Monthly Archives: November 2018

Eat Your Way RIGHT Through the Holidays

There are two ways you can read that.

Eat your way right through..... The Holidays” – such as, eat everything in sight from Halloween to New Year’s and ensure yourself 10 new pounds of belly blubber for the new year.


“Eat your way RIGHT..... through the holidays”, as in eat correctly and supportively over the next few weeks, enjoying the seasonal treats in a planned and controlled way, continuing to focus on good habits and making progress.

Big Difference! (no pun intended)

One cookie is different than one plate of cookies!

Take these 4 things and help yourself to Eat RIGHT through the holidays

  1. Plan your meals
  2. Prep your meals or as much as you can ahead of time
  3. Eat when you are hungry
  4. Stop eating when you are satisfied.

That is it. Four things that sound super simple and easy to do. If you dismiss one of those items, you make your chances of Eating RIGHT through the holidays twice as hard. 

To your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Are You Ready TO Fall? (Bonus Video)

Sitting here writing this at 11:30 in the morning, after having shoveled the driveway and parking lot TWICE already today, with the snow still coming down, it's really hard to believe it's not officially winter yet.

Who made THAT rule?

Anyway, as I was pondering the fact it is still fall, I was reminded of a startling statistic shared by Coach Dan John.

28,000 Americans die from falls and fall-related injuries - every year.

That is pretty crazy. But check out what else he has to say...

"As I’m talking today, the Ebola virus is in the news. The chances of any of you picking up Ebola are pretty rare, but the chances of one of you having a fall and getting hurt are pretty high. Here’s an interesting thing: At my age, if I was told today by my doctor that I have cancer and my friend, who is also 57, was to fall today and hurt himself, statistically in two years, my chances of survival in the United States are greater."

Is that sinking in? Have you ever heard of this? Is anybody really talking about it and taking it seriously? Why is there no "Society for the prevention of falls and fall related injury"? And I am only half-joking.

We all tend to laugh at the "I've fallen and I can't get back up" commercials. But I wouldn't want to be in that position.

You may have noticed that as you get older, you don't bounce, or bounce back, quite like you used to - I know I have. The good news is there is something you can do about, Get strong, Stay Strong. Build in some "margin" in your joints, tendons and ligaments with mobility and flexibility work. Practice balancing on one foot - now add weight. Drop to the ground and get back up. At Cr8 Fitness, we do all of that for a reason. So WHEN you fall, you CAN get back up.

And that's no joke.

To your best health, for a long time.

Coach Dean

P.S. Took the family to the trampoline park in Concord the other day. I fell, a lot, but I had a blast. Most parents were standing on the sidelines, watching the kids have all the fun. BOO! Train to stay in the game!

Just in Time for Thanksgiving- Bump up Your Brussels Sprouts

These are not your ordinary Brussels Sprouts! Colorful and tasty, the sweetness of the butternut squash and tart of the cranberries make this dish a great blend of fall flavors. You will love the crunch of the pecans too!

  • 3 cups Brussels Sprouts
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 pound Butternut Squash
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 cups Pecan Halves
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (no sugar added) You can also use fresh cranberries like I did. Roast them right along with the squash and sprouts. 


  1. Peel, seed and cut the butternut squash into 1″ cubes, then toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
  2. Trim the ends of the Brussels sprouts, and remove any yellow leaves.
  3. Toss the sprouts with 3 Tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Roast the squash and Brussels sprouts on separate baking sheets for 25-30 minutes in a 400 degree oven. For even browning, turn over for the last 10 minutes.
  5. When the squash and sprouts are done, combine them with the pecans and dried cranberries and gently mix.

To Your best health,

Coach Nancy


MY Healthy AND Happy Thanksgiving Menu

Dear Coach Dean,

Let's try something new this year.

Let's NOT stress about what we eat on Thanksgiving. 

Let's not count calories, or ask how much sugar is in the pie (it's PIE for crying out loud) or work ourselves into a tizzy deciding if we should eat a dinner roll. Let's not try to make keto stuffing (it's terrible) or carb free desserts. Let's not make everyone else suffer because you are so "self-disciplined".

I mean seriously, is THAT healthy behavior?

If you don't like how much you weigh, or how you look in the mirror, you aren't going to solve that in one day. ESPECIALLY Thanksgiving Day.

Chill out.

Healthy eating is more than the amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates in your "diet". Knowing those things can be important, but if counting calories and weighing your food stresses you out - cut it out. 

You KNOW the best way to eat, and 99% of the time you do. You eat sensibly, and simply.

In fact most of the time your eating is downright boring. But that doesn't mean it bland, tasteless, and uninteresting.

It just means you do the same thing over and over, meal after meal. You eat PPW every time you eat - Protein, Produce, and Water (or other calorie-free beverages).

You'll do the same thing on Thanksgiving day. You'll just add a couple more things, in reasonable amounts, that you enjoy but eat less often. Some great bread, maybe some mashed potatoes and gravy. A small slice of a couple different desserts. Some cider and even a small glass of eggnog. 

And it will be GOOD, and it will be HEALTHY, because you won't stress out about it, and you'll be doing it with people you love.

And on Friday, you'll reign it back in, enjoy some leftovers in reasonable amounts, maybe even have a piece of dessert two days in a row - WHAAAT!

And then you'll get back into your normal routine of PPW, sensibly and simply navigating healthy eating, no stress allowed.

To your best health, and a wonderful Thanksgiving,

Your Friend,

Coach Dean

The Remedy for Stress Not Many Take Advantage Of

Stress is like the battle we all race through. We all strive for balance and stress free living yet I don't know anyone that has achieved that. Its more like we are needing to find a way to manage stress. Stress is known to cause inflammation inside our bodies. Inflammation and a rise in fight or flight hormones can be one of the leading causes of major health issues. Yet we tend to ignore the health risks because we can't ignore the stress. 

We need to battle or counteract the effects of stress on our bodies. That is what deep inhales and exhales can do for us using our hormones. A great night's sleep can do be our best defense against stress. Sleepless nights or restless sleep can have the opposite effect. Read some excellent strategies to counter a bad night's sleep. 

There are other ways to battle the effects of inflammation:  

  • twenty minutes on a heating pad 
  • time with the lacrosse ball and/or foam roller
  • adding ice to our sore bodies
  • massage
  • a walk with a friend
  • making a list of gratitude
  • taking fish oil
  • AND soaking in a detox bath can help in a lot of ways. 

That last one is the Hidden Remedy for Stress that so many of us do not take advantage of.

A detox bath will relax those muscles aching muscles but also just put your whole body at ease. Allowing your muscles to relax before you even hit the pillow gives you a jump start on those 7-8 hours of restful sleep.  Detox baths will also help to release toxins from our bodies that stress and food can cause. The heat does wonders and then knowing you are taking time for yourself helps to ease the stress levels. Its a win/win/ win/win.

Here is how I make my own Detox Bath Powder.  

1 cup Baking Soda

2 cups Epsom Salts

a few drops of lavender oil

Mix all of this together and pour into hot water (as hot as you can stand). Enjoy your bath. 

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

What’s A Postage Stamp Good For?

When I was a kid, I was a terrible "finisher".

For instance I liked to build model airplanes and cars, and I'd do one of two things;

  • Rush through it so fast in an effort to get it "done" that I did a really crappy job, or...
  • Start it, get bored because it wasn't going fast enough, and leave it unfinished.

So what's that got to do with postage stamps?

A stamp is only useful when it sticks to the envelope long enough to get it to its destination.

It might surprise you that over the years I have tried and failed at many diet and exercise programs. The problem usually wasn't the program, it almost NEVER is. The problem was that, just like with my model airplanes, I either just wanted it to "get it done", so never really committed to following it in the first place, or didn't lose 20 pounds the first two weeks, declared that the program "doesn't work", and went looking for "next".

Have you ever put a stamp on an envelope, messed up the address, and tried to get it back off so you could reuse it? It's crazy how sticky those things are!

It was only when I finally stuck with a good nutrition and exercise plan, through "snow and rain and heat and gloom of night" that I finally reached my initial weight loss goal. 

We are getting into one of the busiest times of the year. A season that is supposed to bring joy and happiness often times seems to just being stress and hassle.

Stick with it. Don't let circumstances derail what you want. Keep training consistently, keep chipping away at better eating habits, get some sleep. Your family at Cr8 Fitness has your back. If you need help, let us know.

Keep making it happen,

- DC

The Tradition Continues! “Pies OFF Your Thighs” Is Almost Here!

I love holiday traditions, and this is one of my favorite!

I am really excited to experience the energy at Cr8 Fitness this year, as we shake off the post-thanksgiving turkey coma and get back into action. How many people CAN we fit into the gym? Guess we are going to find out.

Join Coach Dean and I at our Annual Thanksgiving training- "Pies Off Your Thighs"; Saturday, November 24th at 8am.

Check out these cool pics from the archives!

We've come a long way in the last 10+ years. We're thankful for each one who has passed through out doors. Let's celebrate!

Bring your water bottle and your energy. We'll help you do the rest.

Pies off Your Thighs

Saturday, November 24th 8am

Cr8 Fitness - Epsom

Come make memories with us.


Side Note: We will be training Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the week of Thanksgiving at all our regular training times. 

Your Details for “Hot for the Holidays”

Halloween is just behind us, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Christmas parties and the busyness of the Season jump into high gear when December rolls around. It doesn't stop because then the New Year is rung in. All of these things mean FOOD, FOOD and More FOOD!. Since food will be everywhere at every event, in every store, on each TV commercial, and on all the tables you pass. Its difficult not to eat, EAT and EAT MORE

Coach Dean and I have come up with a challenge for you. There are even real prizes at the end of this challenge. We're calling this challenge; "Hot for the Holidays". 

Hot for the Holidays is NOT:

  • A HOT dog eating contest
  • Consuming HOT spicy foods without any water
  • Confining yourself to a HOT room without a fan
  • H.O.T.  (a Herd Of Turtles) 
  • a Calendar photo shoot (sorry 6pm)
  • A vacation at the HOT Desert Spring Hotel

Hot for the Holidays is: 

  • Keeping yourself on a Roll a.k.a. Staying HOT when it comes to keeping your weight the same. 
  • Get HOT as in the game HOT/Cold, You'll want to stay close to your already amazing training regime.
  • Become HOT as in speedy: Don't slow down your already great nutrition.
  • You'll feel HOT, like Hot to trot, Because your body fat will remain the same or be less during the Holiday Season.

This is where the challenge lies. By November 26, that's a Monday, everyone will have stepped on the InBody scan for their entry into "Hot For the Holidays". On Tuesday January 8th everyone will have done at least one more InBody scan to close out the Holidays. Your goal is to keep your weight the same or lower. 

It sounds simple, two scans and BAM you're done. Yet we all know It will take attention to detail (food detail) to make those two scans match. I know you can do it. 

I promised everyone prizes. I mean everyone. Each person who keeps their weight the same or less between November 26th and January 8, 2019 will be invited to have dinner with your Coaches and their family. We'll cook. I promise it will be healthy choices and very yummy.

We'll help you succeed in any way we can. Here is to being "HOT for the Holidays"

Coach Nancy​​

PROactive Aging Strategy 3

Strategy 3: Enjoy Life

Is it just me, or is this just an unhappy world? Seriously, life is too short for that. And while there is no doubt there is a lot of things that can cause our perspective to be soured, it’s really important for our health that we proactively encourage some happy in our lives.

Here are two things that affect our “happy-healthy” state of mind, and that we do exercise control over.

Stress Management

When you hear the word “stress”, what comes to mind? I’ll admit when I think of stress, the first thing that pops into my mind is “bad – go away”.

In reality, stress is a normal physiological response to events that we feel threatened by or knock us off balance in some way. You have heard the term “fight or flight”. When something threatens us physically, mentally or emotionally we go on high alert.

That is the stress response; it is natural and is designed to protect us. Not all stress is bad, in fact stress does some very good things. It can keep us alert in dangerous situations, increase concentration when we need it most, and keep us sharp during high pressure situations.

It is also true that beyond a certain point stress no longer is your friend, and becomes an enemy to your health, mood, productivity and relationships. When we are on stress overload, it just plain “saps our happy”.

And “overload” is exactly the right word. Allostatic Load is the cumulative wear and tear on your body – physical, mental, and emotional – that results from stress, especially chronic stress. We really can only take so much, like the proverbially “straw that broke the camel’s back”. That’s why when we are reaching our threshold little things can set us off. It wasn’t the fact that your 15-year old told you last minute (again) that he needed his permission slip signed as you were trying to get out the door, it was all the other stuff that has been piling up that caused you to blow your top. (That might have been a true autobiographical story).

Fun Fact: Allostatic Load can be measured via your Heart Rate Variability (HRV). This is a simple 2- or 3-minute process using a heart rate monitor and your smartphone. I have monitored my HRV every morning for about six years now, and some of our clients do as well. The point? If my HRV indicates I am reaching threshold, I know I have to focus on my recovery efforts.

Good and Bad Stress

Good stress is also called eustress. This stress moves us move out of our comfort zone, learn, grow and get stronger.

Coach Nancy loves rollercoasters. To her they are fun, exciting, and exhilarating. It’s short term and leaves her energized and wanting more. That’s an example of good stress.

Exercise is another good example. Appropriate exercise is hard work, but also leaves you feeling good, even energized like the rollercoaster (after your heart rate comes down and you can breathe again, of course).

Conversely, I am not a fan of rollercoasters. Going up to the edge of a cliff, hanging there, and then plunging into the unknown in a seemingly uncontrolled fashion does not make me feel energized, not one bit.

This is bad stress, what we call distress.

So how do you tell the difference between good stress and bad stress?

There is no “one-size-fits-all” when dealing with stress. We all react to different stressors, well, differently. What distinguishes good stress from bad stress is in your life is not actually the specific stressor itself, but your personal ability to recover from it.

Here are some factors that contribute to our stress response and recovery ability:

  • Our attitude and outlook on life. Optimists generally live longer than pessimists.
  • Our personal life experiences. How stress was modeled to us can be a huge factor how we respond.
  • Our perception of how much we control the situation. Feeling trapped can paralyze us and leave us hopeless.
  • Our friends and family. Knowing we are loved and cared for is a difference maker. Hanging out with people we like to be around just makes sense.
  • Our physical environment. Wide open spaces, nature, and places we like to be automatically reduces our tension level. I don’t like crowds; some people thrive in them. Again, it’s highly personal.
  • Our allostatic load. The more we are dealing with at once, the harder it is to keep our head cool and our body healthy. Cumulative stress is highly damaging to even the most positive and cheery of us.

I know I keep emphasizing allostatic load, and it’s for a couple reasons. The first thing to remember is that everything contributes to it: physical, mental and emotional. Your crazy high electric bill, your crazy boss, your fuel light flickering on empty, and yes, even that great workout you just had goes on the pile. The other reason it keeps coming up is because you can measure it, scientifically, so you are reminded to actually do something about it.

So what do we do about it?

Understanding how to manage stress is key to living in the sweet spot, where stress is inspiring and energizing rather than demoralizing and demotivating.

The opposite of “fight or flight” is “rest and digest”. Your central nervous system needs some love to, and recovery activities help build that resilience that is so important to develop.

Here are some proven ways to help you find that sweet spot, reduce your allostatic load, and be your most productive and happiest self:

  • Get some sunshine (especially here in the north. Get your Vitamin D level checked too
  • Go outside and do activity you enjoy; walk, bike, hike
  • Listen to relaxing music
  • Get a massage
  • Sauna or hot tub
  • Practice breathing exercises (deep breathing)
  • Laugh more
  • Deep breathing
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Physical play
  • Exercise

A word on electronics; while movies and television can be entertaining, they are also stimulating to the central nervous system, and adding to your allostatic load. As challenging as it may be, true stress reduction and recovery means ditching the screens. Leave the phone in the car. The world won’t explode.

You don’t have to shoot for “stress-free”

It’s not possible, and as we learned, we need some stress to be at our most inspired, productive and happy. But stress won’t manage itself, and you won’t be great at it right away if you are just adopting these strategies. Don’t stress about it (ha) – just adopt some simple strategies you can do right now to reduce your stress load.

“Stress ages you faster” is not just a pithy saying. It’s reality. Stress management is a must for successful aging and staying at your best, longer.

Stress Management

You are hitting the gym regularly, and you’re eating habits are trending in the right direction (see above). Yet someone you still don’t feel great, and you just don’t look or feel like you want to. It’s time to ask yourself if you are a “stinky sleeper”.

Good sleep doesn’t happen by accident. Just like anything worth doing, it’s going to require effort and practice.

Here are some tips for shaking that stinky sleep habit and setting yourself up for success:

Get Up Right Away

Hitting the "snooze" bar just once never seems to happen. The longer you stay in the bed, the harder to get up. Sit Up. Feet On The Floor. Stand Up. Better sleep at night starts first thing in the morning.

Find The Sun

Immediate natural light exposure regulates your melatonin. This helps us be awake fully in the day, ready to sleep at night.

Exercise Appropriately

Regulate your inner clock, reduce your stress, optimize your hormones. Plus, you look and feel better!

Eat A Moderate Dinner

Too much food makes it harder to sleep. Enough said.

Download Your Day

Clear your mind; writing things down gets them out of your head. Planning the next day at night helps you not think about them when you’re trying to get some shut eye.

Creating and practicing a nightly routine is key. Here are some actions steps:

Turn off the electronics at least 30 minutes before bed. TV, Computer, Cell Phone, all of it. Artificial light interferes with melatonin production, which is required for deep and maximum restorative sleep.

Take a warm bath or shower. Magnesium based bath salts are known to help with sleep.

Your bedroom should be reserved for two things only; sleep and sex. A television in the bedroom is a sleep strangler. Keep your bedroom as your Fortress of Solitude; quiet, relaxed and peaceful (at least until Lex Luthor crashes the party).

Experiment with room temperature. For most people 67 degrees or so seems to work best. Start there and adjust what works for you.

The room should be dark, as in pitch black. Any and all light interferes with the sleep cycle. If you don’t want to trip on the way to the bathroom, use a motion-detecting night light.

A little tough love here.

Your health is worth missing an episode of your favorite TV show. I love watching football as much as anyone, but I discovered that teams don’t need me to watch to win. (I know, I was bummed when I found out). Of course, there are exceptions; I am going to watch the Super Bowl, and if the Red Sox are in the World Series, I am there. But my habit is to go to bed an get at least seven hours of sleep a night. I get up at 4:00am on training morning, so you do the math. Jimmy Fallon and I never cross paths.

While it’s true that our sleep requirements go down as we age (From 9-11 hours when we are school age to 7-8 hours at 65+) we still need enough sleep. While there are outliers that our fine with less than that, the overwhelming odds are you are not one of those special flowers. Seven hours a night will keep you functioning at peak performance, regardless of the date on your birth certificate.


Dylan Thomas wrote; "Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

I am not on some Quixotic quest for immortality. But I am not averse to a little "raging" either.

You don’t have to settle. I loved my grandfather very much. And I distinctly remember that when he was 70 he almost never got out of his chair, because he couldn’t. I remember as a kid thinking how old 70 must be. That is not a criticism of my granddad. He was a hard-working man who was a product of his generation, a proud generation. We know more about the aging process now than he did then. We know smoking and excess alcohol ravages the mind and body and ages you faster. We have better medicine and more opportunity. But knowing and doing are two very different things.

It’s up to us to take advantage of the boundless resources we have in front of us and make the best choices we can to live an active and healthy life.

Let’s Do This!

Need Help Getting Started?

About Cr8 Fitness

Cr8 Fitness mission is to help turn our clients “Happy and Healthy” on by Coaching them to Eat Well, Exercise Smart, and Enjoy Their Best Life.

We are a small facility tucked into the heart of the Suncook Valley, family-owned and operated for over 10 years. Each of our clients is family to us, and we are their fitness home.

Our heart is to create a safe, fun, and happy environment where you get the personal attention to reach your health and fitness goals.

Getting started is simple. Just click here to register for your complimentary fitness screen and 2-Week Free Tryout.

We look forward to seeing you!

- DC

Showing Up is Hard Work

I know often it is hard just to show up for things. Those Christmas parties that seem to be one right after the other, a dentist appointment right in the middle of the day, or even taking the dog to the vet can become a tasking chose. But what about change?

Change is hard too. Changing your routine from summer time to school schedule can be difficult. Changing from getting up at 6am to rolling out of bed at 4:30am is a big difference. Eating 1-2 serving of vegetables a day to 5-6 can seem near impossible. Daily life seems to get in the way of the change.

It reminds me of my first few months at the gym. I could barely do 5 pound weights. It was all they had in my size. (or so I thought). I used those weights for months. Over and over I'd pick them up. Then a new person showed up and took my weights before I could get there. I had to go the the ten pound weights. To my surprise I could do them. It wasn't that the day was special, it was all the reps I had already done. 
Keeping your focus is hard work. Keep showing up, the focus gets easier and then soon you'll be staying focused on your habit without even having to put much thought into it. 

Change is hard.

Show up. Do some reps. Those first repetitions could be very hard. Keep going. Keep on showing up.Those reps will get easier with more practice. Soon your routine will include those repetitions. ​

So if you're trying to add more veggies into your day, add them. Keep putting them on the menu plan. Keep buying them at the store. Keep making recipes that include them. The more they find their way onto your plate, the more it will become normal. 

It works. Show up and try it.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy