3 Tips to Avoid Overtraining

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine last week who also happens to be a phenomenal athlete about overtraining and how to avoid it. He mentioned to me that a while back he started acting strange, he was angry during his workouts and just not himself by the end of the day. He thought there was something wrong and went to see someone about it. They pricked his finger and took a small blood sample. Then they left him to watch some cartoons. When they came back they checked his blood again and things had already changed, simply because he’d laughed a few times at the cartoon playing on the TV. It might sound a little crazy, but it goes to show how important a little laughter in our life really is. This lead me to think more about my own training, and my past training as well. Have you ever started a fitness program and given up on it? I surely have. Many times. Until I found CrossFit. But why did CrossFit work for me?

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I think I can attribute it to two things:

  • Motivation
  • Enjoyment

With anything in life, I think these two things need to be present. We need to be motivated by something, and we need to find enjoyment in what we’re doing. In the early stages of my CrossFit career almost every day was fun. I enjoyed every opportunity I got to train and I was motivated to be better each time I set foot in the gym. There was always something new to learn and something to improve on. As my CrossFit career progressed and I began to compete I was motivated by upcoming competitions and the opportunity to be amongst such phenomenal athletes. But now I’ve been at it for 7 years. And sometimes I’m not happy. Sometimes I get frustrated with my workouts. I get discouraged. I get in my head. I get mad. And motivation can only take you so far without enjoyment. So what do you do? How do you reignite that enjoyment? Here are my three suggestions, and here’s what’s worked for me:

  • Get outside and play
  • Laugh
  • Relax a little

It may sound simple, but it’s so important. Honestly, if you follow a program or fitness routine, switch it up once a week (at least). I love being outside. I might go for a hike or ride a bike. I also love the water so I may go for a swim or do some standup paddle boarding. And I’ll probably take some friends along and try some silly things and fall in the water and laugh at how uncoordinated we are. I’ll probably get a workout without even realizing it, but even if I don’t that’s alright too. The opportunity to be outside with my friends brings me so much enjoyment.

So even though I take my training very seriously and I spend hours in the gym, I make a point to enjoy life, to laugh, and to relax. Make fitness fun, or make sure you’re having fun outside of your fitness routine. What are some of my favorite things to do? Here’s a little list:

  • Activities
    • Hiking, biking, paddle boarding, kayaking, water skiing, swimming, zip lining, rock climbing, camping, cooking, golfing, playing with my dogs, going to the beach
  • Laughter
    • Comedy shows, drinks and live music with friends, dodge ball tournaments, trampoline parks, amusement parks, movies, sporting events, barbecues
  • Relaxation
    • Massages, hot tubing, sun bathing, meditation, coffee dates with friends, yoga, reading

So what is the moral of this story? Enjoy life. In anything we do, if we overdue it we’re likely to burn out, or at least resent whatever it is we’re doing. If we can find a way to enjoy ourselves, we’re more likely to succeed. Whether you’re a high level athlete with a strict program or someone who just wants to find a routine you can stick with and get fit, it’s so important to schedule time for yourself. Whether it’s solo time, or time with a friend, make sure you’re doing something that makes you smile and keeps you from burning out and overtraining. Listen to your body and pay close attention to your emotions. If something’s out of balance it can take a toll on your fitness and your life. More training doesn’t always equal more results. Balance is so important. 

Peach Berry Iced Tea with Probiotics

Probiotics are important. I know that. But why are they important? And why have I not been so focused on including them in my diet? There are always things we can do to improve our diet, and I'm so glad I was able to spend some time with the guys from PurePharma at the CrossFit Games last month because they reminded me of their importance. It's always great to hang out with likeminded individuals who also happen to be very smart. They're passionate about diet and nutrition and extremely intelligent when it comes to developing high quality products that supplement our diets in the best way possible.

So what did I learn? A lot. Probiotics are the good bacteria in our gut that keep us healthy, and by maintaining the balance of our gut flora we support our immune system and help to keep our digestive track healthy. But it doesn't end there. Probiotics have many benefits. I could go on but PurePharma has a great article here with All You Need To Know About Probiotics.

I was recently craving some iced tea. It's been hot this summer and we had a bunch of peaches and blackberries in the garden so I whipped this up and it was so delicious and refreshing. It was also super easy to make, and I'm all about things that are quick and easy to prepare.

Peach Berry Iced Tea with Probiotics

Prep 15min, plus 1 hour to cool

Makes 8 cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 cups water
  • 4 black tea bags
  • 4 flavored tea bags (I used a peach tea)
  • 1 peach, sliced
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 packets of PurePharma SB3 (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Bring the water to boil.
  2. In a heatproof pitcher add the tea bags and pour in the water. Let steep for 10 minutes, then remove the tea bags.
  3. Add the sliced peach, blackberries, honey and lemon juice.
  4. Refrigerate until cool.
  5. Before serving add the SB3 if using and pour over ice.

 

3 TIPS FOR LIVING A HEALTHY LIFE AND HOW TO GET STARTED

I get a lot of questions about diet. What should I eat? How much should I be eating? Timing, portions, macros, the list goes on. And there's so much information out there. There's some really great resources, but it can also all be very confusing, especially if establishing a healthy lifestyle is something new to you. I take for granted everything I've learned over the years and I forget that it hasn't always been easy. The fact of the matter is, if you truly want to live a healthy lifestyle, you can, and you will. But if it's not important to you, you'll continue to find excuses. For me, being healthy and fit is a part of my life. I compete in CrossFit, GRID, Weightlifting, etc. So I put a huge emphasis on eating foods that fuel my performance. But I also love being able to go hiking with friends on a whim, hop in a boat and go waterskiing, visit with my parents and go pick a bunch of fresh food out of their garden, all things I can do because I put a high priority on my health. So if you're trying to find a way to get started on living a healthier life, or you're struggling and just need a little help, I've put together a list of some of the things that have helped me, and hopefully they can help you too.

Don't "go on a diet"

At least for me, this strategy has never worked. If I said I was "going on a diet" I was automatically setting myself up for failure. I'd put too many restrictions on myself and after a couple of weeks (or maybe even a couple of days) I'd find myself binging on something I shouldn't have and telling myself "oh well, I'll start again on Monday". Eating a healthy diet shouldn't feel restrictive. Think of your diet as a lifestyle, something you can maintain forever. And if you do eat something that's on the less healthy end of the spectrum, own it and move on. We're all human, we all give in to temptation, but we shouldn't throw away everything just because we made one less than perfect choice.

Be realistic with your goals

If you have hefty goals (and there's nothing wrong with that) you may need to be a little bit more strict with yourself. Although I said we need to be flexible with our methods and make this a lifestyle, we also need to be honest with ourselves and what it is we're trying to achieve. If you want to be healthy so you can go be active with your friends or play with your kids and run around, then making a little mistake here and there isn't the end of the world. But if you're suffering from a seriously health problem or you'd like to lose a large about of weight, or you have a big competition coming up, then those little mistakes can add up and cost you. As an elite athlete every choice I make affects my performance. I want to be the best I can be, and if that means passing on the bowl of ice cream I so desperately want that all of my friends are enjoying in front of me, then that's the decision I have to make.

Make sure the people around you support you

This leads into my next bullet point. Make sure those around you support your lifestyle. It's not easy changing the way you eat and live if your friends and family don't support you. It would be great if they all decided to take this journey with you (and if that's something you think they'd be willing to do then I highly encourage you to bring them along!) but if not, at least let them know what changes your making and that their support is important to you. My family has been incredibly supportive in my decision to eat a whole foods, paleo diet, and I'm lucky that the majority of the time they cook and eat this way with me. I mean it's delicious, so why wouldn't they? But I know it's not always that easy. I struggled for a long time with my best friends from college wanting to go out drinking every weekend. That's what we'd always done. That's how we had fun. But as I became more involved in CrossFit, I didn't want to spend my weekends drinking. I wanted to train, I wanted to be outside. Fun for me was going on a hike, or to the lake. It's taken time, but they get it now. And to be honest, they've started to enjoy being active and eating healthy with me.


I was just going through some old photos and came across this picture from my first CrossFit competition in 2011. I had to put it side by side with a photo from this year. Crazy. CrossFit won me over that's for sure!

Get started

Today! Right now. I know it isn't Monday, and that's okay. Here's what I suggest:

  • Meal prep. Plan your meals, make them on Sunday night, or whenever is convenient for your schedule, and take them with you. Especially lunches. You can usually get up and make breakfast, and you can most likely come home and make dinner, but sometimes lunch can be a scramble. If you're always prepared with a healthy meal, you're less likely to grab something you shouldn't. 
  • Eat a balanced meal. I try to get a good balance of protein, carbs and fat at each meal. Balance is key to getting the proper nutrients throughout the day and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As far as portions go, I don't want to get too in depth here (that could be a whole other article in itself) but if you have questions feel free to ask me, especially if you have a certain goal in mind. Personally I use the zone diet as a rough guideline which is 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat, and depending on my goals I may up my fat and lower my carb intake.
  • Try new recipes. Variety is key to maintaining a healthy life. And there are SO many resources out there that you should never get bored with your food. Check out some of my recipes here and a list of bloggers I love here.
  • Snack smart. This goes back to the balanced meal stuff. You can have snacks, especially if you need something pre or post workout, but make sure you're getting the nutrients you need. It's easy to grab a bag of nuts, but that's not the healthiest choice. Make sure your snack has protein in it too. 
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help. With all of that being said, sometimes we still struggle, and we need help. If you think you're doing everything right but still don't feel like you're reaching your goals, ask someone for advice. When I first started down this journey my only saving grace was my coach who made me write down everything I ate. I had to bring it in every week for him to look at. Sometimes I just wasn't being honest with myself, and sometimes I just didn't realize that I was making poor choices. It wasn't meant to punish me, it was just to help me learn how to make smarter choices until I was able to do it all on my own.

Follow my blog and instagram for recipes and delicious meal ideas to keep you on track!

And feel free to leave any comments or questions. I'll do my best to answer them!

PRODUCT REVIEW: PureWOD Pre

Although I rarely talk about supplements I get a lot of questions about them and I think they're certainly worth discussing. As an athlete I spend a lot of time training and I spend an equal amount of time focusing on my diet. Nutrition plays a huge part in performance and recovery, and I want to be sure that what I'm putting in my body is helping me achieve the outcomes I'm looking for. For me that diet is the paleo diet and I have seen the most gains from eating real food. But I also believe that we can benefit from some supplements, especially elite athletes. For me those supplements include:

  • Caffeine; coffee or a pre workout like PureWOD which is caffeinated with green tea extract.
  • A protein shake (typically post workout) for when I just can't stomach food.
  • And a protein bar for when I need a quick snack on the go, like Beaver Bites

My problem with most supplements in the past has been all of the crappy fillers and awful sweeteners companies use that make me sick to my stomach. I also truly believe in the benefits of taking creatine and beta-alanine and branched chain amino acids (BCAA's), but I can't be bothered to take multiple supplements. It's just too much to think about, especially for someone who just wants to eat good food and workout. So when I came across PureWOD, a pre workout with all of these things and more (check out the full list of all natural and organic ingredients here) I was pretty stoked. 

So if you're like me and you've been looking for an all natural pre workout that doesn't make you feel like crap, then I'd highly recommend this one. The only thing that may take a little getting used to is the taste. It's a little different than most pre workouts on the market because it doesn't have a bunch of junk in it to make it really sweet and artificially flavored, but I guarantee you'll get used to the flavor after a few days. You'll even start to appreciate the natural taste. At least I did! And now I'm hooked. 

Also, the people behind this company are really cool and guarantee their product, so it's definitely worth trying out. 

Use BEAVER10 for 10% off at www.purewod.com.

CHOCOLATE CREAM PIE

I've been meaning to share this recipe with you for a few weeks now but life got in the way. I guess that happens sometimes. I lost my grandpa in an awful act of violence and it's been difficult to deal with. Luckily I have the most supportive family and friends and we've all come together to help one another. I actually made this pie for my grandpa with the abundance of avocados his tree was producing. I had one bite (to make sure it tasted good of course!) then I took the rest to grandma and grandpa so they could enjoy it and share it with their visitors. I think he liked it. Although my grandpa was the type to say everything you made for him was "his favorite" even if it was his least favorite. I wish you could have met him. Gosh he was just the most generous and loving person. He'd do anything for anyone. Hard working and humble. I plan to carry on his legacy and strive to be more like him each and every day. 

So back to this pie with the abundance of avocados. That's right, my grandpas tree literally produces hundreds. More than we could eat. That's why I had to get creative! I'd heard rumors of "avocado pudding" and although when I mentioned it people thought I was crazy, I thought it sounded like a delicious idea. And since they were my grandpas avocados and I knew how much he liked his pie, I came up with this yummy chocolate cream pie.

Chocolate Cream Pie

Prep 25 min

Cooking 15 min

Servings 1 pie

INGREDIENTS

For the crust:

For the chocolate pudding filling:

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For the coconut whipped cream topping:

  • 1 15 ounce can of full fat coconut milk (chilled in the refrigerator overnight)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Follow the instructions for making and baking the pie crust HERE
  2. In a food processor add all of the ingredients for the chocolate pudding filling and blend for a minute or two until everything is combined and smooth
  3. Prepare the coconut whipped cream topping next. The Kitchn has a great tutorial on how to make whipped cream from a can of coconut milk HERE
  4. Scoop the chocolate pudding filling into your pie crust and top with the coconut whipped cream topping. I added some dark chocolate shavings to the top of my pie.
  5. Keep covered in the refrigerator and consume within 2 days.