Spicy Cayenne Coconut Turkey Thighs!

I put together this recipe the other night after my wife came home from the DeKalb Farmer’s Market with some turkey thighs. It’s super simple and yielded delicious, moist and tender turkey thighs (assuming you can handle some spice!). I highly recommend giving it a try sometime!


3 pounds Boneless/Skinless Turkey Thighs, Cut into 6 ounce pieces

1 5.6-ounce can of Coconut Milk

1 TBSP Coconut Oil

Spice Blend

1 TBSP Herbs de Provence

1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1 tsp Black Pepper

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1 tsp Ground Cumin


1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.

2. To prepare the Spice Blend, combine the dry ingredients into a bowl and toss until thoroughly mixed. Place the turkey thighs into a large bowl and cover the thighs with Spice Blend, tossing to ensure the Spice Blend evenly covers the thighs.  Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

3. In a large iron skillet or cast iron pan, heat the coconut oil on medium heat. Place the thighs into the hot pan and cook until each side is golden brown (approximately 6 minutes/side).

4. Add the coconut milk to the pan. Stir the coconut milk with a wooden spoon taking care to scrape the turkey bits off of the pan and continue to cook for about 1 minute. Cover and place in the preheated oven for 10-12 more minutes until the thighs have reached an internal temperature of 180 degrees Farenheit.

5. Allow the turkey thighs to rest, covered for 5 minutes before serving.

Serving Suggestion

I served Mashed Cauliflower and sautéed Brussels Sprouts with our turkey thighs. The mashed cauliflower was perfect for picking up some of the sauce that remained on the thighs and the Brussels Sprouts were a tasty treat!

Macronutrient Breakdown for the Turkey Thighs

Serving Size: 3 ounces, cooked

Calories: 188 / Protein: 23 grams / Carbs: < 1gram / Fat: 10 grams

11/19/2014: 3 Stretches you can and SHOULD be doing at home!

After a long day at work, caring for your children, or running errands all over town, stretching is probably the last thing on your mind when you get home and finally settle in for the night.  Even though it may seem tedious (and down right painful to do sometimes), getting some extra “flexy time” at night is one of the best ways to prepare your body to tackle tomorrow and to help eliminate some stress from the day.

Here are 3 stretches you can do from the comfort of your living room while winding down for the night in front of your favorite sitcom, watching the game, or reading a book.

Happy Baby

Babies are amazing little creatures and their range of motion and flexibility are incredible to see. Their hip mobility is something we should all strive for and the Happy Baby Stretch or Ananda Balasana Pose is one technique we can use to help get our hips back open and flexy again. You can do this stretch while lying on the floor watching television. Hold the stretch for a few minutes each night and you’ll see improvement to your hip mobility and see a reduction in back tightness and soreness.

Couch Stretch  

The Couch Stretch is very appropriately named because it is performed on or against your couch at home. If you’ve been running, squatting, jumping, or lunging, the couch stretch will help keep you moving throughout the week by targeting most of the muscles you worked in those movements. Mobility guru, Kelly Starrett, is a big fan of the couch stretch and has made several videos demonstrating modifications for the stretch.  Also, check out wwwNanoWorkout.com for more fun images (like this one below!) and exercises you can do from your couch!

Using Furniture to Improve Your Hip Mobility (Think: Improved Squatting!)

When you are winding down for the night and have finished the couch stretch, continue hanging around in the living room, but try some additional Hip Mobility Exercises using the couch, a chair, or an ottoman.


Hopefully, you have found this information useful and you will begin to incorporate these stretches into your pre-bedtime routine. You’ll see benefits such as improved mobility and decreased back pain in as little as 5-10 minutes per day. Happy stretchy and thanks for reading!

11/18/2014 - Easy Recipe for Carrot-Ginger Soup!

Sam Mugavero's Paleo Carrot-Ginger Soup Recipe

Preparation Time: 5 minutes  /  Cooking Time: 25 minutes 


4 lbs Carrots, peeled and cut into 3” pieces

24 oz Organic, Low Sodium Chicken Stock

16 oz Organic Coconut Milk

3T Fresh Ginger, grated or finely chopped

1/4t Ground Cayenne Pepper

1/4t Ground Nutmeg

1/4t Ground Cinnamon

1/4t salt

1/4t pepper

***adjust salt/pepper to taste***

Cooking Instructions

Place carrots and the chicken stock into a large stockpot. Place a lid on the stockpot and boil for 20 minutes until the carrots are fork-tender. Remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients to the stockpot. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until smooth and creamy. Serve in a bowl with a sprinkle of cinnamon and garnish with a few mint leaves and a lime wedge (optional).


Note: There are hundreds of "Paleo Carrot-Ginger Soup Recipes" online, but here is one I threw together on my own over the weekend. It's spicy, creamy, and hot...the perfect soup for a chilly day. Give it a shot and let me know what you think! 

21 Days to Turkey - Nutrition Challenge

21 Days to Turkey Nutrition Challenge

GOAL:  To eat clean, unprocessed foods for 21 days and to be mindful of how your body feels and reacts to nutrient rich foods.

WHEN: November 6 – November 26, 2014

TO PARTICIPATE:   Email sam(at)smugsfitness(dot)com

Basic Requirements for Participation

Every participant must:

1. Keep a log of everything you ingest. Be detailed and specific, it is not necessary to weigh and measure your foods, unless you think it will help keep you accountable. If after a meal you feel you have over/under eaten, record it, so you can adjust at your next meal.

2. Keep a log of your sleep each night. Record how many hours you slept, if you feel rested, and any events that occurred to disrupt your slumber.

3. Keep a log of how you feel each day. Be specific about your energy levels, mood, and physical states.

***Note: You can keep all this info in one log. Use a page for each day or if you prefer electronic logging, download Evernote to your phone and keep a log there. Evernote is a great resource for logging because you can share it with others and they can check out what you are eating, how you are feeling, and they can help keep you accountable. You can even take pictures of your meals and build them into the Evernote log. I use Evernote with several of my clients to help them stay on track with their fuel and it has proven to be very effective.

4. Tell your family and friends what you are doing and get their support! Let them know it’s important to you to learn how your body responds to food.

Levels of Participation

VeteranThis isn’t your first rodeo. You’ve done a nutrition challenge before and are stoked to have some accountability and are ready to get back on the wagon.

Foods you must AVOID:

-Processed grains (if you have to ask if it is processed, consider it PROCESSED.)


-Sugar (the refined kind. Natural sugars occurring in fruits are acceptable)


-All other processed foods (if you have to ask if it’s processed, consider it PROCESSED.)


RookieEither this is your first nutrition challenge or in the past you have dabbled with participation, but haven’t completed a challenge.

Foods you must AVOID:

-Processed grains (if you have to ask if it is processed, consider it PROCESSED.)

-Sugar (the refined kind. Natural sugars occurring in fruits are acceptable)

-All other processed foods (if you have to ask if it is processed, consider it PROCESSED.)

-Alcohol intake limited to 2 drinks/week.           



Using the google document supplied by Smugs, you must record your “compliance grade” each day.  To keep it simple, there are only two grades; an “O” or and “X”. An “O” indicates  complete compliance with your selected level and an “X” indicates noncompliance with your selected level. There is no in between, you either nailed it or you didn’t. Be honest with yourself. The goal is not to score anything other than an “O”. It’s only 21 days, you can do it! 

Some things to think about…

1.     What to eat: Lean meats, nuts and seeds, vegetables and fruit, little starch, and no SUGAR!

2.     If it doesn’t rot in 7-10 days, it is probably not food.

3.     Stay away from foods that have more than 3-5 ingredients on the label and the ingredients listed should consist of words that do not require an advanced scientific degree to pronounce.

4.     The perimeter of the grocery store is your friend, the aisles the enemy. Food located on the perimeter is usually fruits, veggies, and fresh protein sources. Food located in the aisles is usually highly processed, boxed crap that has an indefinite shelf life…aka NOT FOOD.


One of the main goals for this challenge is to LEARN how your body responds to the foods you eat and how it feels without the foods you are not eating as a result of participation in the challenge. There is a wealth of information on the web and in books. I encourage you to seek your own answers to questions and educate yourself on why it is important to eat a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods. 

Here are the websites I visit most often when in need of resources for nutrition and recipes (in no particular order):

a.     http://www.marksdailyapple.com

b.     www.Robbwolf.com

c.      www.whole9life.com

d.     www.paleocomfortfoods.com

e.     www.growinguppaleo.com

f.      http://www.thepaleodiet.com

You CAN do it! Good luck and happy eating!

08/13/2014 - 3 Killer Bodyweight Workouts!

3 Killer Bodyweight Workouts – No Equipment Needed!

When you travel or are on the go, sometimes it’s difficult to find the motivation to workout because you are out of your usual element. To help you with the motivation, here are THREE bodyweight workouts that can be performed whenever and wherever the mood strikes you. Try them out and chime in on the Smugs Fitness Facebook Page with your results.

Workout #1

Total Time (average) including warmup:  Less than 20 minutes

Complete 8 Rounds of the following as quickly as possible

25 Mountain Climbers   (each leg is 1/2 rep)

15 Squats

5 Pushups

It’s short and intense! You’ll get a dose of bodyweight strength training mixed in with a cardiovascular battle generated by storming through the Mountain Climbers.

Workout #2

Total Time (average) including warmup:  Less than 25 minutes

Set the clock for 15 minutes and complete as many rounds of the following as possible

10 Squat Thrusts

10 Split Jumps  (each leg is 1 rep)

Sprint 100 Yards

Get your heart rate flying with this workout! Keep the sprints fast and consistent, while maintaining excellent form on the Squat Thrusts and the Split Jumps.

Workout #3

Total Time (average) including warmup:  Less than 20 minutes

Complete 40-30-20-10 reps of the following as quickly as possible

Jumping Jacks

Plank Jacks

Walking Lunge Steps  (each leg is 1 rep)

Glute Bridges

Focus on strengthening your posterior chain and building your core strength. Hold the Glute Bridges for at least 2 seconds and keep your midsection rock solid on those Plank Jacks!

Thanks for reading and hope you have fun trying these three workouts!

Looking to workout with Smugs Fitness? You can find us every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:55 AM at Barrett Park in College Park, GA.

Interested in bringing on us site to run a fitness program for your employees? Contact sam@smugsfitness.com to learn how.

07/25/2014 - Paleo Approved Italian Food?

Sirloin, Spicy Vegetable Marinara served over Spaghetti Squash with Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad

I was craving Italian food the other night, but typically Italian food and the Paleo Diet don’t get along very well. So, in an effort to create a meal that would satisfy my craving without loading me up with pasta and bread, I put together this simple, yet very tasty Italian inspired meal using ingredients I had at home. Spaghetti Squash is always a staple in the Mugs house and there’s always some Grass Fed Beef in the freezer, so I was halfway to creating my meal. We had peppers, onions, and mushrooms in the fridge, a can of organic crushed tomatoes in the cabinet and much to my surprise (and delight!), two cucumbers and a monster of an heirloom tomato ripe in our garden.


2 Spaghetti Squash

1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 TBSP Garlic Salt

2 TSP Black Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 (F)

2. Cut both ends of spaghetti squash and split down the middle. Remove the seeds.

3. Line a cookie sheet with foil, place Spaghetti Squash skin side down on the foil.

4. Dust with garlic salt, black pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

5. Turn the spaghetti squash skin side up and place in the preheated oven for 30- 45 min. Once it is cooked, the skin will cave if you apply pressure.

6. Let the Spaghetti Squash cool for 5-10 min until you can touch it without getting burned. Using a fork, scrape the inside of the squash to yield stringy “noodles”.

*Note: Once the “noodles” are made, they can be vacuumed sealed and frozen for up to 6 months. They can be used in a variety of pasta/noodle dishes.


2 pounds of Grass Fed Sirloin (Steak or Roast)

1 TBSP Salt

1 TBSP Black Pepper

1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. Season sirloin with salt and pepper on both sides.

2. In an iron skillet or similar oven safe pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.

3. Cook the sirloin for 3-4 minutes each side. Don’t touch the meat unless 

you are flipping it.

4. Finish the sirloin in the oven until the meat reaches your desired temperature.

5. When the desired temperature is reached, set the sirloin aside and put the empty pan back on the stove. Do not clean the pan, as it will be used to make he marinara sauce.

6. Cut the meat immediately before serving.


1 Can Organic, Low Sodium Crushed Tomatoes (22 ounces)

1 Green Pepper, thinly sliced

1 package Mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (12 ounces)

1 Onion, thinly sliced

2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped

1 TSP Cayenne Pepper

1 TBSP Savory or Italian seasoning

½ Cup Low Sodium Organic Beef Stock

Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Heat the pan used to cook the sirloin over medium heat.

2. Add the garlic and allow it to brown for 45-60 seconds.

3. Add the beef stock to pan and scrape all of the beef drippings and garlic from the bottom of the pan while reducing the stock by half the original volume.

4. Add the mushrooms, onions, and green pepper to the pan and cook for 4-6 minutes.

5. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, cayenne pepper, and savory seasoning and allow the sauce to simmer for 5 minutes.

6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

7. Serve the Spicy Marinara over the Spaghetti Squash.



2 pounds Heirloom Tomato, chunked

2 Cucumbers, thinly sliced

1 Red Onion (small), thinly sliced

2 TBSP Fresh Basil, chopped

¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

¼ Cup Balsamic Vinegar

Salt and Pepper to taste

1. In a large bowl, combine the Cucumber, Tomato, Onion, and Basil.

2. In a small bowl, combine the Balsamic Vinegar and the Olive Oil. Add the oil slowly while whisking to make the vinaigrette.

3. Toss the salad with the vinaigrette and add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve chilled or at room temperature.


5 Things You can do to Improve Your Health

June 18, 2014

5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Health

1.  Sleep.

2.  Eat.

3.  Walk.

4.  Move/lift heavy objects.

5.  Rest.


Adequate sleep affects the mind and body in drastic ways. The benefits of sleeping are widely researched and are often very clearly seen when you encounter someone who does not get enough sleep compared to someone who does. Lack of sleep hurts your ability to function, inhibits your body’s ability to efficiently use nutrients, and wreaks havoc on your efforts to gain muscle or lose weight. Some tips for getting a good night’s sleep include shutting down electronics a few hours before bedtime, blacking out your room to keep artificial light from disrupting your ability to fall asleep, and developing a routine to practice each night before bed. If you’re interested in learning more about sleep, check out the following resources:

National Sleep Foundation

National Institutes of Health

The Definitive Guide to Sleep – Mark’s Daily Apple


Eat quality, fresh foods. Don’t worry about counting calories or sticking to a particular diet. Instead focus your efforts on eating foods that rot within 7-10 days and eating enough of those foods to feel satisfied. Don’t overeat and avoid starving yourself, especially if you are active. Foods that have a short shelf life are unprocessed, contain very few ingredients and are usually found along the perimeter of the grocery store, BUT…beware, grocery stores and big manufacturers are catching on and are starting to place “not food” items on the perimeter. New rule:  if it’s in a package (box, bag, etc.) and it wasn’t growing or roaming the earth a few days/weeks ago, you probably shouldn’t eat it.  Here are some great resources (in no particular order) for eating high quality, nutrient dense foods:

Mark’s Daily Apple

Robb Wolf’s Paleo Diet Quick Start Guide


Paleo Comfort Foods – Recipes, Tips, and Knowledge


Walking is one of the most underrated activities individuals can do to improve their health. Walking helps with recovery, improves your mental health by reducing stress, and improves your ability to cover distances without using a motorized vehicle. It is a low intensity functional movement can make a world of difference in improving your health and longevity when coupled with the other 4 items on this list. Walking can be performed with purpose (ex. walking to the store) or without purpose (ie. Walking around your neighborhood) Either way, when you walk you will see things from a different perspective, be outside in the fresh air and sunlight, and have the opportunity to think deeply and creatively.

Benefits of Walking

More Benefits of Walking

Move/Lift Heavy Objects.

Pick up something heavy and move it 2-3 times each week. Your options in this area are endless. I use a variety of objects from regularly shaped objects like barbells, kettlebells and dumbbells to irregular objects like rocks, logs, and sometimes, HUMANS! (Partner Carry, anyone?) It doesn’t matter what object you choose or how you decide to move/lift it (carrying, powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, etc.), just pick something up and get going!

Arnold Agrees!


Don’t overdo it. You don’t need to get in another workout this week. Your body needs to recover. Take time to relax, read a book, and decompress. Meditate, listen to the birds outside, or pick up that musical instrument you have touched for a few months. Allow your body time to heal and it will reward you.

On the path to health, the goal is to stress the body during workouts and alleviate stress during non-workout times. If you continually stress the body without giving it rest, you keep your body in a state of chaos and it becomes unable to function. This type of environment hinders your ability to lose weight, sleep and efficiently process nutrients from your food. So ask yourself…I am giving my body enough rest? 

Essential Elements of Rest/Recovery

Importance of Rest/Recovery


Start implementing these 5 things and you’ll begin feeling and looking better than you have in years. It’s simple and effective, so what are you waiting for?

Running Interval Workouts for New Parents - 05/28/2014

Running Workouts for New Parents        

Finding time to run when you have a young baby can be challenging. My wife (Kmugs) and I both like to incorporate running into our training and participate in a handful of races each year. Since we had our little one (Lilly) back in October 2013, we have discovered it is difficult to train together and make sure Lilly is receiving proper care. Working out together has long been something we have enjoyed, so we needed to come up with a few ideas for how to train together and keep Lilly with us. We rarely opt for long, slow runs, but instead prefer to do interval training to help us prepare for races. After some trial and error, we found some great workouts that we could complete together while Lilly strolls along with us safely secured in her stroller.

Since Kristy and I aren’t the only couple with children who enjoys working out together, I thought I’d share some of our favorites with you.  The best part about these workouts is the equipment needed to perform them…all you need is a watch and a stroller for the baby. I recommend a jogging/fitness stroller as it makes doing workouts on varied terrain like grass/trails much easier (even though the stroller is used only in recovery between intervals). We use the BOB Stroller for Lilly and as you can tell from the picture, she’s pretty comfy in there!

To do these workouts, it is beneficial to have a park or a track where you can perform a loop of known distance so you can get an idea of how much ground you cover. We use Bessie Branham Park in Kirkwood, which is just a few blocks from our house.

Workout #1:    “The Chase”

Total Workout Time: 25-40 minutes including warm up.

Set the clock for your desired (available) time. Typically Kmugs and I set the clock for 25-30 minutes. Partner #1 takes off running while Partner #2 walks with the stroller. Both Partners are moving in the same direction around the park/track and Partner #1 will stop running when she catches up to Partner #2. As soon as Partner #1 arrives, Partner #2 takes off running and Partner #1 recovers while pushing the stroller.  Continue alternating until time expires.

Workout #2:  “The Meet up”

Total Workout Time: 25-40 minutes including warm up.

Set the clock for your desired time. Kmugs and I usually set the clock for around 25 minutes. This workout is similar to “The Chase”, but this time, Partner #1 takes off running and Partner #2 begins walking in the opposite direction around the park/track. Partner #1 will stop running and switch roles with Partner #2 as soon as they meet, hence the name “The Meetup”. Continue alternating until time expires.

Workout #3:  “Back That Thing Up”

Total Workout Time: 20-30 minutes including warm up.

Set the clock for your desired time. This is a shorter workout than the other two, so aim for 20-25 minutes. Partner #1 starts the fun by sprinting forward for 30 seconds while Partner #2 walks casually pushing the stroller in the same direction as Partner #1 is sprinting. When 30 seconds elapses, Partner #1 hits the brakes and backpedals until she arrives at the stroller. Partner #2 sprints 30 seconds, then hits the brakes, puts it in reverse and heads back toward the stroller where Partner #1 is casually walking to recover, yet eagerly awaiting her next turn to sprint. Continue alternating until time expires.


Hopefully, you found these workouts helpful and you and your partner can start incorporating them into your training regimen. If you give them a try, take some pictures and chime in on Facebook with your thoughts. Happy sweating!

Garlic Herb Crusted Salmon and Coconut Curry Cauliflower Recipe

Chef Jose’s Corner!

It’s Tuesday and we’re back with another edition of Chef Jose’s Corner. We took a rest week last week, but Chef Jose has whipped up a tasty one for us this week! Today’s recipe is for Garlic Herb Crusted Salmon and Coconut Curry Cauliflower. 


4 Wild Caught Salmon Fillets
1 TBSP Salt
1 TBSP Black Pepper
No Salt Added Garlic Herb Seasoning
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. Season Salmon on both sides with salt and pepper.
2. Season heavy with garlic herb seasoning. The seasoning will form a crust when pan frying.
3. Heat oil in medium - large saucepan and place the salmon in oil.

4. Cook for 4 min on each side or until your desired temperature is reached.


3 pounds Cauliflower, cleaned and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tsp chopped garlic
1 can Coconut milk
2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp cumin
3 tsp Red Curry Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Parboil the Cauliflower, onion, garlic, and turmeric in enough water to barely cover the cauliflower.

2. When the cauliflower begins to soften, drain the water and return the cauliflower to the heat.

3. Add the coconut milk, cumin, and curry powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Cook an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to yield a creamy, delicious side dish for your salmon.


Jose Martinez is the Head Chef at Woodward Academy North Campus, Boot Camp rock star and recent Paleo convert. Jose will be sharing his tasty creations on a regular basis, so check back often for more delicious meals!


Smugs Fitness 15-Day Swing into Summer Challenge

Summer is right around the corner and there’s no better time to prime our bodies for all the sun and fun. Kettlebells travel well and are extremely versatile tool for building a stronger, healthier body. We’re going to use just one movement for this challenge, The Russian Kettlebell Swing.

The challenge is simple and there are three different levels you can choose from for participation depending on your fitness level, time availability, and fitness goals.

Level 1:  50 Russian Kettlebell Swings per day – 750 Swings in 15 days!

Level 2:  100 Russian Kettlebell Swings per day – 1500 Swings in 15 days!

Level 3:  200 Russian Kettlebell Swings per day – 3000 Swings in 15 days!



Over the next 15 days (May 5 – May 19), complete the required number of Russian Kettlebell Swings for the level you have selected. Choose a kettlebell weight that will challenge you, make you work hard, and help you get stronger. There are no awards for completing this challenge, but the rewards your body will reap include increased grip strength, a tighter, more toned midsection, and a stronger posterior chain. Hesitant to join us? Just think about how strong your bottom will look in that swimsuit this summer!


To keep the challenge open to all and maintain accountability for everyone that participates, tweet us when you complete your swings each day (@Smugsfitness) and include the weight of your kettlebell, the number of swings completed and use #SFswingintosummer so we can track everyone’s results. Feel free to tweet pictures of you swinging the bell too!

Not on Twitter? No problem, chime in on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/smugsfitness and post your daily totals there. 

Spread the word and get your friends and family involved! We could all use a little extra swinging as we head into summer! Good luck!