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Macro Friendly Camping Tips

Camping, Tracking and Planning…Oh My!

I grew up camping.  I have vivid memories of waking up early in a chilly tent, my dad waiting for me to wake with his coffee in hand.  We spent our days discovering the woods, my parents sharing stories of their childhood.  Our evenings were spent around the campfire, roasting marshmallows and snuggling each other tight as we fell asleep under the stars.  I want those same experiences for my kids too.  We attempted our first camping trip about a year and half ago.  I woke up in the middle of our first night with….food poisoning from a very atypical fast food stop.  Literally the worst night of my life spent puking and um…pooping my brains out…in a tent…in a forest.  Needless to say, it took me awhile to rally back from the experience for round two.

 

Camping Revenge

I recently took revenge on that camping trip. This time around, I was determined to make sure my food was under my own control while still getting the traditional camping experience.  Like any travel, keeping your macros in check can easily be done with proper planning and 100% commitment.  Nothing is worse than working overtime to prepare your nutrition for a trip and then giving up 100% mentally.  When I travel, I do my absolute best to track because I feel better, rest better, and have zero post vacation regret.

 

Tips to Camping Tracking Success

 

1. Map out your weekend.

Just like a normal week at home, map at your weekend.  Decide what you will be eating for all meals and what snacks you plan to have available.  Pack those foods ahead of time and use Ziploc bags and containers to pre-pack meals and snacks

 

2. Pick meals that fully utilize the campfire.

Seriously–all food tastes better on a campfire. Period.  And you don’t have to let it soak in grease or other unwanted fat sources. Making meals on the fire gives it a taste spin you won’t get at home so use it fully.

 

3. Pack only what you want to eat.

Seems simple right?  If you pack an unhealthy option that doesn’t meet your goals, the whispering pines will whisper in your ear…EAT IT.  So don’t pack any last minute snacks that just won’t fit your macro budget.

 

4. Plan for 1 camping treat.

Yes–allow yourself the opportunity to enjoy.  It keeps the rest of your day on point and honestly, you enjoy that treat so much more.  The goal is balance not restriction.

 

5. Don’t overindulge in alcohol.

The more you drink, the less likely you are to stay on track with your plan you so diligently worked hard to prepare.  Plan for a few drinks, drink them slowly and with plenty of water in between.

 

6. Pack Your Snacks

Snacking and camping go hand-in-hand.  When you are relaxing in the great outdoors, reading a book or playing cards, snacks are usually nearby. So make them yummy and goal oriented.

Here is a list of some possible snacks that will keep you right on track:

Jerky

Dried Fruit

Fresh Fruit

Pop Chips

Deli Lunch Meat Rolls

Homemade Trail Mix (with your favorite options)

Simple Snack Idea Recipes:

Fresh cut veggies and homemade Greek yogurt dips: This is SO easy to do! Cut up lots of fresh veggies before you leave for the big trip.  Bring several small containers of plain Greek yogurt and pre-made seasonings.  You can mix in the seasoning of choice and enjoy some fresh veggies along with them to satisfy the snack sensation while filling up on micro nutrient rich volume food.

Popcorn (over the campfire is the best): Put kernels in a loose foil packet with a small bit of olive or avocado oil (try coconut for a sweeter taste). Hold foil packet over campfire with tongs or skewer and allow to cook until popping stops.  Once done you can salt, drizzle melted chocolate over or whatever sounds good to your camping mood.

Homemade corn tortilla chips: This is another one that is easy to prep ahead of time.  Cut corn tortillas into as many wedges as you like.  Place over camp fire on top of a griddle, on layers of foil or on a foil tray and allow them to cook until crisp to your liking.  You can lightly salt the wedges or add cinnamon and some coconut sugar for a sweet treat.

 

Three Easy Campfire Meal Ideas

Here are my favorite camping meal ideas that are simple, fun and macro friendly:

Kebabs: Pre-cut your favorite lean meat such chicken breast or flank stead, into 1-2 inch chunks and marinate in Ziploc bags.  Bring along metal or wooden skewers to roast meat over open camp fire.  You can also pre-cut potatoes, peppers and onions to add onto the skewers as well for a great balanced meal option.

 

Fajitas: Pre-cut beef or chicken into portions that work for you and lightly spray with olive or avocado oil and store in a Ziploc bag.  Do the same with bell peppers and onions.  When you are ready to cook, place on the griddle or into a disposable tin pan to cook over the fire.  Serve with tortillas warmed over the campfire and your favorite fixings.

 

Foil Packet Meals: The sky is the limit here!  You can make foil packets in so many variations.  Use a large piece of aluminum foil and lightly spray with oil.  Place a lean chicken sausage, with onions, peppers and cubed potatoes in side.  Again, lightly coat the contents and sprinkle with your favorite seasonings.  Fold to close packet and place on open campfire until contents are cooked throughout.  You can place any kind of meat and potato option in foil packets and the kids will have a blast!

 

Enjoy the great outdoors and a campfire along with some healthy food options that will keep you right on track!

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

Veggies and Dips You Can’t Live Without

Veggies-Shmeggies

I am not sure what happens at 5:00pm but all kids must communicate to make that hour of the day the most whiny.  I think I have awesome kids, but the moments leading up to dinner seem to be their toughest.  They are ravenous…like I haven’t fed them for hours.  I always try to include them in dinner preparation thinking it will pass the time more.  Some days it works, while other days I swear it makes their hunger unbearable. I know many of you can relate.

I recently read a Mom Blog “From Stork to Fork” that gave an amazing suggestion.  In an effort to increase vegetable consumption for her children, this mom started putting out a veggie platter right before dinner.  She filled it with fresh, raw veggies and didn’t mention a word to her kids.  The moment they saw food out and available, they welcomed it with open arms.  She provided a simple dip on the side and they ate those veggies in a hot second.  What parents don’t want their kids to eat more veggies even if it does spoil dinner? It was a WIN all around.

What’s more interesting is a recent study competed by Texas A&M University identified the one factor that determined whether or not kids ate their veggies.  That one factor was what those veggies were paired with.  The article’s conclusion was that “Kids, in short, are much more likely to eat their vegetable portion when it’s paired with a food that isn’t so delicious it gets all the attention.” So, offer those veggies alone or with a more nutrient dense but less kid-desired option and BOOM!  They become veggie connoisseurs.

 

Leading By Example

This study supports the prime reason we as parents are lifestyle role models to our children.  Kids let taste lead them.  They aren’t mature enough to choose something less tasty because it’s more nutrient dense.  We as parents must guide them and be sure to encourage better eating habits.  I work hard with my kids to model and discuss the importance of vegetable consumption at every meal.  I’ve tried to teach them that there are foods we eat everyday, foods we eat sometimes and foods we eat at special occasions.  It isn’t always perfect and some meals are better than others.  My heart is always happy when I hear them tell people no thank you to things because they know they’ve already had their “sweet treat” for the day.

 

My Early Parenting Days

I was a total earthy pregnant mom and newborn mom.  I was particular about everything that went into my body and on my body. I came up with a Zen birthing plan (which never remotely happened), I breastfed both my kids for 18 months and I made every.single.ounce of their baby food myself.  I am darn proud of that!  My kids are awesome eaters and I think my investment in their food early on has paid dividends.

I went off the deep end at first.  I once told a friend that our kids would never eat at McDonalds.  My friends who had kids older than mine told me I was unrealistic but I told them “No way.”  I’ve loosened up…my kids have had a Happy Meal…but at the heart of it all, is they know and understand that is a rare experience and should and never will be the norm.

 

Deprivation is Not Sustainable

I’ve come to believe that if I deprive my kids from anything mainstream food or otherwise that it only cultivates their desire for it more.  I know some of you are shaking your head at me right now.  But listen—it is like when your mom tells you not to hang out with the “bad boy” so naturally you are drawn to him.  In my almost 7 years of parenting I’ve learned that being the example for my children’s healthy lifestyle is less about what they shouldn’t have and more about what they should have.

 

Are Adults Any Different?

This research got me thinking–are adults any different?  I think now:)  I am pretty sure my hubby wouldn’t eat his veggies if I wasn’t regularly preparing them for him at home.  If what that veggie is paired with makes a difference, then adults need good options too.  Options that are rich in macro value and even richer in taste.  It should be easy and convenient.  I used to commonly buy a big tub-o-sour-cream and dump in a “seasoning packet” to serve alongside veggies.  But–now I have some great options to replace those packets and that tub.

 

Dip D.I.Y.

Seasoning packets are filled with all types of fillers, artificial flavors and preservatives.  If you look closely to identify the real food ingredient list, you will notice that you have those things sitting in your pantry.  So why not take them and make your own seasoning, without all the junk?  I mix together the options below and have them on hand for dips, for marinades or rubs and any other mealtime options.

 

Ranch Dip

¼ Cup Parsley Flakes

⅛  Cup Dried, Minced Onions

4 Teaspoons Salt

1 Tablespoon Dill Leaf

1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder

 

Onion Dip

1/3 Cup dried, minced onion

2 Teaspoons Parsley Flakes

1 Teaspoon Onion Powder

1 Teaspoon Turmeric

1 Teaspoon Celery Salt

1 Teaspoon Sea Salt

½ Teaspoon Black Pepper

 

Fiesta Seasoning

1/3 Cup Chili Powder

¼ Cup Onion Powder

⅛ Cup Ground Cumin

1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder

1 Tablespoon Paprika

1 Tablespoon Sea Salt

 

I mixed all of my spices into small glass jars to keep fresh. Once these seasonings are prepared, you can mix 2-3 tablespoons with 4-5 oz of Greek Yogurt for an amazing dip to serve with veggies or your favorite macro friendly chip.  They are perfect for a meal time side or for some tailgating munchies.
Eat those veggies friends.  Find ways to incorporate them into your life to improve your health and be an example to the little people surround you.

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

10 Tailgate Tips to Macro Tracking Success

Are you ready for some football?

I have been since, Um… the end of February!  We love football in our house!  Just the sound of it in the background makes me happy.  My husband played a little college football and having a game on takes me back to our college days together and the total thrill of the game.

 

The Tailgate

Now football season takes on a whole new meaning.  It is a major social event.  Whether you are watching the game on the big screen at home or have season tickets, now football is all about tailgating.  Throwing a football around, eating BBQ and drinking some adult beverages seems to be a prerequisite for the full football experience.

But–when the tailgate starts at 10:00am and kickoff isn’t until 3, there is a lot of room for that tailgate to take a turn towards a nutritional nightmare.  Have no fear! There is still a way to enjoy every moment of that tailgating experience and still stay on track with your nutritional goals.  

With 17 weeks of regular season play plus post-season playoffs…there is a whole lot of time for football and tailgating to come in between you and your nutritional goals.  Don’t make excuses.  Find a sustainable way to enjoy watching your favorite team and the social element that comes along with the big game. Don’t be a victim to your Sunday FUN-day, instead follow these 10 tips for tailgate tracking success.

 

10 Tips for Tailgate Tracking Success

1. Pre-Plan

It’s the name of the game–literally.  You have to plan ahead and pre-log your food to stay on track. Ask ahead and find out what’s going to be cooking on the grill and save a space to enjoy the meal you want.  If you know in advance what choices you will have you will come out with greater success.

2. Bring Your Own Food

The great thing about most tailgating is that it’s potluck style.  You can bring along a dish you love so that you know exactly what you are eating!

3. Eat Lean Leading Up To It

If you plan to really enjoy yourself and tailgating is your “Go Ham” moment then eat lean leading up to it.  The morning of, prepare yourself an egg white omelet with lots of veggies and lean Canadian bacon. Stock up on greens and other veggies to fill you up with a lean lunch meat option like deli turkey, ham, tuna or chicken breast.

4. Pick A Lean Meat

Meat on the BBQ screams Tailgate.  Choose one that you know will support your goals.  Choose chicken breast, a lean pork tenderloin, salmon, or a lean cut of beef over a higher fat option like ribs or ribeyes.  They taste amazing on a grill or in a smoker just like their full-fat sister options when done right.

5. Don’t Let Peer Pressure Bully You Into Giving In.  

OK–you are an adult and know how to say no!  You however must have the willpower to do so.  Don’t blame your friends for your poor choices.  Be willing to stand up for your goals and follow through.  They will respect you more for it.

6. Plan For Adult Beverages

Alcohol is part is of the Tailgate experience for most.  Don’t be so restrictive to say you won’t have a drink.  Chose a light beer, or higher proof alcohol and sparking water to keep carb values down.  Plan for it and then stick with it.

7. Bring A Dip and Chips-“ish”

Tailgating breeds snacking.  Chips and dips tend to be an easy talk-while-you-eat option:) Pretty soon 5 chips turns into a bag and NOOOOO! So, make and take your own.  Use a Greek yogurt based dip to spare the fat of sour cream or heavy cream and mix in your favorite seasonings like dry Ranch Mix or Onion Soup mix and serve with Pop Chips, Veggies or homemade corn tortilla chips.

8. Pack Fruit

Fruit It is a simple carb option that still gives you that snacking feeling and satisfies a sweet tooth.  Bonus…you know there is no hidden fat. You can even add a vanilla Greek yogurt dip for a treat on the side.

9. Keep Protein Up

Hit that protein.  Protein is usually scarce at social events. Be sure to hit that protein goal by planning ahead and maybe finishing off the night with a small quantity of a protein supplement to hit that goal.

10. Stick To The Plan

Seriously the simple of all tips and the hardest to do.  Maintain your will power and keep your eyes on the prize.  Be a “weekend warrior” so that Monday ends up being a day of progress not regret.  

 

Football season lasts 5 months.  That is an opportunity to make progress for 5 months or allow it to determine your nutritional fate.  Show up to your tailgate owning your goals and I promise…others will follow.

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

Awalk

Do You Know Your Food

I had a recent conversation with a friend who was so excited to tell me about her “fat free” olive oil spray.  I thought—huh?  It’s olive oil; made of only 1 macro nutrient…fat.  After some discussion, I helped her to realize that the serving size listed on the can was for a 2 sec spray.  The reason the manufacturer can claim it was “fat free” on the label is because there isn’t enough fat in 1 serving to have to label the fat content.  Then I realized—if she didn’t understand that, there are more people just like her out there!  It made me want to really ask…

Do you know your food?

Product Labeling

Fat-free, sugar-free, low-fat are all labels you find commonly on foods.  But do you really know what these common food labels mean to the food you are putting into your body?  I dug a little deeper into the Food and Drug Administration’s website to find out exactly what a product must contain or not contain to acquire these labels.

“Sugar free”:  When a label says it is “sugar free” it means the sugar has been replaced with another artificial sweetener made through a chemical process.  The FDA requires that sugar-free products labeled sugar-free have less than 0.5 gram of sugar in a serving.  Sugar free sweeteners and sugar alcohols like aspartame, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, xylitol, sorbitol or maltitol may be some of ingredients you read on labels replacing sugar and lowering carb calories.  Because of their lower carb offerings “sugar free’’ foods are popular. However, their nutritional risk may outweigh their rewards based on an article released by Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health (1).

“Non-Fat”: To be considered non-fat the product must contain less than .5 grams of fat per serving.

“Reduced Fat”: means it must contain at least 25% less fat per serving than the food it is referencing, typically the full-fat sister version.  The way the fat content is reduced varies greatly depending on food type.

“Vitamin Fortified”: A fortified food simply has vitamins, minerals or other nutrients not normally present in the food added to it during processing.  This is typically because processing them takes out any minerals and vitamins that existed. Fortification began long ago when large-scale public health concerns led to the need for vitamins and mineral increases due to major deficiencies.   Currently, fortification still exists on a sliding scale dependent on culture and location (2).

 

Knowledge is Power

If you KNOW YOUR FOOD, you can make informed decisions about what you put into your body.  Labels can be deceiving and manufacturers sometimes take advantage of labeling loopholes to entice shoppers.  As you progress through your nutrition, macro or life journey, I believe it teaches you a lot about your own food boundaries.   As adults, we make important health decisions, not just for ourselves, but for our entire family.  With those decisions comes both reward and consequence.  I challenge you to read your labels and get to know your food.

 

Fooducate

At the early stages of really investigating food quality, I discovered a great resource called Fooducate. It quickly became one of my favorite tools to gain more insight into the foods I was eating or interested in eating during the learning process.  Fooducate offers a website filled with great info, but the app is where the real power is.  Fooducate offers a “health tracker” to log your daily food intake (much like My Fitness Pal).  The feature that I love from Fooducate is their “Food Finder” Option.  It allows you to scan the food and will then give you a food quality rating of A-D.  The rating is based on nutrient density, ingredient lists, amount of processing and a few other variables.  I encourage you to download the app and really evaluate the quality of foods you purchase regularly.

 

Fuel for My Passion

This very topic is what motivated me to take my passion to social media and the internet.  I want people to think about what they are fueling their body with and find a sustainable balance with that knowledge. Macro tracking is meant to give you goals to hit on a daily basis to guide you to the progress you are looking for.  In my opinion, it is not meant to be a system to consume foods that have no macro nutrient content that allow you to manipulate more foods into your day because of their chemical composition.  Moderation is key and having these foods occasionally can be a valuable enhancement to sustainability but shouldn’t be a frequent addition to your day.

Sustainability in leading a healthy lifestyle doesn’t come from living at either end of the restriction or glutton spectrum.  Sustainability comes from finding a lifestyle that works long-term, that helps you gain power through knowledge about what you are eating and that gives you confidence in yourself.  Knowledge truly is power.  I want you to have power in your choices.

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk
Resources:

(1) https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/artificial-sweeteners/

(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3319130/

Click HERE for more of the FDA’s labeling information

Are You a Weekend Warrior?

Hello Weekend

Oh the weekend..2 days of no routine,  little accountability and a whole lot of opportunity for whatever the heck you want!  My weekend calendar usually consists of a kid’s birthday party, family dinner and errand running.  Somewhere among all the business of the weekend comes FOOD.  Food can easily consume your social life on a weekend or be a faint memory because of your jam packed schedule.  However, without a plan your weekend can quickly halt your week-day nutritional progress.

 

Stop the Cycle

It is a cycle I see often…5 days of awesome week-day tracking and then 2 days of haphazard or no tracking (you know who you are :).   Then Monday starts back over at the same weight as last Monday.  This cycle continues over and over again…with little to no weekly progress.   Be honest with yourself…are you a weekend warrior?  Or are you a weekend victim?

 

Don’t be a Victim

Weekends are a challenge for even the most committed macro trackers or for anybody who has nutritional goals.  We all have those social gatherings, birthday parties, date nights or just a needed break from our weekday routines that leave us tempted.  Put those excuses aside. Don’t be a victim to the weekend and allow it to sabotage your results and goals.  The hardest thing for me as a coach is to watch my clients fall victim to this cycle and literally come to a stand still.

 

5 Tips to help you become a Weekend Warrior

I am destined to help you be a weekend warrior.  Here are my 5 tips to use when you start to find yourself falling victim to your weekend:

  1. Plan for the social event.

Think about the event in advance and plan.  Where are you going to eat?  What will be available to eat?  Pre-log your best guestimate for what you will have.  This holds a space for those food items you want and prevents you from giving in to a poor food choice or from blowing out a macro value.

  1. Leave a cushion

I like to leave an extra cushion too just in case I eat a bit more than expected.  Check out the restaurant menu in advance or even call if you have questions about their nutritional information.

  1. Say no!

Sometimes it is just easier to say no thank you to the food being offered at an event. When you are in control of your food, you just simply get more of it☺It is actually nice sometimes to step back and put conversation or friendship at the forefront of a social gathering rather than the food that surrounds you.  Fill up on a great meal at home before heading to the gathering so the desire for food doesn’t even exist.

  1. Keep the Adult Beverages in Check

Alcohol is a huge temptation in social settings.  Remember, alcohol is not a macronutrient (you don’t really need it to survive).  However, it most resembles carbs.  That means you give up those carbs in real food.   I don’t know about you, but I like to eat! Keep it in moderation—as the body responds by identifying it as a toxin and hormones react to get rid of it.  If you are pushing hard for results, consider passing on it for now.

  1. Stick to Your Plan.

This is the hardest of all the tips because it involves will power.  The power to be in control of what you put into your body is easily challenged by the power of temptation.  Why is it that the food that tastes the best is often the food that is the worst for you (I try to teach this to my kids every day).   To be able to say no to something that prevents you from pursuing your goals is empowering.  Sticking to your plan creates that domino effect of success that allows each no to become easier.

 

BE a Weekend Warrior!  Push hard for seven days of solid tracking and you will quickly see the benefit.  Monday won’t hit you in the face so hard! And then…you will really begin to see that your seven days of hard work is 100% worthwhile.

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

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Why Age Is No Excuse

Why being Old is No Excuse:

My Mom, a CrossFit Grandma

 

My Own CrossFit Beginnings

I found CrossFit at the ripe age of 30.  I was 6 weeks postpartum and desperate for a fitness change to get back into shape after 2 kids and the chaos that I had now called motherhood.  I was 100% intimidated, 100% nervous and 100% addicted the moment I started.  I have passionately loved the sport for 5 years now both as an athlete and coach.

 

My Mom, A CrossFitter?

My mom is the most amazing woman I’ve ever known.  She has worked since she was 14 years old, has had a successful career and somehow managed to never miss any activity I was in. She put every ounce of her soul into raising me.  She was a superwoman and I didn’t quite grasp that relevance until I had my own kids.  Like most women her age, she gave herself to being a mom, and as a result somewhat lost sight of her own goals, her own health and her mojo. When my mom came to me over 2 years ago and said “I think I want to try CrossFit with you,” I said  Huh? “Really?”  I’ll be honest I had a major internal struggle.  She was almost 60 and had not been an athlete her whole life…like really at all.  (Although she will tell you that 1 semester of college cheerleading qualifies.) I was scared for her, CrossFit isn’t easy.  It is high-intensity, gut-checking and both internally and externally competitive.  I didn’t know if she had it in her.  To be 100% honest… I share all aspects of my life with her and this is the one place I go to escape, to push myself, to challenge myself and to feel on top of the world for a brief moment in time.  I was nervous to let her into this CrossFit “cult” I belonged to. That moment of hesitation quickly faded when I realized she needed all of those things too. Needless to say, she’s never looked back.

 

The CrossFit Open

My mom’s love for CrossFit grew wildly.  She was showing up almost every day to complete the same workout surrounded by 20-and-30 somethings with rock-solid abs and bulging biceps.  I didn’t really think much about her success at her first workout or the ones the directly followed. Was I a horrible daughter for that?  Of course, I was proud and inspired by her courage but I never really paused to think about the greater significance of my Mom, the “CrossFitter.”  I really started to reflect on what being a “CrossFitter” truly meant to her months later, during this year’s CrossFit Open.  That’s right after CrossFitting for just over a year and at 60 years old she decided to give the Open a go.  She had no expectations, little CrossFit experience and really no clue. What she did have… was an attitude that she COULD participate 110%.  That turned out to be of more value than any experience needed.

 

16.5 Was More Than Burpees and Thrusters

I had the privilege of judging her for 16.5…the dreaded thruster and burpees over the bar combo (both her nemesis). I rolled out of bed early to come cheer her on, sleepy faced and completely unaware of the emotions that would soon take me over.  The timer counted down and she began.  We had a strategy for her survival and I guided her through it.  Small sets, slow and steady.  She struggled, a WOD face in full effect until every.single.rep was done.  My body shivered with the realization that this moment was so much more than any workout would ever be.  It was about her digging deep, going to a place she had little experience with, to prove that at almost 61 years old…she could.  It was about not allowing her age in life to stop her from doing things she never had.  It was a turning point for me as a spectator but more importantly, as her daughter.  Tears rolled down my face as she completed the last few reps because I was proud.  She was the last to finish and honestly, we were engaged in our moment together so deeply that we had no idea. For a few minutes of time, we switched rolls, and I fully embraced being the proud “Mom.”

 

Never Too Old To Compete

As if just being a “CrossFitter” wasn’t enough, she saw an opportunity to compete for the first time and took it.  She joined forces with another CrossFit Grandma and in a gym filled with experienced female CrossFitters, the two of them stole the show. They hit personal records that weren’t just “weight” based…they hit life records.  It didn’t matter how much weight was on that bar, they were satisfying deep rooted goals that most of us don’t even understand yet.  With every single lift the crowd roared and their eyes filled with shock and a clear passion for more.  It was as if they were the leaders in the CrossFit Games and the rest of us just couldn’t get enough.  It was a moment too hard to truly capture into words that we will all remember forever.

Reflecting

I get game gut showing up to workouts–you know the kind of nervous belly that makes you feel you aren’t sure if you have to puke or… (well, you know). The amount of courage it continually takes her to show up is only magnified.  And you know what?  She does it almost everyday…at 5:30 in the morning.  She is rarely the fastest or lifts the heaviest and it doesn’t bother her in the slightest. She is there for other reasons, ones that far exceed either of the aforementioned ones.  She is there to prove to herself she can.  She is there to be able to wrestle, swim, and get on the floor with my kids.  She is there to inspire the other 50+ men and women, and for that matter, all of us.  She is a testament to not allowing age to ever be an excuse.  If you ask her, she will tell you that the time she makes for this will give her so much time for life.

 

Why You Are Missing Out

My mom’s story alone supports the amazing life changes being active can bring.  Numerous studies done about activity in adults only further the cause.  Aside from the mental benefits of being active, research continually supports the need for activity in adults, especially those over the age of 50.  According to the American College of Sports Medicine , the benefits of a regular strength training increase cardiovascular fitness, reduce depression, increase bone density and lower insulin resistance (1).  Second to smoking, a lack of fitness is linked to the main reason for early cause of death (2). In addition, the benefits of progressive resistance training are so powerful that research suggests they extend beyond the basic improvement of strength and cardiovascular health, but actually shift the genetic makeup of muscle (3). Why would you ever want to miss out on all of these benefits?

 

It’s A Cycle

Not only did CrossFitting make her aware of her fitness it caused her to think about her eating habits too.  She wants to feel good every time she gets into the gym and wants to be able to recover fast.  She now thinks about what she is putting inside her body.  She loves the feeling of an awesome workout and knows the bigger importance of fueling her body at her age for more.  She still works a full time job, is a mom, is a grandma and has to deal with menopause (AAAhhhhh!!!!) and when all of those aspects of life are supported by good nutrition and fitness, they all are more rich because of it.

 

CrossFit Grandmas

It’s a revolution, a movement, a challenge to our ingrained aging perspective that we are too old at some point to pursue a goal.  I wrote this post because I know so many women, in their middle ages and beyond, think that they are too old to invest in themselves.  I am here to tell you that I’ve never seen my mom walk around with more confidence than she has now.  You get one chance to live your life the way you want it, every moment, until the end.  It is never too late to pursue your health; in training, in nutrition, and in mindset.  Let my Mom, and the many other “CrossFit Grandmas”, inspire you to believe in yourself, reestablish your worth and achieve goals you never even knew you had.

Join their movement…you won’t regret it!

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

  1. https://www.acsm.org/docs/current-comments/exerciseandtheolderadult.pdf
  2. https://consumer.healthday.com/senior-citizen-information-31/longevity-982/only-smoking-beats-inactivity-as-an-early-death-risk-factor-study-suggests-713243.html
  3. https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/ageresistUNM.html
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Carb Up on Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is too easy to pass up!  Watch this quick tip video to see how easy it is to prepare with your dinner tonight!

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How to Get Sweet Potatoes Into Your Life

I love Sweet Potatoes..on so many levels!  Watch this awesome video on 5 quick ways to work them into your routine and then check out my Sweet Potato Slider recipe I mention on the video.

Easy Dinner Veggie

I am Zoodle Obsessed

I am currently obsessed with zucchini.  After having an amazing raw zucchini noodle (affectionately referred to as Zoodles) salad at a summer BBQ, I can’t seem to get enough of them.  In fact it motivated me to come back to this bog post one year later and give it a face lift.

I used to lightly saute the zoodles before eating them up.  After I had them raw, there is no way I will ever look back.  They have an extremely fresh, crisp taste and feel much more similar to a real noodle option when raw.

 

I’ve been making Zoodles for years since becoming gluten free.  It began with a hand held spiralizer and then evolved into making them on my KitchenAid Spilaizer attachment because of the volume and frequency I make them in.  Both are amazing options, but the KiichenAid is a worth while investment if you plan to put their production in high gear.  The bonus is that the attachment is strong enough to Spiralize potatoes of all kinds, including my favorite sweet potatoes.

 

And If You Are Lazy

Finally a company jumped on the veggie noodle train and made a quality option that you an buy fresh in store.  Veggie Noodle Co offers those of you with less time and culinary desire to still have a healthy noodle option on hand.  They offer spiral versions of lots of veggies including zucchini, sweet potato, butternut squash and beets.  You can find them in Whole Foods, Spouts Farmers Market and at Target.

 

The honest truth though is that it is much more cost effective to spiralize your own veggies.  I like to do a whole bunch at once and us them throughout the week for various recipes.  It gives us no excuse not to add a veggie into our meals.

 

 

Check out my video of the KitchenAid Spiralizer in action. This was literally the first Facebook Live video I ever did.  I was entirely nervous but excited.

Spiralized Noodle Recipe Ideas:

Here are a few spiral noodle recipes to get you started!

Zucchini Salad with Grilled Veggies (add chicken for a protein boost)

Shrimp Scampi: Zoodle Edition

Baked Sweet Potato Curly Fries

Skinny Pho

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

The Skinny on Fats: 13 Tips to Control Your Fat Intake Each Day

Fat! We love it, we hate it and we can’t live without it…literally.  Fat is a macronutrient that acts as a secondary source of energy for our body.  Fats assist in absorption of certain micronutrients in the body, aides in the boundary of cells, cushions cells and in turn the body.  Fat plays a crucial role in hormone regulation and brain function (1). You need it–there is no denying it.

Poor, Misunderstood Fat
We don’t gain weight from fat, we gain weight from excess fat that puts our metabolism out of balance.  Each person’s body chemistry is unique, requiring its own quantity of fat that pushes their metabolic capacity and allows them to hit their goals. Adjusting fat ratios is key to fat loss, athletic performance and day to day health.

Fat and Tracking Macronutrient Intake

The important thing to understand about fat is its caloric value.  When the body metabolizes 1 gram of fat, it acquires 9 calories of useable energy as a fuel source.  This is in comparison to protein and carbohydrates which yield only 4 calories of energy. It is also the reason that being accurate when tracking fat intake is key, as it has more caloric consequence if over consumed.

In the name of FAT

In the name of  fat, I put together a quick reference of ways to decrease fat daily but also quick ways to increase fat daily.  At some point in your nutritional tracking journey, you’ll need to do both to satisfy your nutrition goals.

Easy ways to reduce Fat:13-tips-to-control-fat-intake-pinterest

  1. Reduce the number of yolks you consume with eggs, opt for egg whites or a combo.
  2. Choose 93/7% Ground beef over 80/20%.
  3. Replace your mayo, sour cream, spread with plain 0% fat greek yogurt.  It really does taste the same.
  4. Try almond milk or ultra filtered milk in your coffee over half and half or creamer.
  5. Chose a grilled chicken breast over a drumstick or thigh.
  6. Chose almond cheese over cow’s milk cheese.  Say what? No seriously it is delicious!
  7. Fill up on Veggies—their caloric value is little to none! You can load up on them to help you feel full with little macronutrient value but a heck of a lot micronutrient value.

Easy Ways to Increase Fat:

  1. Take a fish oil supplement. Try using this in the evening when you need to fill small quantities to hit those counts.  A gel capsule can keep the fat content in a smaller amount or a liquid version to increase the fat content.
  2. Add a bit of oil based dressing, like olive or avocado, to a salad.
  3. Enjoy some nuts or nut butter (this is my go-to to increase fat) on your favorite piece of fruit or in your morning oats.
  4. Add an egg yolk.  Try another yolk in your morning eggs or prep some hard boiled eggs for a mid afternoon snack.
  5. Add some slices of avocado to your eggs, lean meat or dinner meal.  Mash it up as a condiment to make a healthy fat version of chicken salad.
  6. Throw a small bit of Kerrygold butter on your baked potato.

Keeping your dietary fat intake on track is the key to so many functions of the body–not to mention they can taste so.darn.good.  Use them in the right places in your daily routine to maximize their benefits.

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda

 

Sources:

(1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6298507