By Coach Meredith
I’ve had some people asking me about the best ways to go about ‘Meal Prepping.’ There are more than these options to go about it, however I find that most people are able to stick with these 3 food prep schedules:
1. Sunday Service
You don’t have to do this on Sunday, of course. You can choose any day you like, but pick 1 day during your week that works best for you.
I say Sunday because it is often a time when people are more free, more relaxed, and more able to devote time to this type of task. It is also a time when we’re usually thinking ahead to the upcoming week.
Whatever day you choose, set aside 2-3 hours once a week to do the following:
Meal prepping in advance helps to give yourself a little extra buffer zone. You never know what unexpected challenge might strike at 6pm on Wednesday, and when it does, you’ll be glad you stocked away an extra meal in the freezer.
You can combine what you do on Sunday with a Daily habit — for example, by preparing the labor-intensive staples such as lean protein on Sunday, and then adding some quick-prep items, such as fruit and veggies, every day.
It often takes about as much time to prepare a few items as it does to prepare one.
For example, it’s nearly as fast to chop 3 carrots as it is to chop 1, or to scramble 6 eggs instead of 2. During the Daily Ritual, you can prep a few extra items to have on hand for later in the day, or the following day.
Another option for the Daily routine is the Morning routine – this is where you use some of the time-saving strategies to whip up a healthy breakfast or lunch:
Or try a Dinner routine where you simply make extra portions and save the rest for tomorrow.
Again, it doesn’t take much more time to prepare a few extra things, so cook in bulk where possible.
3. Healthy meals made for you
I briefly touched on this in a previous blog, however it is another great option to eat healthy. Many grocery stores now offer a wide range of grab-and-go meals. This includes salad bars, pre-washed and cut vegetables, and individually-portioned lean protein. There are also many specialty food store chains that offer healthy food takeout and delivery.
There are also options for a healthy meal delivery service, if only for one or two meals a week. Some of these include Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and Paleo To Me (which delivers to our gym!). If you don’t enjoy cooking, or are extremely busy, you may find that having a break from the time and hassle of meal prep is worth the money. It might just mean the difference between a delicious, nourishing, physique-friendly lunchtime salad and another regrettable fast-food run.
The goal here is: Do what works best for you, your life, and your goals.
You can mix and match all of these food-prep options, in any way that works for you. Anticipate, plan, strategize.—This is the key to mastering your nutrition.
Baked Hummus Crusted Chicken
Provided by Coach Meredith
By Coach Meredith
Stop being "PERFECT" and be "GOOD ENOUGH" instead.
Outdoor survival tip!
When you’re running from a bear, you don't have to run the fastest.
All you have to do is run a little bit faster than the slowest person.
In other words, when you're improving your habits and choices, you never have to be "perfect.”
You just have to be a little bit better, consistently.
The 0% Game
Try a game.
You know those parents who focus on how much less than 100% their kids got?
For example let’s take a grade school test, "If you get 90% on your math test, what happened to the other 10%?"
They start from 100% (i.e. perfect) and work backwards. So everything is always portrayed less than 100%.
Now let’s do the Opposite:
So how could you apply this to your lifestyle?
See how much better things look when you start from the worst-case scenario?!
Let’s explore further:
What would move you just a little bit forward today?
What could make you just a little bit better today?
The answer? --
Progress, not perfection
Consider two options:
Option 1: Making yourself crazy for a week chasing a "100%" performance, followed by burning out and giving up.
Option 2: Trying to be 1% better every day, for a full year
Let's do the math:
7 days x 100% effort + 358 days x 0% effort = no change, or backsliding. You end up feeling like a failure.
365 days x 1% better every day = significant transformation. You end up feeling like a superstar.
Focus on "making a little progress" each day rather than being "perfect.”
Start from 0% and add. Notice your small accomplishments.
Let yourself be "good enough for now". Take the pressure off. Be patient.
Keep showing up. Keep trying.
And let the bear bite someone else in the butt.
Don’t wait for the “perfect” day, “perfect” body, or “perfect” schedule full of free time to come.
It never will.
Do something NOW.
Take the next 5 minutes to do whatever you can do, immediately, to stay on track.
Do that, and you're already 1% better. Congrats!
What to do today
Remember- you are only one person and can only do so much. Do not wear yourself down aiming for perfection when changing a little at a time is much more effective and manageable.
If you’re in need of any help setting goals or finding where to start, please do not hesitate to ask one of your coaches. We’re here to help!
Quinoa Chicken Salad
Provided by Coach Meredith
By Coach Meredith
Spring has sprung and I hope you all have been able to get out and enjoy some outdoor activities. This week I’d like to give you a few tips for your wellness journey. Whether you’re just starting on weight loss, finding yourself in the middle of the struggle, or working on maintenance, here are some tips to keep you on track:
1. BEGIN NOW AND BEGIN SMALL
So you’ve gained some weight. Of course this isn’t ideal, however it isn’t the end of the world. You must keep moving forward. It all starts with you. Stop saying “tomorrow will be the day.” Once you start you are that much closer to your goal.
The toughest part is showing up. There are days I don’t want to work out, but I know how much better I will feel once I do. All I have to do is step foot in the gym (or if you’re a runner, maybe it’s on your favorite trail) and that right there is enough. I showed up, therefore I HAVE to do something or else it was a waste of my time and I know if I don’t I will still feel crappy. Once you get moving, the endorphins start flowing telling your body it’s happy to be moving, even if it’s just for a small amount of time.
This same philosophy can be applied to food and goal setting. Instead of focusing on the 50 pounds you want to lose, put your energy towards the five pounds you can realistically lose in a month.
The best part is, if you’ve fallen off the wagon completely, taking a few small steps typically results in changes pretty quickly.
2. DON’T TAKE A GUILT TRIP
It is very easy to feel ashamed, guilty, and embarrassed if you’ve gained or regained weight. Weight gain is natural throughout different periods of our lives. The important thing is that we must shift our focus from the past and set some goals or actions you can take to move forward.
Do not beat yourself up over having that ice cream last night, instead focus on what you will do tonight to change that negative habit. Is there a healthier option to satisfy that craving? Most likely. Having a piece of fruit for those sugar cravings is always a better option or something with a little protein like Greek yogurt or a handful of nuts will rid you of that nighttime hunger.
Make attainable goals and celebrate yourself when you’ve hit them. Reward yourself with non-food items such as a night out seeing that movie you’ve been wanting to see or maybe it’s a trip to the mall for the gadget you’ve been eyeing up.
Remember to strive for progress, not perfection.
3. SEEK HELP
Find someone to help hold you accountable. This could be your coach, wellness coach, registered dietitian, doctor or therapist. Depending on your situation, it can also help to sit down with a professional to discuss why you may have gained the weight in the first place and what steps you should be taking to make a change that sticks.
Coach Meredith is a Wellness Coach with a degree in Nutrition. She offers meal planning and nutrition assistance. If you have any questions please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If you have preexisting medical conditions, are trying to lose more than 100 pounds or have a BMI of 40 or greater, we always recommend consulting a doctor first. This ensures you are embarking on the plan that is best for your health.
4. MEAL PLAN
It’s always helpful to plan out your meals and prep ahead of time. This helps to prevent you from falling back into old bad habits. Cooking at home saves time and money. Personally, I take 1-2 trips to the grocery store during the week, one is a big trip and the second is to pick up a few produce items that won’t last all week. I use my Sundays as meal prep days, washing, chopping, and cooking everything in big batches and dividing it up for the week. I try to incorporate as many veggies as possible into every meal (yes, even breakfast). If your schedule isn’t conducive to meal planning and getting groceries in advance, try a meal delivery service. There are plenty of services out there now that provide healthy meals when you’re too busy to think about it. Some examples are Paleo To Me (Which delivers right to The Bar!), Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, the list could go on and on.
5. FRIENDSHIPS ARE THE BEST SHIPS
Talk about it. Tell your family and friends you are working on your weight-loss goals. They may want to join you and even do a challenge together or join and exercise class. Your family and friends can also create an environment that’s more conducive to your goals by keeping junk food out of sight or by not bringing unhealthy food around in the first place. Sometimes it also just helps to have someone to vent to throughout the process.
Lastly, I want to mention -- do not let a number have power over you. As you exercise and strength train, you will be gaining lean muscle mass. Muscle weights more than fat. Period. The more lean muscle mass you have the easier it is for your body to burn calories. It may weigh more, but it is functioning more efficiently then it would if it were fat. Weight will always fluctuate. There are too many variables to remain 100% consistent every day.
The conclusion is-- Weight gain happens and weight loss is hard work. Don’t give up or feel defeated if you are struggling: You’ve got this and you are not alone.
I hope you all have a great week and a Happy, healthy Easter!
Greek Yogurt Avocado Chicken Salad
Provided by Coach Meredith
Stop Exercising...Start Training!
By Coach CJ
You’ve probably had every intention of getting in the best shape of your life THIS year, but still haven’t committed to the process. What went wrong?? It doesn’t matter if you haven’t stepped foot in a gym for 20 years or if you’ve been going FIVE times per week, chances are you’re looking at it as 'EXERCISE' not ‘TRAINING.’
Let’s take a step back and discuss the difference:
Exercise is movement without purpose; motion without direction. It’s what my mother does when she walks around the block, or you go to the gym and make up a workout on the spot.
Training is a mindset. It’s, the way in which you approach any exercise you do. Training is doing that same ‘EXERCISE’ activity, but with a specific, measurable goal in mind. Training involves having a plan of action on how you’re going to get to that goal. If you want results, training is the most effective way to get there.
Here are 5 steps to begin training:
1. SET A PRIMARY GOAL & MAKE A PLAN
We at The Bar Athletics love SMART Goals (Refer back to last week's SMART GOAL BLOG). SMART Goals allow you to get started in the right direction. All too often we hear, “I want to get healthy [fit, strong].” In order to become healthy, fit, or strong, you need a plan to get to that destination. “Healthy” and “strong” aren't specific enough. I want you to think of a road map, the foldable kind our parents kept in the glove box and used for family vacations. My father would unfold the map, mark our home or our starting location, and then find our destination. Next, he would highlight the route from starting location to end destination, figuring out the most efficient way to get there. He included checkpoints for gas and rest along the way. The point here is that he had a goal, a destination in mind, and the map was his plan. Think of your goal as a destination on a map. What route and what checkpoints do you need to go through in order to make it to your goal? How will you become healthy, fit, or strong? It’s time to set some goals and get SMART!
2. SMALLER, MORE SPECIFIC GOALS
How do you know you're headed in the right direction? Smaller, more frequent goals. At any particular moment, training and exercise might look more or less the same. But as we discussed earlier, they are not. When you train, sessions have specific goals relative to the overall goals of a program. The activities, loads, and frequencies you use are vital. You do what you need to do, not just what you want to do. For example, when training for a competition 3 months down the road you will need to set expectations of your training in order to perform at your best ability when the competition date arrives. Smaller goals such as attaining a higher load or more repetitions, will benefit the ultimate goal of your performance down the road.
3. FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
Fundamentals are the basics of your training. Without them we should not and could not train. They also provide the importance of having a coach. Having a coach might seem obvious, but there are many athletes that prefer to train alone. There are several important reasons for having a coach, but two integral reasons are:
1. The coach has knowledge, experience, and can provide an unbiased set of eyes.
2. The coach will get an athlete to do things he or she wouldn't do otherwise.
4. TRAINING IS EFFICIENT
If you look at any particular element in your training program and you can't explain how it will aid in your primary goal, then you probably shouldn't be doing it. For example, let’s say you’re looking to fit into your bathing suit this summer and are only doing cardio and avoiding strength training. Oh, you just want to “tone up?” Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but “TONING” is actually saying you want to build some muscle and lose body fat. Strength training is the most efficient way to “tone” up and lose body fat as it burns calories both during and post-exercise versus cardio which only burns during. An Olympic lifter, for example, would be wasting his time and energy doing hundreds of bench presses and calf raises when his focus should be on cleans, jerks, and snatches. In comparison, a bodybuilder doesn't need to be doing an hour of power cleans every day. My point here is to train efficiently for your goal. Do what is necessary to get you one step closer to where you need to be.
5. TRAINING USES STATS
When training, you will know before a session is even finished whether or not that day was successful. You don't judge training quality based on how tired you are, how sore you got, or the volume you were able to perform. Successful training is not judged on the pump you got, but on the progression toward YOUR GOALS. This is made possible by keeping record of all volumes, repetitions, and drills you use in training. Other items we must keep track of are our nutrition and sleep. If you didn't hit your planned number or rep scheme for the day, then there was a flaw somewhere. Flaws are due to the many variables in our lives. Maybe it was the programming, maybe your nutrition was off or perhaps you weren't rested enough. Good record-keeping will help you identify the problem and point you in the right direction to solve it.
So if you want results from your exercise, set up a training program to get to your goal the right way. Use the five steps we discussed to get started today!
Not sure what goals to set? Meet with one of our coaches for a FREE goal setting session.
Cauliflower Pizza Crust
Provided by Coach Meredith
PREHEAT the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
BREAK the cauliflower into florets and pulse in a food processor until fine. Steam in a steamer basket and drain well. (I like to put it on a towel to get all the moisture out.) Let cool.
COMBINE the cauliflower with the mozzarella, Parmesan, oregano, salt, garlic powder and eggs.
TRANSFER to the center of the baking sheet and spread into a circle, resembling a pizza crust. Bake for 20 minutes.
ADD desired toppings and bake an additional 10 minutes.