Everything’s NOT Awesome

Did you know that  "Everything's NOT Awesome" is a name of a song? Yep, from the Lego Movie 2. There are actually quite a few movies featuring animated lego characters. I'm off track already. Here is what I want to say. The year 2020 wasn't awesome. I don't think anyone is going to argue with that. Here are some of the highlights from my year. 

  • My aunt died
  • My Dad died
  • My sister died
  • Covid Pandemic took over
  • vacations were cancelled
  • Cr8 Fitness wasn't able to be together for more than 2 months.
  • My son's best friend died
  • They tried cancelling Thanksgiving and Christmas

I could scream 2020 was the worst but it wasn't. Here is what I see when I look back over 2020.

  • I spent more time with my family in Indiana than I have since I was married. I was there almost a month in the first 5 months of the year.
  • I was able to spend a week caring for my sister - super special memories
  • I've talked with my mom twice a day since March
  • I was with my sister during hospice
  • The Cr8 Family trained together on Zoom. We figured it out together and found it really can work.
  • My Cr8 Family is a real family in the fun times and when life is hard
  • Christmas was one of the best I can remember, Thanksgiving too
  • And life is precious so don't dismiss it by trying to skip a full year. 

So what does that have to do with "Everything is NOT Awesome" a song from a Lego Movie? My kids got me started on this song because it's catchy and gets stuck inside your head. I often am accused that I always treat life as wonderful and fantastic, kind of like I never have any bad days. That just isn't true. I miss my Dad and Sister more than words express. Having Cr8 Fitness threatened by a virus was stress I didn't know how to tackle. Seeing my son hurt with a hurt I can't fix is miserable. There are two ways to respond: Everything is Hopeless and Bleak or they aren't. I just choose to look at the good and let it define my life. How about you? 

2020 was tough on everyone. Where do you see the good in 2020? Focus on that. And then repeat.  Be known and know others for the good. 

I'm here to see your best,

Coach Nancy

"Just have one good day. Then repeat."

James Clear

A friend sent me this quote today

And just in case you want to hear or see all the words to the song, "Everything's NOT Awesome" you can check it out here.

Chicken Bacon Alfredo

I've been pulling out some blast from the past recipes this week. Favorites that I forgot were favorites. This one is yummy delicious. My whole family loves it. 

Chicken Bacon Alfredo

  • 1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
  • 1 larger delicata squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • 4-6 slices bacon, diced
  • ½ cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat your 425 degrees. Cut spaghetti squash and delicata squash in half and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and excess threads. Don’t be dainty.

Place open side down on a baking sheet (use aluminum foil or parchment paper for easy clean up) and cook for 20-25 minutes. You will know when they are done cooking when you can poke the outside skin and it ‘gives’ a bit.

Now you can either cook your chicken at the same time or after the squash is done cooking. Whatever you’d like. Just place chicken on a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet, sprinkle some olive oil over the chicken (or other kind of fat), salt and pepper it, and sprinkle just a bit of basil on top.  I cooked my tenders for around 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.

Once your squash is done cooking, pull it out of the oven; dethread the spaghetti squash into a large bowl with a fork. Go against the grain (if spaghetti squash had grain).

Now throw your diced bacon into a skillet and cook until done. Use a slotted spoon to pull out your cooked bacon, but leave behind the grease.

Take your delicata squash and hollow it out.  Use the insides and dump them into your warm skillet filled with bacon grease. Then add your coconut milk. You may need to add a little bit more coconut milk depending on how runny you like your sauce. Mix thoroughly with a ladle to break up the squash a bit.

Add seasonings to the mix and salt and pepper as needed. Mix thoroughly and cook on low for about 5 minutes to simmer.

Now dice up your cooked chicken.

Pour sauce over spaghetti squash and add your chicken to the mix.

Mix well & top with bacon

Enjoy good food,

Coach Nancy

Work Hard or Hard Work?

I'm in the gym 6 days a week to train, meet clients, clean, or stock inventory. A few weeks ago I rearranged all the Dumbbells and Kettlebells. You might recall the contest to guess how much I moved that day? 7,454 pounds of metal so that the traffic could flow a bit easier. It was hard work. 

Since March we have all faced different challenges because of Covid. One theme keeps coming back to mind as I see you struggle to create your new normal. You're Working Hard! As an observer it is thrilling to see the determination and guts, the flexibility and creativity, the energy and positiveness you've displayed while training. 

We have a nutrition challenge starting on January 29th. This challenge will give us (I'm in this with you) the opportunity to Reset, Redo, or just Start getting our food back in line so our waistlines don't keep suffering. YOU 2.0 in 2021 is designed to focus our attention to the kitchen so we can Work Hard on both sides of Health. FYI, the first 50 people to register get $10 off.  

Keep Making It Happen,

Coach Nancy

Lemon Salmon

Salmon is one of the healthiest foods on the planet, loaded with good fats, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein.  Cooking fish can seem intimidating, but it’s not as hard to make at home as you may think. Make it in the oven for easy clean up and save your kitchen from the dreaded “fishy” smell. This is an easy 3 ingredient dish. I've given some options to add variations too.

Lemon Baked Salmon 

  • 2 Salmon Filets
  • 1 lemon
  • olive oil

Take 2 salmon filets and add a small amount of olive oil to both sides. Roll the filets in some almond meal if you want to create a crust/breading-type topping (to create almond meal just take almonds and put them in the blender). Add fresh squeezed lemon juice, salt, and pepper generously. Bake in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 12 minutes (check at about 10 minutes to see if it's cooked enough for your liking - when poked with a fork the salmon should “flake”). Add some fresh chopped dill and parsley and pair with some vegetables, salad, or a whole grain like quinoa. 

You can't get much easier than that.

Eat Good Food,

Coach Nancy

Sawubona – I See You

2021 is right around the corner. Many of us are rushing to get there in hopes that it is going to be like a beautiful rose instead of all the thorns so many of us had in 2020. There is a famous saying: “Where ever you go, there you are.” What if 2021 is not a bowl of sunshine and roses? What if it starts where 2020 left off?

Sawubona means ‘I see you’. Not just I see you have a mask on and I see that you are shopping in the same store as I am. It means I see you intimately. Sawubona is that deep seeing where you get that person. You understand where they have been and where they are going.

I see Sawubona happening at Cr8 all the time. The chatter happening as you catch up on the weekend details or hear how an elderly parent is doing. You not only know that person exist but you see into their lives and want to participate in it with them.

Sawubona is seeing beyond the mask we are wearing.

2021 will have its roses.  As you ‘see’ others this year, see them deeper. Take the word Sawubona to heart and really see them. You’ll find by getting into each other’s lives,

  • Challenges become easier because you have others to help with the burden.
  • Tension eases as you see their perspective and not just your own
  • Goals are attained with the accountability and help of those who ‘see’ you
  • Sunny days are even brighter because you’re sharing them

I’m sure you’ll find more benefits from Sawubona – I see you.

Happy New Year Everyone. We have the ability to make 2021 the Best Year Ever.

Coach Nancy

Christmas is Remembered All Year

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. Family, music, traditions, giving gifts, and special occasions help to make this time of year special. At Cr8 Fitness we've put all of those wonderful things into a special training that has become a tradition around here. "The 12 Day's of Christmas" is not only a song we love to play but also the name of the training we do on the last day before Christmas. It seems to be one of those special trainings that is remembered far past the day or the week of Christmas. In fact Jennifer from 9am said she has been to 8 of them and can remember them all. Lyn at 6:15 found this year was special as she finished the entire training before time expired. I found Sue and Judy who were new to "The 12 Days of Christmas". Here's what they had to say:

It makes my day to see all the work that is accomplished in less than an hour. What a treat to know others enjoy it too. 

So when the hot days of summer roll around and we talk about wishing for cooler weather. Remember "The 12 Days of Christmas". 

Merry Christmas everyone,

Coach Nancy

Naughty or Nice, You Decide

Today at the 8am training we chatted about making foods a bit healthier. Carrot Cake Overnight Oats remind me of carrot cake without all the extra frosting. Starting your day with a healthy choice tends to cycle your decisions to be healthier throughout the day. Since Christmas is usually so busy, it's often time for grab and go foods you can eat on the run. I like to make a protein shake when I know I need a healthy meal to have on the go. Don't load them down with too many fruits or buy a protein drink from the store with all the added sugars. Make your own and after you do you can decide if they are naughty or nice. Here's two of my favorite recipes. 

Candy Cane Delight

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 scoop UMP Chocolate
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar free peppermint mocha creamer
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 8-10 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients, Enjoy enjoy.

Want to turn it into a hot drink? Substitute hot coffee for the almond milk and ditch the ice! 

A tip from the head elf: Use a blender for your hot drinks too. It ensures the protein is fully mixed and adds a wonderful froth to the top!

Chocolate Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie

  • 8 ounces water
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein
  • 1 banana
  • 1 Tablespoon milled flax seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon cacao nibs
  • 1 Tablespoon natural peanut butter
  • Ice cubes

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

Now it is your turn, Naughty or Nice,

Coach Nancy

Carrot Cake Overnight Oats

My garden usually doesn't have much success growing carrots. In fact any root vegetable in New England tends to be overshadowed by the rocks that grow in the ground. Since Dean added raised beds this year to our gardening we've been able to see carrots grow much better. In fact after Thanksgiving this year I harvested the last of the carrots. Instead of throwing a bunch of sugar on these carrots for traditional carrot cake, these overnight oats remind me of that wonderful Fall dessert. And I get to eat it at breakfast!

Carrot Cake Overnight Oats

  • 3/4 cup milk of your choice (I used 1/2 coconut milk and 1/2 water)
  • 3/4 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 2 tablespoons of finely shredded carrots
  • 1 tablespoon of raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla UMP protein powder from Beverly International
  • 1 tablespoon of shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts (optional)

The easiest way to mix and store this oatmeal is inside a mason jar.  I mix all the ingredients in the jar and give it a shake or two. Then seal up the jar, place it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. Enjoy.

You can heat up the oatmeal at this point if you like, but the great part about this recipe is that they are ready to go right out of the refrigerator! Its a Grab -N- Go breakfast meal. 

Enjoy good food,

Coach Nancy

Guinea Pigs, Teenagers, and Pumpkin Energy Balls

I was in the mood the other day to make some snacks for my kids. Since they are teenagers, I tend to make them fend for themselves. Today was different. I also wanted to give this recipe a try and they were my guinea pigs. 

This is one of guinea pigs definitely shouldn't confuse her with one of my teens.

This is one of our guinea pigs.  You definitely shouldn't confuse her with one of my teens. 

Here's the recipe I used. I also included some changes or alterations I might make to this recipe next time to change it up a bit. 

Pumpkin No Bake Energy Balls

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 scoop UMP vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all of this with a spoon in a bowl. It'll be sticky but after being in the fridge they'll become easier to hold onto too without the mess. 

After taste testing these I know Chocolate or Graham Cracker UMP would work great with this recipe in place of vanilla. We added 2 Tablespoon Chocolate chips to 1/2 of them just for variety. You could also use Cocoa nibs. 

Enjoy Good Food and wow your kids at the same time,

Coach Nancy

P.S. - The "Guinea Pigs" Loved Them! 🙂

Remember everyone who buys a protein powder now until the end of the year will receive a smoothie guide full of recipes to begin your journey of using protein powders. Vanilla And Berries is one of my favorite shakes to make when I am on the run.