Smart Snacking

Let’s talk about snacks for a moment. We all know that feeling around 10am, or maybe 3pm when your stomach is growling, you feel drained, and you still have hours until your next meal. Snacks, when done right, shouldn’t necessarily fill you up – but should be tasty and satisfying and hold you over until your next big meal. 

Be honest – how many of you really take time to think about what goes into your snacks? We spend time thinking about our meals, but snacks for some reason get left up to a “whatever is around” mentality. There should be just as much thought put into what you eat between your meals as you put into your full meals! All the time and effort you put into meal planning won’t do anything for you if you are not also planning and prepping snacks.  

So let’s take a look at ways we can find success in our snacks:


  • Where are you going to be? Will you be in an office with a refrigerator available? Will you be in the car all day? Will you be home?  Think about where you will be and base your snacks on that. You don’t want to bring a yogurt for an afternoon treat if you will be in a car for the next 5 hours with no way to refrigerate it. 
  • Prep your snacks, and portion appropriately.  Do this at the beginning of the week – or even just the night before, prepare for success – don’t set yourself up to grab whatever is edible wherever you are when you are hungry.  
  • Mix it up! – snacking on the same thing every day can lead to boredom…which can lead to you make questionable choices in the moment.  Have several options that rotate throughout the week.  Carrots and hummus are great, but a little variety never killed anyone.


  • Eat when you are hungry….WHAAATTT??? I know, it’s a crazy notion – I am always struggling with the “am I bored or am I hungry” debate – whether it is at work, when I’m catching up on my favorite show, or watching a movie…or even when I’m out having a drink.  Make sure you are eating because your body needs food, and not just because you want something to do. 
  • Try not to snack WHILE you are doing something else (watching tv, staring at a computer, etc.). Pay attention to what you are eating. Sit down at a table. When we eat while we are doing something else – like working or watching TV, we  bring food from a plate to our mouth without even looking at it or thinking about what we are doing and portion size goes out the window. 
  • Slow it down! It’s not a race, just because it is a snack doesn’t mean you swallow it whole or eat so fast you don’t even know what it tasted like. Pause for a second, or take a sip of water between bites. Just slooooooow it down!!


  • Fiber is loaded with health benefits like aiding in weight loss, improved skin, lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, makes your bowel movements healthier and more regular (heehee poop), and more!  Fiber also will help make you feel fuller, longer.  Which, is great when we have a long day ahead of us and we need food that will keep those hunger feelings away for a long time.       
  • How much fiber do you need?  Approximately 35g for women, and 48g for men.  Don’t worry about hitting these numbers exactly, just keep an eye on what food you are eating, and at least try to be in close range. 

Examples: berries, apples, pears, chick peas, chia seed, flax seed, beans, etc. 


    • We NEED protein to survive, and for our bodies to thrive and become stronger.  We don’t store protein the same way as we do carbs & fats, so we need to continue to supply our body with enough to keep us going.  
    • Protein rich diets will help repair and rebuild our muscle tissue, hormones, and our immune system (all somewhat important things to, you know, life.)
    • Along with fiber, protein rich food will help you feel fuller, longer – bonus!

    Examples: Greek yogurt w/ granola, cottage cheese & fruit, cheese & apple slices, hummus & carrots, roasted chickpeas, jerky, edamame, protein bars (careful with this one…check out Pefect Bars, RxBars, Epic Bars, OatMega Bars – there are a lot of great ones out there, but look at the labels).  


    • The feeling of hunger is VERY similar to the symptoms dehydration – don’t mix them up!  If you just ate an hour ago…chances are you don’t need more food, you just need a big glass of water.  
    • make sure to drink throughout the day – especially when you start to feel a bit sleepy or those feelings of hunger start to creep up on you – an average person should be drinking about 2L of water a day.  If you are physically active at work,  exercise often, are in heat or outside all day – that number will increase.  
    • To start drinking more water regularly, carry a water bottle with you – try to be consistent with drinking throughout the day.  
    • I hate the taste of plain water, what else can I drink? Examples: Lemon or other fruit in the bottle (I use an AquaFrut bottle – you can find them on amazon), unsweetened decaf green tea, flavored seltzer water 

    If you are in a pinch though, and need a snack when you are out…a good rule of thumb is to stick to whole, natural, unprocessed foods – fruits, veggies, nuts – you can get them just about anywhere!  Happy Snacking!  

    Gym Etiquette 101

    Like us, most of you see the gym is a place to escape the stress, and for just an hour or so find a bit of physical and mental healing. Whether that is through throwing around heavy weights, or soul-crushing cardio, it is important to have that time. No question about it.

    Now, every once in awhile, it is important to take a step back and make sure that you aren’t being THAT client. The client who perhaps unintentionally ruins a little bit of that one hour of happiness in the gym for somebody else. Don’t get us wrong, we know sometimes things are forgotten, there are situations outside your control, or you’re in a hurry to get to work or to get home after a long day and are just not thinking clearly. However, it’s always good to have a little reminder to keep the peace in the gym. Many of these are common sense, or general safety precautions, but for the most part, it’s a whole lot of respect for others and for the equipment at the gym.
    So we have outlined our top 7 Gym etiquette rules in hopes that we can all workout peacefully and happily at the gym together.

    Put your equipment away
    You would think this would be one of those common sense things. If you use it, put it back where you found it. This goes for barbells, plates, resistance bands, KBs, DBs, jump ropes, etc. As a general rule, if you took it out, put it back where you found it when you are done. Obviously there are times when your coach might say leave it out – in which case, you don’t need to battle each other to see who will put it away. Just know that if you use something and do not put it away, it does not magically transport itself back to where it should be stored, somebody else is picking up after your workout. Of course as your coaches, we will do this if things are left out, but we are all adults and part of the responsibility of the gym is to put your equipment away when you are finished with it.

    Wipe up your sweaty mess
    This is one of the least-followed rules of the gym. So picture this…you just finished a workout, and are all sweaty, and feeling fantastic. You wipe your off your face, give your coach a high-five for being a total badass during that workout, and head out of the gym to get to work. HOLD UP. Think about this for a second. What exercise were you doing? Using a bench? Wall ball? Box? Rower? If you are that sweaty, isn’t there a slight chance your sweat is all over everything? Well, it is. And it’s pretty gross. Butt sweat, head sweat, back sweat…just sweat everywhere. This is one of those basic hygiene concepts that should really not be ignored. What if you went to bench press and you put your head down into a pool of someone else’s head sweat?? I’m cringing just typing this. If you need help finding a cloth to wipe it down with – just ask your coach. Nothing would make us happier than to have more people asking us how to wipe their own sweat off the equipment. So if you have a couple minutes after class – please please please don’t make us wipe up your butt sweat.

    Show up early
    I know this one is a little tricky. Sometimes you are coming right from work and are sprinting just to make it 2 minutes late. Here’s the thing. You all work so hard in the gym. We want you to make progress and get stronger. Part of that is to have healthy bodies to get those big numbers on the bar. Arriving a few minutes early will allow you to take down the workout, and figure out your lift percentages before class gets started. Time to foam roll, or work out that knot in your back, or do a little extra mobility before the warm-up starts. Showing up late to class means that you are missing some of the warm-up, then starting your lifts late because you haven’t had time to figure your your lift percentages, then you’re playing catch up! We know traffic is a monster in Boston during rush hour, so this is one of those “do your best” things.

    Do not cross in front of another lifter mid lift

    blogpicWhile we sometimes cannot help but cross in front of someone’s path (or try to sneak behind them – this is equally distracting), it is something to be aware of.  This is not just out of respect for the lifter, as distractions like someone crossing their field of vision can completely throw off their focus and their lift, but it is also a matter of safety for both you and the lifter.  The general rule is…while someone is lifting -especially an Olympic Lift or going for a lift that is heavy for them, just wait.  Wait off to the side, cheer them on if they need it (and if they want it), and just wait.  Once the lift is done, and the bar is on the ground or re-racked, you may walk.

    If you have ever seen someone bail a lift you know that that bar is going where the bar wants to go. The lifter will not compromise their physical well-being by trying to control the bar on it’s way down to protect you if you are walking too close to them. You will get hit with the bar and it will be your fault. So please. For your safety, and the lifter’s sanity, please. PATIENCE. JUST WAIT.

    Be mindful of your surroundings
    Spatial awareness. Are you jumping rope right in front of the door when the circuit involves running? Are you standing staring into space right behind someone trying to squat? Are you looking around you as you go from station to station in a circuit so you don’t LITERALLY run someone over? I think we all at one point have encountered this. Just be mindful of where other people are, where you are, and we can all get through class without swinging a KB into someone’s face.

    Respect the equipment
    With the exception of barbells with bumper plates on it, nothing should be dropped to the ground. Ever – unless you risk your safety by trying to control it to the floor. This goes for dumbbells, KBs, barbells (empty without any plates on it), etc. While the equipment can withstand a lot of wear and tear, and looks durable, everything has it’s breaking point (literally). This point also ties into the first one regarding putting equipment away. When things are returned to their rightful place, they typically stay in better shape.

    Talk to your coaches
    True story: A new client came into class a couple years ago, and didn’t say that she had any medical issues or recent injuries. When I asked her to confirm, she said no. The scheduled lift for the day was Deadlifts. After a couple sets, she grabbed her back and was complaining of back pain. I was a bit confused as the weight was not heavy at all. Turns out, she had multiple herniated discs and has had back pain for the past 6 months. I asked why she didn’t tell me – she said she didn’t want to trouble me. WHAT????? If I had known that, I would not have had her deadlift. Never saw her again after that.
    We want to know what’s going on with you. Yes, in your lives, but more importantly, your physical state. Is something sore or hurting? Did you roll your ankle, do you have a stiff neck, have minor surgery, were on an airplane for 18 hours the day before and are feeling a bit dehydrated and tight, had blood taken, feeling dizzy. You get the idea. Whatever it is – we will modify exercises if we need to, and we want to be aware of how you are feeling. We should be able to both decide if an exercise is appropriate for you to be doing if you are working through any type of injury. Always better to tell us than try to push through something that you THINK will be fine but is not at all and then you have to take a couple weeks off. Your coaches are pretty great at reading you and knowing when something is off, but just talk to us. It’s easier that way.

    This post is on the longer side, but each one of these contributes to overall success of your workout, and the success of the gym. SO, read them, and remember them, and please try not to be THAT client.

    Home gym in your tiny city apartment?  Well, kind of…

    When I look at homes for my future-self, there are two things that are on my must-have list. 1) A spacious kitchen with tons of counter space 2) A 2-car garage (if a garage is not available, a large shed will do). Now, Anthony has pretty much found it – his kitchen is great, but the real gem is the garage. Matted floors, Olympic platform, squat rack, bars, plates, pull-up bar, and just about anything you need for an amazing home gym. This garage has become the Team Chalk Up gym, and while it is not MY personal home gym, I put in some hours helping to build things, set things up, plan things out, etc…so I am taking a little bit of pride in how amazing it is.  
    But here’s the thing. I am not ready to have a full on house all to myself, so a garage is kind of out of the realm of possibility, at least for now. I live in a 5-floor walk up condo, with neighbors downstairs and that share a wall with me. This is not conducive to a high intensity workout (just ask my downstairs neighbor when I’ve tried to do burpees in my living room). So my dilemma was this: “How do I get a great workout in if I can’t get to the gym, and I am stuck at home?” Yes, there are a million body weight exercises I could do, and have done. But there came a point when I wanted more variety in these workouts. So TCU sat down and put together a list of gym equipment that not only is relatively inexpensive, but that is multi-purpose, giving you the most bang for your buck! Now, I assume many of you city-dwelling athletes are in a relatively similar situation as I am. So below, we have put together a list – all together, the items are under $60 give or take a few bucks depending on what you choose to put in it.  
    (All found on Amazon – most are Prime eligible too!!)

    WODfitters Resistance Band (Red): $12.99

    Phantom Fit Resistance Band (set of 4): $7.95

    Iron Gym Pull-up Bar: $18.99

    CAP Coated Hex Dumbbell 15lb/20lb/25lb: $13.99/$19.99/$24


    With these four pieces of equipment, the options are nearly endless. Just to list a few of the basics: 

    Banded Thrusters

    Band Pull Aparts

    Pallof Presses

    Banded Seated or Bent Over Rows

    Banded Front Squats

    Band Resisted Push-ups 

    Overhead Squats

    Band Walks

    Glute Bridges

    Clamshells & Reverse Clamshells


    Bar hangs

    Ab work


    Overhead Press

    Chest Press

    DB Ab work

    DB Snatches

    DB cleans

    DB Thrusters

    DB Windmills

    Single Leg RDL

    Weighted Lunges

    Goblet Squats


    Etc etc etc…you get the idea. 
    The other great thing about most of these, is that you can use them at home, or can bring the DB & resistance bands to a park and get your workout in while it’s still nice out! And USE YOUR SURROUNDINGS! Open your eyes and look around – your local park will have benches (read: box jumps, step ups), monkey bars (read: pull-ups as well as their actual purpose), they have low bars used as balance beams (read: burpees over bars, lateral jumps). There is a great little spot over on Memorial Drive that has an outdoor workout space! GO THERE! Use your imagination and let us know what creative ways you have used your neighborhood to get a great workout in!  

    2015 was great, but bring on 2016!

    As 2015 comes to a close, it’s a good time to look back at all that we have accomplished over the past year, both in the gym, and in our personal lives.

    2015 seemed to be the year that was a turning point for a lot of you. Whether your lifts started to feel more natural, or you found a new focus with your gym schedule, and many of you FINALLY realized how damn strong you are. Something happened this year that kicked it into a new gear and we definitely took notice. We have seen massive PRs on lifts that in the beginning of the year seemed nearly impossible with an empty bar. We have seen friendships grow and bonds created within our classes. We have gone out together, danced together, run races, had hugely successful fundraisers, supported each other in goals and shared the joy of one another’s accomplishments. We have gushed over new engagement rings while rolling out before class, there have been beautiful weddings, and we have welcomed an adorable baby into the TCU family. We have lost some clients, which is always difficult, but have gained new members that have jumped in with enthusiasm and a new energy that is so rejuvenating in our classes. For us, there is nothing we would have rather done this year, than spend it with all of you, seeing your progress, and being a part of something that we are so proud of. Because at the end of the day, a gym is just a gym. It’s the people in it that make you want to come back every day.

    Moving into 2016, it is a time for new opportunities. With new programming starting on the 1st, we are excited to see what this will bring for your progress in the gym. We aren’t big into “resolutions”, but we do encourage you to look at what you have accomplished, and set goals for yourself for the next year. Some small, some large, but something that you can push yourself towards. Whether they are for physical, emotional, or spiritual growth, we ask that you strive to be happier this year than last. To be stronger, healthier, wiser, and more confident than last year. Outside the gym, there are so many exciting things happening, more weddings, more babies, more races, and lifts, and competitions, more amazing memories. If we could ask one thing for the new year, it is that you all continue to support one another and encourage each other in your goals.

    Inevitably, at the end of the year, we look back at things we thought we were going to accomplish in 2015, but did not. So this leaves us with two options. Option 1) Say, “fuck it, I failed” and forget about it, or Option 2) Figure out why you were unable to accomplish that goal, and change your approach. It doesn’t matter how long the goal takes you to reach, as long as you are continually taking steps to bring you closer to it in some way. We urge you to push yourself. Challenge yourself. Fail lifts, and learn from them. Step outside your comfort zone. Do things you haven’t tried yet. Hold yourself accountable for the work that you do and know what it is that you are trying to get from that work, because THAT is where you will see the progress.

    So here’s to another year in the books, a year that we could not be happier about. And to another year to come, that we hope to be even better than last. Cheers!

    -Hannah & Anthony


    fundraising thermometerAs athletes, keeping our bodies strong and healthy is clearly a priority.  We know that a healthy mind and body fueled with the right food, and the right balance of exercise can do wonders for your overall health and wellbeing.  But did you know, that 50% of all cancer deaths can be prevented through good lifestyle choices including physical activity, good nutrition, and proper cancer screenings?  Every day, we make decisions that have a direct effect on our body and how it functions.  We choose to stay active knowing that this will keep us healthier.  However, there are some things that are out of our control.  By taking part in the “Do It For The Boobs” challenge, you are helping raise money for the American Cancer Society so they are able to do what they do, to help those who have been affected by things outside of their control.  The American Cancer Society currently funds $47,506,200.00 in active research grants in MA alone!  Our challenge is just one small way to contribute to this amazing organization.  This year, we hope to raise $2,500 for the American Cancer Society, which is a huge jump from last year, but with your help, we have no doubt that we will be able to hit that mark!  

    So what is the “Do It For The Boobs” challenge??  Here’s how it goes:

    From October 12 – October 18, we will be running the challenge.

    Each boot camper will have a 50 burpee finisher at the end of class. For every dollar donated to the American Cancer Society, you will subtract 1 burpee from your 50. So essentially, you donate your way out of your burpees!

    For donations over $50, every dollar over will donate a burpee to the coach of your choice.

    If you just LOVE burpees, you can also donate $50 AND do the burpees, which will then donate 50 burpees to your coaches!

    How to make a donation:  We will be accepting cash or checks made out to “The American Cancer Society”, or you can VENMO money directly to Hannah or Anthony and we will pool it together with the other donations when the time comes to make the larger donation!   

    So rock your new tanks, (we got a few extra if you didn’t get your order in on time), and get ready to burpee…I know your coaches are all looking forward to it!FullSizeRender


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