CF Open 14.3 – 101 reps.

I’ve really sucked at blogging lately, sorry guys. It’s my last semester of law school and it’s gotten incredibly busy and stressed out, which doesn’t put me in the chattiest mood. The highlight of my weeks have been Thursdays at 6pm when the new Open workout is released. Last week I was at Happy Hour with my coworkers and when 6 o’clock came around I whipped out my phone to see what 14.3 was. I was SO happy to see a ladder of deadlifts/box jumps with deadlifts increasing in weight and reps each time. One of my coworkers used to do CF, so we were talking about it and explaining the open to everyone at my work. Most people think it’s pretty cool that it’s a world wide competition, so people on every continent are doing the same thing you are. It’s a small world, really 🙂

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I did 14.3 Friday night, and I had heard that a lot of people were getting stuck at 90 reps. This means that they completed the 20 reps of deadlifts at 155 and the 15 box jumps after, but couldn’t get any lifts at 185lbs.  I really wanted to get some lifts at 185lbs under my belt, so I was pretty nervous going into it. I felt like this was the first Open workout that could really test me, as it was the first one that contained all movements that I had done before. My boyfriend was there to help cheer me on and tell me to get back on the bar when I wanted to walk away. I got 101 reps in the 8 minute time cap, with 11 reps at 185lbs. I was really pleased with that, as I had only gone in expecting to get 3-4 reps at that weight due to fatigued legs. The best part was that while I was sore the next day, I could still make it up to the mountains to go snowboarding. That’s a win!

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Side note: I really want this shirt. ❤ Hunger games. I can’t wait for 14.4 I think it’s going to be clean and Jerks and burpees. What do you think it will be?

Becoming Comfortable with the Uncomfortable – CF Open

That phrase is used a lot in CrossFit. “Becoming Comfortable with the Uncomfortable”. So far, the Open has been hard. I expected it to be hard physically, to push me past my limits into pure exhaustion and into the uncomfortable. But I didn’t expect it to be as mentally uncomfortable as it has been. It is uncomfortable to hear the clock tick down 3-2-1 signaling you to start a movement that 48 hours ago you couldn’t even do and now you have to do at least 30reps  to move on.

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It is uncomfortable to dangle for 2 minutes from a bar kicking your feet and pulling with all your might to try to pull yourself up until your chest gets above the damned bar. It is uncomfortable to have people watching you in what any outsider could consider a failure as you trip on a jump rope over and over, or fail to heave your body up in the air.  But part of becoming comfortable is realizing that no matter how you rank against others, those things, while uncomfortable, are not failures.  You linked together three double unders when before you could only do one? That’s a success. You got all overhead squats without putting the bar down, even if your score was 10? That’s a success. You managed to get the ugliest, wiggling chest to bar ever seen and it took you a full minute? That’s a success.

Unless you are actually trying to win the games, the goal should not be to be the best. You can’t control how anyone else performs. The goal is to be better than you were yesterday. To have pushed yourself outside of that comfort zone physically and mentally. To not give up when you hear the workout is something you can’t do, but to go in and try your damnedest to at least get 1 rep down, without embarrassment  or apology.

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I cannot go to my box now without seeing someone in the corner whipping their shins as they practice double unders over and over, determined to not let them sneak up on them in a work out again. Countless people may have gotten a 10 on 14.2, but they learned that their working overhead squat weight should be 65#, not 55#, since they were physically capable of doing it, even if it was a little bit shaky.  That is learning to take a weakness and turn it into motivation. Instead of pushing what you can’t do from your mind, you are forced to meet it straight on, to acknowledge it and to conquer it while people watch. That is becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable. And to me, that’s what the Open is all about.

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Have you been able to do all the moves in the workouts? If not, how have you felt about it?

What would your ideal open work out be?

Becoming OK with Weight Gain and the Scale

I have gained twenty pounds since I moved to Colorado three years ago. 2-0. The weight of a small child has slathered itself across my body. I’d like to say it’s all muscle, but it’s not. When I moved here I was partying too much, eating too little, all while running a ton of mileage while training for half marathons.

How I got my exercise before CrossFit

How I got my exercise before CrossFit

When I got my mind right and healthy eating on track, my body put on more than just muscle to reach it’s happy place. Unfortunately, it took some time for me to be okay with that happy place. When there is no mirror in front of me and I’m doing something I’d proud of, like CrossFit, I feel like I’m the baddest thing to walk this earth. Most days I can look in the mirror and be more than happy with what I see. But some times that urge to step on the scale overpowers me and, when I do, it shatters that confident image of myself

I was talking to some girls at my box a couple weeks ago about how crazy it is how those little numbers on a screen can make or break you day. No matter how much I preach, and usually tend to believe, that you should value performance over looks, it’s hard not to have a little part of you that still wants to be at that magical number that you have in your head that is your “thin/sexy/hot/goal” weight. I went out to dinner a couple weeks ago with my non CrossFit friend and she was telling me about her struggles to loose weight. She told me that no matter what, her body just stays at her current weight. I told her it had probably just reached a healthy homeostasis and she said “Yeah, probably…. I just wish my natural weight were 5 pounds lighter”. What is it about NUMBERS that can drive us crazy? She is absolutely gorgeous, but somehow 5 lbs that no one else would notice is the difference between a good body and a “bad” body.

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I was talking (well, annoyingly whining) to my boyfriend about how I felt big the other day and he told me I need to delete all my instagram “fitness” accounts because they are giving me unrealistic expectations of what girls should look like. I know this, I wrote a blog post about this, but I still tried to justify it with “No, it doesn’t, it motivates me to work out”. He responded “No, it makes you feel bad and guilty about yourself, so you go to work out”. He then proceeded to give me a long talk about valuing performance over looks, that society has constructed the idea that women shouldn’t have muscle but there is nothing sexier than a girl busting her ass to give it her all (He’s pretty great, huh?::sigh::). He then made me read the article “I became awesome, not skinny“, which every female athlete should read.

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So I deleted all the instagram fitness accounts I followed, but I still couldn’t get out of my funk. That is, until this past weekend at the Tuff Luv CrossFit Competition. I was suddenly surrounded by some bad ass women, in all shapes and sizes, with no make up, hair in messy ponytails with enough confidence to fill a football stadium. I was overwhelmed with love for the human body and what it can do. I was reminded, once again, of my goals, which don’t involve dieting back down to a size 2. If my body is making gains and lifting heavier weight at this size, then this is the size that I need to be. Because, in the end, being able to clean and jerk 195lb like the woman did this weekend is gonna make me a hell of a lot more ecstatic and memorable than fitting in to my old jeans.

 

Can the scale still make or break your day?

How do you plan on getting over that? Or how did you?

Inspired by Competition – Tuff Love

This weekend my box hosted a competition called Tuff Love. 90+ people from boxes all over Colorado, as well as a couple from New Mexico and I think one from Wyoming, showed up to compete at a pretty elite level. The competition was a boy/girl team event, so there were about 45 teams total. We had 9 teams from my box compete, a couple of whom had never competed before but kicked some major ass! The competition had three events, “First Date”, “Second Base”, and “Walk of Shame”.

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“First Base” was a crazy 10 min AMRAP mix of rowing, hand stand push ups, toes to bar and burpee box jump overs that required a killer engine.

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“Second Base” was a clean and jerk ladder complex, with 1 power clean, 1 hang clean, 1 squat clean and 1 jerk, all done without putting the bar down. There was one woman who kicked complete ass and got up to 195. 195. I was so impressed. A couple of our girls PR’d, including one girl who double PR’d, which is incredible after having already tired herself out going up the ladder and with having to do three cleans! She had a whole bunch of people from our box cheering her on and she said it helped push her through.

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I love CrossFit competitions for so many reasons, but one reason in particular is the support that everyone gives all of the athletes. This especially showed on this ladder.  As athletes got higher and higher in weight everyone came forward to cheer them on, not just their own teammate. When the woman who got 195lbs attempted 205, the whole box erupted to cheer her on and help her shake it off when she didn’t make it.  When one of the guys went for 265 and got it, everyone cheered, even his competition. I love that.

I also love CrossFit Comps because I find them so incredibly inspiring. Seeing people push past that “dark place” where they feel they can’t go on anymore, to keep going and truly dig deep to give it their all. All those months of hard work paying off. The look on their face when they finish and are proud of what they accomplished. I find it truly moving. The couple that ended up winning it were recent additions to my box, after having moved from a different box in Boulder. The female qualified for the games last year, but couldn’t go because of her work (she’s a marine). Watching her do butterfly pull ups was truly beautiful. She moved so gracefully and so fast, we all just watched her with our jaws dropped to the floor. It was also great to see just how proud of her her boyfriend was (who is also ridiculously good at CrossFit). I love seeing couples that are that supportive and proud of each other.

Two girls from my box asked me this weekend if I wanted to do two different competitions with them in may. My response was that I don’t have pull-ups, doubleunders or hand stand push ups solid enough to compete. But, I’m gonna try hard as hell to get them up to par by April (at least enough to qualify to compete) and I would let them know. By Apri 1st my goal is to have 10 pull ups, 20 double unders strung together and at least 2 hand stand push ups. I am not quite sure if it’s possible, but this weekend really made me want to get out there and give it all so I’m gonna do all I can to get there.

What motivates you to compete?

What sport/type of competition do you like watching best?

Handstands, Powder, and Green Chicken

Although I’m not the biggest football fan, it’s hard to walk around today seeing the sad faces of all the Broncos fans whose dreams were shattered by yesterday’s game. Like a lot of people, I watch the game just so I have something to talk about with coworkers and for the commercials. I thought last nights commercials were pretty decent, minus the random Maserati one and the annoying bud light one. My favorite was the Budweiser puppy/horse one because I’m a sucker for emotional animals. Remember that happy elephant video that literally made me cry? Yah, it was around that level.

Prior to the game, I went to a WOD and stayed after to conquer my fear of doing handstands. Two weeks ago they made my stomach drop and tears come to my eyes, but this weekend I made some major progress.

Hand Stand Push Ups here I come! Just kidding, that might take a bit while to accomplish but being able to do a handstand is the first step! Just gotta work on keeping my feet together.

On Saturday I went up to the mountains with my boyfriend and our friend from CF because there was some ridiculous storm that dumped over 24 inches of snow, which is about waist level. I know this because I tried to walk on what I thought was solid ground in an attempt to sneak into the words to, um, relieve myself and fell in past my waist. Snow down my pants, not so fun.

ImageI had never snowboarded in real powder and it was a lot of fun. We went to the side of the mountain that isn’t groomed, so there were lots of bumps which was a bit rough for someone with not so much experience like me. At least when I fell it was like falling on a cold, damp cloud.

On Thursday my coworker had brought in some Green Chicken that she had made from a NomNomPaleo recipe. It was so good that I decided I had to recreate it myself Friday night. It’s supposed to be grilled, but (a) it was snowing and (b) I guess more importantly, I don’t own a grill. So I baked it. It was still delicious. I added some cabbage and beets that I had cooked in water/apple cider vinegar mixture (also courtesy of my coworker). I love cabbage cooked this way and thought it was also amazing.

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Did you watch the Superbowl? Were you rooting for either of the teams? Which commercial was your favorite?

What’s your favorite winter time activity?

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“.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Do you like gymnastics?

What is your favorite gymnastics move?

Clean30 Day 1 – Mustard Chicken Thighs RECIPE, SautĂ©ed 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.

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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.

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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. 

Caveman Cafeteria Meal Delivery – 50$ Off PROMO CODE

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Imagine every city in the US having a vertical farm, so that all produce can be grown locally and organically, with a kitchen at the bottom to produce natural, wholesome food. That’s the vision that Caveman Cafeteria: Where the Hunters Gather, a Denver based gourmet Paleo company is aiming to achieve. They are hoping to become a household name over the next 25 years, creating delicious meals that can be delivered to your door for a simplified, healthy lifestyle.

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I had the pleasure of first discovering Caveman Cafeteria in May last year. I liked them so much that I wrote about them here, on the blog. Last Friday they were one of the vendors that came to the Chris Kresser talk that I attended. I chatted with the owner about their paleo meal delivery, which delivers 40 meals per month to people living in the Denver Metro Area. Some of their meals include: Curried Chicken Salad, Pepper Crusted Beef Steak with roasted red peppers and asparagus with garlic aioli,  Irish Lamb Stew, Slow Roasted Wild Boar and so much more.  The menu changes regularly, so you won’t get bored eating the same things over and over again.

The owner offered me a $50 off promo code, which reduces the cost of the meals to $12.40 per meal. No excuse to not eat healthy, wholesome foods if you can have it delivered to your door! Click here if you are interested and enter the promo code “BeAboutIt”. It’s time to start treating your body right so you can finally see just what you are capable of.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.