Monthly Archives: April 2019

Ultimate Meal Planning Guide: Chapter 7

The Cr8 Fitness Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning

Chapter 7: The "Crazy Day" Meal Plan 

Reality Check: We ALL have crazy days, when the best laid plans just go haywire. The "Crazy Day Food Plan" is for THOSE kinds of days. In fact our colleague Josh Hillis recommends you just make this your "Monday Food Plan" and start your week off with no fuss at all. 

I'll bet you can identify at least one day of the week, every week, where this plan would really be a big help. All these foods are easy to keep in the house and grab when we need them. Set yourself up for success!

meal planning

You DO Have A Choice

There are so many more choices to get a healthy meal on the go than there used to be, like the Burrito Bowl in the infographic above. That's a good thing, because we eat out a LOT more than we used to even 10 years ago. There is more travel for work, one or more vacations a year, and many of our gatherings with family and friends involve sitting down at our favorite restaurant.

Integrating these occasions into our overall meal planning is important. Noting when, where and what you eat at these times on your weekly meal planning template reveals patterns; How often am I eating out? Where am I eating? What am I eating? 

Next week we are going to wrap up our meal planning series with some "real world" strategies for making healthy choices when you eat out.

Make It Happen

It’s your choice

Every day you get to choose…

Not what happens to you…

But how you respond…

Attitude makes all the difference…

You aren’t always going to succeed to the level of your expectations…

So what?

That’s Life.

Get off the mat and keep working at it…

There is no such thing as “failure” when you learn from your mistakes…

Now I am not a “pie in the sky dreamer”…

I don’t believe “thinking happy thoughts” is going to solve all your problems, real or perceived…

But I also know that wallowing around in self-pity is counterproductive…

You have a lot more control than you may think…

Don’t accept being less than your best…

And strive to be better every day…

Don’t wait for “it” to come to you…

Get out there and…

Make It Happen!

Doing one thing to win the first hour each day in order to Win the Day!

Coach Nancy

Ginger Chicken and Broccoli

A few weeks ago Rock Star Sara sent me this recipe. I tried it right away. The first time I used Shrimp instead of the chicken. (that's what I had and I really wanted to try this dish- it sounded great). I'm glad I did. This recipe was fantastic with the shrimp in place of the chicken. It is just as delightful with the chicken. Thank you Sara for sharing. I'm always up to try new recipes. If you have a favorite add it into the comment section below so others can try it out too. 

Ginger Chicken and Broccoli

  • 3 T coconut oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ T grated fresh ginger
  • 6 scallions, white parts, chopped
  • 2 heads broccoli, cut into florets (I used a mix of cauliflower and broccoli…other veggies would be yummy too)
  • 2+ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 1 cup coconut aminos
  • 2 T sesame oil
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 large egg yolks

Heat 2 T oil over medium high heat. Add garlic, ginger, scallions. Stir constantly for 30 seconds.

Add broccoli (and veggies) and continue cooking until 5 minutes until the broccoli is bright green.

Transfer veggies to a plate and return the pan to the burner, add 1 T more oil.

Add chicken, stirring frequently until the chicken is browned and cooked through. About 8-10 minutes.

Transfer chicken to the same plate, return pan and juices to burner. If there’s less than ¼ cup liquid, add water until it reaches ¼ cup.

Pour in Coconut Aminos, sesame oil, and salt…bring to simmer.

Beat egg yolks in a bowl. Temper yolks by slowly pouring in the ½ cup of the hot sauce while whisking constantly.

Pour egg yolk mixture into the hot pan, then stir constantly for 3 minutes to thicken.

Add the chicken and veggies back into the pan and stir to coat. Cook for an additional 7-10 minutes, until the chicken and veggies are fully cooked.

When I made it with Shrimp I cooked it a few minutes less as shrimp tends to cook much faster than chicken.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Spotlight on Two Sizzlin Summer Slimdown Successes

I recently caught up with two of our previous winners of S3 - "Sizzlin Summer Slimdown". While I could rave about how wonderful and beneficial a focused time on our nutrition could be, these ladies say it better. They have experienced success in many different forms. While weight loss is and was their goal, Katie and Lindsey have learned to use discipline, shop from a grocery list, use a meal plan, all of which helped them to stay the course. It also takes courage and a bit of humility to ask questions and seek help from their coach. Since they ladies came home with real live prizes, I know they took full advantage of every tool.

Current And past S3 participants are learning more than how to stick to a meal plan standard. They are learning what to do when things don't go just so, or when someone else in the house helped themselves to your meal, when a recipe needs to be doubled or how to portion it out for another day. Kitchen skills and adjusting meals to fit within S3 standards are all part of the challenge. Walking away after 6 weeks carrying less weight, feel more energized, and a whole lot happier is a bonus. 

Katie and Lindsey are already signed up and ready for this year's challenge. S3 has become a highlight of their year. I'm proud of these ladies. These ladies are stronger, healthier, and more determined because of the success they have already achieved. That is what makes me the proudest of them. They dive in with a fervency knowing they will gain even more usable knowledge than in the weight they lose each time. I can't wait to hear what they have learned, how they maneuvered their way through obstacles over the course of this challenge. 

To your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Ultimate Meal Planning Guide: Chapter 6

The Cr8 Fitness Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning

Chapter 6: Simply Smooth Breakfasts 

If I had my choice, I would have eggs just about every morning. Scrambled, fried, or as an omelette, I'll have eggs for breakfast, please.

And... I don't have time for that. At least not every day. I don't want to just eat cereal or even oatmeal, because if I don't start with some protein and a little healthy fat, I'll be hungry by 10:00am. 

The Solution? A nutritious and delicious breakfast smoothie. But not just any old smoothie. We are going to create a protein packed powerhouse that will fuel us for the whole morning.  

Check out the infographic below, then keep reading for one of my favorite recipes.

meal planning

Vanilla and Berries Breakfast Smoothie 

It doesn't get much simpler or tastier than this "berry good" recipe. Try it tomorrow morning!


8 ounces water
1 scoop vanilla protein
½ cup wild frozen blueberries
½ cup frozen raspberries
1 Tablespoon chia seeds
2 Tablespoons walnuts


Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth and creamy. Pour immediately into a large cup. Eat with a spoon or sip. 

Remember, keep your meal planning simple and easy. A breakfast smoothie is both, takes less than 5 minutes to make and tastes great. 

Simple is Easiest. Simple is Best.

Next week we will cover what to do when things get really out of control!

Your Coach is Asking for Help, Please

For many years I've participated and encouraged you to join in on the Rock N Race 5K. This year again I am encouraging you to join this great event as a fundraiser for the Payson Center in Concord. They do a great job making this event for everyone. You can walk or run or do some of both. There are bands playing, people dancing, and many that come out along the street to applaud you as one actively participating. They even feed you at the end of the race. And yet this year, I am choosing not to be there. My heart is just too heavy this year. 

I of all people should lead the charge on May 16th. As you know last September I asked each of you in the gym to help me as my Dad battles pancreatic cancer. He is in his 10th month of chemo and treatments. The treatments alone are taking a toll on his health. At this moment in time, I am hating the word 'cancer'. It is a knife that strikes the heart each time I hear it. My sister is still recovering from all the treatments she endured for her throat cancer. I know many of you can relate. 

This year I am a chicken (an emotional basket case) and I don't choose to put myself in a place that is a sea of T- shirts reminding me of all the pain so many endure and have endured with cancer. I will be back to this fundraiser. I am asking for your help in two ways.

  1. Support the Rock N Race. Join a team. Cr8 Fitness's very own Hall of Fame member Jenn is team captain of the Davis & Towle team. She'd love to have you join them that night. If you can't get there on May 16th, you can support the Payson Center or other cancer centers. 
  2. In September when I let you know about my dad I asked you for a head nod every once in awhile to let me know your behind me in this. I am thankful for those nods. They are more important than you know. 

Our Rock N Race team in 2018- Jenn is in the left front row in white.

Cancer is a word that makes me angry. That word alone stirs up the fighting spirit inside of me. I will be there to fight against this terrible disease, I will battle it to the end. Today I need your help in holding strong for me. 

Coach Nancy 

Super Easy Mexi- Cauli Beef

This is one of those super easy to make, doesn't take a lot of time, and only a few ingredients dinner meals that becomes a favorite. Sometimes things are too good to be true. This isn't one of those times. It really is that good.

Mexi- Cauli Beef

  • 1 Medium to Large Head of Cauliflower (grated with a cheese grater or in a food processor)
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 14.5 oz. can of Organic Garlic & Onion Tomatoes (drained)
  • 1 Heaping Tbsp. Chili Powder
  • Garlic Salt to Taste
  • 1 Medium Avocado

In a skillet add grated cauliflower, ground beef & tomatoes. Cook on medium-high heat until beef is no longer pink. Add chili powder and garlic salt to taste. I've used fresh cauliflower and I've also used the frozen 'riced' cauliflower. The second one being a whole lot less mess to clean up. 

Top w/avocado and serve.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

You Are Not A Unicorn. Recovery Matters

Ever since we opened the doors of our training gyms, recovery weeks have been built into the training schedule. This is not an accident. Neither is it just "vacation time" for Dean and Nancy, although those are the only weeks we can schedule time off.

To me recovery is instinctual. Training hard is taxing on the body and the mind. There is a point where your CNS (Central Nervous System" says NO MORE, and training starts to make you worse, not better. Our goal is that you never reach anywhere close to that point. We were doing "recovery" before recovery was cool, and we ain't a gonna stop now! 🙂

You might be cute, but you are NOT a Unicorn!

In fact proper recovery between workouts is factored in as we design your training program as well. It's one of the reasons we do not have regular training on Wednesdays. Two days on, one day off, two days on, two days off is by design. More is not better, better is better.

As I have gotten older, I have become even more sensitive to recovery. I recently read a book by science writer Christie Aschwanden called "Good to Go". The subtitle is "What the athlete in all of us can learn from the strange science of recovery".

"Strange Science"?

The science of recovery is pretty new, and there are some pretty weird, wild and yet-to-be-proven things that people do to recover. From recovery pajamas to float tanks, the book examines it all.

When it comes down to it, what we are trying to do is recover from the systemic stress that is placed on our body and mind on a daily basis. This is hardly just training stress. Work, kids, traffic, politics, illness - you name it, there are a lot of stressors in life. We want to manage the overall stress load in order that we can achieve physical and athletic improvement. 

The biggest take home I got from the book is no secret - the #1 thing you can do to de-stress, and enhance recovery is sleep. Not always easy, I know. You are talking to a guy whose alarm goes off before 4:00am. I get it. But I do what I can to get as much as I can whenever I can.

I have used a lot of different tools to measure my recovery over the years. Right now I am testing a piece of software called RestWise, which monitors overall training load based on objective measures such as Resting Heart Rate (RHR), HRV, SpO2, and Weight fluctuations, as well as subjective measures such as energy and mood. It's pretty interesting, and they boast clients from pro sports teams and olympic athletes. 

If you don't want to get that fancy, one of the simplest ways to monitor your recovery is to measure and log your Resting Heart Rate every morning when you get up. I use one of these $15 devices to take my pulse and SpO2 every morning - takes about 30 seconds. If your RHR is trending up, it's a good sign your recovery is compromised.

The bottom line. Enjoy your recovery week. It is a purposeful part of your training plan, and just like your don't want to miss workout days, you don't want to miss recovery days. You WILL NOT de-train in 7-10 days, so chill out - you are NOT a unicorn.

If you want more on the science of recovery, keep reading. 

Train Hard. Recover Harder.

Coach Dean


Our recovery weeks are what I would call Macro-Recovery. In other words we take a planned week off every training phase in order to let the body rest up from hard training and get ready for the next phase.

The Recovery Curve

I saw the recovery curve for the first time during my time with Australian physical preparation coach Ian King. His principles laid the foundation for the way we program, train and especially recover here at Get Fit NH. The principles that work with professional athletes apply to us too!

The following illustrates a “good” recovery curve:

The green line represents what we are all looking for – continual, never ending progress over time. We are getting stronger, faster, thinner, better looking (ok at least that’s what I wish for).

Reality Check – ain’t gonna happen. The process of changing your body is not linear, in fact what we are looking at in an optimal training environment is more of a “One step back brings me Two steps forward”.

A closer look at the chart will help explain what I mean.

The red line represents Equilibrium. This is where your body wants to stay, no matter if your goal is losing fat, gaining lean, or both. As you have no doubt found out, forcing your body to change is hard work – really hard work. When you walk into Get Fit NH, our training is designed to elicit that change. But it’s not as simple as “working out” day after day after day. In fact as I am about to illustrate, training without proper recovery is actually hurting you, not making you better.

The blue line represents the “recovery curve”. Starting at the left hand of the chart all the lines intersect. For this illustration that point is where your first training occurred – you “worked out”.

But what’s going on?

Instead of performance going up, that line is actually heading down – this is what is called Depletion. If you think about it makes sense – you have worked hard, you are fatigued, your body is depleted of nutrients – you are spent!

Don’t worry, your body will get over it, if you treat it right! This is what we call Adaptation. Your body wants to be able to handle the increased demand that was placed on it, and starts the process of getting better.

You are in charge of if and how fast that happens. A few of the factors that influence this adaptation include recovery nutrition, stress levels, sleep habits, supportive nutrition, age, and training history.

The recovery curve continues with Supercompensation. Here is how Coach King describes this process:

“It is only when recovery is allowed that we see the super-compensation effect, the unique phenomenon where the bodies physical capacity is elevated in response to training, in anticipation of another exposure to the same stimulus.” – King, I, 1999/2000, Foundations of Physical Preparation

In other words your body has gotten better in response to your training, a new Equilibrium is established and this state is when we will ideally train again. Our programming at Get Fit NH is carefully designed to give this the best chance of occurring, but as I hope you are discovering, you have a lot to do with this with how you treat your recovery!

As you can see, when things are clicking, this process when repeated over and over means you are getting better and better, the blue line is headed up – pretty cool!

The flip side to all this is what happens when the recovery process isn’t working so well.

This chart represents recovery gone “bad”:

When we continue to train in a state of “Depletion”, regardless of the reason, the adaptation to super-compensation effect doesn’t occur, and instead of getting better, we find ourselves in a downward cycle. This can happen when we train the same muscle groups too soon, when we haven’t taken the steps described above to recover optimally (sleep and nutrition for instance) regardless of time between training, when we train too hard coming off an illness, etc. The last thing we want to happen is new equilibrium to be established in a downward pattern – not good.

The long and short of it is your body absolutely needs to recover from hard training. Consistently training in a fatigued state results in injury and illness. Your body is an amazing machine designed to put up with a lot, but it was also designed to need rest. Recovery weeks provide that rest.

If you want to know more about the recovery tools I use and why you should consider them, hit me up and let's talk.

- DC

Ultimate Meal Planning Guide: Chapter 5

The Cr8 Fitness Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning

Chapter 5: Quick and Easy Dinners 

Some (most?) weeks we just need easy. You look at your calendar for next week and you just know making it all work is going to be nearly impossible. While you'd love to make a 5 course meal, 5 minutes is probably more like it. 

That's where our quick and easy dinner meal planner comes in. In the case of "crazy week", you need simple, and sometimes popping open up a can or jar is just the right thing to do. Here are some tips for making it easy when "life happens":

1. Always cook more protein than you need. Bake a couple extra chicken breasts or brown an extra pound of ground beef when you are making your meals. That way you can just add some chicken to a salad or add the beef to a jar of a sauce the next day.

2. Sides like Three Bean Salad and Cole Slaw keep really well over 2-4 days, and compliment a wide variety of cuisine.

3. Frozen is your friend. There are so many different frozen veggie combos that can be stir fried or roasted, so don't get stuck on fresh. Freezer to fry pan is a winner. 

4. If chopping, slicing and dicing isn't your thing, most grocery stores sell packages of "done for you" produce in just about any way you can imagine. Stock up on a few.

Check out these simple and delicious meal combos, and don't be afraid to mix and match!

meal planning

Recipes and Ideas

Many of these ideas are self-explanatory; heat a can of beans or shred some lettuce. But we didn't want to leave you hanging, so click here to download some great recipes that go with the meal plan in the infographic above.

Add These Dinners To Your Portfolio

If you don't have an extra meal planning template handy, print one out here, and make a few quick notes on which of these meals you are going to use as your "go-to's". Add this template to your portfolio; you may even want to keep it in the front!

Now that we have started to get a good handle on planning our dinners, next time we'll learn to quickly and easily integrate a healthy breakfast into our plan.

Best Broccoli Salad on the Planet

The best things in life do not have to come in big packages, they don’t have to be expensive, they don’t have to take lots of time. This side dish is one that my entire family eats.  In the recipe I’ve included my secret tips to make this better, faster and you become stronger.  (sorry I am a fan of the 6 Million Dollar Man Series)

Broccoli Slaw

  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1½ cup broccoli spears, shredded
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ¾ cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 2 Tablespoon of Creamy Italian Dressing - below

Use the shredding blade in your food processor; grate broccoli, carrots and red cabbage.

Peel and slice red onion into thin slices and quarter the slices. (Shhhh….. When I am in a rush or I don’t want to clean all those dishes, I buy a bag of broccoli slaw mix but use my dressing not the one included in the packaging.)

Add all ingredients to a large bowl, mix. (Another secret tip: I like to add a bit of chopped broccoli just to give it some texture) Serve chilled.

Creamy Italian Dressing

  • 2 Tablespoon homemade mayo
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon Italian herb
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a blender. If mixture is too thick add either vinegar or water. Remember your dressing will get slightly more liquidy as you toss it with your salad.  (tip of the day: ½ teaspoon of garlic powder can be substituted for the clove of garlic)

Homemade Mayo

  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 ¼ cup light olive oil

Place egg, dry mustard, salt, and lemon juice in the blender. Add /14 cup of olive oil and whirl until well mixed.

SLOWLY incorporate the remaining olive oil. Drizzle it in with as small a stream as possible. You’ll hear it start to emulsify. Don’t rush this. Be Patient. Continue to blend until all the oil is incorporated and your mayo is light and fluffly. (Do not use extra virgin olive oil. I’ve tried this, it is not a good choice at any time. Trust me on this)

Enjoy all your Broccoli adventures,

Coach Nancy