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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!

The Formerly Pregnant Crossfitter: A Reflection

The Formerly Pregnant Crossfitter: A Reflection

CrossFit, at the best of times, has a stigma of being the workout regimen for the insane, balls to the wall, would rather puke than rest individuals. Yes, it can be intense but it’s all a matter of personal choice. But the general population does not see that. Now take a woman who does CrossFit and tell her she’s pregnant.

Pregnancy, back in the day, meant a woman was to stay in bed and do nothing except grow a baby. Slowly through time, women were allowed to walk around and do the bare minimum, but don’t strain yourself, sweetheart. Fast forward through the centuries to today when everyone has a theory, insight, or, best of all, an opinion on how or if a pregnant woman can approach exercise.

What people need to understand, from what I experienced during pregnancy, is that the level of intensity a pregnant woman can work out at is dependent on that woman and her baby. That’s it. One pregnancy is not the same as the next. It never has been and never will be.

I was lucky enough to have an OBGYN who stayed active during her pregnancies and recommended I keep doing what I was doing during mine. Her only advice was to watch my heart rate and listen to my body. She recommended this not only because of her experiences but also because I had been doing CrossFit faithfully for 2 years when I got pregnant. My body was used to the intensity; I had self-awareness built up to know when to go hard or dial it back. The takeaway here is that I could keep doing CrossFit through pregnancy because it was familiar. Pregnancy is NOT a good time to start Crossfit if you’ve not done it before.

The first trimester was a learning experience.

As much as I wanted WODs to be business as usual, it became more apparent that adjustments needed to be made. During the 2019 Open, I did the workouts the best I could but found that my heart rate would get way too high to keep the baby safe. A woman’s heart rate naturally gets higher during pregnancy to accommodate the little alien and all the extra blood in the body. Weights went down slightly on all my lifts. The first three months were all about learning to play the same game but with new rules.

The second trimester is when the belly starts to form. As weird as it sounds, it’s about re-learning how to move through familiar movements. Once my bump started to show up, I had to adjust my position in my squats. All my extra weight was on the front of my body, forcing me to send the rest of my weight further into my heels. Modifications started coming into play. The beauty of CrossFit is that mods can be made without sacrificing intensity. I kept doing box jumps and double unders until they became cumbersome and uncomfortable. Then I did weighted step ups or went on the assault bike instead of using a rope. Running was almost completely replaced with rowing or biking. I always watched my heart rate and made movement choices based on what was best for me and my little girl.

Things got frustrating in the third trimester.

Burpees were long gone, most barbell movements were replaced by dumbbells, and my beloved wall balls were downsized from the Rx 14 pounds to 10. Pregnancy is psychological as well as physical, so through all the adjustments that I almost felt insulted by, I reminded myself that this was for a greater good.

My last CrossFit workout was 3 days before I went into labor.

I’m proud to say that I was able to attend Crossfit WODs at least 12 times per month each month of my third trimester. That was possible because we did it the smart way. My coach knows my mindset and knew how to communicate with me when I wanted to crush a WOD but he knew I shouldn’t. He made each workout approachable for a pregnant person without it being too simple, keeping my fragile ego intact. Looking at you, Baby Traps.

Another helpful factor was having an OB that understood my lifestyle and goals.

This, obviously, isn’t something a gym can provide as they are not doctors, but it is important to have a doctor who supports you. If my OB had said no working out during pregnancy, I would have gone insane. Working out during pregnancy is mental as much as physical. It gives you a sense of normalcy when everything else is going upside down.

The last important ingredient is to have a great support system.

Surround yourself with people who know your pregnancy and postpartum fitness goals.  My pregnancy goals were to keep from gaining a ton of preggo weight, (which I ultimately had no control over), and to stay sane through the mind-numbing, endorphins-producing “cult” of CrossFit. My postpartum goals, which will be attacked as soon as my doctor says it’s cool, are to go as hard as my body will let me and allow myself time to get back to where I was as far as performance.

It’s important to note that this is a reflection of only one pregnancy, mine. I had an incredibly easy pregnancy that allowed me to keep moving at the speed I was used to. That’s not the situation for everybody.  Some women are high-risk pregnancies and need to scale earlier or more drastically. And CrossFit allows for that. There are women who become so flexible during pregnancy that lifting the loads they are used to is dangerous. They can maintain the intensity by modifying the movement and CrossFit allows for that.

Moral of this long story:

If you know of a pregnant woman doing CrossFit, support her. She has talked with her doctors and coaches and is doing what she needs to do. She will scale as she needs to, rest as she needs to, and perform her best. Outside opinions are not necessary. In fact, applause to all the pregnant women, past, present, and future, who endured the CrossFit stigma as well as the endless opinions about safe fitness during pregnancy. You were strong before but, damn, you’re titans now.

As for myself, I can’t wait to get back and annihilate some girl WODs. Specifically Karen, Kelly, Cindy, Barbara, Helen, Annie, and Fran. Because after labor, nothing can hurt me now.

 

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. 🙂

 

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!

How to Measure Progress

How to Measure Progress

When you first start CrossFit, it is easy to see progress in the gym. Every day you have a new movement, a new chance to set a PR. After a year, or two, or three, it can be much harder to see progress from day to day. Here are a few ways we can measure progress.

How to Measure Progress

Use Sugarwod

For those of us who keep our entire lives on our phones, it only makes sense to keep our workout information there as well. Choose an app, we use Sugarwod, and record everything. The more notes the better, you will thank yourselves for the extra information when you are deciding between going for the same weight you used last time, or if you should jump 5 lbs.

Keep a “Workout Journal”

If you have the handwriting for it a workout journal is a really cool tool to track your progress as well. Pick a nice book, or a legal pad and use a page a day, per workout, or however else you want to organize it. The cool thing about a workout journal is that it is your own. You’ll know exactly where everything is recorded, and it will make sense to you. They also are a neat keepsake when you fill them up.

Go to a Baseline Class

Saturday, 8 am. We recommend you go to this class quarterly. You will get an InBody scan as well as our baseline workout. This will give you objective data. The coach will help you understand your results and how to proceed. Sign up now. Classes are capped at 5, you definatley don’t want to miss this opportunity.

Get an InBody Scan

Schedule an InBody scan with your primary coach, they will help you understand what all the numbers mean. In general, we want to see muscle mass go up, and body fat % go down. Bodyweight doesn’t tell the whole story. Don’t focus too much on that one number because it is often not the best picture of progress.

Progress is NOT Linear

There are so many variables that can make you feel like you are not making progress. Sleep, nutrition, mood, stress, work, kids and even attitude can have a direct effect on your daily workout. What are the odds that on any given day, you are going to come in perfectly prepared for a 1 rep max? If any one of those variables are even slightly off, you may not see all of your hard work in the form of a PR. This is where notes come in handy. So what, you didn’t hit that new weight. Put it in your notes. “Missed, less than 3 hours of sleep” and move on. Progress takes time, and if you don’t measure it in some way. It is easy to say there is none, because you don’t feel it on that day. If you zoom out and look at the big picture you will see that the overall trend is up.