Kitchen Adventures || Elk Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Happy Wednesday! I think everyone is on the same page with the fact that it’s tough to keep track on the days. Hopefully, everyone caught last week’s post. If not, the first point was to establish a schedule. Our days look very different now and you don’t have to have a super strict schedule, but setting up some timelines for yourself and a few healthy boundaries is always a good idea!

Another thing that’s helped me tremendously is hopping in on the live classes all the coaches are running! Not only do I get to move my body, but I get to check in with all the coaches and our community members that are logging in too. It helps to bring me into a normal cycle and keeps me sane!

Luckily for us, our eating habits haven’t changed a whole lot. Like I mentioned last week, it took us a little bit to get the hang of our “new normal” and we were not eating much because we were so busy, but we’ve really been making a better effort to sit down and eat together.

When the grocery stores were hit hard, we bought a bunch of the Force of Nature meat at the gym. Honestly, other than chicken and fish, that’s what we use anyway! We are always stocked up on sweet potatoes and the rest of it is pretty normal fair for us too so this recipe came together very quickly and easily!

I understand your access to certain things may be limited in this time, but this recipe would be great with ground beef or venison too. Use what you can get your hands on and feel free to message me with any questions about substitutions!


1 lb Elk (or ground meat of your liking)
1 large shallot – sliced thin and roughly chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes – baked (I used the instant pot)
1/4 cup golden raisins
2-3 handfuls fresh baby spinach
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 TBSP Tarragon
Crumbled goat cheese to top
Salt & Pepper to taste
Oil for cooking – I used grapeseed


Cook your potatoes with whatever method you prefer. While they are cooking, slice and rough chop a large shallot.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add a dash of oil. Add the meat. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook until browned. Drain any excess liquid from the skillet and then add the shallot, raisins, tarragon, and cinnamon and cook until the meat is cooked through and shallots are softened. In the last minute or so, add the spinach and mix in until lightly wilted and bright green. Taste and adjust seasoning to preference.

When your potatoes are finished, let them cool until you can handle them. Slice open and use a fork to gently fluff the flesh. Spoon the elk mixture into the potato and top with some crumbled goat cheese!

I served this with Brussels sprouts roasted with sliced garlic and topped with sea salt and a drizzle of honey.

All finished in about 30 minutes! Enjoy!

Kitchen Adventures || The COVID-19 Kitchen Chronicles

The world is very far from normal right now… Everyone’s lives have been completely turned upside down. Many are still going into work as essentials and risking their own health for the sake of others. Many are home without any work because their establishments were forced to shut down. Many are scrambling to figure out how to make “working from home” a viable and productive option. None of this is how we saw 2020 going and none of it is ideal, but try to remember that it’s only temporary.

No matter which category you fall into, I’m willing to bet that your normal diet/food schedule has also taken a hit. For us, we’ve been so wildly busy trying to take our business online that we’ve hardly been taking in enough calories to support the long days we’re working. With the restaurants unable to do business, some of you who rely on going out to lunch on your break may be struggling to find a new normal, and I’ve heard from MANY who are home all day, whether or not they are working from home, are finding themselves binging more than just Netflix.

So, how many times throughout your day have you found yourself at the fridge or the pantry? Eating can very quickly become a way to cope with boredom or anxiety. Without structure, that habit can take hold and hang with you even once your days go back to normal.

I was going to post a recipe today, but I decided to save it and just talk about some things that can help you stay on track during this time. I understand that your grocery shopping probably looks a little different too with all the folks stock piling. It’s difficult to get some things right now, so just do the best you can and be kind to yourself about it.


Establish a schedule

This is important for all of us. If you’re still going in or working from home, you’re likely working longer days, but it’s so important that you line our time for yourself to sit down and eat. Read that again. Sit. Down. And. Eat. Not only are you doing what your body needs to make it through the day, but by scheduling time for your meals you’ll give yourself a little break from the madness to breathe and rest. Even if it’s quick, don’t stand or walk and eat. Sit down, have your meal, and allow yourself a moment to collect.

If you’re one of those hanging out in front of the refrigerator (or pantry), you need a schedule too. You probably need a schedule even more so because now you’re just looking for things to fill your time. Take this even further and try to create a “new normal” schedule for yourself each day. Set your alarm and get up at the same time. Set your meals. Schedule time to go outside and walk or exercise. Schedule time to veg out a bit (but don’t go overboard). Plan time for reading or finally learning how to do that thing you’ve always wanted to learn. Schedule time for chores… whatever it is!

For all of you though, set a time for each meal and stick to it as closely as possible.

Continue to Plan/Prep – or – Start Planning/Prepping!

If you are used to doing a weekend meal prep and having meals available throughout the week, don’t stop that now! You can probably minimize it a bit if you do find yourself with more time to cook throughout the week, but don’t stop entirely. Having a plan of what you’ll be eating throughout the week sets you up to stay on track!

For those of you working really long days, having something that you can just pop in the microwave or take out and eat will take a lot of pressure off of you. Yes, it’s a bit of a time commitment on the weekend, but then you’re set for when your scheduled meal times come up 🙂

When I prep for myself and Tim, I’ll choose 2-3 recipes that I’m going to make for alternating lunches and then I plan to make fresh dinners that will provide left overs a few times a week. Breakfast, I usually keep pretty simple and we’ll have 1 or 2 alternating options. Point is, I choose the majority of what we will eat before I go to the grocery store. This keeps me from spending time during the week trying to figure out what to make for dinner AND it keeps me from just picking at stuff in the fridge. Plan it, prep it!

If you’re interested in learning more about my meal planning/prepping just shoot me a message 🙂

Keep Track

This is useful for my busy bees and my bored bears… And, there are several things you can track during this time. If you’re really trying to be in depth and track things like macros and calories there are plenty of resources out there. MyFitnessPal is an app I’d recommend for anyone.

You can track WHAT you’re eating. Again, this can be done in MyFitnessPal or just in a notebook. Try to make notes for yourself with quantities. They don’t have to be exact, but you can use things like “a palm sized piece of chicken breast” and that will help you see how much you’re eating. Take a look at the end of the day and see what it looks like. Did you eat enough? Did you eat too much? Did you get enough veggies in? Find some balance by looking at what your intake is.

Another thing that will help you be more mindful about how many trips you’re taking to the fridge is to have a notebook or whiteboard or something beside it and put a tally mark on it EVERY time you go! What does that look like at the end of the day? If you have double digits on that tally, you need to slow your roll! Take a moment while you’re making that tally mark to reflect on why you’re there and make a decision. Are you there for one of your scheduled meals? Are you peering into the pantry and contemplating life while you eat another spoonful of peanut butter? While you’re there, go ahead and just grab a drink of water because most of us don’t get enough of that in anyway!

In fact, when in doubt, stop and drink some water. That’s pretty good advice for all of us in any situation.

If you need some guidance during this time, shoot me or your CFL a note and let’s talk about food!

Stay safe, y’all and take care of yourselves!



To Our CrossFit Austin Family,

Well, we got the word… unfortunately we are unable to offer services within our facility at this time, however, we are not out of options!

We have been working around the clock the last few days to transition to an online platform until we are able to reopen the doors!

Now is not the time to stop doing the things that have kept you healthy and active so join us on this journey and we promise we’ll keep things fun and engaging!

Don’t forget about our pillars! CFA || Community * Fitness * ADVENTURE

For today –
We will not be running open gym or evening class times.

We will be at the gym until 6:30 pm this evening as we clean and prepare for this TEMPORARY transition.

Please come by, say hello, and gather anything you have left at the gym. Depending on the circumstances, we will try to offer one more option to do this again later in the week.

We are allowing current members to check out either a dumbbell or a kettlebell to use at home until we are able to return to normal operations. If you are interested in checking out a piece of equipment, come on up! If you want to shoot us a message prior to making the trip to see if we have what you want available, please feel free to respond to this email or shoot Gen a message and we’ll let you know what’s available.

We have protein and Force of Nature in stock still if you don’t want to brave the store 😉 We also have Puori Vitamin D if you are concerned that you might not be able to get out in the sunshine!

For tonight –

If you were planning to come to class tonight, Coach Aaron put together a DB version of this workout at home which can also be done with a single kettlebell if you have one!


If you don’t have dumbbells or kettlebells, here is another version that requires nada!

A – Spend 10:00 practicing hand balancing – Frog stands, handstands, shoulder taps, handstand walks, etc..

B – In 8:00 Minutes – 2 min jump rope or jumping jacks, then AMRAP in the remaining time –

12 push ups with shoulder taps
12 air squats
24 sit ups

1:00 rest, then repeat 8 min cycle again!

For tomorrow –
We will put out programming for a home workout so you guys can still move your bodies if you so choose, but we will be taking the day to settle in, collect our thoughts, and organize the next step of our transition to online coaching! We may not have a very speedy response if you message us tomorrow, but rest assured we will return messages ASAP.

For the future –
First of all, remember that this is only temporary. Take a deep breath and hang in there with us.

We have a lot of fun plans for conferencing people in to do “group” classes online where we can see, hear, and “hang out” with each other via the internet!

We are also lining up some challenges to continue to keep you guys accountable and engaged (and not bored and stir crazy) as we navigate this ADVENTURE!

Many of you have hybrid sessions you haven’t used yet. We have options for that as well! Your lovely coaches will (some already have!) reach out to you to chat about ways we can continue to guide you toward your goals. Again, the internet has great tools for us to continue to work 1-on-1 with you. We even have some ideas for Heidi to schedule “hands off massage” sessions.

In this time, we ask you to continue to support your coaches and this community that we call our family by trusting us in the process.  We fully believe that we can and will provide value to you.

Stay tuned for more details! We’ll continue to keep you in the loop! Please keep an eye on the members FB group, your email, and for further updates!

In the pursuit of health,

Tim & Gen
Big Love <3

Kitchen Adventures || Avocado toast with Smoked Salmon

It always blows my mind how much places charge for a piece of bread with smashed avocado…. I mean, I know avocados can be a little pricey at times, but what I’m about to share with you would easily go for like $15 at a fancy pants brunch place. Have I paid it before? Yes… I have. But, you can have the same fancy pants breakfast/brunch at home with like 10 minutes of effort.

I did not choose to throw a fried egg on top this time, but next time I make it I probably will because everything is better with an egg on it!

Whether it’s a staycation or a Tuesday morning, pamper yourself with a breakfast that is full of goodies and will fuel you for the day ahead!

Whole grain bread (I chose a 15 grain)
2 Large avocados
1 Package Wild Smoked Salmon – sliced (choose an unseasoned option)
Fresh dill
1 tsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic – minced
Radishes – thinly sliced
Small sweet tomatoes – quartered
Salt & pepper to taste

*Optional – fried egg



Toast your bread! Toast to your liking.

In a small bowl, add the avocados, lemon juice, garlic, and some salt & pepper. Mash together until you reach the consistency you like and the ingredients are well mixed.

Spread the mixture onto your toast. Top with slices of smoked salmon, radishes, tomatoes, & small sprigs of fresh dill. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and a small sprinkle of black pepper.

IT’S THAT EASY! These flavors were so fresh and the colors were gorgeous! Don’t want to make it yourself? Give me $15 and I got you 😉

Coach Spotlight || Mark Celis

My fitness journey began at a very young age, beginning with sports. My parents
exposed me to many extracurricular activities as early as elementary school, where I began to fall in love with human performance. Of course, as a young boy, I didn’t see it as human performance but rather, more of a time to play. My first exposure to organized sports began with playing on my first tee-ball team around the age of 5 (cute pic on the right) and my love for sports only grew from there.


Growing up, I quickly recognized that I shared a love for most sports and desired to be involved in as many as I could. From basketball and track throughout middle school, to baseball and ultimate Frisbee in high school, I always found a way to use my fitness and athleticism. I eventually decided that I would focus most of my attention on baseball in high school. That’s where I had my first taste of weight training, where it gave me the opportunity to enhance my abilities on the field. Little did I know that I would actually begin to fall in love with the science behind why we were lifting weights and its benefits not only as an athlete but as an individual.

Three months prior to my senior baseball season, I fractured my distal fibula and had to run around in a cast and with crutches. Because I knew it would hinder me from practicing hard before the start of the season, I was very discouraged. Regardless, I kept my chin up, drank my milk, and did what I could to make sure I would still perform for my team by the time we started. It was during that process that I was reassured in my decision in pursuing a degree in healthcare.


After graduation, I made my way to good ol’ Lubbock, Texas where I attended Texas
Tech University (wreck em’). I pursed a degree in Kinesiology (with a Pre-PT track) because I
knew I wanted to work in the field of physical therapy. It was there that I found the sport of
Crossfit and where I met some awesome people that encouraged me to pursue physical
therapy. Among those people in the Crossfit community were a professor with his PhD. in
exercise science, and a DPT who taught me a lot about the profession. I eventually interned at
several PT clinics but the one that had the biggest influence on me was Lubbock Sports Rehab
that was connected to the D1 sports facility. That experience helped affirm my passion and
desire to work with athletes and sports rehab.

Once I earned my four-year bachelor’s degree, I moved back home to begin the very
long process of apply to PT schools. After a small waiting period, I was finally accepted to the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences and moved to Austin, Texas. I quickly became a member of Crossfit Austin and eventually became a “Coach For Life”. It has been such a blessing being a part of a genuine coaching staff that actually cares about their members. I have seen a ton of development being a part of this crew. It’s allowed me to practice my professional skills with clients and has helped me develop that “coach’s eye” while assessing movement. I have seen a ton of growth in my life and I am FIRED UP to continue my development as a coach, athlete, and hopeful physical therapist!

In Response to COVID-19

For the Health & Safety of our Community…


To our CFA & Austin Weightlifting Community,

We are all increasingly aware of the threat of Coronavirus/COVID-19.

It has been a huge topic of discussion both within the community of athletes and between the coaches as we decide on how to best to respond.

While we see no reason to panic, we’re committed to taking extra steps so that our athletes can train safely through this outbreak.

1. Stay home if you are sick.
This is the #1 thing you can do to protect our community. Please err on the side of caution and take a rest day if you think you might be getting sick. If you do get sick, please stay home until you are recovered.

2. Wash your hands before and after working out.
A quick rinse isn’t enough. With soap and water, scrub your hands (top and bottom!) thoroughly for 20 seconds. We’re CrossFitters, we know exactly how to count down the seconds, so do it!

3. Wipe down all of your equipment thoroughly with the wipes provided.
This is a courtesy you provide for the other athletes even when there isn’t a terrible virus floating around – so let’s be even more thorough and wipe down anything you touched or sweated on. Don’t miss the pull up bars, boxes, and the sweat angels you leave on the floor.

Zogics Antibacterial Wipes have demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to the 2019 Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) on hard, non-porous surfaces. Therefore, these products can be used against 2019 Novel Coronavirus when used in accordance with their directions against Norovirus on hard, non-porous surfacesFor more information, click here.

4. Limit physical contact – Opt for “air fives”
Now’s not the time to make unnecessary physical contact – however there’s never a time when a “nice work!” isn’t appreciated.

5. We’re altering our cleaning routine.
Our team is doubling down on our cleaning routine to minimize transmission risks. We’re paying extra attention to door handles, pull up bars, barbells – anything that hands touch regularly.

DisInFX – For years now, we’ve had a company called Disinfx come monthly to do an antimicrobial spray and testing. This helps us kill any viruses/bacteria that usually cause issues in gyms and with regular testing they can let us know where we stand on our numbers. We have always tested well below average and the solution they use has proven effective against viruses similar to Covid-19. We will continue to monitor with them and add additional services if our numbers climb. For more information, click here.

We appreciate your help in protecting our gym fam. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to shoot us a message!

In Health,
The CFA Team

Kitchen Adventures || Meat & Potatoes.. and a little something green

Presidential candidates weren’t the only thing y’all were voting for on Super Tuesday! 😉  I was going through pictures on my phone of some of the meals I’ve made lately and couldn’t decide which recipe to share so I put it to a vote and our members chose!

It’s pretty clear y’all are the meat and potatoes type! This could very easily be doubled and made into meal prep bowls, but this was just made as a weeknight dinner. Which might I add, was a very simple meal. These things came together out of a necessity to use some items I already had and the results were fantastic!

I used a cut of bison we had from Roam Ranch and while it was great (as is all of the meat we get from RR or FON) it wasn’t the main attraction of this plate for me. It was a flank steak usually used for London Broil, but honestly I didn’t even really cook it as a London Broil. The butcher paper was labeled that way so that’s what I called it. You can just as easily replace that with a filet or NY strip, or whatever you like!

The real stars of the show for me were the veggies, particularly the sweet potatoes. I also have gotten used to all my fancy gadgets in the kitchen so I’ll post the methods I used, but also some alternates if you don’t have a sous vide or an instant pot.

Ok, get after it! Bonus – keep scrolling for a behind the scenes look at what is happening in my kitchen while I cook…. 😉

Image may contain: food
*This served 2 plates

12 oz steak of your choice – Mine was a bison flank steak, but use your favorite! A couple of filets, a sirloin, whatever you want! I ate about 4 oz and Tim had about 8 oz
Olive Oil

Sweet Potatoes
2 medium – large sweet potatoes
1 TBSP dried sage
1 tsp molasses
1 tsp honey
1/4 cup milk of your choice – I used coconut milk

Brussels Sprouts
1 lb fresh sprouts – trimmed and quartered
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP honey
salt & pepper to taste
Olive oil


Steak – Ok, so I used a bison flank I had in the freezer, but any cut you like will do. I kept it very simple for this one. If you’re using a flank steak, place the cut between to sheets of wax paper and tenderize it with a mallet. If you have the time (it will be much better), marinate it for at least an hour to over night in your favorite marinade. You can prep and cook everything else while the steak marinates. See my notes below for a very basic marinade.

To cook with a sous vide  – Y’all… you put the meat in a ziploc bag with all your seasoning. In this case, I used salt, pepper, Image may contain: foodand minced garlic… Fill a large pot with water, set the temperature and follow the instructions on the app.

MOST folks don’t have a sous vide though so my go to method is a cast iron skillet and the oven. Preheat the oven to 425. After marinating pat the steak dry, season both sides with salt and pepper and heat a cast iron (or oven safe) skillet with 1-2 tbsp oil over med-high heat. Once it’s hot, put the steak in and leave it! Don’t touch it for about 3 minutes. When it moves easily, flip and do the other side. This will cause a lot of smoke so make sure your vent is on. Move the skillet to the oven to finish out to your desired temperature. Use a meat thermometer to determine proper doneness. I like med-rare a little more on the rare side so I only let the steak cook for 3-4 min in the oven and then take it out and let it rest on the cutting board for a couple of minutes before cutting. THIS CHART will be helpful for finding your perfect temperature. It’s better to err on the more rare side because it will continue to cook a bit while sitting on the cutting board.

Brussels Sprouts – So simple! Preheat the oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil and grease with oil or cooking spray. In a bowl mix the quartered sprouts with 1 tsp of olive oil, 1 tbps balsamic vinegar, and 1 tbsp honey. Spread evenly in one layer onto the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Roast until desired tenderness.

Sweet Potatoes – Ah, the best part in my opinion! I used my instant pot. Wash potatoes and place on the trivet with a cup of water. Close the vent valve and set to manual pressure cook on high for 18 minutes and allow to depressurize naturally (takes 12-15 minutes). Once the valve drops you can release the lid.

***2 other cooking options – wash, poke with a fork, and coat in coconut oil. Wrap in foil and put them on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 for about 45 minutes or until fork tender

***Or – wash, poke with a fork, and wrap in wax paper. Microwave for 7-10 minutes (for 2 potatoes) or until fork tender. Turn halfway through.

Once you have a cooked potato, let it cool until you can handle it. The skin should peel off pretty easily. In a large bowl, mash the potatoes with a masher or large fork. Add the sage, molasses, honey, and milk and continue to mix until well combined.

That’s it y’all! If you time it right, you can have everything coming out at the same time and plated up together.

March Athlete of the Month || Marvin Poquiz

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 March Athlete of the Month is Marvin Poquiz! Marvin has been with us for about 7 months now, but it feels like he’s been part of the crew for much longer! He very quickly became a part of the family! Marvin has a smile to light up the room, making everyone feel welcome. He’s always in for a good time and the coaches love how responsive he is to cues. He listens, applies, and makes great progress in every single class!  Marvin has so many of the qualities that we look for in an athlete of the month! Marvin, the CFA Team is proud to honor you as our March Athlete of the Month and as an awesome part of this team. 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: Marvin

Words to live by?
“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou

What is your fitness background?
I did track and was a cross country runner in high school, then mostly did HIT/P90x-type of workouts starting in college.

How long have you been CrossFitting?
Approximately 4 years now.

Take us back to your first day of CrossFit Austin… How did you feel? How do you compare it to workouts today?
August 8, 2019! I remember it distinctly because it was my first day living In Austin, had just gotten into (what I thought to be) a minor accident a couple hours prior, and it was over 100* that day; I was sweating profusely and it felt like I was drowning in dry heat/lava.

Aside from the environmental shock, my experience that day was ! Tim was manning the gym that day and we talked in length about what I’m looking for in a box as I was “shopping around” for a new home.  He walked me through CFA’s overall vision/goals for its community and then assessed my “fundamentals” of CrossFit.  Needless to say, I didn’t even bother visiting any other box!

What’s your favorite part of CrossFit Austin?
Hands down, my favorite part about CFA are its people.  Both coaches and members cultivate a community-based environment that really enables each member to reach their personal fitness and social goals.

Current Training Goals/PRs?
My training goal this year has been to show up! Personally, this means being more mindful with my body to avoid injury and allow me to keep showing up.

What advice do you have for folks just starting out in CrossFit?
Be patient, stay humble, and keep an open mind! Chances are you might have to unlearn or break some bad habits to do things correctly/safely.

What is your cheat meal go to?
Pan-fried crispy SPAM with white rice!

How do you use your fitness outside of the gym?

Yikes… I plead the fifth 😳 I suppose I dabble in outdoor hiking with my partner, Brandon, and our 3 dogs.

Tell us about a moment you felt most proud of yourself during a workout.
There’s not a specific instance I can recall, but I’m proud of the moments when I’ve hit old PRs or make new ones knowing I’m continuously getting better.

What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your fitness journey?
My perception of what it means to be fit and healthy. Social influence can be deadly if left unchallenged, but defining what it truly means to be fit and healthy for myself was empowering. #youdoyou

If you could create a WOD and name it for yourself, what would it be?
Starvin’ Marvin

20min AMRAP
1000m Row Buy-In
5 Pull-Ups
10 Burpees
15 Medball Squats
20 Double Unders

What keeps you going on the days you don’t feel like it?
I made a couple friends in the form of a raccoon and 2 tuxedo stray/outdoor cats in the morning who I feed with bread right before the 630am class. I suppose showing up for the coaches is a close second! 😉

What are your hobbies, interests and/or talents outside of CrossFit?
I’m a nerd at heart and avidly collect X-men and Transformers toys based on the cartoons.  To this day, I still watch some anime when I have the time. I also enjoy listening to e-books and podcasts stations by NPR; I love just zoning out on my drives to/from work.  I’m currently consumed by my master’s program, but on occasion I get the itch to make art. I’ve painted giant canvas pieces and have even painted a giant mural for my last CrossFit gym in LA.

Tell us something we don’t know about you…
I’m a “stress” addict, I get a thrill in always seeking discomfort to improve.  Hence why I’m a fan of CrossFit, getting my masters, and finding unique job positions in the Air Force.

Leave the fine folks of CrossFit Austin with some parting words…
“It’s only really over when you give up!” I say this to myself when I need a little boost professionally with a work and/or school deadline.

Tips for a Successful Back Squat Cycle!


Here we are! It’s time for back squats! Below are the dates for all of our upcoming back squat sessions! We have already hit 1 of 12. If you have not pretested your back squat yet, I HIGHLY suggest you get your booty in here before next Thursday (2 of 12) and find your max.


If you truly want to see progress on your squats this cycle, below are some tips to help you out!

1) Be consistent – most weeks we’ll have 2 sessions on the back squat. They are spread out well enough that you should be able to recover between sessions, but there is no way you’ll see progress if you’re only hitting a handful of the sessions. Put the dates in your calendar and do your best to make it to class those days!


2) Follow the prescriptions (percentages & tempos) – when it says “sets across” or “same weight across” that means that all sets & reps are done at the same weight. The percentage range, 65-75% for example, means you’re choosing a weight within that range that you can complete every single rep successfully. This is also necessary for tracking purposes. If you build on every set and only record the heaviest set, that is not representative of what you truly did in the session.

A note on tempo – You will see varying tempos on both the squat and the db row in this cycle. This isn’t meant to punish you and if you’re truly sticking to the tempos, you WILL see improvement!

Don’t skip out on the rest either!!


3) Track your sessions – Make notes & record accurate numbers. Simple as that. Depending on the tempo and rep scheme you may want to stick to the lower end of the percentage range. When you are tracking your numbers, you have a better understanding of what’s happening and where you may need to make adjustments from session to session and week to week.


4) Points of Performance – Don’t do crappy squats… (or bent over rows…) All those little short cuts people take to make a movement easier…. Yeah… it’s not helping you. Going too heavy for the day and not hitting depth… Yeah… it’s not going to help you…

If you struggle to do a decent back squat at depth without losing position (butt wink, knees caving, back rounding, etc…) you should stick with a box squat.. Aim for a controlled descent to the box with about a 2 count pause on the box. Don’t lose tension on the box (legs still contracted 50% or more)

Leave the ego out of it and do the work YOU should be doing… #fitnessmaturity

Strive for the best rep every single time. Good range of motion, bracing, foot placement and engagement…. We’ll have more videos throughout the cycle, but don’t stunt your progress with bad reps! Also, it makes your coaches sad…


5) RECOVERY – Take care of your bodies, y’all! There are so many things you can do to help yourself recover. Normatec has spots open on Tu/Th every week, we have an ice bath day coming up (3/7), foam roll, active recovery, massage with Heidi, eating and sleeping well… Don’t ignore those little nagging pains either. If you have something going on, talk to your coaches. We can help you get to the bottom of it so you can keep training (safely). Recovery is just as important as the work!


Ok, dates below… I’ve also included the post test for our Push Press and the Pretest for the next cycle after back squats!



Mon 2/17 – Pretest
Wed 2/26 – 1 of 12
Thurs 3/5 – 2 of 12
Tues 3/10 – 3 of 12
Fri 3/13 – 4 of 12
Mon 3/16 – 5 of 12
Thurs 3/19 – 6 of 12
Mon 3/23 – 7 of 12
Fri 3/27 – 8 of 12
Tues 3/31 – 9 of 12
Fri 4/3 – 10 of 12
Mon  4/6 – 11 of 12
Fri 4/10 – 12 of 12
Mon 4/13 – Post Test

Other days to note:

Push Press Post Test – Monday, March 2

Pretest for the next strength cycle – Jerks – Monday, March 30

Kitchen Adventures || Carnitas Taco Bowls

Meal prepping is all about making life easier, right? Well, part of that for me is packing things in a way that allows an easy heat and eat for me at the gym! There is some assembly required with these because I like a lot of ‘stuff’ on my bowls, but it’s still a pretty simple lunch!

The carnitas recipe I’m sharing is an instant pot version because my life basically revolves around my instant pot now, but you could also go with a basic crockpot version using the same spices and ingredients!


INGREDIENTS – This made 4 bowls for us


Olive Oil for browning meat
3-4 lbs pork shoulder chopped into smaller chunks
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp pink salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp coconut sugar (optional, but tasty)
2-3 cinnamon sticks – 3-4 inches long
2 oranges, halved
1 lime
1 cup water

Rice Mixture

2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 yellow onion – diced
1 bell pepper – diced
1/2 cup corn – I used frozen corn and just defrosted it
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/8 tsp cayenne for heat – optional
juice from 1 lime

Sliced avocado
Sliced jalapeno
Plain Greek Yogurt
Green Onions
Additional limes


Carnitas –

Mix the spices together in a small bowl and rub evenly over the pork pieces. Heat instant pot on saute’ setting and add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil.

Once hot, add meat. Brown meat for a couple minutes per side, completing in batches if necessary. Remove and set aside.

Change the instant pot setting to manual pressure cook and add the water, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom from browning the meat.

Add the meat back in and squeeze the juice from both oranges and the lime over top. Toss the cinnamon sticks in and give everything a quick stir.

Secure the lid and make sure the venting valve is closed. Set the timer on high pressure for 40 minutes. Allow to naturally release for another 15 and then vent the lid.

While the pressure is releasing, turn the oven to high broil and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray lightly with cooking spray.

Remove the meat from the instant pot and shred in a bowl. Then add the meat to the prepared baking sheet. Place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes or until the edges begin to get crispy. Remove, sprinkle with a little more salt if you prefer and squeeze lime juice on top!


Cook rice according to the package. You’ll need about 2 cups cooked.

In a large pan, heat a little olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and saute’ for 3-5 minutes or until it begins to soften. Lower the heat and add the corn, cilantro, salt, pepper, and rice. Stir well to combine. Squeeze lime juice on top. Adjust seasoning as desired!

Divide the rice into 4 bowls. I used rectangle pyrex containers and did half rice, half meat and put the lid on. I prep all the toppings as well (except for the avocado – I cut that fresh 🙂 )

Reheat, top it with your favorite goodies, and serve with tortillas or chips to your liking!


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