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10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My First Mud Run


10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My First Mud Run

My first mud run was an absolute blast, even though it was really long, cold, and much more physically challenging than I had imagined. Considering that we opted for one of the longest and most difficult runs for our first time out, preparing just a bit more would have saved a bit of pain and made the event even better.

First Mud Run

While the experience was awesome enough to have me coming back for more, if I had the chance to do it over again there are some things I would have done differently. So, to save you the trouble for your first mud run, I have compiled the following list of 10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My First Mud Run.

  • Plan to arrive well before your start time. These events get CROWDED and are often challenging to find. Parking may be a ways away from the starting line and once you are there you will have to wait in line to check in.
    Arriving early ensures you have time to find the race, park, take pictures, and warm up a bit before your wave begins. Stressing about missing your start time because you didn't allow time for getting lost or forgetting something and having to run back to your car is not a great way to start off what should be a really awesome day.

  • Have an understanding of the obstacles you will face and how to tackle them prior to attempting. Many races will outline exactly what obstacles you will see at your event and you can train specifically for them. Others are left a surprise.
    In this case, spend a few minutes observing how other runners are successfully completing obstacles and follow suit. Don't be afraid to challenge yourself and try obstacles that are new for you, but if an obstacle appears overly dangerous, or you simply don't feel comfortable attempting it, skip it.
    These events while meant to be a challenge are also intended to be fun and leaving early due to an injury is a sure way to ruin your first mud run experience.

    Need a training plan for your first mud run?
    Get a free week of our Total Mud Run Training Guide.
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  • Incorporate hill training and running on uneven terrain into your training program.
    Running 3 miles up the side of a mountain or across rocky terrain is much more difficult than running a 5K on nice even pavement.
    Even if you don't intend to run the entire mud run, you should be well trained to cover more than the total distance of the event you are taking part in.
    Otherwise you may find yourself gassed out and unable to complete your obstacle race, or worse, find yourself injured from trying to push yourself to do something your body is unprepared for.

  • Wet monkey bars are much more difficult to get across than the dry ones at your neighborhood park.
    1-ellismudrun8You will also face bars that are muddy or even buttered and many of these obstacles will have you climbing up and down angled bars as opposed to straight across.
    Using a reverse grip (with palms facing you) to grab the next bar can help reduce the chance of your fingers slipping off the slick surface. "Pedaling" your legs as opposed to swinging them can also reduce the slip factor.
    Polishing up on your grip strength and pull-up strength in general will increase the likelihood of making it all the way across without falling into the muddy pit below.

  • Gloves are great for protecting your hands from sharp rocks, splintering walls, and blisters.
    But the wrong gloves will get caked with mud and are extra slippery when wet. If you bring gloves for your race, you will likely want to remove and store them for most of the race until you need them.
    Fingerless workout gloves may seem like a good idea, but tend to get slippery once wet and aren’t really best for mud runs.
    This goes for pretty much any leather glove. You will want gloves that have grip even when wet.
    There are some gloves made specifically for mud run and obstacle course races available from popular athletic gear companies, but an inexpensive pair of textured gardening gloves work just as well and cost a lot less. Make sure to test out the gloves you plan to wear ahead of time for proper fit, ease of wearing and removal, and grip on wet, slippery objects.

  • Running in new shoes, or any new clothing items for that matter is a bad idea. Make sure that your race attire has been tested out and broken in during your training. You don't want to end up with unnecessary chafing or blisters that could otherwise have been avoided.

  • Cotton is the worst thing EVER for mud runs. Super absorbent, loses its shape when wet, and will get heavy and drag down during your run.
    Avoid cotton for any clothing items you plan to wear on race day and plan to wear tight-fitted wicking materials instead, similar to what triathletes wear.

  • Doing a mud run with friends is a lot of fun. 1-IMG_5378 (1)
    But a Big Team = Longer Time per Obstacle = Longer Overall Course Time.
    Be prepared if you plan to run with a large group and either aim for an earlier start time or choose a shorter distance if you don't want to be on the course all day long.

  • Bring along a friend or family member who just wants to watch and have them take pictures for you.
    While most races have photographers, you are not guaranteed to find any pictures of yourself following your race.
    Spectators can set up along the course and get great action shots. They may also be willing to hold a bag with your stuff so you don't have to worry about wearing a pack or losing your keys in the mud.

  • Bring towels and plastic bags for after the race. Plan to be covered head-to-toe in mud. Put your muddy shoes and clothes in the plastic bags to keep your car from getting completely covered in mud.
    There are sometimes showers at the end of the race, but they are always crowded and usually cold. If you leave a jug of water and some towels in your car, you can quickly clean up and change. Then head back to the post-race party and enjoy the festivities.


Mud Runs and Obstacle Course Races are a great way to get active, get outdoors with friends, and have a great time challenging yourself. But being well prepared, planning ahead for what you will encounter, and being aware of your surroundings on race day will go a long way in keeping you safe and healthy for your first mud run.
For more tips and training check out our Total Mud Run Training Guide: Everything You Need to Prepare for Your First 5K or 10K Mud Run, accessible to all TWR Members. Or you can try out a free week of training from the book by signing up to receive our fitness newsletter.


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5 Common Mistakes That Sabotage Your Weight Loss Efforts

5 Common Mistakes That Sabotage Your Weight Loss Efforts


1-1-1-10109062_xlLosing weight is something that challenges many of us. In life, it is pretty easy to find ourselves gaining weight, especially when our schedules keep us so busy with work and play that we have a hard time fitting in healthy eating and exercise.

When we finally stop to see the results of our choices, we realize the need to make a change to improve our health and trim down our waist lines.

But if the process of gaining weight is so easy, why is it so difficult to put that process in reverse?

Losing weight should be simply a numbers game, but in reality, there are other factors that contribute to the speed and efficiency of how those numbers work for or against our efforts.

Here are 5 common mistakes that sabotage your weight loss efforts that you should avoid making:


  1.  Not Sleeping Enough. This is a big mistake. Being tired not only causes you to feel cranky and run down but it also reduces your energy levels and your workouts - if you can even manage to attempt them - will not be nearly as intense as if you are well rested.
    If you are working out at a lower level of intensity or for a shorter time period, than you will not be generating the same level of calorie-burn as you would at a higher intensity or performing for a greater length of time.
    If you are not burning as many calories in your workouts, that you have to further restrict your calorie intake in order to achieve the deficit you need for weight loss.
    This can leave you feeling even more drained and without the energy or drive to stick with your plan you will likely fall off long before reaching your weight loss goals.

  3. Working Out Too Much. I get it, working out is fun. You begin to feel energized by getting in a good workout and breaking a sweat. You will begin to crave the way a good workout makes you feel and it gets even better once you can see the results of your labor.
    5527987_mlBut the goal of a quality weight loss program is not simply to watch the number on the scale go down, but to make sure that the decrease you are seeing is from fat loss and not muscle breakdown.

    After all, muscle burns fat faster so if slimming down is your goal then you want to keep all the muscle you’ve got, and maybe even gain a little.

    In order to accomplish this you need a program that incorporates a balance between cardio and resistance training with the proper rest periods woven in.

    If you are working the same muscles under a high load on consecutive days then you are not giving those muscles adequate time to rest and recover. That means they do not have the opportunity to heal, and thus, grow.

    Make sure that your program allows adequate rest times between workouts so that you can experience the maximum benefits of all your hard work.

    For a good example of a workout schedule that allows adequate rest time between workouts check out this free week of workouts.


  5. Not Eating Enough. Though this may seem counter-intuitive when trying to lose weight, the reality is, if you are not eating enough food to fuel your day-to-day activities as well as your workouts then your weight loss will likely come to a halt.
    While it does take some time for your body to actually go into “starvation mode” and begin storing anything you eat as fat, the truth is that not properly fueling your body is a great way to slow down and otherwise damage your metabolism. This will make growing muscle and losing fat a much more difficult task.

    Creating a new metabolic environment is a much better way to lose body fat and sculpt the new figure you are looking for. You can do this by eating more and working out at a higher intensity, mixing up your workouts, or even cycling your meals differently.

    Whatever you choose to do to create this new environment, however, make sure that your total caloric intake is falling within the optimal range for fat burning without dropping so far that you are losing muscle (up to 500 calorie deficit a day.) The best and healthiest way to lose weight and change the way you look and feel is to make sure you are providing your body with the proper nutrition it needs. Find out your optimal calorie range


  7. Not Eating Enough of the Right Foods. While getting the right amount of calories for your needs is a very important factor in weight loss, what you eat to fulfill those needs is as important if not more so.
    Nutrition is not just about providing our body with calories to fuel energy expenditure, but also to provide it with the nutrients it needs to function optimally. All foods are not created equal, where your calories come from will have a massive effect on how you feel, how you perform, and how well you recover from your workouts as well.
    Take a look at the following example: An order of french fries contains roughly the same amount of calories as this chicken meal, however, the latter provides much more nutrients that your body needs.

    Sugar Detox Challenge6

    If you don't get enough of one nutrient in your diet than you may begin to suffer side effects from nutrient deficiency. You should be striving to get your daily calories from nutrient dense sources and aim for a specific balance of micronutrients that will assist in reaching your weight loss goals.
    For more detailed information about what you should be eating check out this podcast on Nutrition for Weight Loss.


  9. Not Sticking With It.When trying to lose weight many of us fail to stick with a program long enough to achieve lasting results. Developing new habits takes time, often much longer than we would like. But, once your new behaviors begin to feel like second-nature, maintaining the positive effects that those behaviors cause is much easier.
    Returning to old behaviors and bad habits will eventually lead you back to where you started and will cause frustration and likely make you want to give up. Focus on being consistent with your actions and practicing the new habits of your program regularly, even after beginning to see results. This will help you developing lasting habits which in turn will give you lasting results.

Fitness and weight loss can be a bit confusing with all the contradicting information that is floating around the web. It is important that whatever your fitness goals, you are making your health and well-being a priority.

I have found that the best plans for achieving weight loss that not only is realistic for day-to-day life but also sustainable in the long term, are those that help you find a balance between diet and exercise that can fit into your lifestyle. These programs will have you implement small changes slowly in order for you to make lasting positive habits that you can live with.


For many people the most difficult part of losing weight is learning how to plan their meals accordingly eating enough throughout their day to sustain their activity without eating too much.
We have created  a week-long meal plan that provides a great template you can follow to get started in your own meal planning. Each of the meals in the plan are around 300 calories, and the snacks range from 150-200.

(Note: The included plan is appropriate for someone who needs to net 1200-1500 calories a day in order to lose weight. If you require higher net calories adjust your portion sizes or eat more snacks to increase the daily calories. To find your daily calorie needs for your goals go here.)

To gain access to a free week of training and the fat loss meal plan, click the button below.

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Default CrossFit

Default CrossFit

Small but Mighty

I used to judge CrossFit. In fact, I used to be downright fearful of it. However, following my first couple of CrossFit experiences, I gained a new perspective and a new level of respect for the training style.

I also grew to understand that while there are many videos online depicting poor form and speed over technique as being the norm in CrossFit, that this is simply not the case for CrossFit as a whole.

Default CrossfitIn my most recent experience, I got the opportunity to visit Default Crossfit in Wildomar, California and interview the owner, Danielle Heider. After having spent time in three different CrossFit boxes for previous interviews I had a bit of an idea about what to expect walking into a CrossFit gym. However, there were some obvious differences between Default and the other boxes I had been too that I really, really liked.


My Experience at Default CrossFit

When I used to think about CrossFit I pictured a giant warehouse style gym with lots of people doing all kinds of different lifts, loud music, and enthusiastic groups loudly cheering each other on. My first few CF experiences were kind of like that and to be honest, walking into a place like that for the very first time can be pretty intimidating.

However, that was far from what I saw upon arriving at Default. Default is a much smaller location than the others I had visited as it is a new and growing location.  Starting from the humble beginnings of one woman training a few friends out of her garage, this box is more intimate, inviting, and very family-friendly. This box had much of the feel of a bootcamp style of setting, but with the added benefit of weight lifting and gymnastics training along with metabolic conditioning.

1-photo 1 (10)Danielle, the gym’s owner and head coach at Default is very professional and knowledgeable in her trade. She spends a lot of focus on proper warm ups and stretching and ensuring a full understanding of the movements prior to beginning any actual training. She teaches by way of modeling, supporting and working alongside her clients.

The very first class I got to experience at Default CrossFit was the CrossFit Kids class, a program Default runs during the summer. I brought my seven year old in to try out the class with one of his friends. The class was fun, focused on stretching and functional movements. It was a great way to let my very active son get out some energy and challenge himself in a new way.

Directly following the kids’ class was an adult class and there is a small, safe children’s area at the back of the gym where my kids were able to hang out, play, and work on homework while I got in my workout. The adult class that day was small, but the group had a great vibe and I immediately felt welcome.

1-IMG_4121Having a smaller class size was really nice as it made it a very personal training experience. I felt like Danielle was able to provide me with a lot of direct attention and instruction as I learned some new movements. That is really important to me when learning new lifts because I am not the most coordinated person but I understand how crucial using proper form is to ensuring that I stay injury free.

While in some of the other boxes I visited I felt an underlying sense of competition and needing to prove myself to fit in which was at times uncomfortable. At Default I felt much more at ease with just listening to the coach, learning the techniques, and getting in a good workout. I was worried less about how I looked compared to everyone else who was training.

That is one of the benefits to training in a smaller facility and is awesome for anyone interested in trying out CrossFit but is put off by many of the expectations and stigmas that have been associated with it in the mainstream media. In a good box, however, like in any quality gym you will find knowledgeable instructors who teach proper technique, and stress building a strong foundation from the basics before pushing yourself to a more competitive level of training.

1-IMG_4184CrossFit, unfortunately gets a lot of negative press and as a result many people are fearful of even trying it out. But if you find a good instructor and a box where you feel comfortable and supported, then CrossFit can be an excellent way to build strength, confidence, and overall physical fitness. If you have wanted to try out CrossFit, but are intimidated by the larger boxes, then do yourself a favor and go check out Default CrossFit today.


About Default Crossfit

Kimberly: Can you give a brief overview of when and how Default CrossFit began?

Danielle: Default CrossFit started small…real small. In May 2012, I had just gotten my Level 1 Certificate in CrossFit. I had also recently retired from six years of teaching Stroller Strides when Fit by Default’s (our original name before affiliating) two original members (and former Stroller Strides members), Valerie and Nicole, approached me about training them out of my garage. It was something that I had always dreamed of doing some day, so why not now, I thought? Fast forward a year, and Default CrossFit is starting to grow via word of mouth. We moved into a space in Wildomar in December 2013 and opened the doors shortly after remodeling and installing equipment.

K: What makes your gym unique?

1-1-DSC_0643D: That is a tough question.  Some people have preconceived ideas about CrossFit that the members are all in there 20’s and are amazingly fit.  The truth is we have member of all ages and ranges of fitness from beginner to athlete.

Each have their limitations whether it be their nutrition, or Olympic lifting, or just getting up and getting to the Box.  What makes us unique is we understand that not everyone Is perfect and everyone is going to need a program designed for them to help them reach their goals. And that’s what we do we help our members reach their goals.

K: What qualifications/experience are your trainers/coaches required to hold in order to train members at your gym?

D:  To be a CrossFit Coach or Trainer you must complete and pass the CrossFit Level 1 Certification program. You must also have that same certification to open a CrossFit affiliation, like Default CrossFit.

As for myself, besides my CrossFit Level 1 Certification, I also hold USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coaching Certificate, as well as and a Bachelor of Science in Health Science from California State University at Chico. And before I became a CrossFit coach, I was an Instructor for Stroller Strides here in the Temecula Valley for 6 years (a workout group for moms with little ones).


What Default Crossfit Offers

K: What programs and services do you offer?

D: Our workouts are short and high intensity, combining Olympic lifting, gymnastics, and metabolic conditioning: things like running, jump rope, rowing.

1-IMG_4129But first, we always start the day with warm up and some strength training. We do back squats, push presses, snatches…whatever the programming calls for. We also incorporate mobility to keep the joints moving smoothly and to prevent injury.

We also stress the importance of nutrition and help where we can. We host seminars and plan to continue with more variety in the future.

K: What is the most popular program or service you offer?

D:  The most popular and unique thing about CrossFit is that you are getting a personal trainer or coach if that term fits you better. That is invested in you!

K: What are your current pricing packages?

D: Currently I believe we are one of the least expensive Boxes around. We have three options and none require contracts, we don’t believe in making you stay at something you just don’t like or doesn’t suit you.

1) Unlimited – come as often as you would like, multiple times a day if you prefer, for $100.00

2) 3 Times a week – This option is $85.00

3) 2 Times a week – This option is $65.00

There is also a mandatory on-ramp program that we require facilities. It’s a 6 day program where you work with one of the coaches one on one, and learn the movements and exercises so that you don’t get hurt once you start to come to the daily WOD’s (Work out of the Day). This costs $75.00 and must be done prior to joining in on any classes.


Getting Started at Default Crossfit 

What is the process for a new prospect interested in becoming a member?

D: As I mentioned, there is a mandatory on-ramp program which serves two purposes: it lets us gauge you and where you are in your fitness state and it also lets you learn about CrossFit and if it is going to be a good fit for you.

K: How do you keep members informed of class schedules and changes, account information, special promotions, etc?

D: Social Media! We have a website, a Facebook page, and an Instagram account so you can see your progress and how much fun everyone has around the box. All of the accounts are updated daily and if something out of the ordinary happens, say a class is cancelled due to weather, we text everyone if the situation calls for it.



Contact Default Crossfit

Facebook | Instagram

Danielle Heider, Owner

34862 Monte Vista Drive, Suite 111,
Wildomar, California 92595

(951) 719-4521


Just Show Up: CrossFit Inland Valley

Just Show Up: CrossFit Inland Valley

What should I do to be successful in CrossFit? How can I get stronger? How can I lose weight? How can I change my life for the better? How can I belong?

Well, to start, the answer to all of these questions is quite simple: "Just Show Up."

Crossfit Inland Valley

This was the answer given to me by Justus Norgord of CrossFit Inland Valley when asked what tips or advice he had for someone interested in trying out CrossFit for the first time. He said "Just Show Up."

I realized what great advice that is for so many aspects in our lives. So often we have dreams about what we would like to do, things we want to try, things we want to change; but the difference between those things remaining dreams or becoming goals is whether or not we decide to just show up.

If we never make it past that first step, then none of the other hopes we have for what might be accomplished even matter.

In my time visiting various gyms, I have come to learn that the community that exists in CrossFit gyms is pure gold. There is a bond that exists between the members of a CrossFit box that is unlike anything I have seen elsewhere.



Not only do CrossFitters value the community they have cultivated, they also protect it. So it made sense to me when I first requested to speak with Justus that he seemed a little leery about my intentions.

One of the things I really liked about my visit to CrossFit Inland Valley was that right away I got the feeling that I wasn't just visiting Justus' gym, but that I was walking into his home, and the people inside; were his family. He told me that they don't let just anyone in.

Before you can sign a contract to join CFIV, they request that you participate in a FREE 1-Hour Intro where you will be ntroduced to all aspects of membership there and get to know a little more about the community.

The coaches at CFIV do this initial evaluation to ensure that the CrossFit Inland Valley community is right for you and your goals; and you for it.

If you end up becoming part of this tight-knit community, you will not be left to fend for yourself in achieving your fitness goals. You will be a part of a family that cares about your goals too and will hold you accountable to reaching them.


Justus told me that he sees CrossFit Inland Valley as less of a gym and more of a "school of elite fitness." The coaches at CFIV are teachers, and the members are their students.

They hold scheduled classes, work with students to improve, regularly monitor and assess form and progress, and encourage members along their journey.

The workouts are all fully scaleable to any fitness level and can be modified to fit your specific needs. The competitive nature of the sport is not to encourage you to be better than everyone else there, but rather to help you strive to become better, stronger, and more than you were yesterday.

CrossFit Inland Valley focuses on well-rounded fitness. The workouts are based around improving in all 10 of the following skills:


  • Accuracy
  • Agility
  • Balance
  • Speed
  • Coordination
  • Power
  • Strength
  • Flexibility
  • Endurance
  • Stamina


Success here is not about winning; it is about growing within yourself and achieving more than you ever thought possible.

It is about converting fears into goals, and goals into reality.


The way you get there is by showing up and having continued accountability. If you don't have people counting on you to be there, calling you when you don't show up, and cheering you on along the way, it is much easier to give up before ever you reach your goals.


At CrossFit Inland Valley you will not only have that accountability, but much more. Your safety and well-being are of utmost priority here. Staff members are knowledgeable, experienced, and skilled.

They must not only complete an initial rigorous training prior to becoming teachers, but must also participate in continuing education. They pride themselves on having coaches who are subject matter experts and coaches are promoted from within the community.

Along with your fitness membership at CrossFit Inland Valley, you also have access to  an in-house wellness center offering:

  • Chiropractic care
  • a holistic health practitioner
  • massage and deep tissue repair
  • nutrition guidance

They also hold regular nutrition talks and health seminars, and offer various health and fitness challenges.

All of these supporting services can further contribute to a successful, healthy, and fit lifestyle and many are included with your basic membership costs. (Membership costs vary and are based on your individual situation. Schedule your FREE 1-Hour Intro to learn more.)

In addition to the above offerings at CrossFit Inland Valley, you will also find a Youth Athletic Development Program and Kettlebells Training classes.


The community at CFIV is made up of a diverse population and is one of the reasons they take such care to provide individualized services. There is no one-size-fits-all plan and your success is just as important as any other member's.

This is a place where you belong to a community that will share your goals, failures, laughter, tears, and achievements. CrossFit Inland Valley is for you if you are looking for a place to connect with others while also improving your strength, physical ability, and overall health.

To schedule your FREE 1-Hour Intro contact CrossFit Inland Valley at (951) 600-9343 or click here for more info.

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Follow CFIV:

Facebook | Twitter 

Justus and Missy Norgord

CrossFit Inland Valley
24335 Prielipp Road Ste. 120
Wildomar, CA 92595







Hearty Crockpot Turkey Quinoa Chili

Hearty Crockpot Turkey Quinoa Chili

Here is a healthy, easy meal for the family that will be ready for dinner at the end of a long workday.

Leftovers are easy to freeze and simplify the task of food prep for a busy week. This crockpot turkey quinoa chili recipe is simple, hearty, and delicious.

1-photo 3-002

I love hearty chili with a bit of heat but I also wanted it to be full of veggie-goodness and lean protein. So I decided to throw together a pot that features both beans and lean ground turkey, with loads of colorful veggies, and some white quinoa for an extra nutritious boost.

The result was a heaping crockpot full of delicious turkey quinoa chili that had the whole family going back for seconds.

1-photo 1 (5)

A large crockpot ended up feeding my family two nights worth of dinner, plus lunch one day for my hubby. You can also freeze this crockpot turkey quinoa chili in containers to use as quick ready-made meals at a later date.

Possible Modifications: To make this a vegetarian dish you can simply omit the ground turkey and sub in some black beans instead. To make it Paleo-compliant leave out the beans and increase the meat.



1 ½ lbs. lean ground turkey1-photo 1 (4)

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves of garlic

1 small onion chopped

2 - (15 oz) cans kidney beans

½ large zucchini chopped

2 bell peppers of choice (red, yellow, or green) chopped

2 stalks celery chopped

4 roasted green chilis diced or 1- (4 oz) can

1 - (28 oz) can of fire roasted diced tomatoes

1 - (8 oz) can tomato paste

½ cup white quinoa rinsed1-photo 5

3 Tbsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. cumin

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

3 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

1 small jalapeno chopped (optional for extra spice)



Chop all vegetables into 1” cubes, set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté garlic and chopped onion in 1 Tbsp. olive oil until fragrant and slightly tender.

Add ground turkey to the same pan and cook until browned. Transfer turkey mixture to a crockpot. Add the remaining ingredients and just enough water to just cover the chili, about 2-3 cups. Stir well.

1-photo 3 (2)

Cover and set the crockpot to low (8-10 hours) stirring every few hours and adding more water as needed. Spoon the chili into bowls, and top with chopped onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, or avocado. Enjoy your Hearty Crockpot Turkey Quinoa Chili! 

1-photo 5 (1)

Let me know what you think! Leave comments below if you try this recipe letting me know how you liked it and any other modifications you recommend.

My First Crossfit Experience


My First Crossfit Experience:

Crossfit By Overload

I recently had my first Crossfit experience. I was a little embarrassed about how long it took me to check it out, but I have to admit that like many people I was at first leery of Crossfit. I had bought in to a lot of the negative press that has been floating around the internet space.

I also believed that with new Crossfit boxes springing up left and right faster than the nearby housing tracks, I was going to be getting a cookie-cutter gym experience. Boy was I wrong.


My Experience

My first Crossfit experience was at Crossfit By Overload (CFO).  I had first heard about this CF gym from a website designer I met at a nearby grocery store. I then learned that a friend of mine is a member there. So, when I started my research I asked her about her box, and she talked me into checking it out. And let me tell you I am so glad I did, this place is awesome!

I reached out to one of the owners, Wayne, and requested the opportunity to interview him about his gym, and also for a tour and trial of the gym’s offerings.

Wayne was incredibly friendly when I contacted him and was more than happy to sit down with me and tell me all about how he came to love Crossfit and how he came to own Crossfit By Overload, voted the best gym in Murrieta.

1-OPEN14.1triosametime1-600x449My first impression of this gym was that it was HUGE! But upon entering the workout area and observing the classes taking place, I immediately sensed the community atmosphere of this gym.

Despite the massive building and the number of members in classes running simultaneously, there was an obvious closeness, a bond among everyone who was there. It was friendly and welcoming and a place you walk into that feels like coming home.

I was given the opportunity to try out a free week at CFO, as are all interested persons who come to check out this gem of a facility. I tried my very first Crossfit WOD and it was HARD and so much fun.

I loved the energy, the challenge, and mostly the levels of encouragement and teamwork that existed though we were each working individually to achieve our very best times.


On the other days that I was able to make it in for a workout, I tried out the Agility class, which is Crossfit Gymnastics. I absolutely loved this class and came back to do it again a second time. I wish I had been able to continue coming back.

The coaches here really know their stuff. They made me feel welcomed, comfortable, and at all times safe. It was really important for me to feel like I could go at my own pace without feeling pressured to try something I wasn't ready for.

But I also hoped to receive enough one-on-one direction and feedback to feel as though I was learning the proper form for any new movements to which I was introduced. The coaches at CFO far surpassed my expectations and the classes were very organized and run very smoothly.

The quality of the facility and the equipment at CFO combined with the highly experienced coaches , the super-friendly members, as well as the variety and caliber of classes offered at CFO made my first Crossfit experience absolutely awesome.

I will never look at Crossfit in the same way again and I hope that in the future I will have the opportunity to return to Crossfit by Overload.


What You Get at CFO

This gym boasts 12,000 square feet of workout space, fully equipped with all the pull-up bars, climbing ropes, barbells, wall balls, weights and more that you would expect to find in a Crossfit box.

They also have a wide offering of classes and have an impressively experienced staff in charge of leading each of the classes. If you are in the Murrieta or Temecula area and are looking for a family of support and encouragement to work alongside you as you strive to reach your fitness goals, Crossfit By Overload is the place for you.

Here are a few of the other features they offer:


  • Crossfit Kids and Childcare included with an adult membership
  • 2 Locations, 1 price: Murrieta and French Valley
  • $99 unlimited membership‼! Voted Best Gym in Murrieta and still boasting the lowest price in town
  • Multiple Class Offerings Such As: CF Agility, Strength and Conditioning, Crossfit WOD classes, CF Endurance, Crossfit Teens, etc.

If you are interested in trying out Crossfit By Overload you can connect with them in the following ways:






41588-A Eastman Dr.

Murrieta, CA 92562


French Valley

36580 Penfield Ln.

Winchester, CA 92596






MFC’s Smilin’ Sam Alvey Weighs In on Fitness: MMA Fun for Everyone

MFC's Smilin' Sam Alvey Weighs In on Fitness:

MMA Fun for Everyone

Mixed Martial Arts is a challenging sport. It is mentally and physically draining, requires hard work, dedication and sacrifice. And the matches between fighters while often extremely technical and requiring hours of intense training, are brutal and not for the faint of heart.


However, as the acceptance of MMA as a sport continues to grow, we have been seeing more and more gyms pop up bearing MMA in their listed services and even full blown MMA training gyms appealing to the masses.

Though increasingly popular, Mixed Martial Arts continues to be an intense sport and you may be asking yourself what does MMA have to do with physical fitness for me?


I recently had the opportunity to interview Smilin’ Sam Alvey, Middleweight Champion of the MFC.

1-sam alveySmilin’ Sam currently holds a record of 21-4-2, with his next bout and first title defense scheduled for tomorrow night, May 9th in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada at the Shaw Convention Centre.

Sam hasn’t always been a fighter. Aside from doing a bit of wrestling in high school, he only started training in martial arts a little over 6 years ago.

After discovering he had some natural talent for fighting and with a few amateur fights behind him, he landed his first professional fighting contract with King of the Cage.

Now, with 27 fights already under his belt and 3 more scheduled in the next two months, Sam’s professional fighting career has been keeping him more than busy.

But when he isn’t battling it out in the cage or preparing for his next fight, Sam can be found at Dan Henderson’s Athletic Fitness Center, helping people from all walks improve their physical fitness.


Sam has been working as a personal trainer for just about 10 years, starting in his junior year of high school with a certificate from ACE. He began teaching MMA shortly after discovering his natural aptitude for it and currently teaches amateur and professional fighters as well as the general public.

He has since combined his knowledge and experiences from the two into the fitness training programs he teaches at DHAFC. Sam offers personal training, one-on-one training for fighters, group fitness classes, adult Pankration, and even a program for kids MMA.

He is a talented fighter, dedicated and hard-working, and his work ethic extends into his job as a trainer. He definitely lives up to his nickname, always wearing his famous smile, but when it is time to train he takes his job seriously and will motivate you to do the same.

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Sam is a family man devoted to his wife, McKey and daughter, Reagan, and his love for teaching and working with children shines through while coaching the kids MMA classes. He is both firm and gentle and deeply cares for his students and their overall well-being.

This can be seen in the way he works to help not only the students in his kids classes succeed, but also in the time he dedicates to each of the members in his adult classes.

I asked Sam if the training he teaches in his fitness classes is similar to the training his fighters go through, to which he responded,

“It is hard to do anything intensely for 15 minutes and when you are fighting you are put in the most uncomfortable positions possible and still have to be able to perform. So while training to be a fighter does require peak physical fitness, it is also A LOT of mental training. The training I teach to people in the fitness classes is based on their personal goals and is a lot more functional and less strict than how I train the fighters.”

Along with the Kids MMA program, and the newly added Adult Pankration classes at DHAFC, Sam runs a class called Quest Ultimate Fitness.

One of the most popular classes offered there, Quest Ultimate Fitness is a group class that incorporates a mix of functional fitness movements, circuit training, and a bit of punching and kicking. These fast-paced, high-intensity classes utilize movements that promote muscle development, burn fat, and are scalable to all fitness levels.

1-quest ultimate

But most importantly, this type of training works.  According to Smilin’ Sam,

“Training in these types of classes is one of the best things because it keeps your mind occupied, and is easier than just running long distances. We work out in a group setting that is not super strict, but is effective, and people continue to come because it is more fun.”

As anyone who has ever started a new fitness routine knows; you will only get your desired results if you actually continue to do it.

Having a class environment that is different than what you are normally accustomed to, teaches you how to use your body in new ways, and provides a fun way to get together with friends and burn some calories is a sure way to achieve the results you want without feeling like you have to work as hard to get them.

You will likely find multiple gym locations near you offering classes such as kickboxing, introduction to boxing or MMA, and even Jiu-Jitsu wrestling.

These classes are usually open to everyone, done in a group setting, very physically challenging, and a whole lot of fun.  So, while MMA may not be for everyone, a group-based fitness class with a bit of MMA flair could be just the thing you need to kick your training up a notch.

Be sure to catch Smilin’ Sam Alvey as he defends his Middleweight Title against Wes Swofford at MFC 40 tomorrow night, airing live on AXS TV. You can follow Sam on Twitter: @SmilenSam.


Introducing…Vital Climbing Gym

Introducing...Vital Climbing Gym

 1-Vital Murrieta-78 (2)

Talk about putting the fun back into fitness! Vital Climbing Gym is a facility dedicated to the sport of Bouldering – a form of rock climbing done on large boulders (or indoors on artificial climbing walls) and without the use of ropes or harnesses as are used in top rope and lead climbing.

Here is how bouldering is described on Vital’s website:

Bouldering is one of the main styles of climbing. It is done low enough to the ground that the only safety equipment needed is a pad to land on. Free from the need of specialized knowledge or equipment, Bouldering is a beautifully simple style of climbing. It is inherently the most social way to climb because friends can gather around to watch and encourage one another. It is also one of the few styles of climbing that can be done alone. Bouldering is a popular way to train for roped climbing because it allows climbers to repeatedly attempt moves which are at the limit of their skill and strength.

I stumbled across Vital while researching independent gyms in my area and thought that it looked like a really cool place to check out. My only experience with rock climbing prior to visiting Vital had been with climbing up small boulders while hiking as a child, and the artificial rock wall at Pump It Up in Murrieta.

So when the manager at Vital, Luis, welcomed me to check out the place, I was pretty excited. I scheduled a time to visit the gym and got the grand tour, including the chance to try my hand at a couple of the routes.

1-photo (30)There are a wide variety of routes set along the walls all color coded and ranked according to difficulty.

I have to admit at first it was a bit intimidating and I was slightly nervous to try, but after observing a young boy scale a few of the climbs, I was ready to give it a shot.

Luis started me out by having me choose a beginner-level climb to get the feel for it and to get used to the special climbing shoes.

Then he let me choose a route to try out using their color coding system as a guide. The route I chose (I think) was rated at orange, which isn't very high on their difficulty scale, but I found it to be quite the challenge and was unable to complete the route in its entirety.

Climbing was a lot of fun, and though I only was there for a short while, it was a great workout! My back and shoulders were sore for a couple days after my visit. I imagine that climbing on a regular basis is a great way to build strength and flexibility and forces you to move your body and test your muscles in new ways.

Along with the climbing walls, Vital offers its members an area with strength training equipment which they will soon be expanding,  a very unique peg wall for climbing, and even a slackline.


1-Vital Murrieta171-154 (2)

However, this facility offers much more than just a fun way to get and stay in top condition. Vital is most definitely built upon its community. Since bouldering doesn’t require the use of ropes and harnesses, Vital is able to be open to its members 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

It operates as a sort of co-op where members have access to the gym even after hours. The gym offers a place to hang out and visit with friends, lets you set up your own music to climb to, and even boasts its very own espresso bar!

1-Vital Murrieta171-113 (2)

Many of the gym’s members meet regularly outside of Vital for outdoor bouldering trips, and the gym even hosts an annual camping trip. You can check out a cool video highlighting outdoor bouldering here at Luis’ blog.

Vital Climbing Gym offers a very affordable unlimited climbing membership at $35 a month, which also grants you 25% discounts on everything in the shop. They also offer lesson clinics Tuesdays and Fridays which run $20 for members, $25 for non-members, and have a youth climbing team that meets twice weekly. (Contact Vital for more information.)

You can get a day pass to check out the gym for $10, or come on a Monday dressed in Tie-Die and tights and receive half-off the regular day pass price.1-Vital Murrieta-171 Shadow Removed (2)

You can even come here to celebrate your birthday with a climbing party!

Whether you decide to become a full-fledged member, or just come for a one day visit, you are guaranteed to have a great time and challenge yourself physically in a whole new way.

If you really want to push your limits, you can sign up for their upcoming Competition that will be hosted at the Murrieta location on May 10th or just come by to cheer on your friends.

Competitors of all levels are invited to join in. There will be fun prizes for the winners and free tacos for everyone! (Register Here)

1-VCG Sign at Night

Vital Climbing Gym currently has three locations and they are expanding, so if this sounds like the kind of place you want to belong to, head over to their website for more info.

Be sure to Follow them for the latest events and updates!

Facebook | Instagram


And if you decide to drop in over at the Murrieta location, tell Luis "Hi!" for me.
29990 Technology Drive
Suite 22
Murrieta, CA 92563

3 Steps For Getting Great Abs

3 Steps For Getting Great Absgetting great abs


We all get jealous at times of the guy or gal walking down the beach with that tight and tone tummy. We blame it on genetics or claim that they never eat. The truth is, we all want a healthy, tone, and sexy look and getting great abs would be a welcome bonus. That’s why we are reading these articles.

Well we can!

But first there are a few things that you need to understand:

  • This isn’t easy, but it’s worth it
  • You need to be smart and safe
  • And lastly, when it gets tough, don’t quit. Be patient and do it the right way this time.

I guarantee that the below steps are used for getting great abs by most, if not all, fitness professionals in the industry. It’s not a trendy infomercial, or new gadget. The answers are simple, and have been around for years. Don’t get suckered into the next infomercial weight loss pill or abs blasting machine. Do it right this time.


Use the following steps for getting great abs:

1. Cut the fat! We all have eight pack abs. Without them, we couldn’t sit up right or get out of a chair. The biggest issue for us is that there is too much fat covering our abdominal muscles. Let’s get this straight, abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym.

So if we make abs in the kitchen, what the heck is the recipe?

  • Well first you need to ensure that you are creating a deficit of 500 to your daily maintenance calories. See our ARTICLE on this here.
  • Next, you need to set your goal. A lean female (one with a tight tummy) is generally under 18% body fat. Males need to get under 12-13% body fat.
  • Once you know what weight you need to get to, be consistent, and in a few short months, you can be looking ripped!

Note: By using the techniques in the linked article above, you should already know your body fat percentage. If not, get yourself some AccuMeasure Body Fat Calipers and find out your current body fat percent. (affiliate link)


2. Do Squats! Yes, I said it, Squats! The squat is the king of exercises because it activates so many muscle groups. Since it implements so many muscles, it burns a huge amount of fat during recovery (See step 1 on why that’s important.)

Squats also require a large amount of stability for balance which activates all of your core muscles. Those of you battling a weak or protruding lower belly, this exercise can help.

Squats will force you to tighten and strengthen all the muscles surrounding your stomach, lower back, and hips which is key to getting great abs. These are all the areas which will help you to have a tight and tone core.


3. Don’t Overwork Your Abs. Your abdominal muscles are like any other muscle. They require time to rest. You cannot tackle your abs everyday and expect them to tighten and grow.

Both the reps and intensity of your abs workouts, will determine how many days you are able to effectively work your abdominal muscles.

If you are doing extremely light weight high-rep exercises ( over 20 reps per set) such as bicycle crunches, planks, Romanian twists, or sit ups you can work your abs and other core muscles every other day (3-4 times a week.) These types of exercises, when done properly will help tighten and tone your abs.


If you complete heavier exercises such as weighted incline sit ups, heavy axe chops, or a crunch machine (fewer than 15 reps), plan on giving your muscles a few days of rest and only work them twice a week.

Focus on completing 3-4 sets of abdominal exercises per session on either the above schedules. You don’t need to do any more since these muscles are often activated during other exercises.

So long as you are increasing weight or reps on any of your exercises, you are improving. When you find yourself not being able to increase your strength, you are either not resting enough or not eating enough between workouts. Look at your nutrition and workout plan to see where you are overworked or under-rested.


Bonus Tip:

4. Most importantly, be patient! This is a lifelong journey and developing the above habits is not easy. However if you commit to them and make each one second nature, you will blast fat and tone muscle the smart and effective way.

Eat. Sleep. Live. Fit!


TWR Episode 003: “Resistance Training for Fat Loss”

Resistance Training for Fat Loss

On Today’s Episode we delve into the topic of Resistance Training for Fat Loss, discuss the recommended rep ranges and provide a few sample workout plans to get you started. We also provide some tips specifically for beginners or those who have been away from the weights for awhile. The topics of discussion have been outlined below for you to easily follow along. Please leave us your comments and questions below, as well as any new topics you would like us to cover in future podcasts. Enjoy!

Resistance training for fat loss will help you get your body into lean, tone shape. Don’t be afraid of resistance training but do use care in your workouts, especially if you are a beginner or have been out of strength training for some time.


Beware of Contraindications:

  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Dizzyness
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Numbness
  • Or if anything else just doesn’t feel right, listen to your body, stop what you are doing, and if needed, go see your doctor.


Proper form is very important to both prevent injury and to maximize the results of your efforts.

Seeing results will take time, so be patient and focus on getting down proper form and technique. Start out at a lower intensity than 100%. If you have been away from the weights for 6 months or more, we recommend starting out with a weight that is at 60% intensity of your max. This will not only prepare your muscles for more intense workouts, it will also reduce your chance of injury.

If you use too heavy of weights too early on, not only will you be more likely to injure yourself, but you also risk burn out, and extreme muscle soreness. Your stabilizing muscles need time to build up to your stronger, larger muscles.

“Just cause you can lift heavier doesn’t mean you should.”


It is very difficult to cut fat and gain muscle at the same time.

 Focus on one specific goal and stick with it. You should either work on cutting first and building later or build now and cut later. If you are using resistance training for fat loss, you will notice some muscle growth, but growth will be limited on a calorie-restricted diet.

Your body needs food for fuel when working on increasing muscle size and strength. If you cut first and then build, your definition and muscle development will be more apparent than if you build first then cut.


Choose workout programs that match your fitness level

If you are a beginner, you should not be attempting intermediate or advanced programs. Working above your current fitness level is a recipe for injury. You need time to learn proper form, technique, and focus, and also to allow your muscles to get strong enough for higher intensity workouts.


Prime rep range for fat loss

While resistance training for fat loss, you will want to focus on higher rep ranges with lower weights. These types of training programs are also great for beginners as they help to your muscles acclimate to weight lifting with a much lower risk of injury than do programs that require heavier lifting at lower rep ranges.

20-25 rep range – premium range for fat loss

  • Drains all the energy out of your muscles; your body will use fats to refill muscles with energy
  • Cardio benefit
  • Prevents injury
  • High calorie burn = more fat loss
  • Increases muscle density – muscles are harder and toner

Health Tip: Don’t cut calories too low when working to cut fat. Remember your body still needs proper nutrition


Use body fat calipers to track your fat loss.

When doing resistance training for fat loss, you will often see yourself getting stronger and smaller, yet the scale may not accurately reflect the decrease in body fat. You will notice your clothes fitting better and you will begin to look tighter and leaner even if your weight is staying the same or only decreasing by a minimal amount.


Full Body Circuits are great for fat loss

Programs that use a circuit of a push movement, a pull movement, and a leg exercise are great resistance training plans for fat loss. You will build strength and see fat loss results on programs such as these. Some examples of programs that utilize this breakdown: Circuit Training Program, Home Workout, Mud Run Training



Focus on Compound Movements

Compound movements allow you to use more muscles at one time than isolated movements. Utilizing more muscles at one time will provide maximal fat burning benefits to your workout and are more efficient. Some common compound movements are squats, chest press, pull-ups, push-ups, and lunges.


Tips for Beginners

  • Start out at 60% and slowly build up. If a program is too difficult, choose one that is more at your level, or scale movements back to 60% and work up from there. Do not overdo it!
  • Hydrate. Drink lots of water. Water is great for your body and necessary for proper functioning and recovery.
  • Stretch. Helps your muscles recover, increases blood flow. Rolling is great for helping sore muscles recover more effectively, and improving flexibility. Massage also works.




Cardio in your Resistance Training for fat loss program

Aerobics sessions on your days off from resistance training will consist of one of three basic types:

  • Fast – higher heart rate, working on speed, sweating, can not talk while doing it. This type is great for cardiovascular benefits and building performance. Not best for fat loss; you will burn more calories in less time but your body will draw those calories more from carbohydrates than fats.
  • Slow – low heart rate (60% of Max HR), walk or slow jog, stationary bike, etc. you can talk while performing this type of cardio. Your body burns fat at lower intensities so you will utilize more calories from fat than carbohydrates. You can also perform this type of cardio whenever and however often you like because it is very low impact.
  • Combination of Fast and Slow –  1 minute sprint followed by 5 minutes walking. Also known as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). Short very-intense intervals broken up by longer, slower cardio or complete rest. Brings heart rate really high, works on your performance and kicks up your metabolism. This type of cardio is great for fat loss, but the high intensity makes is so you shouldn’t perform it as frequently. Also, not recommended for beginners. You can perform HIIT running, swimming, or on a cardio machine of your choice.


Cardio Tip: Distance is relative; you will burn roughly the same number of calories walking one mile as you will running it. The time it takes to complete the distance will change of course, and the energy sources your body uses for fuel will also change depending upon your speed.


Don’t wait until you have a deadline of when you want to “be in shape” by and end up trying to rush your progress. Fitness is a marathon, not a sprint. Getting healthy is a lifestyle change, not just a quick fix.  Start working on your health and fitness goals today!

Quick Nutrition Tip: Overnight Oats are a quick and easy on-the-go breakfast to get in your nutrition even when you don’t have a lot of time in the mornings.


Strawberry-Banana Overnight Oats

Makes 1 Servings: (per serving) 296 Calories, 15 g Protein, 7 g Fat, 48 g Carbs


1/3 cup uncooked rolled oats (or Muesli with no added sugar, processed ingredients)

1/3 cup nonfat milk (or other milk of choice )

1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1/4 - 1/2 sliced banana

3-4 sliced strawberries

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 Tbsp. Chia Seeds (optional – if omitted, subtract 60 calories)


Stir all ingredients together, cover and refrigerate. The overnight oats will be thin once mixed and thicken to a doughy consistency by morning as the oats absorb the moisture if the yogurt and milk.

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Overnight Oats Variations:

For Banana-Blueberry Overnight Oats, substitute 1/8 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) for the strawberries.

For Mixed-Berry Banana Overnight Oats, cup back to 1/3 a banana, 2 strawberries, and add in 1/8 cup blueberries, raspberries, or other berries of choice.

For added texture or flavor toss in some sliced almonds, raisins or other dried fruits or a tablespoon of peanut or almond butter (no added sugar) for the addition of good fats to these oats along with extra flavor.

Thanks for joining us again today. Please feel free to comment below with any questions about this episode or any other topics you would like to hear us discuss. We hope you have enjoyed the show and until next time, Eat. Sleep. Live. Fit!


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