"Given that this is the last week of summer holidays my goal this week is to maintain my numbers and enjoy our last week off together!"
This was the message I got from a coaching client during their weekly check in.... and I was so happy! This is what I call a coaching WIN!
This individual is going away for 5 days to celebrate the
end of summer with her kids & friends.
Here are a few reasons why this is a WIN!
1) She set a realistic, sustainable goal - being aware of what she wants out of the week (enjoyment) and setting macro targets to ensure that she fulfills that goal, but doesn't derail progress. If we pigeon-holed her into low, low macros.... she would likely not be successful with them due to her environment, and she would not have fun in her week. Instead, I've provided her with macros that are a win-win.
2) She clearly conveyed her weekly plan to me BEFORE commencement. Now, we have time to set the proper targets, and she can plan and prep ahead to ensure success.
3) Nutrition coaching & consulting is about SO much more than those one-time macro numbers! Your weekly check-in is so important to your continued success.
How do you make food work for YOU for LIFE?!
Everyone has different goals. The needs of a fitness-focused, busy mom, and a CrossFit games athletes differ simply my degree. Anyone will benefit from an awareness of their macronutrient intake- but it's your goals, and your dedication level that will determine your numbers, and how strict you want to adhere to them.
If someone was 5 days out from the CrossFit games - the coaching strategy for a weekend away would be quite different.
This weekend I was away at one of my best friends cottage in Muskoka. I am 4 months out from my wedding so I am tightening up my macros after a summer of maintenance macros. Think of it like starting a budget after a summer of spending. I like my body now, and enjoy my current level of fitness but I have body composition goals for the future. However, in saying this, I am not interested in sitting on the sidelines of life just to lose 2% body fat for my wedding. So, I'm making sure that I prep & track accordingly to the plans.
This weekend I employed some simple steps to ensure progress + enjoyment
1) Offered to cook breakfast: I brought the foods up for a delicious and tasty breakfast (pancakes + bacon + turkey bacon + eggs + egg whites) and the group of us prepared everything. I selected elements of the prepared meal that I could track easily - such as 3 slices of turkey bacon, 3 eggs, a few slices of pineapple & black coffee.
2) I know myself well enough that breakfast is the best time of day for me to get my protein in, and I love to snack on carbs at night. To avoid overeating, I limit my carbs in the morning simply so I can enjoy more at night.
3) Brought up the foods for dinner: It's a cottage so we all pitch in and help out - and we've got to make sure there is food for everyone! We brought all the fixings to make fajitas! Lots of chicken & veggies. Now here, I simply selected 1 chicken breast and tracked that. I didn't weigh the chicken but generally 1 chicken breast will offer the same protein content & calories. I don't track my green veggies. So it was all good!
4) Chips + s'mores at night! Told you I know myself well! The bags of chips came out around 9pm and I was ready to jump in! I had tons of carbs left and a quick glance at the nutrition info on the package told me how much I could treat myself too.
Some more tips for a successful getaway while continuing to count your macros:
Prep + weigh ahead
If you're staying local, or able to bring a good amount of food with you, weigh your lean meats and pre-chop your veggies before leaving for your vacation. Taking this time beforehand means that you can forget the scale when eating those meals - saving time, and making it easy for you to stay on track!
Set rules for drinking
Drinking your macros is a slippery slope.... drinking a bottle of red wine has about 650 calories, which equals out to a medium McDonald's cheeseburger and fries. Using our alcohol macros calculation method this would be 160g of carbs or 72g of fat! But, if you're going to be drinking then plan for it. Set some boundaries for the times you will be drinking, and pre-input it into your tracking app so you eat appropriately around it. Be sure to mix in a water!
Prepare yourself that it will be different than normal
You might not have a wifi signal, or decide not to bring your scale. Life happens, and these things shouldn't be a cue to throw everything out and binge. Don't discount the amount that you've learned thus far from all the previous portion weighing you've done. Pick lean protein sources, fill up on veggies and avoid a ton of starchy carbs. You might not be perfect, but at least you haven't given up and you can get back on track tomorrow.
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"It’s not the critic who counts. It’s not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled. Credit belongs to the man who really was in the arena, his face marred by dust, sweat, and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs to come short and short again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming. It is the man who actually strives to do the deeds, who knows the great enthusiasm and knows the great devotion, who spends himself on a worthy cause, who at best, knows in the end the triumph of great achievement. And, who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and cruel souls who know neither victory nor defeat"
I had a fantastic yoga practise last night led by my friend Shannon Hastings at Citizen Yoga in Newmarket. At the beginning & end of her yoga classes, I always think to myself "how does she put my thoughts so eloquently into words?"
Last night Shannon talked about being vulnerable.
I have never thought about this word before. It was on my mind all night and many more emotions, feelings and thought came out as I explored why this word had resonated with me.
I hear the words "intimidated" or "scared" when others express their interest in joining CrossFit, or nutrition programming - but why they haven't yet.
I have many friends who have been part of my life for years, that know I run a CrossFit gym & work with people on their nutrition and health. These friends show lots of interest, and ask countless questions, but all while standing a safe distance away from it all - this choice no doubt to insure they won't fail or show up and not be the best. I hear things like "I'll join once I get in shape" or "I'm waiting for life to settle down."
I used to think they were intimidated or just did not understand, but last night, I realized they are simply just not ready to let themselves be vulnerable.
When we reach out for help, show up somewhere new or put ourselves in a situation we've never been in before, we are immediately vulnerable.
- we are showing other people what we don't know
- we worry others are going to experience us failing
- we are aware we may be pushed to physical and mental limits and even we don't know what that looks like
- we expose our work ethic
Until last night, I had never thought about vulnerability beside a synonym for intimidated or scared.
I wanted to write this blog to reach out to people who may be using "intimidated" or "scared" as a reason from holding back from something they want to do. I urge you to change your vocabulary and realize that being uncomfortable in a new situation is a totally, normal, human experience - and that often working through something that makes us uncomfortable leads us to being better people.
"Out of your vulnerabilities, come your strengths"
Being vulnerable is not about showing all the parts of you that you excel at,
Vulnerability takes practise. You don't just do it once and then all of a sudden you're down to do everything new! You're great at everything! You will be provided opportunity after opportunity to make a conscious choice to choose openness, to choose the potential to fail --- and to grow immeasurably from it.
For those experiencing vulnerability, and worried about failure & judgement.... you need to find a safe space for growth. I'd like to think that we do a fantastic job both at CrossFit Groundworx & with nutrition coaching of providing this safe space.
Taking a risk & doing something to better yourself is never a bad thing.
To being vulnerable.
Interested in one week free at CrossFit Groundworx?
Ready to get started with custom macros nutrition coaching?
For most people, a day of eating is structured very similarly,
Wake up in the AM | eat breakfast
go to work | have a snack
go home | eat dinner PM
But what about the many individuals who do shift work?
Shift work describes people who work outside of a
7am to 6pm period or "daylight hours."
Shift work doesn't just impact your sleep schedule, it can disrupt the hormones that play a vital role in many processes of the body like; digestion, appetite, your mood and your nervous system. For people who work overnight, placing a priority on nutrition is important since it can be a controlled variable while sleep is not.
So, what should a "day" of eating look like for someone who regularly works nights? For those counting their macros, how can meals be structured best?
To answer common questions like:
"should I eat overnight?"
"when should my first meal be for my overnight shift?"
"how do I keep my energy levels up on night shift?"
I spoke with CrossFit Games athlete & K9 officer Laura Hosier
about how she tackles her nutrition.
"Day shifts are normal.
Shake and oatmeal before I leave for work just before 6am.
I premake egg whites and eat those around 10am. Protein bar around noon. 100gmeat, 100g rice or potatoes with veggies at 3. Then same thing with a different meat when I get home around 7. I will have a protein shake before I go to bed."
"On the first night shift, I eat breakfast in the morning, then go workout and then eat eggs before I have a nap to prepare for the night shift. I will have a protein shake when I wake up before I go in at 6pm. Meat/Carb/Veg at 8pm or so. Then another meat/carb/veg around 2am. A protein bar will happen somewhere in there. I count this whole period as my day. When I get home the morning after night shift I will have some toast before I go to bed and count that as the next day."
What I took from Laura is that it takes prep work, planning & consistency for Laura is able to maintain a good caloric & macronutrient intake, as well as stay consistent in that intake to best fuel her body for both the rigour of working nights + training as a high level athlete.
How do you structure your meals when working nights?
Dr. Alli Cain Team
Our mission is to act as a catalyst for as many people as possible to make a meaningful change to their health.