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By Mairead Rodgers, RD PHEc

I have done some weird nutrition things from time to time around working out, but this is one of the weirder ones. So while I laugh at myself about this (and you can laugh too), let’s break down the logic behind this decision and what you can learn about recovery nutrition from this particularly weird episode.

The two questions I feel need to be answered:
1. Why did I need a protein shake at that exact moment?
2. Why a protein shake?

For the first question, the answer is that I knew I needed to refuel my body. And I needed to refuel soon. On the day in question, I’d gone to group CrossFit class and gone for an easy run both in the morning. I had a small breakfast before hand, enough to give me some energy and keep me from being hangry. But I also know that pretty soon after a workout I need to refuel with protein and carbs. The longer I wait, the more my body will be playing catch-up all day. The sooner I refuel, the better I can help my body recover so I can keep training the next day. But since I couldn’t wait any longer to shower (I was super gross and needed to get on with my day), I had to choose between showering and nutrition, or start my recovery nutrition at the same time. Getting some kind of nutrition in within an hour of working out is key for recovery, especially if it was a harder or longer workout.

Is a protein shake necessary to recover from a workout? No, not at all. The one I drank had a combination of carbs and protein, which is key for recovery after a workout; protein to repair muscles, carbs to replenish energy stores. I chose a protein shake because it was convenient. Would a chicken breast and rice, or a tuna sandwich, or literally any other combination of protein and carbs worked just as well? Yep! The real benefit of protein powders is that they’re portable and quick and easy. If we want to get that recovery nutrition in within roughly an hour of working out, convenience can be key if you’re not planning on eating a real meal or snack in that time.

The take away: Carbs and protein shortly after workouts. If you’re not going to get to eat a real-food snack or meal, protein powder can be convenient. And also you should laugh at yourself if you realize you’re doing something totally ridiculous.

More nutrition questions? Shoot me an email and let’s chat!

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By Mairead Rodgers, RD PHEc

What should I look for in a granola bar? Are granola bars ok to eat? What granola bars are best? Am I eating too many granola bars?

These are questions I get all the time from nutrition clients and we’re going to answer (hopefully) all of them today!

Can I eat granola bars? Is this ok?
Yep, granola bars are just fine as part of a balance healthy diet! They’re quick and convenient, don’t need to be kept cold and are super portable!

Could I eat too many granola bars?
Of course! If granola bars are taking the place of other important foods, that’s an issue. For most people, a granola bar in your lunch or for snack every day is not going to be an issue. If we’re having 2-3 a day, maybe it’s time to find some more variety in your snacks, but that could vary by the person based on their specific needs.

What should I look for in a granola bar?
For this, you’ll have to flip the bar over and check out the nutrition facts, or look at the nutrition panel on the side of the box.
Fibre: Fibre is important! It helps keep us full longer (important for snacks for busy people!), keeps us regular, and can help keep our cholesterol in check. Look for a granola bar with at least 3-4g of fibre to make a dent in your needs for the day.
Sugar: There can be a lot of sugar in granola bars! Something sticky has to hold it together! Even if something is sweetened with honey, maple syrup, or brown rice syrup, it’s still sugar and all acts the same way in our bodies. Try to keep the sugar per bar under 8g if you can. 
Protein: Protein also helps keep us full longer, and can help us repair muscles after a hard workout. Try to find a granola bar with minimum 5g of protein. Closer to 10g is even better! For lower protein granola bars, trying pairing it with a source of protein (cheese, Greek yogurt, hardboiled egg) for a wellrounded snack.

Hopefully these tips make snacking and choosing things in the granola bar aisle easier! If you have another nutrition topic you wonder about, email maireadrodgers@degreecrossfitseaforth.com to get it answered!

Have specific questions about your personal nutrition? Book your FREE 15-minute Bite Sized Nutrition Chat here and let’s get started!

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By Mairead Rodgers, RD, PHEc, CF L1 Trainer

Goal setting is something we do all the time at Degree. Whether it’s a new movement you want to learn or something that’s going to improve your quality of life, we’re all about goals! But how do we go about setting better goals? Goals that we’ll be excited and motivated for, and want to actually reach?
Knowing that fall and back-to-school gets people in that goal-setting state of mind after the summer, it’s time to break down 3 ways you can set better goals.

  1. Set goals you actually want to work on. Don’t pick goals based on what your friends, coaches, or anyone else thinks you should do. Pick goals that you see value in and want to work on. Whether it’s learning to do a handstand or improving your nutrition to reduce your cholesterol, the goal has to be important to you, and you alone.
  2. Set goals that are an action, not an outcome. The goal of “losing weight” is the best example of this. Weight loss is not an action, so it can’t be a goal. Getting to the gym and eating a half plate of veggies at dinner every night are actions that will contribute to the outcome of losing weight. Actions are things you can consciously do. Outcomes are things that happen when you do the actions. Choose action goals that align with the outcomes you want.
  3. Talk about your goals and ask for help. If your goal is fitness or nutrition related, we definitely want to know about that so we can help you. If it isn’t, it’s still important to talk about your goals. Talking about your goals with people who support you keeps you accountable and can be a great sounding board to make sure your goals are reasonable. 

So I want to know: what are your goals as summer comes to an end? Let me know, and let me know how we at Degree can help you!
Want to chat goals? Book your FREE 15-Minute Bite-Sized Nutrition Chat and let’s set a plan for you!

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By Mairead Rodgers, RD, PHEc, CF L1 Trainer

One of the main reasons people either come to Degree or start nutrition coaching with me is because they want to see results of some description. Usually, the results they want are either weight loss or muscle gain, or both. These are things we can absolutely help with, and results our clients and members regularly see. 

But there’s one thing in common with the clients who see the results AND are able to keep the results for the long term. That thing is CONSISTENCY.

The best thing you can do for your nutrition and fitness goals is to find something that works for you and that you like, and then stick with it. If we’re always chasing after the next shiny object, we’ll never stick with a nutrition and fitness program long enough to see the results we want. Results take time and patience and again, consistency. 

Example #1: You’re so excited to start CrossFit after finishing On Ramp! The first week, you get in the gym 5 days straight – good for you! The next week things are a bit busy and you only get there 3 times – still awesome. You get discouraged that you didn’t make it as many times as planned but you only find yourself in the gym once the next two or three weeks. You notice the scale hasn’t moved and you’re not getting any stronger so you throw in the towel and cancel your membership. A month later you repeat the process at another gym or with another type of exercise. 
In this case, we’re definitely lacking some consistency. To fix this, aiming for 2 or 3 times a week might be a more reasonable goal to start with, especially if it’s something you think you can stick to. Whether it’s CrossFit or another type of fitness, you’ve got to do it consistently to get and keep the results you want. When you’re starting CrossFit out of On Ramp, this is a conversation our coaches would have with you to make sure you’re setting attainable goals!

Example #2: It’s day 1 of your new diet! You do amazing today, making all the choices that align with your specific diet and tracking your food meticulously. You’re able to keep this up for 5 days before life gets in the way and you blow your diet for the next 3 days. You decide to start a different diet next week and the same process happens. You get frustrated that you can’t seem to stick with a diet to see the results you want.
In this example, what we need are nutrition goals that you can meet consistently. Going on and off diets is hard of you, both mentally and physically. Your nutrition plan should fit with your life and allow for days that aren’t perfect. 

In both cases here, what’s lacking and preventing progress and results is just not being able to be consistent. When we’re starting out with nutrition and fitness, it’s best to start with goals we know we can reach CONSISTENTLY and build from there, instead of going all in with something and failing, and then repeating the process with something else a few weeks later. Sure, there are going to be times when you can’t get to the gym or that healthy eating just isn’t going to happen. But the more consistent you are with your habits when you can be, the easier it will be to get back on track at those times and the less impact you’ll see on your progress. 
If you don’t know how to be more consistent to see the results you want, or you’re looking to get started with something more, let us help! Click here to book your FREE 15-Minute Bite-Sized Nutrition Chat to talk about your goals and how we can help you get there with nutrition. Or if you’d rather start with fitness, click here to book for FREE No Sweat Intro to get started!
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By Mairead Rodgers, RD, PHEc, CF L1 Trainer

Do you waste a lot of food? Most of us are wasting more than we realize. Buying food only to waste it means that the resources to produce that food have now gone to waste, but it also means we’re throwing out something we bought, which can take a chunk out of your grocery budget. Here’s 3 strategies to reduce your food waste!

  1. Meal plan!!! Take a bit of time each week to plan your meals and make a grocery list.This way you have a game plan to use the groceries you buy, not just leave them to get mushy in the fridge. You don’t have to plan the entire week, but even knowing three or four dinner that you’ll make and having ingredients for them on hand can make a difference. Have a plan for the food you buy if you can.
  2. Throw stuff in the freezer! If we can’t eat something before it’s going to go bad, freezing it is a great way to avoid having to throw it out. Fruit looking a little questionable? Chop and freeze for smoothies. Not going to get to your vegetables in time? Dice and freeze to use in sauces and stews. Bought some meat but plans changes? In the freezer it goes to be defrosted for dinner another day. Have leftovers that just aren’t going to be eaten? Freeze to take for lunch in a couple weeks when you’re busy. Make sure anything you freeze is sealed in an air-tight bag or container to avoid freezer burn. 
  3. Shop your own fridge, freezer, and cupboards. Chances are you have lots of food odds and ends floating around that might not get eaten in time. Whether it’s produce, canned goods you’ve had for ages (they do have an expiry date), or pantry staples, all food does eventually either go bad or just completely lose it’s flavour. When you’re planning meals, shop your own kitchen to see what you can build around. See if you can use up some of those odds and ends to avoid throwing them out. Having a root through your cupboards regularly can make sure you always know what’s there and nothing gets forgotten for the next 8 years. Not sure what to do with what you’ve found? Do a quick search for easy recipes using that ingredient.

Do you have more nutrition questions, or need help with meal planning? Email maireadrodgers@degreecrossfitseaforth.com or click here to book a nutrition consultation to work through your meal planning woes!