Thursday, December 9, 2010

CF Level 1 Certified!

Last weekend, I traveled to San Antonio to participate in the CrossFit Level 1 Trainer Certification seminar. I've spent the past 2 months waiting for this weekend, and when it finally arrived, I was more than ready! Being active in CrossFit and participating in the Relentless Boot Camp mentorship program had prepared me well. What surprised me the most was that I still had so much more to learn about the CrossFit methodology and how it applies to me as an athlete and now, trainer.

Level 1 Certification - San Antonio, Dec 4-5, 2010

After 2 days immersed in it, I emerged with a greater sense of why I love CrossFit (I didn't think I could love it any more than I did, but I do!) and why I want to spread the good word and help others as my coaches have helped me. Let's DO WORK!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Trojan Challenge

Ready to take your fitness to the next level in the new year? Sign up for the CrossFit Central Trojan Challenge today. It's an 8-week, intensive nutrition and fitness program, open to current CrossFit Central clients. The workouts incorporate the use of kettlebells in addition to endurance and body weight resistance movements and are scaled to all fitness levels. In 8 weeks, you WILL see results!

As a participant in the Trojan challenge, you'll get:

  • CrossFit Central Coach to keep you accountable
  • Goal Setting
  • Before & After Photos
  • Benchmark Workouts
  • Weekly Workouts with video and photo instruction
  • Nutrition Seminar
  • Weekly Review of Food Logs by your coach
  • Team workout with your coach
  • Kettlebell skill workshop

 And of course, a CrossFit Central Trojan Challenge T-shirt!  
Kettlebell WOD from Thanksgiving Fun Run at Central
Open to 50 Cleints

January 7 - March 5, 2011
$150 per person

Visit or to learn more and REGISTER for the Trojan Challenge.



Sunday, November 28, 2010

Eat Greens, Get Lean

My favorite part of our Thanksgiving dinner was the brussels sprouts dish that my mom made. It was the perfect side dish for turkey, but would be delicious with pork chops or steak. I cleaned up the original recipe from to make it more Paleo-friendy, replacing the butter with coconut oil and omitting the sugar. Turned out delicious!

Give it a try:

3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 pound shallots, thinly sliced
Coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup water

Melt 3 tablespoons coconut oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and pepper. Sauté until soft and golden, about 10 mins. Add vinegar and sugar. Stir until brown and glazed, about 3 mins.
Halve brussels sprouts lengthwise. Cut lengthwise into thin (1/8-inch) slices. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sprouts; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown at edges, 6 mins. Add 1 cup water. Sauté until most of water evaporates and sprouts are tender but still bright green, 3 mins. Add shallots; season with salt and pepper. Yield 8 servings.

Eat greens, get lean!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How to Be a Bad Coach

I found this post on the Barbells and Bacon blog regarding how to be a good coach by pointing out how NOT to do it! Great read for athletes and coaches.

Here's an except from "10 Ways to Be a Bad CrossFit Coach", written by Jon from Potomac CrossFit in Arlington, VA:

#9. Know only one way to coach a movement. Sometimes screaming “SEND YOUR KNEES OUT” over and over isn’t good enough. Learn more than one way to say the same thing.

#5. Forget peoples’ names. The bond between an athlete and a coach needs to be strong to be effective. If you are leading a class, and you don’t know every persons’ name, what does that say about your leadership abilities

And my favorite:

#1. Treat coaching as a job instead of a profession. What’s the difference? I think the biggest difference is that professionals are committed to lifelong learning. Are you a better coach today than you were yesterday? Last week? Last year? Why not? A professional makes a firm commitment to educating himself throughout his coaching career.

The coaches I have the pleasure of working and working out with are technically skilled in the movements & programming, know how to motivate & inspire, keep clients accountable, and also possess the "X" factor - All of which are things I'm working to become the best coach I can be.

What do your favorite coaches do, or what qualities do they possess that make them the best CrossFit coaches?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Get Pumped!

GirlTalk gets me pumped for LIFE! Seeing him in concert was awazing - Still one of the best dance parties EVER. UPDATE: The universe answered the call. Girl Talk is coming to Austin on 1/14 and I AM GOING. Get your tickets before they sell out!Check out this fan video made by super-intern turned marketing team member, Tyler (a.k.a. "Tater"). He's damn talented. I only hire the best, ya'll:

Go forth and conquer the weekend! Whomp! There it is..

Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekly Shuffle

Here's what's playing on my iPod this week:

Check it Out - (feat Nicki Minaj)
California Gurls (Passion Pit Main Mix) - Katy Perry (feat Snoop Dogg)
No Love - Eminem (feat Lil' Wayne) - FREE WEEZY!
Drivin' Me Wild - Common (feat Lily Allen)
Make Her Say - Kid Cudi (feat Common, Kanye West, Lady Gaga)
Fancy - Drake, TI, Swizz Beatz
Good Ol' Fashion Nightmare - Matt & Kim
We Are All Made of Stars - Moby
Around the Way Girl - LL Cool J

Jams all week! That's how I'm rollin'.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Opportunity knocks...

Recently, I was given the opportunity to participate in CrossFit Central's Coaches mentoring program where I'll learn what it takes to be a great coach and leader by the folks who know it best. I knew I had to jump at the chance...and here I am in my 5th week with CFC's Relentless Bootcamp.

As you may expect, I am absolutely loving it! It's been great to see the nuts and bolts of such a successful operation, and get an insider's look at what coaching is really about. I've been doing a lot of listening, watching, and note-taking during class, and reading outside of class. I feel like a sponge soaking up as much as I can! I believe the best way to learn something is to emmerse yourself in it and, I've taken the plunge! Here's just a taste of what I've been up to:

The first 2 weeks of shadowing were spent with with Coach Megan at Deep Eddy for T/TH 5:30 & 6:30 AM bootcamps. Both classes are full of rockstars; several of whom have been featured as Success Stories at Central. A few of whom I know quite well! It was awesome to see Megan and the bootcampers in action. They have so much energy for being up before the sun.

The last 2 weeks I was with Coach Heather at LCRA bootcamp M/W/Th 6:30 PM. This is the bootcamp that started it all for me (when I first met Coach Zach and began my journey into CrossFit over 3 years ago). I was able to program a few workouts and lead the group in the warmups in addition to correcting form and motivating the clients during the workout. 

LCRA 6:30 pm Bootcampers kickin' butt!
This week, I'll be moving into assisting Megan with the T/TH 5:30 AM Deep Eddy and M/W 6:15 PM Little Stacy park classes. I'll get to take on more of an active role with coaching for the next few weeks. Should be a lot of fun and of course, hard work. Bring it on!

I'm grateful for everything I've learned so far and for the opportunity to push myself in a new direction. I can't wait to see where it goes from here...

On a related note, I'm getting my CrossFit Level 1 Certification on Dec 4-5 at Alamo CrossFit, in San Antonio, TX. I'm super-duper excited!!  

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Challenge updates

10 in 21 Challenge:
This was tough! The Master Food list was limiting and I got pretty bored with spinach, broccoli, and asparagus as my only green veggies. The meal replacement shakes were gross and the lack of healthy fats left me lacking a bit of energy. I did get back on schedule with eating smaller meals every 3 hours, and back into the habit of drinking a lot of water throughout the day. My goal was to lose 10 lbs in 21 days and with only a few cheats, I managed to lose 5lbs. I'll keep this in my arsenal to use again in the future if I need a quick fix. I'm definitely happy to be back to eating Paleo and enjoying my favorites like kale, eggs, salsa, grass-fed beef, and healthy fats. Oh how I missed coconut oil and coconut butter. Mmmmm...

100 Day Burpee Challenge:
I'm kicking myself now for underestimating how tough this one would be. Not because of the burpees themselves, but rather finding the time and energy to do them EVERY DAY. Dang! I was going strong until 40, then I really started slacking. After missing 2 days, I had to start reevaluating my commitment to this challenge. Ultimately, I decided I'd go to 50 and call it. I'll be posting the video of my 50 burpess this weekend. Although I won't be moving forward with the challenge, I will incorporate burpees into my weekly routine. I have gained a lot of strength in my triceps from pushing myself off the ground, and have been able to complete the sets unbroken - which for me is as much mental as it is physical. So, this is progress indeed. To all of you who are still participating - I'll be cheering you on all the way to 100! Best of luck. 

Fight Gone Bad:
This was hands down, the TOUGHEST CROSSFIT WOD I've ever done. Period. The 2 rounds we practice in class do nothing to prepare you. I went into it thinking that based on my 2 round max score of 187 (completed in the early spring), it would be possible for me to get to 300 following a basic strategy of hitting a set number of reps at each excerise for each round. Here's how it went:

Round 1: Started off strong! Hit my goal of 25 reps on wall ball and push press, but SDHP and box jumps gave me some trouble. Only ended up with 20 box jumps and 18 SDHP. Got my typical 12 calories on the row and ended up with 100 for the round. 

Ok, so just keep that same rep count for the next 2 rounds and I got it, right?! 

Round 2:  Started off strong again with wall balls, but only got 20 reps in time. SDHP and box jumps got hella tough - I had to rest more than I wanted and got further behind. Push press was my only hope to catch up. Unfortunately, I used so much shoulder in the SDHP and row from previous rounds, I totally failed after 18 reps. Leaving me with a final round score of 76. Booo!

I want to quit.

Round 3: At this point, I didn't know if I could continue. I was already mentally beaten from Round 2. I managed to get double digits on each movement, but I'm ashamed that I couldnt get more than 15 reps on wall ball, which usually saves me. I completely failed at SDHP, Push Press, and the row, managing to get only 10 reps/cal for each. As soon as "time" was called, I collapsed onto the turf. Dead.

I ended up with a final score of 234 and got to enjoy post-workout recovery margaritas with fellow participants:

Although I muttered that 'I never want to do that again', I'm already strategizing for next year. My desire to hit 300 outweighs the pain. Clearly I need to work on SDHP and maintaining my endurance throughout the 15 minute WOD. I will be better prepared and stronger next year. I'm happy with my score, especially since it was my first time doing FGB as Rx'd. Consider this my benchmark.

More news to come soon...Cheers!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Running like Phoebe

I don't remember feeling like death when this photo was taken last Saturday during our WOD. But, MAN! It looks like I'm about to croak.

"keep moving, keep moving, keep moving"

Perhaps I need to start pinning a smile on my face during my workouts - ESPECIALLY when they get tough. Then, I might start to believe it and actually HAVE FUN. Because, that's what it's all about, right?! I'll have to remember to test out that theory during Fight Gone Bad on Saturday.

From now on, everytime I run I will think of Phoebe and smile:

Update on the 100 Day Burpee Challenge and 10 in 21 Challenge: Both are going well. I've been consistent on my burpees (Day 38 today!), and will weigh in tomorrow morning (Day 11). I should have lost 3-4 lbs so far. Woot!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

10 in 21 Challenge...because I need another one!

Just when the 100 Day Burpee Challenge starts to get tough, I decide to throw another challenge in the bag. This time, the challenge is focused on cleaning up what I have come to know of my diet in recent  weeks.

The "10 in 21 Challenge" was introduced to me by CrossFit Central coaches JDP, Crystal, and Megan last month. Both JDP and Crystal completed the challenge and saw big results - JDP lost 10 lbs and Crystal lost 6% body fat! Looking at both of them, you'd wonder how that was possible, but they did it and feel great now. Megan is using some of the principles from the diet plan and adding her own twist for her upcoming, "ShowFit" program (details coming soon!)

Ok, so what's it all about?! Developed by Austin fitness trainer and fellow Crossfitter, David King, the program is designed to help you lose 10 lbs in 21 days. There is a list of low-carb, low-fat food options that you must stick to for the entire 21 days without deviating! Anytime you deviate from the foods on the list and "cheat" you have to run 5 miles to compensate. This is a definite deterrent for me!

A daily menu for women is approx 1,200 - 1,400 calories and includes meal replacement shakes*, lean protein, and veggies with the smallest amounts of sugar. I add in Advocare SPARK before my workouts and use Advocare Muscle Gain as my protein powder for dessert each night*. As David King says, the program is simple, but certainly won't be easy. It's only for 3 weeks, so I think that makes it do-able.

My starting stats on 9/12/10:
Weight: 165lbs
Body Fat: 22%

Learn more about the "10 in 21 Challenge" here:

*Important note: I am aware that this program is not Paleo or Zone-friendly and is calorie-restricted. THIS IS A QUICK FIX; a jump-start - not intended to be a long term nutrition program. I realize that the intensity of my workouts may suffer from lack of dietary fat during these 21 days. I will probably not set any new max lift PRs,  and I am ok with that...for 3 weeks. On Day 22, I will return to Paleo/Zone nutrition and setting PRs. :)

I'll keep you posted on my progress!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 25 - Burpee Benchmark Time!

This morning, I did 25 consecutive burpees for our first benchmark in the 100 Day Burpee Challenge. I finished them in about 1:28. Not stellar, but I wasn't going to do them over! 25 burpees is still 25 burpees.

The video is a little dark (since it was a monsoon outside), but you get the idea:

25 days down...75 more to go! Who else is still participating?!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

SicFit Saturday

I had the opportunity to get some strength training in over the weekend and the newly opened SicFit Austin Gym with Coach Big Mike. I was joined by fellow CF'er Chris G. for some upper body strength work that went a little something like this:

1. Roll-out

2. Dynamic warm-up including: bear crawls pushing a 20-lb sandbell (cross between a sandbag and a kettlebell - super cool!) and burpee broadjumps (yes, I counted those towards the 100 Burpee Day Challenge total for the day), and the other typical CFC warmup moves

3. Mini-Metcon: 2 Rds, 5 Reps each: back squat (95lbs), decline push-ups from box, deadlift (135lbs), pull-ups

4. Sprint drill: Where we sprinted with resistance (Big Mike to be exact) down the length of the gym 4 times each.

5. Kettlebell circus: walks, presses, 1-armed snatch, and deadlifts up and down the length of the gym. I used 1 pood KB for all but 1-armed snatch (sub 14kg).

6. Bench press/Sledgehammer couplet: 5 rds: 5 reps bench press, 10 sledgehammer swings (5 each side). I used the following weights for bench press: 65, 75, 80, 85, 90, 85. Got about 2 good reps at 90 - totally failed on last rep.

And last but not least...

7. Dumbbell muscle snatch (15 seconds on, 15 seconds rest) for 3 minutes. 25lb dumbell doing all muscle snatches on one side for 15 seconds. I got in 11 on the first round and went down to 9 by the last round.

SicFit Austin Garage Gym
All in all, a great workout! It was really fun to play with new toys and learn new movements. Especially the things that aren't incorporated into our workouts at the box. I look forward to playing again soon!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fight Gone Bad V

In 4 weeks from tomorrow, I will be taking on Fight Gone Bad - the legendary CrossFit workout. In this workout, you have 1 minute per station with 5 stations total per round. There are 3 rounds and you get 1 minute rest between rounds. Looks like this:

  • Wall-ball: 20 pound ball (14# for women), 10 ft target. (Reps)
  • Sumo deadlift high-pull: 75 (55#) pounds (Reps)
  • Box Jump: 20″ box (Reps)
  • Push-press: 75 (55#) pounds (Reps)
  • Row: calories (Calories)

The clock does not stop between exercises. On call of “rotate,” you have to move to next station immediately for good score - no rest! One point is given for each rep, except on the rower where each calorie is 1 point. The goal is to get the highest score possible. You've got to focus on what you're good at and give yourself a minimum goal for the movements that will be tougher.

The Fight Gone Bad competition is a nationwide event held each year that raises money for the Wounded Warrior Project and CrossFit Foundation, and Livestrong. Learn more and help me raise funds for these three wonderful charities here.

CrossFit Central and other Austin CrossFit Affiliates are teaming up to hold this year's Austin-Area Fight Gone Bad 5 on Saturday, September 25, from 8:00 - 11:00 am, at Westlake High School. Come out and participate or cheer us on! CrossFit is definitely a spectator sport!

I've never done a complete 3-round FGB workout - but have done 2 rds in class. I found that I achieved the highest number of points (reps) on the wall-ball and SDHP (in the 30s). My row yielded about 12-15 calories, which is pretty standard. Box jumps were tough, but mostly b/c I was having to "re-set" in between jumps rather than just bouncing. And, push press was tough after 15 reps - the weight is heavy enough to burn you out. My class score was185 last time we did it in the spring.

I'm strategizing for how to pull off a score of 300 at the competition on 9/25. Coach JDP helped me out with the "bounce-bounce" this morning for box jumps. I have a training plan for how to get efficient at doing 25-30 unbroken. I will need to shoot for that if I want to get 300 total! I should look like this come competition day:

Want More FGB?! Check out Mel's experience from last year, "Fight Gone Bad: A Story in Photos", and Lyssa's experience with a vairation of the workout, adapted to her new surroundings, "Fight (Football/Skiier) Gone Bad". Lyssa scored 333 at last year's FGB IV workout (she's a bad-ass!)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Brick Walls

"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people!"                                                                                                               - Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)

Never seen The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch?! Watch it when you have a few minutes and be inspired to live your childhood dreams. Definitely worth it! Or, check out a sample of the quotes from this lecture here. Good stuff!

Friday, August 13, 2010

100 Day Burpee Challenge...who's with me?!

This morning while I was checking my Twitter feed, I came across a tweet from my tweep, Lisa. She and her tweep, Heidi are starting a 100 day burpee challenge this Sunday and were looking for people to join them! I jumped on it right away - this is exactly the kind of challenge I need to help me reach my goals of becoming mentally tougher and better at things that suck. And, believe me burpees suuuuuck.

So, here it is (drumroll) ...the 100 Day Burpee Challenge!

100 days, a shit ton of burpees (actually 5,050), a . Who's with me? Before you tell me I'm nuts, consider this: could you be faster, stronger, and mentally tougher? I know I can be! What better way to train ourselves to push through the "suck" in life than to take on burpees...lots of them...daily?!

We are going to do one burpee on day one (August 15th) and add one each day until we get to 100 burpees on the 100th day (November 22nd). Heidi will document this challenge on her blog ( and post the benchmark videos of all participants. Check it out here

The Rules:
  1. Use Burgener's burpee standards for form - or - the standards as set by your CrossFit affiliate
  2. You can complete each day's burpees all at once, or broken up and done at different times throughout the day
  3. If for some reason you miss a day, you have to make up all the missed burpees the following day
  4. If you don't start the challenge with us today, you can "buy-in" at any time by doing ALL the missed day's burpees on your first day
  5. Any burpees you complete during your regular workout can count towards that day’s Challenge burpees, if you want them to
  6. For performance tracking purposes, the 25 burpees, 50 burpees, 75 burpees and 100 burpees days will be timed and video taped (Heidi will post the videos on her blog to track our progress)

 Burpee Challenge Form Standards: 
  1. Start with hands on the ground in front of your feet. Keep your back straight.
  2. Kick feet out behind you into the top of the push-up portion of the burpee. Your body should be straight and tight in a flat plank.
  3. Lower your body into the lowest part of a push-up. Your chest and thighs should ultimately touch the ground at the same time. Remember to keep your whole body, especially your midline, tight.
  4. Push up into the top of the push-up position again.
  5. Jump your feet up to your hands into your starting position.
  6. Jump into the air and clap your hands overhead so that your ear is exposed in front of your arms. Your feet should leave the ground.
Like this:

I've created this PDF to help track our progress. I'm posting this on my fridge at home. The dates in gray are the benchmarks that should be timed and video taped. Woo-hoo!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Weekly Shuffle

Music is my favorite art form. I love, love, love everything about it. When it comes to workout music, I go through phases - some days I like hip hop/rap, sometimes alternative/indie, and even electronica. I'll even throw in some folk or classic rock upon occasion just to spice things up. The only thing constant in my workout playlists is "change".

I thought I'd share my playlists with you each week with my Weekly Shuffle posts. Here's what's playing now:

Home - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Four Winds - Bright Eyes
Oh My God - Ida Maria
Money Maker - Rilo Kiley
Lisztomania - Phoenix
Can You Discover - Discovery
Daydreamin' - Kid Sister (feat. Cee-Lo)
Enter Galactic - Kid Cudi
The Suburbs - Arcade Fire
Animal - Miike Snow
Giving up the Gun - Vampire Weekend
Where is My Mind - Pixies
Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap

Here's a video for the Ida Maria's "Oh My God". It's a great song to listen to while running fast or lifting something heavy :

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer Slump

It began in June and has continued through last week. I've been unfocused, unmotivated, and uninterested in CrossFit in general. I have written "DNF" on the board more times than I care to admit and have blown off extra workouts. This is not like me. What gives?

Initially I blamed it on the heat, burn-out, frustration, boredom, big classes...anything I could find to excuse my lack of desire and performance for something that I was once so passionate about. What I've realized over the past few days is that all of that was just B.S. I was coasting off of a few great months of training and real progress. I got lazy. I got comfortable with my new level of fitness and began to take for granted what it took to get me there in the first place. I plateau-ed. I thought I wanted to have an easy "summer of fun". I forgot what real fun was.

Fortunately, my nutrition stayed fairly consistent (minus a few fruity cocktails) and I kept training every week. So, I didn't really go backwards. But, I also didn't move forward. I stood still. Which, is probably the most boring thing you can do. Progress all around me, passing me by, and I'm just standing still...And, just as expected, my life outside of gym suffered too. Amazing how you can't compartmentalize your life, isn't it?!

Well, I'm pleased to report that I'm back and feeling mentally better than ever. I'm ready to leave it all out on the mats, set some PRs, and kick some ass again. It's time. No doubt it will be challenging, but that's what I miss most: the challenge and journey to achievement.

I thank my coaches JDP, Travis, and Ben for calling me out on the lack of intensity in my workouts lately and offering to help me get back on track. I hope that what Travis referred to as “the summer slump” has now ended. Time to get back to to it!

I'm making a new workout playlist. Here's a listen:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Awkward in the Box

Sometimes it gets a little awkward at the gym. We're running around, working our asses off, nearly naked, sweating up a storm, all in an effort to get harder, better, faster, stronger. We can't help but experience some silly shit every now and then. And, if we're seeing it - imagine what our coaches experience?! I die..

After reading a comic by The Oatmeal, I felt inspired to share some of my top awkward moments at the gym with illustrations!

Ever been working out next to one of these people (or are you guilty of being one yourself?)! I mean, I know we are encouraged to make noises at CrossFit, but sometimes what we utter can be down-right silly.

What about spotting? Does it ever get awkward for you? I know its important for safety, but I can't help but giggle sometimes. ("What's going on back there?!")....

And finally...ever see any ladies looking a little "less than fresh-faced"? Yes, I'm guily of this since I typically come to the gym straight from work. I'm sure I've reached the "100% whored up" level before. Sorry!!

Check out the full comic here. The "stink bomb" and "side cruncher" are also hilarious. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Results from Spartan

The before and after photos from The Spartan 300 Challenge are up! Check out my results:

Weight: maintained

Inches: -2.5 waist and thighs; gained 3 inches in shoulders and calves
Body Fat: -3%
Workout 1: Rx: Did Not Finish - 25 pullups, 50 deadlifts (95#),  50 pushups, 50 boxjumps, 7 floor wipers (95#)
Workout 2: Rx: Did Not Finish - 25 pullups, 50 deadlifts (95#), 50 pushups, 50 boxjumps, 40 floor wipers (95#)

So, I lost some body fat, gained some muscle, sucked less on that workout (although I tore the crap out of my hands BOTH times!), got some brighter workout gear, and a tan. All in all, I'm loving the results. But, like I said in my previous posts about The Spartan 300 Challenge, this is only the beginning!

Check out all my other Spartans and their results here. Congrats, everyone!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Far from over

So, today is the final day of the Spartan 300 Challenge and I met Coach Crystal to get my body comps done. Here's how it turned out:

After 7 weeks, I've dropped another 2% body fat, lost 4 inches from my waist, hips, and thighs, and added 3 inches to my shoulders and calves. My weight stayed the same, meaning I added lean muscle (yay!), however, I managed to drop another pant size (down to a size 6 now). This is what I'm talkin' about!

As far as strength goes, I'm definitely getting stronger. I've PR'd on pullups, pushups, dead lift, squat, clean, and press. I'm now using the Rx weight in most WODs. The progress feels great!

The benchmark workout is tomorrow morning, and I'm ready. My goal is to finish the WOD this time. I have a feeling I will! Regardless of how it all turns out, I am proud of myself and feel like this is just the beginning.

Like Drake says, "I'm livin' life right now, man... And this what I'ma do 'til its over, 'til its over.. But it's far from over"

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Spartan 300 Challenge - Goal Update

Back on May 5, I set 7-week goals for the Spartan 300 Challenge at CrossFit Central. Here's how I'm doing with less than 2 weeks to go:

Nutrition: I've managed to stay on track with Paleo, adding in more protein and reducing carbs and fats in general. I'd say probably more 85% than 90%, but it's still great. I have only had a handful of cheat meals and even those were still Zone-friendly. I think I've turned the corner on Paleo - it's no longer a diet, rather it's a lifestyle. I've never felt better! I have enjoyed more than 4 servings of alcohol per week on most weeks, but have kept track of it to keep it under control. Only 2 wilds party nights so far and I paid for them the next day! Overall, I'm sure I've lost body fat judging from the way my clothes are fitting. I have lost at least 2 pant sizes (from a size 10 to a size 6 in jeans!!) and am discovering muscle tone where I typically store fat - hips and legs. I'm exciting for my final body comp in a few days. Should be good news!!
Fitness: I've been running a lot more - at least once per week for a minimum of 3 miles on the Town Lake trail. No treadmill for this girl. If it's raining, or dark out, I've been hitting the rower. I'd say this goal has been met. On to the body-weight strength goals: I've FINALLY figured out how to string kipping pullups together without nearly ripping my arms out of socket. It's all about the hip pop and pushing away from the bar (side note to my coaches: I know you told me that a million times... ) And, I'm getting some more power too - last week I did 18 chest-to-bar pullups (3-4 in a row at a time) and didn't rip my hands. I'd say that's a HUGE accomplishment. Regarding pushups, I'm able to do 7-8 perfect pushups in a row before I max out. Not great, but much better than when I started this challenge. I'm going to really focus during the next 10 days on getting in as many pushups as possible in preparation for the finale workout. Don't want to have to go to my knees or take 10 minutes to do 50! I will finish the finale WOD in 20 minutes. I WILL!!!

Regarding my weekly workouts, I've seen huge improvements in strength with PRs in the past few weeks (Back Squat: 175, Deadlift 215, Squat Clean 125, Thruster 95) and I've managed to Rx many of the WODs. I've also gotten better at doubleunders and kettlebell work.

All and all, good things poppin' up in here. Once the challenge is over, I don't anticipate backing off the 85/15 Paleo nutrition, fitness routine, or supplements. In fact, I expect to be HARDER, BETTER, FASTER, STRONGER!

Feelin' too good to stop now.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Dancin' Through Life

From Rev Run Wisdom:
Some may laugh at you for dancin' through life. You're not crazy, they just can't hear the music you're jammin' to! Keep Laughin'!

Dance and laughter is contagious! Spread LOVE!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What Makes Us Stronger

I came across this post today that I think is worth sharing. It was written for a newsletter by AdvoCare's Ron Reynolds, who is also a US Air Force Veteran, aerospace engineer, and author.

Ron provides insight on how the challenges we face as children and adults actually enable us to grow to become much stronger than if we weren't exposed to it or were too protected from it. Word! 

There's a growing movement underway in our country that seems to have come from those who are inclined to want to protect us from ourselves and who want to pass any imaginable law that will make all of us more equal. The movement I'm referring to actually began several years ago; some parents got together and their cause was to change the grading system in the elementary school systems so that no child would receive a lesser "grade" that might make him or her feel inferior. After all, a child who becomes "damaged" by such life experiences may well carry those scars with them for their entire life, and how fair is that? These are probably the same people who allow their children to run and scream in restaurants and airports and other places, because to discipline them would do harm, and no responsible parent wants to do that.

Now, I understand the love of a parent and how we want to hover over our sons and daughters, and that's as it should be. But to "hover" to the extent that you will go to any length to shield kids from the negatives of life is to do them a disservice that won't become apparent for many years; sooner or later, the protected child will go into the world and become exposed to setbacks, disappointments, failures, threats, intimidation, performance evaluations at work, unfairness and insult, and they will be disarmed and unable to cope with such experiences. Some people will even send your kids "negative" e-mails.

I don't know about you, but as I look back over my years and all of the negativity I encountered - and there was lots of it - each one forced me to grow; they forced my brain to wire itself in such a way that over time, I would learn from those bad experiences and become strengthened by them, not diminished by them. I have a memory of being put on the porch of my grandmother and left there, because my parents decided they weren't ready for the responsibility I represented. As a few years passed, I looked with confusion and emotional trauma why it was that everyone else had a father and mother and I didn't. As more years passed, I came to understand, and it drove me to a level of understanding that it was my duty to make a place for myself. No one protected me; no one went to the school and appealed for me to get extra care and protection.

Later in life, I became a distributor in a direct sales company; within a few weeks, my sponsor quit, and there weren't any distributors between myself and the company, so whatever was to be was up to me. And, I think that if someone had protected me from all the adversities of life when I was much younger, my brain would have continued to "wire itself," but in much more of a dependent way. The officials in my school told me that when I grew up and went into the labor force, that I should not take any position that required writing, because I was the worst writer they had ever seen. Now, you may be one who will agree with that, but even if you do, it doesn't matter. What matters is what I think of me and how I am; what matters is what I choose to do about the bad things that happen - it's not "what happens," it's what those things force us to become that counts.

We all have the choice of our own approach to life, but for me, I'm grateful for the exposure to challenging situations that were part of my experience. God always has a way of fitting the back to the burden, so if you want a stronger back, you have to carry a heavier load. Be careful of those who seek to take care of you, lest your caretaker become your jailer.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Iron Mind

Just re-read a great article about the iron mind entitled, The Iron, written by Henry Rollins (originally published in 1993 in DETAILS Magazine). If you've never read it, or would like some insight on why a strong body and mind go hand-in-hand, read it here.

It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesn't want to come off the mat, it's the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn't teach you anything. That's the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. That which you work against will always work against you.  - Henry Rollins


Monday, May 24, 2010

Fuel for Badassery

For the past 8 months, I have been using AdvoCare supplements to help fuel my body before, during, and after workouts. These supplements (AdvoCare plus a multi-vitamin, probiotics, fish oil), a clean Paleo diet, and regular sleep have helped me lose body fat (down 6% since October), drop 2 dress sizes (from size 8/10 to size 4/6), and gain muscle strength and endurance (as noted in previous posts).

I consider my investment in AdvoCare to be an investment in my overall health. Of course, the supplements aren't cheap, but THEY WORK. Isn't that worth it? I think so...

Here's a look at my daily AdvoCare supplements, or as I like to call them, my "fuel for badassery":

  • For Energy: AdvoCare Spark® Energy Drink and AdvoCare Slam®. I sip on these 1-2 hours before my workout and sometimes during my workout depending on how I feel.
  • For Staying Lean: CATALYST™. Taken 15 minutes before a workout, or before meals, Catalyst contains branch-chained amino acids that help maintain lean muscle mass during calorie restriction and intense exercise. Also gives me a nice "boost" during long workouts.
  • For Performance: Muscle Strength™ (taken 1 hour before my workout) and Nighttime Recovery (taken every night). Both of these help decrease recovery time between workouts and encourage muscle growth and strength. Nighttime Recovery also contains amino acids and magic dust that lulls me into a deep, regenerating sleep. I always wake up feeling great after taking it!
In the coming weeks, I will begin adding more of the AdvoCare Performance Elite supplements into my regimen, including Arginine Extreme, AdvoCare® Muscle Fuel, and Post Workout Recovery. The goal is to create my personal formula for achieving optimal performance results.

I'm a firm believer that the AdvoCare supplements have helped me see greater results, faster than if I would have been taking nothing for the past 8 months. I believe that in the case of my results, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
I encourage anyone looking to take their training or fat loss to the next level to give AdvoCare a try. If it's good enough for the vast majority of the CrossFit Central coaches and clients, as well as countless professional athletes (including Drew Brees), it's got to be the real deal.

Holler if you want to try any of the products, or need more info. Also, Check out Coach Jess Sharratt's blog about the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge. Sounds like a great way to jumpstart fat loss and toning for any newbies interested in AdvoCare. Let's do it!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Takin' to the Top!

On Saturday, I joined my team of fellow CrossFit women and our friends to take on the American Lung Association's Fight For Air Climb at the Frost Bank Building in downtown Austin. This race was a climb up 30 stories, 60 flights, or 672 steps if you're counting. :) The event raised money for research and treatment of lung disease - something that hits really close to home for me.

My goal was to come in under 7 minutes. I set this goal with having climbed that many stairs only once. I challenged my teammates to do the same, and come race-day, a few of us agreed to shoot for sub-6 minutes. (CrossFitters always make it interesting with a little friendly competition!)

Coach Megan Parsons led our team up the stairs, following the team of firefighters from the Round Rock Fire Dept. I went next, and Whitney Frakes started behind me. Once we began the climb, I was happy to have these ladies there to push me to keep my pace. It was a SHOWOUT sandwich!! :) We all made it to the top in with awesome times - Megan got sub 5 minutes, I came in at 5:20, and Whit finished just behind me. It got pretty tough after floor 20, but I just kept going - taking it 2 steps at a time (thank you long legs!!) until I got it done.

Later on that day we recieved word of the final results. Serveral of my teammates had done really well and I ended up placing 1st in my division (I even got a medal! :))! I'm so proud of us for crushing our goals!!

At the top of the climb, we were greeted by some familiar faces - Lauren, Diego, and Stacy from CrossFit Central. It was great to see them representing the double C's at the event and spreading the word about CrossFit. Megan and I were approached by some of the firefighters who had started the climb ahead of us (some of whom finished behind us!). They asked how we prepared for the event and we replied, "we CrossFit"! I saw quite a few people visiting with the folks from CFC at their table - I hope we were able to recruit some climbers to join CrossFit.

All in all, this was a great experience. Thanks to my teammates for motivating me to push myself and to all of my friends and family who supported this cause with donations - the event raised nearly $100,000!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Do Work. Be Proud of Your Effort. CrossFit.

Just read a great blog post from Lisbeth at CrossFit Watertown this morning, entitled, "Opening the Way" that sums up my love for CrossFit. Here's an excerpt:

...we know that if it’s been an absolutely horrible, crap-filled day in this world that’s beat us down and made us feel so small, that once we walk through those doors... there’s a friendly face that’s going to give us a hug, teach/beat/rejuvenate us for an hour, and then send us back out the door, tired but with a big smile and a huge sense of accomplishment. And that the day will suddenly feel better and we’ll have strength enough to get up in the morning and do it all over again.
There’s no photo that can show all those images, no picture that can capture all those feelings, no words that can easily describe this experience to your friends.
The writer George Sand once said: “The world will know and understand me someday. But if that day does not arrive, it does not greatly matter. I shall have opened the way for other women.”

The world will know and understand CrossFit someday. But if that day does not arrive, it does not greatly matter. We’ll have opened the way for everyone.
Do Work. Be Proud of Your Effort. CrossFit.
If you don't yet subscribe to the CrossFit Watertown blog feeds, DO IT! It's a great CrossFit blog.

Now, go out there and GET SOME!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Time to DO WORK

Saturday's Spartan 300 Challenge benchmark workout was a lot tougher than I expected. In 20 minutes, I was able to get through:

25 pull ups (most of my time was spent here, and I ripped my hands)
50 deadlifts (95#)
50 push ups (from knees - BOO!)
50 box jumps (20")
10 Floor Wipers (95#)

I still had all of this remaining when "time" was called:

40 Floor wipers
50 KB clean and press (14kg)
25 pull ups


I'm glad I did Rx weight, so I will be able to complete this workout as Rx'd on 6/26. And, in the process of getting my ass kicked, it became very clear to me where I need to focus my training over the course of the next 7 weeks:

  1. Build strength in my chest, back and core to help with pull ups and push ups
  2. Work on kipping pull up technique each week and perfom perfect push ups each day
  3. Work on stamina and endurance
So, I've updated my goals accordingly. I'm meeting with Coach Crystal on Thursday to work on the kipping movement. It's high time I get these pull ups right. No more meaty hands!

I am ready to DO WORK and see results. Time for bad-assery.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Paleo Recipes and Nutrition Resources

New to Paleo/Primal eating or need some new recipes and nutirtional motivation?! Check out these blogs and websites for a whole mess of good info:

Whole9 Blog
Eat Clean Live Strong Blog
Paleo Food
The Label Says Paleo Blog
Everyday Paleo Blog
Robb Wolf Blog
The Clothes Make the Girl Blog
Mark's Daily Apple
Living Paleo
Primal Eating Modern Table

Ok, now you have no excuse to "go Paleo/Primal". Eat real food and be healthy!

Got any other resources to share? Holler at me!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spartan 300 Challenge Goals

Alright, it's time! I met with my team last night and set my fitness goals for the next 8 weeks during the Spartan Challenge.

By June 26, I will:
1. Achieve 18% Body Fat (-5% from where I am today)
2. Follow Paleo/Zone nutirition at least 90% of the time (follow my food journal here)
3. Limit alcohol consumption to 4 servings per week
4. Run or Row 3 miles twice per week
5. 10 consecutive kipping pull ups
6. 10 consecutive "perfect" push ups

They don't call it a CHALLENGE for nothin'! If you know me well, you know that I love my daily glass of vino and my whiskey on the weekends. So for the next 8 weeks, I'm going to have to find healthier ways to relax and kill time.

Here's the benchmark workout that I will take on this Saturday May 8, and again on Saturday, June 26.

"Spartan 300" WOD:
25 Pullups
50 Deadlift (95#)
50 Pushups
50 Box jumps
50 Floor wipers (95#)
50 KB Clean and Press (25#)
25 Pullups

 = 300 reps!

My goal for Saturday is to be able to complete this WOD as Rx in the time alloted - that means kipping pullups, pushups from toes, and all Rx weight in 20 minutes or less. By the end of the challenge, my goal will be to CRUSH my benchmark time. And, hopefully look ripped doing so.

I'll post this weekend on my benchmark WOD time and maybe even a "before" photo. Wish me luck...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Workout hell week - part deux

In terms of workouts, this week looks bonkers. Thankfully, Doc gave me the green light to lift and use the rotator cuff. Just need to warm-up with my exercises and ice afterwards. Done and done.

Ok, so here's what I'm lookin at this week:

Monday: CrossFit WOD with my new co-ed class coached by Travis and Ben.

Fight Gone Bad (2 rounds; 1 minute at each station, 1 minute rest between rounds, as many reps as possible)
Wall ball (14#)
SDLHP (55#)
Box Jump (20")
Push Press (55#)
Row for calories

Last time I got 167, so I'm shooting to beat that. My strategy is to pace myself through the first few exercises and rest only during that one minute between rounds. Gonna be a lung burner, for shizzle.

Update: I scored 163. Boo! First round was great, then my allergies started to bother me. By the time I got home, I was a sneezing mess. So bad, I had to get a steriod shot on Tuesday, to shut down the histamine response my body swas producing. Uggghh. I'm blaming my poor performance on not being able to breathe through my nose. My partner Jennifer killed it with a score of 201! Way to go!!
Tues: 6:00 pm meeting with my Spartan Challenge team (and body comps!) then CrossFit WOD with the O.G. co-ed class at 6:45 pm.

Update: Body comp wasn't so bad. I've lost a few more inches and 3% body fat since the last assessment, but I still want to lose 5% more. This is one of my Spartan Challenge goals. When I got to class, I had a nice WOD waiting for me. Back Squat warmup sets of 10 squats @95, 115, 135, 145 #, then for time: 30 BS (135#), 200 m sprint, 30 burpees. My time was 7:32. I was pooped. Legs are on fire today!!

Wed: Cinco de Mayo celebration!!  Run, row, shoulder work. Then tequila.

Thurs: CrossFit WOD at 6:45 pm

Fri: Run, stretch, sleep!

Sat: 7 AM Spartan Challenge benchmark workout

Sun: 9 AM Oly Lifting Class

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Spartan 300 Food Log

Next week I begin the Spartan 300 Challenge, which involves some serious food logging. To help keep me organized and accountable, I will be publishing my Spartan 300 Food Log on Google Docs and giving my Coach, my team, and all of you all access to view it.

Since I will be Zoning during the challenge, I will have to count Zone blocks daily. I'm sure I will get direction on how to change up my Zone blocks during the challenge, but for now I've set a target of the following daily blocks: 12 protein, 10 carbs, 20 fat. This is the formula I've been following for the past 3 months with good result. I'm betting that I will up the protein and lower the fat just a bit during Spartan - maybe resulting in a 14-10-18 block day. We'll see.

At any rate, I encourage you to keep me honest and track my progress. I'll post weight and body fat next week when I get that measured. At the end of the challenge, we'll see how far I've come! Yay, challenges!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Just a spaz!

GOOD NEWS for me! My shoulder isn't injured, per se, it's just a muscle spasm in my shoulder.

Dr. Kyler advised a few more treatments next week, but cleared me to start using my shoulders during workouts and lift some weight. Obviously, if it starts to bother me, I should take it easy and ice it. But, I'm happy that I won't be stuck with the "lunge circus" for weeks (I'm not sure my booty could take it).

Active Release Treatment therapy is miracles. Fah reals. Feels a little like death while you're being worked on, but I feel great now.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Shoulder Rehab

After a few weeks of going through a vicious cycle of CrossFit WODs >>> Oly Lifting >>> overuse >>> Trigger Point therapy >>> ice/heat/rest >>> feels better >>> CrossFit WODs >>> Oly Lifting >>> overuse...and so on...I am still experiencing shoulder pain. Not just when I'm lifting, but all the time. To make matters worse, my fingers have gone numb a few times when I sleep. "NOT GOOD", says the doc.

After deep tissue massage and TP Therapy failed to alleviate the pain, I decided to take this old clunker of a body in for some professional work. My first ART (active release therapy) session Dr. Kyler Brown at Austin Sports Therapy was this morning. Let me tell you, ART is miracles (yes, that's a reference to the Insane Clown Posse).

After 30 minutes of intense diagnostic therapy, my range of motion had greatly improved and pain had subsided. Yay! The doc gave me the good news that I didn't have an acute shoulder injury requiring more intense (and expensive) treatment, rather I was suffering from a rotator cuff sprain (anatomy lesson below).

A few weeks of regular ART sessions, daily rehabilitation exercises, and rest from overuse, and I should be good as new. Easy, right?!

Unfortunately, CrossFit workouts incorporate a lot of exercises that require engagement from the shoulders and the assisting back and neck muscles. All of which I am receiving treatment on. So, it looks like the week off from classes couldn't have come at a better time for me. Once I get back to classes on May 4, I'll have to work with my coach to change up my workouts to accommodate.

I've been advised to lay off the cleans/snatches, pull-ups, shoulder presses, and long distance rows. That leaves me with lots and lots of lower body and core work. This is what my fellow gimp, Lyssa, refers to as the "Lunge Circus" and "Squats, squats, and more squats" in her blog posts about the special workouts she gets to do while her shoulder injury heals. On the bright side, my ass and legs will get some much needed focus. Perfect for the short shorts and sundresses I am so eager to wear!

As a side note: I'm hoping that this won't affect my performance at the benchmark workout of the Spartan Challenge on May 8. Fingers crossed that I'll be able to perform at my best. This is why rest/rehab now is important for better performance when it counts.

Gimpy signing off...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

CFC Boot camp is RELENTLESS!

A few years ago I was introduced to CrossFit Central through a co-worker of mine who had been doing the boot camp workouts. I went to one of the free UTB workouts with him (boot camp-style workouts held monthly "Under the Bridge" at Mopac near Austin High) and instantly fell in love with the workouts. It was exactly what I needed - a good ass-kicking! And, the coaches were cute - BONUS! :)

The next month, I started attending the M/W/Th LCRA bootcamp at 6:30 p.m., led by Coach Zach Thiel. Little did I know that I was in store for much more than a great workout - I was embarking on a journey that would change my life forever....

I must admit, the first few months were pretty rough. I remember being so sore from air squats that I could barely sit down (flash forward to now when I'm taking Olympic Lifting classes for fun and regularly performing front, back, and overhead squats with serious weight - ha!). I stuck with it and saw some great results - I looked and felt great and was really enjoying working out with the group.

Then, I went on hiatus. Maybe I was burnt out, maybe I was trying to save money...I can't remember why I left now. Needless to say, that was a bad idea. Over the course of the next 8 months, I gained back all the weight I had lost and was feeling like crap. (This was all pre-Paleo when exercise regulated my weight.)

One day I picked up a copy of AustinFit Magazine and saw a photo of CFC Coach Crystal McReynolds. I knew at that point what I had to do...train and eat like the best to be the best. So, I dove back in, head-first and haven't looked back since. It began with M/W/F 6:30 a.m. boot camp at Deep Eddy w/ Coach Crystal, which led to women's indoor CFC workouts about 2 months later. That was 8 months ago and I'm happy to report that I've stuck with the indoor workouts and am seeing awesome results. 

Why am I reminiscing? Because it helps to remember how far you've come and appreciate your journey. And, because I want to give the CrossFit Central Relentless Bootcamps a HUGE shout-out for helping me get to where I am today.

I encourage anyone interested in getting in shape to try out the boot camps. There are locations all around Austin at times that are convenient (view em all here) And, it's not a wimpy workout - it's legit! Case in point: I returned to Zach's LCRA boot camp last night (as seen in this photo) and was reminded of how tough it was! A 6lb. med ball doesn't seem like much until you've pressed, swung, and wall-balled it a million times. Ouch! Shoulders are on fire today...

Come to the UTB workout next Saturday and give it a try. I promise you will have fun and get a great workout! Visit for more info on the free workouts held each month.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Outside the Box

A few weeks ago, I began doing my own CrossFit workouts at the gym in my building on M and W nights. I typically go around 6:30 or 7:00, after the evening rush.

After a few workouts on my own, I've made a the following observations:

1. I see a lot of people lolly-gaging around. Seriously people, let's get a move on and get the heck outta there! It shouldn't take 2 hours to lift weights...and, don't think that I didn't see you watching Dancing with the Stars between sets...oh, yea, I caught that.

2. Most people favor the nautilus-type of machines versus the free weights. This is good for me, not so good for them. They'd be getting a lot stronger if they incorporated free range of motion exercises into their routine. But, I'm not there to train them. I'm there to train me!

3. Rowing is for weird-os. I think 3 people in my building use the C2 Rower; me, and 2 other CrossFitters who live there. Again, good for us, not so good for them. The rower provides a way better workout in less time than the eliptical trainers, treadmills, or recumbent bikes. And, let's be honest, recumbent bikes are stoop! I always make it a point to tell my friends about the C2 and let them in on what CrossFitters already know - rowing is an awesome workout.

4. Power moves like burpees, thrusters, and box jumps get the most attention. Yesterday, while I was doing  25# DB Thrusters, a trainer and his client commented on my intensity, "damn, we are impressed. You're really getting after it!" Yes, yes, I am. I offered this in return, "join me!" They chuckled, but I was serious...Another friend asked what I was doing and why I looked like I was about to barf. All I could muster out was "burpees" and got right back to focusing on my WOD. He said, "they should call em barfees" and I agreed.

5. Fellow CrossFitters know CrossFit etiquette. They don't interrupt you during your WOD, or ask to use your equipment mid-workout. They know you'll be done in a matter of minutes. So, they can wait, or jump on that rower that no one is using and bust out a 1000 meters... If someone is wearing headphones, moving really fast, and is timing themselves with a stopwatch - try not to bug em. :) Other gym-goers will not understand this, so I have to remember to be patient with them.

6. It is good to get out of the "box" and push yourself on your own. Reagrdless of all the things that might bother me about working out on my own at my personal gym, I really enjoy learning how to push myself more. Moving faster and lifting heavier is easier when you've got a great coach and a your entire class pushing and supporting you. When you workout solo, it's just you and the voices in your head. This is when mental toughness really matters. Being accountable and pushing yourself to the limit is what CrossFit is all about. Sometimes you may need to get out of the box to discover that for yourself.  

And perhaps the most important observation:

7. Time away makes my time at CFC even more special. Yes, it's true. I appreciate the time I have with my coaches and fellow clients and look forward to oly/power lifting with barbells and pullups more than ever before!

Do you do CrossFit workouts outside of the "box"? If so, what are your observations? Sharing is caring.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Goals for April

In exactly 30 days, I will begin the Spartan challenge and complete the benchmark workout. I will have new goals to set for the 8 weeks of the challenge, so for now, I'd like to set interim goals that I know I can accomplish (two of which will help me with the Spartan workout).

30-Day Goals:

  1. 20 pushups from toes consecutive (I have 10 on a good day now)
  2. 10 kipping pullups consecutive (I have 2 in a row right now)
  3. 25 doubleunders consecutive (I have to rotate w/singles now)
Pushups: I'm doing them everyday on my own and trying to complete them from my toes in class. This month, I have decided to not go to my knees at all. I may not finish the WOD, but at least I'm getting stronger. See this blog post from CrossFit Watertown, entitled "Get Off Your Knees". TRUTH!

Pullups: I need to practice these more on my own, outside of class. I can get in at least 3 days/week of pullup practice after class and maybe one more day at AHS track. I need to work on the push away from the bar and relaxing my shoulders in the catch at the bottom. Don't want a shoulder injury...I think I know how to do it, I just need to continue to practice.

Doubleunders: After getting my first one a few weeks back during a WOD, I haven't practiced stringing them together and making the movement more fluid. I do this donkey kick and jump way too high right now, using up too much energy. I got some tips from the Again Faster crew on how to correctly perform doubleunders. This video was really helpful. I will keep these tips in mind when performing DUs.

Double Unders from Patrick Cummings on Vimeo.

Lucky me! DUs are in tonight's WOD. Practice time!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Nutty no more

I've been on the Paleo nutrition plan for 6 months now and can say that I am a successful convert. I have more energy, less inflammation, don't get sick as often, and am not suffering from IBS symptoms any longer. Some people think my diet is crazy, but it really works for me and I don't feel deprived at all! My body thanks me by performing and looking better. Who could ask for anything more? :)

At any rate, about 3 months in, I made a change to increase my daily intake of fats to help power me through my day. This included cooking with coconut oil, eating avocados, drizzling olive oil on veggies (after they are cooked!), and eating nuts (almonds, walnuts, almond butter, and hazelnuts mostly). My nut consumption went from being fairly low - I treated them like a treat - to being an almost daily staple in my diet.

What began happening was strange...when I would eat too many nuts or too much almond butter I'd have stomach aches similar to how I felt when I used to eat grains: bloated, full, almost nauseous. I'd even get headaches sometimes. I'd often over eat nuts in the evening, and it made it difficult to sleep. I started to journal what I was eating and how I felt and noticed that it must be the DAMN NUTS!

I've never had a known allergy to nuts, but by consuming them almost daily, I could have been over-doing it and perhaps my body was telling me to cut it out. It's amazing what you can learn if you just listen to your body!

So, from now on, I'm kicking the "almond-coconut- sun-butter" habit and going to eat raw nuts sparingly. Maybe only 2-3 times per month as a treat. I will get my healthy fats from avocados, coconuts, olives, and their oils.

As I said about the purple band in a previous post: Almond butter and its evil cohorts coconut butter and sun butter are dead to me, DEAD TO ME!

Monday, April 5, 2010

2010 Fight for Air Climb for Nana

A few months ago, my grandmother Donna (or "Nana", as I call her) was diagnosed with lung cancer resulting from years of smoking. Nana, pictured below on the far left with my Aunt Jaimie, Papa Rex, Uncle Rex, and my mom at my Papa's 80th bday party earlier this year.

She had been undergoing radiation and chemotherapy for about 2 months and was responding to treatment. Then, about 2 weeks ago, she came down with pneumonia and a broken vertebrae, forcing her to have back surgery. Today Nana is recovering in a rehabilitation center, but cancer treatment has ceased until she is healthy enough to start it up again. It is an awful situation and I am tremendously saddened than my grandmother and my family are suffering. Especially since her disease could have been prevented if she would have stopped smoking sooner, or never started at all.

Lung disease isn't only caused by smoking (although smoking is the most prevalent and preventable cause).  You probably know someone who suffers from chronic lung disease. It could be a family member, a young child, a co-worker, a neighbor or maybe even you.

Here are some quick stats from the American Lung Association:
  • Asthma, emphysema, influenza, chronic bronchitis, and lung cancer are all forms of lung disease
  • Over 35 million Americans have some form of lung disease
  • Lung disease is the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the 4th leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • 1 in 7 Americans will die from lung disease
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths
  • Lung cancer kills more women each year than breast cancer
  • Over 20 million Americans suffer from asthma
  • Asthma is the #1 reason kids miss school
  • Over half of the population of the U.S. is breathing unhealthy levels of ozone and particle pollution
This is why education, research, advocacy, and clean air initiatives are so important!

On Saturday, May 15, I will join hundreds of Austinites (and some of my fellow CrossFitters) to raise funds for the American Lung Association and the fight against lung disease by participating in the Fight for Air Climb. This unique race will challenge me to climb 30 stories (60 flights) in a race to the top of the Frost Bank Tower in downtown Austin. It is a big challenge, but I know I can do it. Since I am doing this as a tribute to Nana, I've given myself a goal of a sub 10-minute time. She's a veteran and tough as nails, and if I can motivate her to keep that fightin' spirit by running my ass up that building, I'm happy to do it.

I have seen firsthand the damage done by lung disease and I am dedicated to raising awareness and living life smoke-free. I encourage everyone to do the same.

For more information on this event, to donate, or join my team, click here.