Delicious Slow Cooker Chili!

Fat Loss, Nutrition By July 5, 2015 Tags: , , , No Comments

If you simply don’t like putting in the effort or time to cook food, it may be a good idea to start getting friendly with your slow cooker.

I use my slow cooker 2-3 times per month for a variety of foods ranging roast beef, to stews, to soups, etc. It saves me a lot of time and allows me to prepare healthy food in advance.

You can make pretty much anything in a slow cooker if you try hard enough. But one of my favorite things to prepare with the slow cooker is chili. I like it because the dish is very versatile and easily modifiable. You can eat as a stand alone meal or accompany it with a side of rice, or vegetables, or both.

It’s super easy to prepare, and it can be prepared in under 10 minutes. After you’ve got all the prep work done, you simply leave it the slow cooker and can expect to have a delicious meal ready by dinner time – or you can leave it to cook overnight and have your food ready in the morning when you wake up.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

**You can swap certain ingredients out for fresher variations if you’d like but that will generally require more prep work.**

  • 1/2 of a Spanish Onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of Garlic finely (chopped)
  • 2 tsp of Olive Oil
  • 1kg of ground beef or ground chicken
  • 3 tbsp of Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp of Oregano
  • 1 small can of Tomato Paste
  • 1 cup of Corn (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 can of Black Beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can of Lima Beans (drained and rinsed)

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WHAT YOU NEED  TO DO:

  1. Heat olive oil in pan and sautee the onion and garlic.
  2. Brown the beef or chicken in the pan, add spices (chili powder and oregano)
  3.  Place the remaining ingredients inside the slow cooker.
  4. Add the meat into the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients and mix them together.
  5. At this point you add water, broth, or stewed tomatoes, to cover the contents of the slow cooker.
  6. Place the lid on on the slow cooker, set to low heat and leave it alone for 3-5 hours. Feel free to stir it periodically.

AND THEN DEVOUR!

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You can change and modify this recipe as much as you want – it’s really just a base. You can play with the spices, the types of meat, types of legumes, you can add vegetables, whatever you want. I typically like to add tumeric into my dishes as I really love the taste. I’ve even added Kimchi before just for the hell of it.

Now this recipe will leave you with a significant amount of food, so if you live alone be prepared for left overs. If you’re not into eating the same meal over and over you can always freeze the left overs and save them for a later date. 😉

Bon appétit!

 

 

 

 

 

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Do you want something for nothing?

Mindset, Training By June 28, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard someone tell me “I want to lose 10lbs.”

Not that this is a bad thing to want. But I’d rather hear someone say “I want to start going to the gym because I want to lose 10lbs.” Do you understand the difference? The first is an outcome, the latter is an action…and you can’t have an outcome without an action.

We live in a culture that is obsessed with outcomes but consistently neglects the fact that outcomes occur as a result of work.

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As a result of this mindset, we turn into people who want something for nothing and fall into traps of self-defeat because we haven’t achieved what we wanted despite not having taking steps to achieve what we want.

How logical is that? It isn’t logical at all because you can never have results without taking action.

You need to shift from focusing on “what you want” to focusing on “what you can do” – and by doing this you are guaranteeing yourself results. You are creating a process, whether this is for your personal fitness, your career, your relationships, etc. Processes are the pathways to success.

Hearing someone say “I want to lose 10lbs” means nothing to me. Hearing someone say “I want to go to the gym five days per week, drink 3L of water a day and, and eat vegetables at every meal” is much more tangible and valid. It creates a sense of urgency and priority.

When we neglect to prioritize our process – we doom ourselves. Having priorities is how you get stuff done – and if you have no priorities than you should reasonably expect nothing in return. Every single day we can choose to be engaged in something that will bring us closer to where we want to be. Your priorities and your actions are a reflection of your values and your true desires. And you need to own your actions.

By owning your actions, you remove yourself from being a victim and you give yourself power. You don’t feel like a failure if you aren’t seeing results. You go back, change the plan, and keep trying because you are in control of how you feel and what you do. You understand that you are the only person who can take the necessary action to keep moving forward. You own your process. And when you own your process that is when you succeed.

“Action expresses priorities.” – Mahatma Ghandi

What steps are you taking today to get what you want?

 

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“Lifting weights is pointless.”

Fat Loss, Training By June 14, 2015 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

As a strength coach, I expect to be approached by people and asked questions related to training. A lot of the time I’m on the receiving end of statements that are misguided and downright wrong – and in those cases I have to put on my big girl pants and try to be as tactful as possible while still getting the right message across.

Needless to say, I was having a discussion with someone whom I care about greatly and they expressed to me word for word: “Lifting weights is pointless. Weights are stupid. I hate it.”

The first thing that came to my mind was: “UMMM…WHAT THE HELL?! That’s not a great thing to say to a trainer. Do you know who I am?”

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Decidedly, this is not a great way to respond to people…so I chose to say this instead:  “Well what do you mean by that? I would disagree.”

Essentially the reasoning behind their statement was that they didn’t feel like they had accomplished anything of value in the they time spent lifting. “I would rather get exercise by shoveling snow, working on a farm, accomplishing tasks.”

And I get that – I used to say that before I ever started doing any type of training. Unless there was a direct objective or something that was instantaneously accomplished I couldn’t wrap my head around doing it.

With that being said, I have obviously shifted my view on training seeing as I work as a strength coach and I try to promote training for health and general preparedness for an awesome life to anyone and everyone that I meet.

I would say that if you don’t feel like you’ve done anything of value after training it’s because you don’t understand what training is and you don’t understand why you are training.

What training typically entails is moving the body under load from point A to point B with good alignment to stimulate the muscles and the nervous system in cumulative fashion over an extended period of time.

However 90% of people train because they want a specific benefit from it – not because they want to move objects from point A to point B.

People are usually training for one of the following reasons:

  1. Preparation: you are in the process of changing the way you want your body to look or function. In this case training is getting you ready to do everything you ever dreamed of with ease while staying injury and pain free. This can range from wanting to have shoulders that look like pumpkins, fitting in to your old jeans, being able to walk 1km with a 5 bags of groceries in your hands, or playing with your kids outside for more than 10 minutes without feeling exhausted and gassed.
  2. Maintenance: Your body already looks and functions the way you want it to without pain or injury and you want to keep it that way.

Training is a means to an end – it is not the end.

Training is deliberate – there is an aim and an end result. It’s not immediate and there usually is no instant gratification unless you learn to enjoy the physical act of training. The results manifest through a cumulative effort of progressions.

So when you consider that the whole purpose of training is to accomplish a specific result albeit not instantly – it is anything but pointless every aspect of good training is purposeful.

Now if your view of training or weight lifting is just going to the gym and randomly moving objects without knowing or understanding why you’re doing it or what you’re doing it for…then yes, I would say that is pointless and probably a waste of your time and energy.

But that’s not training.

 

 

What’s on your mind?

Leave your comments, questions, or thoughts below – I want to hear from you.

 

 

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The Thirst is Real – 3 Reasons Dehydration is Slowing You Down

Fat Loss, Nutrition, Training By May 26, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

The thirst is real my friends. Dehydration levels are off the charts.

Day after day, working with client after client, I can’t stress enough how important it is to hydrate adequately. I would say 90% of people I work with do not drink enough of water on a daily basis. The average person needs about 0.6oz (18mL) of water  per pound of bodyweight per day without factoring in physical activity and compensating for diuretics like coffee, tea and alcohol.

For a person weighing 175lbs that means you need to consume 105oz of water or 3.1 Litres.

Now you may not think this is a big deal – but dehydration can signicantly hamper your results in the gym whether your training to get lean or wanting to post up with some new PRs.

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Fat Loss

Proper hydration is the first issue I address with any of my clients who are looking to lose weight.  Water places a highly important role in metabolizing. Without sufficient water intake you can actually reduce the rate at which you lose fat. On top of that, when in a state of dehydration your body will often mistake thirst for hunger and will cause you to eat despite not actually being hungry.

Your overall water intake will also affect the overall health and efficacy of your digestive system.

Performance

If you’re an athlete training for performance or even competing it’s also important to understand that dehydration can affect you. Being under hydrated leads to decreased blood volume, decreased circulation, decreased sweating, increased core temperature and and overall decreased cooling rate of body temperature…meaning it will be a lot harder for you to perform as an athlete.

It’s also not uncommon to experience muscle fatigue, cramping, and decrease strength while being in a dehydrated state. As muscles cannot contract as strongly or efficiently when you are dehydrated this will add to an even larger decrease in performance.

However, before you start crushing intraworkout Gatorades – I suggest you look at your overall water consumption throughout the day. That’s generally where most people drop the ball and can improve quite quickly.

Trust me, you can perform just fine without chugging down the 32 grams of sugar in a Gatorade.

Trust me, you can perform just fine without chugging down the 32 grams of sugar in a Gatorade.

Energy

Hydration also plays a key role in energy and cognitive function. Most people who are dehydrated will feel “foggy” mentally, lethargic, and be unable to concentrate properly. As you can see this also very important outside of the gym as most people have jobs that require them be functioning and fulfilling specific task that require some degree of critical thinking.

It isn’t appropriate to be showing up for work, training, and life in general in a state of fatigue where you can’t function properly.

Hydration is Fun

So you want to get leaner, you want to perform at a higher level, and you want to feel better overall and you now understand how important hydration is for that…but you’re wondering how to successfully implement it. What works well for many is setting a behavioral goal.

Visually seeing how much water you are or aren’t taking in each day can be quite impacting. I recommend having three (or more) water bottles or shakers cups (one for home, one for work, and one to keep on you in between) filled with your suggested water intake – and drinking those throughout the day.

Having them ready to go gives you little room for failure in terms of your meeting hydration needs. It’s very straightforward – so if you’re water intake needs to be 3L per day, have three 1L containers filled and ready to go – if you spread them out and drank them throughout the day, you’re doing great. If you didn’t finish them as planned – dump the extra water and start again tomorrow.

PRO-TIP: It’s important to not compensate for lack of water consumption throughout the day by chugging down a bunch all at once – as the water will bypass everything and go straight to your bladder for excretion – which defeats the purpose of drinking water to hydrate your body.

Did you find this helpful? Do you have any questions or feedback?

Leave your thoughts in the comment section or feel free to contact me by e-mail.

 

 

 

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The Missing Link In Your Nutrition

Fat Loss, Nutrition, Recomp By May 3, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

If you’re trying to change your physique and not seeing the results you want you may be neglecting an important factor in your diet.

No, I’m not referring to counting your calories, or weighing out all of your food, and planning all of your meals five months in advance.

I’m talking about satiety.

What is satiety? For the sake of simplicity and context let me explain it like this: Satiety means to eat until you are satisfied 1) physically and 2) mentally. 

Don't strive to feel like this guy.

Don’t strive to feel like this guy.


Physical satiety
is to eat until you are “full,” leaving you neither stuffed nor hungry. It’s a sweet spot where you feel good and well-nourished without feeling like your pants are about explode. People will neglect physical satiety by overeating or under eating. From time to time it is normal normal to go either way…but if repeated extensively you will eventually lose the ability to know when you are hungry and satisfied from your meals – which is less than ideal if trying to maintain or achieve change with your physique.

Mental satiety is to eat foods that satisfy your emotional and social needs (as much as we would like to detach from food being an emotional and social thing – that’s not going to happen.) You know and I know that showing up to family barbecue with a bag of carrot sticks to eat isn’t going to cut it when everyone else is throwing down bacon cheeseburgers. And that’s perfectly okay, you can give yourself permission to enjoy life and indulge in foods if they are worth it to you. When you give yourself permission to enjoy your food you prevent putting yourself into a mindset of “deprivation eating” which usually results in cycles of binge eating and severe restriction, and wreaks havoc on your body and your psyche.

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When you eat to be satisfied and well-nourished, you allow your body to function optimally – meaning you can kill it in the gym and still have the energy to go about your daily life with vigor and enthusiasm. You can also change the composition of your body without dropping or gaining extreme amounts of weight (“recomping.”) You can also perform at a high level – getting stronger, fitter, and faster.

It’s hard to go wrong with something when it allows you to thrive physically and emotionally. So how do you implement this type of eating into your routine? No strict diet required…It’s quite moderate:

  • Eat till your hunger goes away but you don’t feel overfull
  • Eat at regular times
  • Eat foods that meet your requirements for protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber, and other micro-nutrients
  • Eat foods that taste good to you
  • Indulge in “play” foods occasionally
  • Drink adequate amounts of water

Listening to satiety and hunger is the easiest and most moderate approach you can use for long-term maintenance of healthy bodyweight – but it’s often overlooked because it’s not “extreme” or “sexy” or “the latest thing.” However, it works and it’s the easiest thing to implement for an entire life time. Don’t be afraid of being moderate in your approach to eating and training – moderation offers sustainability.

Nobody wants to spend their life exercising 15 hours a week to the point of exhaustion while starving themselves on unseasoned fish and broccoli – only to eat an entire strawberry cheesecake in one sitting on Saturday and repeat the same cycle week after week. Your nutrition needs to work for you, not the other way around.

Rarely is extremism sustainable.

“Throw moderation to the winds, and the greatest pleasures bring the greatest pains.” – Democritus

 

 

 

 

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