“Live for today. I’m not saying don’t think about your future or fly by the seat of your pants for everything…. but stop wishing today away. We are so accustomed to wishing time forward. I’m such a planner, but I try my hardest to live in the present. Thinking about tomorrow, but savoring today and truly taking in what the moment has to offer.”Read More
By Chivon John
As Danielle Laporte says “Everything we do is driven by the desire to feel a certain way.”
When you think about your fitness goals and more importantly your pursuit of them, how do you feel?
Behind the desire for a healthier life, to look great naked or feel stronger, there is a burning desire for something more.
No matter how much time you invest in your workouts, eating clean or the vision boards that you create, without a strong connection to your why you’ll always be yearning for more.
Goals should be a tool of liberation rather than imprison you in feelings of fear and self-doubt.
Although it’s difficult to believe that the pursuit of a wellness goal could be unhealthy, they can be if you’re chasing something that leaves you feeling enslaved with negative thinking instead of feeling empowered.
Curious about whether your goals are authentic? Here are 3 warning signs that you’re out of alignment:
1. You’re driven by a desire to ‘fit in’
Behind the desire to fit in, is the desire to belong. But ‘fitting in’ shouldn’t require you to change who you are.
According to shame and vulnerability researcher Dr. Brene Brown, belonging only comes with self-acceptance, specifically the courage to be vulnerable, authentic, imperfect, and the belief that you are enough.
In the absence of self-acceptance, you’ll find yourself hustling for worthiness where you constantly seek and search for self worth.
No amount of physical training can fix the mental fitness that needs to occur before you hit the gym.
2. You’re striving for perfection instead of progress
No matter what the images on your instagram feed tell you, there is no perfect or right way to live a healthy life.
Inspiration is a beautiful way to kick-start your journey but don’t let your tools of inspiration become the same tools that fuel your self-doubt. When in doubt remember this:
You have permission to create meal plans that work for your lifestyle and body.
You have permission to track your progress in a way that feels good to you.
You have permission to create a sustainable wellness plan that makes you feel alive.
You don’t have to follow what everyone else is doing, and there is no prize for trying to be perfect.
Celebrate the journey, enjoy the bumps and choose progress over perfection.
3. You’re focused on pleasing others instead of yourself
In the same way that we try to fit in, setting goals to please others will keep you stuck in the cycle of searching for worthiness.
There is nothing wrong with wanting toned legs or capped shoulders, but are your goals conditions for feeling acceptable in the eyes of others?
Behind the feeling to please others is a desire for someone to affirm who you are.
But here’s the problem, if you don’t show love for yourself in the present, you’ll have difficulty loving the future you.
Be mindful of the judgments on yourself and others and realize that a healthy you begins from the inside out. More importantly, the people in your corner should be your biggest cheerleaders and not your biggest critics.
In words of Rumi-“Be suspicious of what you want and remember that your goals should start and end with you.
According to Danielle Laporte,
“when it comes to goal pursuit, we’re either avoiding pain or seeking pleasure”.
Only YOU can decide which one it will be.
By Steph Puddicome
A frequent reaction that I receive when people find out that I’m a world level competitive powerlifter is, “but you’re too small,” “that seems impossible,” or “females don’t lift heavy.”
There are a lot of misconceptions around what powerlifting actually is. Powerlifting is not just a sport for males. Powerlifting does not make women bulky, and powerlifting is not a drug-ridden sport. Powerlifters come in all shapes and sizes. The sport of powerlifting is packed with competitive athletes with lean athletic physiques because optimal nutrition and an intense training regime is a big part of the game.
Powerlifting is a sport of passion, a sport of inner fortitude, a sport of determination and commitment, and a sport of true strength.
Powerlifting is combined of a series of three lifts: squat, bench-press, and deadlift. Competitors attempt to lift as much weight as possible for their max one repetition over three attempts. Each lifter is placed into a specific division based on age and weight class. Competitors compete for the highest total within their weight class but also compete for the best overall lifter title against all weight classes by using the Wilks formula. The Wilks formula is analogous to a “pound-for- pound” comparison that can be used to measure the strength of a powerlifter against other powerlifters despite the different weights of the lifters.
Having the capacity to lift heavy weights and increase your strength has significant psychological benefits, such as enhanced confidence and feelings of empowerment. This translates and enhances all other areas of life.
Powerlifting is a primal rush and signing up to compete is one of the best things you can do to amp up your training intensity and progress.
People often ask me how I got into powerlifting, however they never ask what I get out of it. I think this is because they can clearly see this. I have grown from a shy girl to confident elite lifter and fitness professional. I am not afraid to show what I have accomplished and I am not afraid to go after my dreams.
There is nothing that can compare to the empowerment one feels when lifting a lot of weight. Not only will you feel physically stronger (and bad ass!), you will also become stronger in every
other aspect of your life. It is hard to imagine how a heavy squat can translate to a happier home life or better performance at work, but it happens. There is just something transformative about being able to do something that once seemed impossible. Once you realize the strength your body contains, you start to realize that just about anything seems achievable.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Do not expect it to be easy. Expect it to challenge every aspect of your mental and physical strength, expect it to push you to your limits, expect it to knock you down, expect it to pick you up, and expect it to bring out something in yourself you never thought possible.
From Your Body
When training is focused on strength with heavy weight and lower reps, you build dense muscle mass. I don’t mean you will get bulky, however you will gain some size. If you really want that “toned” fit looking physique in your legs, stomach, and arms, heavy lifting will get you there.
Another thing to expect is the ability to eat a lot of food! Overloading the body with fuel increases your lifting capacity. Nourishing yourself properly is not only healthy but causes increased lifts. The body goes into overdrive with heavy lifting and you will feel constantly hungry. However, increased muscle means the ability to eat and not gain excessive weight. Bring on the carbs!
Training for powerlifting is time consuming and requires true dedication to the sport. You will need to set aside at least 4 training days a week. Missing training sessions is missing opportunities for self-improvements. In this sport you need to check your ego at the door; it isn’t always about getting a record lift every time you step under the bar. Training happens in cycles, sometimes you are de-loading, other times doing volume work, and then there are times you are hitting max lifts.
A lifter cannot have longevity in this sport with maxing out lifts every session. Strength gains and muscle building come from the ups and downs in a periodized training cycle. Trust the process and trust your coach.
Some people ask what they need to do to get stronger as a powerlifter. DO THE LIFTS! Don’t spend too much time doing accessory exercises: If you want to be a good squatter, squat more. Work on form, work on volume, and work on increasing weight. Follow a training plan and listen to people with experience in the sport.
How to Get Started
The best thing to do is train with people much stronger than you, people who know more than you, and people who you aspire to become. You will learn from these people, be motivated, and rise to their level. Iron sharpens Iron; a solid training group is important for any competitive athlete.
As a female lifter, the dynamic can be different. Train hard… harder than anyone else around you. Earn your spot at the powerlifting rack and train with people who admire strength.
Finding a group of dedicated training partners who view you as an equal opposed to some sort of fitness sex symbol is imperative. My training group is comprised of all males; as the only female, I have earned my spot on the team. I hold my own and do my share. I get treated like one of the “bros” and I contribute to the training team just as they do. This includes spotting, loading the bar, and encouraging teammates. I do what they do; I push like they do. I do not need to be handled with kid gloves or treated differently.
Powerlifting is an extraordinary sport, and with each competition, it allows for a true measure of strength. There isn’t any lying, cheating, or blaming someone else. You either lift the weight or you don’t. It’s as simple as that. It is not a subjective sport. It is not a sport of favoritism. Powerlifting is a sport of fairness and strength.
With every training cycle, every session, and every rep, there is always room for improvement. Setting out on a mission in powerlifting can be life long journey. Once you reach your goals, you set higher ones.
Welcome to the sport of powerlifting! Train hard, eat to perform, and live for the lift. You have to truly love the sport to excel; the questions now become do you have what it takes to stay? Are you willing to do what you have to do to achieve greatness?
By Christal Sczebel, C.H.N., Nutritionist in the Kitch
“What the heck is broccomole?!” were the exact words that came out of my mouth as I was reading the brunch menu of a restaurant I went to recently with some friends. It’s a neat little place in Edmonton called Canteen and their brunch is delicious to say the least. I ordered the “Smoked Sablefish, Fontina Egg Scramble, Seeded Rye, Broccomole, Roast Tomatoes” entree (sans fontina)…and was very intrigued with this Broccomole item.
My hubby, being the little smarty pants that he is, looked at me and said “it’s obviously guacamole…made from broccoli”, and I thought to myself, what? for real? no… it’s got to be some other kind of sauce or garnish or some kind of vegetable I’ve never heard of. But, after a quick google search, I realized my hubby was right! Darn!
Looking into this whole Broccomole thing a little more I happened to come across this recipe by Domestic Fits and wondered why I had never heard of this interesting little concoction before!
When I got my entree at Canteen and ate every little morsel (had the restaurant not been packed with people I may have even licked the plate) I made the decision right then and there that I… was a fan… of broccomole.
So I used the Domestic Fits recipe as inspiration and got mixing! In my food processor I added steamed broccoli, spinach (for a little extra green and nutrients), tomato, spices, silken tofu, and lemon juice!
A few blends and scrapes with the spatula later – this smooth, creamy, rich and dreamy guacamole-looking dip was created! Considering I’m not the hugest fan of broccoli to begin with, I was surprised how it had transformed into this yummy looking and very nutritious dip!
A couple dunks of my crackers and I was sold! Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a HUGE fan of traditional avocado guacamole, but for a lower calorie, nutrient dense, something-different-dip, this one is definitely worth a try!
3 cups chopped broccoli
1 cup spinach
1 tablespoon lemon juice
5 cherry tomatoes
2 tbs green onions
1 tsp olive oil
2 ounces silken tofu
¼ tsp chili powder
1 tbs cilantro
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
1. Cook the broccoli in lightly salted water until very soft. Overcook the broccoli in comparison to the al dente cooking that most recipes recommend.
2. Drain broccoli very well.
3. Transfer to a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth, add additional olive oil for a smoother texture.
4. Serve warm or chill and serve cold.
We love featuring our everyday GORGOgirls that are inspiring us to crush life and a balanced approach to fitness.
Meet Morgan Green.
Tell us about your fitness life.
I have been pretty active since I was little. I played soccer growing up, then moved to competitive cheerleading, cheered all through middle and high school and competed with those squads, and then moved into the typical cardio queen mentality after having my first baby at 17. I have always loved to lift, training legs was always my favorite on our weight room days, but it was probably when we moved to Kentucky with the military that I really learned to love lifting....ever since I just love to feel strong as a woman...and I love to push myself.
Tell us about your non-fitness life.
It’s really hard to put all that you do as a wife/mom into words...but I’ll try! My husband and I have been married for almost 11 years, he was a combat medic in the army for 8 years, and is now a firefighter and serves in the national guard. I’m blessed to be a mom to three incredible children. Wyatt is 12, Amie Rhea is 10, and Joshua is 3. I work full time as a receptionist for a busy pediatric doctors office in my hometown of Granbury, TX. My greatest passion is to sing, and thankfully God gave me the ability to do it well! I have been blessed to be able to use my gift on my church’s worship team for several years. I also love to read and learn....if someone would pay me to be a full time student...I would do it in a heartbeat! #nerdalert
What do you love about GORGO?
This was my first year to attend Camp GORGO, and I have been so jealous every year before as I saw all these women posting pictures and sharing of what camp did for them. GORGO is the first place that I felt 100% free and safe to be myself. That sounds silly....but for that weekend my identity wasn’t solely based around being a wife, mom, sister, daughter, etc I just got to be ME! I got to be in the first women centered weekend without the catty cliques, without the judgements or comparison, and without the fear of fitting in. It was a weekend of encouragement for all victories, full of growth and self discoveries. There’s not another place on earth you will learn about your innermost self, where you’re free to dream for yourself without holding back and where you learn how to make those dreams come true! There’s nothing more beautiful than a woman who believes in who and what she is.
Anything about camp GORGO you'd like to mention?
My favorite part of Gorgo was becoming part of this incredible tribe of women. It is the only group of women that I have EVER encountered where there is truly nothing negative going on. There’s no inside cliques, there’s just total inclusion. We are all women, who love and celebrate being a woman and love and celebrate other women. We encourage each other unconditionally. The giggles, belly laughs, competitions, tears, dancing, meals, it was all perfect....and I can’t wait to do it again!!!!
By Jill Farr
Anna Earley grew up as an athlete, swimming and playing competitive volleyball and soccer in high school, and was a nurse for almost twenty years, mostly in pediatrics doing case management or coordinating services. She and her husband still play and coach volleyball as adults.
So when Anna says that she believes her online Isagenix business is a more empowered and helpful pursuit than nursing...it’s worth hearing her explanation.
“I feel like a lot of my nursing career was spent in “Band Aid” fixes--after the fact measures that really didn’t address the underlying problem, or promote wellness,” Anna says. “Nursing and healthcare isn’t really focused on prevention, in my opinion and experience. When I looked at Isagenix, though, they were addressing preventative health. Helping people get healthy on their own.”
Anna co-parents her 14 year-old daughter and 16 year-old son along with her ex-husband and current husband, in addition to running her online business, and their extended familial cooperation is right up there with her contribution to those seeking health, when it comes to life philosophies that she feels are essential.
“I have a great relationship with their dad,” Anna relates. “We’re probably not the norm when it comes to blended families--we all get along. My current husband has two kids and I’m good friends with his former wife...it’s a very rare thing, but it works well and everyone gets along.”
“It’s one of the things I think I’m most proud of...I’m not proud of being divorced, but I’m proud of how we handled it. My mantra has always been, “Be the change.” In every sense, if you want a calm life, if you want fun fitness...be what you want.”
Forgoing the mindset of “Us Against Them”, and dropping comparisons isn’t just a tactic that Anna advocates for getting the best out of family relationships; it’s also a key to success in feeling your own worth in the age of social media, and doing your best for yourself.
“I have always found--especially with social media--there’s this huge comparison pressure,” Anna says. “To be on par with this person getting all this attention on Facebook, or a certain number of likes on Instagram, but for me...I’ve always loved fitness when it’s doing something I’m passionate about. I’d rather be on a volleyball court than in a gym lifting weights. But there’s a lot of pressure to do things other people are doing.”
A shoulder injury necessitated a break from Anna’s passion--volleyball--for a period of time, and that led to her discovery of weight lifting. While that progressed into a time of bodybuilding--and even competing--Anna admits that volleyball and yoga are the things that she loves...and therefore does.
“When I play volleyball, I get excited to go. I lift weights because I know the benefits, I like how it makes me feel, and I love yoga because I like being flexible. I think you have to love what you do to get the consistency you need. To get into a routine.”
“Yoga is so underrated. Especially as we get older, we need it more. We need our brains to stop, we need to be grounded...yoga is great for flexibility and strength, but it’s good for those things, too.”
In addition to the love and excitement for a particular pursuit, Anna believes that taking the time pressure off will help with developing and maintaining a regular workout routine.
“People are also always looking for the perfect timing, or amount of time to work out,” she says. “They think you need an hour set aside to go to the gym. But especially for new moms, or people on the go, you need to just take that ten minutes or whatever you have to do it now. Because if you love it, that ten minutes will naturally grow.”
Lessons from Anna:
Drop Comparisons...Do What You Love. “My belief is that you’re going to be happiest, you’re going to be most consistent, when you’re doing an activity that you love,” Anna says. “If you go into weight training because someone told you to do it, you might stick with it for a while, but if you don’t love it...it won’t last.”
Competition and Play Aren’t Just for Kids. Anna plays volleyball weekly--sand and court, depending on the season. If you’re thinking, “I thought comparison was bad...isn’t that the same thing as competition?”, the answer is “No”. Taking part in games where there are “winners” doesn’t mean you’re a “loser” if you don’t take it all at the end...the idea is to focus on challenge. Challenge encourages growth, and can be an important part of an enjoyable physical endeavor.
Any Amount of Time Can Grow. Ten minutes doing something you love will leave you hungry for more, not wishing you weren’t there. When you find your passion, or at the very least, something fun, you’ll find the time. And make more of it.
By Rosalyn Fung
1. Breathe into a positive intention every morning.
Before you get up from bed, take deep breaths to take in a positive intention to start your day from an empowering mindset. For example, “I can show gratitude for whatever comes my way today”. Keep this intention at the forefront through your day.
2. Check in with yourself. Every three hours, ask yourself, “On a scale 1-5 (1=no stress, 5=extreme stress) where am I?” Take 5-10 deep breathes to shift gears, relax your mind and body no matter your number, and take a break if you’re at a 3 or higher (e.g., go for a walk outside, listen to music).
3. Work on having compassion for your inner critic. We all have an inner critic! Notice how much self-talk is positive vs. negative. Catch yourself when you engage in negative self-talk and interrupt it by saying, “Be kind to myself”.
4. Renew your relationships with others. List the people in your life that drain your energy - this is not a judgment about them, rather it is a recognition that the dynamics of these relationships may no longer be a fit for you. Then decide to either work on changing the dynamics in these relationships or find a way to end these relationships respectfully. Create a new normal by surrounding yourself with people who are positive, uplifting, and believe in you. Their energy is contagious.
5. Allow yourself to be imperfect. There is no such thing as perfect and always on the other side of perfectionism is self-abuse. Learn to let go and laugh at yourself.
6. Slow down. Choose one to two activities in your day to be present with, whether that’s eating a meal slowly and mindfully, take your time to walk/drive to your next destination (instead of rushing). Slow your thinking down and be in the moment with whatever you are doing. Just because we live in a fast paced society, does not mean we always have to mirror it.
7. Engage in play time. Playing is not just for kids! Color in a coloring book, draw something, finger paint (these are great de-stressors, by the way), build a sand/rock castle, or play a board game. Play catalyzes our pleasure response.
8. Feel into your feelings, no matter how uncomfortable they are. Acknowledge your feelings and honor them by engaging in self-care activities that will help those feelings shift. Journal your negative feelings and journal the positive shifts too!
9. Have a daily relaxation ritual. Many of us feel vulnerable to engage in emotionally driven eating or mindless eating at some point in our day. Replace this with a relaxation ritual. So instead of grabbing for food to soothe yourself when you’re not really hungry, try making yourself a cup of tea, going for a walk or reading a book instead.
10. Nourish your body. Feed your body with foods that give you sustaining energy. Move your body in ways that bring pleasure, and get enough sleep.
By Rosalyn Fung
Holistic Body Love to me, is about being in a healthy relationship with yourself in five important realms of life: mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually & socially.
Let’s define these five areas:
1. Mental: This is our self-talk, what it is we say to ourselves about ourselves. Ideally, we want to be engaging in positive self-talk significantly more than negative self-talk.
2. Emotional: This is the way we feel about ourselves, and the ability to regulate one’s own emotions well. The way we think about ourselves leads to how we feel about ourselves.
3. Physical: This involves our physical body, not in appearance, but rather with the health condition of our body. For example, a strong immune system, organs that function well, a body that’s well nourished with nutrients, a body that has abundant energy to thrive.
4. Spiritual: This area can have multiple meanings. For some, it would be one’s own ability to tune into their intuitive wisdom. For others, it may be their connection with a Higher Power. Essentially, it is the ability to see the bigger picture and connect with sacred aspects of life, so that life has fulfillment through deeper meaning and purpose.
5. Social: We are social creatures at the very core of us, meaning we all need a connection with people to heal. We are influenced every day by relationships and dynamics in our home, work, school, and life environments.
I see that having a balance in these five realms can help us feel more present, grounded, and empowered in who we are as an individual, and in the various roles we take on.
What Does It Mean to Have Holistic Body Love?
Holistic Body Love means to be kind to yourself, to treat yourself with love and respect, to have healthy and flexible boundaries so that you keep out things that do not serve you (drama anyone?! No thanks!), to feel gratitude for all that you have in your life and to feel enough abundance with what you have right now (rather than feeling deprived or believing that ‘the grass is always greener on the other side’). These are just some examples, and there are many more. Ultimately, it’s about being your own best friend.
My Journey to Finding Holistic Body Love
I did not always have an amazing relationship with me. In fact, I used to be my own worst enemy and beat myself up all the time because I wasn’t fit-looking enough, because I didn’t have six-pack abs, because my hips weren’t small enough, my arms were not defined enough, and because for goodness sake, that little piece of flesh on my upper back behind my armpit was too fleshy and soft! I used to restrict myself from eating certain kinds of foods because it’s what I thought would exacerbate my “problem areas”. So I stayed away from sugar, opting instead for the chemically enhanced sweeteners (but hey, at least they are calorie free!) and for the “fat-free” food products. And this made me feel good and feel (falsely) safe because I was eating perfectly. I would bring my own food to social gatherings because I was anxious about eating anything outside of my diet. I would take hours to try on clothes because nothing fit right or gave me the look I wanted, I would get so stressed out packing for vacation (okay I admit I still do but for different reasons now!) because I couldn’t decide what to wear since I couldn’t predict how my body would look each day I was away from home. And when I was alone, I binged. I ate, and ate and ate all the foods I deprived myself of – peanut butter, cookies, bread and anything high in sugar and carbs. I would feel guilt and shame for binging, so I would “erase” these feelings by over-exercising. It became a silent vicious cycle.
This kind of relationship with myself went on for YEARS. And you know what? Even when I did achieve my then “ideal body” by competing in a bodybuilding competition, this didn’t bring me the happiness I was seeking. Nothing inside changed mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Only on the outside did my capsule change.
Then I made a choice. I took the courage to go on a self-healing journey: through therapy; through my own professional training in a mindfulness-based therapy called Hakomi (in which I’m Certified now) and through exploring Eastern practices such as yoga, acupuncture, and naturopathy. I developed new practices to be kinder to myself, to slow down, to be more present, to learn how to shift out of limiting core beliefs and patterns, and to live in a new way. I decided to think, feel, and behave in my relationship with my new best friend- me.
It’s about serving me, so that I can serve the world from a deeper, loving, and authentic place. When I show love to me, the world benefits. I can give back ten fold because I’m happy right here in my mind, heart and body. I have stopped abandoning myself and I have returned home to a peaceful and happy body.
The struggles I was experiencing in my relationship with myself were expressed in the areas of food and body. However, these struggles may come out in other areas such as being in relationships that are unhealthy and even abusive. It can be a love relationship, a business partnership, family ties, or even friendships. These struggles with self could be related to feeling deprived, chronically stressed, tired or anxious, feeling low self-worth, or having judgmental thoughts about others. Oftentimes, these struggles are unconsciously deep-rooted.
YOU can change the story of your life by first being open to exploring your relationship with you. You can start by reading a self-help book that appeals to you, or you can talk to a therapist who can help guide you. Invite curiosity, courage, and hope to be with you.
By Kelly Keltner, naturallynourishedkid.com
Asian Grilled Steak
Dinner: serve with brown rice and pan blistered snow peas.
Leftovers for Lunch: serve atop a salad with mandarin oranges, shredded carrots and sweet bell peppers.
½ cup tamari
½ cup orange juice
½ cup olive oil
½ cup chopped green onions
¼ cup crushed fresh ginger
¼ cup chopped garlic
1 tablespoon five spice powder
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce (optional- increase amount for more heat)
½ tsp toasted sesame seeds
2 lbs flank steak
Whisk together tamari, juice, oil, green onions, ginger, garlic, five spice powder and chili garlic sauce in a small bowl.
Place steak in a large glass dish and pour the marinade over the steak. Refrigerate for 4-8 hours, turning halfway through.
Remove the steak and discard the marinade.
Grill steak on high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side.
Let rest for 5 minutes. Slice and serve. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.
For snow peas: Wash and trim 4 cups of snow peas. Dry well with a paper towel. Heat a sauté pan on med-high heat. Add ½ tabs of cooking oil. Add snow peas and season with salt and pepper. Let sit for a couple of minutes. Give the pan a good shake and let sit for another couple of minutes. Continue to cook peas until they are blistered and soft, but still green and crunchy, about 8 minutes. Turn off the heat and squeeze lemon juice over the peas and give the pan another shake. Serve hot.
Italian Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
Dinner: serve with spiralized zoodles (zucchini noodles) and top with fresh basil and chili flakes.
Leftovers for Lunch: serve with simple blanched steamed greens such as tender broccoli.
For the sauce:
1 cup finely chopped onion
½ cup chopped green pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs olive oil
2 14.5-oz cans diced tomatoes, undrained
1 6-oz can tomato paste
2 tbs fresh parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp marjoram
1 tsp sugar
For the meatballs:
1 large egg
¾ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
¼ cup finely chopped onion
2 tbs finely chopped green pepper
1/4 tsp salt
12 oz ground beef
Heat olive oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Sauté onions, pepper and garlic until soft.
Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato paste, 1/3 cup water, parsley, herbs, sugar, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper.
Bring sauce to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
Uncover and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.
While sauce simmers, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine all ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl and mix well.
Shape mixture into 20-24 meatballs.
Arrange meatballs on a baking pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Stir meatballs into sauce. Serve over raw spiralized zucchini noodles. Garnish with fresh basil and chili flakes.
Mustard Grilled Chicken Breasts
Dinner: serve with roasted rainbow carrots and wilted garlic baby spinach.
Leftovers for Lunch: make a wrap with sprouted whole grain tortilla and sautéed peppers and onions.
2/3 cup chili powder
½ cup sugar
4 tbs salt
4 tbs onion powder
4 tbs garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
6 chicken breasts
¼ cup yellow mustard
Combine the first 6 ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. This rub can be stored for several months in a cool and dry place.
Brush chicken breasts with mustard and sprinkle rub on top. Repeat on the other side.
Grill chicken until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
For roasted rainbow carrots: chop 5-8 carrots at a diagonal. Place carrots in a mixing bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place carrots on a baking pan. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, turning halfway through. Remove and garnish with fresh parsley.
For garlic wilted baby spinach: Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Sauté 6 cups of baby spinach until just wilted. Turn off heat and stir in minced garlic and season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
We love featuring our everyday GORGOgirls that are inspiring us to crush life and a balanced approach to fitness.
Meet Tiffany Penfield.
Tell us about your fitness life.
Over the years, I’ve realized that fitness doesn’t have to come in the form of just going to a gym. I use to believe that if I didn’t have time set aside for “working out”, then I wasn’t exercising. I constantly felt like a failure. I struggled finding time with all of my family’s extracurricular activities.
It wasn’t until recently that I really took a look at my life and realized I AM working out daily in my everyday activities. I have changed the way I view “fitness” and exercise in life, and that has helped me to find a place of contentment.
Because we move so much, family comes first over everything. It’s easier to me to get my workouts in through activities with my kids: boxing with my son, bike rides and neighborhood walks, helping my son practice basketball at night, practicing gymnastics with my daughter on the trampoline, dancing, running around with our high-energy dog, and so forth. My job also keeps me on my feet, so it’s very common to walk 20,000 steps while just at work.
Tell us about your non-fitness life.
We are a military family, so we move a lot (this is our 10th move and 3rd country since we’ve been married). My husband and I have been married for 14 years. We have two children; our daughter is 11 and son is 8.
I work at a school with special needs children; we help integrate them into general population of school and get them included in regular classes.
My husband travels a lot for his job in the military and we are also getting ready for him leave for a 9-month deployment. I have instilled in them that fitness is a good thing, and how fitness can be an outlet for your emotions. So we are very active in our everyday life. My daughter is in competitive gymnastics. My son plays basketball and boxes. Boxing has been a great outlet for him to channel his emotions, as he has a hard find with how much my husband travels.
Tell us what you love about GORGO.
One of the many things I love about GORGO is, I love that the women come from all over in different fitness levels, into different fitness life- lifting, yoga, group fitness, runners and everyone cheers everyone one without judgment.
The first year I attended Camp GORGO, I genuinely didn’t know what to expect. I was really timid about going; I expected it to be all fitness competitors and lifting weight… but it wasn’t. Everyone loved everybody for their story. If people attended camp one year, and returned the following looking different… there was no judgement. I have never been around people that I don’t know that are strangers and felt so comfortable -- like they are life long friends that I hadn’t seen in awhile. I genuinely loved my experience.
Another thing I love about Camp GORGO is the variety of workshops that they offer (mindset, balance, fitness, self-love, etc). Every year, I become more comfortable and at peace with whatever was going on in my mind: my confidence, not being so scared to try new things that I thought were only for people in shape. And learning it’s OK to try new things.
This past summer was my 3rd year attending. Each year, I leave Camp GORGO feeling more confident in my life. I am reminded that women have the same struggles or are going through something worse than me and they are such an inspiration. Or I meet someone that has already gone through my current issue, has great advice or is just great at listening.
I discovered that my own problems and insecurities are more common than I realized, and I should open up more about it. Camp GORGO has helped me to realize that everyone has their own securities.
Anything else you want to say?
I have finally realized it is not the number on the scale, but how I feel inside that matters the most. Growing up thinner, I never really had to put a lot of effort into working out. For the longest time, I wanted to be the size I was before I was pregnant (11 years ago). After having my daughter, I went back to my prepregnancy size right away. Three years later when I had my son, my body didn’t bounce right back. I couldn’t do the quick fixes I did in my 20s; it took a long time to figure out what to do.
I am very active in my church and recently switched from reading self help books to reading christian books; both which helped me find a new perspective on life that I didn’t even know I needed.
I stopped trying to fit into all my pre-pregnancy clothes. I went to a local boutique and bought a pant size I had never before owned. I let go of my fixation on the tag number and went for the rift leg jeans I had always wanted to own. Once I did it, I was liberated. That mind shift helped affirm that my mental health is just as important. I am more confident and have learned the practice of self-love.
It was important to shift my mindset for reasons beyond just me. My daughter is hitting the preteen age. She has become very aware of her body and others, and is alway watching me. I want my daughter to know that life should not revolve around her size or how she looks on the outside.
I want my daughter to look at fitness for what it truly is: not a punishment… but rather, a reward.
By Jill Farr
Connect with Heather: @babies_to_biceps
The impetus for many women’s fitness lifestyle changes isn’t always positive. Often, it’s a dissatisfaction with our appearance or strength and energy levels that makes us realize we need to get back to the gym. (Or start going in the first place).
Sometimes, dealing with a curveball that life throws is what leads us to seek out physical strength.
When Heather Burba was pregnant with her third child, she found out her husband was cheating on her. To say it was devastating was, as anyone who has been in those shoes knows, an understatement.
When it became apparent that the infidelity wasn’t going to stop, Heather packed up her three kids and moved across the country, to try and start over. With three small kids to support, she knew that she needed a stable long term career, so she took out loans, applied for all the assistance she could, and enrolled in nursing school.
The pain of a deep betrayal, the stress of nursing school and the pressure to build a career and suddenly become a breadwinner for a little family--not to mention the interim poverty while she got her degree--added up to a huge amount of stress.
“I was so angry,” Heather says.
“I was angry about buying Goodwill stuff for my kids, I was angry that my ex-husband was galavanting around, living the single life, while I was doing this.”
“So I started running. I had no clue about how to run, I just started, and I ran and I ran and I ran. I would walk until I caught my breath, then I’d run some more. I did that to stay sane. And I was a better mom because of it. Sometimes I would park in the daycare parking lot before picking up my kids, and go run in the neighborhood.”
“I had just spent 8 hours at school, now I have to go home and be a mom and do homework. It made me angry. So I would run, to get all that out.”
The running did its job, and Heather not only became stronger physically, but psychologically. She became a nurse, she bought a house...and she found love again.
After getting stood up for a date, she went to a friend’s house to vent and eat ice cream...and the friend’s younger brother happened to stop by. Fate conspired, a romance blossomed, and eventually she and the little brother (John) fell in love.
Even in the midst of building their “happily ever after”, however, there were challenges. And once again, those hardships served as a springboard to Heathers strength. Heather discovered her boyfriend’s porn use, and without her realizing, it fed some unresolved insecurities she had about her own body.”
Eventually, even though her initial reaction was to try and change to fit what she thought he wanted, Heather decided that this wasn’t about her--it was about them. She also decided that instead of starving herself for a man, she would get stronger. For herself.
Two things came from that moment; Heather had a heart-to-heart with John about how his porn use made her feel, and she had a talk with herself. “There’s no man on Earth that’s worth killing yourself for.” It turned her towards strength training.
“Instead of being skinny, I wanted to be strong. I went in--didn’t know what I was doing--and just started lifting. Like with running...I just started. I’m a personal trainer now because I want to give that feeling to women--look how strong you are!”
That moment was a huge turning point for Heather and John, by tackling the issue of pornography and healing the residual emotional damage left over from her first marriage, they realized that together they could conquer anything and got married, on a Tuesday afternoon 3 years later.
In addition to being a personal trainer, Heather is also a doula--bringing the same empowerment mindset to birth experiences that she does to fitness training. As far as her own personal fitness goals, she doesn’t really have any end game in mind, other than the best fitness level possible.
“I basically just want to live forever--to see my grandbabies have babies and not have my children have to care for a sick, elderly mother.”
When asked about her message for other women, Heather doesn’t hesitate.
“I would tell them, ‘You have the power to create the life you deserve and are dreaming of.’ It doesn’t matter how long it takes. It doesn’t matter how many times you start over or try a new idea. Slow deliberate movement forward will always keep you moving. You can do every single thing you put your mind to. I am living proof.”
“You just have to woman up.”
Lessons from Heather:
Make a 10 minute investment.
When Heather was at a low point, her dad gave her this advice: You can’t look at the end.
“I never looked at the end of nursing school,” Heather says. “I couldn’t look at it as “the next three years”...I had to look at it ten minutes at a time.” That same philosophy is her fitness mantra. “Just go to the gym/run/spin/whatever for 10 minutes. If you still want to quit after 10 minutes, then quit. I can almost guarantee you that you won’t. If you do, then it’s still 10 minutes of something that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Give yourself 10 minutes and see if it changes your day.”
Don’t stuff your emotions.
“Everyone tells women, don’t be angry,” Heather says. “I say...Eff that! Maybe that’s your fuel! You don’t have to live there forever...but you need to be able to remember where you came from.”
“I don’t live in the past, but I know the past can repeat itself, so you can’t forget. Those are the moments that built who you are--I would never know how strong I am and how resilient, if not for those moments.”
Heather has some mindfulness backup in this area; while a lot of positive thinking teaching will have you only focus on happy thoughts, many mindfulness teachers advocate acknowledging your feelings as they come up--not stuffing them--and then finding ways to comfort those feelings. Heather’s system of pouring anger into a fitness pursuit is a healthy expenditure of physical energy--consider a meditation or relaxation practice, as well.
Just get up and do it.
It’s more than a sports slogan--just doing what needs to be done is a key part of success in physical fitness and overcoming heartbreak--both areas of expertise for Heather. And her spin on the traditional “Man up!” is a long overdue one.
“I was never late with my rent, but I did have the electricity cut off on one occasion,” Heather says. “I was in the midst of cooking dinner, and the power shut off. I thought maybe someone had knocked down a pole, but no...I had stretched it out too far and let the bill go too long. It was a low moment.”
“But again, it was one of those moments where, you have to be a woman. You have to woman up.”
“We lit candles, and I took the meatloaf outside and finished cooking it on the gas grill. We slept together in extra pajamas to stay warm, because it was December.”
“But in the middle of all that is where I found my fitness, where I found my power.”
“If I can do it, you can too.”
When you are part of a movement, a gathering of compassionate, direct yet gentle, all-kinds-of-strength women equipping one another in more ways than technique under the bar, you accept the challenge and choose to leverage on this opportunity for permanent personal growth. I can’t wait go back and re-connect with the amazing women that collectively make Camp Gorgo!Read More
By Ali Ludovici
Having had the honour of successfully coaching many clients in health and wellness, in addition to my own experience as an athlete and weight-loss journey, I can tell you with certainty, that mindset is the single most important element of success. If you don’t have the right mindset it doesn’t matter how credentialed your coach is, what exercises you are doing or what diet you are on, success will be elusive.
What you perceive and believe creates your reality. Though you may be predisposed to a positive or negative mindset, you can choose your perception (how you interpret the world) and your attitude (your beliefs and reactions/interactions).
In the world of health and wellness, your mindset will determine whether you succeed in achieving good health and peace with your body and food. You can purchase all the nice workout gear, fancy gym memberships, coaching, and diet plans you want - if you don’t have the right mindset, you won’t achieve what you desire. So what exactly is the right mindset?
Believe in yourself
Your body and mind are intimately connected; if you believe you can, your body will find a way. Disbelief leads to self-sabotage as you will create your reality to prove your mindset correct. Set your goal and believe in your ability to achieve it. You are stronger and more capable than you give yourself credit. Just because you can’t do something today, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to in the future. Keep working and believe in yourself. In time, you will amaze yourself with what you have accomplished.
Focus on the solution
Your health and wellness journey will certainly have its ups and downs. There will be nights you don’t have the energy for a butt-kicking workout and the days where you just don’t have time to pack a healthy lunch, don’t beat yourself up. No road to success is straightforward or easy - but all good things are worth the effort. In fact, having to put in some challenging work and overcome a few obstacles, makes you value your success that much more. You can choose to focus on the obstacles, or you can choose to focus on the solutions. “Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off your goal”, Henry Ford.
Be positive in your self-talk
Many of our limitations are created within our own mind. You tell ourselves you aren’t good enough, strong enough, fast enough. You create excuses and barriers where there needn't be any. What you tell yourself, your mind believes. Change the way you talk to yourself and you infinitely increase your ability to succeed. Tell yourself it is possible, believe it is possible and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish. Challenge yourself to replace any and every negative thought, with a positive (and realistic) alternative.
Seek pleasure and balance
Despite the “hustle harder” and “no pain, no gain” mentality perpetuated by some fitness personalities, exercise and good nutrition can be pleasurable. You can enjoy both health and, athleticism while having a fulfilling and joyful personal life. While I do encourage every woman to lift weights for the physical and mental benefits, I also encourage them to seek exercise they find pleasurable. Whether you enjoy swimming, yoga, running, kickboxing or pole fitness, find something that gets you sweaty and smiling. When it comes to nutrition, trust the innate wisdom of your body. As long as you are predominantly eating whole foods (healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates) with a plant-based focus, you are welcome to enjoy a treat now and again. Balance, pleasure and respecting your body and its wisdom, is how you will discover a fulfilling healthy lifestyle.
Focus on Abundance
When trying to achieve a specific fitness goal, you will likely need to be more diligent with your nutrition and fitness routine. You can choose to focus on the lack; of calories, indulgent foods, and changes to your social life. Or you can focus on the positive; your improved aesthetic, all the delicious nutrient dense foods, and the pleasure in seeing results. If you perceive your journey as a punishment, you will have a negative experience that will work against you and increase your odds of rebounding. Choosing to see the positive, you will have a more pleasurable journey and be more likely to create a healthy lifestyle with life-long reward.
Your mindset is the single greatest influencer on your reality. You can choose to have a pleasurable journey towards achieving your goals; you can choose to see yourself as a strong, capable woman; you can choose pleasure and balance. You can also choose to see the opposite. Your reality, your success, is in your control.
Ali Ludovici is a blogger at Charm and Grit, writing about fitness, nutrition and strategies for extraordinary living. As a wellness and mindset coach, she specializes in helping women create healthy and fulfilling lives they love. Ali promotes respecting the innate wisdom of your body, doing exercise that gets you sweaty and smiling, as well as recognizing the power of your mindset to create your desired reality. She is well known for her tough love attitude, no excuses mindset and her supportive positivity. She is a natural bodybuilder, who also enjoys yoga, running and trying new forms of fitness. Ali is on a mission to inform, inspire and empower women to live extraordinary lives.
By Kelly Keltner, naturallynourishedkid.com
Busy schedules have been received. School supplies, new clothes and shoes bought. Bedtimes are being enforced again. Mornings are a rush to beat the clock.
It can be a hectic time as your household gets back into the school year routine. To help you avoid the drive-thru and takeout, here are some snack ideas that are free of refined sugars and will keep your kiddos full and energized through the day.
BONUS: They’re mommy friendly too!
TIME SAVING TIP: Make batches and freeze for convenience.
Honey Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas
This powerhouse food, also known as garbanzo beans, packs 6g of protein in just half a cup. This is as much protein as a large whole egg! Pair with a side of fruit or veggie sticks for a snack that will keep kids full until mealtime.
Prep Time: 5 min Cook Time: 10-15 min
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
1 tbs raw organic honey
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a small bowl, combine the chickpeas with the cinnamon and honey and mix well.
3. Lay the chickpeas in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
4. Bake until crispy and browned, about 10-15 minutes.
Store in an airtight container up to 3-4 days.
Recipe from @KidFoodIdeas on Instagram
Flourless Peanut Butter Banana Muffins
If you have a bunch of overripe bananas, put them to good use and bake up a batch of these yummy banana muffins. You won’t miss the flour and superfoods like chia seeds and ground flaxseed pump up the nutritional factor.
Prep Time: 5 min Cook Time: 20 min Makes 9 mini muffins
1/4 cup natural peanut butter (or any nut/seed butter)
2 ripe medium to large bananas
2 tbs raw honey
1/2 cup rolled oats (sub gluten-free oats to make recipe gluten-free)
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
2 tbs chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until the batter is smooth and creamy.
3. Pour batter into greased muffin pan or use cupcake liners. Fill each cup about 3/4 full.
4. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze.
Recipe by NaturallyNourishedKid.com, adapted from RunningWithSpoons.com
Mango Fruit Roll-Ups (aka Fruit Leather)
This one ingredient (yes, one ingredient!) treat will have your kids pumped to open up their snack totes! This takes some time to cook in the oven but it is worth it. Start it on a lazy weekend morning.
Prep Time: 5 min Cook Time: 3-4 hours Makes about 15-20 rollups
3 large mangoes
1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Puree the mango in a food processor after removing the skin and core.
3. Pour the puree onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a spatula to smooth and spread the puree as even as possible. The layer should be thin but not see through. You may have to use 2 baking sheets.
4. Start checking the puree at 3 hours. Oven temps vary from oven to oven, so it may or may not be ready at this point. When the puree is dry to the touch, it is done.
5. Remove from the oven and cut the sheets into strips. Roll up strips.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week..
Recipe from Clean & Green Kids App
Avocado Toast with Tomatoes
This power snack gives you fiber, fats (the good kind), protein and vitamins all in one. Choose Ezekiel bread to avoid added sugar and preservatives. It is usually found in the freezer aisle. Ezekiel bread also provides twice the amount of fiber and protein compared to conventional store bought bread.
Prep Time: 5 min Makes 2 servings
Ezekiel Bread - 2 slices
handful grape tomatoes
1. Toast the bread
2. Top the toast with sliced avocado, grape tomatoes and fresh ground black pepper.
3. Squeeze lemon juice liberally over everything. This helps to prevent the avocado from browning if you plan to eat it later.
Recipe from @NaturallyNourishedKid on Instagram
Spinach & Mushroom Mini Crustless Quiche
Bake a batch on Sunday and keep it in the fridge. It heats up in 20 seconds in the microwave - perfect for a grab-and-go breakfast on busy weekday mornings.
Prep Time: 15-20 min Cook Time: 20-25 min Makes 12 mini quiches
1 tbs EVOO
12 oz white mushrooms, chopped
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
3 cups baby spinach, chopped
4 large eggs
4 large egg whites
¼ cup whole milk
¼ cup grated fontina cheese
salt & pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
2. Heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add mushrooms, shallot and season with S&P. Saute and cook until shallots are soft and mushrooms are slightly browned, about 8-10 minutes.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the baby spinach and nutmeg until the spinach is just wilted. Set aside to cool.
4. Whisk the eggs, egg whites, and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese.
5. Divide the egg mixture evenly between the muffin tins, filling about halfway.
6. Top the egg mixture with the mushroom and spinach sauté.
7. Bake until the quiches are well-risen, golden brown and set. Check it at 20 minutes.
8. Remove from the oven and let the pan cool slightly. Remove the quiches and set on a wire rack to cool completely before refrigerating.
Recipe adapted from The Food Network.
By Sascha Teems, @creepshowphysiques
The deadlift is one of the big bar movements that all athletes should be doing. If you can walk, you can deadlift. Everyone gets fired up about them, but I see a lot of form issues with most lifters. It has to become very technical to work the intended area: the low and mid back. I'm speaking of the conventional deadlift. This is the version that you'll see most powerlifters doing. You'll also see them do a sumo stance in competitions. Most affiliations will let you do either. I'll explain why you should be doing both.
I want you to think of the conventional deadlift as a mid and low back exercise. It's not a leg exercise. Do it on back day. Your focal point should be the low and mid back. Put your mind there. The chest is up and you are looking straight. Your back needs to have a natural curve. This really makes the spinal erectors work. The whole trick of deadlifting is to keep this position during the whole up and down motion. Don't let that back round, which starts happening when you are pulling to much weight or start getting fatigued. If the back rounds, the lats do the pull and the lower back is taken out of the equation. Remember, the deadlift is a low back exercise. So, if you continuously keep rounding, the lower back never gets conditioned because it is taken out of play. Even advanced powerlifters doing a one rep max break this rule. Stay true to good posture, and it's only a legal lift if you get a clean lockout. Saying you pulled "X" amount of weight has no merit if the Kinesiolchain has a kink in it. I see horrible deadlift videos all day. The lifter will even admit the form wasn't there. In my own gym I've had many discussions about correct form. The lift is over if form is lost. It's not worth risking the injury. Leave the ego out in the parking lot.
So what about this Sumo stance deadlift? Your powerlifting purists will do more conventional pulling in competition, but Sumo is normally allowed across all affiliations. The conventional pull is more quad dominate. The Sumo stance opens up your foundation and points toes outward for posterior chain boom. If you've hung out with me longer than 5 minutes, you will know I salivate over hamstring training. The Sumo stance gives you that hambone love you have been longing for. There is no greater love. Do this version on a leg day. Your goal is to get those legs down to parallel like a squat. At the beginning of the pull the hams will activate and then the low back takes over. It's a great hamstring beating if done correctly. The same form rules apply just as in the conventional. You can experiment with a wider base to get more glute activation. Do these slow and controlled.
Some key points to remember when doing both versions of these deadlifts:
1. Wear a flat shoe. Cons or Chucks are great. The lower you keep the heels, the more backside activation you get. Don't deadlift in tennis shoes or lifting shoes with heels raised. They transfer the load to the quads.
Your hamstrings and glutes need the extra activation. I also recommend squatting in flat shoes. The heels raised shoes mask ankle mobility....the lack of. I've seen guys squat beautifully in a pair of platform shoes, but they have a flabby ass and fall apart in flats. Heels low activates those glutes and hamstrings.
2. Lift RAW! No straps, belts, suits, fancy gripping gloves, or regular gloves. Knee sleeves and chalk are fine.
3. Run bar up against shins and quads. It makes sure your form stays locked in on the way up and down. Never bounce on quads to get a lockout. Lighten up. An actual deadlift bar will bend slightly before the plates come off the ground. Most gyms don't have them. Practice with one if you can.
4. Stop doing one rep maxes every lift. Four to six weeks is a good measuring tool. Pull what's safe for you. If back rounds, the set is over.
5. Hands need to be over/under right out side legs for conventional and 10-12 inches apart for Sumo. If you are wanting a career in Olympic lifting, use an overhand grip. You won't be as strong, but it will condition your forearm strength for hang cleans, power clean, and clean and jerk, etc.
6. Enjoy high rep counts. Warm up with sets do 15 to 20. Do some light hamstring work before deadlifting and make sure the back has done some other form of rowing beforehand. Sets of 4 to 6 reps will get you strong. There is also nothing wrong with having one long deadlift session. Do both versions in a lift. If you feel really frisky, add stiff legged deads, Jefferson deads, and Romanian deads. It's fun to do them all in one session.
7. Make side, front, and rear videos of your deads. Dat camera does not lie. Send me your vids, I'd be happy to break them down. Steems2000@yahoo.com
Heck, come see me, 42701.
8. Yes, you are using the whole body for a deadlift, but you should be feeling it mostly in your low and mid back. If you lose that feeling, your technique is off. You're specifically training spinal erectors. That's what a deadlift is supposed to hit with controlled weight. The movement has become one of the most macho movements on the planet. I've had grown big men walk out on me when I broke down their form and kept them at 95lbs. If you don't master the deadlift, your squat form and even your upper body movements will be in jeopardy. The Popsicle stick breaks in the middle. If you don't get that low back stronger, you will be calling into work with a thrown back.
9. Have fun. Make it competitive but safe. Watch everyone's deadlift. I do. I have a mental note on everyone in my gym. I'm not a stalker though. I do make it a point to catch the teenagers if they are headed for destruction. I'll throw them off by talking about pizza and their sock game, and the next thing you know their back is good and sore for a week because they finally trained it properly.
Get out there and deadlift now. Don't be intimidated. You must master the big bar. It takes time, but progress will come. Keep pumping that good iron!
By Jill Farr
Single parents who work full time are experts when it comes to understanding that time and energy are precious resources--if anyone on the planet has an excuse for lacking the schedule and head space to work out, it’s someone working 40+ hours a week and parenting alone.
America Garcia is a single working mother who has a seemingly contradictory message for everyone--single, parent, childless, or otherwise--that’s worn out and tapped for energy.
A typical day for America usually starts with her getting up at 4:30 a.m. so that she can catch an early bus and get a one hour workout in before her job starts. With two kids, ages 11 and 4, there’s really no such thing as a “typical” day, but America has a system set up that allows for life to happen and still leave time and means for fitness; she has a gym membership that provides a place to work out near her home and also near her job. If the early workout doesn’t happen, it can take place after work. Have to miss the bus? Work out before the later one. Or after hours.
If you think that this early workout routine sounds exhausting, you might be surprised to find that the opposite is true; America credits working out with increased energy, and science actually backs her up. University of Georgia researchers conducted a study in 2008 that indicated that regular exercise--even at a low intensity--increased energy in participants by 20% and reduced fatigue by 65%.
“On my commute, on the bus everyday, I look around,” America says. “It doesn’t matter what time it is--it could be the super early bus, the late bus--people are passed out. They’re exhausted! They’re fatigued...and I’m wide awake. I believe working out is the difference.”
Getting over the hill of “I’m exhausted” to an actual workout can feel enormous, but starting that momentum can be a game changer. If anyone should be exhausted, it’s someone with America’s schedule, but she’s on fire...and she credits pushing through those tired times with upping her game. At 41, she’s no stranger to the hormonal dips and energy struggles that seem to be par for the course of getting older, but she’s thriving--she insists--due to her fitness focus. She encourages everyone--but most especially, older single moms--to take the issue of increased energy seriously, and focus on working out as not just a solution for a problem, but as the most important life hack you can adopt.
“I feel like for me...every workout that I do, I feel like I’m adding to my life. You gain so much--energy, self confidence, the endorphins that support a good mood--you’re enjoying life. You’re not stressed out or sad. I feel like you gain life in the gym. It’s important to make time for that.”
Even a superwoman like America isn’t immune to overdoing a good thing, however. After several months of a CrossFit-type regimen, she admits that she burned herself out, but instead of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, and stopping workouts, she simply changed up.
“It happens,” she says. “I decided I needed a switch. Now, I’m back to predominately weight lifting--heavy--and I love it.”
Another aspect of the importance of fitness in America’s life is that she’s seen its benefits in her improved mental state. Single parenting can be stressful, and anything that strengthens your mind in a positive way is a benefit worth pursuing.
“I go hard,” America says. “This is my therapy. A lot of life spins out of control, but this doesn’t. It’s the place where I don’t feel anxiety or stress.”
“Through my divorce and any dark times, I’ve always turned to the gym to keep me grounded.”
When her children were younger, America adapted her need to pursue fitness with the demands of mommying by being a little more flexible, and engaging in workouts that she could do even when she was restricted to the house.
“I had a million workout gadgets when my daughter was little, so that I could workout at home if I had to. There was no excuse.”
There can be even more of a pressure to put kids first when you’re a single parent--but you’re important, too. Not just because you provide for others, but because you matter as an individual, and if you don’t have a partner’s support...you have to take that role, yourself. America exhorts single parents to really look at working out as an investment in yourself.
“The worst thing you can do as a single mother is not take care of yourself. I don’t allow any obstacle to get in the way of my workouts because fitness and my health are priorities to me. I feel that if I’m good, my kids are good.”
The demands of being limited to 24 hours in a day are still a reality, however, and America admits that she feels the strain the most in the area of nutrition.
Meal prepping as a busy single parent doesn’t always (or ever, probably) look like a Pinterest fairy tale, but America has a work-around for that issue, too...as well as a big helping of realistic balance.
“Sometimes I don’t eat that well,” America admits, “But I’m very mindful--I feel as if I eat healthier more often than I don’t.”
“The weekends are hard, with kids--they want things like mac and cheese--and it’s hard to not take a bite!”
America uses Isegenix products to hit some of her wellness markers, and buys premade Paleo lunches from Plate Therapy, ensuring that for the biggest part of her day, her nutrition is handled.
“I definitely struggle with nutrition more because I’m so busy,” America says. “The one thing I can do consistently, however, is make it to that one hour every day where I’m working out.”
“I just do my best. With workouts, with nutrition...it’s all I can do. I realize that it’s important, and I have to have it in my life.”
Lessons from America:
- Make it easy to be flexible so that your workout can happen even if there’s a curveball. (Membership to a gym with multiple locations = opportunity to quickly work out before or after work, close to home or the office; YouTube videos, etc., if you’re at home with young kids).
- Make at least part of your day’s nutrition automatic; protein shakes and premade lunches might need more budgeting up front, but you’ll be getting insurance for your gains down the road.
- Understand that getting in that workout now can pay dividends in the energy department later.
- Look at your health as important, because you’re important...but also because your kids need a healthy mom.
If I had to break it down, I would admit that getting in my veggies is THE challenge of all challenge. I’m mindful of my protein, choose whole grains, skip the refined sugar (most of the time), and drink ample amounts of water but getting those greens in, it requires intention!Read More