Mequon CrossFit Mortalis

Summertime Salsa

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Written by Coach Lisa

Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of all of the fresh produce we have available in the midwest! I love a good salsa, and while the traditional tomato, onion and cilantro varieties are great, I was looking for something fresh and new.

Presenting my current favorite: Summer Corn Salsa

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Lisa’s Summertime Salsa

You Will Need

2 ears corn, roasted with the kernels removed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
1 jalapeño, diced (more if you want more heat!)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped
salt
pepper
lime juice

Method

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. If you are not serving or eating this right away, I recommend leaving the avocado out so it does not brown – add in avocado right before you enjoy! Season to taste with salt, pepper and lime juice.

This recipe is super simple, and healthy! With the exception of the corn, no cooking is required.

Ways I suggest you enjoy this: On healthy chips, as a dip for veggies, on a taco salad, or on top of your eggs in the morning. Options are unlimited!

Let me know how you like it!

Pistol Squat Progressions

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Video by Coach Danni

The pistol squat is hard to master. If you are struggling to perfect it, try one of these progressions from Danni!

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Eat Your Brussels, and Enjoy Them Too!

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Written by Coach Lisa

I’m sure most of you are still not eating enough vegetables throughout your day and are in need of recipes that will want to make you eat them!

Any time I bring up Brussels sprouts as an option, most people wrinkle their nose at the suggestion. What I’ve found is if there is a vegetable someone doesn’t like, it is most likely because he or she has not had it prepared in such a way to bring out the best flavor.

Example: someone’s mother boiled brussels sprouts when they were a child and was served mushy, flavorless sprouts – it doesn’t have to be this way! Try my recipe below and see if you will end up loving them as much as Anthony and I do!

Pan Seared Brussels and Bacon

You Will Need

1 pkg brussels sprouts (see image below)
1/3 package thick cut bacon
pepper
garlic powder
1 tbsp olive oil*

Method

Take a skillet, (cast iron preferred), and begin to preheat it over medium-low heat.
Cut the hard ends off of the brussels sprouts – don’t skip this step!
Slice eat sprout in half (or quarter them if they are large). Set aside.
Stack strips of bacon and slice lengthwise first, then chop into 1/2 inch pieces.
Add your bacon to your skillet and increase heat to medium.
Let bacon cook and when a minority have begun to turn golden brown, add your brussels sprouts to the pan.
Stir to incorporate and coat the sprouts in the bacon fat.
*If there is not enough bacon fat in the skillet to coat all brussels, add in the tablespoon of olive oil and mix to coat.
Season with pepper and a bit of garlic powder.
Cook your mixture for approximately 5 minutes, until sprouts turn bright green.
Increase skillet temperature to medium-high heat and begin to sear the brussels sprouts. Cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.
Your dish is done when brussels sprouts are tender, but slightly charred and bacon is crisp!

Other Cooking Suggestions

This dish is really simple and super delicious with just bacon and brussels sprouts, but there are other ingredients I recommend to change it up a bit.

Mushrooms: Choose hearty mushrooms such as button or portabella (or shiitake if you’re looking for an anti-inflammatory effect!), and roughly chop them. Add these to your skillet at the same time as the brussels sprouts.

Apples: Want to give your dish a healthy, sweet twist? Chop up 1-2 Granny Smith apples, leaving the skin on for added nutrients. Add the apples to you skillet about halfway through the cooking process.

Give this dish a try and change your opinion of brussels sprouts! Let me know how you like it!

3 Books That Inspired My Fitness Career (So Far)

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Written by Coach Anthony

Enter the Kettlebell, Pavel Tsatsouline

In 2013, I was forced to leave the Marine Corps against my wishes. I had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and found myself getting very out of shape. I was used to being surrounded by some of the fittest men in the world, Recon Marines. Now that I wasn’t in their company anymore, I had no one to compete with on a daily basis and my MS symptoms started to increase. As I described in my article How Kettlebells Saved My Athletic Career it became very difficult for me to see and walk around without falling, and exercise of any kind was impossible. After about 6 months of this, I met up with my old Recon team at a wedding in New York. One of my teammates, Mike, told me something I will never forget: “Moro, Stop being a p***y”! He was right – I had to do something to get back in shape and be seen as an asset again instead of a liability to everyone around me.

I began an 8-week rowing program to increase my aerobic capacity. It worked great! For me though, it wasn’t enough. My goal was to play football in college again. My grip strength wasn’t strong enough for Olympic weightlifting and that was a big component of being a college-level football player. I scoured the internet and found a guy named Pavel. He’s the Soviet special forces guy who brought kettlebells to America in the late 90’s. His book Enter The Kettlebell dives into the history of kettlebell training in the Soviet Union, in particular their military, which is one of the reasons I became drawn to learning everything I could about this kind of training. He compares and contrasts Russian and American lifestyles and training techniques. This book will tell you everything you need to begin training with this old school Soviet secret weapon and explain the most basic exercises needed to prepare a well-rounded fitness program and its benefits.

I began his workout in the back of the book he that refers to as the “Rite of Passage”. For the next 12 weeks, I trained only with kettlebells and saw some awesome results. I even signed up for the Russian Kettlebell Challenge certification based on the content of the book. This was a 4-day seminar in Minneapolis, packed full of thousands of reps in each exercise to achieve perfection with unmatched coaching from their very professional staff! I left that certification as an RKC level-1 coach and with a new approach to coaching and programming. The Recon Man inside me was finally back!

Anthony RKC

Convict Conditioning, Paul “Coach” Wade

When my football career finally came to an end, I realized I was very strong with a bar on my back or in my hands, but there were some fitness benchmarks I was nowhere near accomplishing. Pistol squats, single arm pull-ups, and free-standing handstand pushups were all very appealing to me, although I couldn’t complete them. The author of Convict Conditioning, Paul Wade, would soon help me figure out why. Nobody really knows for sure who Coach Wade is, but in his book, he talks about spending a majority of his adult life in prison. In fact, he spent time in some of America’s toughest prisons. One of the only ways to keep in shape and pass the time was to master bodyweight exercises. “Coach”, as he was known to the other inmates, gives the history of being strong and how we have lost touch with the basics, mastering our own bodyweight.

This is the best example of progressing and regressing exercises I have been exposed to. He compares your body to a lever and describes ways to lengthen, or if needed, shorten to accomplish various skills. This lined up precisely with college biomechanics courses I have taken. He made it very easy to understand and put into application. Towards the end of the book, Coach uses a chapter for each of his 6 “master exercises” paired with a 10-step program to achieve these with practice.

Similar to the kettlebell seminar, I enrolled in the Progressive Calisthenics Certification, which was based off the content of Paul Wade’s book. Again I passed the course and now had another trick up my sleeve to become a better, more well-rounded coach. The principles taught in this book, and then perfected in the PCC seminar carry over to most other forms of training and help to make the distinction between a starting point and mastering a new skill.

PCC

The Westside Barbell Book of Methods, Louie Simmons

Here is an example of a book that can be considered “The Bible” in the powerlifting world, maybe even the entire strength and conditioning community! Known for being the “strongest gym in the world”, Westside Barbell is invite-only and owned by a guy named Louie Simmons. While in the Army in 1966, Louie began his powerlifting career and has spent every minute since then reading, experimenting, and perfecting the sport of powerlifting. Louie draws his inspiration from the original Westside Barbell in Culver City, California and the old Soviet Dynamo Sports Club.

The Westside Barbell Book of Methods challenges most of what is taught in college these days and is a compilation of over 50 years of proven techniques. Westside Barbell is the birth place of the “conjugate method” of training, derived mainly from Soviet techniques with some Bulgarian and Chinese influence. The conjugate system used at Westside Barbell is unique from those though, taking only the most proven pieces from each and expanding on them.

This is a book I can’t seem to ever truly finish reading. I constantly find myself flipping back through the pages as a resource in my constant quest for perfection. Every time I re-read a section, my understanding of Lou’s methods is more clear. For me, The Westside Book of Methods is my “phone book” I know the number I need is in there, I just have to flip through and find it!

Headstands 101

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Written by Coach Danni

Skills in gymnastics are all about body awareness and control. This is why it is important to use progressions when you are learning new skills – it takes time to develop the strength and ability to be able to properly perform advanced gymnastics movements.

The headstand is one of those important progressions that teaches you body control, balance, and how to shift your weight while upside down.

Check out this video for instructions and tips to achieve a perfect headstand:

Mastering the headstand leads to many more gymnastics skills used in CrossFit, like handstands, handstand push-ups, and handstand walking.

We want to see you get upside down! Share a picture of you working on your headstand in or out of the gym and tag @moroperformance on instagram or facebook!

How to Make Salads Not Suck: Part 1

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Written by Coach Lisa

When you’re trying to eat healthier, what is the first thing you might add to your meal to incorporate more nutrients and vegetables? The most common answer: salad.

Salads are great! They can be quick and easy to throw together. The options for types of salads and combinations of vegetables are unlimited. They can be the main course of a meal or a side dish. You can make them kid-friendly, or they can be part of an elegant adult gathering.

What is the fastest way to ruin a salad? Dressing.

Don’t get me wrong, I think a salad should absolutely be dressed. However! Most store bought salad dressings are awful for you and destroy the healthy effort you’re trying to make by eating a salad in the first place.

Exhibit A: Three different ingredient lists from store-bought dressings.

The first dressing is from a large national brand, the second is an organic brand that uses phrases like “Natural Flavors,” “No Preservatives” to claim health, and the third is a top shelf brand that claims quality ingredients.

While all three are different brands, their ingredient lists aren’t all that different. The fewest ingredients listed is 11 and the most is 18. I had trouble finding a dressing with fewer than 10 ingredients, and no problem with more, but these are a pretty common representation of what you might pick up at your local grocery store.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in topping off my plate of salad with vegetable oil (canola or soybean), sugars, concentrates, preservatives and other ingredients I have trouble pronouncing.

My solution? I make my own salad dressing!

I think people are often intimidated by making their own sauces, dressings, dips, etcetera because they don’t know how, don’t think it will taste good, or it is too time consuming. Well guess what! My recipe is healthy, has only 7 ingredients and takes about 5 minutes to make enough to last you a week or more (depending how much you use per salad and how often you eat salad). Most importantly: IT’S GOOD!

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Most of these ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, and if you don’t they are not expensive to purchase. I do recommend finding a quality balsamic vinegar that doesn’t contain any additives and use extra virgin olive oil – a reputable brand with ‘cold press’ on the label is a good choice. Many store brands do not meet the criteria to be labeled extra virgin, so do your research!

Lisa’s Homemade Salad Dressing

Ingredients

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 heaping spoonfuls minced garlic
2 teaspoons oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
3 packets stevia for sweetness (1g each)

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a deep bowl and use an immersion blender to thoroughly combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. Enjoy!

Notes

Salad dressing should be stored in an airtight container or salad dressing bottle (like this one) in your fridge.

Depending on your taste preference, you can add more or less garlic. Anthony and I love garlic, so sometimes I make this with 2 extra spoonfuls! If you’re in a pinch, granulated garlic from your spice cabinet will do the trick.

We like to use stevia for added sweetness to our food because it’s plant-based and minimally processed, but you could also use pure maple syrup or raw honey. Make sure you choose an option that is healthy!

Dressing will separate a bit when stored in the fridge. Just shake up it before serving.

Look out for How to Make Salads Not Suck: Part 2 next week!

5 Reasons Swimmers Should CrossFit

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Written by Coach Anthony

Over the past year, I’ve been fortunate enough to work along side some of the best aquatics coaches in the country teaching Navy SEAL candidates to swim – preparing them for BUD/S training in Coronado, California. Prior to that I volunteered at the prestigious Walter Schroeder Aquatic Center coaching and learning from some of the best club coaches in Wisconsin. My professional aquatic training began in 2006 when I was an Amphibious Reconnaissance Marine for the following 8 years. Similar to Navy BUD/S, Recon Marines spend a great portion of their career in and around the water, specifically in the surf zone with full combat equipment. You have to be a very strong swimmer to accomplish your mission while being slammed by waves and not be exhausted by the time you got to the beach. Here is a list I put together about why you should pick up CrossFit to become a better and stronger swimmer.

1. Longevity

Similar to astronauts, a swimmer spends a great deal of their time training in a “weightless” environment. Although the pull of gravity and your body weight are the exact same in the water as they are on land, the downward acceleration of your body mass is greatly reduced while in the pool. Over time this can have adverse effects on your skeleton and may even lead to decreased bone density or an early onset of conditions such as osteoporosis. At Moro Performance, our CrossFit classes focus on one Olympic lift and one strength lift three times per week to ensure our members are durable enough to tackle all other obstacles life throws at them. For a swimmer, loading the skeleton with weight during exercises such as front and back squats, overhead presses, and dead lifts will help to reduce the potential for lost bone density over time and keep you healthy enough to keep swimming for years to come!

2. Performance

What swimmer wouldn’t like to shave a few tenths of a second off of his or her 100 free, or get a PR in a 400 IM? Coming to CrossFit classes at Moro Performance can help you accomplish that. As mentioned above, strength lifts, especially when conducted on deliberate timing intervals, can increase a swimmer’s rate of force production, meaning faster starts and more powerful flip turns! In our conditioning “WODs” we regularly program gymnastics exercises such as pull-ups and muscle-ups which will aid in the pull phase of your stroke and underwater pull-outs. Often, we program workouts specifically for the core muscles and use exercise like toes-to-bar, planks, and GHD sit-ups. A strong core will give swimmers the ability to maintain a great streamlined position longer, especially for the distance guys and gals!

3. Competitive Advantage

Common physical adaptions that have been reported when regularly attending CrossFit classes at Moro Performance include decreases in body fat and an increase of lean body mass. A common response I get to that is: “I’m a swimmer; I don’t have any body fat to lose.” That may be true, but what about adding some lean mass to your skeleton then? With increased surface areas in the upper chest, back, and shoulders, swimmers have the ability to “grab” more water, pulling them faster to the next wall or finish line. Exercises that will help with that are any of the Olympic lifts (snatches and cleans for those unfamiliar with lifting), overhead presses and jerks, rowing, and as stated above – pull-ups and muscle ups.

4. Injury Prevention

It’s going to be a lot harder to win the gold medal you’ve been training years for when you’re hurt. Regular CrossFit training at Moro Performance will make you stronger. Stronger bodies are less susceptible to injury, especially when weak areas are targeted for a specific sport or event. CrossFit won’t just make your muscles stronger, but even more importantly, it will strengthen your connective tissue. Stronger tendons and ligaments obtained from regular full range of motion exercise will help to cut down on overuse injuries and those minor aches and pains you used to think were something serious. Members at Moro Performance have also noted that they have become mentally stronger. Gutting through a grueling WOD a few times a week will make that set of repeats in the pool seem a lot more manageable!

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5. Social Aspects

When you walk into Moro Performance, everyone will know your name, and if it’s your first class, I’d bet that you’ll be asked before you even set your bag down in one of the cubbies. One of the great things about our CrossFit community is that EVERYONE has a great time and gets along. Members frequently hang out together outside of class and strangers have become friends while working out here! Grab your buddies that you usually share a lane with at the pool and come to class together! After training with those people for a while, you know each other’s training habits and will be able to push yourself harder in a WOD with them there to hold you accountable. Bring the guy you’re always trying to catch in the pool, or the girl who is just a little bit faster than you. CrossFit is another great avenue to get that competitive spirit out and accomplish some things you never thought possible, in the pool and on land!