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Prema Michelle

Interview with Coach Jimmy Toppeta

Jimmy Toppeta is a crossfit coach at Signature Fitness. In addition to being a CrossFit coach at Signature Fitness, he holds a master’s degree in Exercise Science, has been teaching elementary school Health and Physical Education for 19 years, and is a single dad of two girls. This month he took the time to answer some of our questions about Crossfit.

Prema: How did you get into CrossFit?
Coach Jimmy: Watching youtube videos of the CrossFit athletes competing at the CrossFit games.  I started watching all of the videos of the different movements involved in CrossFit and I was hooked.
Prema: What are the benefits of CrossFit?
Coach Jimmy: CrossFit is an effective workout for building strength, agility, and flexibility, and improving your aerobic fitness. What’s important is consistency just like any other exercise routine.  Staying consistent will help you reach your goals and maintain them.  Cannot stress this enough with clients – you get what you put into it.

Prema: Tell us a little about the CrossFit community.

Coach Jimmy: Community is one of the things that makes CrossFit unique.  People coming together building relationships.  I have been doing this since 2013 and built strong relationships along the way.  I plan on building more relationships here at Signature CrossFit.

Prema: Are there dietary recommendations for those who make CrossFit their primary workout?

Coach Jimmy: Stick to clean eating.  Stay away from processed food.  Lean meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, plenty of water.  Ingredients that you cannot pronounce, probably isn’t something we should put into our bodies.  Protein is key.  Eat at least 1 gram of protein per bodyweight.  Carbs fuel our workouts.  Healthy fats.  If you’re counting macros, about 45-50% carbohydrate, 25-30% protein, 20-25% healthy fats.

Prema: What does a daily workout schedule look like?

Coach Jimmy: Daily workout schedule for CrossFit includes a whiteboard brief.  Followed by a general warm up which is designed to raise core body temperature.  Then a more specific warm up priming our bodies for the strength portion, or conditioning.  Strength would be either a primary lift such as a back squat, deadlift, bench press, etc. or an olympic lift such as a snatch or clean.  Then finally conditioning which typically lasts anywhere between 5 to 25 minutes.  Then a cool down.

Prema: How do you balance being a single dad, a coach, and maintaining your own fitness?

Coach Jimmy: Balancing all these roles can be demanding, but it comes down to effective time management and prioritization. My daughters are my top priority, so I make sure to schedule dedicated time for them. As for coaching and personal fitness, I integrate them into my routine. CrossFit is not just a job for me; it’s a passion. So, coaching becomes a seamless part of my day. It’s all about finding harmony between responsibilities and personal well-being.

Thank you for your time Jimmy and sharing your knowledge with us. Jimmy coaches at Signature Fitness Thursday evenings at 6:15 pm – 7:15 pm.




Fall Colors

The fall colors are so beautiful right now. It can be too easy to pass them by without so much as a glance though. There’s a lot going on in the world, much of it beyond our control and that can feel overwhelming. It’s important to be reminded that we can be there for each other. When we take time to notice and help others, we realize that our life has meaning and this has proven to increase our own self worth.

Everything we are experiencing is a part of our story and the power resides within each of us to decide how we can live a meaningful life. Our mood can be uplifted by the simple action of smiling at someone we see all the time but never really look at. We can help by holding the door open for others, picking up litter, holding space for someone that needs to cry, and by truly listening to each other. When we need to fill our own cup we must be sure to take care of our physical body – eat well, go for a run, take a deep breath or many. The physical body is not so we can feel worthy of others’ love. We take care of the physical body so that we can use this vessel to serve others, so that we can sit on the floor and play with our children, and live long enough to share inspiring teachings and stories with the next generation.
In all of the busy-ness of the season, take time for yourself, read a good book, write, spend time with nurturing friends, and turn off screens for extended periods of time. Every moment is an opportunity to evolve, and every encounter an opportunity to serve.
Decide for yourself, what kind of person you want to be and even if it’s just for today, start moving in that direction. It can seem daunting to even begin to choose happiness for ourselves when we are weighed down with the brutality around the world, our own expectations, and stress, but there’s an intelligence that moves within each one of us filled with purpose that is waiting to be realized.  The same cosmic intelligence that created this magical universe, and these gorgeous fall colors, created you too. You are here and I am thankful for that, because through each other, we can experience our own divine Self.
At the very least, if you have read this far, spend some time outdoors and check out the fall colors, breathe in some fresh air and experience the beauty of the season. These fall colors are enough to be grateful to be here.

The Autumn Diet

The leaves are beginning to change color, apple picking season is in its prime and soon pumpkins will be arriving by the truckload. The air is crisp, light, and clear and the autumn winds stir up the landscape, signaling the coming of cooler weather. The cooler weather generally inspires a new level of busyness with changing schedules and our diet is naturally affected. Here are some ideas to make the transition into fall a little sweeter and more grounded.

Transitioning into autumn involves clearing excess heat accumulated during the summer and nourishing the body for the upcoming colder months. We can align our diets with the season by incorporating bitter, astringent foods, and sweet tastes.

Bitter and astringent foods cleanse the body from summer, while sweet foods nourish our deep tissue layers preparing the body for late fall and winter. Include coconut oil, figs, brown rice, oats, avocado, eggs, goats milk, nut butters, raw nuts, spinach and other dark, leafy greens, beets, maple syrup and cacao in your recipes. Drink herbal teas and warm water. Try to avoid excessive caffeinated drinks and dry foods like crackers and chips. With proper nourishment our bodies can stay supple with a balanced amount of moisture and energy.

Cooked pears and apples are a delicious addition for your fall menu. Their natural sweetness is enhanced with a sweet spice mix, creating a comforting and wholesome breakfast. Will and Prema recently made a video of cooked pears with a sweet spice to enjoy  on its own, with a sprinkle of granola, or with a warm, comforting bowl of oatmeal. It will be posted on social media soon 🙂

In the meantime, here’s the recipe:

1 pear, 1 c of water, pinch of cardamom, cinnamon and ginger powder, coconut oil. Put a bit of coconut oil and toast the spices for 30 seconds, once you can smell the ginger powder, add the sliced pears and water. Bring to a boil and then turn on medium heat for about 5 -7 minutes. Once the pears are soft, the water should be mostly absorbed. They are delicious with a bit of honey on top, enjoy! 🍐

Stay Cool This Summer

We are in the season of summer fun! Everything seems brighter and we spend more time outside, at the beach, the lake, enjoying campfires, barbeques, festivals, and all the fun that these warmer months bring. By the end of Summer, we can feel depleted, bloated, and burnt out. Instead of rushing into the next season by September, we can balance our bodies and minds and feel our best all summer long.

First, let’s examine the ways that we fall out of balance:

  1. Excessively eating foods that are fried, fermented, oily, spicy, sour, and intense, like caffeine and alcohol.
  2. Overscheduling our social and work calendar
  3. Gossiping, arguing, and debating
  4. Exercising in hot, humid environments
  5. Overly competitive exercise

These imbalances can show up in many ways. Our skin is usually the first part of our physical being that shows imbalances in the body and mind. In the summer, we tend to get skin rashes, acne, more prone to sunburn, and susceptible to poison ivy if we are around the plant. Too much heat in the body can also show up as heartburn, indigestion, bloating, and loose stools. Bloodshot, burning, and irritated eyes are also common telltale signs that there is too much heat in the body. Our behavior is affected as well. We tend to be more critical, easily angered, frustrated, and judgmental.

Like all things in the natural world, there are holistic remedies to cool our fire and enjoy the best of the season in balance:

  1. Nourish Yourself  – Favor nourishing, cooling, and simple foods. Leafy greens, bitter and astringent foods like arugula, and cucumbers. Light soups and any grain are also welcome nutrition for the body.
  2. Exercise – Exercise in a well-ventilated, cool facility.
  3. Slow down – Relax the social and professional calendar. With FOMO a very real feeling, we can put ourselves into overdrive. Take a step back, even if it’s a small part of your day, to chill. Spend time in nature, walk barefoot in the cool morning grass, relax in the shade.
  4. Massage – Practice self-care with a coconut oil self-massage, a cool foot bath, or shower – a cool shower at the end of the day can feel amazing right before you get into bed.
  5. Cold Plunge – Take a cold plunge to reduce inflammation, swelling, and stress. Jump into the ocean at sunrise and experience deep healing from the negative ions by the ocean, Sunbathe with the rising sun. If you can’t get to the ocean, there are local health facilities that now offer cold plunge services.

Lastly, think good thoughts, meditate, and realize the gift of being alive! Take care of yourself and then share your cool, beaming, balanced self with the people around you.

Written by Prema Michelle Petersen