Happy Monday! You’ll find my new favorite recipe below: Pulled Chicken Sweet Potato Nachos. If you’re feeling like you need to let lose and live a little (but stay healthy), get to going. This recipe is the bees-knees.
As most of you know, I participate in CrossFit-style workouts about 6 days a week. I love the high intensity, burn and exhaustion I get from these types of workouts. But (almost) more, I love the community and environment. I come from a long background of organized, team athletics and having the support and encouragement from others is what I require. However, just like any sport, I get competitive. Mostly with myself. This single handily is my biggest strength …. and also my biggest weakness. This is for various reasons, but mainly because I have a hard time listening to my body. Thus, I’m still slowly rehabbing a stubborn shoulder.
Now, I’m telling you all this to lead you up to something I’ve been doing that I’ve found so incredibly beneficial (and also extremely humbling).
I’ve being working with a D.C. on movement patterns; specifically activation and stabilization of certain muscle groups. Most of these movements contain no weight, but are extremely challenging for me (I’m talking being totally out of breath, sweating, cursing, etc.)
My stabilization and activation of certain muscles (not just my shoulder) suck. Not kind of suck. Really suck, bad.
What’s funny is that most people who see me in the gym would say I have fairly decent form. My major muscle groups have compensated for my weak, non-active helper muscles, so I’m able to perform the movements aesthetically well. What’s unfortunately not seen (or often times felt) is that underneath my strong traps, anterior delts and shoulders is an extremely, extremely weak posterior chain.
So, my lovely doc friend is
torturing helping me properly activate and stabilize these muscles. The goal is that we’ll work on simple, foundational mechanics properly and develop muscle memory (kind of like reteaching my body how to move) and then progressively move to larger lifts.
I love how he puts it….
“We’re moving you out of Program A and into Program B”
- Program A (the program I”ve been in ….forever) – program characteristics contain: using major muscle groups like traps, anterior deltoids, shoulders and quads for strength movements. Lack proper activation of: hamstrings/glutes, scaps, posterior deltoids, lats. Seen through: forward roll of the shoulders, forward tilt of the head, weak posterior chain, poor scapular stability. (Check, check and check….)
- Program B (program I’m working towards) – proper activation of posterior chain, head and scapular region properly retracted, hamstrings, glutes and lats firing appropriately. Improved posture. Most importantly: corrected muscle memory developed – centered around proper activation and stabilization of all muscle groups.
Now, all this sounds crazy easy. Activation? Pshh… piece o’ cake.
Let me tell you, it’s not. Not activating the appropriate muscles in oh, ever and now trying to “find” those muscles and activate them …. crazy hard. It’s like if someone were to tell you, “ok now walk on your elbows.” Um how?!? That’s literally my answer to anytime my friend says, “Ok, now activate…..”
It’s been extremely humbling and really frustrating at times. How is it that I’m able to clean and jerk well over 100 pounds, but can barely hold a 30-second activated bridge? That I can dead lift into the 200’s but find it exhausting to “correctly” do an isolated wide grip low row of a whopping 10 pounds? ….it’s because I’ve relied so heavily on my major muscle groups to do ALL the work and have forgotten about those “other” muscles and stabilizers, so much so that they barely even fire anymore. It’s like half my body is working out for the first time ….. ever.
Fun times, right? Actually, it’s been really fascinating to me and I truly love learning ways to improve my body and health. Slowly but surely these hidden/forgotten muscles will be firing at 100% again. Lifts will get easier and heavier and my stubborn aches and pains will hopefully cease to exist.
Pulled Chicken Sweet Potato Nachos
Paleo-approved chicken nacho recipe
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- 4 chicken breasts
- 1/4 c organic tomato sauce
- 1 package diced mushrooms
- 2 tbs water
- 1/4 tbs organic dried onion powder
- 1 bag of Jackson's Honest Sweet Potato Chips
- 2 large avocados
- 2 large roma tomatoes
- 1 small yellow onion
- 1 lime
- 1./4 cup fresh cilantro
- Sea salt
- Red pepper flakes
- In a crock-pot, combine chicken, diced mushrooms, tomato sauce, water, onion powder and a dash of red pepper flakes and sea salt.
- Set crock-pot to high heat.
- Let sit for 4 hours (or until chicken is cooked thoroughly)
For Pico Guac
- Cube avocado and place in bowl
- Dice tomato and onion, combine with avocado
- Squeeze the juice of one lime over avocado tomato mixture
- Add in cilantro and a dash of salt and red pepper flakes.
- Stir to combine. Refrigerate.
- Pull out cooked chicken and mushrooms with a slotted spoon. Transfer to a pull and use two forks to "pull-apart" chicken into thin pieces. Set aside.
- Place a handful of sweet potato chips on a plate, top with cooked chicken and mushrooms and finish with a dallop of your pico gauc
- (omit mushrooms or add other vegetable)