Category Archives: Fitness

How To: Meal Prep for the week

How’re those New Years resolutions going?  Still eating good?  Still hitting the gym?  It’s ok if you’re not…change is hard.  I know, I’ve tried and failed before.  They say abs are built 80% in the kitchen and 20% in the gym.  You also can’t out-exercise a bad diet.  So how do you maximize your chances of success in the kitchen?

Try prepping meals for the week.  It’s an old bodybuilder trick that’s getting more and more popular among Crossfit, weekend athletes and soccer moms.  You plan 3 meals a day for each person and do one or two cookups; one on Sunday and one on Wednesday or Thursday.  You end up with every meal being ready for you and minimizing the chances of takeout because you don’t feel like cooking.  Oh, and you control what you’re eating…portions, macronutrients, calories, whatever!

So how do you start?

You need 3 things.

  1. One, 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper
  2. Pen, pencil, marker, chicken blood or other writing instrument.
  3. Recipes.

Grab that sheet of paper and fold it into quadrants (in half lengthwise and across)

Top Left:  Find 6 recipes.   Write the names and cookbooks/pages or YouTube links.  (I’m going to suggest Fit Couple Cooks to start.)

Top Right:  That’s your shopping list.  Put all the stuff you need to buy there.

Bottom Left: Make a grid:  Monday-Sunday, breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Check off each one you have planned.

Bottom Right:  Make notes there.  I usually put stuff like “Beef Satay and Chicken Nuggets are in containers.  Chipotle chicken and beef salad is ready to go (not in single serving containers) and Buffalo chicken and beef w/sweet potatoes is cut up and ready to cook on Wednesday.)

Congratulations!  You have a plan!!!!  You’re 50% there!

Now go shopping and get everything you need.   Come home, arrange it nicely and throw it up on Instagram!

Then get to work.  Cut up all your meat.  I grab my scale and measure out 4 portion batches.   Then I start any brown rice or quinoa while I start chopping my veggies.   It’s wasteful, but I find paper plate and bowls help out here.  I try to keep 2 things cooking at once.

2 hours later, I’m putting 8-16 fully cooked meals in single serving bowls or lumped into food containers.  A piece of blue painters tape on each tells me what it is, how many calories (since that’s what I’m counting.  You can do macros or whatever.) and all that’s left is the cleanup.  My meals are ready, portioned and my head is clear for other things.

As of this writing, I have every meal for my wife, kids and I planned for the week.  For Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, we have 4 different lunches and dinners ready.  We tend to eat the same things for breakfast, so any pre-prep for that is done for the whole week.  I’ll cook the rest on Wednesday or Thursday…give us meals on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  I leave 3 meals out so we can have flexibility: yes we order pizza or make pancakes for breakfast.   Hey, we gotta live and it doesn’t make sense to obsess over this stuff.

If you want to give it a shot, I’ll link to the online recipes I’m using this week, below.

If you have any other recipes or ideas, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

Good luck!!!!

 

Beef Satay (I subbed the beef for chicken and adjusted the calories

Kangaroo (I’m using cow…c’mon now.)

Chicken Nuggets

Buffalo Chicken

Beef with Sweet Potatoes

 

 

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under family fun, Fitness

Jumpstart those Resolutions

Show of hands, how many of you are planning on losing weight/building muscle/getting fit?   Welcome to the club…it’s called ‘MOST OF US’ and we meet at Taco Tuesdays at Planet Fitness in about 3 weeks.

Look, there’s a lot of reasons why we make these resolutions.  They’re the same reasons we don’t keep them year after year:  We’re the problem and think we can be the solution.  Think about it; most of us ‘know’ how to fly a plane; pull the stick back to go up, push forward to go down….don’t crash.    I own a Canon EOS digital camera that I paid $1000 for, so I can take as good pictures as any photographer.  I’m out of shape, so I know that all I have to do is go to the gym and it will all take care of itself.

Let me save you the time, effort, money and disappointment now.  If you’re planning on JUST joining a gym for the new year and don’t have a plan, program or coach….just stop.  You most likely are not capable of making the changes you want.  There’s 1000% nothing wrong with that; you simply need the right information and advice.

I’m planning a few posts to get me (and hopefully you) through the new year.   I have my circle of influence…and I’m sharing it with you here.  These are the blogs, books and people that I go to for help, advice and education.  I promise you there are no gimmicks, get ripped quick schemes or flawed logic here.   Every link here contains enough to help you reach your goals.  In no particular order:

NerdFitness.  I love the way the site is laid out and really appreciate the one time fee for all the resources.  If you’re a total newb, the free workouts are a good place to start.  They fly their Paleo flag, and if you’re into that, great.  If you’re not…there is still a lot of solid eating advice here as well.

Sandbag Fitness.  Matt hasn’t updated it in awhile, but this was the site that started it all for me.  I have a few of his books and sandbags from Brute Force, and really, you don’t need much more.  If you want to get started, cheap, pick up an athlete bag and never pay a gym membership again.

Blondponytail.   Moms, this ones for you. Jess is a mom to 2 young kids and understands that not everyone has hours a week to spend at the gym.  Her home and gym workouts will have you gasping for breath, seeing results and coming back for more because you can fit this into your schedule.

SKFitlife  Stephanie and Steve have one of the best podcasts on fitness.  They promote smart eating and exercise, no shortcuts and getting the root of your obstacles so you can achieve results.  You won’t find much in the way of workouts here, but you’ll be overloaded with good advice to get your head on straight.   They are Spartan racers and recently launched a killer podcast for anyone interested in getting started with Obstacle Course Racing.

Men’s Health Power Training.   This is my favorite fitness book of all time.  This was written by someone who knows his stuff and at a time when Men’s Health wasn’t trying to create the next Insanity or Boot Camp or whatever.   You’ll find nothing but clear advice and a plan to maximize your gym time.

Ok folks, you have 3 days to peruse these and decide what you’re going to do come the new year.  If you choose to follow any of them, let me know!   I don’t get any money, but I’ll be happy knowing I set some people in the right direction.

Good luck and Happy New Year!!!!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Fitness

Better Days

“Now a life of leisure and a pirate’s treasure
Don’t make much for tragedy
But it’s a sad man my friend who’s livin’ in his own skin
And can’t stand the company
Every fool’s got a reason for feelin’ sorry for himself
And turning his heart to stone
Tonight this fool’s halfway to heaven and just a mile outta hell
And I feel like I’m comin’ home”

~Better Days by Bruce Springsteen.

Last week I attempted my first Spartan Beast and failed.  For reasons both within and without of my control I came up short, and I’m stuck with a sour taste in my mouth for the whole thing.  I’ll spare you the details, save for one important one:  technically I DNF’d (did not finish) because I didn’t reach the last checkpoint in time.   I had gas in the tank, so I know I would have finished if the clock had been on my side, or I’d been faster earlier on.

I was really angry.  I had the bumps, bruises, scrapes and aches that Finishers had.   I had no shirt or finisher medal…and no real chance at a Trifecta this year.   It was a helpless anger, that led me to a lot of thinking, reflecting and realizations I needed to come to.

For a long time now, Spartan Race was dictating my exercise, my goals, my fitness levels…and everything has been slipping.   I lost the joy in exercise!!!   I knew this last summer and thought I had time to get it back…I didn’t.  The race hanging over my head, a several hour event I was dreading, was an anchor; dragging me down and slowing my progress.

I don’t know that I’ll ever get a Spartan Trifecta.  I’m very, very okay with that,  I don’t want it bad enough.  Sour grapes?  Nope.  I wasn’t having fun in my last 2 races.  Seriously, I wanted them over before they began.   I was subjecting myself to this, and would continue to do so!   If I’d finished on Saturday, I’d have booked a back to back Super and Sprint in July, just so I’d have the trifecta and wouldn’t have to wait for September!  This stopped being about health, fitness and fun and became about 3 pie shaped pieces of metal!!!!!

And it’s over.  Ha, I un-liked Spartan Race and several related people and sites on Facebook.  Is this what breaking up is like now?   Didn’t have Facebook when I was dating.  IMG_3987

Haven’t figured out all my next steps.   Going to do some running because I used to enjoy that a lot.  Gonna throw around the heavy sandbag (which I got signed  by my friend Stephanie and the rest of Team Charleston Warriors!!!) and my goals will be 1: Do something about my midsection and, 2 have fun doing it.   In August I’ll be doing a Warrior Dash because they’re still fun for me. Till then,  I’m thinking of trying yoga, and getting back on the mountain bike.

IMG_3996

I’m the one that DOESN’T look like a fitness guru.

IMG_3995

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“So Sean, why the song?”   I’m getting there.   I crapped out at mile 11 of a 15 mile mud run over obnoxiously hilly and rocky terrain.  I’m not one to undermine my troubles by thinking someone else has it worse.   But, in context, not many people would have bothered to do 11 miles last week.  I’m pretty lucky that here, at age 43 I have the health, time, money and sense of adventure to even try something like this.  Spartan didn’t give me those, I cultivated them.  Spartan was simply a way to express them….and now I want a different way to do that.

My good friend Ed ran a much earlier heat and texted me that night, the next day and several times since.  This level of athleticism comes easier for him and he struggled with the course.  (Edit: This is not to diminish his hard work and sacrifice to get to where he is.  In truth, I’m envious at times.)  Had I finished, my time would have been respectable compared to him, and I’ll take that as a small victory.  He’s going for the trifecta and I’m wishing him nothing but a great time doing so, and an amazing feeling when he crosses those finish lines.

I did the race my friend Cheryl as well.  She DNF’d as well and was my ride home, so we had 90 minutes to talk.   We really didn’t talk about the race.  She let me sulk and then we slipped back into the nonsense we joke about all the time; whatever guy she’s met online, some dumb thing we’d done in the past, or breaking into long winded diatribes on simple things.   By the time we got to my house, I was definitely better than when we left the mountain.

As I walked up the driveway and saw what my wife, Heidi, and daughters had done.   The front door was plastered with signs of encouragement.

spartan door

This fool has every reason for feeling sorry for himself….but I just can’t.   I can’t call it unfinished business or a personal failure.  I took a shot, didn’t make it, and am opening new doors within myself because of it.   I don’t want to go back down the Spartan Path right now.   I started OCR for the excitement of something new and completely different.  That led me to running for fun for the first time in my life; even to doing a half-marathon!   Right now, I’m missing running for fun and lifting heavy weights because I feel like it.

The fun is just starting; I got some ideas, a sense of adventure and proof I can do some amazing things and most importantly, friends and family who care.   Let’s see where this takes me.

 

1 Comment

Filed under family fun, Fitness

A Letter to Spartan Race

Dear Spartan Race,

How’s it going?   You had a pretty great year, it would appear.  More races, a killer location for your World Championships and NBC seemed to be really heavily promoting your races on tv.  Heck, even in my neck of the woods, Northeast Pennsylvania, you added a Super and managed 3 days of races.   I’m happy for you, really I am.

IMG_9801

 

We’ve been companions for 4 years now.  I’ve completed 6 races, 5 of which were at Palmerton, one of your (self-proclaimed) toughest courses.   But I’ve not been exclusive, I’ve run other races.  I’ve done Warrior Dashes and 5k’s.   (side note:There’s even a 7k at a nudist resort near Palmerton that has me intrigued.  It beats a naked Spartan Race…think of the superbug that would grow on the top of the walls.  Yeah, exactly.)   My greatest accomplishment, though, was the Scranton Half Marathon this spring.   For someone who was never a runner, and picked it up just to start Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) that’s a huge milestone.

Spartan Race, they’re exploiting some of your blind spots and I hope you start paying attention.

IMG_1293

They out-after party you.  Bands, things for spectators to do, food, beverages…especially the grown up kind.   They give people a reason to stick around, talk about the race and solidify their plans to do it again next year. Oh, and they tend to have seating/tables/picnic areas!!!   You give a medal, a banana, maybe a protein drink and a free beer.  Good luck finding a seat.    I know, you’re not trying to be one of those party races.  It’s not about that; it’s about my close friend and I getting together from opposite sides of the state and having time to BS about the race.  It’s about my lovely wife and amazing daughters having something to do and somewhere to sit outside the blazing sun for the 3 hours I’m on the mountain.  My loved ones stopped coming, and crossing the finish line hasn’t been the same since.

Your Obstacles need to respect the rest of us.   The sport is evolving and you need to challenge your elites.  I know, I’ve read the recaps of the 2015 season…the good and the bad.   I’m telling you that your obstacles aren’t as fun as they once were.   Say all you want about mental toughness and pushing people beyond their limits.   A 1.5 mile hike up slippery, rocky terrain isn’t fun for the people who are your bread and butter: weekend warriors/desk jockeys.  We can’t run it, can barely hike it, and turn our ankles so many times we just get frustrated.   Add some modifications to obstacles that require more technique and skill as well.  The Z-Wall is a great candidate: you need good technique and a lot of your Sprinters don’t have it.  Instead of making it a burpee-fest for people who were couchpotatoes 8 weeks prior, make it a little easier for them.  Their self-pride will translate into a registration for next year.   Finally, some complain about putting a bunch of obstacles near spectators and having long stretches of nothing.   If that nothing isn’t the aforementioned terrain of Mordor, I don’t mind.    What I do mind putting high-failure obstacles at the end of a race.   Look, I want to finish strong.  I don’t want to fail the rig in front of my family…but I’m gonna, and It’s going to suck for me and I’m not going to finish with the high I would have had.  Seriously, you’ve had your way with me for the past 4 miles…let this last hill be the cab fare and breakfast before I leave.

Finally, get off the mountains.  The Citizens Bank Park race was more fun than a Warrior Dash.  I loved every minute of that race…and you had me lugging a sandbag and running up hundreds of steps.   I’d have done 10 miles of that!    I think you need to get away from ski slopes because they make it too easy to give into the vocal idiots who tell you any given race was too easy because they didn’t soil themselves.   I’m always up for a challenge, but even your WODs and suggested training don’t prepare me/you/us for the races I’ve experienced.  Ditch the ‘the mountain is the obstacle’ idea, because it’s a crutch.   I’ve seen 5 and 10ks done on trails, paintball sites, parks and  lakes.   You’ve done events in Times Square!   Be the true innovators in the sport and find ways to bring it to cities and towns and public areas.

Also, it’s going to make it easier for spectators and camera crews to see more.   I suspect you have a pretty good percentage of racers who started as spectators, right?

IMG_1032

This post comes from a place of frustration.   In 2014 I did the Palmerton Sprint and the CB Park Sprint.  You know what I’m going to say….how am I supposed to view those medals?  In your eyes, they’re equal…red piece of the Trifecta.   In reality, they’re not even close.   In 2012 your Palmerton announcer said “we have a mini-beast here” when discussing a Sprint…your ENTRY LEVEL race.  I know each race is different and will have its own challenges, but I’m seeing a distance and suffer-creep that really bothers me.  Don’t play to ones who feel the need to lug tires the whole way or whine that the sandbags weren’t heavy enough.  Give them a tape measure to pass around so they can settle what they’re really concerned about proving to one another.

You’ve got me for at least 3 more races.  I want that trifecta in 2016 and I want my wife and daughters to be there (maybe with medals of their own) to celebrate with me.   I’m not asking for easy races…challenge me.  I’m just asking that you think about what I have to say.  I’m someone who wants you to succeed, not someone who wants to use you to prove how tough he is to his ‘brahs’.

IMG_2796

Arooo!!!!!!!

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under family fun, Fitness

Why do I do this?

3 weeks in and I feel better.  Hit a major milestone last week; crushed a sandbag workout!   I’m also doing things with the heavy sandbag that were impossible this past August.  By any measure I’m seeing improvement.

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting; why am I so concerned with fitness, weight, and racing?   It’s really pretty simple:  eating right and exercising make everything you do better.   I love how I feel the day after a good workout and when I’ve been fueling my body right.  I also know how lousy I feel when I skip a workout and treat my body like a frat house.

I do this because it feels good to bend and crawl on the floor with the kids.  I do this because taking the stairs 2 at a time can be fun (remember when it was cool to be able to do it as a kid???)   I do this because I know a better version of myself is on the other side of the next workout.

I’m currently studying for the NSCA-CPT exam.  Kinda’ something I’ve always been interested in, and…I’ll leave my motivations for a later post.  Anyway, I’ve been reading a lot about the science of how our muscles and body react to exercise and it’s pretty fascinating.  We’re a very complex machine that needs to be appropriately and adequately fueled and equipped.

So think about your body like a machine or device you use daily.  Exercise helps you upgrade your hardware.  Makes your bones stronger, muscles bigger and stronger, tendons, joints, etc all see improvement (usually.)  Diet lets you control the type of fuel that runs the machine!   Every start a lawnmower with last years gas?   Ever spray some ether into the carburetor?  See where I’m going with this?   The geek in me is loving hacking my exercise and diet to get more out of my body!

I know that everyone has their own diet and exercise preferences.  I’m not here to suggest you change them.  I am going to suggest you spend a week or two tracking your diet and exercise and mood, alertness and how tired you are.  Some things I’ve seeing: More than 2 beers or glasses of wine and I’m sluggish the next day.  No veggies, or only one meal with  veggies, and I’m just not right.   Too many sweets and I’m irritable…like my skin is crawling.   When I work up a real good sweat with a workout, my mood is improved substantially for the rest of the day.  2 or 3 days without a workout and I’m miserable.

So why am I doing this?  Because I’ve had a taste of how good fit feels and I want that back.  And I have 2 little girls who love doing it with me.

IMG_1274

Leave a Comment

Filed under Fitness, Uncategorized

One Week Later…

I’m one week into changing the way I live.  It’s going about as well as can be expected, and I’m pleased with that.

The good: I’m enjoying my workouts again and feeling really good.  Not doing the two-a-days yet, back to school week for the kids, new schedule; just have to figure it all out.  What I am doing it getting at least 30 minutes in each day, whether it’s T25, sandbag workouts or even a run.  I’m also free to experiment with my workouts; tie a rope to a bag and pull it across the yard.

The bad: Still having trouble with the knife and fork, but I’m working on it.  Ate well 5 days last week.  Saturday, Sunday and today…not really that well, but that’s in the past.   I’ll not going to realize all these changes overnight.

What is my eating plan?   I’ve had a lot of luck with simply counting calories, so I’m starting there: about 2200/day.  I’m looking to put on some muscle (arms, shoulders, back…things that will help with rope climbs, monkey bars, etc) so I should start looking at my protein intake.  I want to hit about 210 lbs… that’s 210 grams of protein each day as a target.  4 calories per gram; that’s 840 calories, subtracted from my 2200, leaving me with 1360 to split between carbs and fats.    I’m working on a 50/50 split there with an eye on healthy fats and complex, close to how nature made them, carbs. There are about 4 cals per carb and 9 per g of fat and that gives me a good idea of what I can eat at any given time.

Why this plan?   As I said, calorie counting has worked in the past.  Where it goes off the rails, for me, is carbs.   I can have 2 slices of whole wheat toast for 140 calories, or 3 slices of bacon for 90.   Duh!!!!    I make my tradeoffs; stir fry sauce instead of extra rice.  I can have pasta, but throw some chicken in.   I’m finding it more conducive to a life with 2 kids and a wife.   I can also track it on the MyFitnessPal app on my phone.

Just as I’m not going bust out 10 pullups next week, I’m not expecting to hit my diet goals every day.  If I can do Monday through Friday, and 2-3 meals on weekend, I’ll be happy.

Came up with my Spartan Test workout.   Feel free to share, adapt and adjust as need be.  I’m planning on increasing the run distances each workout (100 m, 250 m, 500m, etc) Let me know how you do.

 

cant_wont_dont_slack

2 Comments

Filed under family fun, Fitness

Day One: It All Starts with the Plan

Here we go!

I took the past couple of days to reset and recharge.  I’m humbled and energized by all the positive comments. Today, I want to share with you my fitness plan for the next 10 weeks or so.

I’ve got to make this a habit.   To do that, I’ve to lower the  barrier to entry; get out of my head, reduce options and just get to work.  BeachBody’s T25 workout is going to be the tool I use for that.  I’m not a BB affiliate or coach, there’s nothing in this for me if you click that link.  I just like the program and saw decent fitness results when I did it for 5 straight weeks.    I’ll do the Alpha and Beta phases over the then 10 weeks every morning before work, and hopefully build a morning workout habit.

I also have to work on my running.  Couch Potato to 5k is the program I used a few years ago to prepare for my first Warrior Dash.  It turned me into someone that can run…something I NEVER thought I could be.   The app I used is Ease into 5K, and I’ll be doing this 3 days a week after work/dinner to build my endurance back up.

Finally, there’s weight training.  I’m doing a lot of cardio to boost endurance and lose fat.  I need to keep some resistance training in there keep/build muscle and, truthfully, I just love my sandbags too much to leave them alone for 10 weeks.   I’ll be using Matt Palfrey’s  Sandbag Fitness: 150 High Intensity Workouts to reach that goal.  I’ll be doing strength workouts 4 and 5.   I’m aiming to alternate them 3 times a week on my non running days.

The end result will be  MWF:  T25 in the AM, C25K in the PM.  T/T: T25 in the AM.  T/T/S, Sandbag workouts 4/5.  This will add up to about 60 minutes of exercise on most days.   I will keep an eye on overtraining, but I’m not terrible worried about it yet.   I figure I’m safe for 5-6 weeks so far.

There’s the plan.   I have a diet plan, which I’ll go into more detail on in the near future, as well as the mechanism to keep me motivated.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Fitness

Half Marathon to Couch Potato: Or how I Failed myself this Summer

I hit a personal fitness goal this year.  In April I ran the Scranton Half Marathon.  It took me over 3 hours and I did have to walk a small part of it, but I did it.  I trained for and accomplished something I really never thought I’d be able to.   It was an amazing feeling.

But, for me, it came with baggage.  Northeast Pa winters suck.  2105’s spring was mostly winter and I was out there running in the rain, snow, cold and misery.   I got my miles in at the cost of my enjoyment of running.  I hate that.   I miss running through Dunmore Cemetery, getting 3 miles in before work, the antsy feeling if I didn’t run for a few days.   I miss the runner’s high!  The first run after the half was a chore.  I’d gone from seeing 3 miles as the home stretch of a long run to 1 mile having me winded.

So I stopped.

In July I did the PA Spartan Sprint.   I ran with a friend who stayed out till 4am, barely trained and kept the pace ahead of me.  She’d have finished 45 minutes earlier if she wasn’t waiting for me.   I struggled…I was out of shape, winded, tired.   When I stopped running, I lost a key part of my fitness program.  My resistance workouts suffered.

Oh, and I ate like I was burning 5000 calories a day.    Rocking 260 baby!!!!!   I wasn’t worried about sharks at the beach this year….I was worried about whalers!

All this time, I’m registered for the NJ Super on Sept 12th.  My first blue medal and shirt.   I start training half-heartedly.  I’m crushing 15-20 minute workouts….but not running.  I’m working on pullups, but my elbow is sore (tennis elbow, had it before) and geez, my ankles are sore too.   I think I’m going to work through the pain and it will get better.

It didn’t.

Today I had to drop out of the NJ Super.   I’m disappointed in myself.   All my talk for how important health and fitness is and I’ve been a hypocrite.  My shirts and pants are tight in all the wrong places, I’m out of breath doing simple thing and I get in my cellar to work out and get overwhelmed with options and things I don’t want to do.

I’m a mess.   And I’m glad.

My body was telling me I’m not ready for NJ.  I finally realized that running the race would mean a struggle.  I’d probably finish, but be miserable.  I’d fail obstacles, do too many burpees and collect that medal with a healthy dose of disgust.   I don’t want that.  I want this to be fun.  I want the Trifecta next year and don’t want 2 bad races to turn me off the sport!

So it’s back to the drawing board.  Thinking of starting with the basics:  Couch to 5k and sandbag strength workouts.  Get some fitness wins under my (hopefully decreasing) belt and build my confidence back up.  Get the taste for running back and make the time to be better than I have been.

I am very un-Spartany right now.   I have till April (the NJ Beast) to rebuild myself.   Stay tuned…the transformation will be blogged about.

Aroo!

2 Comments

Filed under Fitness

Working out with Kids Around

I love working out at home.   Yes my treadmill is collecting dust, but running on a treadmill in a basement was one of the ‘Enhanced Interrogation” methods that Cheney agreed to remove from the list, lest it appear too inhumane.   My rings, bags and pullup bar get a TON (no weight jokes) of use.  I can adapt just about any crossfit-style workout I see online, or do some old fashioned strength training/bodybuilding stuff.

But the girls…   I love them.  I love spending time with them.   Nothing kills workout mojo like balancing #beastmode with #dadmode and 2 kids swinging from the rings.    I understand them, I do.  There’s stuff to jump from, swing on, do flips, handstands and more.  To me, the workout area is a place to forge myself.  To them, it’s an indoor jungle gym.

And that’s my problem.   I want to encourage them.  I want them to enjoy their time in the gym.  I want to plant healthy seeds that they’ll thank me for later in life.  I don’t want them to think it’s off limits or time there ends in getting yelled at.   But I’m struggling.

They’re good kids.   There have been times they’d do part of a workout with me.  They WANT to run and jump and swing and be active.  It really comes down to if I have the time and the workout that can be done with them.  If I say ‘No, Daddy has to do this by himself” they’ll listen, but I don’t want to discourage them.

Ideas anyone?

Leave a Comment

Filed under family fun, Fitness

My Paleo Adventure

A few weeks ago, looking for healthy recipes, I stumbled upon Melissa Joulwan’s site: theclothesmakethegirl.com.  I checked out some of her recipes and was pretty much taken in by how tasty they all looked.  I was so taken that I dashed to the local bookstore and bought both of her cookbooks.   The family and I stopped for lunch and I picked out a few recipes I wanted to try.

Best. Impulse. Buy. Ever.   For real!

I spent Super Bowl Sunday prepping her chocolate chili.  Now, let me tell you, chili is a sacred food for me.  I take it very, very seriously.   Chocolate?  No beans?   So close to Scoville Blasphemy.    Then I tasted it.   My go-to chili recipe of nearly 20 years has been tucked away in the cookbook.  This is the new standard in the Gowden household.  THIS is what the guys will be eating on nerd days and beer tastings.  This is was will be stanking up the office.   This is pot full of delicious.

I also made a few of her spice blends, sauces and prepped stuff for the week.  I took her Moroccan dipping sauce with a veggie tray to the neighbors.   Every single vegetable was GONE before the chip bowl was refilled!

Her books have completely changed my kitchen!   We’re trying new flavors, new foods (Jicama!   Spaghetti squash!) and loads upon loads of vegetables.   Here’s what I really love; she’s not afraid to flavor her veggies.   So often recipes for vegetables are one of two preparation methods.  You have cheese/butter/high calorie sauces that negate a lot of the benefits of eating the vegetables.  Then you get the ultra-diet ‘don’t let oil anywhere near your veggies and learn to like their natural flavors.”   The books give you plenty of reasonable options for increasing your flavorful vegetable intake without adding a ton of calories.

I really respect that.  I bought this looking for ways to help us lose some of our winterweight.  Any doctor or dietician will tell you that if you want to lose weight, eat more veggies (as long as they’re not dipped in cheese or butter.)  I’m loving broccoli, asparagus and squash now.   Spice mixes (Ras Al Hanout…which I keep calling Ra’s al Ghul in my head) and light dressings make all the difference in the world.

Am I convert to the Paleo lifestyle?  No.  I love my coffee with cream in the morning, and with 2 little kids, pasta has to be on the menu at times.     I can tell you with no uncertainty that when we stick to the book’s recipes for 2, 3, 4 days at a time, we feel AMAZING.   Then the weekend comes, glass or 2 of wine, pizza, wings, pancakes….and the sluggishness is back in full force.  For the first time while trying to change my eating habits, I’m actually seeing a direct relationship between the fuel going into my body and my performance.   Same number of calories, just difference foods, and a marked improvement.

Listen, if you’re just looking for awesome vegetable options, go to her site now.   If you’re thinking about trying out the Paleo Diet, check it out.  If you’re a fan of chili….just go there now.   Believe me.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Fitness