Search This Site
Follow Stuff I Like on Twitter

fitmark's The Box - Carrying My Food Everywhere

I’ve been hauling shakes and meals and supplements to and from the gym and the job for many years. Pre-made meals have been a hallmark of my life forever, it seems. Various little coolers and backpacks have been pressed into service, but none have done the job as well as fitmark’s The Box.

My version contains four BPA-free meal boxes, and one 20 oz Smartshake shaker bottle. Attached to the bottom of the shaker are carriers for pills and powders; I like the removable divider for pills. Use it or don’t, but you have the option.

Each of the food holders is easily large enough for a good meal; I’ve had occasion (usually post-workout) to eat all the food in two of them, but most of the time one does the job just fine. Fill a small frying pan with some bacon, vegetables, a half dozen scrambled eggs or a couple of chicken breasts, and you’ll find all of it fits easily into one box. The lids seal nicely and remove easily; they go through the dishwasher just fine. I’ve experienced no seal or shape-changing issues.

Inside the top of The Box is a big mesh pocket set up for carrying silverware or napkins, keeping then dry. Two cool packs come with The Box; I added a third to keep my shake as cold as possible. An exterior pocket on the front is great for supplement packets, keys, wallet, cell phone, or any other small gadgets. The back of The Box has a large pocket running across, wonderful for everything from a spare t-shirt to your workout journal. One side has a small mesh pocket advertised for your water bottle; I find a full bottle to be tippy there, but the pocket is handy all the same. I use it for all kinds of small things.

I toss my Box in and out of my vehicle with no fear it’s going to break or rip. It goes to the gym every day; it’s in and out of the kitchen, of course. Rip-stop nylon is durable as hell. The adjustable carrying strap goes over my shoulder, but it can be tightened up. The handle on top is nice when The Box is empty; I wouldn’t carry it that way when loaded; I’m not certain the zipper would enjoy the stress.

If I told you I was in love with my fitmark Box I’d be gushing and over-stating my enjoyment. As a valuable tool in my professional life as a personal trainer, and my passionate life as an athlete, I call The Box essential.

My Box came from Nutrition Supply Company, my source for many supplements, training devices and even healthy foods.

Retail is $59.99.



Fast and Easy Protein / Kale Shakes

Tuesday night I arrived home from the gym at 9:00 pm. Tired. Needed to turnaround and be back with clients by 7:00 am the next morning. Last thing I wanted to do was prepare food. Knowing I had leftover chicken, pork chops, vegetables, sweet potatoes in the fridge, all I had to prepare was a couple of big meal shakes. I spent as much time pulling ingredients out of cupboards as I did blending. Do you keep all these items on hand? Five minutes and two shakes for the busy days ahead are made. Easy.






I Don't Have Time to Prepare Food... to Eat Right

Is there a trainer, coach or nutritional consultant who doesn't hear this daily? We're all busy, all have kids and lives and clients and want to carve out time for our own workouts and activities. I know. I'm busy as hell also. And I find time to prepare food ahead of time. Case in point.

Drove 12-13 hours Monday returning from a family visit. A massive storm hit while four - five hours from home. Drove through it. Stress. Tired eyes, exhausted body. Had about three awake hours; spent two of them on food. Not my "want to do this" but my "need to do this" time.

Peeled a few sweet potatoes, sliced them, popped 'em into the oven with macadamia nut oil and chili pepper. Set timer for one hour, 400 degrees. Everything else happens while they cook.

Cut up vegetables in fridge: cauliflower, broccoli, red and yellow peppers, mushrooms - into big frying pan with coconut oil. Moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Added capers, cut-up kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes. Wished I had kale. Used up most of the vegetables left in the refrigerator. While all this cooked slowly, I put eight chicken breasts on the grill (got them out of the freezer immediately after getting home). Grilled those babies, slowly, as they weren't fully thawed.

While the chicken was cooking and the vegetables were simmering, I put on a pan of white rice.

All this finished at the same time. Two hours. Washed the dishes, put everything into containers and into the fridge.

Done. I didn't have time either, but I made time.


If Professional Athletes Perform Better With Proper Nutrition...

Wouldn’t you believe the same would apply to you? Whether you’re a weekend athlete, a dedicated CrossFiter, a casual runner, or merely interested in optimal health for yourself, take a hint from two recent news stories detailing the intersection of health and performance.

Twice in recent issues of Sports Illustrated, writers are discussing how learning to eat real food and properly supplement are making a direct, positive difference in professional athletes. Keep in mind, these are genetically superior people, they’ve risen to the top of their respective professions, yet learning about real food and nutrition is breaking news! What does this say about our need for the same thing?

In the June 9, 2014 edition, in Emily Kaplan’s piece about a nutritionist advising the United States soccer team, the subtitle “The U.S. plan to eat and drink its way to soccer glory” jumps out at me. I’m shocked this is a new initiative. Prior to Danielle LaFata being hired, these aerobic monsters were running on creamy salad dressings, Twizzlers, fruit gummies and pretzels! She’s replaced the crap with real food (fruits, vegetables, grains, etc.). 

I’m happiest about LaFata’s shakes, meant to be consumed within a half hour of workouts, “a prime window to build muscle.” Each shake has 25-30 grams of protein, and double or triple that in carbohydrates. Debate the carb load all you want - downing a protein shake in that crucial immediate post-workout window is critical.

Only in the last two years has U.S. professional soccer been paying attention to nutrition. Amazing!

Sports Illustrated’s June 2 issue has a major feature on professional baseball player Troy Tulowitzki, one of the more consistent and better athletes in his sport for the last decade. At the ripe old age of 29, Tulowitzki has adopted a gluten and dairy-free, low sugar eating plan. He’s finding it paying immediate dividends relative to his endurance, energy and athleticism. 

Troy has gone so far as to hire a personal assistant to travel with him (one of the perks of being very rich) on road trips, head to the Whole Foods in that city, and buy all his meals. His green shakes are legendary in his family and the clubhouse of the Colorado Rockies, his team.

Oh, and he’s enjoying the best season of his storied career! The big change - real, healthy food. Kale shakes. 

If two of the best athletes in their respective pro sports are seeing real, positive, performance change, after learning to pay close attention to what they put into their bodies, don’t you think the same effort would enhance your health and life and sports activities?


Smitty's Iron Works - a Great Hardcore Gym

My hometown of Midland, Michigan is 500 miles away from me. In the 1960s and '70s, my formative weight-training years, all my iron pumping took place in The Community Center, which at the time had a grungy, old-school before it was old, lifting room. Big 'ol globe dumbells, ratty benches, rusty metal York plates with those deep dish sides... loved it.

I left Midland in 1978, moved to Detroit, and have used a succession of great and ok gyms since, in both Michigan and Wisconsin. Over the years, when returning to Midland visiting family,  I've returned to the Community Center to workout, but it's a big fancy complex now with lots of stuff but a dearth of true training gear. A couple of other gyms have come and gone, but I'd given up on the area for anything other than maintenance sessions.

A year ago 989 CrossFit opened in Midland! I was excited, have enjoyed sessions there a few times, and have nothing but praise for Jim Reaume. But he's not open on Sundays. What to do? In winter I need an indoor facility.

Last fall I "discovered" Smitty's Iron Works on the outskirts of town. Turns out the place has been in business for a number of years, but I wasn't aware of it's existence. What a nice facility. Everything is in the place - all the usual cardio and machine workout stuff expected in a modern gym, but that's not what excites me.  

How about a big Pendlay mono-lift? What about a competition-style chalk bucket next to a deadlifting platform?

My heart rate accelerated when I saw the big Reverse Hyper. It's been a decade since I was able to use one of those babies.

Chains of all sizes, big bands, little bands. Iron plates throughout the gym - no coating, no hand holes. Just big 'ol plates, including 100# sets. Nice squat racks, big benches, dumbells through 150#. Foam rollers, a Concept 2 rower, friendly helpful staff...

Last Sunday I ran through my entire body; warmed up well on the foam roller, rowed a couple thousand meters fairly quickly, then spent 90 minutes moving through heavy leg presses, moderately heavy squats, deadlifts, reverse hypers, flat bench press, then super-sets of triceps and horizontal rows, pulldowns and biceps. I love finding new (to me) gyms. Smitty's Iron Works would be special no matter where it is, but in my old hometown, it's like a mirage on the horizon that turns out to be real.