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By Mairead Rodgers, RD PHEc

I’m sure you’ve heard that breakfast is the “most important meal of the day”. While all of our meals are important, breakfast’s purpose is really to fuel you up for your day. For our early morning CrossFit-ers, it also needs to refuel you after a workout usually. But if you’re not a breakfast person, or you feel stuck in a breakfast rut, your morning meal can be a huge struggle. 

Here’s our best tips for a better breakfast!

  1. Does breakfast have to be breakfast? You are not required to eat a bowl of corn flakes or Cheerios every morning if you don’t want to. You can have any foods you like for breakfast! Try topping your dinner leftovers with an egg or even just making a sandwich if you feel in a rut. If you just don’t have a big appetite in the morning, breakfast might be more of a snack, like a granola bar or some yogurt and fruit on the go. The goal is to not have you absolutely starving by the time you eat next.
  2. Do you have protein and fat? If you’ve ever had a bowl of cereal for breakfast and found yourself starving by 10am, I’ve got some ideas for you! One of the reasons this might be happening is that you’re not getting much protein and fat to help keep you satisfied and full. Try adding a hardboiled egg, some Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, putting peanut butter on your toast instead of (or with) jam, or picking a cereal or granola with extra protein.
  3. Have you got some fruits and veggies? (If you’ve read any of my other emails ever, you knew this was coming.) We want to get fruits and vegetables in at every meal when we can. They give as a whole spectrum of vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre, and people who eat more fruits and vegetables tend to have lower rates of chronic disease. If weight loss or maintenance is your goal, fruits and vegetables give you lots of nutrition and fill you up, without many calories. Getting a serving or two of your favourite fruit or vegetables gets you a head-start on your nutrition for the day, whether it’s a handful of spinach in your smoothie, an apple grabbed on your way out the door, or a banana on your peanut butter toast.
  4. Can you make it ahead of time? One of the biggest reasons I get that people don’t eat breakfast is that they just don’t have time, and that’s a totally valid reason! So when we look at what we’re having for breakfast, is there anything we could make ahead of time or do to get organized so that it doesn’t take as long? You can put smoothie ingredients in a cup or blender the night before. You can meal prep all kinds of egg muffins or breakfast sandwiches or overnight oats. You can even just put your fruit beside your yogurt right inside the fridge so they’re easy to grab. You can put the bread and peanut butter beside the toaster and put the bread in while you get ready for the day. The goal is to make it so easy that your morning brain doesn’t put up a fight.

Still struggling with breakfast? Give our Registered Dietitian a shout and let’s see how we can tweak your breakfast to be healthier and easier (or just to start having breakfast in the first place and how that will help you!). Psssttt…. did you your Dietitian services might be covered if you have extended benefits? 

To book your FREE 15-Minute Bite-Sized Nutrition Chat, click here!

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By Mairead Rodgers, RD PHEc

The number one thing people want to know when I tell them I’m a dietitian is what the perfect diet is.

The second thing they want to know is what I eat.

Do I eat ice cream? Do I eat carbs? Do I follow a paleo/keto/vegan diet? Do I eat this, that or the other food? 

So I’m here to break down more or less how I eat for you, to answer these questions and hopefully help you find less stress in your own food choices. 

I don’t cut out any foods specifically. I don’t put an emphasis on one food or kind of food being more important than any others. I don’t get hung up on eating perfectly. I don’t follow a specific “diet”.

I do eat three meals a day and at least two snacks. I eat these meals and snacks when I’m hungry, or just when I can if life gets in the way. I don’t have a set time frame for when I can or can’t eat. When I’m hungrier (like heavy marathon training), I eat more. When I’m less hungry (like rest days), I eat less.

I make a point to get fruits and vegetables in at most meals and throughout the day in my snacks. I don’t panic if I don’t have them but I know I feel better if I do. I try to have protein at meals and snacks too because it keeps me fuller longer and helps my muscles rebuild after training and workouts. I know I’m hangry without it and hangry is never good. I use healthy fats in cooking, or top foods with avocado when they’re on sale. I’ve also been known to eat a mouthful of peanut butter off a spoon with absolutely no regrets. I try to pick higher fibre carb choices, and make sure I do have some carbs to fuel both my workouts and daily life.

I eat ice cream and pizza. Not all the time, and I enjoy the heck out of them when I have them. I also eat kale, chickpeas, quinoa, and smoothies. Probably slightly more often than the pizza and ice cream, but I enjoy these foods all the same. To be quite honest, I don’t really eat mushrooms. Not for any nutritional reasons, I just don’t like the texture.

I hope what you get from this is that I aim for moderation and low stress around food. There’s nothing extreme or crazy different about the way I eat, and it’s probably surprisingly common-sense. 

If moderation and low food stress is what you’re looking for in your life, let’s chat. Email maireadrodgers@degreecrossfitseaforth.com with any questions you have, or click here to book your free 15-Minute Bite-Sized Nutrition Chat, and let’s talk about how YOU eat. 

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By Mairead Rodgers, RD PHEc

Ever feel like you absolutely crush your fitness and nutrition during the week, only to be struggling on the weekend? You’re not alone! This is probably one of the biggest issues our members bring to us and we want to help you out!

Why is being super strict with yourself and then “cheating” all weekend an issue?

If your goal is weight loss or fat loss, we need to be consistent in your fitness and nutrition. If you eat for those goals and are in a caloric deficit (you’re taking in less calories than you’re burning), but then you’re eating way more calories than you’re burning on the weekend, you might be ending up actually taking in more calories than you’re burning, or just breaking even, when it’s averaged over the whole week. That’s going to result in not seeing your fat-loss goals, or could even result in gaining fat overall. Bigger repeated fluctuations, like following a strict diet for a few weeks or months, and then returning to old eating habits for a while, can even result in returning to a heavier weight each time you “slip” or “cheat”, and a bigger risk of some chronic diseases.

The solution?

We’ve got to be consistent in what we’re doing for nutrition and fitness, both over the course of the week, and in general for the rest of your life. When I’m working with nutrition clients to make changes, I always ask them if they can see themselves making the change we’re talking about for the next 18 months, including on weekends. I want them to be able to make the change forever, but forever is hard to wrap our heads around. 

If you are struggling with your weekends, it’s worth having a look at what you’re doing during the week. If you’re finding you’re needing to overeat on treat foods, is it possible you’re being too strict or not eating enough overall during the week? It sounds counter-intuitive, but if you’re not taking in enough fuel or just feel deprived, your body can make you overcompensate as a way to protect you. Maybe we need to have a peek at your diet during the week, just to make sure you’re getting what you need. If that’s not the case, keeping things interesting on the weekend might be the change you need to stay motivated. Get yourself moving if you can; one healthy habit encourages all the others! Get to the Saturday Weekender WOD, or get out for a run, walk or bike ride; whatever sounds fun to you! Focus on the easy things and what you can add to your diet instead of trying to avoid specific foods. Make sure you’re getting enough water in and lots of fruits and veggies. Still want some pizza or beer? No problem! Just work on the things you can ADD instead of the things we’re trying to AVOID. 

At the end of the day, remember that the name of the game here is consistency, not perfection, both throughout the week and in life in general. Don’t overthink it, and keep it simple!

Still struggling? Book your FREE 15-Minute Nutrition Chat here or email maireadrodgers@degreecrossfitseaforth.com to see how we can help!

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By Mairead Rodgers, RD PHEc

We are heading into the Canada long weekend, which means for lots of us there are tons of BBQs and other fun weekend events going on over the next few months. We’ve probably all had a few already this summer too. Summer BBQs are a ton of fun, but if we’re throwing our healthy eating habits completely out the window every single time we’re at one, it can take a toll on your fitness goals over the summer. Luckily, we’ve got some easy tips for you!

  1. Fill half your plate with veggies if you can! If you’ve ever worked with me on your nutrition, you know this is a common strategy for pretty much any situation. Here’s why: veggies pack in a ton of nutrition, including fibre, vitamins and minerals, and some extra water for those hot summer days, which are all important. If you’re someone who’s likely to load up on less healthy foods like potato chips, these veggies physically take up space on your plate to remind you to keep portion sizes in mind. If you don’t think there will be any veggies at your BBQ, you can offer to bring a salad or veggie tray to give everyone some healthy choices. 
  2. Get some protein! Protein helps keep us full, which can ward off munching on less healthy choices later on in the party. Healthier choices can include leaner proteins like chicken or turkey, but burgers, hot dogs, and all your other BBQ favourites are fine in moderation. If you’re the one BBQing, try throwing on an extra portion or two and having it for lunch the next day. Wait, did you just meal prep while BBQing!? We won’t tell. 
  3. Guzzle some water! As we all know, water is always the best drink for us, especially for those of us who get hot and sweaty during summer workouts. If you’re having an alcoholic beverage, or a few, try having a glass of water between drinks to keep you hydrated (you’ll feel better the next day too!). If plain water isn’t your thing, try unsweetened flavoured soda water; you can even add a small splash of juice to it for more flavour if you’re feeling fancy.
  4. Have some dessert! Wait what? Yes really, have a bit of dessert if you want it, and here’s why: have you ever gone to a BBQ, ate all your veggies and lean protein, only had water to drink, and then gone home and inhaled chips or cookies or ice cream? Odds are you weren’t satisfied with what you ate and felt deprived. The solution? Have a bit of dessert if you want it. Eat enough to feel satisfied and happy, but not so much that you feel overly stuffed. Eating a scoop or two of ice cream at a BBQ is going to have less of an impact on your goals than eating 3 times the amount when you get home. 

Need more help navigating nutrition this summer? Let’s chat! Click here to book your FREE 15-Minute Bite-Sized Nutrition Chat to go over your goals and find out how we can help, or email maireadrodgers@degreecrossfitseaforth.com.

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By Mairead Rodgers, RD PHEc

What’s the best kind of exercise out there for you? What’s going to give you the health benefits and results you want? 

First and foremost, I’m not here to tell you why CrossFit is the best exercise for everyone everywhere ever. I can tell you why it’s part of the best exercise for me though, and we’ll get to that later.

Ok here’s the big secret:  
The best kind of exercise for you is…. the kind you love and will actually do consistently!

If you love the kind of exercise you’re doing, you’ll stick with it, you’ll be consistent with it, and you’ll do it for the long term, not just the next 2 weeks until your motivation runs out. That way you can actually get all the benefits of exercise:

  • boosting your good cholesterol
  • promoting a healthy weight
  • promoting strong bones from weight-bearing activity
  • helping to prevent chronic diseases (like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis)
  • improving your mood
  • improving your energy levels
  • improving the quality of your sleep
  • maintaining muscle mass later in life when we usually lose it

But if you don’t like the kind of exercise you’re doing, and therefore don’t do it, you’ll see none of those. 

For me right now, that means combination of lots of CrossFit and a fair bit of running. I’m also always happy to throw in a bit of yoga, a Dance-Fit class, or pretty much anything else, from time to time to keep things interesting and focus on different goals. These are the kinds of exercise that don’t feel like a chore for me, and that make me want to get up and do it all again tomorrow.

I hope that you love CrossFit and that it truly is the best kind of exercise for you personally. It’s amazing, and our community at Degree is amazing, and we are constantly seeing the positive impact on people’s health. That being said, if you hate CrossFit and love spin class, or a team sport, or would rather go on hikes with your dog, that’s awesome too! I just hope you have some kind of exercise that doesn’t feel like a chore and that makes you happy. If we can help you with that, let us know.

Click here to get in touch and book your FREE No Sweat Intro to see how we can help you find the perfect kind of exercise for you.