Archive of ‘Uncategorized’ category

Big Changes Are Coming, Y’all

Photo by Ashley Caroline Photography

If you follow along on social media it is no secret that Mike and I are Charleston obsessed. We vacationed there almost 3 years ago and I totally fell in love (he had been before for baseball tournaments but this was my first time). During that trip we loved it so much that we went around to all different islands/areas/neighborhoods to see which we liked the most and then looked at a few homes. Not too seriously, just to give ourselves an idea of what was on the market. We knew that when the time came we wanted to buy down south. Not only is it cheaper than living in the CT/NY area but it’s a different way of life down there. People are so genuine and kind, EVERYTHING is pretty (seriously, I take a billion pics any time we go down), the weather is awesome, beaches are beautiful, food is so good and there’s a big emphasis on enjoying the smaller, simpler things in life.

From our wedding which I’ll hang in our house! Photo by Caroline Ro

Fast forward to currently: We’ve been to Charleston a bunch since my first time down, got married there, have looked at lots of homes and we found OURS. Ok, it’s not ours until the keys are in our hands but we are under contract and are set to close the beginning of July! I can’t even believe it! We are so happy, nervous, excited…. basically all the feels.

That being said, we’ve got a lot of shit to do. Likeeeeee whoa. New business proposals, selling stuff in our current apartment so we don’t have to move much down, figuring out how we’re going to get things down there including 2 crazy dogs (one of which hates the car), getting new furniture, doing a few things to the house and the list goes on and on and on. It’s super exciting but stressful AF.

And all I can think about is decorating. I’m becoming obsessed.

I’ve always liked that sorta thing but never did much of it, our current apartment is basically a bunch of mis-matched furniture and decor from mine and Mike’s previous places. A new home that is ours is a big clean slate for me and I can’t wait to get in there and do my thang. Or try to at least, we won’t really know if I’m any good at this until we see a finished product. *Fingers crossed*.

My life is very much about health and fitness. I love helping others achieve goals of losing fat and getting stronger. I love creating simple yet healthy recipes (which I can do so much more of once we have a kitchen with counter space!). I love coaching clients on how to do an exercise properly to prevent injury and make workouts more efficient. It’s what I’ve been doing for 10 years. But it isn’t my whole life. And sometimes I feel that when I blog or post on social media I have to hide other parts of my life because they aren’t health or fitness related.

Well, that ends here. Coach Cait will be getting an overhaul in the next few months (once I figure out how the heck to build a new website!). I may even change my biz name. But I’m telling you this because I want to share more with you, I want to make this a lifestyle blog that encompasses my everyday life, activities and interests.

You betcha real life involves champagne. Photo by Ashley Caroline Photography

Of course there will be tons of content on wellness, nutrition, fitness, recipes (all gluten free, duh) and motivation. That is a huge part of who I am and it’s not going anywhere. In addition to the healthy sections you may begin to see some wedding stuff (because how the heck have I not posted about our southern wedding yet?!). You’ll also start to see some home and design inspiration. When we move you’ll  join me in the process of fixing some stuff up, decorating, seeing what type of organic mattress we end up buying (yes, that is super important!). I’ll be posting different guides for Charleston as far as gluten free restaurants, best hotels, cool spots for drinks etc. because you all need to come visit at some point. Seriously, it’s just the most amazing place.

Basically, you’re gonna get the ins and outs of life with the McDonnells. And maybe you want to stay up to speed on everything or you might just like the workout stuff or are only interested in our house hunting journey. That’s cool too. Blogs are so easy to navigate giving you the ability to look up what you want and leave the other stuff behind. No biggie to me, as long as I’m contributing something helpful/inspirational/or just entertaining you.

This ride is certainly not going to be perfect. But I can promise you that I’ll be honest and transparent with you. You’ll get to see the beautiful mess that moving forward in life creates. You’ll also get to see me freak out when my OCD goes a little cray and there are a billion boxes and no furniture in our new home. That’ll be entertaining to say the least.

Please continue to share feedback on what I’m posting here and email me if you have anything you’d like me to write about. As always, thank you for reading and taking part in this with me. It’s my sweet little group of followers who keep me going and motivate me to create more content and not give up on this new lil’ business of mine. <3 <3 <3

Weekly Workouts

This week was a little subpar with workouts. There were one or two days where I really MEANT to get to the gym, but didn’t go. It happens to all of us right? I said I’d go after sessions but then I was too hungry so I’d go after lunch instead, but then the dogs needed to be taken out and I had to answer emails and program for clients. Then it was time to make dinner and the thought of going to workout was not appealing. 

Luckily on days like this I can go for a nice long walk with the dogs and still get moving. It’s also important to understand that if you don’t exercise, you don’t need to eat as much on those days and so I keep that in mind. It’s all good and lesson learned: If the workout isn’t written down in the schedule, it very well may not get done. So write that ish down! 

Sunday:

Long dog walk

Monday:

Rest

Tuesday:

BB reverse lunge 3×8 ea
KB OH press 3×8 ea
Ab wheel 3×8
Lat pulldown 3×8 ea
THEN:
Stairclimber 20 min

Wednesday:

Rest (unintentionally)

Thursday:

Long doggy walk

Friday:

Barbell sumo squat 5×5
Chin ups 5x 1-2
Single arm plank 5x 15-20 sec
THEN:
Ski erg 5x 20 sec
90/90 stretch 5×1 min

Saturday:

Bench press 5x 8/6/6/3/1
REST, THEN:
Pallof press 3×10 ea
OH tricep rope extension 3×10
DB lateral raises 3×10

 

5 Tips on How to Plan Effective Workouts

You’ve got your workout clothes on, sneakers laced up and your new playlist ready to go. Yet somehow you don’t feel all too comfortable leaving the locker room and stepping out onto that gym floor. The machines, free weights, cardio equipment..they’re all intimidating. There are a million and one possible exercises, how are we supposed to know which to do?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get in my inbox: “How do I choose which exercises to do in the gym?” We start to feel intimidated not only by the overwhelming amount of equipment around us but also the other people in there. What if we do something incorrectly and look stupid? That would be an epic fail, right? (Nah, because more than half of people in the gym do movements without any rhyme or reason behind them.) But imagine if we came into the gym with a plan; exercises written down with rep schemes that matched our goals. That would be a game changer. We’d feel motivated to get there because we’d know our workout has a purpose. Movement that matters is the very best kind, physically, emotionally and mentally.

So how does someone who isn’t a personal trainer plan an effective workout? Here are my top 5 tips for you. Keep in mind these will vary depending on your goal. If you still aren’t up for the task of writing your own workouts after reading these then head over to Complete Coaching with Cait, my 1 on 1 online training program.

  1. Choose movements that incorporate a lot of muscles at one time. These are typically called “complex movements.” An exercise like a squat  is much more complex than the leg extension machine, for instance. The more muscles we can recruit at one time the higher our heart rates will get, increasing our metabolic rate and burning more calories. Some of my favorites are squats, deadlifts, push-ups, chin-ups (with assistance is fine!), walking lunges and rows.
  2. Lift heavy, please. When selecting weights for an exercise go with as heavy as you can while maintaining proper form. If you’re doing 3×10 for a movement and can easily do another 5 after you’ve reached 10 reps, you aren’t challenging yourself enough. The 10th rep should be hard enough so you can’t do another 1 or 2 afterward. There are a ton of benefits to lifting heavy: Strength correlates to the release of fat burning hormones in both men and women. The stronger you are the faster your metabolism will be. Reduced risk of osteoporosis, muscle hypertrophy and being a badass are also positives that come from lifting heavy. 
  3. Design your workouts with a combination of full body exercises. A program template can look something like this:
    Circuit 1: Lower body movement, upper body push, upper body pull, core
    Circuit 2: Lower body movement, upper body push, upper body pull, core
    You can even add a quick metabolic sprint after the core if you’re looking to spike your heart rate.
  4. Rest as needed between sets, but only as needed. I see this one a lot. We do a set and then go on our phones or talk to a friend for 5+ minutes. What happens then is we lose momentum and our heart rates lower a lot. A general rule of thumb for someone looking to burn fat during a workout is to rest as much as needed in order to go back and give maximal effort to those exercises again. For some this may be 30 seconds and for others 3 minutes. Remember, you want to keep the intensity up throughout the workout (always while maintaining proper form).
  5. Add in 1-2 days of high intensity cardio into your workout program. Pick a piece of cardio equipment you enjoy and work your butt off for 20 minutes. Sprint for 30 seconds and rest for 1:30, repeating for a total of 20 minutes. You can do this on a treadmill, elliptical, rowing machine etc. All that matters is you’re working as hard as you possibly can for those 30 seconds and then going nice and slow allowing your heart rate to come down for 1:30. This can be done all on it’s own so you’ll have your sprint days and then your lifting days, or if needed you can do them right after your lifting workout but I prefer the former so you have more energy.

The gym can be an intimidating place but it doesn’t have to be. Take a moment to jot down a program for the week. This will not only motivate you but also hold you accountable.

*If you feel like you still need help with planning workouts, nutrition and accountability fill out this contact form to get in touch with me about Complete Coaching with Cait, a personalized 1 on 1 online training program.

6 Simple Health + Fitness Guidelines That Actually Work

6 Simple Health + Fitness Guidelines

The entire internet is filled with different fat loss tips, trends and topics. This can make it tough knowing either where to begin with a new health and fitness program, or if what you’re currently doing is good and/or working for your body.

As a fitness professional, I sometimes laugh at what is out there on social media and other times I get really frustrated at advice that is not sound information. It seems all of this healthy talk does one thing very well: over complicates things.

In one corner we’ve got pictures of people with super lean bodies who tell you that you too can look like this, you just have to workout 2-3 hours a day and count every single macronutrient you put into your body. And in the other corner we’ve got those who insist that going for a walk in the park and meditating will entirely change your world for the better. While the above opinions are not incorrect, it doesn’t mean they are the right fit for you.

So, what is?

The following six guidelines are simple, straight forward and proven to work. You don’t have to implement all six at once either. Begin with one until it becomes consistent and a habit, then add in another.

Six Health + Fitness Guidelines:

Strength train 2-5 days/week: Put simply, lift heavy weights often. This doesn’t mean go over to the rack of dumbbells and pick up the largest one you see. But when choosing your exercise routine, incorporate loads that will challenge you. I’m a big fan of short yet challenging workouts and am often out of the gym within 30 minutes. These workouts consist of big compound movements (squats, lunges, push-ups, pull-ups etc.) that get the entire body moving and working hard.

Choose foods that are in their natural, whole state as often as possible: You know the drill here, keep processed foods to a minimum. Eat foods that will nourish you and leave you feeling energized rather than bogged down and bloated. This may mean you do a little bit more cooking but there are SO many recipes out there that are delish and don’t take very long to make. Trust me, I am not a fan of being in the kitchen so meals that are easy to prep and cook are key and totally possible.

Have protein with every meal: This is one of my favorites. A lot of us underestimate the power of protein and how much we are actually eating. This is usually the first habit I will introduce a client to because increasing your protein intake has so many benefits:

  • Increase energy
  • Keeps you full for longer, decreasing hunger cravings later on
  • Increases metabolic rate
  • Maintain lean muscle mass when trying to lose body fat

Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep (or sleep quality) disrupts proper hormone function in the body which leads to: increased hunger (and therefore fat gain), increased stress, increased fatigue, decreased cognitive function and much more. Read more about the importance of sleep here. Also note that our bodies recover while we sleep. So for someone who is exercising it is especially important to get sufficient quality sleep. Tips for better sleep:

  • Get in bed a half hour earlier than usual
  • No electronics a half hour before lights out
  • Keep your bedroom very dark
  • Avoid caffeine in the afternoon
  • If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, see a doctor to have blood work done to see if there is an underlying cause that could be creating this symptom.

Drink enough water: Mild dehydration can cause daytime fatigue, loss in energy and concentration, can decrease strength, cause cramping and many other issues. The concerning thing here is that majority of us are a little dehydrated. It is recommended that we drink a minimum of 8 cups of water per day. This of course is dependent on the individual, someone who exercises daily should consume more than this. I normally recommend clients have .6 ounces per pound of body weight each day. However, as many of us don’t drink enough water to begin with this can seem like a lot. So start by simply adding in one extra cup (8 ounces) of water into your day. A few benefits of proper hydration:

  • Healthier joints and tissue (fascia)
  • Increased brain function
  • Helps the body process and transfer nutrients
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Suppresses appetite (increases fat loss)

I challenge you right now to figure out how much water you’re consuming each day. Is it enough?

Don’t stress, brush it off: Here’s the thing with health and fitness: it’s a part of life. Which means there will be days that just aren’t totally on point. Whether it be a crappy or missed workout, too many cocktails, a day where you ate literally everything in sight. Shit happens and we can’t always feel guilty or stressed about our actions. Being able learn from this but then move on and improve is where the true magic happens.

 

3 Simple Steps for a Healthier You This Weekend

With spring quickly approaching I am starting to hear some of my least favorite terms pop up such as “bikini body” and “beach ready.” People are going to see us prancing around half naked soon so better start watching what we eat!

 Our health is not temporary, but sometimes our actions toward it are. 

 What sense does that make? Yet we are constantly focusing on quick fixes that will make us feel good for a tiny bit before heading back to our normal (and less healthy) way of life. Take these examples, for instance:

 – 21 day cleanses: Our nutrition + exercise are on point during this, we feel and look great. But come day 22 you could probably be found at the local pizzeria and maybe be seen with a pint of ice cream afterward. But hey, you cleansed for 21 days so now you can reward your body and binge..yay!

– You’re going on vacation soon: Clearly we need to clean up our eating and hit the gym a bunch so we look better while laying on the beach. I get it, we want to look and feel good especially while wearing less clothing and there’s nothing wrong with that. What I do have a problem with is what happens next:

 – You’re on vacation: Which means we get to start drinking at 10am, continue cocktailing for the entire day and eating whatever we want because “we’re on vacation and totally deserve a break.” A BREAK FROM WHAT? Being healthy? Giving a shit about what you put into your body? Shouldn’t this matter all of the time?

 – It’s the weekend: Yay! It’s time for takeout, Netflix, sleeping in a little, going out to dinner and ordering whatever you want because it’s Saturday and who cares. Followed by 5 too many drinks and a hangover on Sunday. But no worries..because “tomorrow is Monday and I’ll totally start to be good again.”

IMG_6072

Health and fitness do not have to be all or nothing.
There is an in between.
Find it, learn it, live it.

 I used to be that Monday clean slate girl. I’d make sure nothing naughty was left in the house Sunday evening and the following morning I’d have a green smoothie with protein for breakfast and all was right in the world again. It’s no way to live. Treating our bodies with respect all year round is the best way to stay consistent and achieve results. Once you’re able to find that balance you will enjoy either a salad with grilled chicken or a hamburger and fries for lunch, no matter what day of the week or time of the year it is. 

 How can we find that in between ground where we’re mindful of our health but are still able to enjoy food we love? Since it’s Friday, let’s start with 3 simple guidelines for the weekend:

 1. Have protein with every meal. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and maybe a snack- you better believe there needs to be protein on your plate. 

 Why? Protein helps us to feel full longer after a meal so you’re less hungry later. It requires more energy to digest so we burn more calories after eating it. It also helps to manage blood sugar and insulin, and triggers protein synthesis helping us to increase lean mass which burns more calories each day.

 Need I say more?

 2. Exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes, maximum of 60. Let’s do this twice this weekend (I’m including Friday into the weekend so you’ve got 2/3 days to get this in). The workout you choose to do is up to you, but here are the parameters:

 -Choose a form of exercise you enjoy doing.

 -The more intense the workout, the shorter the duration. Maybe you’re going to do as many rounds of squats, overhead press, bent-over rows and mountain climbers as possible within 20 minutes. Great, go for it (but remember quality form over quantity of reps). Or perhaps you’d prefer to go for a walk with your dogs or a friend for an hour. Cool. Get moving, get outside and enjoy.

 3. Set up a drink maximum. Yes, we’ve got parties to attend and dinner with friends. That doesn’t mean you have to have a bottle of wine to yourself. Before you head out decide how many drinks you’ll indulge in. (I usually recommend a 2 drink max per event for clients, *hint hint*).

 Summer is right around the corner but that doesn’t mean the healthiest you has to be too. Start this weekend. Because maybe if you do these 3 things over the next 3 days, you’ll realize they’re not so bad. You’ll incorporate them into Monday, Tuesday, and then why not for the duration of the week, month, and your life (Yes, my hopes are high but not unrealistic).

 I want you to see, know and understand you can still have a blast while sticking to a few healthy habits– leading to consistency and an all out better-than-you’ve-ever-been you.

 Now go get it.  <3

Simple Pulled Chicken Recipe + 3 Easy Meal Ideas

The necessities for my dinner recipes: they must be easy, quick to prepare and gluten free. Cooking is not something I enjoy spending time on so if I see a recipe I like I’m usually tweaking it to cut the preparation time down. I also almost always double a recipe so there are leftovers for the following day or two.

The other day I had an “oh shit” moment. It was 5:00pm and I forgot to think about dinner! Well, we ended up ordering sushi but it prompted me to think about the following day and I decided I’d make pulled chicken in the slow cooker. We’ve now had it for dinner and lunch twice, all in different variations. 

Easiest. Recipe. Ever. = A very happy Cait.

What You Need:

  • 2-3lbs of chicken breast, depending on how much you want to make. I buy organic and free range almost always
  • 2 cups of chicken broth. I use Pacific’s Organic Bone Broth for the extra protein and nutrients. *Note: Can also use water. The amount of liquid you use should vary based upon how much broth you want left once it’s finished cooking. I like it with a good amount of broth so it keeps moist when stored. If the broth evaporates a lot I’ll add more in while cooking.
  • 1 yellow or white onion, sliced into small pieces
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of parsley and oregano 
  • *Note: I used 2.5lbs of chicken which made enough for 2 people, 2 dinners and 2 lunches each

What To Do: 

  • Place chicken breast in the slow cooker
  • Pour broth over the chicken
  • Add in onion
  • Sprinkle with salt, pepper, parsley and oregano
  • Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours
  • *Add in additional broth if needed so chicken breasts are mostly covered
  • 30 minutes before finished, put the chicken on a cutting board and shred apart with 2 forks, then put back in slow cooker for the remaining time

Pulled chicken

Now that we’ve got this yummy chicken, what can we do with it? I have no problem throwing it on a plate with some veggies and maybe some chips or fries for a little crunch, but that can get a little boring. Here’s what we had this week:

  • Chicken Tacos: Sautéed peppers and onions, shredded cheese (I used goats gouda..YUM), pulled chicken, finely chopped cilantro and avocado thrown on a tortilla (I like Udi’s gluten free, I also really like corn tortillas but am staying away from corn for the time being).
  • Chicken + Quinoa Bowl: Quinoa, pulled chicken, black beans and diced avocado mixed together in a dish. Add melted cheese on top and some extra broth to make this more of a soup consistency.
  • Chicken Salad: Put the pulled chicken over greens such as spinach, lettuce or baby kale. Add in chopped celery, walnuts and sliced grapes with an extra sprinkle of pepper on top.

Enjoy these and if you come up with a recipe of your own using the pulled chicken, tell me about it in the comments section or tag me with a pic on Instagram @CoachCait  🙂 

Super Simple Beef Bone Broth Recipe

“Have you tried making your own bone broth?” My Naturopath asked. Oh crap. No I hadn’t, but it has been on my to-do list for over a year now, if that counts. Yes, I’ve heard of the countless benefits:

  • Easily digestible and can help heal the lining of the gut due to the gelatin
  • Has a ton of minerals and nutrients that we just don’t get from the store bought version
  • Reduces joint pain and inflammation due to the glucosamine and other compounds from the cartilage
  • The collagen and gelatin keeps our hair and nails strong and beautiful
  • Homemade bone broth is healthier and cheaper than store bought
  • Easy to make

Ok, that last one is what got me. It’s easy to make? For some reason I’ve always envisioned it being a royal pain in the ass and taking up way too much time. However, after doing some research and reading “The Bone Broth Miracle” by Ariane Resnick, I realized there’s no down side to trying this out.

My gut sucks, to put it lightly. Having celiac disease which was undiagnosed for quite some time means I haven’t been absorbing nutrients properly for who knows how long which has lead to a lot of unpleasant symptoms. Apparently bone broth can start to heal not only my gut but add nutrients I’ve been missing back into my diet in a healthy and simple manner. Let’s give it a whirl..

(I started off with beef bone broth because I made short ribs in the slow cooker and had those bones readily available.)

What you need:

  • Bones. Grass-fed and organic, please. I wasn’t sure which to buy so I asked my local butcher and he gave me a lovely assortment of knuckle and neck bones which I added to my pound of short rib bones. (I just threw those in there because I had them). The butcher sawed them in half so they’d fit in the slow cooker easily. I had about 5.5lbs of bones in total. IMG_5240
  • 5 quarts of filtered water. If you are making a different amount, use the ratio 1 pound of bones to 1 quart of water. *Note: Every once in a while I’d add more water into the slow cooker once it evaporated, so that the bones were always covered.
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic *optional

What to do:

  • Roast the bones in the oven at 400 degrees for roughly 30-45 minutes (until they are browned) IMG_5245
  • Place them in slow cooker and add water, apple cider vinegar, water and bay leaves
  • Cook for 36-48 hours on low, adding water when needed so bones are covered and skimming the fat and film from the top as it cooks
  • *Optional: Add garlic during last hour of cook time
  • When finished cooking, let cool a bit and strain out the bones
  • Pour into glass tupperware
  • Once it cools a layer of fat will develop on top, this is good! Use this fat for cooking. IMG_5262

Storage: When pouring into glass jars leave an inch or so from the top. Always keep the layer of fat on top if you’re going to refrigerate for longer than 5 days as this helps keep from spoiling. Now I just finished making my first batch so I haven’t stored it yet, but I’ve read that with a layer of fat on top it can be in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. If you want to keep for longer then put it in the freezer for up to 6 months.

After having mine in the fridge over night, I was super excited when I cut through the layer of fat and saw the this jelly-like substance in the dish– that means it was done properly! IMG_5263

There are many uses for bone broth. I’m going to start out simple by drinking a cup each day, maybe adding rice and veggies to a bowl and putting some into recipes for some extra flavor. I’m quite pleased with the finished product and how easy it was to make.IMG_5265

Try this and let me know how yours turned out and what recipes you’re using it in!

10 Lessons to Live by in 2016

The end of a year is a time for reflection, a time to remember both high and low points — and to learn from both those moments. These are lessons I’ve learned in 2015 that I’m going to carry with me to make the most of 2016 and beyond.

People will doubt you. Brush off their negativity.

We all want to be accepted, whether it be by our parents, friends, or even a random follower on Instagram, it feels good to know that people approve of us and what we’re doing. However, not everyone is going to agree with all our decisions and actions, and that’s totally fine. When I left an amazing job a year and a half ago to start an online business, doubters were coming at me left and right. Man, it was easy to let people get inside of my head. Their concerns were certainly valid and I shared many of them: “How does a personal trainer take her business online?”, “How will you pay the bills?”, “Do you even know how to design a website?” And then there’s my favorite: “But you’re doing so well where you are, why on earth would you leave for something unknown?” These were all sensible points, and there were times (and sometimes still are) when I would have freak-out moments in response to them. But it turns out that the less I let these thoughts take over my mind, the less they mattered. After all, not everyone is going to approve of things we do and it can be really exciting and invigorating to be the one swimming against the current. It’s important to ask for advice and listen wholeheartedly, but at the end of the day you’ve gotta do you. Don’t let someone else’s fear get in the way of your dreams. A lot of us stand still in a world that’s constantly spinning. Don’t let that stagnant person be you.

(Read more on this topic here)

Learn to say No.

I know, you’ve got things to do. Your mother-in-law wants to have lunch; you need to help your brother’s girlfriend move into her new apartment; your neighbor just had a baby so you’ve got to cook her enough meals to last for two weeks. Yes, doing all of these can make you a good person when it comes to helping others. But what’s the point of being a good person if you can’t be good to yourself? We all have a lot on our plate, which makes it so easy to think we don’t have time for the gym, or to make a healthy lunch to bring into work the next day. Each of us needs to find what is important to us and to make time for it. The more you say “No” to things that don’t matter so much, the easier it is to say “Yes” to the things that do.

Trust yourself.

You will never get anywhere if you don’t believe you can. Lack of trust in one’s self is one of the biggest limitations when it comes to being successful. If you go out on the edge and give something all you’ve got, you’ll make it a lot further than if you don’t try at all. The beauty in self-trust is that we may not accomplish everything, but we can always learn and improve along the way, getting stronger as we go.

You “can’t”? Or you “won’t”?

Get the word “can’t” out of your vocabulary. If we think we can’t do something, it usually means we won’t. Let’s try it like this: “I can’t go to the gym today; I don’t have time” would translate into “I won’t go to the gym today”. Then we admit that we have made an active choice not to go. In fact, I could probably wake up 45 minutes earlier than usual and make time for the gym, but it is my decision not to, and therefore, I won’t go to the gym. Try this one on for size:
“I can’t eat healthy foods today because I’ll be at a party with lots of junk food.”  In a world without the word “can’t,” this would become: “I won’t eat healthy foods today because I’ll be at a party with lots of junk food”. You could eat something before you go to eliminate the amount of crap you have at the party, but it is your decision not to. Usually we “can,” but we “won’t.” There is a difference; own it

Life is messy. Let it be.

Anyone who has all of their shit figured out doesn’t have enough shit going on. I used to think that my house had to be spotless before I could sit down on the couch to watch a tv show. Then I got two dogs and a job and realized life went on even if there were some fingerprints on the coffee table. Things can and will get a little messy and crazy at times. Learn to deal with this part of life when you can and embrace the messiness when you can’t.

Twenty minutes is all you need.

I’m a personal trainer who doesn’t like spending a lot of time for my own workouts in the gym. So I plan workouts that last for about 20 minutes. This makes my workout very realistic and easy to fit into my schedule. Every single one of us can find 20 minutes for exercise in our day. If the workout is intense enough, 20 minutes is all you really need.

You’re not perfect and that’s ok.

We all have our own version of what being perfect is. But no matter which definition you apply, I can tell you that no one is constantly perfect. You may admire someone who seems to have it all together in every aspect of life, but that person has probably dealt with imperfections and foibles of his or her own. Social media is one reason many of us feel “less than” in this day and age. Sure, it is a great way to let others into our lives, but think about it — we mostly only show the perfect stuff: The selfie when I just got my hair blown out, my living room after I’ve finished cleaning it. How about that photo with the perfect family in which everyone is wearing the cutest outfits and biggest smiles? Well, perhaps their youngest had a temper tantrum three minutes before the photo was snapped. We aim to get to this perfect point in our lives and in doing so forget that where we currently are is real and fabulous. Leave perfect behind; you’re good enough right now.

Being comfortably uncomfortable is where the magic happens.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone is unbelievably invigorating. This took me a while to get used to. We like to feel safe, to follow a routine, to be surrounded by familiar faces. Doing something unknown is scary. Not too long ago I signed up for a seminar where I was going to travel alone and spend a weekend with a bunch of people I did not know. I was terrified; I even cried a bit and thought about cancelling. But I put on my big girl panties, flew into the unknown, and had the best time. I believe that self growth, independence, and success all happen tenfold outside of our comfort zones. We are certainly our own worst enemies when it comes to setting ourselves free.

Be kindmost of the time.

Of course we should treat others as we’d like to be treated; it’s a lovely concept. However, I don’t think it’s realistic 100% of the time. There will be things other people say and do that piss us off. How we respond and deal with these unpleasant moments is what makes us who we are. I think very highly of those who say “Always be kind.” But for me, I know life contains arguments and comments tossed around that aren’t nice. So I will focus on three things: being mindful of kindness; thinking before I speak; and apologizing for the moments when I’m human and say something hurtful. It’s a start in the right direction.

Forget goals. Find your tune and sing it!

Some people love setting goals; others think they’re bullshit. In order to do your best you’ve got to find what works for you. Maybe instead of saying you’re going to cut out processed foods for 2016, you decide that you’re going to eat foods that nourish you the majority of the time. A new year means we get to start off on a fresh, clean slate. I want you to find one thing that’s going to make you better over the next 365 days. This is your tune. Compose your personal aria on that blank slate, belt it out from the mountain tops. The possibilities are endless. Your possibility is endless. Never forget that.

Happy New Year.

 

 

The Perfect Pot Roast

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It’s no secret that I don’t love to cook. That being said, during the week I do make lunch and dinner (most days) because I like knowing what’s in my food and how it’s prepared. Also, when you’re saving for a wedding/house/life going out to dinner every night isn’t practical (although having nothing to cook and clean up sounds amazing). 

A lot of times I rotate through meals such as a big salad with grilled chicken, steak with veggies and quinoa, chicken and broccoli in gluten free pitas etc. The same meals over and over again get boring, which is why I pulled out my slow cooker from the closet and ran to Whole Foods to get some new ingredients. 

Over Thanksgiving I had bought a few boxes of gluten free stuffing so I knew I wanted to make something to go along with this, but instead of getting a big turkey breast I decided on a pot roast. It sounded yummy at the time and if it didn’t turn out delish, we usually have our favorite sushi place ready to dial 🙂

Luckily, there was no need for my salmon avocado rolls because this dish I made was really friggin good. Along with the gluten free stuffing (and gluten free gravy of course) we had broccoli too.

What you need:

3lbs grass-fed beef chuck roast
1 tbsp oil for sautéing (I usually use coconut or olive oil, or ghee)
1 cup red wine (make it a good one)
4 bay leaves
1 tbsp thyme
5 garlic cloves
1 small onion cut into chunks
4 stalks of celery cut into chunks
Salt and pepper for seasoning 

What to do:

  1. Turn slow cooker onto low setting.
  2. Season the meat with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Add beef to pan and sear it until it’s brown on all sides. Place beef in slow cooker.
  4. Pour red wine into the very hot pan. There should be some bits stuck to the pan from the beef, mix this into the wine with a wooden spoon and let it come to a super quick boil. Then pour the wine mixture over the beef.
  5. Add the bay leaves, thyme and garlic to the slow cooker, make sure it’s surrounding the meat and in the liquid.
  6. Add the celery and onions and season with a little salt and pepper. Again, make sure the veggies are pushed to the side and in the liquid rather than sitting on top of the meat, this will create an awesome flavor!
  7. IMG_4954Place the lid on and allow to cook on low for 7-8 hours. If you don’t have that much time try cooking on high for 4-5 hours. I haven’t tried that yet but think it’d come out ok 🙂
  8. Once the time is up the meat should be really tender. Serve it with whichever sides you desire. (If you aren’t on a stuffing kick like I am, some rice, quinoa or sweet potatoes would be good) and of course lots of veggies!

This makes roughly 5-6 servings. Mike and I each had 2 dinners and a light lunch. My favorite part of this recipe is you can get it in the slow cooker at 10-11am and not have to worry about dinner for the rest of the day (minus the sides).

Eat up and enjoy!

 

 

The Healthy Pizza Alternative ( + It’s Gluten Free!)

I’m a BIG fan of quick and easy dinner recipes, and also making extra so there’s leftovers for lunch the following day. This flatbread pizza is amazing, if I do say so myself.

What you need:

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-1lb. chicken breast
-2 cups steamed broccoli
-3/4 cup shredded cheese (I use monterey jack or mozzarella)
-Flatbread or pita bread (I’m obsessed with MyBread Gluten Free..it’s so good.)
*This will make roughly 3 pizzas. Double the ingredients to have more for lunch the following day!

What to do:

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1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Cook whole chicken breasts on stovetop in a bit of olive oil on medium-high heat. Once almost cooked through, take out of pan and slice into small pieces.
3. Place chicken back into pan and sprinkle with garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano and continue cooking on medium heat.
4. Put flatbread onto baking sheet lined with foil and sprinkle cheese on top.
5. Cover flatbread with chicken and broccoli, add more cheese if desired.
6. Bake in oven just long enough to melt the cheese. 
6. Slice into quarters to easily eat and enjoy!
*TIP: Make an extra veggie to have on the side to get some extra nutrients in. 

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If you try this or make with your own toppings, take a pic and tag me on Instagram (@coachcait) or post to my Facebook page so I can see your awesome creations! 

 

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