Healthy Holiday Brunch Menu

On Sunday I hosted a brunch for my lovely BootCampers. It was really great to get see so many of them in clothes other than yoga pants!

brunch spread 2

Much to my relief, they all seemed to enjoy my spread quite a lot and asked for the recipes, so I thought I’d share my round-up for a healthy-ish brunch!

SLOW-COOKER STEEL CUT OATS

I looked up several recipes and just ad-libbed my own version. I made triple this amount, but this is the ratio that I used. Recipe below would be about 3 to 4 servings.

  • cooking spray, butter or coconut oil (for coating the slow cooker)
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups milk (I used 2% regular, but you can use any that you like, Almond, coconut, etc.)
  • 1 chopped apple
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • EDITED TO ADD: Oops, I forgot to include the timing directions, yikes! Your slow-cooker should be set to LOW and this should take about 7 to 8 hours to cook, so overnight is great and it’s nice to wake up to the smell and a warm breakfast. If you haven’t used your slow-cooker a lot and are nervous about it, it is often recommended when you make this recipe the first time to do so during the day when you can check on it. I did overnight for my first run, though, and it was just fine.

You’ll notice that I added no sugar or sweetener to this! And I really don’t think it needed any added, to be honest. I think this is partly because I used such a high ratio of milk to water and the natural sweetness from the milk helped. A lot of recipes did a more 50:50 ratio, but I wanted the oats to be creamy and it worked! I had never made these before and will definitely be making it again. SO GOOD.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH, KALE & SAUSAGE FRITTATA

I used this recipe from the Williams Sonoma website. I rarely follow recipes verbatim, but I did in this instance and it turned out great. I think this is the one thing that everyone unilaterally enjoyed. I only regret not making two fritattas!

BERRY SALAD

Super simple!

  • 6 cups of fresh berries
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of honey, heated up so it’s fairly liquified
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of chopped, fresh mint

Toss this in a bowl and you are set. I had leftovers and felt this was especially tasty the next day on yogurt, because the berries had naturally macerated quite a bit, which would make it a great thing to do for weekly food prep methinks.

Also of note:  no, I don’t think berries need sweetness added from the honey, but it adds a nice festive touch and also (in my logic) helped make it a cohesive salad.

HEALTHIER BANANA BREAD WITH COCONUT

I used this recipe verbatim. The blogger claims it only has 115 calories per slice, so that definitely is pretty low compared to most banana breads. It also is pretty light and fluffy in its texture, which is due, I am sure, to the egg whites. I didn’t end up needing the 2 tablespoons of milk, either.

Of course, we also had plenty of mimosas, too, because I am fairly certain that is like, a requirement for Sunday brunch.

photo 1

All in all, this kind of spread is a good nod to my general eatin’ philosophy:  healthy without being crazy restrictive, lots and lots of flavor, whole foods (2% milk! whole milk ricotta!) and home-cooked. Nom nom, y’all!

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Coaching & Training: On Motivation and Critique

Lately I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a trainer or coach. In our current landscape it is an evolving role and there is so much to say about it all. And I’m not the only one that thinks so. I’ve read probably 8 or 10 write-ups in the last 3 months alone! It has given me enough ideas for at least four posts, but I’m starting here today.

A few months ago  I came across an article that caught my attention, gave me pause and I really wanted to write a response to it because I just had SO MUCH TO SAY. I think it only represents a small part of the fitness industry and I want to show you a broader spectrum. I want to show that there are a lot of ways to do this and a lot of ways to think about teaching group fitness that are, in my opinion, more beneficial to the people we serve.

The way my company teaches is different than group fitness in a gym, which is what I feel that this article is geared towards. Mostly I have the same people showing up day in and day out, only adding new people when a new session begins. And our groups are typically less than 12 participants. So yes, it’s a very different environment — one which I prefer! But that doesn’t mean that your standard gym classes aren’t good and can’t be better. They are and they can be!
Continue reading “Coaching & Training: On Motivation and Critique”

A Few of my Favorites Things! 1st Edition

It’s officially s-u-m-m-e-r and there are a lot of little things that I wanted to share with y’all, so we’re doing it compilation style instead of parsing it out niblet by niblet.

1. Kettle Guards.

kettleguards

I’m starting my path to the StrongFirst Certification, which means lots and lots of Turkish Get-ups and Kettle bell snatches…hard on the wrists, but much less so with a little cushion, for a little less pushin’.

2. Summer Fruit.

summerfruit

Watermelon, fresh, local strawberries, nectarines, peaches…um, yes please! I can’t get enough. Expect more fruit porn shots all summer long on my Instagram n’ Facebook.

3. Get Sh*% Done mug.

gsdmug

I needed a new mug and who can’t use a little extra kick in the motivation pants with their morning coffee? I know I can! I’m enjoying the mug so much that I keep washing it every morning just so I can use it again. I think my other mugs are going to get lonely.

4. Argus app.
argus

A few weeks back I put my beloved Fitbit through the washing machine. It worked for a day…then it went on the fritz 100%. I was sad to lose it, but didn’t replace it since I don’t need it. While it’s great for providing motivation, I do already, um workout quite a bit. So while it was a nice thing to have, it would be a wasteful for me to buy another. About a week ago, though, I found out about this Argus app, which also tracks your steps! It also allows you to track a bunch of other stuff, like your workouts (duh), water consumption and you can also take pics of your meals (fun, but beware if you are someone that struggles with any sort of eating disorder past or present).

A few other drawbacks are that you have to take your phone with you all the time to get an accurate reading of your steps…which, lets be honest, we do anyway, but sometimes it’s nice to leave the ol’ ball and chain behind. And I also don’t believe it’s available on most phones/platforms…believe it’s just iPhone 5 for now (but don’t quote me on that).

5. Anderson Valley Holy Gose Ale.

goseale

Beer on a fitness blog? Waaaat? Yup, hello and welcome to my world:  I’m a craft beer lover. Many ladies love the wine, I love the high quality beers. Mostly, though, I’m into IPAs, which are higher in alcohol content — it’s seems to be trendy to get as high as possible. So, I just can’t enjoy them as often as I might like. Which is fine, too much alcohol consumption can get in the way of fitness goals…and well, a healthy life in general. Unfortunately, my taste buds think that most lighter beers pretty much taste like, well…crap (think Bud Light). But, this Gose? It’s 4.2% alcohol content! Yay! And it tastes good, it’s a bit tart, citrusy and light. So, it’s much easier to allow this beer as a treat on a random evening. Oh…and? Less alcohol content also means less calories. Lots of win, here.

6. Whole Foods maximum moisture lotion.

wholefoodslotion

So, this is how my hands look from so much kettlebell work this week:

calluses

Not real pretty, right? Well, part of callus management is keeping the hands well hydrated and moisturized. I randomly picked up this lotion this week and was super surprised at how awesome it was. Guessing part of that is the macadamia oil and shea butter. Whatever it is, at $3.99 a pop, I’m pretty sure this will be a staple in my world all summer long.

And…that’s a wrap folks! Favorites list, complete.

“Counting” workouts

If I had a dollar for every time a client or friend asked me if something “counted” as a workout, I would definitely have a few extra hundred bucks in the bank. And just this week I read a fitness piece by someone that I truly like and respect. In the program, there was a guideline for not counting certain types of movement as your exercise for the week. I get the point of this:  you want your clients to actually do the workouts you write for them. You want them to achieve the results you’ve promised them and that won’t happen if they don’t do the workouts. I truly understand this perspective.

But the idea of not counting things like soccer games or hilly weekend hikes as part of your weekly exercise? To me, that’s the wrong tone to set. Because to me that sounds like we’re telling people that what they are already doing isn’t good enough. And that’s just not my style. Because for those people that are doing that kind of stuff? Keep going, buddy! I don’t want them to stop. I want my workouts to complement their life as it is, I don’t want them to prioritize a workout over a hike. There. I said it. My workouts are a piece of the puzzle to make those things more fun, so you are stronger and have more endurance, not replace something you already enjoy.

As for those times when we ask someone this question of, “does this count?”, it’s because we feel the need to have validation, right? I get it, we want to know that it counts, damnit!? But here is the truth:  no one is keeping track…no one except you! Trust me, whatever your beliefs are, there is no God of fitness keeping hash marks of your workouts.

You might be saying to yourself:  what the hell kind of trainer says this kind of stuff? The kind of trainer that doesn’t believe in using shame tactics, that’s who. Because putting pressure on yourself to measure up to some arbitrary measure is a really awful way to feel. Trust me when I say that the only people that need to worry about whether a workout “counts” are competitive athletes (that likely do have a coach keeping track) or perhaps those that have a very specific goal in mind, like completing an Ironman. If those don’t apply to you, shouldn’t your goal simply to be healthy and happy? Shouldn’t your workouts simply be a complement to your busy life and not be yet another thing that makes you feel bad yourself? There are many battles to fight in life. This isn’t one of them.

If you moved into a new house this weekend and lifted boxes for 48-hours, you better believe I would validate the hell out of you and understand if you didn’t fit in a run or trip to the gym. Not because I want you to be lazy, but I don’t believe in creating an exercise obsession either. Yes, there is always “time” to fit in a workout. Hell, I’ve used this logic with clients and on myself. There are times when it is worth it:  like the time I did Tabata sprints in a hotel parking lot at 7am in 25-degree weather with my dog before spending 9-hours in the car. But is actually  necessary to kill yourself to get up at 5:30 to fit in a workout on already very active day, e.g. moving? It’s definitely a question that is worth asking yourself.

tabata and stella

(Stella wasn’t super stoked about the sprints being so early…but she warmed up quickly!)

So if you find yourself asking someone else if something “counts” as a workout, step aside and ask yourself a few things:

1. Does whatever you’re doing meet your goals? (If you don’t know what your goals are, this question doesn’t even apply to you because your goal is then to simply be healthy and happy.)

2. Are you moving?

3. Are you sweating?

4. Does it make you happy?

If you can answer at least 3 of those things, then yes, here I am to say that it “counts” as a workout.

It’s okay to want validation. Particularly if you are paying for a trainer, whose advise and expertise is what you are looking and paying for. But let’s ask ourself why we are asking this kind of question:  is it because you’re actually looking for a technique, exercise-science based opinion? I.e. can I count this as my “arms” day, etc. Or is it because you want someone to tell that what you did was good enough? If it’s the latter, then let’s go back to our checklist above. Because I am here to tell you that you are good enough. You don’t need someone else to tell you that. Trust me…you are good enough!