Death by Gymnastics and Clean 30 Day 2 – Kalua Pulled Pork, Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli.

I find gymnastics torturous. I was never one of the little kids on the playground swinging from rings or doing handstands and cartwheels. I liked the swings. Nice and simple and completed while sitting on my butt. Starting today, every wednesday’s strength class will be devoted to work on CrossFit Gymnastics movements. These include handstand walks, pull ups, muscle ups, dips, rope climbs and L-Sits. I was dreading going in today because I find those movements so incredibly hard. They require a lot of upper body strength and perfect movement patterns. I also have a ridiculously strong fear of kicking up into a handstand. So much so today that when it came to that part of the workout today I nearly burst into tears when my coach told me I had to do it. We worked slowly with him grabbing one of my feet and holding it in the handstand position for 15 seconds. After about 10 minutes I was able to kick up into one on my own. But the excitement from this was short lived, as we next started to work on “skin the cat“.

Image

This awkward movement requires a lot of core and shoulder strength as you start hanging from rings, bringing your legs up until you are straight up and down with your feet in the air and head towards the ground, then continue to bring your legs around so that your shoulders are twisted behind you… and then you flip back around. I had to do them with a little jump off the ground to get me going and I found it very difficult, once I had made it around once, to come back around again. Add it to the endless list of things to work on.

Image

Next it was on to muscle ups, which was kinda a joke as I can’t even do kipping pull ups yet. I practiced my kip glide as I watched the guys (I was the only girl today) land muscle up after muscle up. A part of me couldn’t help but feel really lame just sitting there swinging back and forth like an idiot. But, nothing comes without some practice so I just keep swinging along and practicing my kips.

Image

This evening I went back for the regular WOD, since it had the second benchmark workout for the Clean 30 Challenge. It was 3  * 2 min AMRAPs of Pull ups, Push ups and Sit ups back to back. Can’t wait to see how much I profess over the next 30 days!

For my Clean30 dinner today I made Kalua Pulled Pork, sweet potatoes with bacon and broccoli.  I cooked the sweet potatos by skinning them, cutting them into strips, placing some bacon on them and cooking them in the oven. It makes them have a hint of bacon deliciousness.

ImageI might need to get a new pan….

Do you like gymnastics?

What is your favorite gymnastics move?

Clean30 Day 1 – Mustard Chicken Thighs RECIPE, Sautéed Spinach, Cooked Carrots and Mashed Cauliflower

Clean30 Starts….. NOW. Well, technically this morning but you get the point. In case you missed my post about the Clean 30, my box is doing round 3 of 30 days of strict paleo. It’s meant to show you how good eating clean can make you feel, look,  and how much it can improve your fitness… also…the most important part… it’s a competition. You get points for different achievements (attending CF WOD is 2 points, working out outside CF 1 point, totally clean meal 2 points, a day with no no alcohol 1 point, 7+ hours of sleep 1 point so on and so on) and you keep track of them on a nifty little scorecard they give you.

Image

You also do three benchmarks WODS on day one and then again on day 30 to see how much you progressed. You get points for your progression as well.  You are placed on a team, with a coach who sends you encouraging emails and helps you throughout the process.  In the end there is an individual winner and a team winner. But really, in the end,  aren’t we all winners?… awww……

ANYWAY, today’s dinner: Mustard Chicken Thighs, cooked spinach, cooked carrots and mashed cauliflower. The entire dinner for 2 and leftovers took me all of 15 minutes to prep and a total cook time of less than 30 min. So easy.

Image

Mustard Chicken Thighs

2lbs chicken thighs

1/4 cup melted butter/ghee

2 tablespoons mustard

pepper to taste

1. Melt butter in microwave, takes about 10 seconds.

2. Mix butter and dijon mustard and pepper.

3. Spread on chicken thighs

4. Cook in oven at 350 for about 20 minutes or until done.

5. Go spend the rest of your night relaxing because dinner took no time at all to make.

For the spinach – I placed raw spinach leaves in a saucepan with a bit of water, garlic powder, butter and salt. Cooked on medium for about 10 minutes.

Cauliflower – Steamed in a pot until soft, mixed in nutribullet with butter and salt.

Carrots – steamed for about 20 minutes and squeezed orange juice on top.

IF YOU DON’T LIKE COOKING and still want delicious gourmet paleo meals for $12.40 a meal – check out my last post on Caveman Cafeteria’s meal delivery. They are offering $50 off a month of delicious and nutritious meals if you use the promo code “BeAboutIt” after clicking here. 

Long weekend and recommitting to Paleo

Ahh, I love long weekends.  I think life would be so much better if we only had 4 day work weeks. Long weekends used to mean another day to party, dance, be hungover, eat more pizza and all that loveliness.  Now it just means more workouts and more time to spend outside. Oh, and I guess study in there somewhere too. The boy sprained his hand and hasn’t been able to lift for a couple days, so we tried to get out and about as much as possible to keep him from going stir crazy. Friday night I attended a talk by Chris Kresser, a leading specialist in Paleo/Clean Eating, that my box hosted. There were over 200 people there, complete with different Paleo restaurants/vendors giving out free samples before the talk (more to come on this later). Chris is on a nationwide book tour and only made two stops in Colorado, so it was pretty special that one of them was my box.

Saturday I went to the morning WOD, followed by some 135lb sled pulls. After a quick bite,  the boy and I drove about an hour south to go hike in Castle Rock. It was about 55 degrees in Boulder and I got a bit over excited by the warmth and decided to wear shorts.

Image

There was no snow anywhere along the drive until we got to the trail head. Then, what do you know, the entire hike still somehow had snow on the ground. I got some strange looks as people passed wearing winter coats. Afterwards we stopped to hang with his mom and sister and some amazing gluten free pizza that made up for the ice cold legs.

Image

Sunday I went to the morning WOD again and stayed after during open gym to do some front squats to try to work on that devilish form.   I didn’t stay too long, though, because (a) I got really frustrated and grumpy and I tend to quarantine myself when I get like that so that I will still have friends later and (b) it was a gorgeous day and even though the rest of Colorado was watching the Broncos game, the boy and I aren’t really sports fans so we headed out to go climb a mountain.  Obviously our lack of attendance was good luck, as the Broncos won. You’re welcome, Colorado.

Image

It was lovely to not have to get up and go to school today. I celebrated by… you guessed it…  more CrossFit and more hiking. So lame, I know. I have trouble sitting still sometimes.

Image

I went to Costco too. watch out world, i’m getting crazy on you! I had a lot of meal prepping to do for this week. My box is having a Clean 30 Challenge, similar to Whole 30 but less restrictive. You are assigned to a team and during the 30 days you eat pretty much full Paleo while attending WODs and working as hard as you can. There are benchmark WODS on the first day and the last day. Some people also have their body fat taken (I will not be one of them) and you are scored based on the improvement in the benchmark WOD and the loss of body fat.  I’ve witnessed two other Clean 30’s that my box has done and seen the amazing improvement in skill and health on other people. I decided this time I’d jump on board, as I’ve been a bit too lenient with my meals lately. My sweet tooth is starting to get the best of me and I always do better if something is a competition, so this is coming at the perfect time.

I’ll be posting most of my meals/recipes if anyone wants to jump on board the Clean 30 train and see just how good your body can feel when you feed it properly. Unlike Whole 30, I won’t be restricting sugar entirely, just cutting out grains/legumes/anything processed.

How did you spend your three day weekend?

Do you like spending time outdoors?

Did you watch any football this weekend?

CrossFit Frustrations

Patience can be hard.  As I’ve mentioned before, I have a nasty little habit of giving up on something if I don’t get it right away. I’m trying to kick that habit by continuing to get better at snowboarding, but  recently I’m noticing those familiar frustrations are sneaking into my CrossFit workouts. And they’ve brought their  nasty little friend jealousy.

Image I can’t squat.  I have a distinct memory of a conversation I had in high school with my friend Cameron trying to figure out why she could just hang out in a low squat so easily and when I tried I would just role backwards. At the time, we came to the conclusion it was because I had wide hips that made me unsteady compared to her narrows ones. Now I’ve learned that’s not the case, that it has to do with hip flexor mobility, strong glutes and hamstrings etc etc. But some days, I still feel like just chalking it up to my wide hips and throwing in the towel would be way easier than to carry on trying.

Image

I’ve made some good progress, but with each step I take forward my coaches ask more of me and it’s another step backwards. Sometimes the nature of always being able to improve on a skill can be exhausting.

Today I finally started to feel like I was getting below parallel with heavier weight consistently, when I got told that my feet point out in a duck position too much and I need to make them parallel facing forward. I tried it, and found I was back at square one.  I stood there wanting to ask my coach if it really f*&king matters how my feet point if I was still getting low and getting stronger?

Image

But I didn’t, because I know better. Of course it matters. There are no shortcuts to success. Proper form is an essential foundation if I want to keep getting stronger, so if that means going back to square one so be it.

Image

Yesterday I stayed after the WOD to do some more work during open gym. Our  box has a special program for our “competitors” aka the most elite atheletes in the gym. They were going through a WOD while I was doing my own thing and I watched as they moved seamlessly through rope climbs, pull ups, hand stand push ups, pistols… All things that I hope one day to do. Some of the comppetitors only recently joined that WOD, after having made significant improvements in the regular WODs that I attend. I couldn’t help but feel some jealousy at first, mad that I hadn’t been making more progress.

Image

You can say “I’ve come so far from where I was X months ago”, but sometimes it really doesn’t matter. You aren’t where you want to be and that sucks.  But as I sat there I realized I had two choices. I could sit and be frustrated and jealous and pout that I wasn’t getting better fast enough… or I could keep focused, bust my ass more in work outs and trust that if I give it my all it will come. So, I took a moment to acknowledge my frustration, and then tried to push it out of my mind. More mobilizing, more technique work and more determination. It will come and it will be more rewarding if I know I didn’t take any short cuts to get there.

C is for Community (Kevin Ogar)

Anyone who has every wondered about the nationwide community that is CrossFit need only look at the response to the recent incident involving CrossFit games athlete Kevin Ogar. At the 2014 OC Throwdown, Ogar was performing snatches during the competition and dropped a loaded barbell onto his back, breaking two vertebrae and severing his spinal cord. Reports say that as of now he has no movement below his waist. Ogar is also a coach at CrossFit Unbroken, a box here in the Denver area.  Ogar is uninsured and a fund was set up to pay for his medical bills. Two days later over $107,000 dollars have been donated from over 1,500 people. I can’t imagine what it is like for someone who lives to compete physically to possibly be paralyzed from the waist down. Medical bills should be the last of his worries.

I know plenty of people complain that CrossFitters talk too much about CrossFit or get too obsessed with it. I think moments like this show that this may be be the case because CrossFit is more than just a place to work out, it’s a supportive community of people who are bonded together by the love of a common experience, who feel their lives have been greatly improved through CrossFit and who grow together to form a family. My thoughts are with Kevin at this time.

Blogiversary and A New Year

A year ago I sat down to write my first blog post, inspired by the quote ‘you only have one life to do everything you’ve ever wanted, act accordingly’. I didn’t expect many people to read this blog, but I found myself overflowing with the emotions that accompany a life changing stage and I needed to get them out. I had spent years reading blogs, from travel blogs to ‘mom’ blogs’ to healthy living blogs. The longest relationship I’ve ever had is with a blog whose author ‘got me’ during my emotionally depressed late teens/early 20s and helped me grow into a happy, strong, opinionated woman 10 years later. I felt that if my blog could inspire just one person, then it would be worth the time of blogging.

20140102-164259.jpg

And it has, a thousand times over. I never expected to get the response I have had to my blog. From people I haven’t talked to in 5-10 years messaging me thanking me for my blog, to random strangers in the blogging community treating me like a friend, to people close in my life who are stuck listening to me everyday still taking the time to read my thoughts.

I’m currently sitting on a plane, with 3 hours down and 5 hours left in my travel, typing away on my iPhone to once again try to get some thoughts out of my buzzing head. New Years is often a time that people think about what they should have done in the past year and resolve to ‘do better’. But, for the first time in a long time, I don’t have any disappointment in myself for things I should have done.

20140102-164500.jpg
I had a great year.

And that’s not due to luck or circumstance, it’s because I actively took control of my life and chose to make it that way. I broke free of the mold that had become my life. I resolved to not just smile everyday, but to laugh multiple times a day. I had more patience, not just with others but with myself. I accepted the fact that I am not perfect and that it is okay to try things and fail. I didn’t allow myself to settle in relationships, both friend and romantic, that were ‘comfortable’ but not fulfilling. I made note of the people in my life, near and far, who inspire me and I let them know how much they mean to me. I challenged myself. I appreciated my life and reminded myself of everything I have, even in moments when it was hard to see beyond the immediate distress. I fell in love, both with myself and with an amazing man who helps me squeeze the most out of life.

20140102-164629.jpg
Life doesn’t just ‘happen’. As the saying goes, crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Break free from the ‘one days’, the ‘I should’s ‘ instead of the ‘I am’s’, the ‘maybe tomorrow’s’.

This year my resolution is to once again be an active participant in my life. To continue to push myself outside of my comfort zone in order to grow. To love more, worry less. To keep being overjoyed with my life.

>

20140102-164830.jpg
And I hope you will all continue to follow me on this wild ride called life, while also enjoying the adventure of creating your own happiness. Happy New Year to all my readers and thank you for sticking with me.

What will you do to make this year memorable?
What is one of your ‘maybe one day’s?

Yes, I’m Alive!

Does anyone else ever wonder if something horrible has happened to a blogger if they don’t write for a long time? Is that just me? Well, I can assure you that I am A-okay, if not a bit too full from Christmas cookies and a bit sore from this mornings WOD. After my finals were over I had 4 days before I took off to go home for the holidays. Although some of those days were in the negatives, I tried to take full advantage of my freedom by getting to the mountains for some snowboarding.  The first day was amazing, perfect blue skies, warm and I ended up sounding like a little kid just repeating “again, again, again” until  it was time to go home.

Image

The second time it was very cold, snowing and I wanted nothing more than to get off the mountain. In that hurry, we ended up heading down a black diamond.  I pretty much road the brakes the whole time while yelling at my boyfriend for leading me down here (sorry babe). I did get a nice cuddle buddy for the ride home, though, which gave it a happy ending.

Image

Then I came home to the east coast for the holidays. I spent three days at CrossFit City Line (box review here) and definitely enjoyed myself. They had a “12 Days of Crossmas” WOD, which kicked my ass. I was inspired, however, to write a “Twas the Night Before Crossmas” rendition, for all you CrossFit nerds out there (there have to be more like me…).  I plan on checking out the Reebok sponsored Reebok CrossFit Back Bay tomorrow to see how fancy schmancy that one is.

Christmas morning started with a very cold 4 mile run. My hands froze after the first 10 minutes and I had to run awkwardly with them balled up under my armpits.

Image

Santa was very nice with some cross fit themed shirts this year. Does anyone else LOVE the themed shirts? They just make me chuckle.

Image

I also got some help opening presents from my lovely pup. That present happened to be for him, which is why he was so excited for me to open it.

Image

How were your holidays? Were you able to get any workouts in or did you simply relax? What was your favorite present?

Box Review: CrossFit City Line

Hidden away alongside the Charles River on the border of Watertown and Newton, Massachusetts is CrossFit City Line.  They were gracious enough to host me for three days this past holiday season and, without a doubt, I say they are the best box I have been to besides my precious home box which I am incredibly spoiled with. I’m back home for the holiday week and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t just sit around eating christmas cookies and watching Love Actually for a full week straight. So before I came I looked up boxes in my parents’ area and emailed around asking if I could join. CrossFit City Line made it easiest for me to attend, so I started off there. The plan was to try a different one every day, but I enjoyed CF City Line so much I just came back three times. Why so good? Well, I’ll tell ya.

First, the facility was the nicest of the ones I have visited while traveling. It had high ceilings (a must for me) a big open floor plan, with a separate area for stretching, enough space to not feel crowded and a good sound system with a variety of music from rock, to dance to hip hop. They also had all the equipment, full range of wall balls, kettle bells, rowers, and even the spiky foam roller that I have a love hate relationship with.

Image

The facility included large separate changing rooms as well, with showers.

Image

Second, and most importantly, they had GOOD COACHING. CF St. Paul, the last box I reviewed, lacked on the coaching but CF City Line nailed it. My first day there the strength/skill portion of the WOD was back squats. Mat, who was my coach each time, pulled everyone aside who had not been cross fitting for more than 6 months to go over their movement pattern for the squat. If you look at his profile on their website you’ll see he has a million certifications and it shows in how attentive he is to form and how well he gives instructions on how to improve. For each WOD I went to, the people who hadn’t been there for 6 months or more got special instructions to ensure they were learning how to move properly. I think this is the most important part of a good box, and CF City Line has it.

Third, everyone there was very friendly and this is saying a lot for New Englanders (I grew up here, I can say that). In my personal experience of living here and moving to LA and then CO, Boston is not the most friendly of cities. But everyone at this Box was nice, several introduced themselves just because they hadn’t seen me before. Everyone was talking before-hand and I got the real sense that it was a community.

Image

Fourth, the coaches were encouraging. On Christmas Eve we had a “12 days of CrossMas” (done like the song, Day 1, then Day 2 and Day 1, then Day 3, Day 2 and Day 1 etc) workout, with kicked everyones butt. Throughout the whole workout the coaches were walking around, encouraging people by name and keeping them motivated. Also (back to the coaching), Mat came over and no repped me on my 7 wall balls during the countdown from day 10  and made me do them again because I wasn’t getting low enough. As annoying as that may be in the moment, it is what will help you get better.

Image Lastly, a small element that I liked – they had individual small white boards and markers so you could write down today’s WOD, or whatever your modified version is if you are new, and bring it over to your area. For people like myself who need contacts but often forget to put them in, it was nice having the workout right there in front of me. Especially for one as complicated as the 12 days one.

If you are ever in the greater Boston area near Watertown/Newton – stop by CrossFit City Line. If you live in the area, this should definitely be your box. I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Thanksgiving Break Recap

I know. I realize it’s Wednesday and Thanksgiving break ended a couple days ago, but it’s finals season and as much as I would prefer to be blogging, any free time I have is devoted to CrossFit and even more studying. Life is so fun right now…. not. Luckily, I had a great week off last week to squeeze in some fun before the next two weeks of my second to last finals ever (thank god). I celebrated Thanksgiving with the new boy in my life (like how I snuck that in there?) at his sister’s house in  Denver.

We started the day off with a turkey trot of our own in an attempt to counter act all the food we would be cramming in our faces soon enough. It was a gorgeous day, so I was glad to spend some time outside

.photo 1-8

I didn’t have to cook anything, which was kinda nice to be able to just sit back and have people bring me food. Though at the end I felt a little like Jabba the Hut.  The food was delicious and included a maple bacon wrapped turkey. It. Was. Amazing. And the gravy was even better.I could have eaten it plain. I took home a big tupperware of it and have been putting it on everything I eat.

photo 2-6

I’m usually not a big fan of black friday. I think it’s hilarious (in a bad way) that a day after we celebrate and be appreciative of everything we have to be thankful for, we go out and fight people over items we feel we need.  That being said, I did head out to buy something on Friday to take advantage of some deals. I got new snowboard boots and bindings! During the course of putting the new ones on, I was told that I had been set up improperly and had been riding the wrong way this whole time. At least I found it out at some point!

photo 3-5

So on Saturday I headed up to Copper Mountain and the day could not have been more perfect. I started the morning with a beer at 9:30, because that’s what you do when you snowboard.

photo 1-7

Then I tried out my new binding set up and boots. It made SUCH a difference and I was able to get off the beginner greens and onto the intermediates. Black Diamonds here I come! (Not really.. I’m still scared to go too fast). It was a great relaxed day, with a couple runs, then a beer, then a couple more runs and another beer. I like this whole snowboarding thing.

Image

On Sunday, me and the boy decided to go get some trail running in while the ground was still free of snow. We went out to Matthew Winters Trail in Morrison, CO. I highly recommend it. It’s a 5 mile loop that allows bikers and runners, with some challenging terrain to keep you entertained. It had a nice incline that made me feel like I was dying from breathing too hard and left my booty a little sore after, which is my favorite.

photo 4-2

But every time I started to want to stop, I would look ahead and realize my companion was wearing a 30lb weight vest like a crazy person and still trudging on, so I pumped my arms hard and pushed through.

photo 3-4

Going down was a lot more fun. We made it down just as the sun was setting on a beautiful weekend, with a lot to be thankful and appreciative for. Hope you all had a wonderful break 🙂

Olympic Lifting Competition – Review

I did it. I competed in my first ever Olympic Lifting Competition. I waited a couple days before writing about it so I had time to reflect on the experience. I know that I have a habit of being very hard on myself, especially if I don’t live up to my high expectations. To cut to the chase, I didn’t PR at the comp, nor did I hit weights I had previously hit. I was surprised by how incredibly nervous I was, how much I got in my head and just how much it affected my abilities. I was pretty upset at myself at first, but after spending some time thinking about how far I had come in the past couple months I decide beating myself up wasn’t productive and it was better to be proud I had taken the risk and just focus that energy on further gains instead of negative thoughts.

Image

I got to the box that the competition was being held at at 8:30 for registration check in and weigh in. We lined up as they weighed us, confirmed our starting lifts and wrote it all down on a card. Maybe it’s just because I have a history of distorted body image, but I loved the fact that all of the women weighed in and had their weights said out-loud without batting an eyelid. I remember a time where stepping on the scale could make or break not only the day, but the whole week. To be surrounded by women who didn’t care what the number was and finding myself to be one of them was empowering. 

Image

Next I hung around with the two girls from my box who were also competing. They were definitely in a class above me, really strong girls and very inspiring. We did a typical Oly stretching warm up followed by individualized barbell warm ups our Oly coach had written for us depending on our starting lifts. They consisted of: good mornings, front squats, press, overhead squat, jerk, rdl and cleans (all with just the barbell). Then we slowly added weight doing 1-3 reps until we reached 5 lbs below our starting weight. 

They organized us from lightest start weight to heaviest. For the snatch I was 4th from the top, for clean I was 8th from the top. For each lift you stand on a stage, in front of a room of people in dead silence. There are three judges in front of you who determine whether the lifts counts or doesn’t by flashing a red or white card. You get three total chances at both the clean and jerk and the snatch. I missed the first attempt (what should have been very light) at both the clean and jerk and the snatch because I was so incredibly nervous. Both of them I missed because I didn’t lock out my arms at the top, but instead got the weight up with a bend in my elbows and finished by pushing it overhead until my arms were straight.  I got stuck at 70lb snatch and 110lb clean and jerk, neither of which were what my current PRs are. That was frustrating, but once again I just have to keep reminding myself it was my first competition and, hopefully, the next one will mean less nerves and more PRs. 

Image

A lot of people came to watch, both from my box and my coworker and the girl I used to workout with prior to joining crossfit. It was really nice to have all that support and people to distract me in between lifts. It also felt really great that they could have been anywhere on a nice saturday morning and chose to come cheer us on. Gotta love the CF community.

Originally they said that I had gotten 8th place (out of 18), but they later sent out an email correcting themselves and bumping me down to 11th. Another little bummer moment, but moving on from that. Now it’s time to focus on new goals. I want to get my “engine” in better shape. I went trail running the other day and died and I’m determined to go back and run the same loop in a couple months and have it not be a problem. As of now there are no competitions on the horizon (running or lifting) for the first time in like 7 months. I’m sure that won’t last too long though. I love having those goals to push me in my training.

How was your weekend?

Do you like competitions?

What motivates you to work harder?