Where do I even begin with this?! It’s been 110 days since my last blog post (which is ridiculous), and it feels like every single day has been a whirlwind since then. So folks, you’re in for a long, juicy read with this post. :o) Looking back on the last 3+ months, I can’t believe how much has happened. I didn’t know how spot-on these words from my last post actually were:
“Things have gotten CRAZY busy over the last 4 months in all aspects of my life (personal, professional, and recreational), and I expect it to get even busier in the next 4-6 months. Posting every single week just ain’t happening, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Instead, I’m acknowledging the fact that I’m spending my time doing other things that are really important right now, and I’ll continue to post as often as I can.”
And here’s a little snippet of two posts back:
“I know it might not be kosher to post about this when we have nothing (other than a name) finalized, but hell, I think a girl should be able to dream, dream big, and dream publicly — so I’m throwing this out there a little bit half-baked… We want to change lives. We want to help people get healthy and achieve their goals. And, obviously, we want to have fun while doing it… I know how much of an impact getting my health in check has had in ALL aspects of my life, and I want nothing more than to show the rest of the world that they can do it, too, without enduring hours on a treadmill or starving themselves on 1200 calories/day. Seriously, there’s a better way. I’m living proof, and Kristina is the methodology behind it. No, I’m not drastically changing course in any way at this specific moment. And no, I’m certainly not quitting my day job any time soon. This is a “big-picture” thing that we’re going to put a lot of time and effort into planning and building out.”
Let’s connect the dots between those two posts and the current state of things, shall we?
After a really rough start to 2015, my best friend/trainer and I started tossing around this crazy idea to start a fitness business. The goal: combine 1) Kristina’s butt-kicking, super-effective workouts that ultimately led to me leading a healthier, happier life with 2) my passion for cooking health-conscious meals that taste more “gourmet” than “diet.” We quickly found out that when you put two really determined, like-minded women together who share common goals/passions, things start to fall into place at breakneck speed. We decided on a name, put pen to paper, crunched some numbers, and came up with a business plan. By April, Plates on Plates Fitness was born. At the beginning of August, we started holding boot camps at our temporary indoor location really close to the Domain. Fast forward to last Thursday, and we received our fully-executed lease for a little spot at Gateway Market off of 183 and 360 in north Austin.
Based on the latest we’ve heard from the landlord’s side, construction will be starting soon and we should be operating out of our “real” home in October. (Knowing how construction usually goes, though, I’ll be happy if we’re in there by the end of the year.) :o)
WE’RE OPEN FOR BUSINESS, Y’ALL. We’re so official, we even have a Facebook page. It still doesn’t feel completely real. You can check out our class times, look at our membership options, and view the menu of tasty, pre-made meals I’m cooking on our website (which, by the way, my incredibly talented sister-in-law helped us design). We’ve even got a sweet 14-day trial for really cheap ($20). I am SO EXCITED for everything that’s ahead for us. It’s been an intense 6 months of pressing onward to get where we are today, and the best part: this is just the beginning.
The last few months have had their fair share of crazy moments. There have been LOTS of ups and downs, many trade-offs, more than a few times where I’ve woken up in the middle of the night thinking “oh shit, I represent 50% of a new business” or “what if X/Y/Z happens?!” and several instances of feeling like I don’t have enough time to do all of the things I want to do. Has it been hard? At times, yes. Stressful? To say the least. But, no matter how overwhelmed I’ve felt at any given point, I’ve never once doubted what we’re doing. I continually come back to a simple question that always puts me in my place: What’s my why?
I look back to who I was 3 years ago before I started this blog, and to put it simply, I was a mess. I stuffed my emotions down with food and alcohol, and I had zero confidence in who I was or where my life was headed. I realize now that a lot of the “mess” came from the way that I perceived myself; not skinny enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not good enough. As it turns out, I made all of that nonsense up in my head and couldn’t snap out of it because I’d been really successful at convincing myself I was right. I remember how that felt quite vividly. It sucked, and it led to me making poor choices that impacted my weight and overall health. I know I’m definitely not the only person who has felt that way. The sad truth is that a ton of people — regardless of age, gender, race, or whatever — are stuck in that same cycle of thought.
I’m not starting this business for me. I’m starting it for all of the people who are “stuck” where I was 3+ years ago. For anyone who’s ever been called fat; anyone who’s ever thought “I’m never going to get out of this terrible cycle;” anyone who’s ever told themselves that they’re not skinny/strong/good enough; that’s my why. My personal reason for being so dedicated to this new business is pretty simple: I want to create something that enables people to become the best version of themselves. I want to help educate people that healthy habits can be created no matter how old you are, and that fat loss doesn’t have to be as difficult as the diet industry makes it out to be.
So, what does this mean for life as I know it right now? Yes, I work a fairly demanding 40-hour-per-week job at a reputable, wonderful company on a team that I’ve basically considered family since I graduated college. Yes, it’s a really solid career path with a ton of opportunity. And no, I’m not quitting that job. I’m continuing on exactly as I have done for the last year, working Monday-Friday and cooking a TON on the weekends. I might start coaching a few morning classes once we get into Gateway, and I do spend a lot more time thinking about the “big picture” of things that I’d like to see happen in the next 5-10 years. The way I see it: a lot of women my age are busy spending most of their time buying homes, getting married, and having kids. Not to say any of that is wrong — I have SO MUCH respect for my friends who are building beautiful families — I’m just not quite there yet. I can’t really articulate it, but I feel like starting this thing with Kristina is exactly where I need to focus at this point.
Right now, I’m celebrating my birthday (turned 26 yesterday; adios mid-20’s) in the mountains of Arizona with my family on what will probably be my last real “vacation” for the foreseeable future. I don’t have any cell reception, I haven’t turned on a TV once, and my mom and I have hit the local (vintage) gym every single day of this trip. We’ve done a lot of cooking, played some cards, had a lot of laughs, and I’m absolutely soaking this up while I can. When I’m back home later this week, it’s time to grind. This year is going to be one for the books. I can feel it. :o)
Now, back to what this blog is meant for: a recipe. But not just any recipe — this is the best one I’ve cooked in the last 3 months, and I’m obsessed.
Healthier Beef With Broccoli
Cook time: 30min marinating, 25 minutes hands-on
Marinade + Meat:
- 1 tsp coconut (or brown) sugar
- 2 tsp corn starch
- 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 10oz flank steak, lean, diced into 1-inch chunks
- 1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
- 2 cups frozen broccoli florets
- 2/3 cup brown rice, cooked
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos (found at HEB in the Gluten Free section)
- 2 tbsp coconut (or brown) sugar
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- Combine marinade ingredients (except the meat) in a bowl and mix together. Transfer to a Ziploc bag and add your steak. Place in the fridge and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Add vegetable/olive oil to a large skillet and cook broccoli until bright green and tender. Remove from the skillet and transfer to a plate.
- Add contents of Ziploc bag to the same skillet and cook to your liking. (I prefer this medium well, which takes about 5 minutes on medium-high heat.)
- Combine all sauce ingredients into a small bowl. Reduce skillet heat to medium-low. Pour half of the sauce over the beef and allow the sauce to thicken.
- Add broccoli back to the skillet and throw your rice in. Top with the remaining sauce, stir to combine, and let it simmer for 2-3 more minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
- DIG. IN. Perhaps with chopsticks if you want a more authentic dining experience.