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Meal Prep for the Lazy Cook: Balancing a Busy Life and Nutrition

OK, so the truth is, is that I’m not lazy. I’m just tired from a busy life. Trying to balance a full time job where I’m on my feet the majority of my day followed by kids, homework, working out, etc… My body has just had it by the end of the day and I don’t want to expend more energy on cooking. I want to sit down. I want to recharge because I know that before I blink, I’m going to wake up and do it all again. Sound familiar?

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard, if you’re interested in more information about healthy, clean eating, check out my post, Stop Dieting, where I talk about the all the basics. 

So how do I find the balance between recharging and making the time to cook healthy meals? To be honest, sometimes I don’t! I do my best, but sometimes life has a way of kicking my ass and I find myself serving mac n cheese for dinner…again. But I still have to try, right?  The best way I have found is to try to set myself up for success. When things go according to plan, I meal prep only on select days, and on those days I try to cook enough to last until the next day I know I’ll have the energy to cook again. I pick easy things that I can set to cook, then go sit on my keister until it’s done. Crock-Pot recipes are golden! Big batches of soups (bone broth soups are soo good for you)  are great too, especially in colder weather. My personal go-to’s are typically chicken (baked or sauteed with a little coconut oil) cooked with a few bell peppers and rice. I have red meat once or twice during the week to give my body a little extra fats and a different source of protein, but I usually stick with eggs, chicken/turkey, and an occasional protein shake for most of my day to day protein. If you subscribe to my blog, you’ll receive a free guide to clean eating!

I know that with my personal schedule, I’ll have the time and energy to meal prep on Sunday and Wednesday evenings, so that’s when I cook my meals for the week. Any other day of the week, I’m too rushed to get to work or busy with family stuff to cook healthy meals for when I’m at work. I know many people who choose to cook everything for the week on Sunday. Taking on the whole week in one go ended up being to overwhelming for me, so I adapted and did something different. It may take a while to work out what days and times work best for you, so I would advise trying to find the most realistic days you will be able to stick to. 

Meal prepping doesn’t just set you up for success with pursuing health, it helps out financially as well. Instead of paying $5-10 once or twice a day eating out, I can eat 4 times a day for about $10 total. So if finances are something you are pursuing as well, meal prepping just makes sense. It takes a little more effort and energy and trial and error, but in the long run, it pays off big time. 

Meal prepping is key on those busy days when fast food would otherwise be tempting. If you have a full meal waiting for you at home or in the fridge at work, it makes it significantly easier to stick to pursuing your nutritional goals. So if you can, take the time to cook while you have energy so you can recharge later, and not have to worry about sticking to your plan!



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On Rest, Healing, and Health…


I rested a full week after having the flu–that means no crossfit, no intense cardio, just some light lifting. I barely cooked at all, much less healthy meals. Canned chicken noodle soup and Gatorade pretty much kept me alive during that week. The flu kicked my ass. For some reason, I don’t remember the flu being so bad when I was a kid. It’s one of those experiences that fades with time I guess. But I was wrecked for a solid week and I never want to be wrecked like that again. All the temperature fluctuations and body aches were crazy. My bones were achy and my muscles were exhausted from existing. I might wish it on my worst enemy, but they would really have to be on my bad side for me to wish that on them. I managed to stay hydrated for that week and recovered from the worst of it. The week afterwards, though, I was still extremely fatigued and I chose to take naps instead of going to crossfit like I normally would, for some heavy lifting and high intensity metabolic conditioning. I chose to sleep instead and I slept hard.

Rocking the Sith Lord robe…

I was surprised when I  received some criticism for not getting back into crossfit immediately. Like, as soon as I was able to stand on two feet, I was supposed to pick up where I left off as if I never stopped. I shouldn’t have been surprised though, because that’s pretty normal for today, right? After we have babies, we’re supposed to snap back into our more youthful bodies as if we didn’t just create a human from nothing with our bodies. If we are expected to pick up where we left off with fitness after having a baby, the flu should be nothing right? Nevermind that the flu, unfortunately, still actually kills some people. Nevermind the fact that a hundred years ago, this flu I had might have managed to kill me without access to modern medicine. Heaven forbid I take my time getting over being sick.

I didn’t cave into the pressure to get back into intense workouts immediately. I took my time. I listened to my body and worked on movements that felt good. And I took time in between sets. My lungs were still very congested with mucus ( it sounded like I was hacking up a lung every few minutes), and I needed time to breath. I was not worried about improving my fitness level or getting stronger right during that time. I was simply focused on muscle activation and blood circulation. I was concerned with getting my heart rate up enough to get my lungs working, but not enough to have them strain to keep up with the work. I was moving, yes, but I’m listening to my body and only working within the limitations it was adamant about. Overworking your body while it’s healing is just asking for trouble. Whether it’s in the form of an injury or, more likely, a secondary infection, over exerting your body while it’s vulnerable won’t get you far in the long run.

I’m a big proponent for listening to your body and staying in tuned to what it needs and doesn’t need. At some point I realized that there isn’t actually a rush to “get somewhere” in my fitness journey, because it’s only that–a journey. It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of things, with deadlines, shelf life, and social media. I think it’s easy to fall victim of this mentality when I was younger, but time and experience are tough teachers. So I’ve learned to take my time and to rest when I feel like my body or my mind needs it. I’ve learned that when it comes to things like health and fitness, those deadlines and pressure that you feel is all made up. It’s all literally invented to feed the machine of corporate materialism. The need to rush things leads people to buy additional supplements and workout gear to speed them towards their goals. Supplements and shortcuts may help shave off fractions of time, but trusting the process and being consistent with your effort will take you just as far without the pretend pressure. I decided a while ago that I’m not going to be a gear in that machine of materialism, nor do I want to be. Choosing not to be in this social climate is a consistent, conscious choice. Sitting out and not participating in the fray is going against the grain, and it’s sometimes lonely, but I know it’s the right choice for me and my inner peace. So instead of exhausting myself before work with crossfit, I slept on the couch after I put my son on the bus. I knew I was going to have a long and tiring day and I knew my body needed an extra boost before I got going. And I didn’t feel guilty about it.



Thus far, I’ve just been talking about physical health and the need to rest from exercise periodically. What about mental illness and rest? What about depressive episodes and anxiety attacks and rest? How often are we pressured to power through these aspects of our lives and still work, still work out, still cook, still parent, still be a good partner? This is a subject I would like to dive in a little deeper and talk about more because I think this subject deserves its own post. I think that mental health is still very much stigmatized, and the effects of depression and anxiety on people’s physical health still largely goes unaddressed. The truth is, is that depression and/or anxiety is exhausting. It takes huge amounts of energy to go about daily life while depression is weighing on your mind and your body. Going through daily life tasks while struggling to keep anxiety at bay is exhausting. The energy it takes to live with mental illness should never be underestimated. While it’s true that some days are easier than others to manage symptoms of mental illness, it doesn’t mean that it’s effortless. This is something to seriously consider when we’re talking about physical health and exercise. Because some days are almost impossible to get out of bed, let alone going to work and interacting with people. The effort it takes on those days to exist sometimes depletes us, and exercising on top of it all can be out of the question. Finding a balance between having enough energy to manage mental illness and finding the energy to workout can be difficult and for some it can be unrealistic. I was fortunate enough to develop coping mechanisms for my depression and anxiety using exercise when I was younger. Having that coping mechanism established, has really helped me through every serious depressive episode I’ve had in my life. The serotonin and dopamine that dumps into my brain after a crossfit session is unreal. I feel high; my body and mind are too tired to care about little things that can trigger my depression or anxiety.

But I realize that I’m one of the lucky ones. I realize that not everyone has the same access to the environment of working out, the knowledge of how to best go about it, or the time to spend in the gym. I realize that so many people could benefit in the same way that I do from exercise, but they face huge obstacles that could make it impossible for them. But even for people who have that access, being consistent with exercise can be difficult if mental illness starts rearing its ugly head. That’s why sleep is so important. Sleep is important for everyone who is trying to reach goals for physical health or performance. But sleep is even more important for people who deal with mental illness. Your brain and your body needs rest to heal. And dealing with depressive episodes and/or anxiety attacks is enough to need extra rest to heal from it. So, yes, exercise is important. Consistent effort in the gym is important. But if you’re dealing with symptoms of mental illness on a daily basis, sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is rest. Unapologetically rest.


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Pursuit of Motivation

Tis the season to get in shape! Usually at the beginning of every year, countless people resolve to lose weight/get healthy/ improve their body. And, unfortunately, most of those people don’t follow through with pursuing their goals. Life can get in the way or, more often than not, they just get discouraged by their slow progress, or lack thereof. 

Curiosity can be a big motivator… Aren’t you curious what your body is really capable of?

I’ve been a personal trainer for almost 15 years, and though I am by no means am expert on motivation and sports psychology, through my experience, I have seen tendencies and trends with a lot of people in the arena of health and weight loss. What I’ve seen is that most people begin their health journey out of a negative relationship to their body–they don’t like their body, they don’t like how they look, and it makes them feel negatively about themselves. So they try to lose weight to feel better. Well, this is a very negative view on fitness–it seeks to subtract from your life (deprive yourself of food, reduce your weight, shrink your body, etc…) as opposed to adding to it. People use this negative mental state as motivation to change their body. But this motivation only lasts as long as they are in that unhealthy/negative headspace. As soon as they get in a healthier mental state, that motivation to improve their physical disappears. 

Then so begins a toxic cycle of self loathing, wanting to get healthy, getting healthy, and then losing the motivation to be healthy. It can be followed by physical regression, which results in self loathing, yet again. I’ve seen the cycle repeat itself over and over again in people and it gets them nowhere. If you are interested in a video where I speak about this very topic, motivation and fitness, you can check out this YouTube channel run by my good friend Misti. If you’re looking for videos on manifestation and positivity, definitely check out her videos!!  She is an incredibly inspiring individual who helps people every day bring positive thinking into their lives. 



I often hear people referring to working out as a punishment for the unhealthy food they ate over the weekend, or for being too busy to work out the week before. That can be a very negative frame of mind with which to approach exercise. Moving and weight training should be a positive journey, whether you’re trying to make yourself stronger, faster, or for more endurance. It should be a discovery of what your body is capable of accomplishing day in, and day out. I’m not a competitive powerlifter, but I can deadlift 315 (conventional, not sumo, for those keeping track), and I’m very intentional in never training, lifting, or eating healthy as a punishment to my body. I’ve gotten very strong out of celebration of my body and out of curiosity. I celebrate when my body can do a certain amount of work, and then I get curious…let’s see what else it can do? I’ve trained many women over the years and within a month I have them pushing and pulling weights that they never thought they would do. They became more capable than they imagined they would and it made all the hard work fun! With that, losing weight and losing inches came as a bonus!

It’s very easy to get caught up in the aesthetic aspects of working out, even for veterans in the gym. I think that social media is responsible for a lot of the pressure we face in recent days to look a certain way or maintain a certain lifestyle. There’s more pressure than ever to look perfect and look like you have your life together. But that’s not reality, is it? Perfection can never be attained. Using that for motivation is futile and only leads to an unhealthy view of yourself and others. The pressure that you put on yourself to look a certain way can be very toxic. There are a myriad of different body types, which makes it impossible for some people to achieve a certain look or shape in a physically healthy way. So before you start comparing your body to those Instagram models we all see every day, think about your genetics and see their unique potential. My body type will never allow me to look like any of the Kardashians, so it’s pointless for me to waste my energy trying. My natural genetics make me tend to gain body fat on my stomach, not my butt or my legs. Think Spongebob… So to achieve the narrow, six-pack-abs waistline with a huge bubble butt, would only lead me to failure. Big failure. But…My genetics allow me to get strong, and that’s what feels best for me to pursue. My body feels it’s best when I’m challenging my strength and performance because that’s what my body type lends itself to. So take a moment to see the potential in your own genetics. I guarantee that your potential is much greater than just how you look in a pair of leggings!

Instead of relying on a negative state of mind to find and maintain your motivation, look to add positive things to your life! Add strength and endurance. Add years to your life. Make a goal to walk/run races with your kids or your friends. Join a martial arts class. Check out a dance class for adults. Try crossfit or yoga. There are countless communities to get involved in and they have the potential to be an incredibly positive force in your life and your future health! So instead of hating your body, begin doing things to add to your life, because your body isn’t actually you, right? Your body is just the physical representation of you. Who you are has always been and always be fluid. Everyone grows and changes over time, and that’s a good thing. It only makes sense that your body will be a fluid representation of you as well. So adding positive things to your life will have a healthier impact on you and your body than a negative punishment. Positivity will take you further than negativity every time.


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Stop Dieting! Have a Health Approach to Eating Habits!

There are fad diets and different eating plans and advice on nutrition everywhere you look. Especially at the beginning of the year, there are individuals and businesses trying to capitalize on people’s resolutions to get healthier. Throughout the year, they prey on people’s insecurities to convince them that buying into a diet will provide the magic cure for their body image issues. Does it work? Does any of it work? Statically, no. Obesity is at an all time high in America. An estimated 40% of American adults are battling obesity these days and it looks like those numbers are on the rise. Although I could write whole articles of the causes of obesity/ being overweight and the populations that are more at risk and why, today I’m going to write about simplifying nutrition. 

Along with a sedentary lifestyle, an over busy work schedule, and the incredible convenience of unhealthy food choices, mis-information about nutrition contributes in a big way to people being unable to stick to habits of healthy eating. So what’s the secret? Honestly, the best nutrition plan is one that you can stick to–even if it’s imperfect. It’s true! Turning your life upside down and changing everything in pursuit of a healthier body is usually unsustainable for the long-term. The most balanced solution is finding one change you can implement at a time. Take one meal in your day and change it to something healthier that you can reasonably stick to. Be consistent with that change Remember! It takes 21 days to create a habit. After you created your new habit, it’s time to take the next step! One baby step at a time can lead to huge progress over time.

Consistency will always outweigh intensity when it comes to a healthy body and a healthy mind. That goes for everything, not just nutrition. Whether it’s your eating habits, exercise, or meditation, being consistent with the steps you take will take you further than burning out with high intensity. If you’re looking for more information on exercise, check out the fitness section of my site or enroll in my online training!

An important thing to always keep in mind is how crucial it is to get “back on the wagon” when you fall off. And we all fall off sometimes. I, personally, try to eat well, eight out of ten times. And that’s good for me! Some weeks it’s more like five or six out of ten. I’m never 100% on point with my nutrition and I have no intention to ever be perfect with my it. I’m not a bodybuilder trying to get on stage . I’m not a professional athlete. I’m not a public figure with a team of people helping me live my life. I’m just a woman who has a full time job helping people. I’m a mother. I’m a wife. I’m a friend. I struggle with depression. I struggle with social anxiety. I don’t have the time or capacity to be perfect with my nutrition or my workouts and I never will. And I’m willing to bet that nine out of ten people are just like me. Which means falling off is part of the journey, right? Just like getting back on track–it’s all part of the process. 

So expect to fall off! Expect motivation to come and go like waves at a beach. Expect real life to kick your ass sometimes. It’s okay. It’s not a failure. It’s just part of the journey that we’re all on. Just don’t give up. When you can, get back on track. One step at a time. Getting back on track might look different every time, and that’s okay too! The important thing is that you show up to your own life and you try.

That being said, eating healthy does not have to be complicated. Granted, eating healthy can be repetitive, especially if you’re on a budget like I am. But, if it doesn’t work for you or your life, you don’t have to make it complicated with carbohydrate cycling, or the keto diet, or intermittent fasting, and all that stuff. All of which are viable eating approaches if they work for you! But if we’re talking about just the basics, clean eating is actually pretty simple. Your body needs protein regularly throughout the day. This is really important if you’re working towards more muscle tone and you’re lifting weights.

Clean eating doesn’t have to complicated, it just has to be consistent.

It’s good if you eat veggies every time you eat as well. I, personally, get too full/bloated if I eat veggies every time I eat, but veggies are great if you feel like you’re used to eating bigger portions and need to feel more full. For most people, it will be carbs that will make or break their ability to lean out or not. Most people need one serving of carbohydrates before they work out and one serving after they workout. Carbs are your fuel! If you’re going to be using fuel, you”ll need some! If not, you don’t really need any. Most of us don’t burn a whole lot of energy with our day to day life, so more often than not, you just need good protein and some veggies. If it’s a rest day, one serving of carbs first thing in the morning is all you really need. I you want your very own Clean Eating Guide, subscribe to my blog and I’ll send you one for free!

This cheat sheet breaks down a simple list of options and serving sizes of lean proteins, high quality veggies, and good choices for carbohydrates. Now keep in mind that every person is different. Everyone is a different size, has different genetics, different body chemistry, and different schedules. So my guide is really just meant to be used as a tool to help you set up a plan that works for you. If you feel run down and out of energy, you may need to tweak how much protein or carbs you take in, so tweak away!! 

You’ll notice, though, that most everything on the lists are whole, raw foods. That’s not by accident! If health is a pursuit of yours, trying to incorporate real foods (not just food products) is crucial to improving your health. Our bodies were not designed to process or use the preservatives and chemicals found in ready-made food products. Even if you didn’t change portions or timing of your meals, if you just changed from processed foods to real foods, your body will function more properly and you will feel better. Simply because your body won’t be slowed down by the artificial chemicals and preservatives!

The great news about my food guide is that it’s not a diet! That’s right! You’ll never have to diet again. It’s just clean eating knowledge that you follow as much as you choose. Like I mentioned earlier, a good goal for me is eating clean 8 out of 10 times. If I wanted to lean out (or make up for a week when I followed it five out of ten times) I would follow it more often. I’ve had so many clients that had great results with this approach to eating because it works! 

Nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated for it to work, and definitely doesn’t have to be expensive. Good nutrition just needs to be consistent for it to work. Choosing small steps that you can realistically make into a habit will help you out more in the long run than a short lived diet plan. Just keep taking the right steps for you!



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In Pursuit of Yourself || In Pursuit of Balance

“I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.” -Steven Jay Gould

In Pursuit of Nutrition Balance: Why am I eating AGAIN? || In the Pursuit of Balance

I’m sitting on the couch and constantly finding myself wondering what I can eat next…. Sound familiar to anyone else? Please tell me I’m not alone on this! I’m usually on the go and busy with work so now that I am at home looking for things to occupy my time with, I feel hungry all the time. Is it because my body needs more food? Hell no!


Pursue Strength First and Cardio Later

We’ve all heard it….you have to do cardio to lose weight. You have to run to get in shape. Hit that elliptical and burn calories to shed inches. Right? What if I told you that that’s only partly true? 

Yes, cardio burns more calories for the duration of the activity than weight training, but when you’re done with cardio, the calorie burn stops. Weight training burns fewer calories for the duration, but the burn continues in the form of tissue replenishment, repair, muscle building, and muscle maintenance. 

Think about it in terms of a short term versus a long term investment. Yes, cardio will help you lose more weight in the immediate future. But, weight training consistently and building muscle tone is an investment in your weight loss for your long-term future. Lifting is an investment in your metabolism for the years to come. 

Muscle mass takes up less space than fat tissue (significantly less) and it takes more calories for your body to maintain it than fat tissue. So, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body will use up just doing daily life. Don’t get me wrong–cardio is still hugely important and absolutely necessary for cardiac health as well as body fat loss. But weight training should be equally important in the process of becoming healthier and leaner. 

There is also a correlation to lifting heavy weights in building muscle and leaning out than keeping the weight light for high volume of reps. The heavier weight you use, the more muscle fibers, your body will recruit to do the work. Our bodies are built for survival and will use the path of least resistance to accomplish a task. That means, if it can get the job done while only using half of the muscle fibers in your muscle group, it will! Unless, that is, you give it a big enough challenge that requires more fibers helping out. That’s why those 3lb dumbbells need to go and you need to challenge the strength of your muscles, not just the endurance.

Typically, I like to recommend people 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions. This is actually considered low weight and high rep. What that means is, the weight should be light enough to be able to complete all 12 or 15 repetitions, but heavy enough to where more than 15 is impossible. So if you’re smoking those sets quickly without needing to rest, or if you’re able to do 17 or 20 reps, it’s too light to do you any good. Go grab those heavier weights!! I guarantee that it will be uncomfortable at first. And sometimes it can be intimidating to venture to heavier weights in the gym. But I also guarantee that magic happens when you’re outside your comfort zone!

Now, a lot of women are concerned with “bulking up” from lifting weights. And in the future I’ll probably address this issue in it’s own post. But, in short, because of our hormone profile, it’s actually extremely difficult for women to get that bulky look naturally. And by naturally, I mean without the help of legal and/or illegal supplements. Men are able to achieve a bulky muscular physique because of their testosterone. Now, women have trace amounts of testosterone naturally, but only a tiny fraction to what men produce daily. That’s why men are typically able to lose weight more easily than women. Testosterone boosts their metabolism, causing them to burn generally 1,000 more calories per day just existing. Because we only produce trace amounts of testosterone, lifting heavy will help our bodies utilize what is there more effectively and improve our bodies response to weight training as well as recovery. Besides, can you ever be too strong?

Increasing your strength will never reduce your femininity. You are a woman, you are feminine. Society likes to tell us what femininity is because they like to make money off of selling us their ideas. The ways in which corporations try to profit from selling women the belief that their bodies need to look a certain way is extensive. That being said, increasing your strength won’t necessarily increase your size if that’s a concern. There are female power-lifters that can dead lift over 500 pounds, and by looking at them, they just look like athletic women. Wearing normal clothes, you would never guess that they were 5 foot tall Amazon warriors that hold world records for weightlifting.

So lift that weight. Get as strong as you can. Get curious to see what your body is capable of! It will help you out with your everyday life, your health, and your journey to weight loss. If you’re wondering how to start an effective weight training program check out my post where I talk about the basics of a lower body program. If you have more questions, reach out!! There’s so much to do and so many solutions to roadblocks that you should never be bored with your training!


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