At Home Holiday Workouts

The holidays are here. Thanksgiving is just a few days away and before we know it, Christmas will be here. 

The kids are out of school this week, there’s shopping to be done, fellowship with friends and family. Let’s face it, there’s just not much time to workout. But because of that limited time doesn’t mean we should stop working out. Let’s revise those workouts and keep them quick, efficient, and simple. 

Here’s five workouts you can do from home this week that will help you stay active, burn calories, and have fun!

Monday

For time:

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1

  • Air squat
  • Push up

Notes: It you want to make this a longer workout, double the reps. 20-18-16, etc. If you’re unable to do a push up from the ground, make it an incline push up from a bench or box. 

Tuesday

12-minute AMRAP10

  • Lunges
  • 30-second plank hold on elbows
  • 10 Burpees
  • 30-second plank hold on elbows

Notes: If you’re unable to do a lunge, sub air squats. Break up the plank hold as needed to accumulate 30 seconds. 

Wednesday

For Time:

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10

  • Burpees
  • Sit ups

Notes: This should be short, fast, and intense. 

Thursday

For time:

  • 100 Lunges
  • 75 air squats
  • 50 push ups
  • 25 burpees

Notes: If you’re unable to lunge, sub jumping jacks. Use a bench or box if unable to do a pushup from the ground. 

Friday

For max reps 

Tabata:

  • Squats
  • Push ups
  • Sit ups

Notes: 4 minutes each exercise – 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest for 8 rounds 8 rounds of air squats, then 8 rounds of push ups, then 8 rounds of sit ups. The total workout should be 12 minutes. Keep track of total reps. 

How to stay active during the holidays

My favorite time of year is here!! Thanksgiving is around the corner, which means Christmas is soon approaching. I sweat less when walking to my car, twinkle lights are going up, everyone is anticipating a much needed break from work (love you guys but *raises hand*). But let’s not forget one of the best parts of the holidays…

The food. 

Holiday parties are filled with home-made goodies, powdered sugar is as abundant as the cedar in the air, peppermint schnapps is good in literally anything, and your couch by the fire is so, so comfy. It’s almost like you could stay there forever with a soft blanket and a good movie with friends and family. 

I will be the first to admit that when I’m home, literally no calories matter. I don’t generally buy junk food so I don’t eat it on a regular basis, but, like me, my mom looooooves chocolate, and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, and salty snacks to go with the chocolate, and also ice cream. Please do not forget the ice cream. 

When any of the kids are home, my mom sees it as a special opportunity to get all the snacks and cook all the things. I am not mad about this, but I also lack all self control because I’m on “vacation”. 

To make matters worse, I refuse to workout. As a coach, I’m constantly moving for multiple hours of the day, plus hopefully working out on my own. Being home is my rest time. Which is good to an extent, but when it’s been a week and all I’ve done is snack on the chocolate bowl and lay on the couch with my favorite pup, I start to feel gross. 

This year, I’m going home for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Usually it’s just one. This season, I am determined to do things differently. I decided to brainstorm some things to do to keep active that is fun for the whole family and not just me trying to work out in the backyard! Fitness and family bonding! What more could you want!

Bodyweight workouts at home! 

You don’t always need a gym and barbells and medballs to workout. Your bodyweight is all you need to work with! Check out these at home workouts that you can pull the whole family into! 

Turkey trots.

My family has never done one of these, and honestly, it’s one of my biggest fears that I will marry into a family that does, but if this kind of thing is your jam, check out this site to find one near you! 

Just move your body.

If getting your family out of the house to do a workout or a 5k isn’t an option, try some easy things like taking a family walk after dinners! This will not only help your food digest a little better, but it is great bonding time as well. Win-win! 

Taking small children to a park is another great option! They’re more active than you, so even if you just walk around with a bit to make sure they don’t die, you’ll be getting more activity than if you were on the couch. Don’t have small children in your family? Take your dog to the park. Don’t have a dog? Borrow one. Don’t know how to borrow one? Email me directly. I know people. 

Another idea could be just to get going on that Christmas shopping. Remember malls? We all know you’re going to need to anyways, so take the long way to your favorite mall and get your stroll on as you check people off your Christmas list! 

There you have it. Plenty of ways to stay active during the holidays that you can share with those around you, and not feel pressured to drop into a gym (but do it if that empowers you, you go girl). If you have any questions or need more suggestions, please feel free to email me at [email protected]. I’d love to chat! 

Now, go and enjoy family and friends and good food guilt free, with a bit of activity sprinkled in once a day for about 30 minutes. Your body will thank you. 

In love and chocolate (and) labradors,

McKenzie

WODs for the road: 10 no-equipment workouts you can do anytime, anywhere

Whether you’re heading home or moving into hosting mode this holiday season, one thing’s for sure: your time in the gym during these end-of-year months can start to feel sparse. But don’t let the hustle and bustle of the holidays deter you from staying active! 

To help keep you moving, here are 2 weeks of workouts you can do anytime, anywhere — no equipment needed! 

#1

4 Rounds For Time:

Run 400m

50 Air Squats

25 Sit-ups

#2

10 Rounds For Time:

5 Pushups

10 Hollow rocks

15 Squat jumps

#3

For Time:

200m Walking lunge

#4

5 Rounds:

1 Hill sprint

25 Tuck-ups*

*At the top of the hill perform your tuck-ups; rest as you walk back down to the start

#5

Moving continuously for 20:00:

20 Glute bridges

15 V-ups

10 Bear pushups

#6

30-20-10

Burpees

Jumping lunges

Russian twists

#7

In 30:00 (for form, not for time), in partners:

10 Hamstring curls*

20 Air squats

30 Plank up-downs

*Partners trade off doing the curls; then move together during the squats and up-downs.

#8

For time:

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1

Push-ups, with a 100 meter sprint between sets

#9

For Time:

Run 1 mile

Spend a total of 5 minutes in a hollow hold

Run 1 mile

#10

For time, for 200m:

1 burpee + 1 broad jump + 5 air squats

As always, if you get stuck on a movement or need to modify, there ain’t no shame in the scaling game. If you need ideas for how and what to modify, don’t hesitate to reach out. Happy holidays, y’all! 

Member Spotlight: Kristen Machczynski

Meet Kristen Machczynski — but you can call her Mac. Mac is the living, breathing product of if a Lisa Frank sticker sheet and a sunny 70 degree day had a baby. She’s colorful, joyous, and brings a ray of light to the 5:30am. Check out this blog to learn more about one of our newest members! 

Q: What got you into CrossFit? What’s your favorite part about it? 

A: I got into CrossFit because I was looking for a new group of humans with whom I could play and make friends. And I did. And it was awesome. And it continues to be!  My favorite part about CrossFit is when people support other people – just cool to see someone doing extra burpees to help a fellow friend along in a particularly ass-kicking workout. 

Q: How do you have so much energy at 5:30am? Please share your secrets. 

A: 5:30am CrossFit classes are a gift, y’all. Most of you will roll your eyes at that, but when you’re done and heaving and super sweaty before the sun rises, there is a definite “I am awesome” feeling you get. As far as being spunky in the morning, it’s cliche as all get out, but I’m just awake once my feet hit the floor – that’s the trick. Hit the floor and not the snooze button. 

Q: When eating any meal, do you save the best for last, or eat the best thing first? 

A: Ooh, good one. I’m a “can’t wait, must have” kinda gal, so I’d probably eat most of the best part of the meal first, and then save a teeny bit for last to savor it at the end. Yup. That sounds about right. Because I can’t ever just answer a question in a straightforward manner. 

Q: You’ve got a lot of tats. Which one is your favorite and why? 

A: I’ve got 7 tattoos, but always up for more. I think my favorite is the octopus on my ribcage. It’s for my son, Miles. He loves octopus and it was his favorite food when he was not even 3 years old – I kid you not. Instead of his name, I got an octopus. It’s fitting. My second favorite is my “3, 2, 1…” in honor of my favorite hard-as-hell, push yourself to the limit sport. 😉 

Q: From what you’ve shared, it seems like you’ve got a pretty cool son. What’s your favorite thing about being is mom? 

A: My son, Miles, is hilarious. My favorite part of being his mom is seeing how funny he’s becoming, but also when he gives me kisses, tells me he loves me, and then adds, “Love you the most. The end. I win.” Sorry, little dude. I’m the winner there. 

Wait, sorry, there’s dust in our eyes. 

Mack, we’re so glad you’re around. Stay forever?

Refuel Recipe: Amish Oatmeal

A Nutrition Nugget with Lauren Bratcher, Nutrition Coach

Welcome to the first of many Refuel Recipes! Each month, we’re gonna focus on one key ingredient that’s both delicious and nutritious and teach you how to incorporate it into your diet in a realistic, sustainable, tasty way! 

This month: Oats! This versatile little carbohydrate packs a big fiber punch and comes in many shapes and sizes. Before we dive into our first recipe, let’s learn about  why oats are so awesome.

Oats boast an impressive nutritional resume. One unassuming cup of oats provides your morning routine with 6g of protein, 4g of fiber and nearly 70% of your daily recommended manganese (a mineral that aids in bone formation!).

Oats fill you up and keep you that way. Even though one cup of oats only contains 147 calories, the high fiber, low GI qualities of this grain keep your blood sugars low, mean they are digested slowly and ultimately keep you fuller, longer! 

These guys are jacks of all trades. You probably are most familiar with oats from their longstanding lead role in the breakfast classic, oatmeal, but when you think outside the bowl you will soon find that oats are wonderful added to baked goods, thrown into smoothies, rolled up into energy balls, or even used as typical grain replacements for some savory soups! ! 

Our first oat-centric recipe is one of my all-time favorites. You can find this in my oven every Sunday afternoon. This recipe is adapted from Healthy Steps Nutrition

Amish Oatmeal

Serving size: 3/4 cup (or 1 square) | Number of servings: 10 

Nutrition facts per serving: Calories – 140 | Fat – 6g | Carbs – 17g | Protein – 6g

Prep time: 5m | Cook time: 25m 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup instant oats
  • 3 tbsp light nectar agave, honey, or maple syrup
  • 2/3 cup milk of your choice
  • 3 tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 1 cup egg whites
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Optional toppings to taste:
    • Dried berries
    • Nuts and seeds
    • Nut butter
    • Shredded coconut
    • Literally anything that sounds good

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat 13×9 pan with coconut oil 
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mix well
  3. Pour mixed ingredients into pan, spread evenly into one layer edge-to-edge
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until edges are golden brown
  5. Let cool, cut into 8-10 squares and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days

Fear Not the Freezer Meal

I hear this all the time: 

“I wanna eat clean and set myself up for success, but I’m just so tired and hungry when I get home from work so I just grab whatever’s the easiest… which is usually cereal or chips.”

First, let’s all agree — cereal and chips are delicious. Why wouldn’t you grab them first? But like most things, healthy nutrition isn’t so black and white.

Our lifestyles influence our habits, our habits influence our choices, and our choices — our results. So if you’re a busy person who knows that #mealprepsunday sounds idyllic but just ain’t gonna happen for you, yet know you won’t achieve your goals on chips and cereal alone — what do you do?

Y’all, our freezers aren’t just for ice cream and 1,000 brown bananas that you’ll maybe one day think about making banana bread with. And not all packaged foods are sinister. Check out a few of my favorite freezer foods that are pretty clean and quick to prep:

Any of Wal-Mart’s Whole30 Approved Freezer Meals

These bowls are not only flavorful, but packed with protein and veggies. Throw them in a pan, add a fried egg on top for a little more sustenance and voila — a fast and furiously nutritious meal. 

Costco/Trident Wild Alaskan Salmon Burgers

A super easy protein source for those of you who don’t like dealing with raw fish — here are two ways I like to eat these patties:

  • Pan fry, chop, and throw in a bowl with rice, sesame seeds, seaweed chips, cucumbers, and pre-julienned broccoli slaw with whatever Asian-inspired dressing tickles my fancy.
  • Pan fry, and stack on top of all my favorite burger fixings with a hearty bun and a salad on the side.

Frozen Chicken Nuggets (hear me out) 

Chicken nuggets aren’t just for kids, you know. There are a few brands who do nugs right — and the macros are almost too good to be true. If you’re at Costco, check out Golden Platter’s big bag of nuggets (HEB sells them, too). Otherwise, Applegate and Everyday Value 365 has some tasty options. 

Garden Lites Veggie Cakes

I love these little cakes for breakfast (or breakfast for dinner!). Served with a protein/fat source of your choosing (eggs, bacon, sausage, yum) — you’ve got a super fast and easy balanced plate.

Costco/Coleman Organic Chicken Meatballs

Okay technically not *frozen* but these are another killer Costco find. These balls come in 2lb packages so you can feed your family in one fell swoop. For the fastest possible way to eat these — grab your favorite jar of red sauce, spiralize some zucchini and toss it all in with your favorite noodles for a very easy spaghetti and meatballs. 

Need more freezer meal ideas? I’ve got plenty. Shoot me a note — [email protected]

If you read this and you’re still not convinced, let’s talk about it! My inbox is always open — [email protected]

Lauren Bratcher is NASM Certified and a long time nutrition-enthusiast. As CrossFit Renew’s Nutrition Coach, she believes that something as fundamental as nutrition shouldn’t have to be complicated and is passionate about helping people take control of their personal nutrition journeys.

Is Butter a Carb?

In 2006, Sir Atkin claimed carbs were the root of all evil. Then, in 2016, carbs grew a hashtag and went viral on Instagram. 

As with most trendy diets, we’ve no doubt seen our fair share of no-carb, low-carb, pro-carb fads. But why does this one measly macro get such a bad (whole wheat) wrap?  Misinformation and manipulative memes, mostly. But with the right information and proper coaching and counsel, you too can finally break free from the carbohydrate handcuffs and start under thinking your diet for a change. 

Here’s everything you need to know about carbs in 4 quick bit(e)s: 

Eating carbs don’t make you fat

Carbs are a necessary macronutrient for a healthy, balanced diet. Carbs alone don’t cause fat gain. Fat gain is a result of eating more calories than you expend, repeatedly. Eat the burger bun, you will not die.

Avoiding carbs won’t make you fit

On the flip side, suer low-carb diets don’t work for everyone, and abiding by one isn’t the magical solution to achieving your nutrition goals. Again, carbohydrates are a necessary component of a well-rounded diet comprised of balanced proteins, fats, and carbs. 

There are two types of carbs in this world

On the one hand, you’ve got simple carbohydrates. These are the fast-burning buddies that are great pre (or mid!) workout, but may leave you hungry not too long after you nosh. Then you have complex carbs; ones that are a bit tougher to break down, so they take longer to burn. These are often higher in fiber and keep your blood sugar from spiking.

Not all carbs come from “white foods”

And today in shocking news: sugar, pasta, rice, breads, and white potatoes aren’t the only sources from which you can eat carbs. Fruits, starchy vegetables, and sweet potatoes are not only colorful, but excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. 

If you read this and you’re still not convinced, let’s talk about it! My inbox is always open — [email protected]

Lauren Bratcher is NASM Certified and a long time nutrition-enthusiast. As CrossFit Renew’s Nutrition Coach, she believes that something as fundamental as nutrition shouldn’t have to be complicated and is passionate about helping people take control of their personal nutrition journeys.

How to CrossFit as a Tall Person: Part 1

What do Rich Froning, Tia Toomey, Mat Fraser, Katrin Davidsdottir, and Justin Hroch all have in common? In Justin’s dreams, it’s that they’re all CrossFit Games champions. But for the sake of my prompt:

They’re all built the same!

In case you haven’t noticed, most people who are competitive at the sport of CrossFit aren’t tall, skinny, big or small — they’re typically shorter than average, crazy strong, and have an ungodly motor. They are compact and powerful — like a pocket microwave.

Early on in my CrossFit hobby (let’s be honest… it ain’t a career), I asked myself the question, “Where is my place?”… in both the CrossFit world and in my home gym.

I quickly learned that I’ll never be able to sprint the fastest or jump the highest or burpee the best. But I also learned that while I probably won’t be Games-level elite — I can get faster, jump higher, or get better at burpees. 

As a tall dude (6’5”) who weighs more than 250lbs and has old baseball shoulder injuries… CrossFit tends to ALWAYS humble me. The only days I feel any kind of competitive edge are the days when the movements are tailored to my size. Movements like rowing, the assault bike, wall balls, box jumps, deadlifts, or fast barbell cycling from a hang position are just some of the movements that make tall people feel like Mat Fraser — even for a second.

So if you peep the workout the night before and see it’s a long grinder full of running, handstand pushups, and ring dips and you think to yourself, “mmm today sounds like a great rest day for me.” You’re not alone, BUT here’s my encouragement to you (and to myself): show up, do what’s hard, and keep at it. 

CrossFit is less about your Wodify score, and more about whether you’re fit to pee on your own in your 70s. It’s about wanting to take care of yourself because you have people in your life who depend on you (family, friends, furry family friends) to be there with/for them. 

Now, that’s not to say there aren’t some things we, as Sadie would call us, Tree People, can be working on to make us more CrossFit friendly — but you’ll have to stay tuned for Part 2. 

Until then: meet me at the gym on a day that looks like a real solid rest day, and we’ll get after it together. 

Member Spotlight: Chris Taylor

Chris Taylor is pretty new to the Renew Crew. He hails from Florida, so he just moved from one humid heat swamp to another, but at least we have better brisket. You also won’t catch him without a fun ass sweatband ‘cause he has no time for sweat in or around his eyes.  Learn more about this Floridian-turned-Austinite:

Q: Do you feel like your life has improved since joining Renew? If so, how? 

A: Sure do. Better stamina, skill work, learned more stretches to improve form and reduce soreness. 

Q: If you could eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

A: Yellow rice, refried beans, tostones, breaded chicken and unlimited pink sauce*.

*to clarify, this is ketchup and mayo mixed together. 

Q: If we opened your music app right now, what would most likely be playing? 

A: Superposition by Young the Giant

Q: What is the most devious thing you did as a child? 

A: Played ding dong ditch in neighborhood.

Q: What was your favorite thing about living in Florida? 

A: Tie: Busch gardens and the rain 

Q: What is one thing in life that you’re really proud of (outside of CrossFit)?

A: Getting my degree in pharmacy. 

So, basically, if you need to score some OTC meds, he’s your guy. Also if a ghost rings your doorbell this Halloween, he’s probably your guy, too. Super glad to have you around, Chris! 

Member Spotlight: Evan Taylor

Meet Evan. After being on the fence about joining for almost an entire a year, he jumped shin-first into a box and joined Renew. And now we can’t get him to leave. Check out this month’s Member Spotlight and learn more about the guy who box jumped his shin off: 

Q: Why did you join CrossFit Renew?

A: I joined to be in an environment where I can push myself, push others, and be pushed. I’ve always been drawn towards environments that are intense and very demanding and CrossFit is the perfect mix of those.

Q: What are you working on now?

A:  Right now I am trying to work on kipping pull-ups, double-unders (because doing double the amount of single-unders on a metcon makes me want to die), and getting under the bar faster on cleans. 

Q: What’s your favorite CrossFit Renew memory?

A: Favorite CR memory has to be the morning I either didn’t jump high enough on a box and landed on the corner giving me the infamous shin-hole that is still healing two months later. That or the morning I puked and bled in the same workout. 

Q: What’s the most embarrassing memory you have? 

A: I was playing dodgeball in 6th grade and got hit in the stomach super hard and pooped my pants. I waddled over to coach and told him and asked if I could go to the restroom.

Q: As a child, what did you dream of growing up to be? Did you fulfill that dream? (AKA tell us what you do)

A: Currently* I am a project engineer for a general contractor. I help build commercial buildings! My job consists of assisting the superintendent and project manager to make sure that the job gets done and the owner is satisfied. 

*This is a very new position and we are all so very proud of you for landing it!!

Q: What is one thing you’ve accomplished outside of the gym that you’re really proud of? 

A: One thing I am proud of accomplishing outside of the gym is finishing my two year stint as a resident at the Austin Stone – I’m excited for what is next and what the residency has prepared me for!

If you see him around, introduce yourself and ask him how his shins are lately. We all pray they will stay covered with the right amount of skin. Thanks for making Renew more fun, Evan!