THE FOUNDATIONS
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When we realize that our health and well-being starts with the food and drink we put into our bodies, real change will start to happen. Until this basic principle is actually realized and put into practice, weight management, better results in the gym and overall health will be difficult to come by. Quit lying to yourself and saying you generally eat healthy. If that were true, your weight would be where you want it to be, your body would look like you want it to look and you would feel like you want to feel. Take a good look at how much you eat, the quality of these foods, and your consistency each day in making it a priority for your own health. You get one body and one mind, honor each of these and make a commitment to yourself in this area of your life. It’s never too late and you certainly deserve it.

That relatively short thought that has been stuck on my mind the last few days. Bold? Sure. But honest AF. And when it comes to nutrition and healthier living, I don't like to sugarcoat much (because sugar doesn't have it's place in health). 

I have a ton of topics that I plan to write on over the next several weeks with the idea that they will build off one another week to week. And the most appropriate place to start is with the foundational principles. So if you're struggling with where to begin a healthier nutrition journey, listen up. 

Here's where I believe you truly can't go wrong. And until you can get these principles down and be more and more consistent with them you shouldn't turn to other alternatives (think 4 weeks at a minimum and possibly up to 6-12 months).

The main and first priority is a Balanced Plate at each meal. What do I mean by that? Two things: 1) Getting food on your plate from each macronutrient group - Lean protein, healthy carbohydrates, healthy fats and of course vegetables and 2) proper portion sizes relative to you and adjusting portions based on hunger or fullness (see Precision Nutrition infographic below). 

My breakfast on a regular basis

My breakfast on a regular basis

A typical lunch

A typical lunch

My goal (and your goal) is to balance my plate with each food group. My biggest struggle has  always been getting enough greens/vegetables. So it definitely takes effort on my part to make sure I get some sort of vegetable on the plate. My go to greens/vegetables are green peppers, spinach, kale, broccoli, asparagus. 

Photo provided by Precision Nutrition

Photo provided by Precision Nutrition

This servings guide eliminates the need to specifically weigh and measure your food for each meal (although a future blog post will cover why weighing and measuring is a valuable tool and why everyone should learn it at some point). So for now, use your hand to keep things simple and relatively easy. And yes it is easy despite you thinking it might be too hard. Making it through Navy Seal training is hard. Studying and taking your boards is hard. Serving in our military is hard. Choosing a meal of balanced healthy foods IS NOT HARD. Put forth the effort to make these foundational changes. Give them time. Watch your body start to change. 

Finally, I'll leave you with this - CrossFit Games Athlete Julie Foucher had this to say just the other day - "One fact that’s hard to argue with is that the more veggies we take in, the better. Vegetables are packed with polyphenols and fiber which provide an abundance of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A 2017 meta analysis in the International Journal of Epidemiology looked at 95 prospective studies of fruit and vegetable intake and found that increased intake was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality from all causes. There was also a “dose response” meaning the more vegetables and fruits you eat, the lower your risk. Highest reductions in risk were seen with intake of 10 servings or 800g per day. The authors hypothesized that IF this relationship were causal (which, as with most epidemiological nutrition studies, we can’t say), 7.8 MILLION deaths worldwide in 2013 could have been attributed to fruit and veggie intake below 800g per day."

As always, if you're interested in talking with me more about your individual nutrition needs, please email me at nick@crossfit1808.com to set up a time to meet about your health needs. Sometimes it's the accountability that keeps you motivated.

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

About the author: Nick Fiorilli is the Co-Owner of CrossFit 1808, Director of Operations and Marketing and small business attorney. Nick is a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Nick works with clients on implementing better and sustainable nutrition habits and guide those who are willing to make a change in their health and wellness - through nutrition, exercise and mindfulness. You can reach Nick at Nick@CrossFit1808.com. 
Instagram - 
@nfiorilli Facebook - Nick Fiorilli

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HEALTH, WELLNESS AND HAPPINESS

Health, wellness and ultimate happiness essentially goes beyond the food we put on our plate and the time spent in the gym. While those are two important aspects, there's much more that contributes to finding balance in life. Watch here. I'd be happy to hear your thoughts.

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

About the author: Nick Fiorilli is the Co-Owner of CrossFit 1808, Director of Operations and Marketing and small business attorney. Nick is a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Nick works with clients on implementing better and sustainable nutrition habits and guide those who are willing to make a change in their health and wellness - through nutrition, exercise and mindfulness. You can reach Nick at CrossFit1808@gmail.com. 
Instagram - @nfiorilli
Facebook - Nick Fiorilli

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RECIPES FOR SUCCESS
Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

Back at it. First, have you been tracking your sleep? I'm still am and the app I use to track it helps keep me accountable to getting my 7 hours each night. Overall I feel much better, less stressed and find it easier to make better decisions when it comes to my food choices.

Speaking of which, in this blog post I'd like to share with you two of my go to snacks/meals to give you some insight as to what I do to prepare and keep on track with my nutrition. 

As pictured above, the fruit and yogurt parfait has become a staple snack for me for several reasons. There's a lot of bang for your buck in it. It's also a great way to get quality protein in your diet, mix in some carb pre and post workouts and feed that sweet tooth in a much healthier fashion. Below are my choice's for ingredients.

Fresh fruit - I usually use a combination of Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries. McCabe's Granola - True Original. Dannon Oikos 0% Fat Greek Yogurt - Plain

Fresh fruit - I usually use a combination of Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries. McCabe's Granola - True Original. Dannon Oikos 0% Fat Greek Yogurt - Plain

There are tons of choices out there with granola and greek yogurt. I try to stick with Original style granola (not the flavored ones). I try to find granola that keeps carbs lower (just incase I get a little lax with my serving) and sugars lower as well.

For greek yogurt, there are many brands to choose from. I prefer Dannon Oikos 0% fat Plain. Of course there are flavored options as well but I like to avoid added sugars or artificial flavors.  Besides, the granola and fruit give you all the flavor you need. 

This little snack provides 8gF/23gC/26gP - perfect for a pre-workout snack and/or post-workout snack. (These macros are based on 1/4 cup granola, 1/2 cup fruit, and about 1 cup or yogurt)

As a side note: my diet overall does not and did not include much dairy. The addition of greek yogurt is very recent (last 2 months) but I have found that I don't have any negative responses to it. In fact, because greek yogurt is a fermented dairy, it's a great probiotic and can help with digestive function and immune system support. 

Give this easy to make and delicious little snack a try. You won't regret it. 

The second meal is also something I have recently taken a liking to: the Fiorilli Frittata. Inspired by Marcus Filly (CrossFit Games Athlete and I've mentioned him before in a previous post), this is a great way to have breakfast ready each morning. Another bang for your buck meal. 

Here are the ingredients I typically choose to make this:

Ingredients for the Fiorilli Frittata

Ingredients for the Fiorilli Frittata

  • Meat - Simple Truth Pork Sausage - although I've also used Mild Italian Sausage
  • Bacon - Center Cut Bacon - 4 slices
  • Green Pepper - medium size
  • Sweet Potato - medium size
  • Baby Spinach - 1 to 1 1/2 cup 
  • Eggs - 18

To prepare the ingredients for cooking it took me 30 mins. Actual baking time once in the oven is approximately 50 minutes. Once you've gathered the ingredients you like, here's how to prepare it:

  • Cut up Green Pepper into small pieces
  • Peel Sweet Potato and cut into small cubes
  • Toss into skillet with 1 to 1 1/2 cup of Baby Spinach
Green Pepper, Sweet Potato and Baby Spinach - sauté for a few minutes

Green Pepper, Sweet Potato and Baby Spinach - sauté for a few minutes

  • While you are cutting up the veggies, you can get the meat in another skillet and start browning that.
Simple Truth Pork Sausage

Simple Truth Pork Sausage

  • I precooked the bacon in the microwave to get it a little crisp. Once the meat is browned/cooked, I add the meat and bacon to the veggie skillet to sauté all ingredients for a few minutes.  
Meat and Veggies mixed and sautéed

Meat and Veggies mixed and sautéed

  • Next, I put all sautéed ingredients into a Pyrex baking dish.
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  • Next, I use all 18 eggs. I whipped them in a large bowl and pour the whipped eggs over top the ingredients and place in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 50-55 minutes.
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50-55 minutes later I have a fully cooked and ready to eat Frittata. I let it cool and then cut into 6 pieces. I put each piece in tupperware for breakfast for the rest of the week. Boom - I already know where I'm getting my breakfast. 

Fiorilli Frittata

Fiorilli Frittata

Breakfast Monday through Friday - aka Breakfast AF

Breakfast Monday through Friday - aka Breakfast AF

Maybe I have a little as it's fresh out of the oven.

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

The estimated macro breakdown per serving: 30gP/6gC/20gF. 

The take away from this post is this: healthy eating does not have to be this complex and overwhelming thing. Simply prepare for success. I know my weekday mornings can be hectic, but by taking the hour and a half on Sunday, I have one less thing to worry about in the mornings for the week. I start my day off with a healthy meal and kickstart my body for the day. Additionally, taking the time to prepare your food adds a sentimental element to nutrition. You care more about the food (that sounds weird but you do) and take pride in the process of cooking. It's an element you don't get or understand when you run through that drive through and get that sausage, egg and cheese mcmuffin. 

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach

About the author: Nick Fiorilli is the Co-Owner of CrossFit 1808, Director of Operations and Marketing and small business attorney. Nick is a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Nick works with clients on implementing better and sustainable nutrition habits and guide those who are willing to make a change in their health and wellness - through nutrition, exercise and mindfulness. You can reach Nick at CrossFit1808@gmail.com.  

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SLEEP AND YOUR HEALTH

Normally when we think of health, fitness and weight loss, we immediately think about eating healthier, exercise and maybe drinking more water. But have you ever thought about your sleep (or lack thereof) and the role it plays on your health?

If you haven't - then sit back, sip that afternoon coffee and listen up. No matter what your goals are, sleep should be at the forefront of that list. Without adequate sleep we are depriving ourselves of the ability to think more clearly, have more energy throughout the day, hit workouts harder, recover faster and keep our bodies in a good rhythm. 

I am subscribed to receive emails from Comptrain (a free CrossFit competitors-based program designed by Ben Bergeron) and in one of his latest emails he talked about things in our life that we absolutely have control over. They were (in no particular order): 1) Exercise, 2) Nutrition 3) Recovery, 4) Mindset and 5) Sleep.

In line with my post from last week, these 5 things ARE completely within our control and should be non-negotiable when it comes to taking care of yourself.  In my opinion, if we are deficient or lacking in any one of these 5 areas, we're probably deficient in all 5 as a whole.  I think all 5 areas play off each other and the more balance we can have between them, the more balanced of a life we can live.  Up until recently, I probably would have said Nutrition was the most important. However, I now believe it is sleep. I am not an expert on sleep, nor will I claim to be. If you want an expert and scientific opinion on sleep and its effects on health, Matthew Walker is the guy (Check out his New York Times Best Seller Why We Sleep, Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams)

I'll be the first to admit that my sleep habits were poor. It was the one thing I sacrificed at the expense of trying to get other things done - work, emails, programs, reading, tv shows, spending extra time with family, etc. I'm sure we can all relate. I am consistently preaching to members at 1808 of the importance of getting to the gym, but not at the expense of sleep and yet, I was doing it myself. Hypocrite.

For probably the last year or so I was averaging anywhere from 4-5 hours of sleep per night. Maybe on a "good" night I got 6 hours. Man, what was I doing? I found myself dragging throughout the day, constantly taking naps in the middle of the day and trying to survive on an unhealthy amount of coffee. Even further, the lack of sleep was affecting my ability to think clearly, led to poor nutrition choices, and less energy and motivation for hitting workouts in the gym. So I decided to do something about it.

It didn't take much for me to change this around and monitor how things went. I downloaded an app called Sleep Watch. It syncs to my Apple Watch and monitors my sleep patterns every night. I set my goal to get 7 hours of sleep each night. Below are the results from the last two and half weeks.

Sleep Watch app, available in App Store on iPhone. Couldn't crop picture to get the 24-26th in. 

Sleep Watch app, available in App Store on iPhone. Couldn't crop picture to get the 24-26th in. 

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This app holds me accountable and also opened my eyes to a number of things. First, how bad my sleep habits were prior to this. They still aren't great, but I'm moving in the right direction to be more consistent from night to night (consistency is key with EVERYTHING). Second, it keeps me accountable to get to bed at the same time knowing my wake up time every morning is the same. I know I have to be up between 4 and 5am, so going to bed at 11pm like I normally would, just isn't going to cut it anymore. Finally, it gives me feedback on the type of sleep I'm getting. 

  • In the top left of the pic is whether I met my goal of 7 hours.
  • Top right is the 3 day Sleep Charge. If I fall behind on sleep for a few nights, I have to work to get it back up.
  • Total restful sleep estimates the total amount of restful sleep - where I am most still and exhibit the least amount of activity.
  • Sleeping Heart Rate Dip monitors my sleeping heart rate compared to my waking heart rate. Research seems to suggest that a greater dip in sleeping heart rate may be better for overall health and cardiovascular health. 
  • The Heart Box is the Average Sleeping Heart Rate - most nights I'm in the low-mid 40s.  
  • The Regular Box is the 7-day Sleep Rhythm - showing in % my consistency of sleep times from day-to-day. This is important as research suggests that maintaining a regular rhythm of sleep day-to-day is better for waking function, more positive mood, and self reported better sleep quality.  

This little app has really helped keep me focused on getting more sleep. And to be honest, it has worked. I wake up more rested and have more energy throughout the day. I drink far less coffee and have been more motivated to prepare meals ahead of time to avoid poor nutrition choices. If that's not enough to convince you that you should take a look at your sleep habits and make adjustments then how about this - Adequate sleep helps:

  • Support fat loss
  • Support muscle growth 
  • Recovery from training/exercise (especially if your volume of training is high)
  • Prevent injury (because you're more aware of what you're doing, make better decisions)

Further, Walker's (he's a PhD and professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California) take is that with little sleep, there is low energy and disease. But with adequate sleep, there's health and vitality. His studies have shown that too little sleep has significant effects on health, like:

  • After just one night of only four or five hours’ sleep, your natural killer cells – the ones that attack the cancer cells that appear in your body every day – drop by 70%, or
  • lack of sleep is linked to cancer of the bowel, prostate and breast
  • adults aged 45 years or older who sleep less than six hours a night are 200% more likely to have a heart attack or stroke in their lifetime (blood pressure plays a role too)
  • could be early pathway to Alzheimer's Disease
  • Lower immune function

Scary stuff. And it all starts with something we have complete control over. And if you say you don't have control over when you get to sleep, or that your days are just to hectic that it's too hard to get to bed at the same time each night - JUST STOP IT. Stop the pity party or thoughts that you're so special that things just can't change. We all work jobs, have busy lives, etc. But we can all make little changes to get things going in the right direction. PRIORITIZE YOUR HEALTH.

If you want change to happen in your life, start making changes. Sure, change is always tough. It brings new challenges and sometimes fear. But man, making change for the better and getting control of your life (and health) back - that's empowering. 

Do yourself a favor and look at your sleep habits. It's one of the easiest things to change to get you going in the right direction. Shoot for 7-8 hours of sleep and find something to track this so you have concrete evidence. Then find yourself with more energy, prone to less disease and sickness, recovering better, killing it in the gym, in a better mood and making better choices

As always, I'm here to help, guide and support you along the way.  

Afterthought: Having trouble falling asleep or getting good sleep, try these 8 things to work towards better, more consistent sleep:

  • Eat something when you wake up - i.e. Breakfast AF
  • Turn the lights on so your body responds to the light
  • Fill your day with things to do - stay active - get to 1808 and hit a workout ;)
  • Don't drink caffeine after 2pm
  • In the evening - less phone, computer and tv - pick up a book and read
  • Sleep in a dark room in a comfortable bed and keep room temp cool 
  • Go to bed around the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning - yes, even on weekend - a good rhythm
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About the author: Nick Fiorilli is the Co-Owner of CrossFit 1808, Director of Operations and Marketing and small business attorney. Nick is a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer and an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Nick works with clients on implementing better and sustainable nutrition habits and guide those who are willing to make a change in their health and wellness - through nutrition, exercise and mindfulness. You can reach Nick at CrossFit1808@gmail.com.  

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