October Recipes

A big complaint that I hear about eating clean is that it is boring! People think that healthy options are only limited to grilled chicken and vegetables. While this is certainly an option, it is far from being the only choice out there. What better way to bring in the Fall season than with some recipes to make clean eating taste delicious? 

A big thank you to Jenna Power from Power Meals for providing two of the recipes below! Jenna is a mastermind at making meal prep taste phenomenal. Be sure to follow her meal prep social media @Power_Meals on Instagram or @JPow05. Maybe one day Jenna will produce a recipe book for those who are culinary challenged like me. *Hint Hint*

Chinese Pepper Steak
Jenna Power and New Leaf Wellness

Ingredients
2 Pounds of Beef Top Sirloin Steak (Fat trimmed and sliced. I used stew beef, because time). 
3 Green Bell Peppers, Sliced
2 Small Yellow Onions, Sliced
4 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Cup of Soy Sauce (Low sodium soy sauce is a great substitute here!)
1 Tablespoon of Honey
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper

Preparation
Add all of the contents to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Enjoy over rice or alone! If you prefer your veggies to have a crunch, you can add the green peppers in at the last 30 minutes of cooking. 
You can also freeze all of the uncooked ingredients in a ziplock bag for up to 3 months for those days where throwing a meal into the crockpot before work is the best option of the day. Just thaw overnight and start your meal in the AM! 

For those who are RP'ers, I consider this meal protein with 1/2 serving of fat for under 4 oz and a full serving of fat for 5 oz of protein or more per serving. 
For those who are macro counters, I did the work for you below! 

Serving size is 4 oz. 
Protein - 33.5 G
Carbs - 8.7 G
Fat - 8.6 G

 

Cool Ranch Shredded Chicken
Jenna Power and New Leaf Wellness

Ingredients
2 Pounds of Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar
2 Packages of Dry Taco Seasoning (Reduce to 1 packet to reduce carbs/sodium)
1 Package of Dry Ranch Seasoning  
Pro Tip - You can EASILY make your own seasoning packets to make them Paleo and low sodium, however.... the premixed packages from Hidden Valley and McCormick's are so easy

Preparation
Soak the chicken breast in lukewarm saltwater for 10 minutes and pat dry
Mix the wet and dry ingredients together in a large bowl
Add the chicken breast and toss to evenly coat in the mixture of spices
Add all of the ingredients, including the left over spice mixture, to a crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours
Shred and serve! 

This recipe can also be easily frozen and stored for up to 3 months. Just thaw the night before and throw it in the crockpot for cooking. 

For those who are RP'ers, I consider this meal protein with 1/2 serving of fat for under 4 oz and a full serving of fat for 5 oz of protein or more per serving. 
For those who are macro counters, I did the work for you below! 

Serving size is 4 oz.
Protein - 35 G
Carbs - 6.5 G
Fat - 9.3 G

 

Turkey Meatloaf
Charlye Hebert

Ingredients
2 Pounds 99% Lean Ground Turkey
3 Whole Eggs, Whisked
1⁄2 cup Almond Flour (link for purchase below)
1⁄2 Onion, Thinly Chopped
2 Bell Peppers, Any Color, Finely Chopped
10 oz Package Frozen Spinach, Thawed and Drained
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Chili Powder *
1 tsp Salt *
2 cloves Garlic, Minced *
1 tsp Oregano *
1 tsp Thyme*
1⁄2 tsp Cayenne*
*The above spices can be substituted with one package of dry Chili Mix
1⁄2 cup BBQ Sauce (You can make a Paleo version, but I prefer Sweet Baby Ray's)

Preperation
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Saute onions over medium heat in a saucepan using the olive oil until tender.
Add spinach, garlic, and spices to the onions and stir gently.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Place uncooked turkey into a large bowl and add the whisked eggs and almond flour.
Mix gently, being sure not to handle the meat too much.
Add the saucepan contents to the meat mixture and stir gently until well distributed.
Form the mixture into a loaf shape and place into a well-greased loaf pan. The mixture should be slightly smaller than the size of the pan.
Pour the BBQ sauce on top of the loaf, covering the sides and top.
Cook for one hour, or longer if necessary. Meat should reach an internal temperature of 155 degrees and should be white upon cutting.
Serve with additional BBQ sauce, if desired, but note additional BBQ topping is not included in the nutrition details below. 

Serving size is 4 oz. 
Protein - 31 G
Carbs - 14 G
Fat - 6 G

I hope you enjoyed these recipes! If you would like this to become a monthly post, please let us know! Be sure to tag us on social media if you try out any of these recipes @humblecrossfit

  

Athlete of the Month October: Daniela Reyes

The word of the month for Daniela is explosion. I have seen Dani walk into our gym for over a year now and make great progress, but this past month in particular I have seen changes in Dani that I have never seen in an athlete before. When I say explosion I mean a complete burst of PR's and progression that makes me so incredibly proud. Dani is walking into the gym and pushing herself so hard and progressing so quickly. She is attempting, and successfully completing, movements and weights that she has not touched in the past, motivating others, cheering on her family, and showing such a dedication that the choice for Athlete of the Month was an easy one this time around. You deserve all the success in the world Dani, I am so proud of you! Keep giving it 110%. Read below to learn more about this fantastic athlete.

1. Who are you and what do you do?
I am Daniela C. Reyes, I work part time at my own company and the rest of the day I am a housewife, mom, wife, and anything to do with my family.

2. What is your athletic background?
In high school I used to play basketball and during my childhood and adolescence I loved to skate, jump rope, and ride the bike. Those were my favorite things.

3. What made you join Humble CrossFit?
My younger sister came to work with me and she had CrossFit training, so I decided to stop going to my traditional gym and try CrossFit, and I love it.

4. What does CrossFit mean to you and how do you stay motivated?
I really like the atmosphere at Humble CrossFit and for every movement the coaches are helping us improve every day. My motivation is to see my progress from the first day that I started exercising. It is a big difference!

5. What is your favorite CrossFit movement?
I love the clean and jerk!

6. What is your least favorite movement?
Overhead squats, they are an awkward movement for me.

7. What are your goals for the next year?
I want to master the moves that are still difficult for me, like pull ups, and to complete workouts as prescribed more often.  

8. What was your favorite moment/accomplishment so far at Humble CrossFit?
Ring dips and in general lifting heavier weights in the workouts that we do.

9. What is your favorite cheat meal?
Chips

10. Do you have any advice for people hesitant to try CrossFit or for those struggling with their fitness goals?
Never give up! CrossFit can be a great teaching tool.

Back To Basics

Anyone who steps foot in Humble CrossFit is automatically treated as an athlete. I know this may sound bizarre, but I look at my clients as students who have come to learn a skill that I can teach well. Not every athlete has the same goals, lifestyles, and/or restrictions as the next and it is my duty to help them achieve their goals, no matter what they are. As a CrossFit Trainer, it is my job to provide a solid base of technique and knowledge about our daily tasks, whether they be performing a snatch safely, how to feel less sore, or basic dietary guidelines. When I have a newcomer I always tell them the same thing: I want to focus on making your form as perfect as possible. You see, when you get deep in “the suck,” form tends to fall apart. My goal is to create a foundation that is so solid that when an athlete does start to veer off the path they are not endangering themselves or others with bad form. Some people take this more kindly than others, but eventually all of my athletes learn that correcting form is not me being critical, but me demanding safety.

It is no surprise that many people will fall off of their workout routines from time to time. I too have fallen off my routine so much that my performance was, to my own standards as a competitive athlete, embarrassing. My form would be sloppy, I would take unnecessary water breaks or walks to the chalk bucket, and often I would be left feeling unsatisfied and disappointed in myself. I know, I’m not perfect! Shocking!  When I begin to take my training more seriously I always begin by slowing down and focusing solely on my technique. Basically, I move as perfectly as possible even if it means doing light weight or moving slowly. This surprisingly leads me to feel less fatigued during my metcons. My movements feel stronger and I am able to move faster as a result once I am confident that my foundational skills are on point.  

It does not matter if a person is new to Humble CrossFit or new to any sport, the most important thing they can do for themselves is focus on the fundamentals. Slowing down when it comes to technique and only when they have gotten better control and understanding should an athlete increase speed and/or weight of a movement. This is critical to our foundation in CrossFit. Practice makes permanent. If you practice incorrectly, you will become very good at doing the wrong thing. Being persistent and consistent in proper form will ensure you become a better athlete. Do not get discouraged if you find yourself needing to go back to the basics on movements that do not feel perfect. Before you know it, the goals that you have set out for yourself will become old PR’s and new goals will need to be set and achieved. Trust the process!

Food Scales

Using a food scale may seem overwhelming. The stigma that follows weighing and measuring food is one that can go both ways; people either admire you or think you are crazy.  I myself have been told, “You’re so skinny, why do you measure your food?” and “Weighing your food is obsessive and will cause an eating disorder.”  Being aware of food sizes and controlling portions and servings is not just for those who are overweight.  In fact, I have found that very few people (of all weights) are unaware of appropriate serving sizes for their bodies.   

I have been very vocal that I grew up in a family who loves unhealthy food. The plates placed in front of me were always large, not only at home, but at restaurants and in fast food establishments as well. I had no idea how much food I should be eating and what an appropriate serving size for my body should be.  Checking to see how many chips were in a serving was not something that I had ever thought to do or had been taught.

When I first began CrossFit (due to the success and encouragement of a dear friend, Hey Lacey!), Pinterest had just become a huge social media platform. All of a sudden I was swarmed with photos of tiny girls with abs and their two dozen plastic containers of freshly prepped food.  I wanted to be like these internet girls and I needed to support my new workout, so I also began to meal prep. After one or two meals I was angry, craving food, disinterested in the food I had already prepped, or hungry after just a few hours. I repeated this trend for many years, prepping for a week and falling off after a few days.  Thankfully, my CrossFit routine stayed more consistent than my nutrition.

I knew that my workout was suffering from my eating habits. I became interested in tracking my Macronutrient intake so I could control and understand exactly what my body needed for fuel in order to become more successful at the gym. Upon research it was evident that the most accurate way to do this was by weighing my food sources. Enter my introduction to the food scale.

After physically seeing how much food I needed for fuel, I became more aware of how much food is needed to keep my body running efficiently. In fact, when I weigh and measure my food now I can almost always eyeball my portion sizes and have them spot on. This is extremely helpful when eating out and takes away the guilt of the portions that are in front of me. I know how much I should and should not eat and can portion my food accordingly. Does this mean I do this every time? Absolutely not. Do not think that I am on my A game 365 days a year.

Because of my own experiences, I wanted to address the stigmas and give some instruction on how and when to use a food scale in your own home. 

When using a food scale, it is always important to “zero” your scale before using it. To do this, turn on your scale and place the item that you will be using to hold your measured food on the scale. I use the plate I will be eating on or a cup more often than not. Press the “zero” button (usually the power button) one time and you will notice the scale now shows a weight of 0. This will provide an accurate weight of the food itself without needing to subtract or add any numbers. 

Next, place your food item on the scale and add/take away food accordingly until the scale indicates you have reached the proper amount. Many scales measure in both American and metric units, so make sure you are measuring the units appropriately. 10 kg is very different from 10 oz. 

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This seems so easy in writing, but many people are scared or intimidated by the food scale. In reality, weight is the most accurate way to measure food due the differences in volume in a wide variety of foods. A cup, teaspoon, or other measuring tools will always include some form of variation that will not give you an accurate measure of the food you are eating. Weight is always constant. A pound of feathers weighs the same as a pound of gold, but the two items vary greatly in their volumes.  

I encourage you to pick up a food scale and weigh common items that you eat.  You may be surprised at what you discover. While our needs may not be the same when it comes to the amount of food required, knowing the serving sizes of food and what those look like in front of you will be an invaluable tool that can be used daily when making choices for your diet. I have included a link below to the food scale that I use, as well as a couple of others recommended in good faith by Amazon. 

 

The Why

I had my first experience with Olympic Weight Lifting in 2002. I was a junior in high school and it was my first day of weightlifting class, which also happened to be the first year my school had offered this course. To say I was excited would be an understatement. Up until this point I followed the basic “Bigger, Faster, Stronger” protocol that involves the bench press, squat and deadlift.  I always assumed that these were the best lifts to achieve strength and give you the edge required in sports.  I assumed this class would follow that dynamic and would make me better at those three lifts. My weight lifting coach was also my English teacher, Mr. Myron, unsuspecting, I know. On the first day of class he showed us video highlights of Olympic Lifts. I knew of Olympic Weightlifting and saw glimpses of it every four years when the Olympics came around, but I didn’t really understand it.  In my eyes, I saw guys of all sizes throwing weights above their heads while contorting their bodies into strange positions to pull it off.  I did not understand how these lifts were more significant than my bench press and deadlift, but I saw something in Mr. Myron that drew me to focus on his commentary. I realize today that I saw passion in his eyes. He lit up like a kid on Christmas. While most of the other teenage boys zoned out, Mr. Myron was so driven to make us understand his passion that I was sucked in.

Mr. Myron explained weightlifting in such a simple, profound way, that I still use it with athletes to this day.  He told us, “This is Olympic Weightlifting! The lifters, divided by weight classes, are trying to lift the most weight possible overhead in two different lifts: The Snatch and Clean & Jerk.”  Of course the class full of teenage boys erupted in laughter upon hearing these terms. However, Mr. Myron continued, “Each athlete has three attempts at each lift, which makes each lift very important.”  My hand went up “So, why those lifts?” I asked, wondering what was special about these two movements. He responded to my broad question with a simple answer, “The goal of the Snatch is to get the most weight from the floor to over your head in one movement. The Clean & Jerk is to move weight from the floor to overhead intwo movements.”  He explained to us that these two lifts have adapted into what they are today simply out of necessity.   

100 years ago these lifts look way different than they do today.  The clean & jerk for example looked more like a muscle clean into a strict/ push press, broken and mechanical.  Over time the athletes who learned to drop their bodies under the weight were lifting more than the guys remaining rigid and upright.  The sport reached a turning point. It was less about catering to brute force and now more about explosiveness and speed (power) to lift more weight.   The two lifts are a symphony of strength, speed and precision.  I like the way US Weightlifter Donnie Shankle phrases it, “It is like trying to thread a needle, but the thread is on the tip of a rhino horn running at full speed.”

From that point, I realized that these lifts were on another level from what I thought was weightlifting.  Mr. Myron explained the lifts very simply and then made it relevant to me by describing how these lifts will make me a better athlete.  “You have to understand how strong and fast you have to be to lift these weights from the floor to overhead.  It will make you a better athlete no matter what sport you play.”  I remember him concluding, “If you can get 200lbs from the ground to overhead, how much more confident are you when a 150lb guy is in your way on the playing field?” He was right. Realizing my capabilities made me a better athlete across the board, not just a stronger weight lifter.

15 years later I owe a lot to Mr. Myron for introducing me to Olympic Weightlifting. The passion he showed drew me in like a moth to a light.  I am thankful that Mr. Myron made me a better athlete, but I am more thankful that he made me understand the Why.

“The Why” is reason why we lift, go through programming, do warm ups, mobility exercises and everything else in between at the gym.   What does this movement achieve?  How will this make me more fit?  Why do we do below parallel squats? The Why is something that is so easily lost when members are only focused on going through the motions because that is what they have been taught to do. This was a hard lesson for me to learn as a trainer. What we have to understand as athletes and even more so as coaches is that every second that we are training/coaching, understanding why we do what we do is the most important aspect of every lift. It isn’t hitting every position perfectly every time or lifting the heaviest in your weight class, it is the Why. I got into CrossFit for just this reason.

Eight years after Mr. Myron’s weight lifting class, I was introduced to CrossFit. It was the only program that carried a true definition of fitness.  Using science and math, CrossFit eloquently defined fitness and how to achieve it.  Much like my Mr. Myron did in my adolescence, CrossFit did what all other types of workouts and strength programs could not.  It made me understand the Why.  It was clear, concise, and proved by science. Everything else at this point in my fitness career was a marketing scheme to sell something or programs backed by corporations with other invested interests while the whole time never fully knowing who is right and who is wrong and why this was important. Greg Glassman changed that with the first CrossFit Journal article, what I like to refer to as my fitness bible, "What is Fitness?" by Greg Glassman.  Coach Glassman gives a clear definition for fitness that no other person or program has been able to disprove. I encourage all of my athletes at Skyline CrossFit to read his journal entry to understand fitness and why we do it. 

As athletes you must ask why. As coaches you must be able to explain the why. It is crucial as an athlete, daily wodder, or competitive athlete, to fully understand why you are doing what you are doing.  You should be able to answer these questions: Why do you CrossFit?  Why is working out legs more than once a week important for overall fitness?  Why do we do full range of motion movements?  Why the pullup is more beneficial than the curl for overall fitness?  The list of questions is infinite.  You should be able to answer and understand these questions for your own knowledge and to keep your eye on the focus of achieving fitness.

When trying to achieve goals you must understand how to achieve them.  Auto Mechanics make the average person feel like complete idiots when they explain to a customer why their car is making a funny noise.  Mechanics need to understand why every little part of the car is important and how it works. You are the mechanic of your body.  Your tools are your workouts and the why is your gasoline.  Sure, blindly going through a CrossFit class will make you more fit than you were, but we must come to a point where we want to excel and not just survive. To excel in CrossFit bleeds into all aspect of life.  Understanding the Why is important with achieving any goal whether it be financial, personal, fitness, or career goals. So I say to you find your Why. Ask questions, do your research and never lose sight of Why this is important.