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Meal Prepping—The Key to Keeping Your Diet Goals

By William Imbo

Regardless of your diet goals or whether you choose to go Paleo or count macros, it’s important that you attack your plan the right way to give yourself the best chance of success. One way to attack clean eating for success is meal prepping.

Meal prepping is exactly what it sounds like: You buy food for a set period—a few days, a week, or even a month—cook and prepare the food in advance, store them in the fridge or freezer and voila! You’ve planned ahead and there’s a higher chance of you sticking to your plan than falling off the rails.

What are the benefits of meal prepping?
Saves time
If you never take time, how can you ever have it? By carving out a couple of hours on a Sunday to batch cook your meals for the next few days, you can be sure to save yourself a ton of grief and time when you come home from work or the box and find your next meal waiting for you in the fridge. Pop it in the microwave or oven, and you’re good to go. The last thing anyone wants to think about when they’re on their way home from a long day is having to make dinner. But when your meal is already prepped, it’s one less thing to worry about and makes eating clean that much more enjoyable.

Dissuades you from eating crap
When people are tired and hungry the thought of preparing and consuming a clean meal becomes less appealing to a pizza that takes 10 minutes cook in the oven and requires no work whatsoever. When a healthy meal is already staring back at you when you open the fridge, time isn’t a factor anymore, and that pizza can wait another week.

It’s cost-efficient
The first time you buy in bulk, that monster receipt might make you do a double-take. Be prepared to shell out a little more than you normally would for groceries. Knowing where (and how) to shop for groceries, can save you money. Often stores like Costco, BJ’s, Sam’s Club and Aldi will have some amazing deals (including organic options) you can take advantage of. On top of that, buying for the week means you’ll be less likely to spend any extra on particular cravings you have from meal to meal—like that pizza we discussed earlier.

Tips for Meal Prepping
Plan ahead
Just as you need to carve out a few hours to cook and prepare your meals, you need to devote 10-15 minutes to formulate a solid food list for the length of time you’re planning to prepare for. You should also include some substitute food options in case they’re out of stock of your first choice.

Invest in good quality containers
You’re going to be making a lot of food, so it stands to reason that you’re going to need a lot of containers to keep all those delicious meals tucked away in the fridge and freezer. Moreover, you’ll likely bring a container or two with you when you go to work, and the last thing you want is for the lid to fall off in your bag and the food to spill out everywhere. Glass containers are great, but need to be handled carefully. Find containers that work for you and don’t shy away from spending a few extra dollars as the investment will go a long way in the end.

Carve out time to meal prep and make it fun
Set aside enough time to get cooking. Plan to spend a good amount of time in the kitchen, boiling, baking and frying away to your heart’s content. Many people might enjoy this, but it can be torture for others—you’ll just have to keep the big picture in mind. Also, consider listening to your favorite music or podcast while you chop away. That being said, you don’t have to cook absolutely everything in one go. You can prep vegetables and season your meats and leave them in the fridge to be cooked another time—that should help to take the load off a little bit!

Prep snacks too
CrossFit has a way of spiking your metabolism, making you feel hungrier between meals. These are the make-or-break hours when the convenience of a cookie or a bag of chips is incredibly tempting. Therefore, it’s just as important to prepare your snacks for days ahead, as it is your meals. Have your fruit, nuts, shakes, or leftovers readily available so when the hunger creeps up—and it will—you’ll be reaching for the right option to satisfy your cravings.

Keep it simple and start slow
If you’re new to meal prepping, there’s no right way to do it. There may be a lot of trial and error, but it’s all about finding and developing a method that works for you. If the process sounds intimidating, work with manageable chunks—one to two days at a time, at first. Then move on to three to four, then five, and so on. And as you’re progressing, you can get a little more creative with your menu, but start with simple meals, some bacon, avocado and grilled chicken with some balsamic vinegar. Doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that. You’re eating to achieve your diet goals.

Be patient with the process yet remain consistent. Eventually, meal prepping—making a list, doing your shopping and preparing your meals—will become second-nature, and that’s when you’ll know you’re on a roll, and the results will invariably follow.

swolemate

Over time, it is astonishing how many people become a part of our lives. Some stay for a long while, others come and go. There is really no rhyme or reason behind it all either, maybe it’s all part of the grand master plan to help us become who we are meant to be. Usually it is the people who we least expect that end up becoming such a large influence to us and mean the most. So much to the point where you would do anything for them. In life, we call these people soul mates, and in Crossfit, we call these people swolemates.

Swolemates are individuals who have found their lifting counterpart in each other. You are lifting and suddenly you are like, “oh there you are, I’ve been looking for you to lift with.” It can be just about anyone – a best friend, significant other, family member, coworker, doesn’t matter. When it comes to Crossfit, these are the people who know your weaknesses and more importantly your strengths. They see you at your all time highs and they help you through the injuries and tears. Before you know it, even on the worst days you will go to class simply because they are going. Holding each other accountable, emotional support, motivation to reach our goals, competition to push to our limits . . . all are things developed between swolemates. Bet you that you can think of at least 2-3 swolemates right now that you have at Factory Square and may have no even realized it. They become your family at your home away from home.

Sure we all have swolemates. Why talk about it you ask? It is to recognize and appreciate that Crossfit is more than just lifting (and in my case talking about Lululemon and dancing around like no one is watching). The relationships we develop are more meaningful than we realize.  Think about it . . .  you don’t want just anyone there with you on PR days, you want your swolemates! They are the people who you look forward to seeing every day, the ones who push you to be a better person, who help you reach your goals. They become important to you, they are forever your Swolemates.

What Is a Pollen Allergy?

     What makes spring so beautiful for many people leads to misery for those who suffer from seasonal allergy symptoms. Natural allergy treatments can be as effective and, in many cases, more effective than allergy medications.
Fresh cut grass, blooming trees and flowers, and weeds release pollen, causing seasonal allergies in an estimated 40 million to 60 million people each year. Allergic rhinitis is the medical term for hay fever and seasonal allergies that occur not just in the spring, but throughout the summer and into the fall.
While hay fever frequently begins at a young age, it can strike anyone, at any time. Sometimes seasonal allergy symptoms fade over the years, only to reoccur later in life. If you experience seasonal allergy symptoms in one location and move to a new area with different types of flora, your allergies may go away.
Every tree, flower and weed releases pollen, but not all individuals have heightened sensitivity or allergic reactions to all pollens. It’s important to pay attention and recognize what triggers your allergy symptoms. For some people, cottonwood trees and ragweed are the problems, while for others it’s grass or ragweed.
Research indicates nearly 75 percent of people in the United States that suffer from seasonal allergies are allergic to ragweed. Unlike grass, trees and flower that produce pollen in the spring and summer, pollen due to ragweed is often highest during the fall.
Nearly a third of ragweed allergy sufferers also experience an allergic response to certain foods. These include cucumbers, melons, zucchini, sunflower seedsbananas and chamomile tea.  If you have a ragweed allergy, avoid these foods and others listed below under “Foods to Avoid.”
Left untreated, seasonal allergy symptoms cause miserable symptoms, affect day-to-day activities and can spur asthma attacks. Approximately 80 percent of people with asthma suffer from seasonal allergies. Treating hay fever symptoms can reduce asthmarelated hospitalizations and emergencies.
The same pollen and allergens that trigger seasonal allergy symptoms can cause asthma attacks, resulting in wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and difficulty breathing. This condition is referred to as allergy-induced asthma or allergic asthma.
People with compromised immune systems, COPD and other respiratory conditions need to manage their seasonal allergy symptoms to prevent further complications. Changes in diet, natural supplements, essential oils and lifestyle changes can help.
     Did you know that your risk of suffering from seasonal allergy symptoms increases dramatically if you have certain underlying medical conditions? Asthma, unmanaged stress, deviated septum, nasal polyps, recent trauma or illness, pregnancy, and even food allergies can put you at heightened risk.
These conditions, and others, can adversely affect your immune system functioning. Allergy symptoms are caused when our bodies release histamine in response to an allergen.  A strong immune system is key to fighting seasonal allergies.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, allergies are actually disorders of the immune system. The body over-reacts to harmless substances and produces antibodies to attack the substance. This is what causes the symptoms.

Foods to Avoid During Allergy Season:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Caffeine
  3. Conventional dairy
  4. Chocolate
  5. Peanuts
  6. Sugar
  7. Artificial sweeteners
  8. Processed foods
  9. Melons
  10. Bananas
  11. Cucumbers
  12. Sunflower seeds
  13. Shellfish
  14. Bottled citrus juice
  15. Echinacea
  16. Chamomile
  17. Wheat
  18. Soy

Foods to Enjoy During Allergy Season:

  1. Raw local honey
  2. Hot and spicy foods
  3. Bone broth
  4. Probiotic-rich foods
  5. Pineapple
  6. Apple cider vinegar
  7. Fresh organic vegetables
  8. Grass-fed meats
  9. Free-range poultry
  10. Wild-caught fish

Best Supplements for Allergy Symptoms

  1. Spirulina
  2. Quercetin
  3. Butterbur
  4. Probiotics
  5. Vitamin A
  6. Zinc
  7. Bromelain
  8. Stinging Nettles

Dr. Meg

lifting
When it comes to working out there are aspects that can make or break any particular day. A lot of times it’s easy to get wrapped up in the moment and forget things during WODs. Taking the extra few seconds to reset, controlling your breathing, keeping the best possible form – all things that we can lose focus on. Just as important as it is to keep up on the physical part of our training, it is just as important to focus on the mental part. Help out your mental game and follow a few of these simple, yet effective, tips to help you get through even the toughest WODs:

Clear your mind – Stress of work, busy schedules, and even the occasional drama can take a toll on us as individuals. One of the best things to do when going to the box is leave all of that outside the door. Clear your mind of everything going on for that hour plus because it is time to focus on what’s most important – you. It’s difficult to succeed at our task at hand when we are focused on something completely irrelevant. “The successful warrior is the average man with laser-like focus” – Bruce Lee

Positive Attitude – Whether you have a good day or bad, one day does not make or break us, it’s what we do in the long haul that does. Simply keeping an open mind and positive attitude can make the world of a difference in how you feel . .  after all we do tend to attract what we project. Even if you are having a bad week/month things eventually will turn around. When we stop worrying about what could go wrong and start being positive about what could go right is when everything will come together.

Have Fun – Ever notice how some of the best athletes around are always smiling? That’s because they are having fun. Working out is a lot more bearable to get through when you are happy. Now if you just so happen to bust out a few dance moves or sing a bit of karaoke in the process. . . . lets just say I like your style! From the words on Jon Rohn, “Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.”Happy Lifting!
State officials say they’ve seen an increase in the number of ticks this year, including those carrying diseases.
The Connecticut Post reports that more than 200 ticks have been submitted for testing to the state’s Agricultural Experiment Station in March, compared to 14 in March 2015. Officials say the number of ticks testing positive for the bacterium that cause Lyme disease is also higher than usual.
Experts blame a warm winter and a large population of white-footed mice, which can carry the Lyme disease bacterium and spread it to ticks.
The bacterium is transmitted to humans through tick bites and can cause serious health problems if left untreated.
Health officials say to wear insect repellent and to be vigilant about checking for ticks after spending time outdoors this spring.
Ticks are parasites that stick their heads under your skin and drink the liquid that you have in between your skin cells. The live off of you until they are nourished enough to go off and mate to create more ticks.
Don’t panic, while the tick may carry a host of bacteria that can cause infection, the risk of getting these infections is remarkably low during the first 48 hours. In the first 48 hours, they are just sucking in your fluids and growing in size. After about 48 hours, the Tick hits maximum size and starts to push the fluids in their body back into your body and then suck fresh fluid to replace it. It is this regurgitation of fluids back into your body that introduces bacteria into your system. So the first thing to do is to remove the tick as soon as possible.
Some websites say to use petroleum jelly to coat the tick then pull it out, however, the Centers for Diseases Control recommends specifically against this approach. If you shut off their air supply, they will start regurgitating the fluids into your body as they die. You want to use tweezers and pinch the tick as close to the skin as you can. Don’t twist, don’t jerk, just keep giving it constant and increasing backward pressure until it pops off. Then kill it and put it in a bag with the date you removed it. This way if someone wants to test it later on, they can. Wash with soap and water, rubbing alcohol, or iodine solution.
Should you call your doctor or wait to see what happens? Either is acceptable. The CDC recommends waiting unless you develop a fever, rash, or aches in your muscles or joints over the next several weeks.
For Lyme disease there is a rash with a red center, regular skin color, and then another red circle so it looks like a target. There are antibiotics that can help but it works better the sooner you get it.
Avoid ticks altogether by wearing long pants and log sleeve shirts, using bug repellent with 20% or more DEET or permethrin, stay on trails where possible, and check yourself and loved ones over for ticks when you come out of the woods.
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tick
I know this make appear out of left field and be rather gross in description, but I have heard too many stories in the last few weeks to warrant some research, offer some suggestions, and alert friends to be aware of the issue;)
Enjoy the outdoors but be safe.
Dr. Meghan

Music and training go hand in hand. Doesn’t matter if you’re at a globo gym, the box, or hitting up the trail. You are guaranteed to find someone training to music and when you have good tunes playing it truly can make a big difference. Here’s a good article from Catalysts Athletics about music and training. . . .

music

Music in Training: Is It Helping, or Making You a Whiny Baby?
Greg Everett

I usually like listening to music when I train. Most athletes I’ve known do. Typically the reason given if they’re asked why is that it keeps them motivated and energetic, and if memory serves, research has backed up the benefits of music in this regard (although who cares what the research says on this—you know if it has this effect on you or not).

But music is a luxury. If you consider it anything else, it’s a problem.

You’re not in the gym for a concert; you’re there to train, and if training isn’t your first priority by an overwhelming margin, you’re already losing. Noticing what music is playing, and even recognizing whether or not it’s something you like, is fine, and arguably it would be impossible not to do this.

There will be plenty of days in your life in which you struggle to get motivated for your workout or a particular exercise—you might be tired, hurting, or distracted by life outside of weightlifting—and on these days, the right music can change your mood pretty effectively.

In such cases, I don’t have an issue with you blasting that music to get yourself through a tough day. But I do believe that you have to have the ability to do it without music—whether that means complete silence, or someone else’s horrible, over-produced, auto-tuned nonsense that sounds like it was made on a drug store keyboard in his mom’s basement but somehow is earning him millions of dollars…

Here are a few of my rules regarding music and training.

Motivation As I said above, use music if it helps you stay motivated on days you’re more inclined to go cry on the couch and watch Lifetime movies than put your lifting shoes on [Note: lifters are people who lift; lifting shoes are the things they wear on their feet to do so.]

Focus Weightlifting requires a lot of focus. If you’re not training it every session, you’re falling behind. If you have a million things bouncing around your head while you’re trying to train, you’re going to have a bad day. In these cases, listening to music I believe can reduce those thoughts and distractions considerably—instead of a million things, you may whittle it down to as few as two: your training and the music. Obviously, this is a huge improvement. However, never allow it to be the primary focus. If you’re paying more attention to the song playing than your current or next set, get yourself sorted out.

Leave it Alone If you’re going to listen to music while you train, just listen to it. If you’re on your phone or whatever other futuristic device you’re playing music through after every song looking for the next song you want to hear, you’re violating the previous rule. Pick better musicians who can make more than one decent song per album and let it play through. Or use that technology and make playlists that you’ll listen to from start to finish.

Social Media & Your Friggin Phone I would rather, by orders of magnitude, have my lifters paying attention to the music playing than getting on their phones and looking at social media between sets. If listening to music while you train helps reduce your compulsion to scroll through millions of posts you’ve never needed to see, then please do it.

Shut Up About It If you train in a gym with other lifters, don’t argue or complain about the music if it’s not your preferred artist, genre, whatever. Get over it. Be a damn athlete and do what you’re supposed to do. As a coach, I’ve made it extremely clear that the moment anyone starts arguing or whining about the music, it’s getting shut off and they can all sit around and listen to themselves breathing.

Unplug Your Ears If you train with a coach or even just teammates, take those ear buds out. From a coach’s perspective, having an athlete wear ear buds in training is a sign of disrespect—it says I’m not interested in what you have to tell me during this workout. Maybe you believe that’s not true, but if your coach does, that’s what matters. That aside, your coach needs to be able to communicate with you quickly and easily. He/she shouldn’t have to go to great lengths to get your attention to get you to pull your headphones out so he/she can help you be less shitty at weightlifting. Act like you actually care. If you don’t want to hear what your coach has to say, quit working with him/her.  If you train in a gym with a lot of distractions and you don’t have a coach there working with you in person, by all means, plug those ears up and look as unfriendly as possible so everyone leaves you alone and doesn’t disrupt your training to ask you if you learned how to snatch using the scoop method or tell you that all the best Chinese lifters internally rotate their arms overhead.

The bottom line to all of this is pretty simple if you haven’t already picked up on the theme: Use music strictly as a tool to improve your training, not as another obstacle to progressing in a sport that’s already tough enough on its own.

 

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If you told me I would be able to deadlift 200lbs, do 65lb thrusters, jump onto the 20in box, make my mile time the fastest it has ever been or buddy carry my best friend over my shoulders, I would have told you, you’re nuts!

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As a woman, I’ve never felt more empowered or beautiful! I can’t wait to see what this upcoming year will bring! Thank you CrossFit Factory Square! ♥

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