Unless you are part of a meal delivery service, cooking in bulk to prep for the week is vital. An occasional meal out isn’t going to hurt your progress too much, but in excess will be detrimental. This bulk cook also doesn’t need to be 5-Star restaurant quality. Our weekly meals are fuel – we need carbs, fats, and protein. Keep it simple and save the duck confit with mango aioli quinoa and avocado tomato salad for your splurge over the weekend. Basic meals are easy and fuel the body well, don’t over complicate this shit. Simplicity is key.
If you have a typical day job, lunch plus 2-3 snacks are a minimum to bring with you every day. If you aren’t getting up early enough to make breakfast or if you get home too late to cook dinner, those need to be prepped also. We are going to dive into meals – snack info will come at a later date. Remember, both meals and snacks are required daily – EVERYONE needs to be eating frequently over the course of the day (every 2-3 hours).
There are two major ways you can prep your meals:
WEEKEND BULK COOK
Pros: Frees the week up from cooking, calories and macros can be perfect, super convenient to eat during the week
Cons: Takes away free time on Sunday, food isn’t as fresh toward the end of the week, variety can be tough
Much of what you see in social media when we refer to bulk cooking or meal prep refers to the weekend bulk cook. Here you will cook a ton of food, measure it out into Tupperware, and be set for the entire week. Some people will cook every meal for the week right now. Others will cook their breakfast daily, so all they need to worry about it lunch and dinner. Personally, I like my Sundays free and want fresher food throughout the week, so I don’t choose this approach. However, try it out and if it works for you, comment below on what you made to share with others!
COOK ALMOST DAILY
Pros: Fresher food, more variety, weekends are free
Cons: Daily time consumption
Personally, I cook almost every night. I don’t typically plan which nights I will and won’t cook, it usually goes by my day, how I feel, or our plans for later in the week. I enjoy the freedom of not being confined to a certain meal and I typically enjoy cooking. So, 3-4 nights a week, I cook, and I cook a lot of food! This gives me the freedom to cook what I want to eat that night and have leftovers for lunch the next day. I’ll typically also throw and extra meat and veggie in there too so a few more meals can be made. This gives us plenty of meals to eat throughout the week and allows me to skip a night of cooking when I want to.
Below would be a typical dinner for myself and my wife if I were cooking our lunches and dinners for next day or two. She will eat one lunch daily and I will eat two to meet our caloric needs. Both are around the size, but I am aiming for 3500+ calories and she is currently around 2000 calories. If you need more calories but can only eat one lunch a day for job reasons, just make it larger. I wake up an hour before I have to be anywhere to cook breakfast so that is not included in the (almost) nightly cook.
Time: 45 minutes
(4) Chicken Breasts
(8) Chicken Thighs
(1) Red Pepper
(1) Green Pepper
(1) Yellow Pepper
(1) Broccoli Head
(1) Cauliflower Head
(1) Bag of fingerling potatoes
-Salt and Pepper
-Coconut Oli Spray
(3) Burritos – tortillas, chicken thighs, brown rice, peppers/onions
(4) Chicken Breasts with roasted potatoes and broccoli/cauliflower
(2) Chicken Tights with brown rice and peppers/onions
Set Oven to 400. Spray 3 baking dishes with coconut oil spray. Put 4 chicken breast in one dish and season with salt and pepper. Put into oven (while preheating is okay) and set oven timer for 45 minutes. Wash potatoes and cut in half. Put into other baking dish and season with salt, pepper, and coconut oil. Put into oven (by now they will be in there around 35 minutes). Wash broccoli and cauliflower. Rub with coconut oil and place on a third dish. Put into oven (should be around 25 minutes to go). Begin warming 2 frying pans with coconut oil or spray. Wash peppers and onions, cut, and rub in coconut oil. Prep chicken by seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook thighs on pan for around 10 minutes on each side. Cook peppers and onions in another pan, constantly stirring vegetables for around 20 minutes. After thighs and peppers/onions are done, everything from the oven will be done as well as ready to be dispersed as you please.
Below is my breakfast I cook for myself and my wife each morning. Depending on the day I will swap out my carb (hashbrowns) and replace with another carb such as a bagel, toast, or fruit, but the meal always consists of protein, fat, and carbs and is around 850 calories for me.
Time: 12 minutes
Using two frying pans, put bacon into one pan and hashbrowns into the other on medium heat. Bacon will need about 4 minutes per side. While bacon is cooking, crack eggs into bowl. After bacon is done, put eggs into frying pan that the bacon was in. Flip the hashbrowns to cook the other side. Cook your eggs as desired. Once the eggs are done, the hashbrowns will be as well. BOOM! Breakfast is done.
Above are just some examples of what I do to cook the vast majority of what goes into my body. You need to find out what works best for you. Try cooking on the weekends. Commit to cooking almost every night. See what you enjoy the most and what sets you up for a lifetime of taking care of your nutrition. Just don’t overcomplicate it – keep it simple, cook basic dishes, and avoid having to go eat out every day.
Ever since I remember, we have been debating healthcare in this country. Every politician has their own opinion on how to fix it. In reality, we need to stop concentrating on how to pay for it and instead focus on how to prevent the need for it.
Our healthcare system is based around keeping sick people alive rather than actually curing disease. At first it surprised me when people sat down with me in our gym and told me their blood work came back with terrible numbers and THEY realized they needed to lose weight. They made the decision that change needed to happen. Possibly, their physicians told them to lose weight. Even better, he/she told them to eat properly, in adequate quantities, and exercise. However, that’s doubtful. Many just don’t have the knowledge to prescribe those things. They are experts in medicine and drugs. What I do expect from our physicians however is a general prescription for the factual cure to chronic disease (nutrition and exercise) and adequate referrals to the healthcare providers that can provide them with solutions.
Physicians in my eyes do a great job at referring other physicians in their network with specialties to help treat ailments that require special attention. So why is it that a diabetic or pre-diabetic individual isn’t referred to the specialist that can cure their disease? Personal Trainers, CrossFit Coaches, Nutritionists, Dieticians, among others look at the underlying cause of their disease and treat it. Often, it’s as simple as eating real food, in smaller quantities, and adding in some sort of exercise. Instead, these individuals are referred to pharmacies only to revert to drugs as their treatment option.
I can’t fix the healthcare problem in this country. It’s too large, too complex, and way too much money in it for a little voice like me to be of a major influence. What I can offer however is micro solutions – helping one person at a time cure their own disease. You don’t have to be a victim of your aliment. You are in charge of your life. Chronic disease doesn’t have to be a life sentence to being sedentary and on prescription drugs.
If you or someone close to you is in this position, please contact us so we can help.
DISCLAIMER: There are great doctors. Unfortunately, I just don’t know many of them, especially in the field of primary care. Luckily, it seems as if CrossFit Health is aiming to fix this and create a database of doctors that want to cure chronic disease, not just treat it. If you do know of any local physicians in the Fort Lauderdale area that do promote, have knowledge, and practice preventative healthcare through exercise and nutrition, please let me know as I would love to refer them business.
They say you are what you eat. But, you’re also who you hang out with.
There are no quick ways to being healthy. It takes lifestyle change and that’s the truth of it. Of my time in the fitness profession, the biggest game changer I see to succeed in your health and fitness goals is looking who you surround yourself with. If you are constantly around people without the same goals as you, it is going to be a huge uphill battle to succeed. When you surround yourself with likeminded individuals, it takes the temptation out of things that are currently holding you back and provides the support you need to flourish.
If you want to finally make change and become the healthier and fitter version of yourself, you have two choices when it comes to who you currently hang with if they aren’t on the same page as you with their health:
Yeah, it’s harsh, but it’s also reality. If your friends don’t want to support your in your quest for a healthy lifestyle, F- them. You’ll find new, better, and sexier friends soon enough.
Do it together
What better way to get healthier than to do it with your current crew. Going on this journey with a spouse, family, or friends is an excellent way to ensure your success. You’ll know what you each are going through and be an amazing support system.
Surrounding yourself with healthy people gives you:
Avoidance of temptation
You and your bestie have your first half marathon next weekend? You both will have no problem staying in this Saturday evening and watching a movie instead of going out. You’ll be hitting brunch after the race anyway!
My best friends all go to the gym and I legitimately miss them when they aren’t in class. When I text them later that day it isn’t to remind them they wanted a deadlift PR, it’s just because I wanted to hang with them. Maybe I care about their goals a little bit, but it’s mostly me being selfish.
Healthy activities and hobbies
Paddle boarding at the beach? Yeah! Rock climbing? Sure thing. Volleyball at the park? Let’s go! This is kind of blunt, but healthy people like to do cool shit. Find some healthy people to do cool shit with. Disclaimer: beer can be drank during or after this fun shit too.
Life’s unhealthy temptations are always surrounding us. Whether it is a bacon maple glazed donut or a jalapeño passion fruit margarita, my goal isn’t for you to avoid these pleasures altogether. Rather, instead I want you to find balance of both of these worlds. The problem lies when the ones who you spend the most time with are constantly pulling you in the directions you shouldn’t be going to very often. You need friends that will run with you at 9 am, then go to brunch after. You need acquaintances that back your decision to leave a party early because of your workout the next morning. And you need supporters that are running this race with you, not telling you to skip your Friday workout to go to Happy Hour.
An African proverb states that “it takes a village to raise a child.” This works perfectly for our health and fitness too. We are setting ourselves up for failure if we try to tackle it alone or without a support system around us. This journey is hard enough, so make sure you are surrounding yourself with individuals who not only support you, but make this trip of health and fitness incredibly fun and successful.
Is the “New Year, New You” a real thing or just marketing bullshit to get you to set some goals for the new year?
Here’s the reality: it’s up to you. And I’m into it.
Every year, people make their New Year’s Resolutions and January leads to an influx of people trying to become fitter. It’s so popular to make resolutions based around health and fitness because, as a whole, America is terribly out of shape. It comes as no surprise that when people look to better themselves in the new year, their health becomes a priority. And it should be!
We constantly debate and worry about our health in this country. Which diet is best? What style of fitness is the safest? How can we better control our obesity epidemic? The answer is simple – take your health out of your doctors’ and the media’s hands and put it into your own control. Start simple and see where that takes you; eat real foods, limit processed foods and alcohol, and begin moving more. After a bit of that, see where it takes you, and determine what you need to do to continue to better yourself.
We should always be trying to better ourselves. The new year gives us that fresh opportunity and a new page in
our novels to do so. If you aren’t setting goals year-round, you should be. Setting them alone is not enough, you need to actively check in on them, revise them, and add onto them. Goals also give us a perfect way to back track, set timelines, and see what we should be doing everyday to get to that end result.
Most importantly, don’t put your health and fitness on an unattainable pedestal. Simplicity is the first start. Give up sweets and start walking. Only drink one night a week and ride your bike more often (preferably not on the night you are drinking). Or better yet, stop by a local gym (if possible, my gym) and meet with a professional who can outline your journey and support you all along the way. Regardless of your path, you can do it. New Year’s Resolutions only suck if you don’t reach them. Don’t let them suck this year.
Sean Spire is the Owner and Head Coach of Aspire. Athletically, he enjoys lifting heavy shit, running in the middle of the day, and tough MetCons. Personally, he likes spending time with his amazing wife, Erika, and dog, Reef.