Patience, Grief and Trust

The Journey
I believe that you need to look at your health and fitness as a journey. There will always be peaks and low points, and even plateaus. I also believe that the variance is what keeps you alive, learning, fighting for more, and making progress. If the journey was constantly the same you would begin to rest on your laurels, get bored, become complacent, and eventually stop.

Over the last two years my journey has changed drastically. I went from wanting to be competitive in CrossFit as a sport to not wanting to workout at all, all while experiencing pretty much everything in between. Each time I make may way through one of these transitional times in my journey I look back and appreciate all of the feelings and experiences that got me to where I am. The hard part is when you are actually in it and you feel stuck; like everything is going wrong. There are a few concepts that have helped me through.

Patience
Having patience with yourself is one of the most difficult things to do. We now live in a time of instant gratification. We are able to access anything and everything we want and need in a matter of seconds. When it comes to health and fitness, progress doesn’t come so quickly and we begin to judge ourselves, compare ourselves to others, and lose sight of what is really important. I have fallen victim to this many times. Limiting my social media and “unfollowing” accounts that got me feeling inadequate was pivotal in helping me overcome these judgmental feelings.

Grief
One concept that had a major impact on the last year of my life is grief. When I used to think about grieving death would be the only thing that came to mind. A good friend of mine helped me to see that we can grieve all kinds of things. I was grieving a version of myself that I was moving on from. Grieving the body I once had while trying to accept a new one; grieving for the status that athleticism made me feel; and grieving some of my personal identity as an athlete. It’s tough to let go, but we need to honor those feelings of sadness and grief in order to heal and go on with our lives as our authentic selves.

Trust
Another concept that has been critical in my journey is trust. This one was particularly surrounding food. For years I have been following some sort of diet. South Beach diet, low carb diet, Paleo diet, gluten-free diet, counting macros diet. I finally wanted to break free of all that and I have. I’ve been learning to eat again like when I was a kid. I’m talking about listening to my body’s signals that let me know that I am hungry and full as well as what I want to eat so that I am satisfied. Our bodies are amazing like that. We just have so much noise coming in that we forget how to listen to them. Learning to trust my own body again has been amazing and freeing!

Self-Care
Self care has been something that I struggle with because of who I am at my core (independent people pleaser) but also because sometimes I simply don’t make time to do it. Self care is different for everyone but usually consists of things that allow you to “fill your cup”; experience relaxation, joy, happiness, freedom, positive emotions, and radiant health. Examples of self-care for me would be getting enough sleep, being in nature, spending time with family and close friends, not forcing myself to exercise or obsessing over whether I got a workout in, and creating boundaries around my work life in order to create more peace at home.

I hope that by sharing my journey with you I can help you with your own. Let me know if I can help you in any way or if you’d like to know more about my experiences with patience, grief, trust, or self-care.

Cheers!

 

 

The Holidays are Here!

Guess what?! The holidays have arrived. I am going to let you in on my secrets for not completely losing control of you sh*t.

  1. Stay active. Go to the gym, go for a walk or run, snow shoe, ski, yoga class, whatever, just please continue to move your body regularly. This will keep your mood up, it will help you to expend some of the extra energy (calories) you are taking in, and it will help you to detoxify your systems.
  2. Drink enough to have fun but not enough to be sloppy. Unless you don’t drink alcohol at all you will be faced with the choice of having drinks at parties. You need to establish a boundary to that you are not annihilating yourself all the time. Maybe it’s a 2-drink limit and “wine only”. Or maybe you know that you need to eat a full meal and have some water BEFORE you have an adult beverage. Whatever it is, find that boundary you are comfortable with and stick to it. You will feel much better and still be able to have fun at parties. The best part is that you will have mild hangovers, if any.
  3. Honor your food sensitivities. If you have any food sensitives, aka things that “mess you up” in some way, avoid them. For example, I cannot do gluten. I break out in weird skin rashes and eczema, mostly near my face and also feel very inflamed in my joints. Maybe it’s dairy or refines sugar for you, but if you know that weird things happen when you eat it, just don’t! Indulge in other things or find a way to make your favorites gluten-free, or refined- sugar-free, etc. It’s just not worth feeling crappy. Also, overdoing it with foods that don’t agree with you will affect your ability to move your body and/or make it to the gym (Tip #1).

Please comment if you have tips of your own, I’d love to read about them!

cookies

My Athletic Journey

I have been struggling lately. I am caught between the world where I am an athlete training for the next event – intensely focused on fueling my body correctly, concerned with getting the appropriate amount of sleep, intent on perusing my personal best with the barbell day in and day out – and the world where I barely touch a barbell, feel weak when I train, and feel my body getting soft in all the wrong places. I’m not complaining, just kind of stating where I’m at in my head space and trying to write through it as a way of figuring out where to go next.

I must apologize for this post being lengthy. It was written partly as therapy for me [smile!].

It all began back when I was about 15 years old. My Dad had some weights and equipment in our basement and a few body building guides. I asked him to show me how to lift some weights. I began by lifting small dumbbells and progressed to heavier ones. I was so intrigued by what the human body was capable of, but more than that, I loved how exercise made me feel. Through high school I went to a nearby fitness facility and worked out at home and ran during the summer.

When it came to time to go to college I knew I wanted to study the human body in some way. I chose Plymouth State University because I felt at home there, in the mountains, surrounded by natural beauty. It was so comforting. There I studied applied health and fitness which was part of the Health & Human Performance Department. Through experience-based learning I became an health and fitness connoisseur and soaked it all in. I was a personal trainer and heavily involved in the faculty fitness program offered by the University. I thrived.

College days. The was the descent down Mt Washington. Eating trail mix, of course.

College days. The was the descent down Mt Washington. Eating trail mix, of course.

Upon graduation in 2008 I was up in the air about what I wanted to do. I was just beginning to learn about CrossFit and that seemed interesting. There were 1 or 2 gyms in New Hampshire at that time and I remember talking to my Dad about “opening a CrossFit gym” and how cool that would be. I decided that my lack of business knowledge and real-world experience were limiters and I took a job at PSU instead. I taught for a year in the HHP department and continued my own fitness pursuits. I took up yoga, continued to lift free weights, and walked and ran a lot.

Then I moved to Oregon to get my masters degree. While I was out there I joined a CrossFit gym. My brother Kyle was back on the east coast starting his own CrossFit gym as a business pursuit. I became obsessed with training, nutrition, and everything in between. I tried to link all of my grad school research to physical activity, exercise, and nutrition in some way. It all came together. When I returned to New Hampshire I was on board at The Fort CrossFit, full force. That was 2011.

Fast forward a few years. After dabbling in a few local competitions here and there I decided I really wanted more from myself as an athlete. I knew I was capable of more. I asked Kyle to begin programming for me in preparation for a competition in December and then the 2015 CF Open. I had some weaknesses and holes in my performance that needed to be worked on. Upper body pulling and pushing were the most glaring weaknesses. I trained alone from September 2014 through March 2015, working on making myself better.

December 2014 in Vermont.

December 2014 in Vermont.

I learned a lot during those months. I got super strong and fit. I focused on nutrition and sleep and I got lean and slept like a rock. During the 2015 Open I improved by 444 spots in the northeast region and finished in the top 600 women. It felt amazing, but there were definite trade offs. My social life definitely suffered a bit. As someone who loves enjoying a margarita with friends, this was something that had to be put on the back burner the majority of the time. I also began to have a nagging left shoulder and wrist that I (mostly) chose to ignore because I didn’t want it to mess up my training. Looking back in all of this I realize that I created an illusion of health. Outwardly it would appear that I was living a very healthy lifestyle, but there were many aspects of my health the were suffering. It would just take a while for me to figure that out.

 

Open Workout 15.1

Open Workout 15.1

Eventually my wrist just broke down. I ended up with tendinitis and soft tissue damage that took months to heal. I could not grip a barbell, dumbbell, pull up bar or ring for about two solid months. My inability to train at a high level got to me mentally and I ended up feeling bummed out about life in general. I was able to begin a dumbbell/bodyweight program midway through the summer which helped to get me feeling good about training again, but it wasn’t the same. It was like the fire had burned out. Additionally, the intensity and stress of the previous months’ training caught up with me and I began to feel broken down emotionally. In some ways I felt like I was losing my identity. If I wasn’t a CrossFit athlete, what was I?

I tried to get back into the groove of training hard after signing up for a competition in VT that I’d done the previous 3 years. I jumped back into an intense training program, yet found myself disliking training and literally crying when it got hard. I felt like a complete failure. I felt like I was letting down my coach, people who looked up to me, and myself. I withdrew from the VT competition and stopped training so intensely. I was desperately trying to find the fun in training again, but I was even struggling in group classes. I was also feeling fatigued pretty much all the time, I was beginning to have trouble sleeping, and I got sick about 5 times from November to December.

Around December 2015 I finally decided to just stop. STOP. I needed a break. Like a real break. Looking back, it had been about 5 solid years of CrossFit without taking time off except for built in rest days and a week here and there. I also realized that I tend to be very hard on myself. I never follow the rule I give others…”Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” I am a good athlete, I am a good friend, sister, daughter, girlfriend. The amount of weight I squat or clean and jerk does not determine how useful I am or my self-worth or the amount of knowledge I own.

O2X Challenge at Loon Mountain. October 2015.

O2X Challenge at Loon Mountain. So challenging and so fun. October 2015.

So now it’s April 2016. I did not sign up for the CrossFit open this year and I have done about 3 intense workouts in the gym since Christmas. I have been enjoying yoga once or twice each week and trying to get outside more to be in nature. After about a month to 6 weeks of not training the intense feelings of stress and doom began to subside. I started to relax a little and even took a long weekend away in North Conway, one of my favorite places in the whole world.

I am definitely grieving a little bit for the “old me” – the me who could crush sets of 20+ pull ups, squat clean a heavy barbell smoothly, and sprint on the assault bike with ease. I am trying to remain focused on the positive and the goal of healing my body. At this moment in time I really don’t have the desire to train at a high level. I am happy if I get in 30 minutes of biking  and can keep a smile on my face.

As a fitness and nutrition coach it’s difficult to admit that the lifestyle is not always rainbows, heavy squats, butterflies, and perfectly-portioned food. I think the the perception of people in this business is that we all have our shit together when it comes to our own personal fitness and nutrition. While I have a ton of knowledge, I definitely do not have it all together all of the time. At the moment  my life is changing. Although I value fitness and exercise tremendously, training as hard as I can is just not in my deck of cards at the moment.

I’ve been working with a few helpful coaches of my own, women I admire and look to for advice and knowledge. With their guidance I am discovering ways to heal my body, to feel fulfilled, and to respect the process I am going through. As a coach it feels so nice to be coached! It feels good to let go of the control and let someone else guide me at the moment. I couldn’t do it without these influential women.

I believe that these changes are all part of some larger purpose and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. I believe that I am not the only one who goes through changes and struggles like this. I think that I will be able to help others on their journey and I am really looking forward to it! I also believe that I will be back in action at some point; I want to feel that desire for lifting heavy and getting sweaty and having fun. It will happen, it might just take a little while.

What has your athletic journey looked like? Have you struggled with changes like these?

Surrender-life-quote

Getting Real About Nutrition and Exercise

Holy Donuts from the Holy Donut in Portland, ME. These are the bomb.

Holy Donuts from the Holy Donut in Portland, ME. These are the bomb. A treat for me a couple times a year!

It’s January 2016. The start of a brand new year. During the last week or two many of us have given some sort of thought to our health and weight. Maybe you’ve thought about getting healthier in general; eating better, sleeping more, stessing less. Or maybe you’ve thought about what it will take to lose some weight. These days there is a lot of conflicting information about how to do any of this. Additionally, nutritional needs can vary greatly from person to person. I’ve had many people ask me about weight loss and “getting lean” and I always try to give the most honest answer. The answer will also typically include the words, “It depends…”.

Over the last year or so more and more athletes have been seen indulging in donuts, pizza, and even beer. WAIT! I thought they only ate salads and steamed chicken!? Talk about confusing. The tides are changing and while a few years ago everyone was on the Paleo wagon, there is more and more evidence that performance athletes might needs more than meat, veggies, and healthy fats. There are two key words in the last few sentences: indulging and performance. 

So while Mat Fraser and Brooke Ence eat their pasta and donuts and Ben & Jerry’s, keep in mind the amount of work and energy output they have endured. Literally hours per day of training and movement. This means that they have earned the right to occasionally indulge in these foods and actually might need to eat these to get the amount of calories required the perform at such a high level. Additionally, their goal is performance which doesn’t necessarily translate to healthy! Junky food actually puts more stress on your body. This is why treats need to be occasional. Most of us cannot get away with eating treats all the time while still looking and feeling they way we want to.

Unless you are performing at a level similar to or near Mat or Brooke I suggest you go easy on the donuts, pasta, and Ben & Jerry’s and opt for the grilled chicken, sauteed broccoli and a sweet potato. If you are going to a CrossFit class three days per week but doing nothing else for activity outside of that and you want to lose weight, your nutrition must be on point. That means an occasional treat or small indulgence. I am a huge fan of this rule: Be active on most days each week. This means 4+, ideally 5 or 6 days. This doesn’t mean you have to go to CrossFit everyday. This means adding more activity to your daily life. A walk a lunch time instead of scrolling Facebook, a snow shoe hike, a day or half-day of skiing, ice skating, a dance party with your kids or a yoga class. Another way to get more activity is to arrive at the gym 30 minutes early for an extended warm up on the bike or rower.

If you’re consistently logging activity on most days of the week, you might be able to handle an indulgence each week. As in a cookie, beer, or glass of wine (or 2). If you’re working out more than this or are training for an athletic event or competition, your diet has to supply your body with all the nutrition and energy it needs to perform the best it can.  So if you’re training for 90 minutes to 2 hours or more each day it’s a good bet that you can have a donut or pizza now and then if you so choose.

HOWEVER…this all hinges on what your body can tolerate. It sometimes takes some experimentation and elimination to figure out what works for you! If you are lactose intolerant or have a gluten sensitivity, or if you have an autoimmune condition (celiac, Hashimotos, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, etc) there are probably foods that you must avoid in order to feel and function at your best, including donuts, pasta, and pizza and more. If you have special concerns your diet might need to be tailored to fit those concerns. Also, if you have a significant amount of weight to lose and that’s your goal, as I stated above, your nutrition must be on point most of the time (consistency!) – good quality protein, lots of veggies, some fruit, good starchy veggies like sweet potatoes, potatoes, butternut squash, and carrots.

If you’re not sure where you fit in, talk with one of your coaches or email me! I’d be happy to hep guide you in the right direction.

Back to the Basics

These days I have been thinking about the basics of living a healthy life. Food, water, sleep, activity, and stress. How are you doing with each of these areas? There are so many conflicting messages, so much information to study and decipher, so many numbers to remember, especially with food — eat this, don’t eat that. I’m confused, are you?

When you boil it down it’s pretty simple. When you eat food the body breaks it down and uses it for various processes necessary for survival. It’s your energy and your life force. So how has food become our enemy? Well, that’s the topic for another entire blog post. Over the last 2 years my personal challenge has been to make food “not the enemy”, if that makes sense. Relax, take a breath, take a bite, chew, swallow, enjoy. It’s only food. But it’s not just about food. I know that when I am stressed out or I rush while eating I don’t digest my food as well. I also know that when I am sleep deprived or dehydrated I feel extra hungry and crave cookies. Health is a big web of relationships.

Lately I have been racking my brain trying to understand the struggles, intricate relationships, and misunderstandings we all have with our food. It’s a tough train of thought to follow so I don’t suggest going too far down the rabbit hole unless that is your sort of thing. The one thought I have had over and over again is “get back to the basics”. The basics besides food (sleep, water, stress, exercise) can also be very helpful when trying to “fix” your food situation. The basics, applied on a consistent basis, are the key to it all, the “magic bullet” if you will.

There is no pill, potion, cleanse, exercise program, challenge, spa treatment, or concoction that can replace consistent effort. By consistent I am not talking about 30 days, or 3 months. I am talking about years. Y-E-A-R-S. As I mentioned above, I have spent the last two years of my life making food “not the enemy”. Actually, I should retract that statement because it has been many more years, more like 10 years. Do I still struggle from time to time, of course. I know that if I eat sugar I want more sugar. Do I still occasionally eat sugar? Hell yes because I love ice cream and margaritas. Do I know when to quit? Hell yes because I know if I go too far into the abyss I begin to feel reallllllly bad.

If you have a specific goal in mind, instead of thinking about years, think about tomorrow and this weekend. What are the steps you need to take to set yourself up to eat well? Do you need to go grocery shopping; throw something in the crock pot; chop some veggies; plan a few meals for your busy nights? What can you do in the next hour to set yourself up for success? Maybe you need to drink a few glasses of water instead of grabbing a coffee at Dunks – hydrate and save money. Maybe you need to turn off all your electronics and create a wind-down routine before bedtime or get into your bed 30 minutes earlier. Maybe you need to find your way back to a consistent exercise routine.

Let’s get back to the basics:

  • FOOD – Are the meals you are eating on a consistent basis made up of quality meats, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and some starch?
  • WATER – Are you drinking enough water (at least 1/2 body weight in ounces per day)?
  • SLEEP – Are you getting quality sleep (7-9 hours uninterrupted in a dark room)?
  • STRESS – Are you actively seeking ways to manage stress?
  • EXERCISE – Are you getting an appropriate amount of physical activity for your goals? Is too much exercise contributing to your stress?

If you answer “No” to any of these questions, you have found your starting point. Back to the basics you go. If you need help, ask. Maybe you need your spouse to get on board with food prep – perhaps it’s something you could do together to make it less cumbersome. Do you need to change up a relationship with a friend who always seems to sabotage your efforts? If you need ideas because you’re bored with food, ask your friends about what they eat. If you are feeling stagnant with your training in the gym, talk to one of your coaches about the best path for you.

The best thing you can do for yourself is simplify all the “noise” by getting back to the basics. You don’t have to be perfect. No one is perfect, but I’m guessing you want to feel good and be happy. Trust the process, embrace the journey, and commit to yourself. You get one life, commit to making it the one you want to live.

Write that sh*t down! It's totally helpful to keep track of this stuff: food, feelings, training.

Write that sh*t down! It’s totally helpful to keep track of this stuff: food, feelings, training.

The Beauty of Mexican Food!

taco

Mexican-style food is a staple in my house. It’s easy and the flavors are so fresh and bright. At least one to two times a week we have tacos, Mexican bowls, or some variation. It’s something I find myself craving quite frequently. Here I will give you some tips and variations on the basics.

DIY Taco Seasoning (per 1lb ground meat)

– About 1 tsp. of the following: Sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cumin
– 1 TBSP Chili Powder
– Dash of cayenne pepper – more for more heat
– Black pepper optional

Choose Your Protein:

– 2lbs of 94% lean ground turkey
– A mixture of 1lb 85% lean grassfed beef + 1lb turkey
– Classic, 2lbs ground beef (try for grassfed)
– Shredded chicken (made previously in the slow-cooker)
– About 2 lbs white fish

Add-Ins:

Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
Avocados or guacamole
White Rice
Romaine lettuce, chopped
Fresh tomato
Salsa
Pico de gallo (I buy Hannaford’s pre-made)
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Squeeze of fresh lime juice

My favorite salsa!

My favorite salsa!

Putting it All Together:

I personally like everything mixed together in a bowl. It’s nice to have control over the amount of each ingredient you add in, especially if you are paying attention to your macronutrient ratios. If you need more carbs in your diet, you can wrap everything up in soft corn tortillas (gluten free) or add some extra rice. If you’re going to indulge in corn chips, make them organic and non-GMO.

It’s so much better when it’s homemade!

 salsa

 

Deconstructed Cottage Pie for the Slow-cooker

My awesome Crock-Pot

My awesome Crock-Pot

Last weekend I ordered gluten-free Cottage Pie at The Common Man. That was where I found the inspiration for this article. It was really yummy, hearty, and warm. I wanted to try my own interpretation of it, but didn’t have a ton of time on my hands, so I thew all the ingredients in the crockpot. Voila! It was awesome.

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED:

2-3 lbs of ground meat. I used 2lbs 85% lean grass-fed beef + 1lb 94% lean ground turkey
6-8 small red potatoes, chopped into even, bite-size pieces
6+ carrots, sliced into rounds or chunks
6+ stalks celery, sliced into chunks
1 package baby bella mushrooms
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomato paste
1 cup beef or veggie stock (not absolutely necessary, but made for a nice broth at the bottom)
4 TBSP Kerry Gold garlic & herb butter
Pinch dried rosemary and thyme
1 tsp each garlic and onion powder
salt & pepper to taste

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER:

  1. Add all the veggies plus garlic to your crockpot first.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all meat with spices and salt and pepper and tomato paste. (This is optional. You can just throw it all into the crockpot if you want, but this way will lead to better-incorporated ingredients).
  3. Add a couple table spoons (slices) or butter into your veggies.
  4. Add meat on top of veggies.
  5. Add remaining butter to the top over your overflowing crockpot.
  6. Cook on high for about 5 hours or until veggies are soft.

NOTES:

  • Use a large crockpot. If you have a smaller one, cut back on the meat by 1 lb and use a few less potatoes
  • The meal was very rich. If you’re sensitive to a lot of fat, use leaner meats. Don’t omit the garlic and herb butter unless you absolutely have to because it adds a richness and depth of flavor.
  • I served this over rice for some added carbs.
  • Great for leftovers!

Food Hygiene

Huh? Food hygiene? Does that mean to wash my veggies and fruits and be careful when handling raw meats? Well, yes, I suppose it could mean that. But that would be more like food safety in my opinion.

Food hygiene is essentially having and showing love and value for our food. It’s creating practices around preparing, cooking, and eating our food to allow us to have the most positive food experience we can have. Paying attention to our food hygiene leads to better digestion and absorption of the foods we eat, therefore leading to happier bellies and better health. It also helps create more value and understanding around our food choices and helps us appreciate what food does for our bodies. It can also help us to slow down for a moment in our busy and over-scheduled days.

A meal cooked with LOVE. Fish tacos.

A meal cooked with LOVE. Fish tacos.

Some examples of good food hygiene practices are:

  • Putting your fork down and chewing thoroughly after each bite.
  • Not drinking water immediately before, during, or immediately after eating. Wait 20 minutes. Drinking too much liquid while eating can disrupt digestion.
  • Preparing a meal with a loved one and enjoying the process.
  • Eating without external stimulants like your phone, the TV, or a tablet in front of you.
  • Heating up your lunch in a pan on the stove and serving it on a plate instead of microwaving it and eating out of Tupperware.
  • Eating your larger meals of the day during times when you are more relaxed and not rushed and saving your snacks for the times you are on the go or working.

I know the list can seem challenging, especially with a busy lifestyle. If you can pick one of these points and try it three times this week you will be making progress. Gradually add in more of these habits as you go. You might also find that you feel better after you’ve eaten. Consistent food hygiene practices can keep us feeling satisfied, develop healthy relationships with our food, and help us to get the most nutrition from the foods we eat.

If you have questions, let me know!
Coach Ash

Enjoy a treat now and then too!

Enjoy a treat now and then too!

Please Eat Your Protein

Do you know what protein is? Protein is one of the three macronutrients. The other two are fat and carbohydrate. Consuming enough protein is extremely important, especially for people who are athletic or lead an active lifestyle. Essentially protein is the building blocks of muscle. You need protein to repair muscle, maintain muscle, and grow more muscle. If you want to change your body composition and be lean and muscular you need to eat protein. Protein has other crucial functions in our bodies, but we won’t get too scientific right now.

PROTEIN!

PROTEIN!

How much protein should you eat? It depends. It depends on your height, weight, body composition and goals, so everyone’s protein needs will be different. However, no matter what that number is for you, you need to eat it. If you are relatively lean your protein intake should be somewhere around 1g per pound of body weight. You shouldn’t need to eat over 1g/lb BW unless you want to bulk up. Another way to estimate protein intake is to figure out your body weight in kilograms by dividing your body weight by 2.2. If you’re unsure, I can help you figure this out. Here’s an example.

Example: 150lb Female 150lbs/2.2 = 68kg
68kg x 2 = 136g of protein per day

Once you know how much protein you need to eat, you have to figure out how much protein is in the foods you love. Here is a list of some popular foods and their protein content:

Boneless skinless chicken breast (4oz.): 26g
94% Lean ground turkey (4oz): 22g
Filet mignon steak (5oz): 40g
Salmon filet (4oz): 22g
Eggs (3whole eggs): 21g
Liquid egg whites (1/2 cup): 15g
Canned tuna (1 can): 41g
Al Freso chicken sausage (2 sausages): 30g
Natural Peanut butter (2 Tbsp): 8g (PB is mostly fat though, with 16g per 2 Tbsp)
Greek Yogurt (Plain, 8oz): 22g
Whey protein powder (Game Plan, 1 scoop): 24g

Getting in your daily protein can be challenging for some, especially if you’re a bigger person who needs a lot more. If you’ve discovered that you’re not eating as much protein as you should be, I would not advise you to go out and eat alllll the protein the next day. You’d likely feel extremely full and even sick. But I would tell you to work your way up over the course of a few weeks. Protein helps to keep you feeling full and that’s another reason why it’s so important to be eating it with every meal and snack.

Example: Here’s what the 150lb woman in the example above would eat on a daily basis in order to get all of her protein in. She’s very active and does strength and conditioning type workouts 5 days a week. 

Breakfast: 2 whole eggs plus 1/2 cup eggs white scrambled (36g protein)
Snack: 5oz Greek yogurt (12g protein)
Lunch: 5oz ground turkey (28g protein)
Post-workout shake: 1 scoop whey protein (24g)
Dinner: 6oz pan sauteed chicken breast (40g protein)
GRAND TOTAL = 140g protein

**A great website for nutritional information is http://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition

How do you know what 4, 6, or 8 ounces looks like? The most accurate way to figure this out is to actually weigh your portions before you cook them. That way you’re not guessing. You can buy a food scale for about $20. Weighing protein doesn’t mean you have to do it forever, but it’s a great way to learn about portioning. After you do it for a while eyeballing your portions becomes easy. Use it as a learning tool, but don’t be a slave to your food scale.

If weighing and measuring isn’t your thing there are some general guidelines for protein portions. A decent serving for a female is about the size and thickness of her palm, or a palm and a half she’s active or an athlete. For men a serving size is about the size and thickness of two palms. Since people are all shapes and sizes, it’s sometimes difficult to accurately prescribe based on hand size.

When I help people with their nutrition the number one thing I encounter is people not eating enough protein. If your goal is to lose weight, gain muscle, put on weight, lean out, get stronger, get toned, look better naked, recover better, get huge, make gainzzz…(the list could go on), you MUST eat enough protein.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask!
See you around the gym,
Coach Ash

There's a big hunk of steak on my fork.

There’s a big hunk of steak on my fork.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. This information is for educational purposes and not meant to replace medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Slow-Cooker Chicken Thighs with Coconut Milk and Veggies

With the chilly fall weather upon us the slow-cooker has been making its way back onto the counter quite frequently. For my birthday I received a brand new Crock-pot that is

My awesome Crock-Pot

My awesome Crock-Pot

literally like the Cadillac of slow-cookers. Thank you, 9am ladies! I had a bunch of ingredients that I needed to use, so I thought I would just throw them all in to make a spicy-chicken-butternut-curry type dish. As I type this blog post I am eating a bowl and it is hitting the spot for sure. The texture is awesome. It’s almost like a creamy chicken stew with some heat, but it’s still very sweet from the coconut milk, carrots, and butternut. Sometimes experiments are the best meals. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Family-size package of boneless chicken thighs, ~10 thighs
1 butternut squash (I am lazy and buy the halves that are already peeled)
1 can full-fat coconut milk
5-6 Carrots
1 Lime
Cilantro
Salt & Pepper
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Ground Ginger

Optional Spices to add some HEAT:
Red pepper flakes
Cayenne pepper

Instructions:

  1. Process chicken thighs, trimming off excess fat. I take the big hunks off. Place in slow cooker.
  2. Pour coconut milk over chicken.
  3. Add spices: 1 tsp each of salt, garlic powder, onion powder. Black pepper to taste. Dash of ground ginger.
  4. If you want spicy…sprinkle of red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper.
  5. Add the juice of one lime.
  6. Add about 1/4 cup chopped cilantro or whole leaves. They wilt down well.
  7. Chop butternut into uniform sized pieces and toss in the pot.
  8. Peel and slice carrots and add those.
  9. Turn your slow-cooker on high for about 4 hours, or on low for 6+ hours. Mix everything up a couple of times throughout if able. Chicken should shred and some of the butternut should melt into the coconut milk to form a creamy broth.