A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about Meal Planning that gave an overview of different ways to go about your meal prep. Eating healthy involves planning and preparation. You have to put in the work every week just like you do with everything else in life. Your training, your job, your family, etc. By taking the time to develop heathy eating habits and a routine into your daily life, you set yourself up for success. And the more you do it, the easier it gets. This week I'm going to talk about simple ways to set yourself up for a week of success.
The easiest way to stay on track with your diet is to plan ahead and meal prep. It's simple. If you have good healthy food cooked and ready to eat, you're much more likely to stay on track. Has lunch time ever rolled around and you forgot to pack food, so you wind up at a restaurant trying to make a healthy choice, only to get more food than you need, or food that's cooked in too much oil, or loaded with dressing? Sure you can eat out and still eat healthy, but in the long run, packing your lunches and meal prepping your dinners is going to help you achieve your goals a hell of a lot faster (and save you money). Whether your goal is to lead a healthy lifestyle, lose weight (or gain weight), improve your athletic performance, prep for a compeition, or look good for a big event, this is the not so secret, secret!
This has been a long time coming, and it was a tough decision to make. But a necessary one! So, why the new name? Well..things change and people evolve. I guess that's the short and sweet answer. 5 years ago I started this blog as a way to document and share my experiments in the kitchen while exploring the paleo diet. I didn't really know where it was going to go, I just knew I wanted to eat healthy whole foods and I wanted to find a way to make them taste good. Today I still enjoy sharing the same type of recipes, but I've incorporated a whole hell of a lot more into this blog.
I get asked a lot of questions like "how do I eat eat healthy when I'm traveling?" Or "how do I stay on track with my diet when I'm on the road and choices are limited?" And I completely understand these challenges. But I've also learned over the years how to travel and make it work. If being heathy is a priority of yours (and I'm sure it is or you probably wouldn't be reading this) then I hope this list comes in handy. Whether you travel for work or pleasure and whether you're on a road trip or flying somewhere far away, having a plan is key. Convenient food is not always the best option, but when you're taken away from your kitchen and your routine, what are you expected to do?
Two questions I get asked a lot are "What should I eat before and after I workout?" and "What supplements should I take." And these are both great questions, because the food we eat and the supplements we take have a huge impact on how we perform in the gym and how we recover from our workouts.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about flexible dieting entitled, Confessions of a Flexible Dieter. Shortly after I receive some emails curious to learn more and specifically to know what a typical meal plan might look like. One of the greatest aspects of flexible dieting is that no two diets look the same. And therefore almost anyone, and everyone, can benefit from a flexible diet approach. Why do no two diets look the same? Because we're all different! We have different body types, goals, workout routines, lifestyles and food preferences. The things I might include in my diet for training purposes, body composition goals and taste preferences might be completely different from yours. However, our methods for developing better eating habits and making positive and sustainable food choices can be similar as we learn more about food, the nutrients it provides, and what our personal definition of "flexible" is.
Meal planning and meal prepping are always on my mind and I've gotten really good at it. As an athlete I see food as fuel. As a human being I see food as fuel. I also just love to eat. And I truly believe that good food should taste good. Isn't that what we all want? Healthy food that tastes delicious so that we can eat what we enjoy and live a healthy life? As a nutrition coach, I work with a lot of clients who have a wide variety of goals, but who share very similar struggles when it comes to their diet. I often hear people say they don't have time to plan and prep, or that whole foods are too expensive. So this week I want to share some of my tips and tricks for planning out your week so that you always have good food on hand. We all want to feel great, look great, and have the energy we need to tackle whatever life throws our way. For me personally, that's fueling my lifestyle as a competitive athlete. But it doesn't matter what you do, you need energy to get through your day. Even if you have a desk job, you need energy to stay alert. Or you might be a parent or a grandparent who wants to chase your children and grandchildren around. It's all the same. And that's the beauty of it!
Many people see flexible dieting as a system that involves weighing, measuring, tracking and counting. But flexible dieting is so much for than that. If we’re constantly obsessing over numbers, how could that be considered flexible? In reality, flexible dieting is an approach to nutrition that teaches us how to properly fuel our bodies day in and day out with the right nutrients to support our goals. Everyones approach will be different. We all have different needs and dietary preferences. Flexible dieting is really not a diet at all. It’s about finding something that’s sustainability, flexible and enjoyable that supports health, body composition and any other goals we have. For me personally that also includes optimizing athletic performance.
For a large part of my life I've had an unhealthy relationship with food. Growing up as a competitive gymnast I could eat whatever I wanted, but I was also very aware of the social pressure to be small, thin and light. As I got older (late teens, early 20's) my body began to change. When I started college and I wasn't training nearly as much as I had when I was in competitive sports; I started to gain weight. I didn't really know how to nourish my body properly, I just thought I should eat salads and avoid fat. I'd lose weight because I was nearly starving myself, and then I'd binge on a bunch of junk food because my body couldn't take it anymore. It was a vicious cycle. The good old yo-yo diet.
If you were going to prepare a feast for 20 people, what would you prepare? What macro and micronutrients would you prioritize? What about supplements and superfoods? A lot of people ask me what I eat, how much I eat and why. As a professional athlete and someone who cares about the food that I put into my body, I'm constantly prepping food, experimenting with new recipes and ingredients, trying new things, and finding ways to maximize my performance and recovery through my diet. I think there's a tremendous benefit in learning about what others eat and how it affects their performance and day to day life. And I also believe that we need to experiment with our own diets to truly understand what works for us as individuals.
I love my slow cooker. I love coming home to a meal that's ready to eat, especially when I've had a long day and I really don't feel like cooking. I typically prep a few meals on Sunday afternoon, but my slow cooker saves me the rest of the week. Here are 20 awesome paleo slow cooker recipes. Spend a few minutes planning out your slow cooker meals and throw them in a crock pot before you leave for work. Your taste buds will thank you when you get home!
I love quotes. Especially motivational and inspirational quotes. These are 30 of my all time favorites. They fire me up to train and remind me to push when it hurts. So dream big, make a plan and then work you're ass off until you've achieved your goal. Because the pain you feel today, will be the strength you feel tomorrow. And dreams don't work unless you do.
I finally decided to delve deeper into what is known as "flexible dieting". Why the sudden interest? Well it's actually not so sudden, and as you know I've talked a lot about counting macros, trying to better understand macros, and what I've done to find a healthy and sustainable diet. This has all been based off of a loose macro guideline and what I've learned about nutrition through personal experience and experiments. But I never truly understood the science behind it all and how macro and micronutrients affect our body. My younger sister is the one who first suggested I read more about it. She had read books on flexible dieting from a friend of ours Krissy Mae Cagney. Well actually she read them long before we even knew Krissy, but ironically we've both crossed paths with her separately. Although I knew Krissy through social media for quite some time, I finally met her a couple years ago at Mark Bell's gym in Sacramento. Krissy lives in Reno and dates a good friend and teammate of mine. She's also very involved in the CrossFit community so we cross paths often now. She's a good friend and an awesome person.
Nothing too glamours here. I just wanted to share some quick and simple paleo breakfasts that I often make. I love breakfast. It's probably my favorite meal of the day. But I don't want to spend a ton of time cooking in the morning or prepping things the night before. Call me lazy. I don't mind. I still find ways to make healthy, delicious food every morning! My only requirements are quick and balanced. I want meals that give me energy for my day and include a good balance of carbs, fat and protein. Here you go!
I have a confession to make, I splurged this weekend! Okay good, I’m glad that’s out.
When I started counting my macros a little over a week ago one of the things I promised myself (and you) was that I’d be honest about everything I ate and I wouldn’t obsess over it either. In my opinion, obsession leads to failure. Maybe that isn’t the case for everyone, but I’ve learned a lot about myself over the years, and if I’m too strict with myself I give up. I want to be able to enjoy food and life. This is a lifestyle, not a quick fix. I mean, has anyone ever found a “quick fix” that lasts? Mine never have, and that’s why years of yo-yo dieting got me nowhere.
I’ve been counting my macros for a week now, so what have I learned? I’ve learned that I have some more experimenting to do that’s for sure. But the experiment so far has been good. My goal going into this was to learn more about how my body reacts to food, how monitoring my macros can improve my performance in the gym, and what an ideal day of food looks like for me. I’ve found a fairly rough guideline that’s helped me lose the few pounds I was hoping to lose while still maintaining my energy in the gym.
Yesterday I decided I was going to count my macros. Currently, I'm at a healthy, easily maintainable weight. I have a good relationship with food and I enjoy what I eat. But, I'm also a competitive athlete heading into my season and I would like to dig a little deeper into my diet to find out if a few tweaks here and there and a better understanding of the portions I'm eating could affect and improve my performance in the gym. I ate just as I normally would yesterday and I've already learned where I need to make some changes. Carbs and fat are easy to come by, and I need to be cautious not to overeat them. On the other hand, my protein intake is on the lighter side so I want to be a little more aware of when and how much I’m eating at each meal and snack.
I’ve decided to count my macros. Why? For multiple reasons. I feel like I do a good job of balancing my carbs, fat and protein at each meal. It’s all an eyeball guesstimate and I listen to when my body tells me I’m full. But at the same time I often wonder, are my eyeball guesstimates right? If I tweaked this or that would my body respond better? Could my performance in the gym improve simply by a few adjustments to my diet? Well, I’ve decided to find out!
Some of us set New Years resolutions and some of us don’t. Either way, I think a new year is a great time to reflect on the past and it’s the perfect time to think about what we want for our future.
I’ve shared tips for Living a Healthy Life and How to Get Started. I believe in setting realistic goals, building a support network and putting actionable steps in place to make sure you’re successful in achieving your diet goals. I also believe that it shouldn’t be hard! If you’re making it too difficult or you’re too hard on yourself, you’re already setting yourself up for failure. Read the tips I have HERE to get started living healthier today.
Does each workout we do have a meaning? Certainly. There is a reason why we workout and there is a reason behind each workout that we do. The purpose can be as simple as moving our body for the goodness of our health and something so complex that we must strategize our plan of attack and go to a place where we are challenged both mentally and physically.
I love to workout. I love to compete. I truly enjoy pushing myself every day to be the best that I can be. Physically I’m stronger, faster and better skilled than ever before. But that’s only one piece of the puzzle. You also have to be mentally tough. And I’ll be the first to admit that this is something I sometimes lack. What makes one athlete more mentally tough than the next? And how do you get better at it? It certainly doesn’t happen overnight, as much as I wish that were true. You have to build self-confidence, and set clear goals for yourself. You must truly understand and believe in what it is you are doing.
I recently wrote a post about living a healthy lifestyle and how to get started. If you’re anything like me you’ve struggled with finding the right balance. Something you can make a lifestyle out of. Growing up I could eat whatever the heck I wanted. I was doing gymnastics on a daily basis and I ate ice cream, pasta, cookies; you name it. If I wanted it I ate it. That was until the end of high school and the beginning of college. Everything started to change. I started gaining weight. So I tried running on the treadmill for hours. I’d starve myself only to end up binging on a bunch of crap. It was vicious cycle and I started resenting food and fitness. I’d eat healthy for a few days, torture myself in the gym and leave unhappy and unsatisfied. My idea of “healthy” wasn’t actually that healthy. I ate salads containing mostly lettuce and I usually didn’t have enough energy to lift weight at the gym. I’d just do a bunch of running and take a few spin classes. It wasn’t fun. So I’d go out drinking with my friends and binge on a bunch of junk food only to disappoint myself and start all over. I suppose you could call it a vicious cycle of “yo-yo” dieting.
Two years ago I heard about this new sport emerging called the National Pro Fitness League (now the National Pro GRID League). I wasn’t entirely sure what it was, but I was intrigued. The owner of the gym I had previous coached at was starting a team and suggested I try out. All I knew at that time was that this sport was going to pay athletes to workout and compete, something I had been paying someone else to let me do. Did it sound too good to be true? Yes. Did I want to be a part of it? Of course
I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine last week who also happens to be a phenomenal athlete about overtraining and how to avoid it. He mentioned to me that a while back he started acting strange, he was angry during his workouts and just not himself by the end of the day. He thought there was something wrong and went to see someone about it. They pricked his finger and took a small blood sample. Then they left him to watch some cartoons. When they came back they checked his blood again and things had already changed, simply because he’d laughed a few times at the cartoon playing on the TV. It might sound a little crazy, but it goes to show how important a little laughter in our life really is. This lead me to think more about my own training, and my past training as well. Have you ever started a fitness program and given up on it? I surely have. Many times. Until I found CrossFit. But why did CrossFit work for me?
I get a lot of questions about diet. What should I eat? How much should I be eating? Timing, portions, macros, the list goes on. And there's so much information out there. There's some really great resources, but it can also all be very confusing, especially if establishing a healthy lifestyle is something new to you. I take for granted everything I've learned over the years and I forget that it hasn't always been easy. The fact of the matter is, if you truly want to live a healthy lifestyle, you can, and you will. But if it's not important to you, you'll continue to find excuses. For me, being healthy and fit is a part of my life. I compete in CrossFit, GRID, Weightlifting, etc. So I put a huge emphasis on eating foods that fuel my performance. But I also love being able to go hiking with friends on a whim, hop in a boat and go waterskiing, visit with my parents and go pick a bunch of fresh food out of their garden, all things I can do because I put a high priority on my health. So if you're trying to find a way to get started on living a healthier life, or you're struggling and just need a little help, I've put together a list of some of the things that have helped me, and hopefully they can help you too.