For the last few months I’ve been suffering from a lack of interest in the things I usually love. Could be I need a real break / vacation. Maybe a change of habits / change from the typical routine schedule. Whatever the case and until I figure it out, I do know that when I find myself in this phase that if I move or challenge my body the mindset shifts and I start feeling better. So I’m back to working out hard and meal prepping. Honestly, meal prep simplifies life. People typically think it’s time consuming and complicated, but it’s actually the opposite!
And you save a lot of money in the process.
A LITTLE HISTORY
I’ve shared a lot about health and fitness on the blog all these years. If you’re new, this info may be helpful in catching you up to speed. But for my long-time friends, you know my gym passion runs deep. It doesn’t only make me feel energized and strong, it brings with it a huge positive mental health component. Helps reduce stress…and also helps me sort out work challenges.
Working out has been my hobby / outlet for years and years. In 2015 I took a deep dive into gym life and never looked back. I found my place! It was around the time my youngest was in full-ish time school and the business wasn’t as busy as it is today. I had a pretty good routine going where I’d drop the kids at school then head directly to the gym about three days a week. After the gym I’d blog or work hands-on with clients until afternoon carpool. I’d also hit the gym once per weekend.
In 2017 that gym time turned into a serious passion. I had a goal of training as if I was going to complete in a bikini competition, but not actually hit the stage. Just wanted to see what my body was capable of.
I hired a trainer, worked out hard, meal prepped and stayed the course for 5-6 weeks until I suffered an injury…
A stress fracture!
Although it seems like an insignificant injury, it completely impacted my life. And mindset. And the workouts had to be adjusted or not completed at all in some cases. Because I was invested in the goal and loved the gym time, it took its toll on my mindset. I was depressed. I had just started seeing big changes in my body, was feeling great…and now not only was I in pain, but also being told NO gym time at all.
After wearing a boot for a few days and it causing nothing but additional pain, I opted for a very tight fitting ankle brace which worked wonders and allowed me to walk with virtually no pain…
After several weeks I was able to return to the gym for modified workouts. Still to this day we have no idea what caused the injury and sometimes if I’m walking the treadmill on a steep incline or doing a little jog, I can feel the ankle firing back up again.
We NEED our ankles. I’m careful now.
I took the recovery seriously but was really bummed to pull back as much as was required. It affected the outcome of my goal to train that hard. My trainer moved out of state when I was ready to hit it again, so I instead began writing my own workouts, self-teaching myself all sorts of competition workouts, did a lot of reading and trained alone. I got myself into pretty great shape. I’d say I was lean and you could tell I worked out, but I still craved more definition.
Proud of what I was able to do on my own, but I was nowhere close to what I experienced with a trainer. He was moving my body differently. Wasn’t so much about him holding me accountable…I am a very dedicated, focused fitness girl. It was different workouts and definitely more reps / heavy weight. I never gave up on the goal to try it again.
Fast forward to today – with our gyms now re-opened after 1 full year of lockdown during the pandemic – I’m at the gym 5-6 days a week. And given the new lack of motivation and loss of interest I’m experiencing, I hired a new trainer and am back to meal prepping.
Which is why you’re here!
Sorry for the long lead in, but it’s been so long since I blogged about anything fitness related. Good to bring you up to speed and share a bit more for the new readers.
MEAL PREPPING v.2021
Back when I shared meal prepping in 2017, I was working with a 1960’s size fridge and freezer…
Didn’t bother or keep me from my goal! Actually, smaller worked better anyway because I would prep about 3 days worth of meals…leaving room for the kids food, snacks and other items.
In our new home we have a beautiful built-in fridge / freezer but both are counter depth. It may seem as if there’s a lot of storage space, but it’s shallow and difficult to keep organized…
And the kids have grown / are bigger eaters who need more food around. Instead of taking over this fridge with prepped meal containers, I’m working with the garage fridge. The same garage fridge from my previous home.
This fridge is used as an overflow for food and drinks. So it’s the perfect space for me to keep meals while not impacting those living with me.
First up was cleaning the fridge…
Once clean, time to prep a few days of meals.
Some people need a lot of food variety, but I’m content with eating the same foods all the time. I definitely mix it up on occasion, but at the core I need only a foundation to work from. On the topic of eating in general, I really don’t eat unless I’m hungry. Or if I feel hunger will be coming soon. I don’t randomly eat snacks…just hasn’t ever been my deal. I’m also not a sweet person – I love salt or crunch. And cereal or granola is my downfall!
Anyway, for meals this week I made a batch of ground turkey with onions, garlic and a few seasonings. I then portioned into containers. Typically about 4-5 ounces of protein…
I’ve owned this food scale since 2017 and it’s just what you need. Nothing too fancy! It’s less than $9 and does the trick.
Keeping the protein basic while prepping provides the option of adding other ingredients as I’m actually eating it. For example, I could add a little taco seasoning to the turkey and add to a big salad to make a taco salad. Maybe add a little salsa. The meat alone tastes great, but if I get bored there’s options from there. Your bigger battle is just getting the bulk of your real cooking out of the way. The fresh items can remain fresh until you’re ready to eat.
BUT I say that for the most part – if you have veggies that hold up well after cooking (not all the way through) that’s great to get out of the way…otherwise, I like to keep them fresh so they taste better and keep their integrity.
You may wonder why the open spaces in some of the containers…
I like to warm up some of these meals and add them on top of a huge bowl of fresh spinach or mixed salad. So I leave space to add the fresh items I may bring with me to a project so I have a healthy snack or lunch ready to go. Sometimes I’ll add cottage cheese or a hard boiled egg. Just depends on the mood that day.
For meal prepping this time around, I researched food containers and found great options on Amazon. Too many in fact. I was agonizing over the decision so I finally pulled the trigger on one brand – Prep Naturals. (NOT sponsored!)
These are glass, which I prefer and are better for the environment. AND they keep your fruits and veggies fresher / crisper. I chose a divided option as well. You can find both linked here…
I’m still using my Rubbermaid Brilliance containers for larger volume items.
THIS WEEKS MEALS
For meals this week, my protein is ground turkey or grilled chicken. I added about 1/3 cup of a brown rice / quinoa mix with chopped kale and sweet potatoes. I also cooked a few sweet potatoes to add to on the side.
In the garage fridge I have hard boiled eggs, baby carrots, liquid egg whites, chopped raw asparagus (ready for adding to the containers to microwave) and a few containers with extra protein.
In the kitchen fridge I have chopped broccoli, zucchini, baby spinach, mixed greens, celery, apples, yogurt, cottage cheese, hummus and other items everyone else enjoys eating. These are foods I can easily replenish during the week while out and about. The main issue for me is having a spot for the prepared protein. I find if it’s in the kitchen fridge other people eat it (accidentally) or I grab unhealthy items when I’m starving.
Protein powder is another staple as smoothies are a great way to get additional protein, veggies and fruits.
For pantry foods, steel cut oats and almonds or cashews are great to have on hand. Canned tuna or chicken as well.
The most important thing to keep you on track with health and fitness goals is getting your food organized! Trust me when I say, you can crush it at the gym but if you’re eating is garbage, you will NOT see the results you want. Eating is most of your battle. If you just cleaned up your eating alone you’d see a huge change in your body.
MY CURRENT WORKOUTS
Over the next few weeks I’ll talk more about supplements and my workouts. BUT I’ll tell you LESS IS MORE. I’ve known this from doing my research, but he said it again yesterday. After our 85 minute front driveway morning workout, I figured later that afternoon I would do 45 minutes of cardio at the gym. He said only 15-20 minutes. And repeated what I had rolling around in my head – less is more.
We had one workout yesterday, one tomorrow. I’ll check in with you about how the workouts are going and what we’re doing. He took a few videos yesterday – if I can ever figure out HOW to add video directly embedded here (as opposed to hosting on youtube) I’ll do that as well. But my goal is the same as it was before – bikini fitness physique. He’s going to workout with me in person 1-2 days a week and give me a program to work on the other days.
Look forward to sharing more! Let me know if you have questions or if you’re training as well…or feeling that lack of drive and motivation. We’re in this together!
Back soon guys!
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