3Splitz Farm, healthy hacks

The Herd Needs Feeding

Recently I’ve had exposure to group cooking or cooking for a group. How do you feed a herd (people), choose healthy options and keep many happy? It’s takes a miracle, resources, creativity and willingness to try new things.

I tried a breakfast casserole one weekend. It wasn’t prepared by me but it was tasty. It had Canadian bacon which is an alternate to greasy bacon. The meat was a protein alternative and it also had cheddar cheese as the cheese of choice. Two options I enjoyed but I would have chosen Colby cheese or traditional bacon. Exposure to this group feeding was positive. It was delicious. I tried something new and I now have a new recipe to use when I need to feed a group.

Meat mix bowls: easy to cook up some meat and you can vary the meat with spices. Taco flavor, spicy, saucy or whatever you like. Add in rice, cauliflower or whatever substance makes your bowl as a filler. Top with lettuce shreds, avocados, grilled peppers and onion. Season to your liking. You can dress it up with your cheese of choice, sour cream, salsa or whatever you like. Super easy to make and a fan favorite for many. Any time you can customize while feeling a herd you win big. Some variations are healthier than others but options are a big win for this meal.

If you need a cheap fix, spaghetti and meatballs is a good go-to staple but pretty boring and high on carbs. Another Italian option might be a lasagna. Layers and layers of goodness. Ricotta cheese, beef/sausage, veggies, sauce and seasonings. It’s a bit heavy but always a ton of goodness. Lasagna covers groups easily but may leave your group ready for a nap shortly after due to the carb loading. 

If you have any feed-the-herd recipes that are tasty, somewhat healthy and easy send us a note. We would love to try your favorite recipes and let you know how we liked them.
Fun options like variations of build your own pizza are always welcome since most folks adore pizza but don’t care for greasy options.

Now that I am hungry from writing about all this food I will sign off to eat a snack of white yogurt covered pretzels for my semi-sweet treat of the day. Bon appetit!

fitness and nutrition

Re-entry

My first step towards re-entry was mental. The choice to start the process. My choice. The time to push the things that don’t matter to the side to focus on what matters: health, fitness and of course fun.

Now the first step is always the hardest. The alarm clock being set for the wee hours of the morning. The time that others are still sleeping. This is the hardest if your surrounding family members are chronic late risers. Day one is done but a tough one. Got a trail run in to get those legs in gear.

After moving becomes a priority so does hydration and nutrition. Without these elements the moving may not be as beneficial. Bye bye comfort foods. Hello bag of protein. It’s a process and sometimes you have to start, stop, restart and so on. Reigniting the passion to push oneself is definitely required after a pandemic pause of many many weeks. Time is required to rebuild strength, stamina and mental toughness especially during the turbulent times that are still upon us.

A pandemic was not on my schedule and it definitely wasn’t on the schedule. Keeping me off my consistent CrossFit workout routine for almost 2 months translates into the biggest excuse I’ve let myself withstand in my lifetime. That is not an exaggeration. No more pity party for me or those around me. No more sand bag workouts. It’s time to dust myself off and dig deep. Maybe the post-corona me will be a better version of myself. So much to look forward to.

My new may look different but that’s okay. Change is really the only constant life offers us. How we adapt to change is really the test. Here I am, 1 week into my re-entry plan. Continuing with my 2020 fitness goals, training for my first triathlon and spending time on things that matter with people that matter the most.

Next is next and I’m moving and shaking my way towards what is up next. Summer time and a triathlon. After that it’s anyone’s guess.

healthy hacks

Just Add Eggs

Another quick healthy hack for those interested. The “baggie” trick I learned from
my friend Milagros.

Toss things you need in a baggie and use later. For her it was marinara sauce that she didn’t want to add to a meal until it was ready. How clever. Then I thought hmmm… I’m going to incorporate that into my meal prepping.

Now I have three go-to baggies made every couple of days. 2 ounces of my meat of choice: steak, ham or sausage. Diced onion, pepper, zucchini and mushroom. Sometimes a mozzarella medallion to spice it up. Some fresh spinach.

When I am crunched for time in the mornings I toss the components of the baggie into the pan while I grab two eggs. When it’s time, I add the eggs and cook away.

No chopping, no deciding what to eat, no wasting precious time. This meal prep is simple when you do a few days at a time. You can add variety by changing up the meat or adding cheese or not.

I always add in Everything But the Bagel seasoning to give my breakfast some added flavor. Give it a try you won’t be disappointed.

I am always full and energized after this meal and it’s so easy to make and cleanup is a cinch. This is a also a great way to show your teens how to start the day off right with a good meal and a little pre planning.

Another healthy hack from 2 Chicks and a Pen. Helping you get healthy in 2020 and beyond one meal hack at a time.

fitness and nutrition

Working Vacation (or, Making Vacation Work)

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a whirlwind whiplash weekend in Pennsylvania with friends watching our daughters play lacrosse.

I could have completely tossed my diet and exercise habits out the window.  But driving over 10 hours both ways in the course of a few days left my body screaming for exercise and good food.  (Craving those things is a good sign.)

We stayed in a hotel with a gym.  I brought my workout clothes and got up at my usual crack-of-dawn hour. The weather was amazing!  When I went outside, the air was a crisp, cool change from the warm humid mornings in Atlanta.  Then, we just happened to be staying in a complex with some health care buildings.  As I was walking to warm up and get moving, I noticed a trail with some fitness stations along the way.  So, that became my plan.  A little jog and some step ups, incline situps and leg lifts, hanging leg raises, all while jogging station to station. Sweat happened.

Then, I went into the gym and did a quick 21-15-9 of burpees, dumbbell clean and jerks, and sit-ups.  It wasn’t the extreme race or marathon workout that many were doing back home, but it was enough to feel like I had worked my heart and muscles. It felt good.

Of the 3 days away, that was the only true workout I did.  We did some walking at the tournament fields and Hershey Park, but otherwise the two days were rest days.  I worked out all the other days around the trip so it was enough.

The other challenge on the road is eating.

I packed snacks…a few bags of turkey and beef jerky, protein water, chunks of grilled chicken, protein chips, and some random protein bars.  I ate some but not all. I also drank lots of water and sparkling water.

For the most part, I just tried to focus on protein and keep other things to a minimum. Examples:

For quick breakfast on the road I had a Chick-fil-a breakfast bowl with chicken and no hashbrowns.  I ate a 2 good yogurt for snack.  The chicken chunks came in handy on a long stretch of road with few options beside gas station food.

Eating out in Harrisburg, PA, at a local tapas spot – Kale and beet salad, Brussel sprouts with bacon, a small slice of pizza, charcuterie board with meat, cheese, pickles, flatbread, mustard.  Probably over on fat and salt but I could have done worse and it was delicious. Not enough protein but options were limited.

For hotel breakfast (twice): Eggs, spinach, cheese, salsa, light and fit yogurt, coffee with milk. For me, when I’m basically eyeballing things, not really planning eating, and going with my gut, I try to start the day with as much protein as possible and just keep going from there.

It’s not necessarily easy…the options I skipped were many: waffles, Froot Loops and other cereals, bagels, bread, crumb cake, juices, granola, muffins, peanut butter, etc.  None of these seemed worth it and the eggs looked decent.  (I would definitely eat crumb cake, for example, if it was from a bakery.  I look forward to bakery crumb cake at the Jersey Shore later this summer!)

It’s not always a simple win.  The amusement parks we went to the last two weekends were especially challenging for both cost and food quality reasons.  At Hershey Park, after long searching, I settled for a few chicken tenders (more bread than chicken) and a few fries.  Thankfully this was late in the day after decent eating before we got to the park.

An afternoon at Kings Dominion was more challenging.  I could almost stomach the idea of eating Panda Express, but the $15.00 price tag was a deal breaker (and for just one entree!)  I held out until we left, late afternoon, and quickly scarfed down my turkey jerky, protein water, some fresh cherry tomatoes, and Quest protein chips when I got to the car.  Sounds crazy to many, but it works for me.  I felt satisfied and not weighed down.  I was grateful I had packed a few things to have on hand.

And when it was worth it, I did treat myself across the two weekends.  I had top-notch street tacos (although I did skip all but one bite of tortilla since they were not special), I had a great meal with meats, cheeses, an amazingly fluffy buttered roll, and cucumber salad at a German restaurant called Fest, and I had a scoop of homemade strawberry swirl ice cream topped with toasted fluff (the specialty of the house) at Charm School Social Club.  Totally worth it.  And four days later, I’m not mad at myself or the scale. So I’m learning it is possible to keep it sane on the road, get some sweat in, feel good, and indulge when I really want to.  Let’s see how I do on my next journey…

 

 

fitness and nutrition

Chick 2’s Open(ing) Days

(Photo courtesy of the amazing MGS Photo Creations.)

The 2019 CrossFit Open has ended. Even though I was writing throughout the 5 weeks, I never felt it was the right time to post. Most of my workouts were done without fanfare. I faced most of them with a healthy sense of apprehension, given my recent injuries.
Just like 2018, my goal was to complete each workout with some kind of score. I wanted to both participate and give each workout my best effort. I knew it was very likely that all my workouts would be scaled. That was ok by me, since staying functional and healthy is of primary importance.

There are many stories from my Open, some of which I might eventually tell in detail. But for now, I’ll share a highlight and a lowlight, using excerpts from what I’ve been writing all along. Reflections follow.

Worst Workout (for me):

19.3 – AKA Weighted Dumbbell Lunges of Death

Lunges.  I immediately think “I don’t lunge.”  I have said this to my coaches.  But if I’m being honest, my problem is I don’t feel good about doing lunges.  I don’t feel confident.  Balance is a struggle for me.  I am a total klutz.  While I watch many at the gym fly through lunges like they were skipping through daffodils, carefree and effortless, my lunges are much more likely to leave bruises and scuffs on my knees from hitting the ground so hard.  And then, once I’m down there, I don’t have any understanding of how to get up properly, either.

I did start doing lunges more often after I moved to my new box, CrossFit Faded Glory.  Once in a while I do one in a way that doesn’t feel like just inelegantly dropping and flopping, but not often, no matter how many great tips my coaches share. But I generally don’t do them with weights.  I’m still trying to get a feel for them unweighted.  So seeing a 35-pound dumbbell lunge in the scaled version was enough to make me shudder.

Then, enter step-ups.  I’ve talked before about my journey to jumping.  After my injury I’ve made it back to jumping on the 12-inch box.  But, I figured the scale for anything in the Open would be step ups on the 20-inch box.

I distinctly remember living in fear of this movement last year in the Open.  I could NOT step up onto a 20-inch box one year ago.  Again, clumsiness and lack of balance (or sense of how my body moves in space) is a problem, plus fear of falling.  Kinda sad but it’s true.

Last year, at my previous gym as the Open approached, I would try and try to get those step-ups.  I would put plates on the 12-inch box, etc.  I finally got it on my right side, but still couldn’t alternate. Thankfully, step-ups were never a part of last year’s workouts.  After an Achilles issue and the end of the Open, I went back to 12-inch boxes with dumbbells and decided that was enough of a challenge.

I started trying step-ups again about a month ago and was surprised that I could do them with both legs without too much trouble (but definitely not quickly).  So, I felt pretty good about that. But throwing a 35-pound dumbbell on my back for them could be a different story.

Flash forward to Friday, the day of the Open 19.3. My nerves started about noon.  Could I do any of this?  (Where’s that fearless when you need it?)

I showed up.  There were lot of people there, enough for 2 heats in the 4:30 pm class.  I went in the second group.  I tested the movements a few times and knew I could get through at least the first few reps and then I would see how it went.

And how did it go? It went verrrryyyyy slowly.  The dumbbell was awkward and clumsy on my shoulder.  I spent time adjusting it.  When I lunge, I have a shuffle step / balance check which thankfully Alex told us in advance was not legal.  So I warned my judge on the front end to watch me on that.  I made sure to come to a full and complete pause at the top.

9 lunges down, 9 lunges back.  The ones coming back were harder since the 35-pound weight was on my weaker side.  There were lunges I got stuck in the bottom of and had to will myself to push out of.  It was not graceful, dainty, coordinated, or remotely pretty.  I am sure I use the completely wrong muscle groups to do it.  It took me about 6-7 minutes to do the lunges, but I did them.

Then step-ups.  This was just grueling.  I had to mentally do 10 at a time.  Felt like my legs were just shot.  So, I would get my bent leg up on the box, move my weight up a little to basically be crouching on the box, then stand up.  My friend Milagros took a video of this and when I watched, it looked as absolutely painfully wrong as it felt.  As I pushed through the last 15 or so, I knew I was overrelying on my back (which is what I default to and what gets me in trouble) but it didn’t feel like I had other options. See our Instagram feed for a video. 

Final verdict: 65 – definitely a lower score than I would have liked but I made it through it.  Last year I might not have gotten to the step-ups at all.  So, a win, also a benchmark to follow up on over time.

Runner-up for misery: 19.2..cleans that were MUCH heavier than I am used to doing with a barbell.

Biggest (and Most Unexpected) Moment of Triumph:

19.5 – Endless Thrusters and Pull-ups of Punishment

My prediction for 19.5 at my evening class on Thursday was 100 thrusters for time then 1 rep max deadlift.  Each was outrageous, laughable, and struck fear in me.  Little did I know how close I would be.

105 thrusters and then 105 pull-ups…broken into lonnngggg sets with descending numbers.  It made me nauseous the entire night and day before.

Busy at work with book fair…just like other Open Fridays when I led a school parade, helped 500 kids find books…the Open has life as its backdrop. Life happens. It will always be busy.

As for 19.5, from the moment I heard the workout, I just wanted it to be over.  Thankfully there were a few people there doing it at the same time.  Doing it alone really isn’t fun. Honestly, I just wanted to get through whatever attempt I would make and let it be over.

For me, it was small sets from pretty much the start.  7 or 6 thrusters at the beginning turned into sets of 5 for the most part with 4s to even it up.

Pull-ups were threes with a shake of the arms to reset.  Others easily passed me and finished quickly, or did Rx versions then hit a stopping point.  I just tried to keep going…. going…. going.

Seemed like those 20 minutes would never end.  It was gut wrenching.  A few friends started to cheer me on, which helped without overwhelming me.  I won’t forget the amazing John grabbing a clipboard to fan me as I tried to breathe during jumping pull-ups.  I just kept going.  Breaks got longer longer l-o-n-g-e-r.

I had no idea how far I would get. My hope was to get into the round of 21.  Ok, finished that round with maybe 5-6 minutes to go, I don’t know.  I didn’t want to go back to the bar or the barbell. I hated each one for different reasons.

Just keep going.  I don’t want to pick up the bar.  I pick it up anyway.  Alex counts me down.  Through the rounds of 15.  Like 2 minutes left.  There is no fricking way I am going to finish but I’ll be close which will make me so grouchy.  But I keep going.

Round of 9. Alex wants me to go all 9 thrusters.  Body won’t have it.  5 then a short break then 4.

Then jumping pull-ups.  Jumping like my life depended on it.  No shake breaks for this one.  Counting down, just keep going, going going…Alex screaming for me to keep going. I finished with zero seconds to spare.  Zero!  Nothing left to spare!!!

Collapsed on the ground.  Almost cried but then my breathing went south so I had to just calm down.

I finished!

I didn’t really know what it meant.

I still don’t.  At the least, it meant I didn’t give up.

I know I was hurting. A lot.  I still got up and worked out the next day. I still have bruises all over…clavicles (from cleaning the bar too roughly – see pic below)…legs from who knows what…my chin from hitting the bar.  Kinda battle worn.
Cheering for others all weekend long.

Runner-up triumph: all unbroken burpees in 19.4

Yes, I scaled the whole thing. All 5 workouts. Didn’t feel the need to go for Rx. I did give each my best effort.  And for the most part, I didn’t let fear get the better of me.  So, I achieved my goal.

The best part of the Open for me was cheering others on and feeling connected to the community.  More about that in my next post.