Chicken and Vegetable Risotto with a side of respect for coaches

I workout in the greatest gym in the WORLD (or box as they call it in CrossFit). Seriously, if you’re ready to have your ass kicked and need a place to do it in, move to Ottawa, Canada and join up! I know, I know, everyone thinks that their gym (box) is the best, but seriously, I looove where I workout! I love the space, the people, and of course, the coaches.

It occurred to me that while we might respect and like our coaches and box/gym owners, do we really appreciate what they do? Here are a few things I think probably drive them crazy.

Broken records; Think about how many times you have had to be told to do something, like keep your eyes ahead and don’t look down, that’s one I get all the time. I’m so bad at remembering I’m sure they are going to make me write it on my feet. I know there are a hundred other things they repeat and we as athletes need to do a better job listening to them… I’m sure they don’t like to hear the sound of their own voices, or do they……

Cat herder; We are all grownups… aren’t we? How many of you have been either caught chatting before or even during a workout, when you should either be listening, or lifting? Or that famous 5 min warning before a WOD starts when the coach asks you to get setup, and then 5 minutes goes by, and NO one is ready! This has to be irritating. The gym has a schedule and it’s their job to keep us on track, the least we could do is start acting like we care about their time and not like a bunch of cats lounging around. Have you ever tried to herd a bunch of cats… watch a Crossfit coach get everyone ready for a WOD… that’s what it looks like. They’re coaches not cat herders; we need to pay attention.

Personal Maid; I don’t know about you, but I hate going to look for a plate and they are all mixed up. I don’t want a 45lb plate, I want a 25lb plate, why are they all mixed up!! Fortunately for me at my box, the owner is very particular about the organization and cleanliness around the gym. No outside shoes allowed in the gym, not even in the summer. I like this rule, because seriously, only people on TV wear their shoes in the house, and let’s face it the box is the owners’ home away from home. There are always bleach bottles for sweat cleanup, and a proper place for all the equipment. Put your shit back where you got it, and clean up your sweat. Coaches are not personal maids.

Mind Reader; I know it sounds strange, but coaches can’t read minds. They actually don’t know about every injury, or pain you have… and they don’t have everyone’s PR (Personal Record) memorized. I know, shocking right?!? While it is the responsibility of our coaches to encourage us, push us and even at times stop us when they think we have gone too far, they need you to speak up! If you have a sore shoulder (been there) or your hips are achy… tell them. A good coach will either scale out an exercise or give you an alternative. As far as PR’s go, tell your couch your attempting one, not just for the praise, but also so they can ensure you attempting a new weight safely.

I know there are probably a hundred other things that drive our coaches and box/gym owners nuts. As grownup athletes that love our gyms/boxes it’s our responsibility to try and make it a better place to continue to enjoy these spaces, and not piss off the coaches that are there to help. Pay attention, do what they say, know when to speak up and clean your shit up! A Happy coach is an awesome coach.
Francois, Alex, Connor and Tim, this post and recipe is dedicated to you and all your dedication to making my gym/box an awesome place to be!

Chicken and veg risotto

Chicken and Vegetable Risotto
[Adapted from

1 Tablespoon of Butter
1 Small Onion, Chopped
2 Carrots, Diced Small
2 Cloves of Garlic, Diced or Minced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme (or 1 Teaspoon Dry)
1 ½ Cups or Arborio Rice (Short Grain)
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
½ Teaspoon of Dried Sage
4-5 Cups of No Added Sodium Chicken Stock
2 Cups of Shredded Chicken Breast (About 2 Medium Chicken Breasts)
1 Zucchini, Diced
1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice
1/3 Cup of Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, carrots, garlic and thyme. Cook until the onions are soft. Add the rice, salt, pepper and sage, cook for about 2 minutes, stirring to toast the rice.
Add ¼ cup of the chicken broth at a time, waiting for the broth to absorb before adding the next ¼ cup. This is the time consuming part. You will have to stir it often. This took me about 25-30 mins. Grab a glass of wine and hang out by the stove. Use 4 cups, and add the rest if needed. The rice should be soft.
Add the shredded chicken and zucchini, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and Parmesan cheese.
Serve warm. I like to freeze the left overs in freezer bags for a quick before or after workout meal.


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