Chicken Tacos w/ Peach Avocado Salsa

The traditionalist in me will always love beef tacos complete with lettuce, tomato, onions, olives, cheese and taco sauce.  Being too staunch of a traditionalist can make for a boring existence so I do like to rebel with some unorthodox variations from time to time.

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This one was a keeper and even the Jag loved them!

Recipe & Ingredients

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 teaspoons rendered lard or bacon grease
3/4 cup diced peaches
1/2 cup diced avocado
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/3 cup chopped Vidalia onion
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
6 (6-inch) non gmo corn tortillas

Preparation

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In a small bowl mix together the first 4 ingredients.  Rub over the chicken breasts.  Melt the lard or bacon grease in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken and cook 4-5 minutes per side or until just cooked through.

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Remove from pan and let rest for 5 minutes.  Cut into 1/4″ slices.

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While the chicken is cooking combine peaches and next 6 ingredients.  Stir well.

Heat tortillas according to package directions; fill with chicken and top with the salsa.

Peach & Avocado Salsa

Nothing beats a fresh salsa for your summertime meals using the fruits of the season!  Peaches are one of my favorites and this lovely salsa will complement chicken, seafood and pork.

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Recipe & Ingredients

3/4 cup diced peaches
1/2 cup diced avocado
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/3 cup chopped Vidalia onion
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve!

Hangin’ w/ my Best “B’s”

Nothing like training with your besties, best bitches that is!  Ya know, the girls you love to hang with.  I need to thank these two ladies this week.  Steph’s (left) got the strongest wheels out of the three of us and I am motivated when training legs to keep up with her as she usually out squats me if only by 5 – 10 pounds.

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Monday’s leg workout had me mapping out my weight progressions and my goal was to get to 140# for 3 reps on our pause squats.  We started off with the same warm up weights and were eyeing each other across the rig seeing what weight the other was going to use next.  We stayed about the same until she jumped a littler further than I intended on set number 3. Not to be outdone I kept pace.

I kept up my mental conversation on how if I wanted these little legs to grow I had to sack up and put some weight on the bar.  Squats were feeling good today so why not.  Bound and determined to keep up with Steph I followed her lead.  And got 3 reps at 150–10 pounds over what I thought I could!

On Tuesday Michelle the little 104 pound ball of muscle on the right decides she’s going to keep up with me on the bench.  Now the bench is my jam.  Ok, I thought let her go for it.  And she did, set after set. We were working up to a heavy set of 4 on the floor press.  I was gunning for 120 as the week before I failed at 125.  Well, the little bit kept up and forced me to take a bigger jump and aim for 125.

She managed to get 4 at 115# which is 11# over her bodyweight.  Impressive.  And she forced me to aim higher and using every fiber in my being I managed to eek out that last rep of 4 at 125#.  Although pound for pound that is only 5# over my body weight.  Either way, more than I thought I was capable of for the day.

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Oh yea, that pic is totally posed. It’s been a great training week and I’m glad to have these two to train with along with the friendship and camaraderie that pushes us all to accomplish more.  We’re not training for any competition other than life and at 46, 56 and 43 respectively it helps us tremendously at a time when many begin losing functionality.

It’s Thursday and you know what that means?  Yep, time for some heavy deadlifts, let’s go bitches!

Burgers and Dawgs

Grilling and barbecuing season in Florida is about nine months out of the year but for folks in cooler climes it’s just heating up.  Memorial Day kicks off the outdoor cooking; one staple that’s good throughout the summer is the basic hamburger and hot dog.  Aim for quality meats that will deliver the best flavor. . .

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Side choices are unlimited–mix and match your favorites; let the imagination run wild with the toppings or stick to the basics. . .

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Garden lettuce, local tomatoes and thinly sliced sweet vidalia onions along with ketchup, mayo or mustard.

Recipe & Ingredients

2 pounds grass fed ground beef or bison
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 package nitrate nitrite free hot dogs (we used Wellshire Farm uncured beef franks)
Gluten free hamburger and hot dog buns (we used Udi’s) or go bunless

Preparation

Simple.  That’s how I like my burgers.  Season the meat with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and form into 8 patties.  Grill.  We use a charcoal Weber so the lid’s on. 2-3 minutes per side for medium and turn the dogs occasionally until desired degree of doneness.

Build from a Foundation of Strength

If you were going to build a skyscraper what do you think would be the first and foremost important step after drawing up a blueprint?  It would be the foundation.  Building floor upon floor on a less than solid foundation will cause the building to crumble or at the very best make it weak and susceptible to chronic problems.

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Neither is desirable and the construction of your body is no different.  While endurance, flexibility, stamina, power, coordination and agility are all very important aspects of fitness one of the biggest mistakes I see both beginners and veterans of fitness make is a failure to strength train or strength train properly.  You need to make strength a priority in order to build a better and more functional body.

With many current fitness trends emphasis is placed on high volume, low weight exercises designed to increase endurance yet do very little to improve strength.  In a novice athlete body weight exercises are an excellent place to start; you must be able to initially squat period before adding a load.  Common sense. But beyond the initial stages doing countless reps, often with poor form and shortened range of motion will do nothing to build someone’s strength and quite possibly lead to overuse injuries.

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I see many ‘classes’ out there where you have someone (typically female yet often male) doing 50 – 100 reps of push ups throughout the workout when they do not even have the basic strength to do one properly.  So how is that helping them?  Push ups are only a part of the solution and only when done correctly with strict attention to form and in a progressive manner. Have them start with an elevated surface where they can maintain position, go through a full ROM and gradually decrease the height as they get stronger.  In addition, add in dumbbell or barbell bench or floor presses to further strengthen horizontal pushing strength.

And if you don’t all you’re going to get is a weak person that can knock out 20 half assed push ups.  This applies to squatting and pulling movements as well.  “Oh but I want to lose weight” is the rationale generally given to higher volume lower weight training.  “I need more cardio, I don’t want to bulk up”.

Well folks, newsflash:  weights don’t make you bulky, cupcakes do.  Dial in your nutrition, lift some heavy stuff and get in some metabolic conditioning and watch your body transform like you’ve never seen.  Oh yea, you’ll probably build some muscle, rev your metabolism, have more energy, sleep better and lose some weight. Rocket science it is not.

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Next time you’re at the gym, skip the spin class, elliptical machines and head over to that sparsely populated area–you know–the weight room where the empty squat racks and dumbbells are. Build from a strong foundation by prioritizing strength; learn to do the basic weightlifting movements with attention to form, detail and body awareness.

Do your conditioning after your strength training and make it count by putting forth some effort.  Take it outside when possible, embrace the elements and keep it short and intense. With a solid base of strength it won’t take much to turn your body into a lean mean performance machine!