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5 Ways to Weekend Without Sacrificing Fun or Progress

5 Ways to Weekend Without Sacrificing Fun or Progress

We’ve all been there.  It’s Friday afternoon, and you have been absolutely crushing your fitness/nutrition game all week long and are feeling great.  Then the happy hour invite rolls in for drinks after work.  The happy hour turns into a night out.  Which then turns into a skipped workout Saturday morning.  Since you skipped your workout and aren’t feeling great, why not just head to tailgate or watch football with some friends?!  Then Sunday shows up and you are still feeling sluggish, and there is still a lot of football to watch and beers/wings/nachos to be had.  Besides, you’ll get back too in on Monday…

Sound familiar?

This is VERY common. Especially in the midwest when weather turns cold and the only socializing most of us do is at the bar.  This is also something I struggled with FOR YEARS.  Here are my five tips to not completely derail your progress each and every weekend.

1. Get Another Hobby

Yes, I 100% understand that this is a gross oversimplification. However if you only find yourself socializing at the bar then you need to find something else to do.  I know for me that was exactly what my twenties were, heading right to happy hour after work, eating some half priced apps, a few cheap beers.  Rinse and repeat.  For me the hobby that slowed that down was CrossFit.

Did CrossFit alone fix my problem? NOPE!  Did it give me another, healthier place to socialize so I cut down on the drinking and crappy appetizers?  Absolutely.  Slowly I started to swap the crappy food for healthier options and cutting back on the beers because they were making me feel terrible during workouts (and really all the time).  Once I started eating real food, moving, and sleeping I began to realize how much better I could feel. I actually didn’t even realize how bad I felt before making those changes.  So while getting another hobby may not fix anything, it can be the shift in momentum you need to get started on something new!

So, if you’ve seen workouts, activities, sports (hello rec league kickball), craft classes, music lessons or really anything else you think would be fun to try, do it! Even if it isn’t necessarily an active hobby, it could help you reduce the amount of time you spend going out, which could be the shakeup you need to start making other changes too!

2. Plan your weekends

I know having some spontaneity is exciting and fun, and you should still allow for that from time to time, but most often we fall completely off the wagon due to lack of planning.

If you know you have a holiday party on Saturday night, PLAN FOR IT! Make sure you are hydrating and eating well the the day of the party.  Then enjoy yourself, get some sleep, then start the next day with a healthy breakfast and maybe something active to shake off the headache that tends to come from too many sweets or spiked eggnogs.  Avoid the urge to use a social event as an excuse for an entire 48 hour window! Have a good time, then get back at making healthier choices at the very next opportunity!

 

3. Build a Rest Day into Your Weekend

We need rest days every 3-4 for days to help us recover properly, so why not plan for one of them to fall on the weekend?  You can either plan a full rest day, or even better find something fun to do with friends and make it an active rest day! Maybe it’s a walk with your dog through a local park, going sledding with your kids, try an escape room or throwing axes.  There are lots of new places popping up that don’t require a drink to socialize! Another great rest day activity is meal prep!  Use one of those days to prep some healthy meals so you are setting yourself up for the week (or weekend) as best you can!  Having a plan for meals reduces the chances of hitting the drive through once hanger strikes.

4. Host a healthy dinner party or potluck!

There are lots of delicious and nutritious foods out there, and it is easiest to take control of the meal yourself so why not share with friends!  If you have been working on your health, odds are your friends know.  Why not invite them over for a healthy meal to thank them for their support.  And you can even show them that being healthy doesn’t mean you have to just take supplements and eat cardboard.  You can also host a healthy potluck, have everyone make extra and divide up the leftovers.  It’s basically meal prep done for you with more variety!

5. Give Yourself Some Grace

If you do stay out later and have a few more beers (or pizzas) then you had planned on, that is ok.  It happens to all of us, we are human and some nights are just too damn fun! Do you want to repeat that again the next day cause “screw it I’ll start again Monday!”? Of course not, but there is no need to beat yourself up over the past.  Often times the guilt we feel over “failing” ourselves with a bad nutritional choice can be enough for us to throw in the towel.  But why?! You have been working SO hard, and doing so many other AMAZING things, don’t let an extra slice of pizza stop all of that! I like to think of a healthy meal after a not so healthy night out as a way to get to feeling better faster.  I know if I eat all the leftover pizza I will be feeling crappy again tomorrow, so why go through it again and loose more time?  I want to feel better

5 Easy Tips to Keep Meal Prep Simple

5 Easy Tips to Keep Meal Prep Simple

When you think about meal prepping does it seem like some daunting, time consuming task that you HAVE to do? It definitely used to be that way for me. I felt like I needed to prep something different for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every single day. That, as you can imagine, led to a lot of money wasted on ingredients and a lot of extra food that sometimes went to waste. I now have a pretty tight budget when it comes to groceries because it can be so easy to go overboard. Developing a simple meal prep routine has really helped me stay on budget each month, eat healthy, and save time during the work week.

Here are my top tips for keeping meal prep simple:

  1. Make a plan for the entire week. Figure out your schedule with work, workouts, and extra curriculars and see where you can most benefit from meals that are already prepped. Hitting up the 6:40 PM class consistently? Definitely meal prep your dinners, so that by the time you get home all you need to do is reheat your food.
  2. Batch cook! Prep things like protein and starches in bulk. Add a bunch of chicken to a sheet pan or crock pot and cook enough servings for the entire week. Same with your starches– sweet potatoes, rice, spaghetti squash, etc. These generally take longer to cook and reheat fairly well, so make them ahead of the week to save time.
  3. Use convenience appliances like a crock pot or instant pot. During your weekend prep you can create entire meals to store in the freezer, then during the week add the meal to your crock pot and let it cook all day. Easy for family dinner nights! Pinterest has A TON of freezer meal ideas.
  4. Plan for meals that you know you will be eating out. Make meals out special! Spend your time and money wisely and choose places that serve quality food. Rather than grabbing fast food on your lunch break or on your way home from the gym (gasp).
  5. Choose a method that work for you. Do enjoy cooking dinner for yourself or your family each night? Great! When you do your weekend prepping make a plan for the week ahead and get all the ingredients you need. You can prepare ingredients like washing and chopping vegetables and thawing out protein. Everything will be ready to go each night when you make dinner. Do you know for a fact that you will not cook during the week? Then follow step 1!

I hope this helps! Establishing a healthy meal prep, or nutrition in general for that matter, routine takes some trial and error. You cannot know what will work best for you until you try out different things. You can only benefit from being organized!

Halloween Candy and You

Halloween Candy and You

Halloween is just the beginning of all of the treats that accompany the holiday season. It’s so easy to grab a handful of candy when it’s sitting in excess around the house. Here is a fun game to play with your kids to get rid of all the extra Halloween candy. It’ll benefit you AND them!

Ghouls, Goblins, and Monsters all sweep the streets on the last night of October. You prep your kiddos to be scary, cute, fun and cool for a chance to stay up late and get candy! Halloween is the one night you get to be someone (or something) else, walk alongside people in your community, subject yourself to a haunted house or two, and take candy from neighbors.

While there are so many positive sides to trick or treating, there is one major negative side. The CANDY!  In all its glory and yumminess, candy is not an ideal part of a well-balanced diet! It can cause hyperactivity, weight gain, obesity, diabetes, and so much more. So how can you alleviate the burden of such a monumental part of Halloween?

Introduce the Switch Witch!

The Switch Witch is a fun and exciting way to get rid of all the excess candy. After a fun night of Trick-Or-Treating, have your kids choose the top 5-10 pieces of candy that they want to keep and then put the rest outside of their bedroom door when they go to sleep.Why would they do that you ask? Here’s more on the Switch Witch:

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Not sure what to do with all of the excess Halloween candy? We are donating to Operation Gratitude this year. It is an organization that sends donated Halloween candy to our troops overseas. We will be collecting excess candy for donation through Monday, November 4th to send out on Wednesday the 6th! Drop your candy off at Icehouse and we will take care of the rest. 🙂

 

The Importance of Proper Digestion for an Athlete

The Importance of Proper Digestion for an Athlete

We aren’t what we eat, rather we are what we absorb.

The digestive system is the foundation for all other processes that take place in the body. What we put into our body is what is mainly responsible for our energy, mood, performance, and overall wellness. In today’s age, there is a huge disconnect between what we put into our body and how that can affect our overall health. Poor nutrition, and even further, poor DIGESTION are major contributors to chronic disease.

I believe that proper digestion is the root to optimal health and here’s why: digestion begins in the brain. The brain signals saliva to be produced when we begin to chew food. Our saliva contains different enzymes that begin the breakdown of food. Chewing your food THOROUGHLY is extremely important for proper digestion. Ideally, we should chew each bite around 20-30 times (the average is 4). Chewed food becomes what is called a bolus that is swallowed and moved through the esophagus and down to the stomach.

WHEN DIGESTION IS OPTIMAL, adequate stomach acid is secreted in addition to pancreatic enzymes that further break down the bolus into a substance called chyme. Chyme is extremely acidic as it moves from the stomach into the small intestine. Once in the small intestine, the acidity of the chyme becomes more neutral thanks to additional enzymes that are secreted, as well as bile from the gallbladder. These are to further breakdown proteins and fats. MOST NUTRIENT ABSORPTION OCCURS IN THE SMALL INTESTINE. What is left from the chyme is passed through the large intestine where any remaining usable nutrients and water are absorbed before being excreted from the body.

This is why a properly functioning digestive system is essential to optimal health and performance. Every single thing we eat goes through this process. We can eat the healthiest diet, but if we are not digesting properly then we are not absorbing all of the nutrients our body needs.

As an athlete, we need a proper balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates because we expend a lot of excess energy during workouts. In addition, we may also need to consume more calories to adequately replenish our glycogen stores, repair damaged muscles, nourish the body and maintain general health. The digestive tract of an athlete is put under more stress than that an individual who does not regularly train. This is why it is incredibly important that as an athlete, we have a strong digestive system to break down food properly for optimal absorption of its nutrients within the body.

Tips to improve digestion:

  1. Chew food thoroughly. Ideally 20-30 chews per bite.
  2. Eat in a relaxed state. Sit down to eat your meals without any distractions as this will let the body solely focus on the process of digestion.
  3. Drink warm lemon water before meals. This is very soothing to the digestive tract in preparation for eating and the acidity of the lemon may help with stomach acid production.
  4. Try not to consume liquids during meals. Small sips of water are okay, but avoid chugging drinks as this can dilute stomach acid.
  5. Eat a properly prepared, nutrient-dense, whole food diet. In addition to the macro-nutrients, whole foods provide many micro-nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

 

Eating Seasonally

Eating Seasonally

Eating seasonally is a great way to mix up your meals with fresh, in-season produce. Seasonal produce is purchased and consumed shortly after it has been harvested, and therefore when it is most nutritious. Even better, seasonal produce that is produced/purchased locally does not require long transport times and has moved from farm to table in a shorter amount of time.

Choosing local produce also has it’s own benefits:

  1. Beneficial to our local environment.
  2. Supports our local economy.
  3. We are able to get to know our local farmers and growers who can tell us how their products are grown and raised.

Produce that is in season right now (early September) in North Dakota:

  • Apples
  • Asian pears
  • Basil
  • Beets
  • Bok choy
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Celery root
  • Chard
  • Chicories
  • Chili Peppers
  • Chives
  • Collard greens
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Endive
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Green beans
  • Green onions
  • Ground cherries
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Lima beans
  • Melons
  • Mint
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard greens
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Oregano
  • Parsnips
  • Pears
  • Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Radicchio
  • Raspberries
  •  Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Shallots
  • Sprouts
  • Summer squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Thyme
  • Tomatillos
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Watermelon
  • Winter squash
  • Zucchini

If you haven’t been to the Red River Farmer’s Market on Saturdays from 10 AM – 2 PM, I would highly recommend checking it out! Get to know the growers and support the local community. Plus, the produce there ROCKS!

Rediscovering CrossFit

Rediscovering CrossFit

I’m no different than you.  I become impatient, I allow myself to get distracted, I distract myself, I look for the new shiny thing when the shine has worn off the last new shiny thing…

If you’ve fallen off the CrossFit wagon for whatever reason and think it’s too late…keep reading, get back on the wagon, and ride with me!

I started training at Icehouse because it felt different than any place I’ve ever worked out.

At 37 years old, with just over 1 year of training, going to 4 – 5 CrossFit classes a week…

I got in the absolute best shape of my life

  • “Fran” time was under 4:30
  • 5K Run time was just over 26 mins

I had the best body composition of my life

  • 76 lbs muscle mass,
  • 13.7% body fat

Enter…Distraction…

I should be doing more…I should be doing something different, right?…I’m bored…

  • I stopped going to classes and trained on my own most of the time, no friends
  • My workouts were a job, they were checklists to complete, no fun
  • I ate outside of my normal schedule and my normal diet more way often, no nutrition
  • I didn’t do any functional fitness outside of the gym; no play

Honestly, I took for granted the friends, the fun and the play of training in classes and let my nutrition take a dive.

…And how’d that turn out?

About as well as you’d imagine

My fitness regressed

  • Lost 90 seconds on my mile time
  • All of my gymnastics became more difficult (pull-ups, toes to bar…)
  • I felt sluggish, tired, lackadaisical

My body composition regressed as well

  • Lost over 1 lb of muscle
  • Gained 4% body fat

Now What?

Since July I’ve been training 4-5 days a week, attending 3 minimum of CrossFit classes a week at Icehouse, and getting an additional workout in, outside of normal class time if needed.

I’ve also recently added in stretching for 20 minutes 4 nights a week, playing on a  basketball court for 45 minutes 4 days a week and intentionally meal prepping every week.

…And how has that turned out?

I don’t yet have the body comp or fitness data (that’ll come with the “Fall Back to Basics 28-Day Nutrition Challenge” here at Icehouse in September)

But I’ll tell you what I do know for sure right now

I feel sore! Don’t get me wrong, the first few weeks pretty consistently, and a day or two a week even now, I feel super sore. There’s a difference to it thought, there’s a familiarity. It’s very similar to when I first started training at Icehouse. I feel my body growing stronger in places that had been neglected over the winter. It’s a good thing.

I feel energized throughout the day! I took out dairy and gluten once again. If you haven’t tried eliminating those 2 items from your diet, I encourage you to try, for 3 weeks and see if you feel a difference.

I feel connected! Workouts aren’t a job, they are an hour that I get to spend with people I really, really like, being goofy and getting sweaty all at the same time.

I sleep better, stretching before bedtime is a great way to start slowing down your mind and body before bed.

Most importantly!

I’m a better version of myself! I’m stronger now because I know that I can fall down, pick myself up and get back into habits that support the person that I want to be. It’s never too late!!

For More Info

If you’re interested in our “Fall into Basics 28-Day Nutrition Challenge” check out our Facebook Event and get all the details.

If you’re interested in jumping back into fitness yourself, take some time to schedule a meeting with a coach here at Icehouse and we’ll get you started!