B-A Skillet

An easy, bad-youknowwhat meal and some Monday motivation

I believe THRIVE-ing and STRENGTH go hand in hand. You simply cannot thrive without being strong. And the converse is true- it’s really hard to be strong unless you are in a state of thrive (or on a journey to thrive).

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It’s actually true. Anatomically speaking, if you break a bone, once it heals that area of the bone is stronger.  The same is true for the brokenness in our life. Once you break, you will be stronger in that area of your life, you spirit, than you were before the hurt.  I know that doesn’t make the hurt, the pain, any easier. But believe that you will come away stronger. Reflect on your life this week and look at how you have grown through times of brokenness. Find strength.

Sunday usually ends up being my day to rest and restore. That doesn’t mean I do nothing, it just means I try to take time for me, for my faith, and to s-l-o-w down.  My Mondays that follow restful Sundays go so much better than ones that follow a hectic Sunday. Mondays are also my longest work day and so Monday night’s dinner needs to be quick  AND refueling. 

Today’s recipe is SIMPLE and NUTRITIOUS. It’s full of healthy fats, green veggies, and a few healthy starches (carbs aren’t ALL bad, they are necessary for life!) It only requires 4 main ingredients: asparagus, red onion, grass-fed ground beef, and rice. Cook, add your favorite spices, and you are done. BAM! Dinner in less than 20 minutes.

Start your rice first. Follow your directions on the package and don’t disturb the rice until it is cooked. It ensures you will have perfect rice every time.

While the rice is cooking, brown the grass-fed beef, add in the onions and asparagus. Cook until veggies are at the desired level of cooking. Add the spices that you want- I used garlic, basil, sea salt, and black pepper. 

And that’s it. Serve the veggies and meat over the rice. Nourishing. Simple. Easy. And it makes great leftovers.  

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B-A Skillet
Beef and Asparagus are the main ingredients in this simple, yet nutritious skillet dish.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. Organic White Rice cooked according to package directions.
  2. 1 Package of Grass-fed Beef
  3. 3 cups chopped Asparagus
  4. 1 Red Onion, chopped
  5. Assorted Spices
Instructions
  1. Prepare rice according to package directions.
  2. Brown beef in a large skillet.
  3. Add in onions and continue to cook.
  4. Add asparagus in last. Cook until desired texture is achieved.
  5. Season with your favorite spices.
  6. Serve skillet over rice. Enjoy :-)
THRIVEfitt Life http://thrivefittlife.com/

#realtalk …I also HATE Scales.

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Before I write this post, I would like to clarify a few things:

1. This post is meant to be an encouragement and inspiration, it is NOT to toot my own horn.

2. I’m not bashing weekly weigh-ins or denying a scale is a good tool.

3. I’m not looking for a million complements or haters.

Ok… now that you have some guidelines…

Sometimes I think that people believe that trainers are above the daily fitness and self-image struggles that seem to plague the rest of the world.

My trainer never wants/eats/craves junk food. FALSE. 

My trainer never gets tired. ABSOLUTELY FALSE. 

My trainer must love his or her body all the time. A COMPLETE LIE.

Show me a trainer who has never once struggled with body image and I will gladly invest in some training sessions with them. I could use that kind of mental resiliency.

But the truth is we struggle. We doubt. We criticize ourselves. We roll our eyes. We sigh. We avoid mirrors. We obsess about the scale.

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Ah… the scale. That stupid little machine that can be a good tracker and the destroyer of all sanity.

Let me tell you my struggle.

I had the beginnings of an eating disorder in college. I was stressed. Life was difficult. School was hard. And it was the one thing I could control. Counting calories became a game. I was obsessive. I quickly lost a lot of weight and dropped down to easily fitting in a size four. Fortunately, going home for the summer brought me out of my obsession. Sophomore year brought its own challenges and I severely struggled with my body image and self esteem. 

And then I started playing water polo and discovered STRENGTH.

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Real. Beautiful. Lift-really-heavy. Strength.

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My sophomore year of college was the defining point in my career path. In my fitness. In my view of myself.  I went from being a 120 lb 5’9″  size 6-8 to an 135 lb 5’9″ size 5-6 in a matter of a season. And I discovered a love for lifting.

Fast forward to the present. I am a triathlete. I participate in races lasting about 6 hours. That is a far cry from my freshman year of college when a ten minute ab workout left me shaky and exhausted because I had zero fuel left. That fact alone pushes me on to achieve greater levels of fitness. To be faster, stronger, better…

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But that doesn’t mean that the self-hate doesn’t come creeping up now and then. 

I am stronger now than I was playing college water polo. My bench press max has increased by 45 pounds in 5 months.  I can see greater strength, greater power, greater endurance. I love these muscles….

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Until I put on a dress or a shirt that isn’t made for a girl with shoulders…

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I am a cross country coach. For not being a runner other than  self-declared, I keep up pretty well. I am surrounded by athletes that are MUCH smaller than I am or those who lost weight during the season. My 150 lb 5’9″ size 6 frame towers over most of them.

That doesn’t help my self-image some days…

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But though I am not perfect, I have learned that the scale doesn’t define me. I may not weigh the same, but I am the same size or smaller, weighing more than I ever have before this.  In fact, I was told at the beginning of cross country that I would lose weight (a fact that I will admit I was slightly excited about), but instead I gained 5 pounds.  However, all my clothes got loser. My body fat went down. My muscle mass increased. Overall, I am healthier, stronger, and more fit than I was 5 pounds ago.

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Our mind can be our worst enemy. It can also be our best friend. Surround yourself with positive people and positive thinking. You are beautiful.  Why waste your energy on negative thinking?

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Photos courtesy of Kristin Marie Photography

To Crossfit or not to Crossfit

Recently there has been a HUGE push in the fitness industry towards High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or other intense forms of exercise. We have Tough Mudders, Warrior Dashes, Crossfit, Tabata, HIIT aerobics, and a variety of other high intensity classes and events that are becoming more and more popular.

Confession: I love them. I thrive off a challenge. Dare I say I’m addicted to a workout where you are shaking and want to quit.  I have used Crossfit protocols and workouts in my own training and have adapted these workouts with my clients. In fact, I love a good 10 Minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible). 

But that isn’t my only method of training. In fact, I like a nice balance in my training. Cycle some aerobic work with traditional strength mixed up with some HIIT training and I’m hooked! Here’s why….

There are benefits to each style. And it has been proven that we must have some form of progressive overload to keep from plateau.  It also brings us back to functional fitness…

Think about your life for a second. You get up. You maybe eat breakfast and then you sit. You walk to work, (maybe) take the stairs, and then you sit from 9 to 5. You get up. You go home. You sit for dinner. Maybe you get your workout in there at some point. But maybe not. You do some house work. You sit. You sleep. 

But wait. As you are home making dinner, your 3 year old reaches for a hot pan on the stove. You dash to stop her and catch the pan. As you are doing yard work, your dog dashes towards the road- and you sprint after him to bring him back to safety. You finish grocery shopping and run to your car in a storm. You have to help a friend move to a new apartment on the 15th floor while the elevator is broken.

So look again at your life: most of our time is spent at a minimal heart rate which equates with aerobic training. Low intensity. It is sustainable. But we have some high intensity moments- kids, pets, storms, friends, even being late to an important meeting cause us to move into high intensity mode. It’s quick. It’s fast. Its anaerobic. Chances are good that you would have a hard time sprinting after a dog over and over again from 9 – 5. But you could walk around at work all day.

So from a functional fitness standpoint, we should train aerobically. And probably more than we think we should. But we can’t neglect the importance of some anaerobic training and HIIT. And on top of all that, strength is important for being able to safely and efficiently complete aerobic and anaerobic activity, so we need to add that to our program as well. 

So bear with me here….

I set the stage. I told you what I find to be the most effective and safe way to train (though there are ALWAYS exceptions. ALWAYS).  So now hopefully you see how I have formulated my opinions (observation and a whole lot of reading research articles and continuing education – thank you NSCA and IDEA). And I am certified by the NSCA (who Crossfit has filed a lawsuit against). How do I make it work? Can HIIT and traditional aerobic/strength programs work together? Absolutely. But there must be guidelines.

1. HIIT requires some level of fitness. It is recommended that you have built a base before you begin and that you are physically able to perform at a higher level of intensity.

2. You should work up to a high level of exercise overnight. This isn’t 0 to 60. Its a progressive pattern. I don’t start my clients with 20 minute AMRAP. In fact, I don’t even start them at 5 minute AMRAP. Maybe 2-3 rounds of some exercises. Maybe.

3. One size doesn’t fit all. Don’t try to push people into one workout all day long. Adjust it based on needs, age, and ability.

4. You must consider: pre-training evaluation, technique (!!!!!), strength, speed, balance, warm-up, landing surface, footwear, training areas, equipment, and supervision.

(These points were gathered from the NSCA’s response to Crossfit’s lawsuit here).

HIIT training (and Crossfit) have their place and benefits. They can:

Increase performance significantly, elevates metabolism beyond your workout, elevate lactate threshold, and decrease recovery time 

But so does aerobic exercise, which:

Improves fat metabolism, increases aerobic capacity, strengthens the immune system, builds resistance to fatigue, reduces the risk of heart disease, improves quality of sleep, reduces stress, improves mood, increases cardiac output, improves your lung function, increases mental function, and increases HDL (good cholesterol). 

And traditional strength training does too, as it:

Increases bone density, improves tendon and ligament strength, increases mental toughness, and increases lactate threshold in addition to the aerobic benefits. 

To sum it all up- you need to find what works for you at the level you need. But there must always be some balance.

 

Lifting Minion

Lifting Minion

Disclaimer: I do not have a CrossFit certification and do not advertise to teach CrossFit. Nor am I a “CrossFit Hater.” The intent of this article was to promote a balanced training program.