The Secret Life of Motivation

One of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies includes this exchange between Captain America and the Hulk...

Steve Rogers:
Dr. Banner! Now might be a good time to get angry.

Bruce Banner:
That's my secret, Captain. I'm always angry. (morphs into the Hulk and punches the leviathan)

HULK. SMASH!

I was reminded of that scene when I was talking to a client about their motivation, or in this case lack thereof. The gist of the conversation is that he found it hard to be motivated to train regularly, and to nourish his body with good food choices, and to lay off the alcohol.

But the kicker was when he said something along these lines; "Well it's easy for you, you're a trainer, you're always motivated!" 

Yeah. Right.

Because I am a trainer I have some unique genetic makeup that causes me to be full of energy all the time, never get tired, always feel like working out, and be predisposed to eating broccoli and sprouts, while vomiting at the site of chocolate cake.

Tell that to my 280 pounds self from 15 years ago. The one that couldn't walk up the stairs without getting winded, got home from work and crashed on the coach for four hours every night, was pre-diabetic and just plain unhealthy.

I am no superhero, but I do have a secret. Just like Bruce Banner.

Here it is. 

I am not motivated all the time. But I take action anyways.

You see we have motivation all wrong. Motivation is about emotions, and we tend to be ruled by our emotions, rather than control them. If I only trained when I felt like it, if I only ate right when I felt like it, if I only went to bed early when I felt like it - I'd be the mess I was 15 and 20 years ago.

Just like in the dictionary, Motivation follows Action. Feelings follow Activity. 

When you don't feel like it, do it anyway. 

It's not easy. If it were easy everybody would do it But think about it this way. 

Have you ever regretted getting that workout in, once it was over? Have you ever regretted biting your tongue and responding kindly rather than reacting in anger? Have you ever regretted an act of service when you rather would have stayed home?

Didn't think so.

You absolutely will need some of level of discipline, and success breeds success. The more you exercise a little discipline, the easier it gets to continue to do so. The opposite is also true.

Don't tell yourself you are not motivated. You already know.

Take action. Put your feet on the floor, and get your butt out the door.

You won't regret it.

Let's Get Smashing!

Coach Dean


Ultimate Meal Planning Guide: Chapter 3

The Cr8 Fitness Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning

Chapter 3: Building Your Portfolio 

Have you ever looked through a photographers or artists portfolio? Dozens, if not hundreds of beautiful prints, displaying amazing creativity and artistry. 

We all know instinctively this portfolio took time and effort to cultivate. Pictures get added and removed as experience and skill increases. The artist learns what appeals to her audience, and it gets easier to get in the creative flow.

You are the artist of your kitchen, and your "audience" is the people you are feeding. The first pages in your meal planning portfolio is the work you have already completed; building individual meals and then your first full weeks meal plan. You are building your meal planning skills, but you are also building momentum.

You see, once you get that first weeks plan under your belt, you can really get rolling. The second week builds off the first week, the third week build off the second, and so on. 

Creating A Month of Meals

As noted, the second week of meal planning is easier than the first, because you are not starting from scratch.

Plan Week 2

The simplest strategy is to repeat last week's plan this week. But you will probably find there were a few meals that just didn’t work for your family. That's ok. Print out a new meal planning template and fill in the ones that did work. Then find another family favorite, add that one in its place and move on.

But, you may be thinking, what about variety? Won't I get bored? Maybe, but probably not. Studies show that most of us eat the same 20-30 foods nearly all of the time. But if you are worried about variety, switch the days you serve a certain meal or switch up the side dish. Don’t forget to make your grocery list now. Week two is done. Simple is Easiest, Simple is Best.
 

Week 3

We are on a roll and just getting the hang of meal plans. The amount of time it takes this week will be shorter than the first two weeks. The process gets quicker and easier every week.

With weeks one and two meal plans in front of you, print out a new meal planning template and use them as the basis for week three. Keep the ones you like, replace the ones you don't. Just like our photographer, you are cultivating your portfolio. In general you should be repeating most of your meals on a week-to-week basis. Adjust one or two meals. Don’t go crazy and change up everything that is working. Keep the changes small and consistent. Mix up the side dishes you served with a different meal and move forward. Don’t forget to make your grocery list. Week three is done. Simple is Easiest, Simple is Best.

And if you are struggling to make it happen? Don’t give up. Anything new takes a bit longer until we have made the system our own. All this planning will save you time and loads of stress each day, and you are oh so close to making that happen.

Week 4

When you sit down to plan this week, you have three weeks of your portfolio already created. This portfolio will be key to stress free kitchen time now and in the future. After this week you will have whole month of meal plans to mix and match.

Just like last week, we are going to review, and where necessary, replace. Circle the meals your family loved, and cross out the ones that got the "thumbs down". Even if you really want your kids to start eating spinach, don’t force one recipe at them. You’ll find a meal with spinach (or your wish list food item) that your family will eat.

Keep cultivating. How did the new recipe night work? Is there a certain mealtime that you want to mix up? Stick with one or two changes each week. Fill out your meal planner, and then make your grocery list. Remember Simple is Easiest, Simple is Best.

Once you have four weeks of meal plans that you like, use them like a revolving door (circular planning).

I have certain days of the week that I always fix the same thing, and my family likes that they have something to look forward to. Other days are crunch days where I need to remember to use a crockpot or have a quick fix meal. The days that I plan to have time to spend in the kitchen I use to prep other meals, make a new recipe, or make two meals at once.

Any time you feel stuck with your meal plans, come back to our basic principles.

  • Plan Dinners First
  • Plan Breakfast Second
  • Leftovers for Lunch
  • Shop with a List
  • Build your Portfolio

One more note. While this might sound silly, it's crucial to your success. Have the food you need for your plan in the house. You can spend all the time in the world planning, but if the food on your plan isn't around when it's time to prep and eat, it's hard to succeed. 

And remember, progress not perfection. Some planning is better than no planning. One meal at a time is all it takes to get started.

Let's go shopping!

The Spotlight is on Lauren

Popcorn. You know the light as air fun you pop in your mouth. About the only way I enjoy popcorn is trying to catch it one piece at a time with my mouth. I know you've all done that. It's the little bit of kid that stays inside us even as we age. Popcorn like that is the food I would use to describe Lauren's personality. She keeps the mood around her light and airy. She sparks fun like the fun we had as kids. At Cr8 Fitness Lauren catches me smiling because she is reaching her goals. She works, she goes to school and she trains with us. Through it all she is like popcorn- she brings out the kid in all of us. 

I'm excited to see what the next year is going to bring in Lauren's life. 'Moving Forward' is her middle name. Lauren is officially a member of the "Hall of Fame" at Cr8 Fitness. Every time you see a red shirt at Cr8 Fitness, you're meeting a Hall of Fame-r. Lauren has earned hers and is moving forward.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy


Eat the Rainbow

I know what you are thinking, no not we are not going to talk about Skittles.

What does it mean to "Eat the Rainbow?"

Simply aim to eat as many “colorful foods” as you can throughout the day; real food - think fruits and vegetables, not Skittles. Eat green, purple, red, yellow, blue and orange.

Kind of sounds like advice for a child right? That's good, it should be that simple!

Why Color is Important

Whenever you are about to eat a meal, look down at your plate and ask yourself “where is the color here?” You want to be able to easily spot 2-3 different colors every time you eat. This is an indication that you’re eating foods that contain many different nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants.

Nature has a very simple way of letting us know which foods are really healthy and full of nutrients - color.

Close your eyes for a second and try to visualize this: the strong blue/purple color of fresh blueberries, the deep red hue of tomatoes, the bright orange of carrots.

These colors indicate nutrient content and and also the presence of antioxidants, phytochemicals, and other free radical fighting ninjas which are important in slowing the aging process and helping our body deal with inflammation.

Think Lots of Color

The different colors in fruits and vegetables indicate the different types of antioxidants. There are many types of helpful antioxidants, so you want to make sure you are exposing yourself to a variety by including different colors on your plate. You don’t want to consume only orange and red fruits and veggies while ignoring the greens and yellows. You want a wide variety.

Branch out, eat the rainbow.

Avoiding White-and-Beige-Only Meals

A standard unhealthy diet is going to be made up of many white, brown, and beige foods. As you can tell, this means colors (antioxidants) are lacking. If you notice that a lot of the foods on your plate are white (potatoes, rice, cereal, bread, pasta), brown (beef, pork, sausages, heavy sauces) and beige (cheese, processed carbs, low quality chicken and turkey), then it’s time to add some color to your plate in the form of fruits and vegetables.

Remember, every single meal you consume should have noticeable colors in it. Aim to get 2-3 different colors into every meal and you will be on the right track. Once you get the hang of that, think about your day/week as a whole and figure out which colors you might be ignoring (greens? Reds? Orange? purples?), then start adding more of those kinds in too.

Need some help to get you started? Try this recipe for Rainbow Chicken.

Rainbow Chicken

This chicken is a fiesta of rainbow colors, and is quick and easy to prep and bake – give it a try tonight!

  • 4-6 skinless boneless chicken breast (thin cut)
  • 2 cups no salt added chicken broth
  • 1 small purple onion
  • 1 small green pepper
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 1 small orange pepper
  • 1 small yellow pepper
  • 1 medium tomato
  • Goya Adobo seasoning

Preheat oven to 425

Pour chicken broth into 9×13 pan and lay in chicken seasoned with 2 Tbsp of Goya Adobo.

Slice onion, peppers and tomato and arrange on top of chicken, and sprinkle an additional 2 Tbsp of seasoning.

Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 20 minutes or until chicken cooked through.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Fantastic Tasting- Golden Crusted Almond Pork Loin

I’ve shared this recipe several times and everyone has always raved about it when they prepared it. It is easy but looks and taste sensational. I serve this with roasted mixed veggies and a side salad. I know when I serve this meal, I am assured that my family has food that will keep them happy, but that I am not filling them just to fill their bellies. I’m giving them food that will fuel their bodies.

Golden Crusted Almond Pork Loin

  • 4-pound boneless pork loin roast
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Season pork with salt and pepper and rub with mustard.
  3. In a food processor, with the motor running, add garlic and process until minced. Add almonds and parsley then pulse until mixture is finely chopped.
  4. Pat almond mixture over roast, pressing to coat well.
  5. Place roast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan and cook for 2 hours until the crust is lightly browned and a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the roast registers 155 to 160 degrees.
  6. Transfer roast to cutting board and let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
  7. While the pork is cooking, prepare the sauce.
  8. In a saucepan over medium heat, simmer chicken broth until reduced to 1 cup.
  9. Reduce heat and whisk in the mustard. Whisk in butter, a few pieces at a time, until butter is incorporated and the sauce is smooth.
  10. Serve the pork roast with sauce.

(If you don't have time to make the sauce, like I didn't yesterday, don't panic. No one missed it) The pork doesn't need it. Its one of those special things that makes it just shine even more. 

Enjoy your food,

Coach Nancy

Ultimate Meal Planning Guide: Chapter 2

The Cr8 Fitness Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning

Chapter 2: Planning Your First Week

Now that we know how to go about planning one meal, we can start planning out our first week.

While this might sound like a daunting task, it's simple when you break it down step-by-step.

First, go ahead and click this link to download and print out our simple meal planning template.

Once you have downloaded and printed the template, follow the steps on the infographic below and begin filling out your first week's plan.

meal planning

Here are some tips:

If you find a whole week is just too much to start with: 

Simply scale back and start with just your dinner meals. You will be amazed how having just one meal a day planned out will make you feel. And remember, there is no prize for getting it "perfect". Meal planning really is a skill, and it gets easier the more you do it. And don't forget to start building your "meal planning portfolio" by saving your weekly plans, no matter how complete they are (or aren't).

Build on your skills: 

Once you nail your dinner planning routine down, move on to step 2 and plan out your breakfast, then your lunches. Don't overcomplicate, avoid overwhelm - remember:

Simple is Easiest, Simple is Best.

In Chapter Three will cover how we use our "meal planning portfolio" and continue building our meal planning skills.

Cinnamon Apple Pie Shake

Just this morning someone asked if I had a shake recipe that tasted like Apple Pie. This one came to mind right away. Yes, it tastes like apple pie AND with lots of protein and holding off on the tons of sugar that usually is in pie. 


Who doesn’t love the combination of apples and cinnamon? Apple pie in a cup it is!


Apple Pie Smoothie

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 scoop vanilla Ultimate Muscle Protein Powder
  • 4 Tablespoons dry oatmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 2 Tablespoons walnuts (use almonds if you don’t have walnuts)
  • 1 cored apple
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend on high for one minute. For a delightful touch sprinkle a dash of cinnamon on top. The oatmeal adds thickness to your shake. It's perfect to enjoy right after a training session. 

Enjoy your food,

Coach Nancy

Sharing is Caring…… About Yourself

Have you ever set a goal, and then just kept it to yourself?

Did you reach that goal?

I have done it a hundred times. I set a goal, but then I just kinda kept it to myself. Less pressure that way, you know?

That was a bad plan for me, and I am guessing it wasn’t too helpful for you either.

Lately a few people have shared their goal with me, and also with a few others. In fact at the moment the entire Cr8 Fitness family is working on a goal that started out with one person. Our Million Meter Match is all about a goal and working a daily plan in order to reach that goal. You know what? We are doing amazingly. We're just mid point on our time line but over half way there in outcome. 

That is because we shared. We shared our goal and we are consequently sharing the work load.

On top of that, we kept track of our progress and shared our successes too.

Turns out that sharing your progress is one of the best things you can do.

Check out this article that shows how participants in a weight loss challenge actually lost about 5x more when they shared how they were doing (including selfies of their progress!)

If you have a goal - Share it.

Like mom always said, sharing is fun!

To your best health,

Coach Nancy


 

Tuesday Tease: S3 2019 Is On The Way!


Can you believe it's that time of year already? Spring is around the corner, and you know what Spring leads to?

SUMMER!!!

And it also means we are getting ready to ramp up for our annual challenge... 

The Sizzlin' Summer Slimdown!

We are stoked to be getting the whole gang back together from the the two best gyms in New Hampshire, Get Fit NH in Concord and Cr8 Fitness in Epsom, for what has traditionally been our biggest challenge of the year.

The goal?

Getting healthier and shedding some unwanted pounds and inches as we head into the summer season.

 Remember this from last year?

Sizzlin' Summer Slimdown 2019
hosted by

All the details are coming soon, but here's just a little snippet to be thinking about. This year the brain power behind the two gyms (Coaches Nancy and Meagan) brought back one of our favorite challenge formats -

Teams of Four! (happy dance ensues)

Why teams? Because we all need someone to lift us up on the down days, and kick us in the pants when we are slacking off. And the truth is we are more motivated to do our best by not letting others down...it's a fact. 

More details are on the way, so really all you need to be doing right now is to be thinking of who you want to team up with, and be brainstorming a team name. Your team could be from your own gym, a mix of peeps from both gyms, or even friends and family (framily?) who don't train with us - yet! 

And don't worry, we'll be flexible with team sizes (from 3-5), and if you need help finding a team, we will assist you with that too!

Cant' Wait!

- DC

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