Kitchen Adventures || Chimichurri Meatballs and putting a meal together!

Happy Hump Day! Hope everyone’s week is going well so far. My apologies on missing a post last week. I was still kind of fighting some illness, but I’m back! This week I have an easy meatball recipe for you, but also just a quick tidbit on packing for the week. So far I’ve pretty much just posted single recipes, but that’s not how we eat. We generally have 2-3 items to create a “meal.” Depending on the recipe obviously and what needs reheated or stays cold, I’ll pack meals in different ways.

This week I made meal ‘bowls’ (they are actually rectangular dishes :P) to get us a through a few days of lunches. I use these 3 cup Pyrex dishes pretty much EVERY week. They are a great size for a meal (depending on what you are cooking). I’ve had mine for a few years now and I can say they’ve held up pretty well! Anyway, the recipe and amounts I made this week filled four of these which meant Tim and I could each have 2 days of lunches from it!

I love doing meatballs as a meal prep because they are easy, portable, and reheat very well. There are so many different ways you can do them. This week we have meatballs with a chimichurri sauce and roasted cauliflower and beets. Enjoy!

Chimichurri Meatballs

Ingredients
For the Meatballs
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs I used Panko – if you want to sub Almond Flour you may, but cut it down a bit
  • 2 green onions minced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled (to top)
For the Chimichurri Sauce
  • 1/2 cup parsley minced – I prefer flat leaf, but you can use curly
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper freshly ground
Directions

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, ground beef, breadcrumbs, green onions, garlic, salt, black pepper and egg. 

Form the meatballs into small 1 inch balls and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake them for 20 to 25 minutes at 400 F degrees or until done to your liking.

While the meatballs are baking, in a medium size bowl, whisk together the parsley, olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Let it sit out at room temperature until the meatballs are ready.

Top with your chimchurri sauce and crumbled feta and Enjoy! 

*I was able to get about 25 meatballs from this recipe

 

For my veggies this week I went simple. I actually started my beets before I did anything else since they tend to take longer, but because I needed the oven at 400 degrees anyway, I did simple roasted beets and cauliflower.

For this, I used 3 large beets. I’ll wash them and trim the roots and tops, but leave the skin on. I coat them in coconut oil and wrap each one (whole) in aluminum foil. Roast at 400 for appx. 40 minutes (or until softened). Then, you can either rub the skins off with a paper towel (let them cool some) or just leave them on!

For the cauliflower, I used a whole head. Wash and cut it into florets. I coated this batch lightly in olive oil and seasoned it with salt, pepper, and a bit of garlic powder. I roasted it about 20 minutes (until the edges start to crisp).

To put it all together, I filled half the container with beets and half with cauliflower and then added 4-5 meatballs per dish. I leave the chimichurri off so that I can reheat the veggies and meatballs and then spoon the chimichurri on cold. Easy!

As always, shoot me a message if you have any questions and if you make any cool additions I’d love to hear them!

 

 

Fall 2018 Whole Life Challenge || Team CrossFit Austin

 

 

 “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you” -Zig Ziglar

 

Change can be challenging. Yet, without a challenge, there can’t be change. With the holidays right around the corner, we have the opportunity to create good habits that will help us make smart choices through the holiday meals!

We also hope that this challenge will create habits that carry over into the New Year so you can shift your New Year’s resolutions away from health and fitness goals and make more goals surrounding having fun in 2019!

During our last challenge, we saw some awesome results and had great time working through the challenges & celebrating our weekly wins with our teammates. We hope you’ll consider joining us on this journey again!

 

Whole Life Challenge is part fitness, part nutritional and body composition, and part accountability challenges. Our goals for each Fall 2018 Whole Life Challenger are:

  • Mental + emotional preparation for the longevity of a healthy lifestyle {awareness + action}
  • Individual fitness gains
  • Creation of lasting habits for individualized nutritional and body composition success
  • Physical & nutritional preparation to get you through the holidays and carry over into the New Year!

 

You + Whole Life Challenge = Team CrossFit Austin

Challenge = Change // Goals = Gains

 

{What is it?}

While everyone wants to look and feel better, it can be a challenge to know how or where to start. The Whole Life Challenge focuses you on the key areas of your life that produce real, life-long changes. Playing together with your friends and family in a fun and motivating daily game, you’ll create new healthy habits that last long after it ends.

The Whole Life Challenge focuses on 7 daily habits that you will learn and create for yourself as you journey through.

These 7 Daily Habits are:

    • Nutrition. Your food choices have the single greatest impact on your health, well-being, and community. When you make choices that keep you healthy, you give yourself the fuel to fulfill all of who you are. There are 3 levels to choose from that allow you to start making changes in a realistic and attainable way.  {Choose the level that is right for you}
    • Exercise. Humans are designed to move daily. Whether through workouts, activity, or simply enjoying the full use of your body, daily movement keeps you healthy and vital. You’re already moving regularly with us!
    • Mobility. In a sedentary world, our bodies get stuck. Daily mobility and stretching helps you move the way nature intended and continue enjoying freedom of movement into your later years.
    • Sleep. Modern schedules tend to dictate how many hours of sleep we’re entitled to. A practice of increasing that time, even by a little bit, can make big strides in robust health. You set the sleep goals that are right for you.
    • Hydration. More than anything, your body is made of water. This habit ensures that your body gets enough of its most basic resources for life.
    • Lifestyle Practice. The {WLC weekly lifestyle practices}turn a life into your life. Learn to step back, take stock, connect, and turn your attention to what is really important to you.
    • Reflection. Looking back, looking inward, or looking forward, daily reflection draws your awareness to what is working and what needs your attention today.

 

{How Do I Play?}

The {Challenge} begins with taking your preliminary measurements and completing a scalable workout that will be repeated at the end.

Throughout the 42 day challenge you will post your scores in the 7 categories listed above. The Challenge is designed in a way that we can work as a team to check in with and support each other on a daily basis.

To close out the Whole Life Challenge, you will repeat the preliminary measurements and workout to gauge how far you’ve come! But, it doesn’t end there! The Whole Life Challenge is designed to help you make healthy lifestyle changes that last.

{How Do I Register?}

You can register and join Team CrossFit Austin through the Whole Life Challenge {website}. Make sure you do join our team to participate with the community!

CHALLENGE BEGINS September 29, 2018
CHALLENGE ENDS November 9, 2018

 

FLASH REGISTRATION NOW OPEN THROUGH AUGUST 21, 2018
RETURNING PLAYERS -$24 USD
NEW PLAYERS – $39 USD

**Pricing increases to $29 for Returning Players after August 21, 2018.

Early Return Player Registration
August 21
Price: $29.00 (save $20.00)

 

Early Player Registration
August 21
Price: $39.00 (save $10.00)

 

Regular Registration
Price: $49.00

 

{What’s New This Year?}

Well, for one, the challenge is a little shorter. What used to be an 8 week challenge is now a 6 week challenge, but regardless, the goal is still the same. We’re here to create long-lasting, healthy habits to

We have partnered with {Body Analytics USA} to offer fast, accurate body composition testing. Their Hydrostatic Testing method uses a three component model which separates the body into 3 areas:

 

  • Bone, muscle and organs, along with connective tissue, collectively known as lean mass, sinks (is more dense than water)
  • Body fat floats (is less dense than water)
  • Total body water which is neutrally buoyant, but must be removed from your actual weight

By obtaining your dry weight and water weight, based on buoyancy, our specialized computer program can scientifically calculate your body fat as a percentage of your total weight. The ordinary scale cannot tell you if weight loss is muscle or fat while testing with Body Analytics will tell you exactly what took place with your body during your weight loss regimen.

 

This will be an additional service offered at CrossFit Austin on Monday, September 24th from 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Our post-challenge follow up will be on Monday, November 12th from 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Single test – $49
Pre & Post-test – $80

RESERVE YOUR SPOT HERE

August Athlete of the Month || Billie Cervera!

Each month we spotlight a different CFA athlete who stands out and shows just how awesome they are. What is it that makes up an Athlete of the Month? It may not be the person that finishes the fastest, Rx’s every WOD, or gets a PR every time they walk in the gym. Although we love and celebrate when those things happen, the Athlete of the Month is made up of much more than physical ability. This person shows up, gives their best every time, and then gives a little more. They are hungry to learn and always ready to do the work. They support their fellow classmates and encourage them to reach their goals. This athlete embodies what we believe the CrossFit Austin Community should be about.

Our August Athlete of the Month is Billie Cervera! Billie started classes in April of 2017 and has worked hard from day one! She went from being timid and worried about the movements to competing in our Night of Champions competition and kicking butt! She has her whole family moving and grooving in the gym! Billie and her hubby are part of our regular 5:30 am crew and we love having both of them! She is continuously growing in her journey here. Billie exemplifies so many of the qualities we look for in an AOM and has shown really amazing progress in her time here. Billie, the CFA Team is proud to honor you as our August Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this community. Thanks for your all your hard work and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the years to come! Congratulations!

 

State your Name and/or Nickname please:
Billie Cervera, Wild Bill & Barbara (nickname)

What is your fitness background?
I was very active in high school and actually took powerlifting 1 year. Not sure why I stopped!

After school I didn’t do much. I didn’t actually start working out until I had my second son which is when I felt I needed it. I started with home videos then worked myself up into a gym.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
1-1/2 years

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
I was super intimidated. I felt like everyone was looking at me . I wanted to lift heavy right away. I then realized I needed to work up to that and also work on form. I used to always do cardio then I found myself wanting to build muscle and so this is way more of a rush and just being surrounded by others pushes you to go hard.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
The people. I love being surrounded by others who push you to do more and encouraging you every step.

Current Training Goals/PRs?
 Squat snatch, pulls up. My PRs I swear I tell myself I need to record these and I don’t. So I have no clue at the top of my head however I know I am not where I use to be! 🏼

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Don’t be scared! Keep going and never give up! You really can do more than you think you can. Give it a year and you will see your progress.

What is your cheat meal go to? Mexican tacos by my mother n law! I mean I can make them too but she has a magic touch! And I have a weakness for cake & cookies.

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
I chase kids all day lol!! #momlife

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
When I finally did a handstand and when I first Rxd

If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
“My Life”

4 rounds
18 burpees
2 Kipping pull-ups
22  hang power cleans
10 cal row
15 kbs

 

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
 I love to just chill with my hubby. I enjoy taking my kids to do things just to see them smile. I love to work/hustle making money! I love helping others.

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I got my husband’s name tattooed on me when we were only dating. He has no Idea either! Something about speaking into existence and writing it down will make it happen  It worked though! ️ Together for 12 years 🏼🏼

 

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…

“A quitter never inspired anyone “

Kitchen Adventures || Portobello Tacos – Easy Weeknight Meal!

Hey, hey guys! How’s everyone doing this week? If you’ve seen me in the last 7 days you know I was sick and lost my voice for like a solid 5 days… Do you know how hard it is to coach/communicate/live/function without a voice??? Alright, I made due, and I’m on the mend and back in action!

With that said, life does go on whether you’re sick, exhausted, overbooked, or whatever. Life goes on and so does your need to feed yourself and your family. The recipe I have for you this week is one that can be completely done in 30 minutes flat. It’s healthy, DELICIOUS, and so easy to make that I’m guessing you guys will have this in your back pocket rotation for a long time.

So, we are meat eaters in our house, but let me tell you, you don’t miss it at all with these hearty tacos. The flavor and texture are so amazing and they are wonderfully filling. I’ve made several variations with the toppings and seasonings as well, but the recipe as it’s written below is a true-blue so ENJOY!

ROASTED PORTOBELLO TACOS

INGREDIENTS:

Don’t judge me! I never said I had plating skills 😉

Taco Ingredients:

  • 3-4 large portobello caps, stems removed
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 batch corn salsa (see below)
  • 1 package tortillas of your choice
  • 1 large ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • ½ cup crumbled cotija cheese

Corn Salsa Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups whole-kernel corn
  • ⅓ cup finely-diced red onion
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  •  pinch of salt
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely-diced
  • juice of one lime (about 2 tablespoons)

DIRECTIONS:

Portobello Tacos:

Get your oven going at 400 degrees and line a large baking pan with foil or parchment paper.

While the oven is preheating, slice the mushroom caps into long, thin strips.  In a bowl, coat the mushrooms slices in a thin layer of oil. Lay them flat on your baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

Roast those puppies for about 12 minutes, until the mushrooms are cooked through and soft. They will shrink slightly in size.  (If you would like them more firm, you can bake for less time.)

While your mushrooms are roasting combine all of the ingredients for the corn salsa in a bowl and mix until combined well. You have a couple of options with this salsa. You can roast ears of corn beforehand or use frozen (thawed) sweet corn. I actually really like this salsa cold so I’ll make it first and let it chill while the mushrooms roast. Up to you!

If you would like to toast your tortillas, heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat until hot.  Then place a single tortilla flat in the pan and let it cook for 10-20 seconds per side, or until the tortilla begins to brown and bubble.  Immediately transfer the tortilla to a separate plate.

Once everything is finished, layer up those tacos however you like! I usually put 3-4 slices of mushroom, corn salsa, a couple of slices of avocado, shred some fresh cotija cheese and I’m a fan of sour cream so that makes it into the tortilla as well, but they’re tacos. You know how to taco!

Sweet potato side:

Serve these up with whatever you like, but this week I did a simple roasted sweet potato and black bean mixture. The potatoes take a while longer to roast so I started them first and then prepped everything else while they were going.

Wash and cube your sweet potatoes. Toss in the oil of your choice and roast at 400 degrees until soft (usually about 30 minutes depending on how big your cubes are). Rinse and drain a can of black beans. Mix with potatoes in a bowl and season to taste. I used a little salt, red and green chile power, and a splash of lime juice.

Chow down, friends! I’ll see you next week.

Overheating || What to look for and when to stop

When it is hot outside, and we are doing an activity that generates a lot of excess body heat, we are at risk of overheating. This is especially true when we are paying more attention to what round we are on, our form, and trying not to get passed by the gal/guy next to us!

Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke.png

Chances are, you’ve probably been somewhere close (if not completely) in heat exhaustion before on a hot day when doing a workout, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t know the signs so we can avoid it in the future.

Side Note: It is no coincidence that many of the symptoms of heat exhaustion look like the exact same things you experience after a particularly hard workout. These workouts make you HOT! There is evidence that making yourself hot (through training or even sauna use) is one of the stimuli that causes your body to adapt in positive ways like lower body fat, better heart health, better cognitive function, etc.!

Tips for Performance When Training in the Heat (and avoiding heat exhaustion)

  1. Stay hydrated! The human body is a hydraulic machine. Not only do we use our blood to move fuel and oxygen around, we use it transfer heat to our skin so it can be radiated to the atmosphere. As we sweat, we lose some of the fluid that allows our circulatory system to operate properly because we cannot transport nutrients/oxygen AND we can’t shed heat as effectively. If your urine is darker than light, transparent, yellow, you probably aren’t getting enough water!
  2. Make sure you are getting enough electrolytes. Electrolyte drinks are great, but make sure you are getting enough sodium. It is common for people who are avoiding processed foods to not get enough salt, especially if/when they are training and sweating a lot. The number one mineral that is lost through sweat is salt. Make sure you are getting enough of it!
  3. Stay out of the sun and/or stay covered up if you can’t. The sun adds a significant amount of heat to the body. If you can stay in the shade/indoors you will be much better off. If you must be in direct sunlight, wear lighter color clothes and a hat. Work on your tan after the workout is over.
  4. Keep your ego in check. Take stock of yourself and those around you. Is your pulse higher than normal? Are you sweating the normal amount? During your short breaks, are you recovering normally? If you start having the symptoms of heat exhaustion, you can first try taking an extended rest in a cool area. If you still don’t recover, it is time to ‘call it’ for the day and cool off. Make sure you are paying attention to others around you to see if they are going into ‘danger’ territory.
  5. Give yourself time to ‘acclimatize’. If you haven’t trained in a while, or you haven’t trained in the heat lately, be extra careful the first 3-4 weeks. Extensive testing by the Military has found that it usually takes about 21 days for the body to ‘get used’ to the heat (by storing extra water, initiating sweating faster, etc.)
  6. Pay attention to ‘gear’. The body sheds heat through the hands, feet, and ears through special capillaries. If you are wearing gloves or particularly hot shoes, you may overheat faster. The same thing goes for weight vests. Be extra vigilant when using a vest to train in the heat!
  7. Set up near a fan or somewhere with a breeze. Fans will help evaporate the sweat off of your body creating a cooling effect. Just make sure you are well hydrated so you are sweating enough.

Heat Stroke is No Joke

Take heed. Heat stroke can cause damage to internal organs, your brain, and even lead to death. Be cool folks!

Kitchen Adventures || A 2-for-1 deal!

Can someone please tell me HOW it is already Wednesday again?? The days are going so quickly… but I actually don’t mind flying through these ridiculously hot ones in hopes of a few cooler temperatures. Anyhoo – On with with recipes! I actually have 2 for you today because I love them together so much that I won’t make one without the other. This is also a great combo because you get some nice textures along with the dichotomy of the warm meatballs and the cold salad. I suppose you could eat the meatballs cold, but… I might judge you for that. 😉

As you can see, presented by my lovely assistant, this is another Tim approved, portable & healthy meal that will keep you happy though the week! As always, if you make it, let me know how you like it!

Honey Sriracha Meatballs

For the meatballs:

2 lb. lean ground turkey
1 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs
¼ cup green onions, chopped
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper

For the glaze:

¼ cup Sriracha
3 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
4 Tbsp honey (add more to taste)
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. toasted sesame oil

Get that oven going at 375 degrees. Mix all of the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well combined. Roll the mixture into appx. 1.5 inch balls and place on a greased baking sheet. I usually get around 25 meatballs out of this.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until browned and cooked through.

While your meatballs are in the oven, combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking continuously. Reduce heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes (the sauce will start to thicken) then toss with the meatballs. These keep really well throughout the week and reheat well too. Optional: You can also add some fresh green onions and sesame seeds when serving for a little extra!

 

MOROCCAN CHICKPEA QUINOA POWER SALAD

POWER SALAD:

1 ½ cups cooked quinoa (or ½ cup uncooked)
1 cup matchstick carrots
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 (15 ounce) can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
⅓ cup chopped dates
⅓ cup golden raisins
¼ cup chopped pistachios
¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

HONEY-LEMON DRESSING:

½ teaspoon cumin powder
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice (to taste)
1 tablespoon honey (maple syrup or brown sugar for vegans)
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon chili powder

Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Allow the quinoa to cool completely before tossing with the salad ingredients. Toss ingredients together.

Combine the ingredients for the dressing in a small mason jar and give it a few good shakes until the dressing mixes through. Drizzle the dressing into the salad and toss the salad to combine everything. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for later!

I serve this with the salad cold and the meatballs reheated and tossed on top! 

Kitchen Aventures || Brussels Sprout salad

Happy Hump day! How’s your week  been? If you haven’t noticed, it’s 1000 degrees outside and it’s gross…. My appetite usually drops quite a bit when it’s hot like this, but if I don’t eat, I don’t feel well so I’ve been on a mission to make healthy foods that can be served cold and have tons of flavor. This will be the second week in a row I’ve made this salad because we loved it so much so I present to you, cold Brussels Sprout Salad with GOAT CHEESE (I never turn down goat cheese y’all). This is great as a side, on it’s own, or you could even add a protein to it and make it a whole meal.

 

RECIPE:

1 10 oz bag shaved brussels sprouts (I went the easy route with this, but if you’re one for artistry you can shave your own sprouts…)
1/2 a medium red onion – diced
1/3 cup dried cranberries (or cherries/raisins/whatever you like)
1/3 cup sliced almonds (you can toast them if you like)
2-3 oz crumbled goat cheese
3-4 strips of bacon – chopped

(these are all approximate – put as much or as little as you like of each)

Mix all that mess up and then add a citrus vinaigrette – You can certainly make your own (see below) but I was going for a quick, pre-made option to keep it simple. I used this LEMON VINAIGRETTE from HEB and I actually really like it, but you could get away with any citrus dressing. Then, enjoy! If you make any creative additions let me know! I love this so much as a base, but I bet it would be great with avocado, chicken, all kinds of stuff!

Citrus Vinaigrette:

  • 1 small orange, juiced
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp. finely minced shallots (may substitute 1 Tbsp. minced garlic)
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard
  • 3/4 cup avocado or olive oil
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme, minced (may substitute an equal amount of tarragon, basil, rosemary or oregano or 1 tsp. dried herbs of choice)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Kitchen Adventures with Coach Gen || Easy Breakfast Hash

Happy Hump Day! It’s mid week and we are clawing our way to the weekend! I’m excited to be writing to you guys right now because this is usually where we start to slip in our week when it comes to nutrition. Tell me I’m wrong…

Many times, the cycle goes something like this:

Friday/Saturday  – It’s the weekend! It’s cheat day(s)! I have all these social events! My mom is in town and she’s cooking! Etc….

Sunday – Man… I ate so much junk this weekend. I’m going to clean it up this week. Commence Operation Meal Prep!

Monday/Tuesday – Eating pretty well. It’s nice to have food available and it’s much better than if I eat out. I’m doing great!

Wednesday – Hmm… Chicken breast again..? (Or maybe) I only prepped enough for a couple of days. It’s a busy day, maybe I’ll just grab a quick bite today.

Thursday – I didn’t prep anything else.. I’ll just grab a quick bite again today…. “Yeah, can I order a pizza for delivery?”

And we’re back to the weekend binge!

Now, that is not EVERYONE, but if that sounds at all like you, I want you to know you’re not alone! I still find myself here from time to time, but over the last few years (Yes, that’s how long it took me to get the hang of things) I’ve come to not only appreciate, but rely on my meal prep game. This post will be a bit longer because I want to tell you how the process developed for me so you can see that if I can make this happen, literally any other person can. Bon Appetit!

 

So let’s rewind a few years. Y’all I was never good at cooking. What I really mean to say is, I was terrible. I’m about to impress some of you here. You ready? I once managed to set off smoke alarm while boiling water. But, I started practicing. I’d make a meal once or twice a week, choke it down, and try something else the next week. Just like anything else, it takes practice. I wouldn’t say I’m a pro by any means, but I’m pretty good and I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t always need a recipe. I’ve learned enough and developed enough skill to make healthy & tasty meals to get us through the week.

In the beginning of my meal prep days I kept it simple. 5 days of chicken breast and veggies got boring pretty quick so I started playing with different spices, different ways of cooking the veggies. I got a little more complex with from scratch sauces and slaws…  Now I’m at the point that I try to make 2-3 brand new dishes each week that are sometimes complex, but sometimes only seem that way. We don’t eat strict Paleo, Zone, or any other “diet.” We eat as much clean and unprocessed food as possible. We indulge from time to time. We move our bodies, hydrate, and sleep to balance it all out.

Meal prep days aren’t easy, but they are well worth it. I’ve come to really enjoy cooking and it keeps Tim and I eating well through the week. I prep 2-3 different lunch options, a breakfast option, have a couple of healthy snack options ready, and then I can cook dinners or we have left overs throughout the week.

The thing I struggled with the most when I started trying to prep was breakfast so that’s where I’m starting with you guys. I wanted to share this SUPER simple breakfast prep option with you so you can have something ready to grab in the morning and start your morning out well. This usually lasts Tim and I 3-4 days (6-8 meals total).

Much of what I make anymore isn’t a direct recipe. I’m just winging it and making it work so I’ll share what I do and you can take it knowing that these are flexible options!

Easy Breakfast Hash: 2 TBSP Coconut oil (add as needed when adding kale)
1 large butternut squash – peeled and cubed (you can also buy pre-cut at HEB to keep it easy)
1 large head of kale or appx: 3/4  of a 4 oz. bag chopped with thick stems removed
1/2 medium sized red onion
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
Salt & Pepper to taste

 

 

Heat 2 TBSP oil in a large skillet (the bigger the better for when you’re adding the kale). Saute’ the onion and butternut squash until the onions begin to turntranslucent and the squash begins to soften. It will turn a bright, beautiful orange!

Add the paprika (more if you like) & pine nuts and stir for about a minute

Begin folding in your kale. You may have to do it in chunks. It will shrink as it cooks. Don’t let the kale get too dry. This is where you’ll start adding in a little more coconut oil as needed. Don’t go crazy though, it shouldn’t be “wet.”

Cook until kale is a rich green color and has softened some.

Serve with your choice of sausage, bacon, hard boiled or fried eggs and some fresh avocado! This week I packed the meals with 2 hard boiled eggs along with both bacon & sausage. This meal keeps well and reheats well for a filling breakfast. Enjoy!

 

July Athlete of the Month || Alex Difonzo!

Each month we spotlight a different CFA athlete who stands out and shows just how awesome they are. What is it that makes up an Athlete of the Month? It may not be the person that finishes the fastest, Rx’s every WOD, or gets a PR every time they walk in the gym. Although we love and celebrate when those things happen, the Athlete of the Month is made up of much more than physical ability. This person shows up, gives their best every time, and then gives a little more. They are hungry to learn and always ready to do the work. They support their fellow classmates and encourage them to reach their goals. This athlete embodies what we believe the CrossFit Austin Community should be about.

Our July Athlete of the Month is Alex Difonzo! Alex joined us in November of 2016 and has become everyone’s BFF! Watching Alex’s progress over the last year and a half has been exciting! He went from asking me every day when we were going to do curls and giving me dirty looks about burpees to setting his own specific goals and putting in the hard work and extra credit that it takes to reach them. He is always up for a challenge (fitness related or otherwise)! Not only is he an excellent addition as an athlete, but you’ll find him pretty regularly at our social events too (watch out for his magical refilling beer pitcher). Alex exemplifies so many of the qualities we look for in an AOM and has shown really amazing progress in his time here. Alex, the CFA Team is proud to honor you as our July Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this community. Thanks for your all your hard work and we look forward to seeing all you accomplish in the years to come! Congratulations!

 

 

 

State your Name and/or Nickname please:
Alex, most people just call me DiFonzo though

Words to live by?
Don’t take life too seriously, you will never get out of it alive.

What is your fitness background?
I swam competitively for all my life until a shoulder injury, then I played D1 water polo in college
for 3 years. I’ve never been good at sports outside of the water.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
I think November will be my 2 year mark.

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit… How did you feel? How do you compare it to
workouts today?
After the first day I thought I would never be able to do any of the movements, I don’t think I
could even do an air squat below parallel. I was terrified of lifting heavy. Now my flexibility,
endurance, and technique have improved a ton and I get excited about going up in weight and
trying new movements.

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
The community and the coaches, even when I don’t do as well as I wanted in a workout I have
fun everyday. It’s hard to have a bad workout surrounded by good people.

Current Training Goals/PRs?
I’m trying to focus on my gymnastics, I’m hoping to get my handstand walk down by the end of
summer.

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Don’t rush the basics, if you put time into good movement now it will pay off later.

What is your cheat meal go to?
Chips and queso and beer, like a gross amount of chips and queso.

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?
I rock climb a lot, and really enjoy mountain biking and kayaking on the weekends.

 

 

 

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
I did my first competition this year and I was able to push myself harder than I thought possible
in one of the workouts, it felt great to keep going when I would have normally tapped out. All
credit goes to my partner Erin for pushing me through the pain of what felt like a million squats!

If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
“Headrush”

2000 m row
Then 21-15-9
Deadlifts (225/155)
GHD situps

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I love to travel, I’ve been on an African Safari, backpacked through Europe and studied abroad
in Spain. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing new places and meeting new people.

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I have 2 cats, named Napkin and Biscuit. And I have one of their names tattooed on the inside
of my lip.

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
You can do anything once…

Olympic Lifting Cycle: A CrossFitter’s Perspective || Coach Aaron Garza

10 Weeks    

That’s how long I chose to dabble in the world of weightlifting. You know, that sport where there are more chairs sprawled out on the floor than barbells. Where burpee is a dirty word and where lounging on a chair, taking a cold swig of water, and chatting about the weekend every 3 minutes for an hour is an integral part of the training protocol. You know, that easy sport where you only have to worry about two lifts. Yea, that’s what I thought. I was wrong.

Know Your Why

We had just finished the 2018 CrossFit Open and for the second year in a row, the Open revealed that strength was my weakness. My background in distance running and triathlon allowed me to quickly develop strong calisthenic and aerobic capacities in the sport. This gave me a huge advantage when I first started CrossFit. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much carry over to the barbell. As I improved as an athlete, my lack of strength became more and more evident. I wanted to not only compete, but be competitive. I still have a spreadsheet from 2015 with all my lifts and target goals that I’ve been working towards ever since. I’ve been slowly creeping closer and closer towards those maxes, however, I realized that I never truly dedicated time to weightlifting. I knew that just as I had spent years and years building an endurance base, I would benefit from taking the time to focus on strength alone. The desire to improve as a CrossFit athlete. That was and is my why. Whether you wish to refine your technique, need a change of pace, or simply want to improve strength, know your why.

Mental Game

In triathlon, you train your brain to turn off. You learn to focus on the cyclical patterns of each discipline. During the swim, you shut it off to limit anxiety, remain calm and focus on breathe and stroke. During the bike, you learn to focus on cadence and disregard the buildup of lactic acid in the legs.  During the run, you turn it off, fall forward into every step and don’t stop. Crossfit is similar. You learn to shut off your brain and grind through WODs. It works well. The thought of quitting, or “this sucks” never even has a chance to enter a mind that’s turned off.

Then, there’s weightlifting.

Throughout these past 10 weeks, I’ve had to retrain my brain to remain on. For me it was not easy and took much effort. From approaching the barbell, to the setup, to bar path, catch and finish, every aspect of the lift requires thought and intense focus. It’s exhausting. There is no autopilot with weightlifting, especially for the novice lifter. The mental aspect to weightlifting is challenging but rewarding, frustrating but encouraging and downright addicting. If you’ve been in off mode for a while, I encourage you to consider flipping the switch. You’ll be better for it.         

Be a Sponge

Two words that will completely rid you of the opportunity to learn something new, “I know”. As a coach, it is never easy to be coached. I pride myself on being well informed about the Crossfit world and knowledgeable with all things human movement. So to now be taking instruction from someone else wasn’t easy. I had to make a conscious effort to leave my ego at the door and trust in my new coach, Dylan Wall. All that being said, it didn’t take long for me to realize the value that Dylan had to offer. He has a drive and passion for the sport that is infectious and demanding of your very best. Should you choose to test the waters with weightlifting, the best thing you can do is to be a sponge. Have an open mind and be coachable. Listen, think, visualize, and then execute. Weightlifting is not easy. Some days it’s fun, some days its straight work. This is the reason you must have a why. If your why is strong enough, nothing can stop you. I had plenty of days throughout this cycle, where I wasn’t feeling it. I felt weak, tired and slow. But, I showed up. Just show up. Your why will help you do that.

Practice Makes Better

One more thought. If you are reading this, there’s a good chance you’d consider yourself to be a CrossFitter. By nature, you are tough-minded, hardworking and have incredible strength of conviction. This makes you a prime candidate to jump into a weightlifting cycle, even if just for a few weeks. Why? Because you aren’t afraid to fail.  You understand that the inverse of progress is not defeat. Progress is only achieved through the steady pursuit of failure. Not even a stud like Dylan can coach you such that you hit every lift with perfect technique. It’s not going to happen, and that’s okay. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make better. So go for it, try something new, pursue failure and watch yourself grow.

Compete

I ended the 10 week weightlifting cycle with the 2018 Weightlifting Wise Championships, my very first weightlifting competition. In addition to having a strong why, setting this end goal was a big motivator during those not feeling it days. Thankfully, I felt good the day of the meet. We had an easy week leading up to the event so I felt well rested and ready to go. I weighed in with 6 other lifters for the 85kg class. This was the first time I got to take a look at the competition. “I’ll take him, no way he’ll beat me, yea he’s probably gonna win…, I can do more pull ups though”.  Just a few of my thoughts. After weigh in, I got together with Dylan and we game planned how the day would go. I didn’t realize how much planning actually went into the day. This is why you have a coach. It was neat to see that every lifter had their coach; someone they’ve spent months, maybe even years working with. As a lifter, all you have to do is worry about lifting; your coach does everything else. You’re told when to warm up, how to warm up, when to rest, and how much to lift. It’s actually quite nice. It’s funny to think that I had questioned Dylan’s programming at week 1 and now in week 10, I wouldn’t move without asking. The first lift was snatch. Sitting on deck waiting to get my turn on the platform, I was unusually calm. I’ve always been the type of athlete that gets nervous, sick before competition, but this just wasn’t the case. I attribute my lack of nerves to the old saying, ignorance is bliss. I was in a completely foreign world without much expectation, but amped up and ready to jump in.

If you’ve never been to a weightlifting competition, you should. It is crazy intense. Your name gets announced, the place goes silent and all eyes are on you as you approach the platform. There is no hiding. There is no blaring music. There is no clanging of barbells or shouting of spectators. Just silence. The snatch went exactly as planned. I hit 3 of 3 attempts and finished with a 6lb personal record. 6lbs in 10 weeks? Why didn’t I do this sooner? After a quick intermission, the rotation of athletes began once again for the clean and jerk. I hit my opener at 115kg, but felt a little shaky on the jerk. Of course Dylan caught this. The guy sees everything. He decided to set my next lift 1 kg less than what we had originally planned. Again, as the lifter, you don’t question your coach’s call. Your job is to lift, and not worry about what’s on the barbell. Dylan’s intuition was right on as I got red carded on my next lift at 119kg; no lift. On the jerk, I caught the barbell with a slight bend in my elbow, and then continued to press and lock it out over head. This is a no-no in the weightlifting world. After a quick discussion with Dylan, we agreed to set 120kg on the bar for my third and final lift. After 2 minutes of rest, I hit it and matched my current clean and jerk PR.  

I was pumped; I went 5 for 6 with a 6 lb PR in the snatch. It was a relief to see that the 10 week cycle had really paid off. I now notice that my pull off the floor is stronger and I’ve improved my catch position in the snatch. My legs also feel stronger coming out of the hole in the front rack position. I probably had the most fun I’ve ever had at a competition and couldn’t be happier with the result. My weightlifting cycle is over, my end goal has been met and I now have a cool singlet to prove it. And you could too!       

Move well, move often.  

-Aaron Garza

 

Editor’s note: Coach Aaron isn’t one to brag, but he went home with a shiny new piece of jewelry from his meet! Aaron took silver in his weight class and we are super proud of him!

 

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