Mequon CrossFit Mortalis

Tony’s Badass Breakfast Smoothie

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Written by Anthony Moro

Clients sometimes ask me what I eat for breakfast every day. Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I also try to make it my biggest. Lately, since getting a Vitamix blender, I have been making myself a large smoothie and some scrambled eggs every morning. Here is the recipe for my bad ass breakfast smoothie:

Ingredients

1 cup cold purified water
1 large navel orange (peeled)
½ banana
½ avocado
¼ cup fresh blueberries
1 cup broccoli
1 cup kale
1 cup ice

Optional

½” piece of peeled ginger (anti-inflammatory)
sub pineapple juice for water (if you want a sweeter smoothie)

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Directions

Add all the ingredients to your Vitamix (or whatever brand of blender you may be using) in the order listed, place the cap on and select the frozen desserts option and hit start. It takes about a minute for the program to run until you have your smoothie. Make sure to have a bottle of water on stand-by – just in case the blender isn’t producing your desired consistency.

Photo on 8-27-16 at 1.57 PM
Photo on 8-27-16 at 2.06 PM

This recipe makes about two 16-ounce cups of smoothie, I Pair this up with some plain scrambled eggs and coffee and I’m ready to move on with my day!

Stock Your Spice Cabinet

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Written by Lisa Wishmann

You might be thinking the title of this post should say Stock Your Spice Rack, but in our home, we have an entire cabinet dedicated to housing our various herbs and spices. Why do we have so many? Aside from our love of being in the kitchen, the greater variety of herbs and spices you have, the less monotonous you can make your food! Read on to learn why its worth stocking up and what some of our favorites are.

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Start with the Staples

If you don’t want to venture out and purchase everything under the sun right away – understandable! We started off small and gradually bought and tried more, until we have what we do today. However, there are a handful of herbs and spices I recommend you keep in stock because they are used often and can be used for an extensive variety of recipes.

These staples include: crushed red pepper, fennel seed, bay leaves, chili powder, whole peppercorns (plus a grinder), garlic powder, oregano, basil, thyme, curry powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and cumin seed.

All of the above are commonly used, fairly priced, and can be used in different combinations to make different flavor profiles.

Our Favorite Picks

Anthony and I cook a lot of different types of food each week. So, the more spices we have at home, the more flavor profiles we can create. A few of my favorites are pictured below: Aleppo pepper, tandoori seasoning, turmeric, rubbed sage, Arizona Dreaming blend, and Mural of Flavor blend.

Aleppo pepper has an ancho-like flavor, but with a little more heat and is great on meats and Anthony uses it quite a bit in homemade rubs. Tandoori is delicious on chicken and is a blend of coriander, cumin, sweet paprika, garlic, ginger, cardamom and saffron. Turmeric powder doesn’t have a potent taste, so I try to sneak it into a lot of different recipes due to its anti-inflammatory properties. We use sage on pork, turkey, sweet potatoes and whenever we make homemade breakfast sausage – I highly suggest you pick some up!

My absolute favorite two items from Penzey’s are Mural of Flavor and Arizona Dreaming. You can read more about them here and here. I particularly like these for a few reasons. First, they are pre-mixed blend, so when I’m in a rush I can use either one to seasoning up something for dinner and know it’ll taste great instead of taking the time to grab 6-8 different spices and creating my own seasoning. Second, they are salt-free, so I can control the amount of salt being added to my food. Third, they are delicious! Seriously, we go through large jars of these every 1-2 months.

Check out my Summer Vegetable Tian recipe where I use Mural of Flavor.

Our recommended staples.
Our favorites that are not commonly found in one's spice rack.

Shop at a Specialty Store

While all major grocers have an aisle filled with herbs and spices, the availability and options may be limited. Instead if you go to a store such as Penzey’s Spices (which we are partial to!), or the Spice & Tea Exchange you will find an assortment of different spices to pick from, including specialty items that are hard to find elsewhere. Also at these stores are staff members that can make recommendations based on your palate and preferences!

One of my favorite things about the Spice & Tea Exchange is they will make custom blends for you! If you find a seasoning blend you like, such as their Everything Bagel Spice Blend, but say you don’t love the taste of fennel, they can make a new batch for you to take home right in store!

Penzey’s regularly mails out coupons for free spices, which aside from saving money, is a great way to try out new things! Sign up for their catalog next time you’re in a store.

What are some of your favorite herbs or spices you can’t live without?

*I am by no way affiliated with either Penzey’s Spice or the Spice & Tea Exchange. However, I love the quality of their products and want our clients to be able to find and purchase the same great items we swear by!

Try This!: Barbell Mobility

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Written by Ben Kempen

The most common use of a barbell is for strength exercises like squats, dead lifts, Olympic lifts and other upper body lifts. The barbell, however, can be used for mobility based applications, this is less common, but it is very effective at getting the job done. One of the ways to use a barbell for mobility is like a foam roller for myofascial release. The advantage that a barbell has over the foam roller is that it isn’t soft, thus it will have a much deeper massage and is more effective at releasing tension. Myofascial release works by applying pressure to the muscle and fascia. This pressure from the bar stretches out the muscle fibers and fascia, allowing them to return to their natural elastic and pliable state.

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When doing myofascial release you may notice areas that ‘hurt’ or seem ‘hard,’ these are just tight areas of muscle. When you find these spots rest the bar there for a while and apply pressure for a deeper more effective release of tension. These points are called trigger points. A trigger point is an area of muscle that is in a contracted state, and this means two things. One, since the muscle is already tightened it cannot be used during the muscle contraction. Two, it stretches out the surrounding muscle fibers making them less effective at contracting during a lift.

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Myofascial release also increases blood flow to the muscles that are massaged by reducing the tension. This increase in blood flow will bring along with it nutrients that help the muscles recover and repair after hard workouts, as well as allow for a more general, relaxed feeling. Some of the good areas to use the bar for myofascial release are on the quads, abductors, adductors, and the calf muscle. See the video below for a demonstration!

3 Reasons Why You Should Become an AM Exerciser!

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Written by Danni Krumins

When your alarm goes off at 5:00am it is really easy and tempting to hit snooze and roll back over for that extra hour of sleep.

For most of us, we choose the time we workout based around everything else that we schedule into our day, but getting out of bed and exercising first thing in the morning can actually be good for your health and the rest of the day. Perhaps these 3 great reasons will help motivate you to wake up a little earlier and hit the gym rather than save it for later in the day.

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1. Less Likely to Miss a Workout

Yes, getting yourself out of bed and moving in the morning can be difficult sometimes, but if you can get into a habit of waking up at the same time everyday and preparing things for the day the night before you will actually be less likely to skip out on your workout than at the end of the day. Later in day there are more distractions that could come up: bad day at work, fatigue, or a last minute invite to go out with some friends. If you have already completed your workout for the day you will be free to handle whatever might come up that day without feeling bad about a missed workout.

2. Boost Mood

It is true that exercise of a certain intensity an duration releases endorphins, resulting in pain relief, and feelings of euphoria or well-being (1), but nothing feels better then finishing a good workout! So why not get your workout done in the morning and carry that good mood and sense of accomplishment with you for the rest of the day.

3. Increase Focus

After your morning workout you are going to have the rest of the day to get through, whether you are off to work, school, or whatever else you might have planned, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to increase your focus for those tasks? A morning workout can do just that! Exercise will leave your body and brain energized and alert, allowing you to be more focused on your next activity!

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Read what Lexie, one of our 6:00am class regulars, has to say about getting her workout done the morning:

“When I first started CrossFit, I thought no way am I going to be able to get up and workout at 6:00am. Once I started going, I realized it wasn’t that bad. It is a great way to start my day. Yes, it may be hard to get out of bed sometimes, but I motivate myself by knowing that once I’m at the gym I feel great! I feel so accomplished afterwards which makes my days that much better. I start my day with more energy and positivity when I work out in the morning. Also, one of the best things is you get your workout done with – it’s nice to be able to go to work and know you already have your workout in for the day. I would recommend it to anyone who can fit it into their schedule!” –Lexie L.

Check out our class schedule and we will see you in for your next morning workout!

Reference:

  1. Goldfarb, A. H., & Jamurtas, A. Z. (1997). B-Endorphin response to exercise. Sports Medicine, 24(1)

How Kettlebells Saved My Athletic Career

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Written by Anthony Moro

I’ve been writing a lot lately about different life hacks for dealing with multiple sclerosis. From my 10 Top Foods I Eat to Beat MS and Inflammation to Exercise and MS: How to get started. This week I’m going to take that a step further and explain to you the importance of me learning how to use and implement kettlebells into my training so that I could get back into competitive sports after being diagnosed with MS.

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Every great athlete has a comeback story – mine just happens to be unknown by just about everyone and involves kettlebells. After getting back into reasonable shape from a few Concept 2 rowing programs I created, I desperately wanted to get back onto the football field at Concordia University Wisconsin with all of my college buddies. A huge part of football strength and conditioning is being able to produce power from the hips, usually in the form of Olympic weightlifting or plyometrics.

At the time, I had 2 hurdles I needed to find a way around. Balance and grip strength were two things I hadn’t fully remastered yet, but I didn’t feel like being a slave to my symptoms. I spent a fair amount of time roaming the internet and trying out new things in the gym to see what I could do to develop more power from the hips. I had used kettlebells in the past, I even brought one with me to Afghanistan, but never as the main focus for a program. I read a book by Pavel Tsatsouline called Enter the Kettlebell which was all about proper form and implementation of this Russian training tool. I began his workout known as “The Right of Passage” which lead up to me participating in my first kettlebell certification seminar: the Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC).

After I passed and really started training with kettlebells, in particular the swing and the snatch, I was beginning to regain power and explosion in my hips and feeling like an athlete again.

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The reason I decided on kettlebells is simple: the basic movement of the swing and the snatch heavily mirrors that of an Olympic clean or snatch. There is an eccentric phase, a pull phase, and an explosion phase – all while using lighter weights than you would ordinarily place on a bar. This was beneficial for me because although kettlebells do require a massive amount of grip strength, from my perspective, it was still less than I needed to complete a proper Olympic clean or snatch. If you can refer back to an article written by Coach Ben, Try This!: Box Jumps, you will notice that the position for the kettlebell swing and the box jump are very similar. Because of my balance issue at the time, I did not have to worry about leaving the ground during a basic Russian kettlebell swing.

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After about 6 months of training primarily with kettlebells, I was able to slowly start incorporating Olympic weightlifting back into my workout routine and was just in time to start fall camp for my senior football season at CUW!

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Scroll down to the comments and tell me about your biggest comeback, doesn’t matter if it has to do with sports or not, I want to hear about it!

Water: How to Get In Your 8+ Glasses Per Day

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Written by Lisa Wishmann

You’ve heard it before and you’re about to read it again… You need to get in at least 8 glasses of water per day, and some sources say up to 12 or more!

Why do you need this much water? Your body is made up of approximately 60-percent water, your brain 70-percent water, and being properly hydrated means your body can easily transfer nutrients, regulate your body temperate and water aids in the digestion process as well.

Factors such as age, weight, level of perspiration (if you sweat more, drink more!), activity type and intensity, as well as weather can affect how much water you should be drinking each day. However, overall a good baseline is 8 glasses per day, or 64 ounces, and then if you are sweating or doing any sort of activity, increase your intake!

My top three choices for drinking more water and getting in enough ounces per day are below!

1. Choose a bottle that will help you keep track!

A large, durable water bottle, such as a Nalgene, will hold a lot of water so you’re not constantly have to refill it, and is labeled with volume measurements. A standard Nalgene is 32 ounces, so if you drink 2 full bottles you are at your minimum for the day. I strive for 3 up to 4 full Nalgene bottles per day.

You can also purchase a bottle like the one below, here, that will have times printed on the bottle to help you consume regularly throughout the day instead of forgetting about drinking your water, and then trying to do it all at once at the end of the day and water logging yourself!

Image sourced from: goo.gl/RrcJir
Image sourced from: goo.gl/RrcJir

2. Use a water bottle with a fruit infuser to mix it up!

Personally, I love plain, filtered water from the tap. No extra flavor is required for me to enjoy it. However, I know plenty of people that would disagree with me. Instead of buying water with flavor additives (chemicals), you can purchase a water bottle with a built in infuser! The bottle below can be purchased here.

Lemon, lime, cucumber, and mixed berries are all great choices to use in the infuser and add great natural flavor to your water!

Image sourced from: goo.gl/Wv2EKh
Image sourced from: goo.gl/Wv2EKh

3. Download an app to track your intake!

There are various apps you can download for free to help track you water intake, but the one I have on my phone is Waterlogged. They provide a visual to see how much you’ve consumed and how much you have to go of your goal. You can also select and save different sized containers you use to easily track consumption!

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Whatever method you decide, try to be environmentally conscious and stay away from bottled water. You can filter water at home by the use of an attachment for your faucet or a pitcher that comes with a built-in filter.

To put it in perspective, 1 liter of bottled water takes 3 liters of water to produce and the cost is outrageous – bottled water costs approximately 1,000 times more compared to its tap water counterpart. Depending on the type of bottled water you purchase, one gallon of water can cost more than a gallon of gasoline!

A final thing to remember? If your thirsty, your body is already dehydrated and you should try and stay ahead of the feeling of thirst by drinking enough throughout the day!

Get a New Pull-up PR!

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Written by Ben Kempen

One of the most common and easiest wasy to measure strength is the pull-up test. Most people when asked to do a pull-up test are met with a rude awakening – they either can’t do one or cannot do many.

So, what are some exercises that can be done to help improve the number of pull-ups you can do in a row? Start simple with the dead hang! The dead hang is mainly going to help work on grip strength allowing you to stay on the bar. The more improved your grip strength becomes, the easier it will become to do pull-ups, because you won’t spend as much energy just trying to hold onto the bar.

The next exercise that will help you achieve pull-ups is the flex hang. This exercise helps to develop strength through isometric training. It helps develop strength at the top portion of the pull, which due to angles of the muscles and bones is normally a weak point of the exercise.

Going to the following step introduces negatives into your routine. Negatives use eccentric strength training to increase strength. When doing eccentric movements people are close to 25% stronger in a 1 rep max exercise. The two main reasons are that eccentric training has as smaller metabolic cost, and it requires a smaller neural drive to achieve the same control than that of a concentric contraction.

The final step when working towards pull-ups is to do some form of band assisted pull-ups. Doing banded pull-ups will allow the individual to string together multiple pull-ups and help them work their way towards sets of unassisted pull-ups. While you are adding theses exercises into your routine don’t forget to do TRX rows, or Aussie pull-ups to continue to build strength so you can complete pull ups unassisted sooner!

Dead Hang

  • Hang from bar body fully extended
  • Contract core
  • Squeeze the bar tightly with hands

Flex Hang

  • Start at top of pull-up
  • Hold top position with elbows flexed
  • Core tight
  • Chin above bar
  • Lower slowly when losing strength

Negatives

  • Start at top of pull-up
  • Lower body in a slow, controlled manner
  • Reset at top of pull-up
  • Repeat 2-5 times

Banded Pull-up

  • Secure band to bar
  • Place foot or knee in band
  • Do pull-ups, focusing on full extension and getting your chin over the bar