weight loss

5 Tips to Clean Up Your Nutrition and Get Results

One of the biggest factors in a successful fitness or weight loss program is what you eat. Why? Because food is how you fuel your body. You can work your butt off in the gym, but you can't out exercise a bad diet. 

Here are 5 simple tips you clean up your nutrition to start seeing results:

1. Avoid overly processed, boxed, and packaged foods

Boxed, packaged, and processed foods contain many additives and not so good for you ingredients. These can wreck havoc on your gut, lead to inflammation, and can pack on the calories. You end up with a smaller quantity of food with a much higher calorie value while being low in nutrients. Start by cutting out soda, candy, and dinner in a box meals. 

2. Eat protein with every meal (such as eggs, fish, chicken, turkey, steak, pork, etc)

Protein is critical to your body's ability to maintain or grow muscle, and helps control your appetite. Eating protein helps your body focus on burning and losing fat instead of eating away at muscle. Find protein sources that you enjoy eating and learn new ways to prepare them!

3. Eat veggies with every meal (including breakfast!)

Veggies are a fantastic source of micronutrients (minerals, vitamins, etc.). For breakfast, try adding spinach, bell peppers, or mushroom to eggs to make a scramble or omelet. For snacks, try cut up carrots, celery, snap peas, and bell peppers. 

4. Stop eating fast food and limit eating at restaurants to once a week

When you prepare and cook your food, you're more aware of what you're eating and more likely to make healthier choices. Fast food is full of calories but low in nutrients. It can be addicting, and can cause you to overeat. 

5. Limit dessert to once a week

Dessert and treats aren't bad in and of themselves, but when you're trying to lose weight, gain muscle, or improve performance, aim to limit your sugar and treat intake. A good rule is to limit treats to one serving once a week. When cravings hit, try drinking water or tea, eating veggies or a handful of nuts, or a piece of fruit. 

Need more guidance or assistance with your nutrition? We offer a free nutrition consult and nutrition coaching.

Ashley's Athlete Story: Accomplishing things she never thought possible

Coach Harmony: Hey Ashley! We are so proud of you getting your first pull-up and conquering box jumps during the CrossFit Open 2017 and wanted to ask you a few questions about your athlete story!

Ashley: Awe!! Those were SO huge for me!!

H:  So my first question is, what originally brought you in to CrossFit Ampersand?

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A: To be honest, I wanted to get back into CrossFit and get back into shape after a lot of ups, downs, and inconsistencies in the gym. My last coach pretty much checked out before he closed and most of the members went to the another CrossFit, but I've known Jeff since elementary school so I leaned towards Ampersand.
I had talked to him a few times before I got myself in gear but just wasn't ready yet. Then, I saw a video CrossFit Ampersand posted on social media that really pushed me. It showed the strength and support between everybody-members with much different physical abilities motivating and encouraging each other.

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H: What was your first impression of CrossFit Ampersand?

A: Everything looked clean and in its place-it wasn't hard to get the hang of everything right away. I only knew one or two people there, but literally everyone I met was welcoming. I never felt 'out of place.' You and Jeff have the passion for this, you encourage proper form and growth. There have been times when I didn't think I could add 10 lbs to my lift and you said 'yep you're strong you've got this' and sure enough I did! You've shown me what my body is really capable of.
Another thing that I love about Ampersand is the electronic systems. In the past we kept notes and workouts in a notebook. At Ampersand we have even more tools to accomplish our goals, continue to improve and motivate each other!

H: Aww! Okay next question: After your first few experiences, why did you choose to stay at CrossFit Ampersand?

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A: EVERYTHING! I can't even describe how incredible I felt after my first day!! I knew I would continue with CFA from my first day forward. I love the WOD's. They're challenging, but I feel like a new person when I'm finished. The adrenaline I guess? It's addicting - I need it - mentally and physically! I find myself mad if I miss a good WOD, haha! Although I have a long way to go, I am down 30lbs. I've seen how far I have come in the last few months with new accomplishments, things that I never thought I would be able to do-or never would have pushed myself to do, like weighted lunges in the open and conquering box jumps after 17.1!  CFA has a great moral. Again, everyone is so supportive, both coaches and members. There's no judgment...I never felt out of place-which is huge with such a variety of members. 

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H: So much love!!! Okay final question! What will you do next? Or what is your next goal?

A: I feel like I have so many! I need to work on my eating habits and I hope to drop another 30 lbs. I need to progress in pull ups. Be able to string together kipping and to do strict too.
I want to conquer toes to bar next, give handstand push-ups a shot since I've never actually tried those. And I'm climbing that rope next time I get the chance, haha, hopefully!!

Want to see what you can accomplish? CLICK BELOW TO FIND OUT HOW WE CAN help you!

Regaining confidence with Nikki

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When I came to CrossFit, I had actually wanted to try it for a few years, but I kept chickening out. When Jeff and Harmony said that they were going to open a CrossFit gym, I decided that this was a perfect opportunity to try it out and to support my friends in the process.

My first workout I remember being so challenging that I was seeing stars! I couldn't walk for a week! However, I came back. I wouldn't say the CrossFit got easier, but I got better, every time I come into the box. I improved, and I could feel the difference!

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My confidence has improved as well. I used to be timid, which hindered me both in the box, and in my job as a ER nurse. Once I gained more confidence, my job performance and my interpersonal skills improved. Friends and coworkers noticed. My boss started putting me on the fast track to be in charge, and started placing me on roles of a clinical expert.

I love feeling strong and I love being able to do handstand push-ups! The first time I did one, was probably my favorite moment of all. 

 

Now I am working on being able to do a freestanding handstand, then hopefully a handstand walk!!!! I love CrossFit so much I decided to further myself by getting my CrossFit Level 1 certification, and eventually would love to coach.

I feel better and I love the way I look!


Looking to regain your confidence? Click below to find out how we can get you on the right track!

Katie Dorsey

I first came to CrossFit 2 years ago because of a promotion they were running and I thought it would be nice to get out of the house. When I first walked in, I was super nervous. First, I hadn’t worked out in over two years and second because it seemed like everyone in there knew what they were doing and I had never touched weights in my life. 

Today, I still walk in nervous, but also excited! Nervous because I know the workout will be hard and excited because now I know I can make it through. My first (and probably favorite) accomplishment at CrossFit Ampersand would be the friends that I made. When I first started at Ampersand, I was a stay at home mom and I had recently moved to the area and I didn’t know anyone. I was miserable. But the support and encouragement I felt walking in to Ampersand for the first time was overwhelming. Another big accomplishment was that I lost 50 lbs in my first year. I gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy. I was constantly tired and unmotivated to do anything and now I have more energy, feel better, and am able to keep up with my very active toddler!

Today, with support from the coaches and community at Ampersand, I am working on building better lifestyle habits. I'm currently doing the Whole Life Challenge with a group from the gym. We are halfway through and I am feeling great. 

I love that the coaches at Ampersand are always pushing us to be the best versions of ourselves and I cannot imagine life without this place! 

Allison Ashton

I started CrossFit in May, 2016. At the beginning of my journey I weighed over 220 pounds. I couldn't run 200 meters, I couldn't do push-ups, in fact I couldn't successfully do 95% of the workouts, and in all honesty I hated it. I hated the cardio, I hated that I had become so overweight, I hated that I HAD to be there, but most of all I hated knowing that the only results I would ever see had to come at the cost of sweat and tears. 

     Prior to starting CrossFit, I was losing mobility, not only because of my weight, but also due to my lack of living an active life style for so long. Family outings, hiking, walks to the park, anything requiring me to be active was always out the question, I had an excuse for everything... that was up until my weight, diet and crappy lifestyle had finally caught up to me. I was constantly feeling "sick", extremely fatigued, experiencing painful numbness in my hands and feet, fighting migraines daily, and was suffering from severe insomnia and depression. I had convinced myself that I was chronically ill and there was no way I could feel that horrible and not have a diagnosis to go along with it.

As anyone would do, I went to my doctor and discussed the problems I was having, he was clearly concerned. He requested I see some specialist and ordered a full blood panel.  Those appointments and blood tests revealed one thing... I was not dying, I was obese. My health was deteriorating because of my lifestyle. It was not because I was sick, or had carried and birthed five children, nor did I lack the time and finances for a gym membership. This was because I was lazy and unmotivated. Point blank. Right there every excuse I had become bullshit. This was my rock bottom. It was now or never.


That's why I joined CrossFit Ampersand. When signing up I was very intimidated, but I had no excuses left, I HAD to put in the work, I HAD to succeed. My first few weeks were nearly unbearable, I knew that I was strong, but I was slow and uncoordinated due to my size, and the intensity made me sick to my stomach, but I was trying! For the first time in years I was starting to come out of my shell. 

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     My love for CrossFit didn't come for another month or two. The game changer for me was finding the mental strength to push through the WOD's, finding different strategies to make my body move and withstand the intensity more efficiently. Things got 100 times easier from that point on, I began attending classes 5 days a week, I changed my diet and began shedding pounds and toning my body. The movements were becoming easier and I was lifting heavier weights. I rapidly became physically, mentally stronger than I had ever been in my life.

Today, nine months after starting CrossFit, I have lost over 50 pounds, 48 inches overall and a lot of mental baggage that came along with my weight gain.

 I no longer suffer from depression, I'm no longer pre-diabetic, and I certainly don't make excuses for myself anymore.

Get your health back on track with a free no sweat intro!

Before & After with Steve

Having had a spinal surgery 20 years ago, I slowly put on the pounds and got out of shape. Discovering CrossFit Ampersand changed all of that. Three months in, I feel 20 years younger, have lost 30 pounds and am experiencing that proverbial new lease. At 59, I may not be what I use to be but it’s close.  I owe trainers Jeff & Harmony a debt I’m sure I can never repay. I feel great about my workouts, and it’s a daily competition as to whether I’ve benefittedmore physically or psychologically. So worth it. As Walt Whitman said it, "...the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse." ;-)

'High Fructose Corn Syrup' is getting a makeover!

'High Fructose Corn Syrup' is getting a makeover!

So what happens when the corporations who mass produce food get clever?

Get this, consumers are actually getting smarter with their food choices and in some ways are filtering what they are purchasing based on what they can find in on the box. There are tons of trends that seem to come up all the time. "All natural"; "Minimally Processed"; "No added preservatives"; and in this case, "All natural." Now, we have to learn the new name of the all to easy to produce, "High Fructose Corn Syrup."

Instead of food companies doing what the consumer wants, they will cut corners and protect their bottom line first, by tricking the consumer into 'thinking' they are getting what they want. Of course there are many companies out there that have integrity in their products but in the mainstream products, we seem to need to shy away more and more altogether.

So when they get creative, we need to get wiser!

Companies are now masking the ingredients we are always trying to avoid. There was a time when there was hardly any sugar in anything. But now, it's nearly impossible to purchase products that are lacking. I'm not talking about sugar in natural things like fruits and veggies, no no, the all to popular, high fructose corn syrup.

"The product is General Mills’ Vanilla Chex, an updated version of the Chex cereal sold in most conventional grocery and discount stores for many years. The front of the box clearly states that the product contains “no high fructose corn syrup” (HFCS), but turn it over to read the ingredient list and there it is – the new isolated fructose."

So whats the big deal?

'The Corn Refiners Association is now labeling high fructose corn syrup as fructose. Packing on products such as General Mills Vanilla Chex cereal now states the product contains no high fructose corn syrup, while the ingredients list contains the simple word, "fructose." This fructose is actually a manufactured sugar called HFCS-90, and is made up of 90% pure fructose. High fructose corn syrup, or HFCS, contains 42% or 55 percent fructose. Health issues relating to free fructose include diabetes, leaky gut syndrome, and liver failure.'

Well, according to the CRA:

 “A third product, HFCS-90, is sometimes used in natural and ‘light’ foods, where very little is needed to provide sweetness. Syrups with 90% fructose will not state high fructose corn syrup on the label [anymore], they will state ‘fructose’ or ‘fructose syrup’.”

“Simply eliminating the high fructose corn syrup designation for the laboratory sweetener that’s nine-tenths fructose and calling it what it really is: fructose. And that’s how a processed-food product like Vanilla Chex that contains “fructose”, a substance that, according to the corn refiners, used to be called HFCS-90, can now declare itself to be high fructose corn syrup-free.”

So, while looking for HFCS on the back of your foods ingredients, you will now see it as just "fructose." Don't be fooled by their sorry attempts to get you comfortable. We have very little regulations in this country on our food companies to begin with. It's up to you to know and make good choices.

So what do we do?

I would suggest that you buy organic as much as possible and stay away from foods that ecould possibly have added artificial sugar in them. Buy local at farmers markets and actually prepare your own food. Stay away from anything that is in a box that you know is NOT good to put in your body. Especially while you are training. Sure if you want to occasionally have a doughnut or some cookies, GO FOR IT! But if you are taking in those kinds of processed foods on a regular basis, you will not only see your fitness deteriorate in the gym, but your health as well outside of the gym... Not to mention not losing the weight or putting on muscle. Also, you have heard me say before,  if it is not good enough to put in your body, its not good enough to put in your families bodies either!

"The CrossFit Way"

We believe that nutrition is the cornerstone of health and fitness, and that achieving your fullathletic potential is impossible without tuning up your diet.

The CrossFit rule of thumb is: eat real food.  Base your diet on vegetables, especially greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar.  If it has ingredients you don’t recognize, don’t eat it.  If you can’t imagine its path from a farm to your plate, don’t eat it.  If that path must have included some sort of factory, don’t eat it. Pretty simple, yeah?

Some say well it's too expensive... Look I get it. It's not cheap, so do your best! Changing your lifestyle won't happen over night, but one step at a time. But you have to be taking those steps to get anywhere.

Don't hesitate to contact us if you are struggling in this area and would like us to assist you!

- Jeff

Source: 'www.hlfteam.com'