I Have Learned+ Menu

For years parents have signed their kids up for sports, with the intention for them to become more disciplined, learn about responsibility and team work, get faster and stronger, to get them away from technology and interacting face to face with others more, etc. I wish I could sign adults up for CrossFit and they have to take it as serious as we expect our children to. I think adults could learn a lot from CrossFit.

A few things I have learned, it no particular order…

1. It is humbling.

You could be the strongest person in the room, the go-to guy when there is anything heavy needing to be moved, but walk into a CrossFit gym and strong does not always mean you are the best. There is always going to be some movement that you don’t have quite perfect yet, but the guy/girl beside you is breezing through it. It might knock you down a few notches or make you work harder to perfect that movement.

2. Believing in yourself and a positive mindset, is a must.

It doesn’t matter how many times someone whoops and hollers your name. If you aren’t self motivated that weight is moving and you aren’t going to push as hard. You have to want it and keep yourself pumped up, if you want to complete some of those long grueling workouts. Believing you can do it, is all it takes sometimes. If I doubt myself on a heavy weight and get in my head, saying that I can’t do it, chances are I won’t be able to. If I tell myself that I am capable, that it is no big deal, that I am strong 9 times out of 10 I will be successful. Doubting your ability will set you back further, than if you are positive and at least attempt the weight.

3. Food is fuel.

If I eat like crap or have a few glasses of wine, I can really feel it during a workout. When I eat my usual food I feel much better and move better. If I don’t eat enough food, I don’t have the energy to make it through a workout or I end up feeling worse. Food helps my body recover and repair itself. I would have never been concerned with what types of food I ate if I hadn’t started CrossFit. I would have continued to assume that eating a lot of fruit is the only way to be healthy and fruit smoothies were even better. Wanting to better myself in the gym, I sought out information about what I needed to be eating. Who knew more carbs would be the answer?

4. Know your body.

This one might be odd, but going from a conventional gym to CrossFit, I think one of the first things I noticed was there were no mirrors. How on Earth was I supposed to know if I was doing the movement right? How could I tell if I went deep enough in my squat or if my arms were moving like they should? I had to learn to feel my body. I had to learn how it felt to do those movements correctly with light weight and work my way up. No creepily staring at myself in the mirror (or people watching on the sly) while I squatted or did curls. Another part of knowing your body is knowing when to say enough is enough. You can’t be worried with letting someone down if you quit a workout, but you also can’t quit every time something is slightly sore. Knowing your body and how far you can push yourself is key.

5. It is a lifestyle.

The early mornings, early bed time, and eating to fuel your body are great. It will get you where you want to be in the gym, but not so much in your friendships. Not all of our friends are on the healthy train and when you no longer have the same interests, your friendships get a little further apart. Lots of comments come your way about the way you eat and how you don’t go out anymore. You might not even get invited to a dinner, because the meal they are making isn’t exactly healthy. You do gain new friendships and a new family at the gym, where they are like minded and have the same goals. The old friends are still there, but they are not exactly cheering you on at any CrossFit competitions.

6. Patience pays off.

Handstand push-ups, muscle-ups, even a pull-up doesn’t happen over night. Everyone has to start somewhere, NO ONE walks into able to do every movement. It takes time, patience, and lots of practice to master all the skills. I am still working on that, and will be for a very long time. Be patient with yourself and give yourself some grace when you aren’t mastering everything as quickly as you would like.

7. Workouts are all about strategy.

CrossFit has made me more strategic. How can I get from this movement to the next, as quickly as possible without tripping over myself and over doing it. I am constantly thinking of what the best strategy is. How can I do the most amount of work, it the shortest amount of time, without burning out? I like to set goals for myself during a workout and get in all the work required by a certain time. In order to do that I have to think of what I can do to shorten my time or when to push hard and when to rest. This can be very helpful in life when I have a million things to do and need to multitask.

8. Celebrate all the small victories.

No matter how small of the PR, celebrate it. No matter how light you think the weight is, congratulate yourself and live in that moment. If you are trying to lose weight and only see 5 pounds down when you were hoping for 10, celebrate it. You can’t rely on others to celebrate all of your accomplishments. If you aren’t happy with yourself and your progress, you won’t keep going with the same fire that you started with. This one has been hard for me, because I am such a competitive person that I even compare my weight lifting abilities to others. That is not okay. If you are putting in 100% it doesn’t matter if you are only lifting 20 pounds. If that is all you can do, then you are killing it!

9. It is useful.

There are a few times when I am in a situation that no one is around to help me move an odd object or just get something heavy out of the attic. I don’t sit at home and wait for Josh to come home and get it for me. I am not that kind of woman. I am a do-it yourself kind of woman. If CrossFit was not in my life, it would be more likely that I would be the woman that waits on a man to get that heavy object. I am a teacher and over the summer our floors get waxed. Well, that means moving all of the furniture to one side of the room and back to its correct position when they are done. I have this bookshelf that is roughly 7-8 feet tall and solid. Not that cheap, fake wood. Well with very young kids I am limited to the times that I can go put my room together. Long story short, there was no one around when I went to move things in my room and I wasn’t about to wait on anyone. I put that shelf on my back and walked it across the room. Moments like that, when I am really using my fitness outside of the gym, I am proud of myself. I am capable and do not have to depend on someone else to get things accomplished, because I am strong physically and mentally I can accomplish anything.

There are so many lessons that I have learned that it is hard to put them into simple categories.

Being physically active has taught me patience with myself, brought me sanity, given me an outlet, to respect the process, to be encouraging to everyone and not judge, to stay in my lane, that I am capable, that I am strong, that you can see my muscles and that is okay, I am way more into nutrition than I thought I would ever be, and so much more.



Deer Tenderloin +Mashed Butternut Squash

Backstrap + Autumn Glow Salad


Deer Stew


I think hamburgers get a bad rap, unjustly. 80/20 hamburger meat cooked and drained is 42 calories, 5 grams of protein, and 2.5 grams of fat based on the USDA website. The fat drips off the meat in a similar manner to you draining the meat. The hamburger buns we use are 30 grams of carbs. I don’t use mayo, bacon, cheese, or go back for a second bun. If I still want another burger, I will make a lettuce wrap. If you are really watching your carb intake, skip the bun and use a lettuce wrap.

If you count your macros, you will know that you might need to skip the carb snack that day, so you aren’t busting over on your allotted amount of carbs. I had a lovely beet salad planned to go along with these, but hamburgers and beets don’t really sound great together. When I asked Josh if he wanted a side, he said that a hamburger has everything you need protein, carbs, and fat and there was no reason to add a side.

Deer Tenderloin + Mashed Butternut Squash

If you don’t have deer tenderloin on hand, go pick up pork tenderloin. We cook it as a whole piece in the oven vs. slicing it like pork chops. This mashed butternut squash really gets me in the mood for Thanksgiving. I am not sure how my family would feel if I replaced mashed potatoes with this mashed butternut squash, but I have a feeling they would thank me later. 1 ounce of goat cheese has 5 grams protein, 1 gram carb, and 5 grams fat. 3 ounces won’t kill the macros, but if it isn’t needed don’t use all 3 ounces. I am going to add in 2 ounces and then if I think it needs more (according to how it tastes) I will add in more. This also depends on how large your squash is. I think Josh got the largest one I have ever seen, so chances are I will be using 4 ounces instead of 3!

Deer Backstrap +  Autumn Glow Salad

We cooked backstrap recently, but to me this is as good as a steak and leaner. I like to cut the backstrap into small steaks and cook it on the cast iron pan. I use grapeseed oil when I am cooking backstrap and cook each side approximately 2-3 minutes. Cooking time depends on the thickness of the cut of meat and how rare you like your meat to be.

If you don’t have backstrap, any lean meat will do. Pork chops, sirloin steak, pork tenderloin, chicken, or fish without the skin.

The name alone on this salad gets me excited. Even though it feels like winter is just going to jump on us at any moment and the cool fall weather is going to disappear, autumn glow salad just sounds amazing. I am sure I will find a winter glow salad soon.

This salad calls for cauliflower, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and one apple. Carbs, carbs, carbs, carbs, and that is okay just make sure to watch your portion size. Even though these are all healthy carbs, a carbs is a carb. Our neighbor Susan gave us the most delicious apples from North Georgia and I have one hidden away in the fridge from my apple loving child. It is HUGE so I am going to only use half and let Anderson eat the rest, if I don’t. A regular size apple has around 25-30 grams of carbs, so you don’t want to go overboard with the apple, unless you are going to increase the serving sizes or only use 1 sweet potato.

The dressing has 2/3 cup of olive oil (eye popping out of my head), don’t do this please. That is so much oil and not necessary. There is lemon juice and agave or honey in the dressing already. I would rather up my lemon juice and honey than add that much fat to a salad dressing. I am going to skip the oil entirely and increase my lemon and honey amounts.


If you have been following along with me, you probably know this dish like the back of your hand.

This spaghetti is not your typical saucy spaghetti. I like my spaghetti thick and full of vegetables. It is adapted from a lasagna sauce that Josh’s brother likes to cook, with a few minor changes to make it a little healthier. When I cooked this the other week I skipped the wine and it tasted just as great. I did not want to open one of our good bottles of wine for spaghetti and didn’t feel like making a trip to the liquor store, so we left the wine out of the dish. I use whole milk, where he use heavy whipping cream and spaghetti squash instead of noodles.

To cook spaghetti squash: preheat the oven to 425. Slice squash in half long-ways. Scoop and discard the seeds. Rub olive oil along the cut side and inside the squash. Place the squash cut side up and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until you can stick a fork completely through the squash. Scrape the squash out with a fork to create noodle like strands.

To cook the spaghetti: brown and drain the ground meat. In a pot saute the garlic, onion, and yellow bell pepper in 1/2 Tablespoon of olive oil until soft. Add in the mushrooms. Let mushrooms soften and drain off any excess water. Add in the 4 cans of fire roasted tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix well, then stir in meat. Stir in 1/4 cup of whole milk and 2-3 ounces of red wine. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer on low for 30 minutes.

The longer this dish sits, the better it gets.

Deer Stew

I have not made deer stew in a long, long time. In college when my friends and I would get together to eat supper, I would usually make this. It has everything you need; meat, vegetables, and potatoes. The best part is it is easy! I am going to try it in the crock-pot this time, since I need my oven to cook the sides for other meals.  I am so glad that I printed this recipe out, way before Pinterest was around. When I went to search for this recipe I couldn’t find it, anywhere! LUCKILY the url was on the bottom of the page when it printed, so we are safe!

The only thing I am going to change is the amount of butter used in this recipe. It calls for 1/2 a stick, but I am going to use 1/4 a stick instead. I am using small new potatoes, not baking potatoes and I like to use cubed steak. If you don’t have deer meat, you can always use any thin strips of steak.

Don’t forget to print the list!


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