Category Archives for "Healthy Habits"

One Piece of Training to Remember

Coach Dean posted this blog awhile ago. It is such an important piece to training I want you to read it again.

“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 (6×30), and in week two you lifted 160 pounds (8×20). 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 (June 26 – July 4th). 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.” – Coach Dean

Need some help? That’s what I am here for!

See you soon, 

Coach Nancy


Get a Grip on Meal Planning

Planning meals has been proven to help you in your health journey. It's right up there with stepping on the scale if your goal is weight loss. On top of that there are other side benefits that you'll love. Meal planning saves time, relieves stress, and keeps money in your wallet. And yet, it stills feels like the one thing that holds us back. Let's look at meal planning with a slightly different twist. 

Let's do an experiment to see how you succeed with this version of meal planning.

1. List out all the dinner meals you and your family enjoy eating during this time of year. That list will probably be a bit different in the Summer vs. the Fall vs. the cold of Winter. How many did you get? Aim for at least 10 different dinner meals. Remember some of these might be the quick options like picking up a rotisserie chicken while others are all day cooking affairs like homemade spaghetti sauce.

2. Do you have on hand all the items to make these meals? Check your cupboards, freezer, and fridge. Some items can be kept, like canned goods, all year round; others are best fresh so you'll have to purchase those items. But then others can be pulled from the freezer when you need them.

3. Look at your schedule. See what is coming up that might pull you away from making a meal or that might require a meal that is very quick to make. I leave cans of tuna in my cupboard because when fast and speedy is required, I can quickly put tuna on a salad or cook up some tuna patties. If you will be away from home one night, you'll end up with more options to chose from on the other evenings.

4. Again take a peak at your schedule, this time looking for those times when you might be able to spend more time in your kitchen than usual. I often can do this on Sundays. Its during this time, I prep what I can for other meals, but I can also make a dish that takes more time than I usually have to prepare dinner.

5. With your favorite dinner meal ideas in one hand and the list of items you need to make these meals in another, head off to the store.

6. Now when it comes time for your next dinner, you've got options to choose from.

 Did you know Coach Dean came up with an entire guide to Meal Planning. It covers everything. You should check it out here.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

10 Nutrition Rules to Live By

No fluff in this introduction. In order to be at your healthiest this should define your eating habits.

10 Nutrition Rules to Live by:

  • You control the supply lines. You decide which foods to buy and when to serve them. Adults decide which foods are regularly stocked in the house. If it's not available in the cupboard and fridge at home you are less likely to make a store run just for a craving.  If their favorite snack isn't all that nutritious, you can still buy it once in a while so they don't feel deprived.
  • Plan. Plan your meals including snacks if needed. A meal plan will save you time, energy, and aggravation. Knowing ahead of time what is the menu selection will afford you the opportunity to shop only for the items needed that week. You’ll more likely not forget to take items out of the freezer as well. If you work off your meal plan when it comes time to make the meal, you’ll have everything needed to put the meal together. Don’t forget to also schedule times to eat your regular meal and snack times.
  • Quit the "clean-plate club. Please stop eating when you feel you've had enough. Lots of us grew up under the clean-plate rule, but that approach doesn't allow you to listen to your body tell you when feel full or 80% full. When you respond to feelings of fullness, you're less likely to overeat.
  • Try new foods/recipes. Food preferences are developed early in life, so offer variety. Likes and dislikes begin forming even when kids are babies. But that doesn’t mean you can’t develop different taste as you grow older. Try a new ‘old’ food. Prepare a food you didn’t care for in a different way. You never know it might just become a favorite.
  • Rewrite the menu. Who says you have to prepare Tacos every Tuesday and Spaghetti on Wednesday with Fish on Friday? It might surprise you how willing your family is to try a new recipe next week.  
  • Drink calories count. Soda and other sweetened drinks add extra calories and get in the way of good nutrition. I don’t know of an adult who thinks of them as nutritious. But many of us will not part with our coffee/ latte topped off with sugar and cream or our Gatorade during a hot day. Alcohol? Again, calories you need to count in your day.  
  • Put sweets in their place. Occasional sweets are fine, but don't turn dessert into the main reason for eating dinner. When dessert is the prize for eating dinner, we naturally place more value on the cupcake than the broccoli. Try to stay neutral about foods. Remember moderation is not once a day or even every other day.
  • Food is not love. Find better ways to say "I love you." When foods are used as a reward and to show affection, they start becoming a coping device for stress or other emotions. Enjoy time alone, listening to a favorite song, buy a new pair of sunglasses instead of food treats.
  • Kids do as you do. Be a role model and eat healthy. When trying to teach good eating habits, try to set the best example possible. Choose nutritious snacks, eat at the table, try different foods in a variety of ways, and don't skip meals.
  • Limit TV and computer time. When you do, you'll avoid mindless snacking and encourage activity. With limited TV and computer time, you'll find more active things to do. And limiting "screen time" means you'll have more time to be active With those you love together.

Monday’s Are For Ranting, Right?

I had a few thoughts over the weekend that I wanted to share with you!

  1. Focus on the process not the outcomes. We don’t get healthy by stepping on the scale every morning. We get healthy by doing the daily work it takes to get healthy.
  2. 9 out of 10 times, the biggest limiting factor is our own mind. You can be successful, you are just letting your mind get in the way,
  3. The all or nothing approach doesn’t work. You are not on or off the wagon. Accept that improvement takes time and consistency.
  4. Start small. The successful person works towards consistency before optimization.    
  5. Examine your daily habits. Our daily habits make us who we are and have made us the person we are today. Are we where we want to be?
  6. Bulk cook. Seriously, this is a lead domino to being healthier.
  7. Eliminate excuses. Excuses don’t serve us. Make a decision. Do or do not, but do not try.
  8. Stop waiting for Monday. What simple task can move you in the right direction today?
  9. Take care of yourself. If you want to have the capacity to take care of others, you need to be selfish first.
  10. Surround yourself with supportive people. This is one of the most powerful change agents.  Surround yourself with people that lift you up and challenge you to be better.
  11. Move every day. Just 5-10 minutes of movement first thing in the morning can be magical.  
  12. Automagic Happiness just doesn't happen. There is no magic pill. At the end of the day, you need to do the work.  

That's it. Thanks for reading.  

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

P.S. If you haven't signed up to GET Back on Track, check it out here

It’s Time to Get Back On Track

"I don't know about you but I do know I need to lose weight" Actually I do know about you, and health is on your mind. Body weight is a part of health, a big part of health. One of the biggest concerns in our world is Covid. The research is showing extra body weight and obesity are a dangerous combination with Covid. Scare tactics are not what I am doing, but since you are thinking health, body weight is a factor. Even before the pandemic our January Nutrition Challenge has always been about health. This challenge is no different. 

Get Back On Track in 2022 is designed to help you (and me) regain the information about how particular foods effect our body. We know eating too much of any food or all foods add body weight but do you know how one particular food effects you? 

While we give you everything you need to succeed, you still play a part in choosing your own adventure. We are going to tackle the "Three Big Tickets" - Sugar, Grains, and Dairy, by temporarily removing them from your eating plan and replacing them with healthy, whole food alternatives. You can take it one (four?) steps further by investigating how caffeine, alcohol, legumes and soy affect how you feel. Then you can put your newfound knowledge into action every day.

I'm excited to be challenged in this way. I know with accountability and help, I can stay away from the BIG 3 Tickets of Sugar, Dairy, and Grains. Just like getting a daily check mark for perfect attendance, I enjoy the extra challenge of seeing how long and how I feel when I also take away coffee. When you see me with my mug in hand during this challenge, it won't be coffee inside. I know it will be a healthier version of me to avoid caffeine too. What about you? 

In your "Back On Track 2022" 21+ Day Nutrition Challenge Guide and File Folder, we’ve given you all the tools you need to succeed:

  • The 21+ Day Nutrition Challenge program designed to change your perspective on foods
  • The 21+ Day Nutrition Big Ticket Review and optional Add Ons
  • A guide for choosing the healthiest foods to put in your cart (and mouth)
  • A Meal Planning Template and Sample Meal Plan
  • Your 21-Day Habit Tracker
  • The "Symptom Spreadsheet" to help you identify potential food allergens
  • A bonus meal planning recipe book stock full of everything you’ll need for the 21+ Day Challenge
  • An additional bonus section on traveling tips, quick meals made easy, eating out and moving beyond the 21+ Day Nutrition Challenge

Join me and Coach Dean in this challenge, 

Learn more and then sign up by clicking Here.

I'm ready to be Back On Track,

Coach Nancy

Registration Ends: Monday, January 17, 2022

Initial Weigh-in Due: Monday January 24, 2022  Challenge Start Dates: Prep Week: January 19, 22 Challenge: January 24, 22  Reintroduction Week: February 14, 22  Final Weigh-in Due: Friday February 26, 22  Last MyCoach Question: Monday, February 21, 22

Join us

Get Your 12 Mugs of Christmas Recipes?

All I really want is a cup of coffee.

Yet every time I drive into my local coffee shop (you know who you are) it's staring me in the face. A Peppermint Mocha, Eggnog, or Gingerbread Latte.

SOOOO good, but also enough sugar to put me into a coma.

​But there's gotta be a way to get that holiday taste AND get some good nutrition in, right?

Oh Yeah!

A few years our favorite protein supplement provider, Beverly International, put out some recipes they called "The 12 Mugs of Christmas", using their absolutely delicious "Ultimate Muscle Protein".

We decided it was time for an update, so we tweaked a couple of the recipes, gave an option to use one of their newest flavors - Graham Cracker, and compiled it into a full color downloadable .pdf you can have for absolutely free.

With a selection of both hot and cold drinks,​ coffee based and ​not, this recipe booklet is sure to please your taste buds this holiday season. Check out the names of these recipes:

  • Peppermint Peace
  • Santa's Gingerbread
  • Wings of an Angel
  • Silent Night
  • J​oy to the World
  • Mid-Winter
  • Home for the Holidays
  • Naughty or Nice
  • Candy Cane Delight
  • Angels Sing
  • Christmas in a Cup
  • Santa's Cup of UMP
  • Rudolph's Applesnack

​A Baker's Dozen!

Not convinced Mr. Scrooge? 🙂

Here's a sample of just one of these delicious recipes.

Candy Cane Delight

1 cup unsweetened Almond Milk
1 scoop UMP Chocolate
1 tbsp Sugar Free Peppermint Mocha Creamer
¼ tsp Peppermint extract
8-10 ice cubes
Blend all ingredients for 1 minute

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!

Just enter your info below for your FREE instant download. Grab it before it goes away!

Be Grateful

Gratefulness does not come naturally to most of us.

It’s kind of like exercise.

We know it’s something we should practice, but we just don’t feel like it.

Seems like it’s easier to find something to gripe about than something to be thankful for.

But just like exercise, when you practice gratitude it becomes easier, and just like exercise an attitude of gratitude just makes life better.

I need more practice.

So here goes:

I am grateful for my hard working hubby who works long hours, can do anything he sets his mind to, and  loves me and his family. I love you Dean.

I am grateful for my 6 kids. The joy and enthusiasm they bring to me each day is priceless. To think I am a Gigi (grandmother) to 4 amazing little ones is more than I can fathom. 

I am grateful for my parents, and siblings. I will never understand why God gave me such a wonderful experience growing up.

I am grateful for Cr8 Fitness. I am grateful to every person who has walked through our doors. You allow me to do what I love to do. By allowing me to help you be better, you make me better. Thank-You!

I am grateful for the daily blessings the Creator bestows every day that is all too often overlooked. The sun that lights our way, the air we breathe, and the beauty of this world.

Practice makes perfect, so even when it’s hard I challenge you to practice a little gratitude each and every day. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Coach Nancy

Protein Packed Pumpkin Chia Pudding

My kids like it when I make them breakfast before school. Who wouldn't want to have your meal served to you? The challenge is that I am in the gym with a wild 6:15 crew so making food for my kids is impossible, right? I've found I can still get a gold star from my kids and give them a great start to their day while being in the gym at the same time. Today I made Pumpkin Chia Pudding for them. The best thing is I made it at noon time for them to have tomorrow and there is enough for Dean and I to have too. Win win for all of us. And you can win too as this was so yummy and easy. (I licked the spoon after I dished it into serving bowls. Definitely yummy)

Pumpkin Chia Pudding

  • 1.5 cups almond milk, I used apple juice as I didn't have any almond milk. 
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 scoop protein powder, vanilla  I used Graham Cracker
  • 2 TB almond butter
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • Sea Salt, a pinch

Blend all ingredients, except chia seeds, until smooth. Place the blended mixture into a reseal-able large jar (smaller jars) then add chia seeds. Seal jar and shake.

Place in refrigerator overnight or for at least 3+ hours. Breakfast, snack or post workout recovery is served!

Did you see the recipes you Cr8-ed with protein powder? Check them out here. 

Enjoy Good Food,

Coach Nancy

You’ve Cr8-ed the Scoop with Protein Powder

Protein, it’s a word we throw around when we talk about food. I thought you might enjoy some Facts about Protein. It is one of my favorite food subjects - protein!

Why is protein so important?

The simple answer is without an adequate supply of all the things protein supplies in our bloodstream, our bodies don't function well.

Protein is the "building blocks" of our cells and without it we can not replace worn out cells or repair muscle tissue after training.

Do I eat enough Protein at each meal?

Adequate protein is crucial to giving your body what it needs to manufacture enzymes, hormones and antibodies. Protein is needed to replace worn out cells and build new cells. You can't be your best without enough protein. Here is where that delightful help comes from Protein powder. It can help fill in a serving of protein with each scoop (20-24 grams) when our eating habits or work schedule makes it challenging. 

You can add a serving of protein powder to so many drinks. Protein is especially good for those who exercise hard. The most important thing to remember is to use a high-quality protein. The cheapest is not always the best.

So far most of what you've read sounds like WA WA WA WA...... much like Charlie Brown's teacher. We're now to the good stuff. 

We typically add protein powder into shakes and smoothies. The most wonderful thing about shakes is that you really can't mess them up. Using a variety of protein flavors, adding in a base liquid, a tablespoon of nuts or seeds, a serving of fruit and of course a handful of spinach you can create a shake blend you enjoy having over and over.

We've expanded our recipes to include puddings, pancakes, and desserts made with protein powder.

Not sure you're the creative type when it comes to food? Last week we wrote down your idea. It'll help start you off and then you can take it from there.

Protein Powder Recipes

Cr8ed by those who train at Cr8 Fitness

Chocolate Smoothie:

1 scoop of chocolate and water – blend or shake well

1 scoop of chocolate, with expresso as the liquid and 2 Tablespoons of PBFit – blend or shake well

1 scoop of chocolate blended with hot coffee

1 scoop of chocolate mixed with cold coffee and ice

1 scoop of chocolate, 1 T coconut, ¼ cup almonds blended with water

1 scoop of chocolate, ½ cup frozen cherries, and water - blend

1 scoop of chocolate and almond milk – blend or shake well

(you can add frozen spinach or kale to these too)

Other ideas to do with chocolate:

1 scoop chocolate, ½ cup frozen raspberries, blended with ice to make an ice cream

1 scoop chocolate, 2 Tablespoons chia seeds, ½ cup liquid (let it sit for at least 10 minutes or overnight to form a pudding. Can add in coconut flakes, chopped nuts, or your favorite fruit)

1 scoop chocolate, 1 tablespoon peanut butter (or almond butter), mix with just enough water to form a pudding

1 scoop chocolate, 1 Tablespoon peanut butter, hot oatmeal – mix (its chocolate peanut butter oatmeal)

Vanilla Smoothies:

1 scoop vanilla, ½ cup pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice to taste, water - blend

1 scoop vanilla, blueberries, spinach - blend

1 scoop vanilla, with hot coffee – blend

1 scoop vanilla, with cold coffee – mix or shake

1 scoop vanilla, berries, walnut, with water – blend

1 scoop vanilla, banana, nuts, with water – blend

1 scoop vanilla, strawberries and water – blend

1 scoop vanilla, and anything from your fridge. – blend

1 scoop vanilla, 1 carrot, ½ apple, spinach – blend

1 scoop vanilla, blueberries, strawberries, chia seeds, olive oil, spinach, with water - blend

(you can add frozen spinach or kale to these)

Other ideas to use Vanilla protein:

Frosting to top hot oatmeal or to dip strawberries into. 2 scoop vanilla, 1 cup Greek yogurt. (it’ll be thick. It’ll melt over hot oatmeal. This makes enough for 4 servings of oatmeal

1 scoop vanilla mixed with your yogurt and sprinkled with cinnamon

Breakfast pudding: 1 cup almond milk,1 tablespoon nut butter,1 tablespoon maple syrup(I used honey),1/2 cup oats, 2 tablespoons cocoa,1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 3 tablespoons chia seeds, 1 scoop vanilla protein

And one time I added in a hand full of baby spinach (some very wise person mentioned you can baby spinach to lots of things and never notice it!) - Place all ingredients in blender, mix well, pour into individual containers (I use three) and refrigerate overnight.

I am going to try it with the coffee protein.

Protein pancakes: ½ cup egg whites, ½ cup pumpkin, 1 scoop chocolate or vanilla , cinnamon to taste  (blend together and cook on skillet) Top with favorite fruit like strawberries or walnuts.

*there are certain times you need to blend rather than mix or shake. When you add hot liquid to a protein, you’ll need to use a blender and be careful. The best protein I found to cook with is Beverly International UMP.

Protein shakes come in seasonal flavors as well with Pumpkin Pie and Apple Cinnamon for the Fall. Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Green Pistachio for the Winter, and then a cool Sunshine in a Cup and Caribbean Mango Smoothie round out the summer taste buds. 

Get your copy of "Smoothies 101" today, with step by step instructions and over 25 amazing recipes, including "Tropical Nirvana", "Almond Joy" and "Maple Sugar Hot Chocolate". Yummm!  

Remember you can use Cr8 Take Out to purchase your favorite flavor of Protein Powders. 

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Is there any Help? There is going to be Lots of Food over the Holidays

"Merry Christmas!". It comes from every street corner, every bank teller, each person you meet seems to say' "Merry Christmas". 

Its a great time of the year and it can also be a bit stressful as you navigate a healthy lifestyle during the last six weeks of the year. So let's talk food. I'd like to give you 5 strategies you can put in place to truly make this a Merry Christmas

As if Thanksgiving isn't full of enough food it is soon followed by all the gatherings, parties, and food of Christmas and the New Years. 

Food calories can really add up before the REAL meal is served. And the calories can also quickly add up, particularly if you are snacking mindlessly.

So here are my strategies for handling appetizers, food and drink that is tempting, and that will be around for a good bit pre-meal. Note: these strategies are good for later that evening with dinner and dessert as well.

  1. Survey your options before eating. Eye everything down first without a plate and determine what you will eat.
  2. Skip any food that you can get anytime. A bowl full of M&M's? Who needs them? Not when you can drive past any gas station later that evening and pick some up (That is if you decide your holiday meal wouldn't be complete without them. And I’m betting that won't happen.)
  3. Fill up on low-calorie options like veggies (watch the dip) or salads (careful on the dressing). Then, look at the entire selection and determine what you'd REALLY like to enjoy. Allow yourself to have some of that -- enjoy it and move on.
  4. Don't hang out next to food. C'mon that's just asking for trouble. Once you've enjoyed your meal, put your plate away and situate yourself away from the food.
  5. Bring your own HAPPYtizers (appetizers that will truly make everyone happy). Offer to bring the vegetable tray or Shrimp cocktail.

Christmas is a time to enjoy family, friends, and loved ones; food is just a part of it. Plan to walk away from your next party happy you were there, content with your food choices, and satisfied inside. 

To your best Health,

Coach Nancy

If you're needing more ideas just like these in order to keep your sanity, keep the yoga pants in the dresser, and your weight from rising check out The NO Holiday Weight Gain Challenge starting soon. 

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