carbs.  

Here’s a yummy recipe to re-integrate into your diet. There’s a perfect balance between sweet and salty with the rice salad, making it an easy pairing to any meat for any of your meals.

Brown Rice Salad | Yields 4 servings | 310 calories
2 cups water
1 cup brown rice
½ cup diced red pepper
½ cup diced celery
¼ cup dried cranberries
3 cups spinach 
½ cup balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
Salt
Pepper
Lemon juice

  1. On a medium-to-high heat pot, let 2 cups of water boil. Add in 1 cup of brown rice and cook for 45-50 minutes or until tender.
  2. While the rice is cooking, put dried cranberries in a cup of hot water. Let sit or until cranberries have expanded. Drain and set to the side.  
  3. Dice celery and red pepper. Put on medium-to-high heat pan with ½ cup water. Let the water soften the vegetables. 
  4. Once the rice is cooked, put red pepper, celery, cranberries, and spinach in the pot. Let the heat from the rice wilt the spinach. 
  5. Once the spinach is wilted, add in the balsamic vinaigrette, salt, pepper, and lemon juice to your liking. 
  6. Serve hot or cold. Enjoy! 

*Credit Nikita Tiffany. Follow @niki.eats for more cool food action!

Recovery Day – Why You Should Eat More Fish

Red meat, chicken, and turkey are three main protein sources you probably hear about on the daily. However, one protein source many people stray away from is fish.

While fish shouldn’t be meal-prepped due to its potent smell, eating fish has some astounding health benefits. For example, it lowers your risk of heart attack and strokes, improves your recovery time due to Omega 3 fatty acids, protects you from age-deterioration, and overall improves body and brain health. Furthermore, people who eat fish 2-3 times a week are proven to live longer than those who do not (NIH.gov).

Let’s give fish another shot. Below is an easy lemon & thyme fish recipe that is great for on-the go. 

Lemon & Thyme Fish | Yields 1 
1 uncooked fish fillet (cod, tilapia, salmon, etc.)
1 lemon
Fresh thyme
Salt 
Pepper 
Olive oil 

  1. Preheat oven to 425.  
  2. Cut the lemon in half. Squeeze the juice out of one half of the lemon and place the other half of the lemon to the side. 
  3. Place fish fillet in center of aluminum foil. Put olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice on the fish. Place fresh thyme and the other half of the lemon in the aluminum foil. 
  4. Seal the fish in foil. Bake in oven for 12-15 minutes, or until fish is tender. 
  5. Let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with a side of green vegetables and either potatoes or rice. Enjoy!

*Credit Nikita Tiffany. Follow @niki.eats for more cool food action!

Recovery Day – Caving into Your Cravings

It’s that time of year where all we want to do is sit down and eat sweets at every opportunity given–and with this holiday season in full swing, it’s hard not to.

Last week, I suggested that if you’re hungry you should load up on more vegetables and fruits if you’re still hungry after a plate of food. However, sometimes we want something a little sweeter and *need* to cave into our cravings. Below is a gooey, satisfying cookie that is sugar-free for your indulgence. Although it is still a dessert, it’s less sugary that a slice of pecan pie and a good substitute for other caloric-dense desserts. 

Banana Chocolate Cookies | Yields 12-16

2 medium bananas mashed
2 eggs
1.5 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp flax seeds
3 Tbsp (naturally sweetened) chocolate chips

1. Preheat an oven to 425 degrees. Mix eggs, banana, and oats.
2. Add in cinnamon, chia seeds, and flax seeds. Add in chocolate chips last until just mixed.
3. Roll dough into cookies and place on baking sheet. Bake until golden-brown on the edges.
4. Let rest on a baking sheet until soft. Enjoy!

*Credit Nikita Tiffany. Follow @niki.eats for more cool food action!

Recovery Day – Progress During the Holidays

Thanksgiving came and went, and we all are moving a little slower that usual at the current moment.

Right about now, you might be tempted to jump off your health and fitness wagon and leave it in the dust until New Years comes around. Besides, Christmas is just around the corner…

However, I will urge you to fight that impulse. Think about how hard you worked this year to get to this point of your fitness journey. From now until Christmas, you would have about five weeks to either continue that journey, or completely toss away all your hard work.

Your mental capacity and willpower is what will get you through the holiday season. Learning to eat in balance may be the foundation for healthy living, but working out will always be a close second.  

Coupling eating somewhat healthy with a little bit of exercise will not only keep you in shape, but it will keep you sane.

Here are a few at-home workouts that don’t need equipment and that you can do anywhere:

“Annie” – For time: 50-40-30-20-10 rep rounds of Double-unders and Sit-ups

Tabata Sprints: Sprint 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds (8 rounds)

“Susan” – 5 rounds for time:  Run 200m, 10 Squats, 10 Push-ups

20min AMRAP: 15 Sit-ups, 25 Push-ups, 35 Squats

7 Rounds for time: 7 Burpees, 7 Sit-ups, 7 Squats

These are only a few out of the hundreds, if not thousands, of no-equipment CrossFit workouts you can tackle. We’re limited by our own creativity in that sense. Remember, it’s important to take the time to do a little bit for yourself one day at a time. Be better than you were yesterday, even if it’s only by .01%. Move forward and reward yourself.

*Credit Nikita Tiffany. Follow @niki.eats for more cool food action!

Recovery Day – Healthy burgers! Is there such a thing?

Everyone loves burgers. Duh. It’s a staple in a fast-food chain’s menu; they’re easy to eat and incredibly filling.

However, when you’re cleaning up your diet, you tend to have to stay away from them. This is because burgers tend to have a ton of fat and an obnoxious amount of carbs from the burger itself, as well as the fries.

While most burgers have a huge macronutrient imbalance, you can still enjoy a burger by changing a few things. Let’s break it down:

To lower fat intake, use a chicken patty instead of a beef patty. Remove the thick-cut cheese and add in thinly sliced cheese instead. This greatly reduces the amount of calories you’d normally eat from a restaurant burger.

To lower the amount of carbs you’d eat, remove the bun and add a lettuce wrap. Then, make some homemade sweet potato fries to add carbs to your newly healthy meal.

Chicken Burger | yeilds 1 burger

1 chicken breast, pre-cooked
Lettuce wrap
Spinach
Tomato
Thin-sliced cheese
Salt &pepper
Mustard
½ sweet potato

  1. Heat up chicken burger patty in pan. Add in seasoning of your choice. Put chicken burger patty aside to let rest.
  2. Slice up ½ sweet potato into thin strips. Add salt and pepper. Put in oven at 375 degree and cook until slightly brown.
  3. Put rested chicken burger patty in a lettuce wrap with thin-sliced cheese, tomato, spinach, and mustard.
  4. Take fries out of the oven and place on plate. Enjoy your healthy burger with fries!

This couldn’t be more simple and no we’re not anti-beef, but the take home points are basic: pay attention to the contents and portions of your burger [food] and you can save yourself a lot of heartache and still enjoy your food and your abs!

*Credit Nikita Tiffany. Follow @niki.eats for more cool food action!

Mindset is reality

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford

In large part, attitude determines outcome. Your reality is a manifestation of your thoughts and beliefs. You bring everything to yourself that the world has brought to you via your thoughts. 

Now, I understand that is not 100% truth. There are, of course, things that happen regardless of our mindset, what we believe or welcome to ourselves. I do not believe that hurricanes are a result of your thoughts. That would be unmistakably something recognizable as a natural disaster. Let’s spare ourselves the “keyboard warrioring” and recognize we’re talking about a spectrum here. 

That scope is of the things we consciously and/or subconsciously will into our lives via our minds. 

For instance, many of us over the course of time have positioned ourselves into a work environment we are unsatisfied with at one point or another. Whether it is the job itself (the activities or job description) or the environment (the place those things are executed in) something is awry; amiss. We’ve grown stagnant in our habits and have close to no sensation of meaningfulness associated with the work. 

In that reality we placed ourselves in that situation. It may have been a matter of necessity (i.e. I need this job because of X financial hardship, etc.) or of self convincing (i.e. no, no, it will get better, it’s not that bad, I should really take this job, etc.), nonetheless was a self-produced reality. 

Take a “bad” relationship as another example. No one is forcing a person to remain in relationship with another. You allow yourself to remain in company with said person. Sure there are realities like marital goings on where a spouse doesn’t have a choice because of extenuating circumstances. Still, this reality is not mandatory or forced, rather chosen. It may be a very ass-backwards choice and one we do not feel complete freedom in making, but a choice nonetheless. 

Take a sport as another easy example. Imagine an opponent so daunting and goliath-esk that he/she conquers most of their opponents before the match even begins. The challengers most often carry the mindset that the obstacle is unsurpassable, the problem insurmountable, the mountain so steep the peak can’t be reached. They’ve already lost before they take the field. Now on one hand, wishful thinking is no way to go about a goal worth pursuing. If you’re ill-suited and incapable of executing the plan needed to take down an opponent then that may be as simple as two plus two. But, in most cases, there is a way. That way begins with the mindset of the challenger and there is nothing before that is realized. 

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”

“I have to take this job, I can’t pass it up.” You’re right. 

“I can’t take this job. It isn’t right for me. The pay may be worth it, but there is more than meets the eye. I can’t take it.” You’re right. 

“I can’t leave my relationship. No matter how dangerous it is for me to leave, I have to stay. I can’t make it on my own.” You’re right. 

“I need to be in a more productive relationship. This is not for me. I have to find an exit. I will find one.” You’re right. 

“This opponent is too advanced for me. They’re bigger, stronger, faster, and more talented. I don’t stand a chance.” You’re right. 

“I know there is a way I can beat this opponent. If I stick to my fundamentals and execute the plan my hard work outweighs their talent. It’s not guaranteed, but it is possible.” You’re right. 

Damn near 100% of this is projection of thought. Realization is reality. There is certainly some execution involved, but realization is the first step. 

Recognize, realize, execute. 

Recovery Day – Chili on Chilly Days

Some days we’re busier than others. Other days, we’re lazier than others. When this happens, we tend to neglect our health. We grab a sugary granola bar and call it a meal or opt for fast food.

Having leftovers in the fridge is always a good idea if you’re running short on time or too lazy to cook. However, re-heating week-old chicken day-in and day-out can get somewhat boring and we know that.

Throwing some ingredients into a slowcooker, walking away, and scooping the contents into containers a couple hours later is an easy way to solve this problem. Chili, for example, is hearty and a yummy leftover option for these colder months.

Recipe for Crock-Pot Chili* | Yields 4-5 serving

2 cups chopped bell peppers
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 small can of chopped tomato and mild green chili
2 cans pinto beans
1lb lean ground turkey/ ground beef
½lb spicy turkey sausage
4 garlic, cloves minced
1 tsp salt
1tsp pepper
1tsp red pepper flakes
1tsp ground chili powder

  1. Chop bell peppers and onion. Place in slow cooker at the bottom of the pot.
  2. In a medium-to-high-heat pan, cook off ground turkey / ground beef until dark in color. Scrape into slow cooker.
  3. Add in beans, tomatoes, garlic, and spices. Stir until mixed thoroughly.
  4. Cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.
  5. Let cool. Place in a large container and reheat and eat when ready!

*recipe based off allrecipes.com

*Credit Nikita Tiffany. Follow @niki.eats for more cool food action!