How to stay on track over a holiday weekend

With Labor Day weekend coming up quickly, literally tomorrow (or today for those of you lucky enough to have Friday off), I wanted to give some helpful tips to staying on track when at the variety of traveling, parties, cookouts, and festivities you are inevitably going to partake in over the weekend. (As you should!) It can be difficult when you feel like you are not in control of the food you are being served. As Midwestern folk, we are wired to politely munch on and eat what is placed before us; they’re gracious enough to provide so we will not complain, right? Sure! To an extent. You have goals an, sure, one bad day isn’t going to send those goals spiraling down the drain; however, there are ways to indulge and enjoy, while making smart choices that will keep you on track and feeling good about the holiday!

1. If you’re traveling, pack your own snacks!
There is no reason to rely on gas station munchies to get you through a road trip. Make your own trail mix, pack up a few Rx bars, grab some Fuel for Fire from the fridge in the gym (make sure to write it down on the retail sheet…;)). Healthy snacks are some of the easiest things to find! Don’t get me wrong, I love a good stop for gas station munchies but when you are trying to eat healthy, there are much better, and just as delicious, options! Some of my favorites are Rx Bars, Fuel for Fire, almonds, apples/bananas with nut butter, greek yogurt, and beef jerky. Honestly, many healthy options can be found at the gas station (holler for Kwik Trip), you just might have to do a little digging. 😉

2. Avoid arriving at the party hungry.
I used to do this ALL. THE. TIME. I knew I was going to a cookout or going to be having an awesome dinner out with friends so I wouldn’t eat anything all day long so that I could stuff my face that night. Not a good strategy. You end up making much worse choices when you attend a gathering hungry than if you’ve fed yourself normally throughout the day. Sure, feel free to have that brownie you’ve been waiting all day for, you just won’t feel the need to have four if you show up only slightly hungry versus ravenous. Eat a protein and healthy fat packed snack about an hour before your holiday get-together. This will help cut any cravings for sugar and processed carbs.

3. Attending a potluck? Stick to the meats, veggies, and fruits first.
Yes, my favorite part about a pot luck is the desserts. Hands down. However, if you’re looking to make some better choices over this holiday weekend, start by loading up on the protein choices that are available first. Every potluck has a veggie tray, so be sure to load up on those as well. Once you’ve have a healthy helping of those, feel free to go back for some of the more indulgent plates. There is nothing wrong with having some and this way, you’ll be full on protein and veggies and be less tempted to have more than you should! Also, bring something you know will keep you on track for your goals so you know you will have at least one healthy option to eat!

4. Stay active and focused on the people you’re with!
One of my favorite things about any holiday is the food that comes along with it; however, making the food the focus is what can get you into trouble. Focus on the awesome people you get to hang around with and suggest going for a walk or playing an active yard game to keep people moving and making fun memories! Offering to clean up and help your host will also help prevent overeating or reaching for an extra dessert.

5. Remember that YOU ARE HUMAN!
If you do happen to slip up, leave the guilt at the door. Recognize what happened and remember that one over indulgence and one bad day does NOT ruin all of the work you’ve already put in. Holidays are about times spent with family, making memories, and having fun. Remember your goals and know what you want to get out of them but avoid letting them control your days. Relax and have fun with the ones around you!

I hope this helped give you a little food for thought (pun intended) as you go into the long weekend. Remember that failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Take the little extra time it takes to set yourself up for success this weekend! Remember to HAVE FUN! We can’t wait to hear all about your adventures!

Amanda 🙂

A Guide To Planning Your Meals

A Guide to Planning Your Meals by Coach Pat

You’re signed up for our Nutrition Challenge. You’ve cleaned out your cupboards and pantry of all the unhealthy food you shouldn’t be eating any more. Now it’s time to plan out your week of meals. This task always seems super daunting, but just a little thought goes a long way. It helps to know right now that some weeks will go better than others. There will be a little bit of research and trial and error to be had – but we’re here to help. Remember, this is a process.

Once you get your InBody results, you’ll know exactly how much you’re suppose to eat each day based on your goals (weight loss, general health, and performance). Use this Katy Hearn Macronutrient Calculator to figure out your daily expenditure. Read Coach Travis’ post about how to calculate your daily macro needs.

Scour Pintrest, google search “healthy crockpot recipes”, or hit up Mark’s Daily Apple, OMG Paleo, or one of the thousands of other paleo websites for recipes. Choose 1 or 2 recipes that look tasty. Plan on making more servings than the recipe lists so you can have leftovers. Use our nutrition chart to compare ingredients. Consider substituting ingredients out if they don’t fit your nutrition plan – that’s okay.

Or just use the meal template guide and the recipe and grocery list that you’ll receive when you sign up for the Nutrition Challenge. 

Based on the recipes and what you need to eat for each day for the week, make a grocery list of the foods you’ll need to buy at the store.

Example – Figuring Out Breakfast

I usually eat 4 eggs every morning along with a cup of oatmeal mixed with a massive tablespoon my favorite peanut butter (Buddy’s Cinnamon Raisin) and either sliced bananas or berries on top. 4 eggs times 7 days equals 28 eggs for the week. Based on that I’ll need at least 7 bananas or 4-6 packs of berries for the week. I typically buy bananas because they are cheaper and I usually only buy berries if they are on sale. I usually make a big batch of steel cut oats (2 cups worth) that will last me 6 or 7 days. Each bag is roughly 4 cups. So one bag will last me two weeks. One jar of peanut butter lasts me 2-3 weeks. I usually buy two so I don’t have to worry about that ingredient for a while.

The peanut butter item brings me to another point. If planning your meals out, doing any cooking whatsoever, and grocery shopping is new for you, your first couple of trips to the grocery store will be more expensive than the subsequent trips. This is because you’ll need to buy salt, pepper, any condiments, oil, butter, spices, etc that you don’t have. You only have to buy these things once in awhile, so after your first few trips, things will get much cheaper.

Now your trip to the grocery store has never been easier. No wandering the isles wasting time. You know what you need to get ahead of time. Get in, get your groceries, get out. As the weeks and months pass, you’ll begin to know off the top of your head exactly what you need each week, making things even easier.

Plan on making most of your meals early on in the week. As the week goes on, typically what happens is we get tired and decide against the extra effort. Next thing you know – some of the food may have gone bad and you’ve eaten out 50% of the time.

You can do all of your cooking in one day, or spread it out over a few dinners (Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday dinner). I find that doing one prep day takes too long for me and is kind of exhausting, which deters me down the road from doing it. That’s why I spread it out. Other people prefer one big prep day – try both ways out and do what works for you.

An important note about “Plan Bs”

Planning is a fantastic thing. However, we all know that “no battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” Part of good planning is factoring a back-up plan, aka a “Plan B”, when things don’t go according to plan. There will be a weekend or weeknight when you may have been out of town or had a long day of work, and when you come home you are tired and not feeling like making any meals or going grocery shopping. This WILL happen. Have some fall back options.

Plan Bs

  • Non-perishable food items or frozen food options
    • Canned tuna with a tasty condiment + frozen vegetables + sweet potato
  • Healthy restaurants
    • Chipotle is my go to
    • There is a restaurant a couple of blocks from my house – I’ll order their grilled chicken and walk over if I’m in a pinch
    • Ordering a burger and removing the bun or half the bun is a great way to go in just about any restaurant.
  • Leftovers!

Take a minute or two every day and look at your calendar or just think about the day ahead. Consider when you’ll take the time to get in your nutrition. Consider any long periods of time where you won’t be able to eat, and how you’ll fit in a break to fuel up before or after. Some days will allow for more time to sit down, other days you’ll have to get creative when you’re crunched for time.

The first few weeks of planning will seem a bit stressful. This is because it isn’t a habit yet. Stick with it. Soon planning will become second nature to you.
Good luck!

Stay tuned for more posts about how we’re setting everyone in the gym up for success with our upcoming Nutrition Challenge! 

  • The CFM Nutrition Challenge starts Sunday, January 8th at 8 AM – 11 AM
    • Cost – $60
    • Length – 6 weeks
    • Baseline workout before and after the challenge
    • Paleo Pot-luck and Q&A on February 4th
    • InBody testing before and after the challenge
    • Grocery lists, meal plans, community, and results

Click HERE to register.

Using Your Body Composition Numbers to Find Food Intake

What Is Your Body Composition & Food Intake?

At the beginning of the Challenge we will be testing your body fat percentage. This, along with your goal, basic body measurements and activity level, will determine how much you can eat each day.

During the Challenge, you will track what you eat and at the end of the day you will find that you either ate the right amount, ate too little or you ate too much.

Each of you will have a set amount of macronutrients and total calories you can eat each day.

What are Macronutrients?

Macros are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

How to Determine Your Intake Levels

Now that you’ve chosen your nutrition options and you’ve done your In-Body test it is time to determine your intake levels:

  1. First, go to https://www.katyhearnfit.com/macro-calculator.html. Ignore her “flashy pictures”. The calculator is worth it.
  2. Enter in your height, weight and age. Mark imperial.
  3. Use the lean body mass formula. Enter your activity level. Be honest about your activity level. Most of us will be somewhere in the middle. If you overestimate your activity level your numbers will be too high and you will eat too much. Enter your BF%.
  4. Hit Calculate TDEE and record BMR and TDEE here:   BMR______   TDEE ______
  5. Next, choose your goals. Weight Loss, Wellness (Maintenance), for Performance choose either Maintenance or Weight Gain. Record total calories/day here: _________
  6. The “Customize Your Nutrition Plan” question will autofill based on your previous responses. Leave whatever is filled in for this.
  7. Click “Calculate Results” and select how many meals per day you will eat.
  8. Record your grams/day here (this is what you can consume each day):

Protein______  Carb______ Fat______

9.   Record your grams/meal here (this will help you plan your meals):

Protein/meal______  Carb/meal______ Fat/meal______

How to Use Your Numbers:

At the Nutrition Challenge Kick-off, we will be providing templates for Paleo and Clean levels for meal planning. We’ll also have a digital packet full of grocery lists and meal plans.

You will also notice that for many of the groceries there is a breakdown of carbs, protein, and fats per Gram. For those – the groceries that do not have a breakdown listed – you will need to check the labels on the packages.

You will use grams/meal numbers (Step 9 from above) to help you plan your meals accordingly. There are sample templates (also attached) and sample meal plans that you can use for this.

How will we track our intake?

During the Challenge, you will track what you eat and at the end of the day you will find that you either ate the right amount, ate too little or you ate too much.

MyFitnessPal:

We will be using the MyFitnessPal App, to track everything you consume. This is a practice that can be carried on post-Challenge – if you so choose. The MyFitnessPal app is awesome for tracking your daily consumption. There are many features of the app that you are not required to use but you may want to explore on your own. For the purposes of this Challenge all you need to do is use it to track your daily food consumption. Anything you put in your body, you will enter into MyFitnessPal. It can be done on your phone on the app or on a computer.

1.Go to http://www.myfitnesspal.com/ and sign in or create an account.

2. Enter your vitals – height, weight, gender, and age. If you are starting a new account you will be prompted to enter this. Then it will give you recommended totals for your macronutrients and total cals. These won’t be as accurate to what we went through above, ignore these.

3. Go to the link in the top right that says “Goals”. Change your Total Calories to what you found above with Katy Hearn’s Macro Calculator.(Step 5 above)

4. Next change the percentages of protein, carbs, and fats to be as close as possible to the numbers you found above. Don’t worry too much if it is not exact. (Step 8 above)

5. Now you are ready to start tracking your food!

6. You may want to download the app to your phone. An additional option available is to upgrade your app for $9.99 a month to unlock some awesome features, such as  a label scanner which makes recording very easy. (This can be canceled at any time)

If tracking isn’t your thing, by the time you are done with this challenge you will be an expert at “eyeballing” your food. Essentially, we want you to track during this Challenge to learn about quantities and how to apply them to your everyday nutrition moving forward.

Stay tuned for more posts about how we’re setting everyone in the gym up for success with our upcoming Nutrition Challenge! 

  • The CFM Nutrition Challenge starts Sunday, January 8th at 8 AM – 11 AM
    • Cost – $60
    • Length – 6 weeks
    • Baseline workout before and after the challenge
    • Paleo Pot-luck and Q&A on February 4th
    • InBody testing before and after the challenge
    • Grocery lists, meal plans, community, and results

Click HERE to register.

20 Reasons You Should Register For The CFM Nutrition Challenge

  1. The focus on real food. No processed stuff.
  2. It works. You’ll gain energy, lose unwanted fat, and gain muscle.
  3. The self-discipline and organization you gain during the challenge will overflow to other areas of your life and set the tone for the rest of the year.
  4. You’re busy. You need your immune system to be as strong as possible – otherwise life is going to be rough. That starts with fueling with the right stuff in the right amounts.
  5. After a rough 2016, it’s time to reclaim your life. It starts with your health and nutrition.
  6. When the time does comes to indulge – you want to enjoy those times, guilt free.
  7. Your hormones are going off the rails – the energy of your day is a roller coaster – and everyone in your life is in for the moodiness ride, whether they like it or not. You want that to change.
  8. You want to stop mindlessly eating and actually savor your food.
  9. You’re tired of giving your all in workouts, and not seeing the results.
  10. You’ve developed a belly as of late…
  11. Dairy has always disagreed with you. You need the extra push to get it out of your nutrition.
  12. You want to embrace the challenge and make yourself proud.
  13. You’re addicted to sugar!
  14. You know that taking control of your food intake will be empowering.
  15. You’ve tried losing weight by eating less – it didn’t work.
  16. You want to optimize your performance in the gym and see your scores go through the roof.
  17. You want to sleep longer and more soundly.
  18. You want to wake up feeling alert and optimistic.
  19. You want to find some new favorite (and healthy) foods.
  20. You need to drink more water and eat more vegetables!

Stay tuned for more posts about how we’re setting everyone in the gym up for success with our upcoming Nutrition Challenge! 

  • The CFM Nutrition Challenge starts Sunday, January 8th at 8 AM – 11 AM
    • Cost – $60
    • Length – 6 weeks
    • Baseline workout before and after the challenge
    • Paleo Pot-luck and Q&A on February 4th
    • InBody testing before and after the challenge
    • Grocery lists, meal plans, community, and results

Click HERE to register.

Nutrition Challenge Scoring & A Word On Quantity

With the nutrition challenge quickly approaching, I figured it would be a good idea to run everyone by the daily scoring system we will be using for the challenge.

Below is our daily scoring system:

  • Nutrition 5 pts –
    • You start each day with 5 points. For every non-compliant item you consume you will take away 1 point. (i.e. I had a cookie, so I scored 4 points. Or I ate a whole pie. You get 0 points)
  • Intake Levels 3 pts –
    • Did you eat the right amount of carbs, proteins, fats and total calories?
    • What is the right amount? We’ll help you find this amount based on your InBody results. 
    • We want you to come as close as possible to your macro and calorie number each day.
  1. We will allow you a window of 10% less than your recommended total Calories for each day, but you cannot go over.
  2. For each of your Macros you are allowed 5% more or less on each but you must not go over on total Cals.
    • If yes, you score 3 points. If no, you get 0. This is all or nothing – either you score a 3 or a 0.
  • Water 1 pt   
    • Drink 1/3 of your bodyweight in ounces each day of water and receive 1 point.
  • Exercise 2 pts available –
    • If you exercise, that is worth 1 point.
    • If you workout at CFM, that is worth an additional 1 point – so you’d score 2 points in this category.
  • Sleep 1 pt –
    • Get 7 hours of sleep (or more)  and receive 1 point.
  • Lifestyle 2 pts –
    • Each week there will be a lifestyle element. Complete it each day and receive 2 points.
  • Reflection 1 pt –
    • Write a note and stay active in the community and you receive 1 point.

The scoring system is based on the system used for the Whole Life Challenge. Nutrition, Water, Sleep, Exercise, Lifestyle, and Reflection points are all the same. (Unfortunately – we can’t be as fancy as the WLC and offer mulligans, bonus points, and/or a bunch of extra time to record your score.)

The focus of the scoring system is to bring awareness to our daily habits which will bring about the transformation in health and fitness you are looking for. 

We’ve added a small caveat to the exercise score. If you workout at home you receive 1 point. If you workout at CrossFit Mendota, you receive another point. We believe our athletes get the most out of a workout done in the gym. You’re guided by our coaches to scale correctly, you’re pushed by your peers, and you’re doing the most effective workout program for balanced fitness – CrossFit. We set up the scoring system to reflect that.

Probably the biggest difference in our nutrition challenge is the Intake Levels score. We included the portion size score because we believe maximum nutrition is a two sided coin. On the one side is quality. This means minimizing junk food and maximizing the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body is receiving via whole, natural foods. On the other side is quantity. This means managing your portion sizes based on your goals.

Everyone’s journey to good nutrition and ultimately, the results they want is going to be different. By providing education and an approach toward quality and/or quantity provides more paths to your goals.

You may have also noticed that the score for hitting your daily total calories and macronutrients is 3 points. This is slightly more than the other 5 questions and slightly less than the nutrition question. Why?

It May Not Be Easy

Counting your macros is going to take some time and effort. The first few weeks will include some trial and error. It may even be a little stressful at times. We want to reward that effort with a higher score because we believe that effort will ultimately pay off.

Quick personal side story. About 6 years ago, not long after I started CrossFit, I began experimenting with my nutrition so that I could get the most out of these super tough CrossFit workouts. This was when I was working full time as an engineer, working crazy odd and long hours in the boonies of Texas on oil rigs (so my life wasn’t conducive toward spending a great deal of time on tinkering with my diet). I started with what was called the Zone Diet, which is essentially a variation on tracking your macros and focusing on quantifying your food intake. For three weeks a journaled my food and tracked all the quantities. The first week was difficult but toward the end of the week I had essentially tracked everything I typically eat. By the end of week three, I could drastically back off the amount of measuring I was doing because I could use the “eyeball” method on 90% of my food intake and be accurate. I was essentially on auto-pilot at that point because quantity control had become a habit.

I saw fantastic results. My energy improved, I had toned up, and my workout scores were improving a ton. The best part was that the information I’ve gathered from that 3 weeks has lasted me until today. It was a lasting change and lifestyle thing for me. I’ve done a couple weeks here and there to re-check my intake but even that’s required less effort than that first week.

By putting forth the time and effort during the challenge to track your food intake will be 100% worth it. Not only will you develop a long term grasp on your food intake and results, but also you’ll learn a ton about yourself.

Logging Your Food and Scores

We’ll be using the MyFitnessPal website and app for food tracking. 

If you don’t want to use the app on your phone, you can journal your food with pen and paper during the day and log your information on a computer later on. Either way – it would be a good idea to create an account and play around with it before the challenge begins. If you are scoring well in the macro/total calories department and near the top of the leaderboard – we should be able to see on your MyFitnessPal app that you are logging your food intake for the days you are scoring.

We are currently developing a website that will be used to record your daily score and to check the leaderboard. We’ll be publishing that closer to the start of the challenge.

Stay tuned for more posts about how we’re setting everyone in the gym up for success with our upcoming Nutrition Challenge! 

  • The CFM Nutrition Challenge starts Sunday, January 8th at 8 AM – 11 AM
    • Cost – $60
    • Length – 6 weeks
    • Baseline workout before and after the challenge
    • Paleo Pot-luck and Q&A on February 4th
    • InBody testing before and after the challenge
    • Grocery lists, meal plans, community, and results

Click HERE to register.