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CHOCOLATE BLACKBERRY MUFFINS

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Today’s recipe was a total whim. And by total, I mean I kinda just threw all the ingredients in a bowl and prayed it worked out. Well, here we are- delicious and easy chocolate chip blackberry muffins! These bad boys contain tons of flavor, natural sweetness (refined sugar free!), and are gluten free as well! They also contain tons of protein!

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup oat flour*
  • 1 scoop Dark Chocolate & Blackberry Collagen Protein (or other protein powder of choice)
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup almond milk
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 pint blackberries
  • ⅔ cup dark chocolate chips

 

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 F.
  2. Mix the oat flour, protein powder (if using), cocoa powder, coconut sugar, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk the egg, oil, and almond milk together in a separate bowl. Pour into the dry ingredients, and as you mix together, fold in the blackberries and chocolate chips.
  4. Grease muffin tins with cooking oil to prevent sticking. Spoon in ~1/3 cup of the batter. Repeat until done.
  5. Bake for 20-23 minutes, until done in the middle. Remove and let cool for 15-20 minutes.
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Peanut Butter Protein Bars

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INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup almond milk
  • 2 scoops protein powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In your food processor, process all the ingredients, and add in the milk as you go.
  2. Grease an 8×8 tin with cooking spray, and pour the mixture into there. Freeze for one hour.
  3. Cut into 6-8 bars and enjoy!
A Love Letter To Crossfit

A Love Letter To Crossfit

It’s a Process.  

I still remember what the WOD was on my first day. It involved copious amounts of wall balls.  I couldn’t breathe. I had a cramp in my side. I was afraid of getting high fived in the face with a 10 pound ball.  I contemplated death many times that day.  I heard “Caroline, breathe!” At least ten times a WOD for the first 2 months.  For some reason, holding my breath while working out was my body’s natural defense. Maybe it was hoping I would pass out so I could lie down. Anyway, CrossFit and fitness is general is a process.  Be patient! It’s a process. Sometimes it’s a very slow process but its working!

It’s fun unless it’s not. 

I curse CrossFit and my coaches (whom I love) on a regular basis.  Like most people I like to do the things I’m good at.  I’m kind of strong so I like to lift.  Push presses, dead lifts, bear complexes and even thrusters are fun for me.  Okay, maybe not thrusters.  I loathe any body weight exercise that is programmed. I just suck at gymnastics.  I have cried during WOD’s with high gymnasty skills on more than one occasion.  I’m told I need to break through the mental barrier. Really, I just suck at it and I hate it. Even if I could breeze through it like everyone else I will still hate it.  The cool thing is that when I hate something in Crossfit, you develop this need of working on it again and again and again. Now as much as my body protests I can stuck my mind to it and try my best. It’s not easy and sometimes I need to stop and rest but I’m doing it.

It hurts so good.

Um, yes. True story. Why do people insist that pain is good you may ask? It’s not. It sucks. I’m sore most days. For the most part it’s tolerable but the good thing is that it makes your mind so much stronger.

CrossFit is known for its undying love of the underdog.

We hoot, holler and yell encouragement at everyone but we have an extra special affinity for encouraging the person who is still working when everyone else is recovering.  I love that for everyone else. For me, I wish people would just leave me alone to finish in peace. It’s not that I don’t appreciate people cheering me on.  I do. I like the post WOD high fives and fist bumps. Love those. I love the people who want me to succeed. However, when I’m on thruster number 5 of 20 I just want to focus on what I’ve got to do. So, please, don’t take offense when I ask you to not cheer me on. (That is unless you’re Dan Bailey or Charlie Hunnam. They can cheer me on in any way they see fit!)   The people at my box already know this about me. It doesn’t always stop the encouragement but I appreciate that they respect me enough to keep it to a dull roar.

We all know who Rich Froning and Sam Briggs are. (If you don’t you need to study.)

They are the gold standard in CrossFit and are what a lot of people think of when they think of CrossFit.  They are phenomenal athletes and as a result of their hard work they have physiques to be admired.  But let me be clear when I say that most people who CrossFit do not look like this. The amazing people who test themselves daily are moms and dads, bus drivers and bankers and college students.  They look like you and me and they are all athletes to be admired.  Some have six packs and some do not. Regardless, these men and women work their butts off and should be revered.

There are a lot of interesting terms in CrossFit.

Some of them make people chuckle like the 12 year olds they really are, me included.  Don’t be fooled by the ease at which your coaches can perform movements like the snatch and the jerk.  They’ve had a ton of practice and it takes hundreds of times of doing some of these movements until we get good at them.  Scooping, thrusting and shrugging are hard!  One day I’ll be able to clean, jerk and have a nice snatch! One day, when I grow up that won’t make chuckle to say.

Flexing is fun. 

We’ve all heard all of the fun sayings that eventually end up on tank tops.  Suns out, Guns out! Welcome to the Gun show! Meet the Hammer Brothers… Jack and Sledge! These tank tops exist because flexing is fun.  The best days are the days when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and notice a curve to your arms or a ridge in your abs.  You turn to the left and to the right and you FLEX! It’s really one of the greatest benefits of CrossFit. Flexing is fun. Go Forth and Flex! Especially when you did a workout that involves tons of GHD Sit Ups, you will go check immediately afterwards if your abs are creeping out!

Few will understand.

People won’t always understand our love for CrossFit. It’s okay.  They don’t have to get it.  Sometimes it’s frustrating that they don’t understand.  I get it.  I deal with it.  It just may not be for them.  That’s okay too.  Don’t let that snuff out your light! Shine bright, baby! Let the love flow. Embrace it.  Nothing is better than some good old fashioned CrossFit love.  If you don’t have anyone to talk to about it send me an e-mail! I’ve got lots to say!

CrossFitters are the best people.

They really are.  Am I the only person who is surprised when someone is genuinely nice to me? Maybe I am but let me just say people who do CrossFit are the best.  They shine bright and they “Live with Fire!”   Their spirit, passion and love for CrossFit and their boxmates runs deep.  It’s a true love. It’s an undying love that is wrapped in truth, kindness, generosity and sometimes tough love.  I love them.  It has filled me with something that I didn’t know I was missing. I know that I will be supported and pushed and I know that when I succeed we all succeed.   The heart of CrossFit is the people. Don’t let anyone tell you anything differently. We love and we WOD!

Last but not least, you can do it!

Dig deep.  Press harder.  Push your limits.  Try. Fail. Try again.  It takes time but you can do it.  Come back for more. Don’t give up. A breakthrough is on the way.  And if you think you can’t do it…look at me. Through the doubt and the fear and rough days…I’m doing it! You can. You can. You can.

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Why Failure Is Important

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I want to share what I’ve learned about failure (from failing), and how I’ve learned to deal with it – I truly believe it’s just as important as success.

Through our schooling years we are painted a picture of the way our lives should be: finish high school, go to university, get a job, get married, own a house and have children. And while this seemed like the perfect plan, no one seemed to warn us about all the things that come in between these life milestones: AKA failure, mistakes and bumps in the road.

Fears include:

What happens if you don’t get the score you need to get into your dream course?

What happens if you get into university and realise you’ve chosen the wrong course?

What happens if you get through your whole degree and realise you hate it?

What happens if you break up with the person you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with?

What happens if you get to 25 and you aren’t ready to be an adult and buy a house?

What happens if you can’t or don’t want to have kids?

The thing that no one seems to tell us is that every single scenario I’ve listed above is completely okay – they’re all very common and normal situations. I don’t think I know one person who can’t relate to something above.

The little thing they forget to mention at school is that you can’t have success without failure. Failure is such an important part of life that we learn so much from. I used to be so scared of failing that I didn’t want to risk anything or try anything new just in case. I believed that if I didn’t try, I couldn’t possibly fail – so, why would I? This seems ridiculous looking back, but at the time it seemed completely normal.

We need to fail to grow as people and find our path to success.

While we do learn a lot through school and tertiary education, I think the biggest things that we learn in life are through our mistakes. We make them, we learn from them and the next time we try we do better. Sometimes we may even fail three times before we get it right; but that doesn’t matter. Sometimes you may get things right the first time; and that’s awesome. But if you do fail, you’re only human and I promise you will eventually get it right.

I’m currently studying a degree I don’t think I will use once I finish. And while you may think I’m crazy for putting myself through multiple years of study for something I don’t want to do, I honestly don’t mind. If I hadn’t tried it in the first place, how would I have known I wouldn’t like it? And if I hadn’t realised I didn’t want to be a lawyer, then I wouldn’t have found what I want to do on the side or be writing this today. You cannot put a monetary value on education. So, while you may have studied three different courses and quit all of them, or three years in one course that you don’t like, I promise it will all be worth it in the end. You’ll find what you love and when you do, you’ll look back and be grateful for all the wrong turns you took – because they are what lead you to the right one.

Try to focus on telling yourself whatever effort you make is better than no effort. People will fail you, love will fail you, some of your choices will fail you – it’s called life. But you learn from every lost love/opportunity/choice and all of these things turn you into the amazing person you are today.

A person who falls and gets back up is much stronger than a person who never fell.

So most importantly, do not let your failure define you and don’t you dare give in. Let your success define you. Let yourself look back at your journey and be grateful for your failure and that you never stopped trying.

Finding Motivation Part Three

Finding Motivation Part Three

Are you still looking to find some motivation? Well, don’t look behind you or in the past. It’s not there. It’s up ahead. Look ahead!

That brings me to point number three in this motivation series: direction!

Keep going in the right direction

Keep your goal interesting — there’s a risk of becoming bored, so keep your goal alive by growing and changing with it. Add in new elements, switch things around a little, find ways to stimulate your senses and the ‘pleasure centre’ of your brain while continuing to put in the hard work and effort. Stick some motivational pictures and sayings up where you can see them everyday, or write yourself little congratulatory notes and leave them in odd or unexpected places. Remind yourself that you ARE doing this and you ARE making progress.

Review and refine your plan and the steps in it. If things aren’t working or not working as quickly as you thought, or not fitting into your current lifestyle and commitments, switch it around, tweak things, or go and do a bit more research and information gathering to see what others are doing. Get some fresh ideas and build your enthusiasm and motivation to try something new. Refocus on just one step for a while to build that sense of self-efficacy.

Surround yourself with people who support you and believe in you, and/or those that are trying to climb the same mountains as you. Share your journey and feel the weight lift a little. Challenge yourself in a more public way; i.e. tell others what you are doing. That can help you to feel more accountable and more inclined to stick with your plan on the difficult days. And accept that you will inevitably have difficult days and setbacks. These are normal, good and to be expected.

There is a Japanese proverb that says “Fall down seven times, stand back up eight” or a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fall”. Have a little moan and groan to yourself when you hit an obstacle if you want, then shake it off and keep in mind that the setback today does not control tomorrow.

One of the best things to do to keep yourself motivated is to record your progress in a tangible way. Keep a daily list or log of steps you took, record your effort (give it a rating out of 10) and how that effort made you feel. Take daily photos of you participating in and working toward your goal. Keep a journal, or dedicate a notes page in your phone to jotting down your progress. Take the time to regularly look back and notice the effort you have actually put in and the progress you have made.

I hope this series has helped you to find your focus and your own motivation!

Love and light,

Caroline

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Finding Motivation Part Two

In part two, we will look at the second tool you need to create motivation:

Confidence

Be that “glass half-full” sort of person, not the glass half-empty mindset. Look for the good things in every day, the good things around you, and both the good things and the difficult things you have done. Keep a list of all these things you have achieved and look back at it as you add to it every day! Here is the evidence that you CAN. It’s a list that you can refer to whenever you have doubts, if you lack confidence or feel you can’t.

Reading and researching can also help you to build confidence, as can sourcing help and support from those around you. Surround yourself with positive vibes and people who encourage your enthusiasm and confidence. Note: Don’t expect these people to provide you with your motivation, but it is more than okay to deliberately surround yourself with other positive and uplifting individuals. Remember, moods are often contagious! If you spend time around other positive people, you can then be that same external source of positivity and happiness to others, and then the chain goes on! Sometimes the doubters can help push your will to succeed, and your determination to prove them wrong. Keep in mind that you can choose who you want to be around and whose opinion you value.
Again, remember to start small, and keep each step toward your goal simple and achievable. This can help to boost your enthusiasm and increase the positive feedback you will be creating for yourself. A good flexible strategy is choosing an emergency step on difficult days (e.g. days you are ill) which actually factors in a day of rest or relaxation. This allows you to rejuvenate and heal and can help to re-energise you for the effort ahead. You can then feel good about looking after yourself and being well-prepared for the challenges ahead.

Each day, visualise exactly what it will feel like when you achieve your goal. Think about what you will be able to feel and sense, smell, see, taste and hear. It’s almost like imagining how a dream would end, if you were dreaming about where you achieve your goal.

Love and light,

Caroline

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Finding Motivation Part One

I often get asked by readers to help them find some motivation. Now, that is a difficult request to respond to simply because “motivation” doesn’t tangibly exist as a product. It can’t be bought or taken from others, nor can it be shared with or gifted to us by others. Ultimately we can’t easily motivate anyone else, nor can we expect others to provide motivation for us. Motivation isn’t external to us, everything we need to motivate ourselves as an individual lies within only us.

Motivation has quite a few elements and the instructions for balancing these elements in the right quantities is different every time for every individual. The building blocks of motivation are often fear or intense desire and the biggest struggle to find and build motivation therefore goes on in our own mind. While sometimes we can be our own worst saboteurs, we can also be our own experts and greatest supporters.

The three tools we need to build this creation called “motivation” are:

  1. Focus
  2. Confidence
  3. Direction.

To start with we will look at number one:

Focus

If we are constantly thinking in terms of fear as a motivator, we need to turn that around, at least sometimes, and reframe that negative into a positive. We can get so stuck on being fearful and on NOT wanting things. That is not such a problem in itself, because there is no action or activity associated with NOT wanting. It’s just that fear and NOT wanting keeps us from ever doing anything or achieving anything.

Fear keeps us unmotivated – because a goal to NOT do something can never be acted upon.

Fear zaps our energy and is so emotionally, physically and mentally exhausting.

Change the fear you feel and turn it into something you desire, such as a positive (for example, “I don’t want to fail my exams” can be reframed as “I want to pass my exams”). And then the planning can begin, where you identify and plan the little concrete steps needed to make your goal a reality. The goal is what you WANT to achieve and the steps are what you have to DO to get there.

Just focus on one goal and on just one or a few small steps at a time. There is nothing more disheartening and overwhelming than a list that seems never-ending. Maybe divide the steps into little groups and approach one group at a time, letting you feel a sense of achievement more often as you can tick off a step or a group of steps often and regularly.

Make sure you include some steps or activities that are fun and that you can look forward to. The more enjoyable it is, the more you will do it and go out of your way to make sure you do it. And the more you do it, the better you will get at it, and the sooner you can reach your goals. (This is starting to sound like motivation now, isn’t it?). Make sure you are flexible enough to change and moderate the steps as you go if you find a more enjoyable or effective alternative.

Reading and researching other people’s journeys or stories may help you to improve your focus and ultimately, your motivation. It starts you thinking and believing that logically, YOU CAN DO THIS TOO! Or it might bring out the competitor in you and you become more determined to take on the challenge. Reward yourself too remember — not just for achieving the goal but also at checkpoints along the way, for your effort and commitment.

Love and light,

Caroline