25 Mar 2015
Typically, I don’t endorse fast food. It’s generally of poor quality, low in nutrients and high in calories, fat, and carbohydrates. But sometimes you just have to eat and the only options are quick serve joints such as these. When I get stuck, there are my top go-to options. Remember that none of these are nutritionally ideal – most are still pretty high in sodium and can involve processed ingredients. But eating fast food isn’t about ideal nutrition, it’s about doing the best with what you have where you are.
1. The Burrito Salad
You can actually get this at a number of places – Chipotle and BoLoco for starters – which is why no restaurant name is included. Choose the salad option and top with vegetables, meat of your choosing (preferably grass fed/free range if offered), salsa, guacamole, and beans if you eat them. This will run you in the range of 400-600 calories and provide a filling lunch. The typical chicken salad at Chipotle will also provide 110% of your daily vitamin A, 94% of your daily vitamin C, and 23% of your daily iron needs.
2. The Jimmy John’s “Unwich”
The unwich is any of your Jimmy John’s favorites without the bread. My go to, the Beach Club, is 310 calories, 29 grams of protein, and 8 grams of carbs without mayo. If you remove the provolone too, you’re at 90 calories (in which case you should add something else or order it with half a slice of bread). Either way, you can also add an apple, banana, or yogurt from a nearby convenience store.
3. Sweet Green “Hummus Tahina” Salad or “Harvest Bowl”
While you cannot always assume that salad is the healthiest option (take most of McDonald’s salads), in this case they’re better than what you’ll find elsewhere. And there are now several Sweet Greens (or similar such places) in downtown Boston. My favorite is the mediterranean inspired Hummus Tahina salad (610 calories, not sure who much carbohydrate but with hummus, pita chips, and falafel in there, I would guess about 60 grams. Of course you can always ask those items to be disclosed or on the side) or the Harvest Bowl (685 calories). While neither of these is on the lower calorie side, quality makes up for it, and you can always save some for later (or share – Patrick is usually hungry enough to help me out when I can’t finish something).
4. Starbucks Bistro Boxes
Starbucks is my last ditch choice, but it usually works considering there’s almost one on every corner. Ranging from 270-480 calories, the bistro boxes are balanced and generally filling. The fruit and cheese one is generally my favorite, although all three get my relative thumbs up. As a bonus, they’re lower in sodium than the above options, with my favorite and the Protein Box ringing in at 470 mg (the Chicken and Hummus one is 580 mg). If you’re still hungry, Starbucks has a few other things you can pair these boxes with like bananas, Kind Bars (again, not ideal but not terrible), popcorn, or nuts.
Side note: should you stumble upon a Chik-Fil-A, I recommend you simply enjoy your breaded chicken sandwich or nuggets and waffle fries. You can eat vegetables later
What are your go to fast food meals?
23 Mar 2015
22 Mar 2015
Alright guys and girls. As promised, I am continuing my rant on grip. Last week I discussed how to approach a bar on the ground and why you should want to grab it differently. This week will be shorter, but no less important as we discuss what happens when the bar goes overhead.
To briefly touch on what I discussed last week, grabbing the barbell with purpose and vigor establishes control of the bar. With this minor adjustment, when the bar begins to move, magical things happen unbeknownst to you. The radial tension from grabbing the bar tightly will “radiate” to other parts of your body and generate more torque and control. This makes moving the bar and weight seem just a little bit easier.
Now another reason why we want to grab the bar tightly. When/if the bar needs to go overhead, do you want it to be in your fingertips, or do you want to have a solid grip on the bar where you have control of the bar versus the bar having control over you? My thoughts exactly. So what I’m really trying to convey is a better sense of control. If you start with this:
then you’ll end up looking like this:
But if you start like this:
then you’ll end up like this:
That’s right! World-class. I did say magical things would happen didn’t I? But seriously. Doesn’t it look like he’s got control? Give it a shot. Remember that it takes a lot of practice to make something a habit. That includes gripping the bar correctly. Keep practicing and it’ll become second nature eventually.
I’ve also got an announcement to make. Monday and Wednesday this week @ 4:3pm will be our new Strength Class. Next week and in the weeks following, it will be on Monday and Thursday… same bat time… same bat channel. This class is for all Strength Challenge participants as well as any member who wants to do the class. The programming will be different from what is on the Blog and will coincide with what the Strength Challenge is doing. You can choose to do the entire programming that I have written for them, or we can modify it. I will be coaching these classes just like any other class. The programming may run longer, and at that point, the extra work is to be completed on your own, or you can call it a day. It’s entirely up to you. You’ll get a chance to see what a day of the programming looks like and get in some heavy lifts. I hope to see a bunch of you there! Until next time…
15 Power Snatch
18 Mar 2015
In light of events in the news last week, I need to take a minute to address the ethical dilemma that seems to be plaguing my professional organization (The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics).
Last week, it was reported in the New York Times that a new “Kids Eat Right” seal would be appearing on Kraft Cheese Singles. This was also riffed by the Daily Show, who noted “It turns out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is an academy in the same way this is cheese.” Great. To add to my embarrassment, this morning, my mom texted me a picture of an article in her home newspaper (the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel) about how nutritionists paid by Coca Cola have recommended mini Coke cans as a “healthy snack” in a number of blogs/articles during American Heart Month. You can see a photo of the article and my color commentary on Twitter. Her caption for the photo was “I guess there are unethical dietitians”. Ya think?
Did the Academy Have Anything To Say For Themselves ?
After much outcry (and plenty of it from dietitians inside and outside the Academy), yes. The “official explanation”is essentially that Kraft Foods contributes funds to the Kids Eat Right campaign, which “was launched to support public education projects and programs that address the national health concern of obesity among our children,” earning them the seal. In a vacuum that explanation works, but of course in real life anyone with half a brain knows that putting the logo of the professional organization for dietitians on a “food” that cannot even legally call itself real cheese (notice it is labeled as a “pasteurized processed cheese product”) will lead many consumers to believe the product is endorsed by nutrition professionals and thus healthier than it actually is.
Aso for the Cola article, the Academy isn’t really to blame for that. That one falls on the individual RDs (although they do take a good deal of sponsorship dollars from Coke, that’s a topic for another day).
Why Am I So Mad?
Because this is both embarrassing and unethical. Actually, the cola thing is beyond unethical. I spent 5 years in college and an intensive supervised practice internship learning about fundamentals of science (chemistry, biochemistry) and nutrition, how to use nutrition to treat and prevent disease, how to counsel clients, to communicate information, and how to interpret and incorporate scientific evidence into my practice. So for someone who has done the same to accept money to tell the American people that a beverage composed entirely of chemicals and high fructose corn syrup is a healthy snack is beyond unethical. Essentially, these “professionals” are using their credential to perpetuate the bad information – and help sell a product – that has had a hand in destroying a number of peoples’ heath and driving chronic illness to record highs. Think about all the quality of life lost to diabetes, obesity, and heart disease (among others) over the last 20 years, and the role soda and junk food has played. Then think about a credentialed health professional promoting some of those products. Almost inconceivable.
The Good News?
I’m not the only one who is upset. Many dietitians feel strongly that the Kids Eat Right seal should be repealed. There’s even a petition on Change.org that has over 4,000 signatures and a hashtag #RepealTheSeal with over 1,000 tweets since the news broke last week.
Why Am I Telling You This?
I hope many if not all of you view me as a credible nutrition resource, and I wanted to let you know that I don’t support unethical and deceptive practices in exchange for sponsorship dollars. When I make recommendation about what is a healthy snack or how to choose supplements, I am making it based on the available scientific evidence and my experience. I hope you’ll continue to trust me, even if there are a few bad apples in my profession.
11 Mar 2015
I have to apologize for such a late post. I am out in California for work and got caught up enjoying the sunshine (OK, OK I was working).
I recently contributed an article to Box Pro Magazine on the 7 mistakes you might be making in the box. Some of these are things I’ve seen in our box, and some are just things I’ve seen around CrossFit. I’ll let you read more about the problems and my suggested fixes over at Box Pro.
09 Mar 2015
I’ve been working with my dad as a private training client since December and it has been so much fun. He comes in, works hard, and has made pretty significant gains in the few months he’s been training. He is always positive about attacking new challenges and is great at buckling down and focusing on corrections when a lift doesn’t go exactly right.
We’ve got a couple of near-term goals, including 100 consecutive single-unders (and he wants to get back double-unders, at some point, too) and I think he can probably back squat a 100 pounds before too long. His primary goal in starting up training at CFB was to strengthen his legs, but I’ve definitely seen some solid improvements in shoulder flexibility, balance, and coordination. My goal is to put more muscle on his frame so he can go fishing more often and continue to walk his fluffy white Maltese mix, Daisy.
Overall, watching my dad perform over the last few months has re-invigorated my own training — I can’t let him catch up and pass me! If you see him in the gym (we normally work Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday mornings), say hello.
Peace and bacon grease,
06 Mar 2015
It’s time to say goodbye to the excuses of why you can’t achieve more.
It’s time to say goodbye to those “friends” that hold you down.
It’s time to say goodbye to the habits that contribute to you being a lesser you.
Train. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
It’s not complicated, but it’s not easy either. A while back I posted an article about discipline. Discipline is doing the right things daily. It’s doing the common uncommonly well. It’s not very sexy.
I am not suggesting your life should consist solely of waking up, coming to CFB, going to work, eating, and then home to bed. That would be a boring life indeed and we all have commitments. What I am suggesting is leading a life that is more minimal. Discard the excess or trim the fat of what gets in the way of you becoming a better version of you.
Dedicated to YOUR Fitness!
CrossFit Games Open 15.2
Tonight at 6:30pm is week 2 of the CF Games Open workouts. All are invited to come and participate or watch. If you are participating please plan to arrive no later than 5:45 to begin prepping for a 6:30pm start.
Some have asked why we are only running the Open workouts during one class and not in the regular programming. The reason is that many of our members are uninitiated during the Open and we want to provide as great of an environment for those that are initiated to compete in. The weekly 6:30pm slot on Fridays is the stage to shine on and have it be more of an event rather than just another class.
Week 2 March Programming
Here is the next week of programming. See you in class!
Complete as many rounds in 20 minutes as you can of:
75/55 pound Power snatch, 12 reps
“Partner Filthy Fifty”
For time, partition any way, partners must use same weights/boxes:
50 Box jump, 24/20 inch box
50 Jumping pull-ups
50 OH kettlebell swings, 1.5/1 pood
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Knees to elbows
50 Push press, 45 pounds
50 Back extensions
50 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
50 Double unders
Row 5000 K
Complete as many rounds in 20 minutes as you can of:
5 Handstand Push-ups
10 One legged squats, alternating
1. For time: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
75/55 Shoulder to overhead
2. Clean and Jerk 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 reps
1. Shoulder Press: Work up to a heavy set of five
2. Five rounds for time of:
15 Unbroken Wall Ball Shots
15 GHD sit-ups
Five rounds for time of:
115/75 pound Push-jerk, 15 reps
15 L pull-ups
04 Mar 2015
I have written two meal plans in my 5 years as a dietitian (excluding hospital menus, of course). I wrote the first one because I thought it was a good way to expand what I was able to offer, and help people in a different way. The second one was more of a diet template, written for a friend. Based on my experience with the first one, I decided this was not something I wanted to offer. Why?
For starters, it’s a lot of work if done right. There are numerous factors that determine the best diet for someone to follow, including:
- Past medical history
- Current lifestyle
- Client goals
- Diet history
- Fitness capabilities
- Dietary preferences
When creating a meal plan for 30 – 90 days (the length of time I usually see them offered), you need to make sure they are meeting their calorie goals, getting all the right micronutrients, eating foods they like at times convenient to their lifestyle, all while making sure there is flexibility because life happens. I just wrote the first draft of May’s CFB programming, and that was a walk in the park compared to writing a 30 day meal plan. I spent about 10 hours doing this, which makes it either expensive for the client or not that profitable for me. The only way to make money off of a meal plan is to create something completely generic at a couple of different calorie levels and sell it to as many buyers as possible.
Second, buying a meal plan is like paying the smart kid in class to do your homework for you. You might pass algebra that month, but what happens when you can’t rely him anymore? If I write out everything you should eat for an entire month, you will see results if you follow it. But you won’t gain much else, like knowledge of how to read labels, find recipes, plan your own meals, adjust your diet based on goal and lifestyle changes, etc. Meal plans make you the client reliant on me for guidance. I don’t want anyone relying on me. I don’t want to give you a fish, I want to teach you how to fish.
My point is, if someone wants to sell you a meal plan, think twice. Sometimes, meal plans can be useful (as discussed below), but all too often “gurus” out there sell you the nutrition and fitness tools that work for THEM. And while they may work for you in the short term, ultimately you want to find what works for you long term (and be knowledgable enough to make adjustments on your own with occasional guidance from a professional). Imagine what the gym would be like if coaches only programmed what worked for them, ignoring the needs and wants of our community. I can tell you there’s be a lot of running and pull ups in May (OK there is a good amount of running in May but that’s because it’s finally going to be WARM out!).
Sometimes, Meal Plans Can Help
I feel like I can’t conclude without pointing out a couple of the times meal plans are pretty useful. If someone is completely new to healthy diet and exercise, a generic hypocaloric diet (providing fewer calories from food than is burned by exercise and metabolism) can be a beneficial kick start. A one week sample plan can help someone starting a new specific diet – like gluten free, paleo, or vegan – to understand what a healthy version of that diet looks like. They can also be helpful for someone following a complex clinical diet, like the renal diet.
What do you guys think of meal plans?
02 Mar 2015
Hey guys! Just wanted to provide a little insight into my thinking behind the programming in March. As I had alluded to in an earlier post, this month’s programming is nostalgic for me in that it reflects the mystery that was CrossFit back when I joined in the Fall of 2009. I remember reading the main site and thinking, “What the heck is all of this? What does it mean?” In any case, as I’ve discussed with many of you, I begged, borrowed, and stole much of this programming from the main site and I’m pretty pleased with the results. What it is is a lot of classic CrossFit: Couplets, triplets, chippers, and a couple of devilish pieces inserted to spice up life.
What happened to all of the strength programming? That is an excellent question. It’s there, but there’s much less of it. If you want to get super-strong, there’s always Coach Mike Gillette’s “Strength Challenge” programing, which a number of you have joined and enjoyed enormously.
In other news, congratulations to everyone who took on the CRASH-Bs this weekend. I heard some pretty epic stories of erg domination! I had a great time up in Maine with some awesome CFB folks and got to see a city that was not, ironically enough, blanketed in five feet of snow.
By the way, a big THANK you is in store for CFB member, Nigel C., who was kind enough to buy a new PA/speaker system for the gym. He did stipulate a condition of its use though, and that was that he is allowed to b**** and moan about whatever music the coaches play through the system. If you see him, give him a good slap on the butt and a word of thanks. He’s also accepting donations to help him defray his costs.
In any case, I’m glad February is over and I’m looking forward to killing it in the gym in March. By the time you read this, I will have finished 15.1!
Peace and bacon grease,