Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Salad Starter

I'll use 5 matching sized Rubbermaid containers to make lunch sized salads for the week.  Note: this is an important piece, especially if your storage container cabinet looks anything like mine - mismatched sizes, non-matching lids, and a *very* likely chance that 30 of them will spill onto the floor anytime you open the door.

So I've made my "starter" containers a priority by purchasing ones that are the perfect size, and I use them only for salads.

On Sundays I'll take 15 minutes and prep 5 salad starters. 

STEP 1. A starter consists of a base of spinach or spring mix (but really any dark greens you like will work), chopped veggies that will keep such as carrots, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, snap peas, etc.  Add the greens and preferred veggies to individual containers.  Put the lids on and stack in the refrigerator ready to go.  

Note: Avoid cucumbers which could get slimy, and tomatoes which shouldn't be refrigerated.  If you want to add tomatoes to your salad consider buying grape tomatoes which you can just grab and throw on top and do it in STEP 2.

STEP 2: Mix and Match Salads ready in less than 2 minutes.  Do this step in the morning each day.

Take 1 Salad Starter and add the following:
·  Lean protein: Pick 1.  1/2 cup beans (any kind), 4 oz Grilled Chicken or any Grilled Fish, Canned Tuna, Canned Salmon, 1 Veggie Burger (cooked and chopped)
·  Interesting toppings of your choice: Pick no more than 2. - 1 oz cheese such as Crumbled Feta or Blue cheese, 1/2 oz raw nuts, 2 Tbsp dried fruit, 1/2 piece of fresh fruit (sliced or chopped), 1/4 sliced avocado.
·  2 Tbsp Salad Dressing of your choice.

Put the lid on the container and you're out the door.  Or if you don't want to add the salad dressing to the salad until you're ready to eat, pick up small Rubbermaid containers that you can use to hold the perfect portion of dressing.  

Why this works:

1.  The base of the salad and the time consuming chopping is already done.

2.  The starter allows for creativity and variation depending on your mood.  Want Feta cheese and sliced almonds one day but Blue Cheese and sliced pear the next?  Mix it up!  Now no more complaints of eating the same thing day in and out.

3.  And the starter will come in handy at other times as well.  If you happen to have lunch plans on a particular day, use the starter as a side salad for dinner.  It leaves NO EXCUSES!  

Brian Calkins
NSCA-CPT, ACE

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cause and Effect

Recently I was doing a lot of thinking ... about my life.  The good, and the bad stuff in my 40-some odd years.

And when I look at all of the problems I've experience throughout life, the root of those problems has almost always been the need for instant gratification.

I was expecting to see instantaneous results, and it didn't happen, so I'd get discouraged and give up on something.

From age 5 through my 20's I attempted to master the piano on 7 or 8 separate occasions.  I'd love to be able to play, but I'm horrible (aside from an elementary version of "When the Saints Come Marching In" and a couple of pop songs that I figured out).

And after 6 months of running, I expected I would finish a half marathon in 2 hours or less.  Ha ha!

I also expected I would lose 10 pounds of body fat (most of which I gained during my wife's pregnancy) after only 2 months of running.  I know, nothing like ME taking responsibility for me, huh?!

When you stop to think about it, the world is not designed to give us instantaneous feedback - either good or bad.

·         You don't get lung cancer after just one puff.

·         You don't gain 30 pounds after eating just one donut, or even one donut a day for 3 weeks.

·         You don't get into financial trouble with one month of excessiveness.   

·         And don't create a lousy relationship in just a week.

So it is irrational to believe that we will unwind these problems in a matter of a few days.

The results we have in our life so far, both the good results and the ones we'd like to see changed, happened as a result of continuous, daily actions.   None of us went out and created the problems we now have overnight.  And, we will not solve these problems over night, either.

Ordinary things, consistently done, produce extraordinary results!

Remember, Cause and Effect?

Whenever the cause is missing, so is the effect.  So, whatever it is you want in your life, check to see if the Cause is in place to produce the desired Effect.  If it is, then it is just a matter of time and consistent, daily activity until you see the Effects in your life.  And remember, Cause and Effect are not closely linked by time.

A VERY big reason people struggle with achieving their goals is we all tend to fall in love with the Effect and not the Cause.

Everyone I know would love to be financially abundant and thin and in a wonderful relationship.  Those are all Effects - and they are easy to fall in love with.

But the secret is to fall in love with the Cause.  

I don't know one successful person who gets up in the morning and does what they hate.  Rather, every successful person I know is doing what they love.  They may not have started out loving it, and maybe every single little thing about what they're doing is not their most favorite thing in the world, but big picture, they love what they're doing.

Successful people tend to fall in love with pleasing results, while unsuccessful people tend to fall in love with pleasing methods.  When we don't fall in love with the Cause, we will wake up every morning dreading doing the things that will result in the Effects we desire, and I don't know anyone who can sustain themselves doing what they hate for more than a couple of weeks.  

And when you do fall in love with the Causes that will produce the Effects you want, you will achieve your goals much faster because we all perform better when we enjoy what we´re doing.

Every Saturday morning, around 5:30am, I see a bunch of very fit people running up and down Erie Avenue next to our studio.  These are people who don't need to be out there running 2 hours before the sun comes up.  Yet, they're out there because they've fallen in love with running.

Now, the first time they went out for a run, do you think they said, "ah, this AWESOME, I absolutely LOVE running!"? 

On day two they woke up sore as you know what!  And when they went out a second time it was excruciating.  Their body's screamed, "go back to bed you fool!"   

Nobody loves running the first time they do it.  No one was ever born and in their DNA was a passion for running.  Everyone hates it at first.

But 30 or 45 days in ... they started to enjoy it.  And eventually, they fell in love with running.  Their entire identity is now associated with running.  And THAT'S why they are out there at 5:30 am most mornings of the week.  They are in love with the Cause ... and now have all the Effects of being fit, health, thin and in fantastic shape.

Re-look at your goals from the viewpoint of Cause and Effect.  Are you slowing down because you are not seeing instantaneous results?  Are you waking up in the morning dreading doing the things that will produce the results you want? If so, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I believe I can make this goal come true?
  2. Do I believe it is worth the effort?
  3. How can I enjoy the things I will have to do today in order to move closer to my goal?
  4. How would the person I want to be do the thing I am about to do?

I love what General MacArthur said: "Age wrinkles your skin. Quitting wrinkles your soul!"

A commitment you make to yourself should be no less sacred than a commitment you make to others!

Thanks for taking the time to read and consider this message, it's a critical one IMO, and you're the kind of person who is committed to taking your life to the next level!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

NSCA-CPT, ACE

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