Category Archives for "Coach Nancy"

Sensational Salad that Left Me Surprised

Now is the season for veggies. Our gardens are starting to produce, Farmer markets are opening and CSA's will deliver fresh vegetables to you. Garden fresh veggies are my favorite. Since I am already eating lots of salads, sometimes a new recipe is refreshing. Helen shared this recipe with me years ago and it still is one of my favorites.

Green Salad with Celery, Walnuts and Cranberries (The celery will surprise you in that it makes this salad fantastic)

Salad: Serves 4

In a large bowl, toss together:

  • 10 cups mixed greens
  • 1 ½ cups sliced celery
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted


Whisk together:

  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper

Toss salad with just enough dressing to lightly coat.

Good news is that I now have this fabulous dressing for other salads! It made a ton.

Need to transport this salad to work with you? I love using a mason jar. Its important how you layer the jar so the salad stays crisp and fresh. In a jar, start with your dressing on the bottom, then add the celery, cranberries, walnuts and lastly the mixed greens. When you are ready to eat, as you turn out the salad it becomes coated with the dressing or turn the jar several times then eat your salad right out of the jar. You can make it the night before and grab it right before heading out the door.

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

Vegetable Fettucine

"Eat your veggies. Vegetables are healthy for you." We've heard this a million times since we were kids. It's not a new thought or scientific truth. Some of us soak in this information without question while others have a scientist inside of them so they need that proof. Coach Dean wrote an amazing article on Vegetables and Fruits- What your Grandma Never Taught You.

Ryan Andrews from Precision Nutrition put it this way in one of his articles.  

“Eating higher levels of veggies and fruits are associated with a lower incidence of:

Cardiovascular disease

Colon, prostate, cervical, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, thyroid, and breast cancer

High blood cholesterol

High blood pressure

Type 2 diabetes




and a lot more that aren’t on this list…” 

Now if that list doesn’t speak to you, do vitamins, minerals and fiber? PLUS you get to try an amazing variety of incredible tastes from all over the world – right from your very own kitchen just by eating vegetables!

Here is one of my favorite recipes to take in a lot of different vegetables in one meal. 

Vegetable Fettuccine

  • 4 yellow summer squash
  • 4 zucchini
  • 1-2 teaspoon coconut oil

Slice all the squash length-wise with a vegetable peeler except for the inner soft seedy area of each squash. Sauté the veggie strips in a pan heated to medium with melted coconut oil for about 3 minutes until soft.  

To add variety, you can use carrots or the stalk ends of broccoli to make your fettuccine. 

There is now a kitchen tool that will spiralize your veggies for you. Your veggies will usually cook faster since the veggie is smaller in size. I've seen spiralized veggies in the fresh and frozen section of your grocery store. So take a peak it will save you some time. I tend to have some frozen spiralized veggies as a Plan B, you know then your day doesn't go just as planned. 

I use these veggies as I would pasta and serve them with Spaghetti Sauce or Meatballs on the Fly. I've included some tasty recipes to make a complete meal with your vegetable fettuccine. 

Spaghetti Sauce

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1-2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • ½  teaspoon marjoram
  • ¼ rosemary leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 16-24 ounces tomato sauce

Brown ground beef, onion, and garlic. When the beef is no longer pink, drain excess fat. Stir in remaining ingredients. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 1 hour.

Meatballs on the fly

  • I pound meatballs 
  • 2 8oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper diced or sliced (how ever you prefer)
  • 1 leek thinly chopped
  • 1 bag of spinach
  • 1 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 4 minced garlic cloves or 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

To make the meatballs-combine 1 pound ground beef, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1 teaspoon pepper,  ½ teaspoon sage, ½ teaspoon basil. Roll into balls and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Mix the rest of the ingredients in a large pot. Add in the meatballs when they are done cooking. Simmer for 20 minutes and serve over Vegetable Fettuccine or cauliflower rice.

There is no magic pill, potion, or lotion that is going to do all that vegetables can do for our health. Join me and keep eating your veggies.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Sunshine in a Cup

Remember when you were a kid and bought a Creamsicle from the ice cream truck? It was heavenly. Coach Dean recreated that wonderful taste in a smoothie. While we were doing the taste testing in our kitchen we were calling this smoothie a Lemon Dreamsicle. This smoothie is so beautiful in taste and color I renamed it "Sunshine in a Cup". It makes me happy just to look at it.

Sunshine in a Cup

Here's how you can make your very own Sunshine in a Cup Smoothie

  • 1 scoop vanilla UMP from Beverly (protein powder)
  • 1/2 package lemon sugar free jello
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon extract
  • ice and then a bit more ice
  • 8 ounces of water

Blend all these ingredients together. The stronger your blender the more ice you can add. Go slow until you know what your blender can handle. This is one smoothie that is good enough to eat with a spoon. 

We've tried this with orange jello and orange extract - yum yum. Its like you are sneaking dessert, it tastes delightful. What a treat on a hot day. 


Coach Nancy

1500 Training Sessions at Cr8 Fitness

I recently stopped Doreen after training so that I could record her story. She's been training with us for 8 years. A lot has happened in that time frame. She's been to over 1500 trainings while she's been here. That is a crazy number. I appreciate Doreen choosing us way back when and staying with us. Many of you already know her and she has a powerful story. 

I'm proud of Doreen for saying she'd go the first day and then her consistent determination that has brought her personal success. Thank you Doreen for taking time out of your day to share with me and others. 

To your best Health,

Coach Nancy

Test Your Cr8 Fitness Knowledge

How much do you know about Cr8 Fitness? Take this little quiz to find out. 

What do you see when you first walk into Cr8 Fitness?

  1. Gym Rats- those people who only know how to “pick things up and put them down”.
  2. Rooms full of machines that are difficult to use or you just can’t remember how to use so you jump on the treadmill AGAIN.
  3. An inviting space where you can meet a bunch of great people who all want to get in shape, just like you.

Why is Cr8 Fitness not just another place to ‘workout’?

  1. The coaches individualize your training session within the group.
  2. The Cr8 Fitness team is seeking to make you work to your abilities but have the time of your life doing so.
  3. The motivation, accountability of the group is like positive peer pressure.
  4. All of the above and more.

To get started at Cr8 Fitness I need to:

  1. Do 25 pushups, 15 chin ups, squat 650 pounds, and run a half marathon.
  2. Fit into the same size pants I wore before I graduated from high school and definitely the same size I wore before I was married.
  3. Meet with a Coach before your first day of training so we can get to know each other first.
  4. Be prepared to laugh, learn, work hard, sweat, and succeed.
  5. Answers 3 and 4.

What are the coaches like?

  1. Similar to military bootcamp instructors who yell 2 inches from your face with a goal of making you cry in public.
  2. I’m not sure, I have not met them.
  3. The Coaches have a great blend of humor (especially Coach Nancy), maturity and experience. Each brings different gifts and abilities to relate to our clients, regardless of their current fitness level and stage in life.

Seriously though, Cr8 Fitness is run by husband/wife team Dean and Nancy. When we think of you being here, we want these thoughts to come to your mind: 

  • We Do What We Say We Are Going To Do
  • We Always Coach Kindly
  • We Practice Our Purpose On Purpose
  • We Look For Fun, Even When It's Not

Who can do this?

  1. Those who want to change their life style so they can stop or slow diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer.
  2. People who realize they have put others first and now need to take care of themselves too.
  3. The crowd who are currently bored with what they do or just can’t get to the next level.
  4. All of the above and more!

I hope this made you smile, and helps you realize that it’s time to get off the couch and get into action! If you are training with us then I hope you realize you're family. 

Coach Nancy

It’s Grilling Time

Memorial Day seems to mark the start of Summer, which is prime grilling season.  It's one of my favorite times of the year. I love the taste that a grill adds to the food but I also enjoy the ease of cleanup. It's a win/win in my book. 

Marinade For  Chicken

  • 2 Tablespoon avocado or olive oil
  • 1 lime - the zest and juice
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh cilantro - chopped and more for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon each: salt and pepper
  • 2 pounds chicken breast

First make the marinade for your chicken. In a large Ziploc bag, combine the oil, lime zest and juice, chopped cilantro, salt, and pepper. Add in your chicken and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or up to 24 hours. 

Marinade For Beef

  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/8 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. flank steak, cut against the grain into thin strips

Mix together ingredients for marinade, and pour over the sliced beef. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or up to 24 hours.

Once your grill is ready, get to cooking. Drain the marinade, and the flavor remains in the meat. Enjoy the flavors these marinades add to your next meal. While you're grilling put some veggies on to cook as well. Send me your favorite marinade blend.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Memorial Day 2019

Thank-you to the men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States who serve this country with distinction and preserve our freedom throughout the world.

I don’t care if you are liberal or conservative, democrat, republican, libertarian or in between – Go out of your way to thank one of these brave men and women and honor the memory of those who have gone before. America is not perfect, but it is still the greatest country in the world. I am pretty easy to get along with, but don’t mess with me on this one!

Memorial Day also marks the unofficial beginning of summer. Soon the weather here in the northeast will be scorching, the shirts come off, the bathing suits on.

Not always pretty!

Dean reminded me recently of the importance of DEADLINES when you set a goal.

So if you aren’t quite “beach ready” yet, the next deadline to get there is July 4th – five weeks away.

What can you get done in 5 weeks?

A lot!

Here’s some recent stats from Cr8 Fitness:

Susan just completed 2- 30 second hangs from the bar on her first attempt.

Lindsey lost 7 pounds in the first week of S3.

and Roni told me she had just crossed the 11 pounds in two weeks!

It can be done, and YOU can be the one doing it!

Here’s what you need to start dropping that unwanted body fat:

  1. Create a calorie deficit – Gotta do it.  Burn more calories than you consume.
  2. Optimal nutrition AND exercise is the most efficient and effective way to accomplish the deficit.
  3. Green veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats form the foundation of a fat-burning plan. Starches, sugars and alcohol will kill your energy and the ability to burn fat.
  4. Resistance training and interval training. Get off the treadmill and get to work. You want to get lean, you have to earn it. Check out what Coach Dean has been writing about regarding aging and training.

Getting lean is simple, but it’s not easy. Take the steps every day to Make It Happen.

Don't forget on Memorial Day we'll be kicking off the day with the entire group at Cr8 Fitness training together at 8am. It will include some time outside so be ready. 

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Coconut Curry Chicken

This is one of the tastiest recipes. In fact I made this the other day for some winners of a weekly S3 challenge and my daughter was so excited thinking she was going to get to eat it. A little disappointment crossed her face when she realized she wasn't getting any. I did make it for the family the very next day. 

On top of this being super yummy, it is super easy. I use frozen chicken breasts. I bake them at 350 degrees with salt and pepper until done. That is usually 45 minutes. At the same time, I put in a pan of frozen mixed veggies with salt and pepper, and drizzled with olive oil. The veggies take about 65 minutes. In between the time when the chicken is done and the veggies are done, I dice the chicken. The chicken, coconut milk, and curry paste go into a deep pot on the stove. It heats up and then I add the veggies when they come out of the oven. Everything should be hot to serve by then. Be prepared for - Yum. 

Using leftover chicken or grilled chicken you can follow the recipe directions below. 

Coconut Curry Chicken

  • 2 Chicken breast, cooked and diced into bite size pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon Green curry paste
  • 4 cups of my favorite veggies ( I used broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, and onions)
  • 1 can of coconut milk

Sauté veggies until crisp tender. Add coconut milk and curry paste to skillet. Cook until simmering. Add in chicken. Garnish with chopped scallions or chopped cashews. 

Now don't tell everyone how easy it is to make, just enjoy the wonderful flavor of curry on the go. 

To your best health,

Coach Nancy

Ten Things you Might or Might Not Know about Coach Nancy

(in no particular order of importance or significance)

  1. I have three brothers and one older sister. My brothers are to blame for any competitiveness you see in me. They are also the reason for me being on the winning team of anything I play. My siblings and their families all live in or near Indiana, which is where my parents still live. I of course had to make sure I won the “moved farthest from home award”.
  2. I stalked Dean for about three weeks before he noticed me. Yes, I was a secret admirer. I wrote him notes and left them around where I knew he would find them. Eventually I fessed up and we’ve been together ever since. And of course, I won the award for “meeting my spouse in the most unusual way”
  3. Dean and I celebrated our 33rd anniversary this year. While I didn’t win the award for being married first in my family. I did win the award for having the most children. Tim, Jeff, Derek, Drew, Karalynn, and Amy. My youngest brother has since tied me with six children but I did it first!
  4. While I have worked in many different jobs, the longest was owning my own day care. I had this day care in two different states in three different locations. I operated the day care for almost 17 years. Again, I am the only sibling to own her own business.  I win that category as well
  5. When I met Dean my name was Nancy Carlson. Think about that for a minute…… My married name is actually Nancy Carlson Carlson. I just happened to fall in love and coaxed a man with my same last name to marry me. This makes for a very difficult situation when we tried to explain to our kids going to grandparents and Aunts and Uncles. They were almost all Carlson’s. So now I am winning and making unique impressions on more than just my side of the family. 
  6. In high school I played football. Yes, my brothers are responsible for the competitive edge. In fact I am so competitive, in my high school yearbook each senior picture had a list of accomplishments during their school years. I wanted my list to be long so I joined as many different clubs and teams as I could. If being well rounded was an event back then, I would have won. Some of the crazy things I did was be a Pom Pom girl, cross country, swim, French club, football, several plays, and other things that I can’t even remember.
  7. I was raised to love my God, my country, and my family. I remember so clearly the celebration of loyalty when our country turned 200 years old. I am still in love with this great nation. I am a patriot through and through. Sure I wish some things were different. There is not a perfect place on this earth.  I have so much joy in traveling around seeing all the great monuments and natural occurrences in the USA. I wish I could say I’ve been to all 50 states but I have not. In fact I have only been west of the Mississippi to travel to Texas, where Dean was stationed and our first son was born. If I could give out an award it would go to the best country ever.
  8.  I am a swimmer through and through. I swam competitively from 6 years old to high school. I love being in the water or near it. My parents have a small cabin in Wisconsin. We would stay there all summer as kids. My dad was a firm believer in making sure his two daughters could do everything his sons could do. (maybe that is where I get my competitiveness from). If I went fishing I found all the worms I would need, put the worm on the hook, as well as cleaned the fish too. I enjoy fishing to this day. By the way, I can drive a standard car and change oil because my dad made sure I could if needed.
  9. I would follow Dean to the end of the earth. There are quotes from the movie: Show Me the Money, “You had me at Hello” and “You complete Me”. That sums up Dean and I. He has always wanted to own his own gym. It was a no brainer when he suggested Cr8 Fitness. I was in. I would do whatever I could to make his dream come true. In doing so I have found my love of coaching. I was a shy kid. It would shock most people to know I talk in front of people. The Cr8 Fitness family has made me break out of my comfort zone in more than just this one way.
  10. God is a very important part of my life. I have gone through too much, seen too much in life not to think it was organized and put together by someone greater than myself. All that is good in me, is from God. I trust you see it.

I love my Cr8 Fitness family. I am so thankful you choose to train with us. The stories you’ve created because of stepping out of your comfort zone inspire me and the rest of your Cr8 Fitness family. Continue to Make It Happen.

Coach Nancy

Sarah puts Coach Nancy in the Spotlight

Things sometimes get turned around in life from the normal. It happened to me today as Sarah, a RockStar, interviewed me. Since I love to talk, I was able to manage. (insert smile here) Sarah is a RockStar in that she has trained with Cr8 Fitness for 5 years. Being a RockStar is more than the time she sets aside for training. It show commitment. It shows determination. It requires so much from each person that earning RockStar status is just that. Sarah is now a RockStar. Many of you have earned that title and many more are working towards it. Thank you Sarah for turning the microphone on me. 

I can't wait for another eleven years of memories. Looking back, Cr8 Fitness works and acts like a family. We work together for the good of the group and yet as individuals. We help and encourage through the best days and the not so best days. We pick each other up. We apologize when needed and move on. Cr8 Fitness is family and I am so glad you are here with us. 

Coach Nancy

Thank you Sarah for taking time from your work day to do this video.