Monthly Archives: December 2018

Give Yourself a Checkup: How are you doing being, “Hot for the Holidays”?

Coach Nancy , Mindset

Welcome to Hot for the Holidays Challenge. We all know that holiday weight gain is inevitable, right? Not so fast, at Cr8 Fitness. “We are challenging you to not gain the weight that most Americans will over the last few weeks of the year. But we also are giving you the tools to actually lose weight during that tough time”.

Hot for the Holidays? “Why even bother? I always gain weight this time of year. What’s the point?”

When asked the question, “What’s The Point?” I answer with the end game. Where are we going with this whole thing?

Every time Cr8 Fitness challenges you in your nutrition our goal is:

To teach you nutrition habits, that when applied consistently and correctly, will create the optimum metabolic environment to help you lose body fat and gain/maintain lean tissue (aka muscle).

In other words Cr8 Fitness wants you to eat in a way that makes you look and feel great. We want you to the be the healthiest version of you possible. 

So what’s the main obstacle to progress?

I think it’s that we have too much information.

If you were to head over to and search for “diet books” you would get 78,496 results. Holy cow!

Is it any wonder that there is confusion over the “right” way to eat?

So right off the top let me make it clear. “Hot for the Holidays” is not a diet. A diet is really a compilation of the foods you currently eat. 

It’s just that too many of us are on the “bagel, donut, coffee, soda, pasta, bread, candy, pastry and wine” diet.

So get ready to challenge yourself. What you think you know about nutrition, and about what healthy eating is really all about.

Get ready to get a little uncomfortable. Out of your comfort zone is probably going to happen. You can’t keep doing the same things and expect a different result.

Coach Nancy is really excited about this challenge. Its your chance to take one step forward in your health when most everyone else is going backward. 

Are you ready?

Too Many Calories at Christmas

Coach Nancy , Healthy Habits

Sticking with my Handling the Holidays theme... I’m back at it with today’s topic: Too many calories.

I’ve heard more than one person complain of all the sweets and baked goods that are around this time of year.

And unless you plan on checking yourself into a spa for the next two weeks, it's hard to avoid. There's the food YOU make at home (for your family or other people), the food that people give TO YOU, and the food that's brought into the office.

And that's not counting office parties and holiday parties that take place in the last 2 weeks of the year, either.

What's a goal-oriented clean eater to do?

Since there's so much to discuss on this one, I'm breaking it down into two environments.

The home environment.

Tip #1. Instead of baking cookies for others, consider other baked goods that you can give as WHOLE THINGS. For example, banana bread, pies, cakes. Most of these are less time-consuming to make than individual cookies, and you won't be tempted to slip in a piece. I mean who's going to give a pie to someone with a piece cut out?

Tip#2. Consider GIVING away things other than baked goods. Fruit baskets are great choices and many people actually welcome them this time of year, when they've been inundated with other junk food. Make your own for a fraction of the price of store bought.

Tip#3. When you are baking at home, those little BLT's add up. Remember, BLT stands for Bite, Lick or Taste. Don't start cooking until after you've had a protein rich meal. Your body will be busy digesting for hours and you'll be less tempted to snack. If baking is an all day event, plan a decent lunch and take a break to sit while eating. 

Tip#4. If you will be baking at home or you just have lots of goodies in the kitchen, brush and floss your teeth after every meal. A clean fresh mouth will make those treats less tempting. Consider chewing peppermint gum as well and if possible, avoid the kitchen. Out of sight, out of mind.

Tip#5. Are you inundated with food related gifts from family and friends? I almost hate to say it, but re-gift. You can appreciate the thoughtfulness without having to "appreciate" it. Pass on the thoughtfulness to someone else.

Tip#6. What's your reason for NOT overindulging this season? If you don't have one, you need to come up with something that will make this a season that is defined by something other than the goodies you can indulge in. With no real reason for sticking to clean eating, you'll be much more likely to convince yourself a little bite here, and a little cookie there won't hurt.

The easiest place to control excess calories this holiday season is your own home. Watch what food you bring in, encourage company to take leftovers and goodies with them and give away what you can.

It's not the food that makes the holidays, it's the memories you make.

And those calories are coming from everywhere! But no where seems worse than the place we spend the majority of our day. The office.

There's clients, reps, patients, and business associates who send or bring in all sorts of goodies.

There's the staff office parties which typically means a catered lunch or... ten, depending on where you work.

And then there's your co-workers. The overachievers who want to show off all of their superb culinary skills by bringing everyone in the office high-calorie, delicious homemade goodness. And insist on watching you try "just one."

Add to all of that, the end of year work related stress that leaves you short-fused, and sleep deprived and you are primed for a sugar-laden calorie bomb before noon! Here's my top tips for handling this:

  • Recognize that just because food is there, doesn't mean you have to eat it. Are you eating because you're hungry? Or because you're bored and you CAN? Before you indulge in anything at the office, take a moment and think about why you are eating. If it's a one of kind treat, offered only once a year, than maybe it's worth the calories. If it's something you could get again tomorrow, why bother?
  • TAKE the time to prepare and bring your lunch every single day from now until the holiday craziness has passed. And not just any old lunch - think of some of your favorite, clean lunches and bring those, so you won't be tempted by the trays and trays of sub sandwiches in the break room. Pack snacks too. Things that are easy and portable are beef jerky, string cheese, raw nuts, fresh fruit. Always aim to eat some lean protein and fiber so you will stay full for a longer period of time.
  • Handle the food-pushers assertively. When they offer you tempting goodies, look them directly in the eye and say "It looks wonderful and I'm sure it tastes fabulous, but I am (insert one of the following: full, limiting how many sweets I am eating this year, cutting back on in between meal snacks, etc). The key is to be appreciative, but also direct. If they persist, again, look them directly in the eye, and say, " Honestly, first name, I'm _______(repeat your rationale). Leave it at that.
  • Lastly, the most simple and direct tip I can give you. Avoid the food. Don't hang out where food is stored or sitting out. You'll constantly have to tell yourself "no" and repeating "no" over and over doesn't actually increase your conviction, it weakens it. It's like exposure to a cold or illness. The greater (more frequent) the exposure, the greater the chance you will catch the bug and give in.

During this “busy holiday season”, it’s important to pull the reins back a bit.

Now, I’m not here to say live off celery and tofu for the month.

But what about setting up a little challenge with yourself.

Skip the seconds on Christmas Day.

Pick and choose your favorites, whatever you want, but don't go back for a second plate.

Who's with me?

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

The Power of Change

Success Stories

Time flies by so quickly and sometimes we don't pause to remember where we have been. We might not realize that those we know were not always the person we see. Scott has been training at Cr8 Fitness for almost 8 years. He can remember back when he first started training. He lets you peak into that past so you can see what is possible for yourself. 

Each of us enter Cr8 Fitness with different challenges and outcomes we want to achieve. Scott is making his goals possible. Its exciting to see The Power of Change in  where he was and is today. 

Keep Making It Happen, Scott,

Coach Nancy

Holiday Survival Guide – Sleep

Coach Nancy , Healthy Habits

Are you an "All or Nothing" type of person?

Soon it is Christmas. Do you have an all or nothing mentality?

During the Christmas Season, do you eat and eat and eat and eat, because it is there? Do you leave each meal or party feeling stuffed and guilty for overindulging again?


At Christmas, do you feel deprived, hungry, pick at only a few food items, watch as everyone else gets to eat what they want?

Are these your only options?

This Christmas, put a plan in place. Enjoy special times with family and friends, choose small portions of those food items that aren’t typically on your menu plan. Don’t go at it with a buffet line mentality, but with a treasured meal that you’ve looked forward to and it has finally arrived mentality.

With the holidays here in full effect, I thought I’d cover some common struggles we all face during this time of year.

And that leads me to our first one. LACK OF SLEEP.

It's true when we're rushing to fit it all in, sleep is the very first to go. We stay up later than we should knowing that we "just need to get through the next couple of days...week or month." And yet, even though we may finish a project or task by staying up later, that sleep decrement bleeds into the next day. Lack of sleep is more than just self-imposed 'punishment' for not being able to get everything done.

It can lead to weight gain, difficulty concentrating, and can flat out ruin your holidays.

So if you're already putting sleep on the back burner to start crossing things off your holiday to-do list, take a moment and consider what really needs to get done.

Ask yourself, what do you want to create the most this holiday season? Instead of telling yourself you need to have a perfectly decorated house, home made goodies for every acquaintance you can possibly think of, the ideal Christmas present for everyone on your list, in addition to being perfectly dressed, coiffed and manicured, maybe you pick a 'theme' for the season.

Focus on ONE thing and let go or delegate the rest. I know it sounds easier said than done...but how many years have you tried to pack everything in and watched the month vanish at a blink of an eye....with no real meaningful memories in it's place?

Here are just a few trade-offs to consider so that you may go to bed earlier each night.

  • Purchase gift cards instead of presents for people on your list. Easy one stop shopping and little gift wrapping involved. Plus, as a friend always says - it's 2 gifts in you have a reason to go shopping too!
  • Hire someone to clean your house.
  • Pick one or two key rooms to decorate and let go of the rest.
  • Shop at stores that offer gift wrapping with purchase.
  • Having a party? Have it catered and/or hire a bartender and enjoy the opportunity to visit with family and friends rather than spending your time in the kitchen.
  • Shop online.

And yes, I know, sometimes you DO NEED to stay up later than you'd like. Here's your recipe for the next day.

Take a nap if you can. 15-20 minutes. No more or else you'll end up creating a cycle that could make falling to sleep at night harder.

Lay off the caffeine. I know, sounds like it's impossible...but it's not. Suffer through the sleep deprivation for the day, and sleep more soundly the next night.

Drink plenty of water and focus on protein and veggies. Avoid simple carbohydrates like processed foods such as cookies, cakes, candy, crackers, etc which is what your body will be craving.

Don't skip your workouts. The exercise will help to make you feel energized. At the least, get outside for a quick 15-20 minute walk in the brisk air. Invigorating.

Bottom line, ask yourself is staying up late to do whatever you need to do, really worth it? Are these expectations you have of yourself necessary or even important to you? If not, it's time to let go.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Not Now, Later

Coach Dean , Mindset

We human beings are really interesting when it comes to be told what to do. 

We just plain don't like it.

We want to be the masters of our own universe, regardless of the consequences. Truth is we are not very good at thinking about long term consequences. Easy and quick gratification is usually the path we head down. I mean I am well aware that eating one of those delightful ginger bread cookies that just came out of that warm oven is quite enough. But does that stop me from eating three or four (or six)? Not so much.

For instance, just try telling me I should never have something.

Never eat bread. Never have potato chips. Never have (insert your Kryptonite here).

One concept that has helped me tremendously over the years is "Not Now, Later".

Here's Coach Dan John from an article on Medium:

"Never say never. Cookies, cake, beer and bagels are not “off” your low carb diet. It’s just “not now” time. Experience teaches us this: if I tell you that all your dreams will come true if you simply stop eating rutabagas, I promise you I know what is going to happen next. I’m not a prophet; I am a coach. You may have never eaten a rutabaga in your life, but from now on, you are going to crave, demand and insist upon rutabagas. Change rutabagas to anything you like but know this truth about human nature: not now, later.

Whatever it is that you need to put off in terms of diet, time or short-term pain and discomfort, you need to remind yourself that “soon and very soon,” you can submit yourself to a virtual orgy of feasting. The funny thing is this: that day may never come as you realize that this temptress has long been forgotten."

Now, Not Later is a skill that takes time to develop, but it is may be the most important skill you can develop in order to create healthy long-term eating patterns. You don't have to eat "perfectly" (whatever that means), but neither can eat what you want, whenever you want, and expect to be healthy. 

How does this work in real life?

We ALL have cravings from time=to-time (at least). When your co-worker puts the cookie plate in the break room at 8 in the morning, just tell yourself you'll have one later, like at lunch. When lunch rolls around, you may find that the only thing left is those gross spice cookies, which you wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. That's a win. 

Or maybe you have a real craving for pizza, like I often do. Instead of running down to Sal's to grab a slice or two, flex your "Not Now, Later" muscle, and plan that as your free meal on the weekend. Then have the pizza, if you still want it. 

Just like your legs get stronger when you consistently squat and deadlift, your "Now, Not Later" muscle gets stronger the more you use it. And it feels really good to exercise that kind of control, much better than the very temporary gratification we get from eating those stupid gingerbread cookies! 

We are right in the middle of the holiday season, and it is SOOO easy to overindulge in all the delicious food and drink that is out there. Remember, "never" is your enemy.

"Not Now, Later" might just become your best friend. 

To your best health,

Coach Dean

Fitness and Health Can Be VERY Different. Here’s Why.

Coach Dean , Mindset


Fitness and Health are NOT the same things.

Because those two words are often put together it is easy to get the impression they are the same thing. I was reminded of this in an article from our friends at InBody ("Why Your Perception of Fit is Probably Wrong (And the Reality of What’s True)"

So what's the difference?

I like Coach Dan John's definition of fitness: "The ability to perform a task".

All too often we view fitness in the like of aesthetics; if a person looks fit, they must be. But six pack abs doesn't mean that person is healthy. People do some very unhealthy things in the pursuit of "fitness". Wrestlers and bodybuilders, whom perform very specific tasks, can die in pursuit of cutting weight and looking good. The cover models of your average fitness magazine look great, but being in this industry for awhile I can tell you there is a lot of magic with lights and mirrors. I am not saying you shouldn't train to look good. I want to look good too. But sacrificing health is not worth it. 

And what about "health"?

Phil Maffetone defines health as: "The optimal interplay of the organs".


In other words, you need your liver to liver, your lungs to lung and your kidneys to kidney. You want all the amazing systems in your body to play nice together. You really shouldn't have to take antacids and aspirin all the time.

When you eat well, exercise smart, and enjoy life, you are pursuing healthy.

Nancy and I have talked about this. If we had to do it all over again, we would not have called our business "Cr8 Fitness". Yes, we are a training facility, and yes, we exercise, and yes we work on fitness. 

Even though all those things are true, ​we should have called it "Cr8 Health."

Because that really is our main focus. To keep your body working well, for as long as possible. To encourage all the facets of a healthy lifestyle - making great food choices, a well-balanced exercise regimen, and having some fun. Your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being is really what matters, not that you have a six-pack or 10% bodyfat. If those are your goals, I am all for it, just don't neglect the others in the pursuit. Health comes first, fitness can and should be a by-product of the holistic process. Make sense?

We look forward to helping each new day be a little healthier than the one before. Thank-you for letting us be part of the journey. 

Coach Dean

Yummy Recipes for Graham Cracker Protein Powder

Coach Nancy , Healthy Habits , Recipes

We've recently sampled Graham Cracker UMP (Ultimate Muscle Protein). I have more delicious recipes to share with you! 

Check out this Graham Cracker Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding that Coach Dean came up with. It will satisfy chocolate and peanut butter cravings!

Here are a few more recipes with the UMP graham cracker protein powder.

Dan's Dynamic Shake

  • 1 scoop graham cracker protein
  • ½ scoop vanilla protein
  • ½ scoop chocolate protein
  • 1½ teaspoon peanut butter
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 fistful spinach
  • About 10 ounces of water

Blend until smooth in a blender. If you use a fresh banana, add in a few ice cubes to chill it. Enjoy!

Marquita's Marvelous Shake

  • 1 scoop graham cracker protein powder
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon shredded coconut
  • 10 ounces of water
  • Ice

Blend until smooth in a blender.

Homemade Granola Bar

  • 4 scoops graham cracker protein powder
  • 2 cups oats
  • ½ cup crushed walnuts
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • About ½ cup of water

In a large bowl, combine all the oats, protein powder, walnuts, flax seed, sunflower seeds, salt, and raisins. Add in the vanilla, coconut oil, and then the water a little at a time. At first it will seem very dry but be patient it will blend up. Coat an 8x8 pan with coconut oil. Press the mixture on the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Cut into bars or squares.

The great things about these granola bars is that they are flexible. Some shredded coconut or cacao nibs would go great in here. Experiment with different protein powder flavors for a different spin, too.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy