Stepping my Fruit and Veggie Game Up

Being a gym owner many people think I must be some kind of hardcore health fanatic. While I greatly value health and fitness, I am anything but perfect when it comes to eating (or my fitness for that matter!). I have a wicked sweet tooth, enjoy all kinds of adult beverages, and am partial to salt and vinegar chips. For the most part, I can keep these to a moderate enough level that my indulgences aren’t especially detrimental to feeling pretty good. When I do go a bit overboard, my body is quick to let me know and I feel sluggish and unmotivated.

For about the past week I have been crushing fruits and veggies. It’s common knowledge that you should be regularly eating a variety of fruits and veggies, but it seems like very few people actually do. I’m not going to go into all the benefits, but if you want more info check out the articles linked below.  While I have always eaten some fruit and veggies, I have definitely lacked in the variety department and consumption has not been a priority. After seeing several posts about eating 10 shades a day on a blog I follow (OPEX Fitness), I decided it was time to step my game up. So far it’s been way easier than I thought it would be. Liz has been on board as well so each evening we check in and tell each other what we ate that day.

In the past I’ve done the Whole 30 or various paleo challenges and they have helped me dial in my eating and feel really good. But they have all had a specific timeline, and when I finished I would eventually revert back to old habits that included not having much of a plan or consistency with my nutrition. I learned a lot by doing these challenges, but this time around I wanted to see if I could create a long-term habit rather than more of a temporary reset. I liked that instead of having to eliminate a bunch of foods I could simply focus on adding something nutritious.

This was my lunch yesterday. It was fantastic!


My daily game plan to get 10 shades in:

  • Morning Smoothie (6 shades): 1 scoop of Driven Whey, a handful of Antioxidant Blend Frozen Berries (from Costco, it has 5 types of berries), a handful of spinach, and water. This takes me about 1 minute to make and is delicious.
  • Late Breakfast/early lunch (4-5 shades): 2 eggs, bacon, piece of toast, mixed green lettuce mix, carrots, purple cabbage. Sometimes I will sub bell peppers for carrots or cabbage or add tomatos or avocado to the mix.
  • Dinner (2-5 shades): Usually some type of meat or fish with a couple veggies on the side: Roasted potato or sweet potato, broccoli, brussel sprouts, bell peppers etc. If I don’t have the smoothie in the morning I will add some more veggies at dinner.

So far I haven’t had any issues getting 10 in and plan on continuing indefinitely. I have found there are a couple keys to my success:

1) Buy enough fruits and veggies. Pretty simple but if they aren’t readily available what are the chances you will eat them?

2) Get a large variety in one meal. With a smoothie or a salad you can easily add a bunch in one go. Likewise if you are roasting or sauteing. Just chop more up than you might normally and throw them in.

3) Don’t be overly concerned with serving size. I’m not going to try to game the system by eating one baby carrot and counting it but I’m also not weighing and measuring everything either.

Here are a couple articles on why it’s important to get your fruits and veggies in.

If you don’t like vegetables here is a great article explaining why and giving you a method to make them more enjoyable or tolerable depending on your outlook.

I’ve got a few more nutrition habits I will be implementing in the months to come but want to make sure I have this one fully dialed in first. If you are reading this and ready to give it a go yourself shoot me an email and let me know ( I’m always more motivated when I’ve got some buddies around.:)

Thursday, April 5th

Buddy Week!

A1) SL RDL 4 x 6 each leg
A2) Strict Pull-ups 4 x 5-10 reps

B) For time
1000m Row

500m Row

Wednesday, April 4th

Buddy Week!

A1) Strict Press 4 x 5
A2) Tempo Ring Rows 4 x 8-12 at 2020 tempo

B) 7 rounds for time (7 each)
In teams of 2
one working, one resting
7 Push Press
9 Box Jump
switch after completeing a full round

16 minute time-cap
Choose weight for Push Press you can go Unbroken the entire time

Tuesday, April 3rd

Buddy Week

A) 3 rounds NFT
1 Suitcase Carry each hand (length of gym and back then switch hands)
8-12 Pushups or Ring Dips
20-30 sec Hanging L-sit/K2C Hold

B) 15 minute EMOM
1 – 5 Deadlifts
2 – 40 sec Row @ moderate pace
3 – 30 sec Plank

Monday, April 2nd

Buddy Week!

A) Front Squat 8,8,6,6,4

B) 10 minute AMRAP
40 Double Unders
10 Toes to Bar
20 Russian KB Swings

40 sec Jump Rope
10 K2C or Sit-ups
12 Russian KB Swings

Saturday, March 31st

A) 30 minute AMRAP
in Pairs
100/80 Cals on Rower
100 KB Swings
100 Air Squats
100 Shoulder to OH
1 working, 1 resting
split reps evenly

Friday, March 30th

A) 3 rounds NFT
-20 KB/DB Front Rack Walking Lunge (10 each leg)
-ME Ring Row @ 2020 tempo
-30 sec Hollow Hold

B) 13 minute AMRAP
30 Burpees
40 Toes to Bar
50 Alt DB Snatches
40 DB Goblet Squats
30 Push-ups

8 things I’ve learned after participating in 8 CrossFit Opens

1) I’m not going to the CrossFit Games.  I know it’s shocking. Early on though I thought I might be able to. The first couple years not a lot of people were participating in the Open so it didn’t seem that far off. I told myself if I can get better at x, y and z, I will have a shot. While I did get better at x, y and z, I only got further and further away as more people and higher level athletes started participating. For me to have a chance I would have to add about 100lbs to every lift and improve my conditioning by a huge amount. No matter how much I train this is not going to happen, so my focus for the Open is to have fun myself and make sure everyone at the gym has a great time too. So unless I go as a spectator I will not be going to the Games.

2) Be well fed and rested. In the first Open workout last year I was planning on doing the workout at about 3:30pm and had timed my meals accordingly. A few things got in my way and I didn’t end up going until the last heat of the night at around 8pm. I hadn’t eaten since about noon, so this was a very bad idea. About two minutes into what turned into a 19 minute workout I felt really weak and terrible. Lesson learned. For the rest of last year’s Open workouts and all of this year’s I made sure my eating was timed right. If something had thrown it off, I likely would have pulled the plug and done the workout at a different time.

3) Constantly watching the leaderboard is a terrible waste of time. Checking your ranking every couple hours after you submit your score and researching your “leaderboard rivals” can be entertaining but in the end usually just makes you feel worse about yourself. I used to do this every week and by the end of the Open I would be more worried about what score I got relative to others rather than going for it and having fun. If you gave your best effort you should feel really good about that and avoid deriving value about yourself from how anyone else performs.

4) Watching strategy videos is generally a waste of time. All the strategy videos out there are geared towards athletes essentially trying to make Regionals. None of these strategies apply to me because I’m not capable of doing what they say for the entire workout. Here is my simple strategy for every workout: Get a good warm-up, organize your equipment nicely and don’t go too fast at the start.

5) Use the correct weights. Personally I’ve never had an issue here but we had this happen a few times this year. Even a couple coaches made this mistake, ahem… Katie, Andie:) I will definitely triple check what weights I’m using so I don’t have to redo any workouts.

6) Judging is really fun. In the past I haven’t judged that much because I was focused on organizing the heats, running the clock, and making sure everyone had all their equipment set up. This year Jessie stepped up taking on those tasks. This freed me up to be a judge and it was awesome. I had a ton of fun helping people stay focused, giving some coaching tips, and pushing them to keep moving all the way to the end of the workout.

7) I’m terrible at handstand push-ups. I can do some good ones but burn out really quickly and it turns into me staring at the wall for long periods of time during the workout. The recipe to getting better at them isn’t more handstand push-ups in workouts. Practicing them while not under fatigue and gradually build up the volume of reps I do, is a much better strategy. This goes for any movement or skill development. If you struggle with double unders it is really hard to get better at them during a workout with a bunch of burpees and kettlebell swings. Carving out some time to practice without worrying about the clock or having a heart rate through the roof is a much smarter approach.

8) Lower your expectations (or don’t have any). There is a psychology formula: happiness = reality/expectations. So if you set an expectation of a certain score and in reality you don’t reach it your happiness will decrease. The opposite is also true, if your reality exceeds your expectations you will increase your happiness. Say person A thinks they can get a certain number of rounds but fall short and are upset afterward. Person B is a bit scared of the weight in the workout and thinks they won’t do very well but is able to get several more reps than they thought possible and is ecstatic. Did person A not work as hard and be disappointed? I would bet Person A just set their expectations too high. I used to calculate out how fast I thought I could go each round and what final score I could get. At some stage during the workout I would realize that wasn’t going to happen and start to feel disappointed even during the workout. Not a recipe for feeling good about myself. Now I try to keep my expectations to a minimum and focus on performing my best in the moment.  And that has led, you guessed it, to greater happiness after each workout and overall about the Open.


If you participated in the Open this year or years past I would love to hear what lessons you’ve learned! Let us know in the comments!



Thursday, March 29th

A) Deadlift 3,3,3,1,1

B) For Time
400m Run
10 Clean and Jerk (135/95)
400m Run
10 Clean and Jerk
400m Run

15 minute time-cap

Wednesday, March 28th

A) Snatch 5 x 2
build to a tough double
Squat Snatch if mobility and technique allow it otherwise stick with Power Snatch

B) 8 minute AMRAP
6 Box Jump
6 DB Push Press each arm
6 C2B/Pull-ups