Celebrate the Fourth of July

Happy July 4th! Today that just doesn't seem like the right thing to say without truly recognizing what July 4th stands for in our great nation. Many of us know our history and we realize the founding fathers of this country put a stake in the ground so to speak in writing The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. They wrote a paper and sent it off to the King of England. That paper was backed by their resolve and oh so much more. They were stating and declaring war on England if the king didn't release them to form their own country. And war came. To celebrate when many of these men lost their homes, their fortunes and their family due to the very war they brought on. It seems odd to celebrate with such heart ache and yet we do because of the ideal of a better end result.

It seems odd to me today. Last week my son who is serving our country called to say he was home from his deployment. He had been injured in battle. It could have been serious. He could have died. As his mom, I don't want to celebrate a country that is at war. I'm too afraid of the price that could be paid. As a citizen who loves this country I will celebrate. I'll celebrate because this country is great, not perfect, but great. I'll celebrate because I am thankful. I am thankful for the blessings of this place. I'm thankful for the technology that protected my son. I'm thankful that if a bigger price had to be paid, many people would recognize the loss knowing the bigger picture is held in place. He serves to protect that better end result. 

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,"

Today celebrate our great country. Celebrate each and every life that has spent their days on our soil. The 'end result' is no longer an ideal but a reality. Independence Day is a day to celebrate the life we chose to make here. 

Happy July 4th.

Coach Nancy

Watermelon Salad with Balsamic Dressing

This salad will get you ready for the warmer weather. It's the perfect dish for a summer barbecue. It's excellent with grilled shrimp or chicken, and you can also place this salad on top of lettuce greens.

Watermelon Salad with Balsamic Dressing

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • Black pepper, to taste

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, mustard, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Spread two-thirds of the watermelon on a serving platter. Top with red onion and mint, then season with pepper. Pour dressing over salad and garnish with remaining watermelon cubes.

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

Winning S3 – Sizzlin Summer Slimdown

Sizzlin Summer Slimdown 2019 is over. Once again S3, our six week get ready for summer challenge has created a noticeable loss of weight in over 200 people. We started in the beginning of May with 211 people signed up for six weeks of diving deep and focusing on their nutrition. Their goal was to lose weight. In losing weight our goal is always to become a healthier version of ourselves. We knocked it out of the park this year.

Check out these numbers. We started with 50 teams between the 211 people who signed up for the challenge. 190 of those 211 did the final weigh in. 90% of the people who started this challenge, finished it That is phenomenal numbers. From those 190 people we loss 1, 354.5 pounds over the course of the challenge. (1300 pounds is as much as a male polar bear or a quarter horse)

Out of those 50 teams, each person on 39 teams completed their final weigh in. Which by the way was the average number of teams who completed our weekly challenges as well. Each week, every team who completed the challenge had their name thrown in a drawing for real prizes. The prizes ranged from meals cooked and delivered to the team or food items they'd need during the challenge to kitchen tools to use while prepping. 

After the final numbers were in, 12 teams had over 4.99% of weight loss during the challenge. These teams were in it to win it. They took the challenge as a team and helped each other for six weeks. Working as a group, they achieved more than they could on their own.

The Top 12 Teams Were Represented At Our S3 Party!! 

High fives go out to these teams:

  • Trans4mers
  • The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
  • The Naturals
  • 8:30 Friends
  • KECH us if you can
  • Dan's Girls- Keeping up with the Jones
  • Just do It
  • Changing our Weighs
  • KlLL
  • Chafing the Dream
  • Girl Power
  • The Three Burritos and Refried Beans

Our team winners walked away with over $800 each. The secret to their team success? Daily check- ins amongst themselves. "Chafing the Dream" was made up of Katie Bean, Andria Collins, and Katrina Lebrecque. They trained each day together at 5am. They didn't miss one training time. They wrote each other in a group chat every day. I know they were snapping pictures of each meal and sending it to the group to keep themselves accountable. These ladies were tight knit in goals and how they were going to achieve them. They managed to lose 13.68% of their beginning weight during the challenge. Congratulations ladies.

One person took home the biggest check. Katrina Labrecque won the overall individual weight loss category in S3 2019. She lost 16.42% of her body weight. She has been on a journey to regain her body composition since her third child was born 8 months ago. She has twin, 4 year olds as well. Working full time and being a busy mom of 3 preschool kids is hard. Katrina took these last six weeks and focused much of her attention on herself. She is a healthier and happier mom and wife because of it.

While Katrina took home the top award, there is a big shout going out to 17 other individuals who lost over 9% of their body weight during Sizzlin Summer Slimdown 2019.

Denise Call                 

Lindsey Peterson

Donna Maltais

Andria Collins

Tim Hall

Frank Muller

June Fredette

Heather Manning

Bob Jones

Jessica Emond

Katie Bean

Lori Mercier

Evelyn Gaynor

Peter Hallock

Laurie Vallee

Abby Jones

Lisa Beausoleil

And these aren't the only winners. I've been saying this so much to many others who lost weight but didn't win a cash prize. "Did you make progress? Did you learn something new about your self? Can you continue this process? Then you've won, you've won something more than money. You've won the power to change. Things like the habit of planning meals, having a system to food prepping, setting aside weekly time to get meals ready for the week ahead, and getting yourself started with your first pound lost are giving yourself the power to change. 

S3 involves cash prizes, and the ladies who won will enjoy their checks. And yet, we've all been given the power to change. What are you going to do with it moving forward? 

To your best health,

Coach Nancy


Birthday Cake Smoothie

I love parties and I love birthday cake. The other day a group of us were talking about protein shakes and which flavor we liked best. I mentioned that Coach Dean is very good at creating new combinations of flavors. Since Sonia's birthday was coming up, they suggested Coach Dean put his creative abilities into making a Birthday Cake Protein Smoothie. It was a hit. In fact I liked it so much I had it for breakfast this morning, and I do not know anyone who has a birthday today. 

Birthday Cake Smoothie

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Beverly International's Vanilla UMP)
  • 1 scoop angel food cake protein powder ( I don't know of any other brand that carries this fantastic flavor- Beverly International's Angel Food Cake UMP)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces of water
  • ice
  • whipped cream and sprinkles just for fun!

Mix the protein, the banana, the almond and vanilla extract, water, and ice in a blender. Pour into a glass and decorate with whipped cream and sprinkles. 

During the summer I love treat that is light in flavors. As a kid Pineapple Upside -Down Cake was a favorite. So you know what I did? I made a Pineapple Upside - Down Cake Smoothie. It was delicious, maybe just as good as Coach Dean's Birthday Cake Smoothie. You'll have to let me know. 

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Smoothie

  • 1 scoop Vanilla UMP
  • 1 scoop Angel Food Cake UMP
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 16 ounces of water
  • ice
  • whipped cream and sprinkle - because it makes me smile

Mix the protein, the pineapple, the almond and vanilla extract, water, and ice in a blender. Pour into a glass and decorate with whipped cream and sprinkles. I think a cherry on top would make this perfect. 

Enjoy your food,

Coach Nancy 


Settle Down and Pay Attention (to your strength training)

dumbbell

Anybody that walks into a gym to train for the first time, or the first time in a long time, deserves a lot of credit.

Unfamiliar place, all these weird looking instruments of torture, people standing around gawking at the "newbie". And dumbbells? That's how you are left feeling sometimes. Who needs that mess? (In reality nobody, which is why Cr8 Fitness is the real "anti-gym")

All that weirdness, and you did it anyway - really cool. As for results? In the beginning just about any workout will start to get you at least some results. But regardless of how long you have been training, you need to pay attention if you want to make the most progress, the quickest. 

Good training design incorporates progression. "Progressive Strength Training" isn't some political thing, it simply means that you need to be continually increasing key training variables, usually volume and/or intensity, to continue making progress.

And that's why you need to settle down and pay attention when you are training. For instance the most common "progressive" variable our training cycles here at Cr8 Fitness uses is volume. The work periods increase over the 4-6 week cycle; from 30 seconds to 60 seconds, or even more at times. That's the easy part for you, at least from a "paying attention" standpoint. Load selection, or how much you are lifting, is where we miss the boat at times. If you are not paying attention and tracking, at least mentally, how much you are lifting on a weekly basis you will not progress as fast. 

Here's an example why it matters:

Let's say we are working on single arm overhead presses. In week one we do 30 second sets, and you use a 30 pound dumbbell. Our speed of movement is 3-1-x, so you are getting about 6 reps per side. The next week you come in, notice we are doing 45 second sets, so you drop the weight to 20 pounds, because the work period is longer (not an ideal strategy, but I'll get to that). Or you simply don't remember what you used last week. In the 40 second set you get about 8 reps. That's more reps than last week, so that' good, right? Well if you add up the total work you are doing, in week one you lifted 180 pounds total (6x30), and in week two you lifted 160 pounds (8x20). You see where I am going with that? Even though the set took longer, you did less work. Dropping back only to 25 pounds would have been better, and in reality staying at 30 would have been the best strategy. 

The take home on this? You have to know week to week what load you have been using, so you can track how much work you are actually doing. This is the key to progress. Smartphone, moleskin notebook, permanent marker on your forearm. Any of those will work. 🙂

I was talking to another "athlete of aging" this weekend and we were commenting that the older you get, the faster you have to peddle just to stay in place. It may not be "fair", but it is pretty accurate. And you need to keep track of how fast you are peddling somehow. Speedometers on a car, thermostats on an oven, numbers on the scale. They all give us crucial information, and let us know how we are tracking and if and when we need to make adjustments. Keeping track of how much you are lifting does the same thing.

And to put it bluntly, that's about the only thing you are responsible for when you train here, besides showing up. Our training design and coaching takes care of the rest; proper exercise selection, coaching your form, number and length of sets, rest periods, macro and micro-recovery strategies, the whole gamut. This one piece is where we have "co-responsibility", which is why we are consistently encouraging you to increase load, where appropriate. (Coach Nancy is SO mean, right?) 🙂

We have a recovery week coming up next week (July 1-5). This too is by design as part of your overall plan. You can check out why here: You Are Not A Unicorn. Recovery Matters.

So now that you know, how are you going to keep track? It might just be the piece you have been missing to making even better progress.

Need some help? That's what we are here for!

See you soon, 

Coach Dean

Stacy’s Snickerdoodle Smoothie

Coming up with a new recipe is all about experimenting. Creating a taste in a smoothie takes talent and Stacy and her family have talent. She created this recipe for her son who loves Snickerdoodles. Now he is enjoying the snickerdoodle flavor in a cup. I asked Stacy to share this recipe with me. We decided to taste test it with some of our 6:15 peeps too. 

Here's how you make them. 

Stacy's Snickerdoodle Smoothie - Single Serving

  • 1 scoop Vanilla UMP (Beverly International Protein powder)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 ounces water
  • ice is optional

Blend and enjoy. It's that simple

Stacy's Snickerdoodle Smoothie to feed an army

  • 1 container Vanilla UMP 
  • 2/3 cup cinnamon

Shake the container well to mix the dry ingredients. Use 1 scoop in 8 ounces of water. Add ice if you like it colder. 

Thank you Stacy for creating and then sharing this recipe with us. Thank you Sonia and Jane for being our test tasters. We'll be testing this recipe soon during training so be ready to have your taste buds dazzled. 

Enjoy your food,

Coach Nancy



Watermelon Pops

Can I challenge you to be someone who doesn’t need to please everyone with their food choices? Can you be okay knowing you made an independent choice with their eating habits? In all other areas of life you take pride in your individualism, why not with the foods you eat?

I know people will think I am different, maybe even say I am weird. I simply no longer can let it bother me. I have made the choice to work hard at nutrition in order to help myself and my family be as healthy as possible. Those choices have led me to be labeled “a little on the nutty side”

I recently was asked to bring cookies to an award night for a program my kids are a part of. Everyone was asked to bring cookies. Of course because of allergies we couldn’t bring cookies with certain ingredients in it. I respect that. But I am that crazy person. I am that weirdo. I am the one if I carried cookies in that night would be met with, “Wow, I am surprised you made those.” or “I didn’t know you even knew what cookies were.”

I didn’t give them a chance, I carried in a monster platter of strawberries and grapes. I still got razzed a bit but you know what I saw? It surprised even Dean and I. We watched several kids forego cookies for fruit. (I had politely asked beforehand if that would be okay, I didn’t want to be rude to those in charge) I believe that is the key to being that weirdo in public. Be polite but also make something everyone will enjoy eating.

Fruit  or veggie K- Bobs are always a hit with the kids and adults.

Another favorite summer treat for my kids is Watermelon Pops.

Watermelon Pops

  • 4 cups diced seedless watermelon
  • Store bought popsicle containers
  • 2 Tablespoon raspberries or blueberries, optional

Put watermelon in your blender and mix until smooth consistency. Pour the watermelon mixture in your popsicle containers. For color add a few berries into each pop, cover and freeze for several hours.

Super easy and fun to make. Kids love them!

(Be the weirdo!)

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

My New Favorite Website

Besides Cr8Fitness.com of course! 🙂

Seriously though, a huge shout out to my friend and fellow gym owner Ryan Morgan of Pursuit Fitness in St. Louis for turning me on to GrowingBolder.com

From the very first time I visited I knew I had found a kindred spirit in the founder, Marc Middleton.

Why?

Here's one reason:

As Athletes of Aging (and if you are reading this you are one or want to be one 🙂 ) you know how important exercise is. But what if you haven't exercised in decades? Are in bad health and lousy shape? Is it still possible?

These two stories show us the answer is a resounding "YES!"

Sister Madonna Buder (The Iron Nun) started in her 40's and is now the oldest living person, man or woman, to finish an Ironman Triathlon when she did it at the age of 82.

And while you (like me) may never dream of being on a bodybuilding stage at age 75, you'll find Jim Schaeffer didn't either, and then decided "What have I got to lose?"

Stories like these give the little extra push I need sometimes when I just don't "feel like it".

If Sister Madonna and Jim Schaeffer can do it - Why can't we?

If you are ready, click here to claim your free 2-week tryout.

Let's Make It Happen!

- Coach Dean

Small Changes, Big Results

Are you making overeating normal? Eating is a behavior we have learned over time. Since all behaviors are learned we can learn better or different behaviors.  Here are 4 behaviors we can learn so that we can eat healthier and maintain it. Creating eating behaviors and then making those behaviors normal for you will make your healthy eating easier to do.

Small plates – There is No magic tricks here, set up an environment to automatically eat less by using a smaller plate. Less food at each meal equals less calories.  I don’t have to fill up my plate but I usually do. Using a smaller plate and filing it up with food will still be less food than filling up a larger plate. Well no duh, It makes. Check out this picture on how plate size has directly effected the obesity rate in America.

Veggies First – Veggies are the most nutritious part of every meal. Vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals,  and fiber. Nutritionally vegetables should fill in more volume on our plate and also will fill in more volume internally once you eat them. With all this volume the cool thing is at they hold lower caloric values than other food items. Filing your smaller plate 2/3 to 3/4 with veggies, and then using the rest of your plate for your lean protein and healthy fats, will fill your insides with good food. To help you in more detail of planning your meals check out what Coach Dean wrote on the subject.  

Remove temptations - If sweets are not in the house, it’s harder for you to eat sweets. Think of Superman, his downfall is kryptonite. In order for Superman to stay strong, he locks up his kryptonite. Use that same principle with the food item/s that are your downfall. If ice cream is your downfall each evening, leave it in the store. What ever your temptation is, remove it from your sight, take it out of the house, lock it up, and make it challenging for you to easily get it to eat. Everyone has so much will power and ability to say no, help yourself out and remove any tempting food out of your reach.

Be consistent – With any behavior it becomes a normal behavior by doing it day after day. I recently had a client put it this way, she was going to walk the walk.  She has put some practices into place and was on the way to making these new practices her new normal. She wanted her healthy eating knowledge and started to walk the walk with it. Consistency is not the same as perfection.

Eating healthy so you can be healthy and live a vibrant life is easier than you think. Setting these boundaries into place will help you change your current behavior. Boundaries can be thought of as a your new standard. My standard is to use a smaller plate instead of the biggest plate I own. I have a standard of filling that plate with mostly vegetables. I make temptations harder for me to acquire. I’m human, but even Superman had to lock up his kryptonite. What I am known for is how my consistency is measured.

Take these standards and make them your own.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Deviled Eggs with Bacon

Does it get any better!? Bacon makes everything better. To top off the bacon sensation, right after you bite into these gems you get the kick from the hot sauce. By the way I used 2 Tablespoons hot sauce. These are delightful.

Bacon Deviled Eggs

  • 6 eggs
  • ½ large avocado, diced
  • 3 Tbsp. bacon fat, liquid
  • 1-2 tablespoons red hot sauce
  • 3 strips cooked crispy bacon, diced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Sprinkle of Paprika

Place the eggs in a bottom of a sauce-pot and cover with cold water. Place the saucepan on the stove over high heat, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove the pan and cover. Let sit for 14 minutes. Drain the eggs and put them in a bowl with ice water to stop them from cooking. Once they’re cooled, peel your eggs and cut them in half (long way), and carefully remove the yolks (put them in a mixing bowl). Put the egg whites on a plate and set aside. in a mixing bowl and set aside. To your mixing bowl, add avocado, bacon fat, hot sauce, sea salt, and about 2/3 of your bacon. Mix well. Carefully fill your eggs with your mixture. Garnish with leftover bacon and sprinkle with paprika. Enjoy!

Enjoy your food,

Coach Nancy


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