Monthly Archives: July 2019

Introducing Our Newest Spotlight Superstar – Belinda!

It is always a pleasure when I introduce someone to our training. It makes me happy to know someone trusted us enough to walk in our doors and then further trusted us to help them increase their health. Belinda made the transition from being a newbie to knowing the ropes around Cr8 Fitness extremely fast. She was one of the family before her first week was even over. Belinda has made working her way into our 4pm training crew seamless. She's matched that by making great strides in reaching her goals. 

There you have it. You've met Belinda. She's made it a priority to train because of what she'll get in the long run. Now, I'm sure you'll feel like I did, like she is already a friend.

Keep making it happen Belinda,

Coach Nancy 

The Only Way is the Best Way

It was pretty early in my life I first heard this maxim:

"The best way out is always through"

When I was younger I thought I knew everything. Now that I have over 5 decades under my belt, I realize just how much I still don't know. Some would call that Wisdom. 

Maturing into wisdom causes us to realize that most times there is no "easy" way to success. Yet we still try to find shortcuts, "hacks" and tweaks to get where we want to go just a little bit faster. We think WE are the one who is going to make lots of money without working hard, get great sleep every night and still drink 6 cups of coffee a day, and get into the best shape of our lives without consistent hard exercise.

The result is that 10 years down the road we are still broke, tired and overfat. Does that sting a little? I wish it had stung me earlier in my life than it did, because that last sentence is autobiographical.

For many years of my early adult life I chased the quick way to results; whether it be the next great business "opportunity" or the newest supplement to lose 50 pounds. We (and I) allow ourselves to be manipulated by slick promises of "quick and easy", even though deep down we know better.

You know when results came? When I stopped chasing and starting working. Hard, consistently and with purpose. The dirty little secret a lot of people don't want to hear is that most successful people didn't get that way because they were lucky. They didn't steal it, and they didn't take shortcuts. They put their head down and got after it.

That doesn't mean we stop learning and take advantage of things that can make life a little easier. I have no desire to head down to the pond to wash my clothes; the washer and dryer work just fine, thank-you. But stepping on a machine and jiggling weight off isn't going to happen.

If you want the ultimate shortcut, here it is. Plant this thought deeply and permanently in your mind. You cannot go around, over, or under. The best way out; out of whatever "lack" you have in your life, money, fitness, health, relationships; and into success, whatever that means to you, is to do the hard work it takes to fight your way through. 

The good news is you don't have to do it alone. Your Cr8 family has got your back.

Let's make it happen together.

- DC

Add a Splash of Red or Green to your Protein Shakes

Christmas comes once a year but in July it is fun to celebrate again. This year we broke out the Christmas music, Christmas lights, Jingle Bells, Elf on the Shelf, and of course Christmas cheer. We didn't want to wait another six months and you won't either. 

The Red: Strawberry and Pineapple Protein Shake

  • 1/2 cup strawberries (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 cup pineapple (frozen again)
  • 1 Tablespoon Cashews
  • 1 scoop Vanilla UMP (from Beverly International)
  • 8 ounces water

Blend and enjoy. If you didn't use frozen fruit, add some ice cubes to chill this shake.

The Green: Pistachio Pick Me Up

  • 1 Tablespoon pistachio flavored pudding (sugar free)
  • 1 Tablespoon pistachios
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1/2 banana (frozen if possible)
  • 8 ounces of water
  • 1 scoop Angel Food UMP (from Beverly International)

Blend and enjoy. If you didn't use frozen fruit, add some ice cubes to chill this shake.

Just so you know you can make these protein shakes anytime of the year. These shakes provide one serving of protein and one serving of healthy fats along with a serving of fruit. I bet both of these shakes would taste great using different flavors of protein too. Give it a try and let me know what you came up with. 

Enjoy Good Food and Merry Christmas,

Coach Nancy

Gotta Love Me Some Zucchini

I love August in the garden. The backyard garden is bulging with produce. One of my favorite growing plants is zucchini. I think it is because they are easy to grow, hard to kill, and produce fruit with little effort. I’m not much of a gardener but I do get my hands dirty. Over the years I've collected many recipes using zucchini. Here are a few of my favorites.

Raw Zucchini Alfredo

  • 1 cup raw unsalted Cashew nuts, chopped
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup Pine nuts
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cloves garlic
  • 8 cups zucchini

Blend all ingredients except zucchini in a high power blender until smooth and starts to warm up from blender, about 5 minutes to make the Alfredo sauce.

Cut top and bottom off of zucchini. Using the julienne blade on a mandolin cut zucchini length wise to create noodles. Pour sauce over individual portions.

Since zucchini are prolific I wanted to share this recipe from Paulette W. These are one of our family’s favorites year round.

Zucchini Fritters (my absolute favorite when I have a bit of time in the kitchen)

  • 5 medium zucchini, shredded (4 cups) with box grater or food processor
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour (I used almond flour)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional (but yummy) and 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • coconut oil or ghee for cooking

Shred zucchini and put into large bowl. Sprinkle with the sea salt and toss well. Walk away for 10 min. Scoop up a generous handful of zucchini and squeeze the living daylights out of them. You want the zucchini dry - nobody likes soggy fritters. Place in a different bowl. Add flour, egg, pepper, and baking soda. Stir to combine Heat a large skillet over med-high heat. Melt a spoonful of oil or ghee in the pan. Pack a 1/4 cup of zucchini mixture out onto the pan and flatten until you get a patty. You can cook 4-5 patties at a time. Cook each side for 3-5 min or until brown. Cool on a cooling rack so they don't get soggy. 

Coach Dean's sister gave me this recipe. It is a killer soup in the Fall. I freeze some zucchini just for this recipe. 

Deb’s Zucchini Beef Soup

  • 1/2 pound cooked ground beef or use left over steak or roast cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 can diced tomatoes,  do not drain (28 ounce)
  • 3-5 zucchini, cubed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • Chopped parsley as garnish (optional)

In large stock pot cook onion, celery, and green pepper in oil until tender. Stir in tomatoes, water, seasonings, and beef. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired. Serves 6

Chicken & Zucchini Poppers

  • 1 pound ground chicken breast
  • 2 cups grated zucchini (leave peel on)
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced
  • 3-4 Tablespoon cilantro, minced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin (optional)
  • Coconut oil for cooking (or avocado oil or ghee)

Toss chicken with zucchini, green onion, cilantro, garlic, salt, and pepper (and cumin, if using). Mixture will be quite wet.

To cook on the stovetop:

Heat a drizzle of coconut oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Use a small scoop or a heaped tablespoon to scoop meatballs into the pan. Cook 8-10 at a time for about 5-6 minutes on the first side. Flip and cook an additional 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown and the centers are cooked through.

To bake:

Drizzle a bit of coconut oil or avocado oil onto a baking sheet. Scoop meatballs onto the greased pan. Drizzle a bit of additional oil over the meatballs. Bake at 400 degrees 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through. If desired, place under the broiler for an additional 2-3 minutes or until browned on top.

Serve with guacamole, salsa, or your favorite dip.

Enjoy Good Food,

Coach Nancy

Have You Downloaded Your Summer Cookbook Yet?

Let see...



Don't want to cook indoors?

Coach Nancy has a solution?

It's called the "Great Grub to Grill" cookbook, and it's packed with "grill-ready" recipes that will not only get you out of the kitchen, but add some serious flavor to your summer!

From Poultry to Pork with flavors ranging from Spicy to Sweet, there is sure to be your new favorite summer recipe in this beautiful book.

And It's absolutely FREE!

Just enter your first name and email address below, and you will be sent your own copy faster than you can say "Humugity"!


Change Your Stars

"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." - Winston Churchill

I love that quote, and I need to be reminded of it often. I am NOT an optimist by nature. I wouldn't call myself a pessimist either, though. Probably I would describe myself as an analyst. Take a look at what's going on around me, size up the situation, and if there is a problem to be solved, try to figure out a way to solve it. I think you lean optimist when you think that way.

And I think analyst is different than being a realist. To me there is a hint of resignation to the situation in that description. Nancy would probably agree I a bit too stubborn to just accept things the way they are. Why do I have to just accept it? I can at least try to do something about it, right? 

You learn pretty fast in life that you can't control every situation. But you are far more in control than you think you are. One of my favorite movies is "A Knight's Tale", starring the late Heath Ledger. I know it's fictional, but there is a big lesson in there. Ledger's character William is from a poor family, and his father, knowing he cannot take good care of him, sends him to squire for Sir Ector. At a tournament Sir Ector dies, and William disguises himself as Ector and wins the tournament. And so begins an elaborate ruse as the poor William fakes being nobility so he can enter tournaments, and starts winning them. Of course there are bad guys and beautiful girls along the way, like any good adventure story.

One tournament finds him close to home, and he finds his father, now blind and even more destitute. In a touching scene William asks his father "Can it be done father? Can a man change the stars?" His father gently and resolutely replies, "Yes William. If he believe enough, a man can do anything."

And that's exactly how William Thatcher becomes Sir William.

Just a story? Maybe. 

But I've had the privilege of seeing many people change their stars. Lose massive amounts of weight. Be able to flush their once necessary meds down the drain. Make weak muscles strong and achy bones healthy. 

They do it because they believe they can. Because they are problem solvers. Because when life knock them down they get up just one more time.

Change The Stars. Change YOUR Stars.

I believe in you.

Coach Dean

Why Your Coach Takes Fish Oil and You Should Too

Do supplements count?

Dietary Supplement. Definition, Merriam Webster: "a product taken orally that contains one or more ingredients (as vitamins or amino acids) that are intended to supplement one's diet"

Supplements are intended to be just that, an addition to already sound nutrition practices.

Since many supplements come in a bag or bottle, and have lengthy ingredients lists, they do not fit the definition of either "fresh" or "whole" foods. But they are not totally useless either.

At Cr8 Fitness we work hard at not being a supplement pusher. We do carry supplements and will make recommendations that in our studied opinion can make a difference in your overall health and can help "fill the gaps" in your diet under certain circumstances.

A high quality Fish Oil is my first recommendation. I'll give you 5 reasons why I take it and you make the call for yourself.

  1. My grandmother died of a stroke and my mom has always had blood pressure issues. One of the main reasons a doctor will recommend fish oil is for its healthy heart proponents. I'd like my ticker and my whole circulatory system to run without any hiccups. 
  2. My immediate family has a history of 4 different types of cancers. Fish oil has been proven to help slow or even stop the growth of cancer cells. As far as preventing it in the first place that is still being studied but many believe it is true. I'll take any benefit I can when it comes to cancer.
  3. Boost my brain health. Omega-3s are vital for normal brain function and development. Low levels of omega-3s may accelerate brain aging and contribute to deficits in brain function. People with depression or a mild memory loss should consider taking omega-3s from fish oil. Although fish oil is typically praised for its benefits for heart health, it also has incredible effects on brain and mental health that are worthy of some attention.
  4. Fish oil has strong anti-inflammatory effects and can help reduce symptoms of inflammatory diseases. Inflammation is your immune system's way of fighting infection and treating injuries. Because fish oil has anti-inflammatory properties, it may help treat conditions involving chronic inflammation. It can significantly reduce joint pain and stiffness. 
  5. Beyond those great reasons, your skin will benefit, your hair, your metabolism, and even your bones benefit from taking a fish oil. 

With all these reasons, I've chosen to take a fish oil supplement daily. While I enjoy eating fish, I don't eat it enough to gain the same benefits. This is easier for me. 

SFH is a high quality brand that delivers. Right from the SFH website I read how they are different than others fish oil supplement companies. 

  • Concentrated fish oil in just 4 capsules!
  • 2 capsules twice daily delivers approximately 3000mg of EPA and DHA
  • Enteric coating is applied to target the oil for GI absorption which helps maximize effects.
  • Enteric coating also means less fish burps!
  •  Third party tested: our SO3 oil meets or exceeds CRN, GOED, WHO, and IFOS.
  • SFH is derived from a mixture of Alaskan Pollock, sardines, herring, and anchovies which means it is naturally derived and never created in a laboratory setting.

I choose to listen to what science tells me is true and I enjoy the benefits I feel from fish oil. 

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Quite the Quinoa Spinach Salad

It's a sign when in the past two weeks, three different people have asked about Quinoa. I figure if three people are asking, more of you just haven't had time to ask as well. 

Quinoa is a grain. It's been proclaimed as an ancient grain, the queen of grains, and close to super food status. I'm going to stick with calling it what I know- a grain. Since it is a grain, its primary macro breakdown is carbohydrate. While it has a fair amount of protein (for a grain) and some healthy fats too, it is a grain and in our meal planning should be treated as such. It is a bit different than wheat as a grain because it is gluten free and eaten more like a seed than a cereal type of grain. 

With all that being said. Here is one way to enjoy quinoa in a cold summer salad. 

Quite the Quinoa Spinach Salad

  • ½ cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound of turkey kielbasa
  • 1/2 cup black berries or raspberries
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 6 cups of fresh spinach

Don’t forget to rinse the quinoa. You’ll be an unhappy camper if you spend time fixing a meal that you can’t eat. Quinoa has a coating that is easily rinsed off with water right before cooking. It tastes bitter without that rinse. Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse until the water runs clear before going to the stovetop.

Bring 1 cup of water and quinoa to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 12 minutes. Set aside. Cook kielbasa on a grill over medium heat. Set aside to cool, then slice into ½ moon shapes. Combine all the ingredients in a large salad bowl. Drizzle with your favorite dressing.

Once it gets closer to Fall, I use 2 apples, sliced, in place of the berries for a perfect Fall time salad. 

Enjoy good food,

Coach Nancy

I Don’t Feel Like It

I didn't feel like getting out of bed this morning. I didn't sleep well, had a lot on my mind in the middle of the night, and was kind of cranky.

I didn't feel like training this morning. The thought of getting under the bar for some heavy squats just wasn't doing it for me. 

I didn't feel like writing this article. Sometimes the words and thoughts just don't come, and I didn't want to wrestle with it.

And I did all of it anyway.


Well it really does not change the situation to stay on bed and mope. So I got up, did some reading and office work. When I saw Nancy I matter-of-factly told her I was in kind of a bad mood. "Noticing and Naming". Doesn't do any good to ignore it and bite someone's head off because of it. She responded kindly, gave me a little room, and everything is cool. 

Next was taking Andrew to work and then hitting my workout with my Monday training partners, who I always enjoy seeing. Did our thing, warmed up, and then got under the bar with a weight I had missed the last time I attempted. Couldn't get one single rep. Today I successfully completed every set and every rep on the training plan. Feels good.

And this article? It gets a lot easier to put a few thoughts down when I open the computer and start typing, rather than milling around the house ignoring the fact that Monday mornings is my writing time. And while these few words may not exactly be on par with Socrates, I hope the lesson I learned (or re-learned) this morning is that while we are emotional people, being driven solely by emotions is usually not a good idea, and if I didn't do something every time I didn't "feel like it" not much would get done.

In a few short hours, just by taking some action in spite of my feelings, some real productive things happened, not the least of which is I feel better.

My mood is better. 

I demonstrated to myself I am getting stronger.

And you get to share in my boundless wisdom. Ok, 2 out of 3 ain't bad. 🙂

The next time you "don't feel like it"?

Do it anyway.

Because that's where magic can happen.

Let's get moving!

Coach Dean

Tex Mex Hash

Why is it that when it gets hot out, I'm in the mood for hot spicy foods? Am I the only one like this? Well whether I am or not, I've got a great recipe for a hot and spicy meal. If you're not up for this in the summer, then save this one until the cooler weather hits. 

Tex-Mex Hash

  • ½ pound ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 medium sweet potato, diced small (about 1 ¼-1 ½ cups)
  • ½ cup diced red onions
  • ½ cup diced red pepper
  • ½ cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • Fresh Cilantro, Avocado, Green Onions, Salsa (optional)

Place a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add beef, seasonings and water to the pan. Cooked until beef is browned.

Remove beef from pan and place on paper towel lined plate.

To the same pan, add ½ tablespoon of coconut oil and heat over medium-high until it starts to shimmer.

Add sweet potatoes, dash with salt and pepper, and sauté for about 10-12 minutes or until cooked through and slightly browned.

Add remaining ½ tablespoon of oil, onions, red pepper, mushroom and spinach and sauté for about 3-4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Garnish with fresh cilantro, avocado green onions or salsa. 

Enjoy good food,

Coach Nancy

P.S. I haven't tried this yet but sprinkling the top of this dish with crumbled bacon sounds sensational. Let me know what you think after you try it.