Meal plan

Chocolate Chili by Stephen Cooper

Chocolate Chili (Recipe from Well Fed)


  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 tsp)
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) fire-roasted, chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) beef broth
  • 1 cup water


  1. Heat a large deep pot over medium-high heat, then add the coconut oil. When the oil is melted, add onions, stir with a wooden spoon and cook until they’re translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and as soon as it’s fragrant, about 30 seconds, crumble the ground meat into the pan with your hands, mixing with a wooden spoon to combine. Continue to cook the meat, stirring often, until it’s no longer pink.
  2. In a small bowl, crush the oregano between your palms to release its flavor, then add the chili powder, cumin, cocoa, allspice, and salt. Combine with a fork, then add to the pot, stirring like you mean it. Add tomato paste and stir until combined, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes with their juice, beef broth and water to the pot. Stir well. bring to a boil then reduce the heat so the chili enjoys a gentle simmer. Simmer uncovered for at least 2 hours. Do not skimp on the simmer.

I ate this last night, really yummy.

Shake and Paint by Stephen Cooper

Morning get up and go breakfast shake. Water, protein powder, big handful spinach, frozen acai.  (Clients sometimes ask where can they buy frozen acai in Pasadena...I usually get Sambazon frozen acai at Whole Foods.) 


Some clients have asked me to post our workouts.  Here is the link to yesterday's workout.


We have a very fun event planned for Friday April 5 from 8 pm - 10:30 pm. 

We will be meeting at Paint The Town in San Marino.  There, we will have the whole place to ourselves.

Each person will get to select one studio painting and the instructor will walk you through the painting process, step by step. (Don't look to me for any tips or pointers...and no laughing at my lack of painting skills).  You can change colors, backgrounds and add whatever creative things you want. 

Don't worry if you have never painted before...

Please bring wine or your favorite beverage, and some healthy snacks if you like.

The cost is $25 per person.  Please confirm your space with me soon so that we can plan on supplies.


April 1, Monday, Wednesday, Friday Boot Camp Begins

April 2, Tuesday/Thursday Camp Begins

April 5, Paint The Town Party in San Marino


3 of My Favorite (Paleo and Gluten Free) Resources for Back to School Lunch Ideas by Stephen Cooper

Back to School Lunch Courtesy Nom Nom Paleo

I admit, I am a really lame cook, but having a son in 8th grade, and wanting to provide him the best meals available, I've searched around and found some great resources for me and for you.

Resource #1: Carrie Vitt's Deliciously Organic  This mom of two, and wife provides tons of great recipes using organic, unprocessed ingredients.

Resource #2: Sarah Fragoso's Everyday Paleo  Sarah has excellent recipes and 3 books about Paleo cooking.   I love the pictures and easy steps provides for her easy to follow recipes.

Resource #3:  Michelle Tam's Nom Nom Paleo  Mouthwatering photos and recipes here.  These will really inspire you to get cooking.  Check out her 5 Part Series of Paleo School Lunches, and she has a sweet Paleo cookbook app for the iPad.

Two Quick, Yet Important Tips For Your New Boot Camp by Stephen Cooper

I like to keep things as simple as possible.

Honestly the easier we keep the "should do's" when it comes to fat loss, the sooner you'll see results, and the happier both of us will be.

So, two fast tips for you.

1.  Get enough sleep tonight.  Lay out your gear for tomorrow and have everything ready to go.  If you are going to have a little coffee or tea before the class, get your supplies ready.

2.  Plan your eating for tomorrow.  Protein and vegetables should be your choice if you are really working for fast fat loss and changes in your body.  Plan on having a quick protein drink right after your workout, or plan on eating a few eggs and some vegetables for breakfast.

That's it.  Just do those 2 things and you'll be on the right path.


What Works for Fat Loss (3 New Boot Camp Recipes) by Stephen Cooper

Three new recipes to keep you on track for losing fat at Boot Camp Pasadena. 


Bacon & Avocado "Sandwiches" (credit,


  • 4 strips of thick-cut, nitrate-free bacon
  • 1 medium-sized Haas avocado
  • 1 lime
  • Kosher salt to taste

Cook and drain bacon.

Mash up the flesh of half an avocado, and cut up the other half into half-inch cubes. Then mix both halves together in a bowl to get a nice blend of chunky 'n creamy. Flavor it with a squirt or two of lime juice and a generous pinch of Kosher salt. 


In n Out protein Burger (No cheese though)

Enjoy this treat!  I'm not suggesting this be an everyday thing.


Liver and onions (credit,Paleo Diet Lifestyle)

This recipe serves 4 people.


  • 4 large slices pork or beef liver;
  • 5 large onions, sliced;
  • 6 tbsp butter or lard;
  • Salt and pepper to taste;


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add 5 tbsp of the butter and the sliced onions. Cook slowly, stirring often, for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the onions are really soft and caramelized.
  2. Near the end of the cooking process of the onions, heat another pan over a medium-high heat and cook the liver with the rest of the cooking fat, about 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Serve the liver topped with the delicious and creamy cooked onions. This is also delicious served with a little bit of homemade salsa on the side.

First Day of Boot Camp, Start Right With These Helpful Recipes by Stephen Cooper

If you are joining us for the first time, a big welcome to you.

Today I've listed a day's worth of Paleo style recipes to get you on the right track.  I'll discuss later why I choose the Paleo method, but for now just know that these are great examples of what to eat while you are training with us.

Boot Camp Breakfast (Paleo Style)

Spinach Breakfast Shake


  • 12 oz. unsweetened full fat coconut or almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana (add terrific sweetness)
  • 1-2 dried dates
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 cups raw spinach leaves
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder


  • Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth or desired consistency.


Mango Chicken Salad (from my favorite Paleo recipe site, Everyday 


Larabar  (you can get these at Target, Trader Joes, and Whole Foods)


Butter Poached Salmon with Warm Tomato Relish (from my favorite Paleo recipe site, Everyday

Get Lean Shopping List by Stephen Cooper

In trying to set you up for success, I'm posting a very simple yet very effective shopping list. (courtesy of Tim Ferriss and the Four Hour Body)

You can print out a copy here and bring it with you...or here is the list: 

Shopping List


Egg whites with 1–2 whole eggs for flavor (or, if organic, 2–5 whole eggs, including yolks)
Chicken breast or thigh
Beef (preferably grass-fed)

Legumes (optional, but not Paleo)
Lentils (also called “dal” or “daal”)
Black beans, Pinto beans, Red beans,

Mixed vegetables (including broccoli, cauliflower, or any other cruciferous vegetables) Sauerkraut
Green beans
You'll notice that there isn't any fruit on this list.  This is for hard core and faster fat loss.  Fruit, even though very healthy can slow your fat loss.  We will save fruit for your cheat day.



Did Your Breakfast Bring You Closer to Your Fat Loss Goal? by Stephen Cooper

I ask that because your success at losing fat and most importantly, keeping it off come down to habits.

No quick fixes, or pills...just habits and discipline.

So let me know here in the comments, or via email.


July 4 NO CLASSES  If you have already paid for the Monday class, you are welcome to use that credit for a Tuesday or Thursday class, or I can refund or credit that day.

What to Eat for Breakfast to Burn Fat by Stephen Cooper

One of the questions that I get asked is, "What should I eat for breakfast?".

I'll tell you exactly what I ate this morning, I even took a picture of it.

Breakfast protein shake:

2 cups water

2 scoops chocolate protein powder

1/4 cup full fat coconut milk

frozen acai packet

sprinkle of cinnamon

In addition to that, I had two pieces of cantaloupe, and a small handful of walnuts.

I put this up here to show you exactly what I do.  This is a real life situation where I needed a quick, yet healthy meal to get my day started.

One of the questions that I get asked is, "What should I eat for breakfast?".

I'll tell you exactly what I ate this morning, I even took a picture of it.

Breakfast protein shake:

2 cups water

2 scoops chocolate protein powder

1/4 cup full fat coconut milk

frozen acai packet

sprinkle of cinnamon

In addition to that, I had two pieces of cantaloupe, and a small handful of walnuts.

I put this up here to show you exactly what I do.  This is a real life situation where I needed a quick, yet healthy meal to get my day started.

Other breakfast ideas 

Avocado, egg, and bacon salad

Easy Power Protein Breakfast Shake


Plan your day, and check in here. by Stephen Cooper

Do you know what or where you will be eating today?

How have you planned your day so that you can guarantee you will be eating in such a way that it contributes to you being leaner and more fit?

What did you eat for breakfast this morning?

Let me know your responses here in the comment section above.  (I have posted my breakfast.)

Today's workout has been posted in the Member's Area...

Women Only, How to Lose The Annoying Belly Fat by Stephen Cooper

I'm writing this today as I respond to a boot camper who's major goal is "to lose the ever annoying and unhealthy---belly fat."

I'm often asked this question, so here is my exact response to her. 

"In looking at this goal, I always come back to the basics.
  • Eat clean.
  • Train consistently.  (Three times a week at boot camp, and one nice long walk, bike ride, etc. on the weekend.)
  • Sleep enough.
  • Supplement to ensure success.
Let's start with eating clean.
The closer you stay to eating lean proteins, vegetables, a little fruit, and some healthy fat...the better off you will be.  It's simple...but not easy.  The more you stray from this "blueprint" the more you will struggle.
Train consistently.
This one is pretty basic too.  Plan your schedule so that you fit YOU into your schedule.  Our sessions are only 45 minutes, three times a commit.  (I realize like in your case, that emergencies do come up...but in general do your best.)
Sleep enough.
I've written a lot about this on my site.  In order to lose the fat, you've got to get good quality sleep, there is no other way of getting around this.
Shut down the electronic stuff at least an hour or more before bed.
Make sure that your room is cool and dark.
Try using a sleep mask...this a life changer in my opinion.

Supplement to ensure success.
There are many supplements out there, but one company that I rely on is Prograde.  I know the owners and I trust the products that they put out.
The two that might be useful to you are their multi vitamin for women
and their Krill fish oil.
Only by putting these suggestions into action, will you reap the results."


Eating Well Doesn't Have to Cost a Lot by Stephen Cooper

Often people tell me that "eating healthy is more expensive".

Here is a picture of my dinner last night.  I admit, nothing fancy, fish with a little seasoning in olive oil, and some steamed cauliflower.

The point is that this meal fuels my body.  This combination will keep me healthy and lean.

As far as cost, it cost me about $1.50.

So don't give me the excuse that "eating well costs too much".  It may take more time than passing through the Mc Donald's drive through, but please consider how important it is to your health.

Tip:  Clients who live in the Pasadena and Altadena area like me...I often get my groceries at Super King Market on Lincoln Ave in Altadena.  They have really good prices on the staples such as meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables.

Happy Birthday to Sonya of the Tuesday Thursday Morning Class.

Be sure to check out Sonya's site, Wine and Food Travel


Dec. 20, 21, 22  and Dec 27,28,29  Last Boot Camp Sessions of 2010

Jan 3 - 28 2011  New Year, New Boot Camp Session Begins

Jan 3 Paleo Challenge 2 Begins  

Paleo Challenge Begins Sept 13th by Stephen Cooper

Paleo 7 Week Challenge

September 13 - November 1

We are going to do a 7 week Paleo Challenge. The challenge starts on Monday, September 13th and ends on Monday November 1.

Here are some of the basics when it comes to following the Paleo Eating Plan.  (Please look over these to decide if you are up to the challenge.)

  • Eat real food
  • Do not eat dairy.
  • Do not eat grains.
  • Do not eat legumes.
  • Do not eat sugars of any kind, real or artificial.
  • Do not eat processed foods.
  • Do not drink alcohol, in any form.
  • Get 8 hours of sleep each day.

You'll be monitoring your success over the 7 weeks of the challenge using a system of points. (Honor system.)  Points will be earned by following the eating and training guidelines, and points will be subtracted for missing workouts and not following the rules.

Details and Guidelines of the Challenge

  • Eating: Paleo.
  • Cost: $25 to be put into a kitty.
  • 3 'Before' pictures taken: (on or within 2 days of Sept. 13) front view, side view and back view. Men are in shorts and Women are in shorts and sports bra/bikini top.
  • Each Sunday your food log is emailed to your accountability partner.
  • 3 'After' pictures are taken on November 1 (or within the next 2 days).
  • Boot Camp Pasadena trainers will pick the top 5 people whose body composition changed the most.
  • Winner wins entire kitty plus 1 month of boot camp classes from Boot Camp Pasadena.
  • Runner-up wins 1 month of boot camp classes at Boot Camp Pasadena.

Daily Points & Bonus Points

Each challenge participant can earn 3 points per day.

You will earn 3 points per day in this manner.

  • 1 point for eating according to the Paleo Method
  • 1 point for exercising
  • 1 point for sleeping 8 hours

One point will be subtracted when you miss one of these steps. (For those in my boot camp if you miss a training session, then subtract a point. If you are training on your own and miss your workout, same rules apply.)
Details of the Paleo Eating Plan

  1. Eat real food. Meat, eggs, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruit, oils. Eat foods with very few ingredients, all pronounceable ingredients, or better yet, no ingredients listed at all because they’re fresh and natural.
  2. Do not eat dairy. This includes butter, cheese, yogurt and milk (including cream in your coffee).
  3. Do not eat grains. This includes bread, rice, pasta, corn, oatmeal, and also any gluten-free pseudo-grains (quinoa, etc).
  4. Do not eat legumes. This includes beans of all kinds, lentils, and peanuts. No peanut butter!
  5. Do not eat sugars of any kind, real or artificial.  No maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, Splenda, Truvia, Stevia, etc.
  6. Do not eat processed foods. This includes protein shakes, processed bars like Zone and Balance bars, dairy-free creamers, etc.
  7. Do not drink alcohol, in any form.

I will be adding more details and a FAQ section soon,but I wanted to get this out to you now so that you can jump in, or not.

To enter, email me at stephen "at"

What Did You Have For Lunch Today? by Stephen Cooper

...and more importantly did it help you on your path to losing fat and getting lean, or did it push you in the wrong direction?

You'll find that these choices add up.  Choose healthy meals and your body will reward you with better health and a leaner body.  

So tell me here in the comments, what did you have for lunch today?

P.S.  If you were curious, I had two small pork chops in olive oil, and a peach.  Nothing complicated, but right on target.


"Should I Have Something to Eat Before My 5:45 Workout? by Stephen Cooper

I'm often asked this question and here is my response...

It depends.

You may want to have a small protein shake of 1 scoop protein powder, some water, and maybe a little full fat coconut milk.  (No low fat coconut milk...what's the point.)

Maybe a small handful of almonds and a half an apple.

For others, it may just be some coffee or my favorite, mate´.

You'll need to experiment to see what works best for you.

For after your boot camp session there are conflicting theories on when and what to eat.

Some say that you should just eat protein and fat...or many say this is a good time to add more carbs such as fruit plus the protein and fat.

I prefer that you have a wholesome breakfast with protein, vegetables, fruit, and some healthy fat.

Skip the complicated formulas...just eat as close to nature as possible and your body will take care of itself.


Related Posts


Fat Burning Breakfast by Stephen Cooper

I'm often asked, "what should I eat for breakfast?".

Another question I hear a lot from clients is, "should I eat before boot camp, or not?"

As many of you know I wake up early on boot camp days, 4:50AM to be exact.  Usually I have a protein shake of some sort (recipe below) before boot camp, and then later around 9AM I'll have my main breakfast.

As far as fat loss theories...I think the verdict is still out if you should train on a fasted state or not.  I just told a boot camper this morning like I'm telling you here... if you feel a little queasy working out on an empty stomach, then have a few almonds and a half an apple.  Maybe a half a protein shake.  Experiment and see what gives you energy, but doesn't slow down your workout.

Coffee, mate', or tea are fine too before your session. 

So let's assume you are going to have your real meal after your boot camp session.  Here is a plan.

Choose lean proteins, eggs, leftover protein from the night before, add some vegetables, a piece of fruit, and some healthy fat.  Keep it simple.

Here's what I had today:

Pre boot camp shake:

2 scoops protein powder

1 frozen pack Sambazon Acai

1/2 cup full fat coconut milk

and water.


Around 8AM

3 eggs

hot chipotle salsa (Trader Joe's)

collard greens

olive oil for cooking

fresh apple from my neighbor's yard (thanks John)

Remember: proper "fueling" for your workout is critical.  Not only do want to eat right to have enough energy to train hard, but you want to eat a mix that will help you recover faster, and lose fat most effectively.

Pay attention to good eating, and your body will reward you. 


Related Reading:

Morning Frozen Acai Protein Shake

What to Eat for Maximum Fat Loss and Performance 

Meal Pictures

Simple Breakfast


Pop Quiz: What did you eat for breakfast this morning? by Stephen Cooper

So a pop quiz for this morning.  

What did you eat for breakfast this morning?

Was it some combination of lean protein, fruit, and some healthy fat?

Did you skip breakfast?

Did you grab a donut and coffee at the office?

The two pictures above are what I ate for breakfast this morning.  A few fresh eggs from a neighbors' chickens and some fresh berries from our garden.  Simple, but healthy and filling.

Let me know what you your response in the comments here.

If you aren't sure as to what you should be eating in order to lose fat during your boot camp experience, you can look at this healthy list here, or you can check out our registered dietitian, Amy Kulbal's site here.

As always let me know how I can help.

what to eat for maximum fat loss and performance by Stephen Cooper

A big thanks goes out to Nancy Meenen of CrossFit Seattle for sharing this...

Leaning Challenge Guide to Eating

• All of the lean meat, fish, seafood, eggs you can eat
• All of the non starchy vegetables you can eat
• Plenty of fruit
• Moderate healthy fats
• Moderate nuts and seeds
• No grains or cereals at all
• No legumes
• No dairy products (eggs are meat)
• No processed foods – make it yourself!
• No sugars. Agave, organic honey, molasses, pure spun golden sunshine….it doesn’t matter.
They are all equally bad for you.
• No artificial sweeteners. These are not food! Creepy laboratory products with sketchy safety
records, artificial sweeteners have been shown to produce an insulin response.
“In order to get enough protein and calories you should eat animal food at almost every meal” (Cordain,
Page 101)
Many different kinds of meat will work well for you. Here are some guidelines:
Animals, including fish, raised in commercial farms are not healthy so try to get
 Grass fed beef
 USDA certified organic meat
 Wild fish
 Locally raised animals
If unable to do any of the above, then eat the leanest cuts you can and trim visible fat.
Eating the fat of healthy fish, birds and animals is good for you. Eating the fat of unhealthy
creatures is not.
Eggs are good. Eggs from birds allowed to forage and run around are better.
Buffalo, elk, venison and other types of wild game are excellent choices if you can get them.
Time to get creative. Non starchy vegetables should be a big part of each meal. Virtually all vegetables
offer excellent nutritional value.
When possible choose organic, locally grown vegetables that are in season. Each of these factors
will improve nutritional value.
Experiment with sautéing, roasting and grilling your veggies. Try different recipes and different
ethnic foods. Learn to use herbs and spices. This stuff should taste good!
Peppers, squashes, eggplant, garlic, leeks, onions broccoli, cauliflower, avocado, carrots, green,
cabbage, celery, kale, dandelion (yes! dandelion) spinach, tomatoes, radish, parsnips,
Avoid starchy vegetable – potatoes, etc. If you must eat starch (it happens) try yams and sweet
Avoid legumes. Peanuts, beans, peas, lentils and soybeans should be avoided.

A paleo diet allows and encourages lots of fruit consumption. There are a few issues with fruit
consumption though. We need to consider how the fruit was grown as well as the type of fruit to evaluate
nutritional value. We also need to consider pesticide exposure.
If you can grow your own fruit or pick wild fruit – go for it!
Scavenge the local farmers market for fresh local seasonal fruit. Organic is best.
Try to avoid fruit from far away. Flying in kiwis from New Zealand is not really helping our
Avoid GMO (genetically modified organism) fruit. Period.
A little fruit juice occasionally can be okay but, fruit juice is really candy.
Wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly to minimize pesticides.
Some fruits like bananas have a high glycemic load and should be avoided if you are trying to
loose fat.
Berries! Eat lots of berries!
Filling and nutritious. Nuts and seeds are packed with protein, fatty acids, enzymes, antioxidants and lots
of vitamins and minerals, especially potassium and magnesium. It is possible to screw up your fat profile
with nuts though. Lots of nuts have an unacceptably high omega 6 / omega 3 ratio. Here are the best
Macadamia nuts
Nuts in moderation are very healthy but overeating them can stall weight loss. Cashews especially are
delicious but surprisingly high in carbohydrate and contain too much omega 6.
Peanuts are not nuts. Do not eat peanuts or peanut butter. Peanuts contain lectins and other anti-nutrients
which can cause some real health problems.
Note: Lots of packaged, shelled nuts are covered in trans fats! Read the label! Best to buy raw, unsalted
nuts and spice them at home. When in doubt, buy walnuts and/or macadamia nuts.
Fat is good for you. Fat is essential to your well being and happiness. (This is not hyperbolic writing.
Having the proper fat profile makes a huge difference to your mental outlook and moods). Fat is a great
source of energy. Fat triggers our sense of being full. Fat is an essential part of many of your cellular and
hormonal processes. We sicken and die fairly quickly without adequate intake of essential fats.
However….there are many bad fats in our food supply.
Fat from healthy animals is good for you! Chicken, duck, goose, lamb, beef and pork fat can all be eaten
and is an excellent choice for cooking because of heat stability. Lard is internal fat from around the
kidneys. Lard from naturally (not grain) fed pork and beef is a very good choice. Lard from grass fed
animals is hard to find though, so butter can be used instead.
Butter. Not really paleo, butter contains milk solids and water as well as fat. Butter from grass fed cows
is very good for cooking and enhancing the flavor of steamed vegetables.
Making butter better! (More paleo)
Melt butter in a sauce pan over low heat. Remove butter from heat and let stand for a few minutes,
allowing the milk solids to settle to the bottom. Skim the clear yellow liquid from the top and strain into
a container. You have just made Ghee! Ghee stores well frozen.
Coconut oil is good for you and a good choice for cooking. Choose organic, cold processed coconut oil.
Olive oil is very healthy. Go for the extra virgin, cold pressed and use liberally. Olive oil does not have
great heat stability so use something else for high heat frying.
Flaxseed oil is very good but…it should not be heated at all and oxidizes rapidly. Store flaxseed oil in the
refrigerator and use quickly.
Fats to Avoid:
Trans Fats – fats damaged by heat. Trans fats can be extremely destructive to our health. Trans fats can
be made at home!! Start with a healthy, unrefined oil, naturally high in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids –
apply excessive heat and presto! Health wrecking trans fats. Easy!
Hydrogenated and/or partially hydrogenated oils. Terrible! Reread the last paragraph.
Canola – should be avoided. Canola has a very good omega 6/ Omega 3 ratio. However, to be used
commercially it has been genetically modified, highly refined, partially hydrogenated and deodorized.
Margarine – see trans fats.
Peanut, cottonseed, soybean and wheat germ oils…Not good!