Tag Archives: fitness

CrossFit competition results and my Level 1 experience

The last time I blogged, I was freaking out about my upcoming CrossFit competition. I’m happy to report that I didn’t get made into a gym fail meme! (That I know of …)

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I wound up taking second place in the competition, which I was super happy with. However, I really need to learn to control my competition nerves – the first event was to establish a max for a snatch complex, and in the video my friend took you can totally see my arms shaking! It was super frustrating to know that I could have gotten at least 10 lbs more on my lift if my arms weren’t wobbling around like limp noodles. If you have any suggestions for me, I’ll gladly accept them!

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The WOD that destroyed my soul – wall balls and unbroken double unders.

In other news, I’m officially a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer! In order to coach at a CrossFit affiliate,  you have to attend a two-day seminar and pass a test at the end of it every five years. My coaches were due to re-take the seminar, and they were generous enough to sponsor myself and a fellow athlete to come with them! We all had a ton of fun and learned a lot. We had a bit of a “holy shit” moment when we walked in and realized that one of our seminar staff members was Adrian “Boz” Bozman, the head judge of the CrossFit games.

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Our gym crew with the Level 1 Seminar Staff

The two days were split up into lectures and breakout sessions, during which we practiced the nine foundational movements and got feedback on our form from the seminar staff <– This was the highlight of the weekend for me, and I came home with plenty of things to work on. (Oh, and Boz totally complimented my ring dips, NBD.) We also did a big group workout together each day, which was a lot of fun. Participants ranged from longtime coaches to beginners – one couple taking the seminar had only been doing CrossFit for a week!

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The CrossFit Northern Limits gang post-WOD on Day 1 – thrusters and burpees! My least and most favorite movements.

At the end of the first day, the staff brought in beer and invited the participants to stick around and chat with them. And THIS is what I love so much about CrossFit – even the most elite athletes are super humble and friendly. They have more power in one ab than I have in my whole body, but they are so nice that I wasn’t afraid to go up to them and ask questions, or in the case of Pat Barber, tell him he is Charlie Day’s doppelganger. (OK, that one was the product of drinking a beer right after finishing a workout.)

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Me, every time one of the staff members talked to me.

The weekend concluded with an exam. I had heard from past participants that the exam was easy, but that wasn’t my experience at all (and I’m a good test taker). I would HIGHLY recommend reading the study guide they send you when you sign up, as a lot of the answers weren’t actually covered during the seminar. Our staff didn’t really make it obvious what would/wouldn’t appear on the test, and though it made the test a bit tougher I think it’s better to make sure people know all the material instead of just paying attention to what they think they’ll be held accountable for knowing.

ANYWAY, we had to wait a week to receive our results and I kept having nightmares that I failed and had to stand up in front of all of our gym members and tell them I didn’t pass. (Anxiety! It’s fun!) Last Friday, I got the email telling me that I passed, which means I spent a week freaking out about nothing. Which is basically how I spend 90% of my life, so yeah.

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As for what’s next, I’m going to shadow my coaches for the next six weeks, and then  transition into coaching classes on my own. And here’s what that will look like:

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Seriously though, I’m so excited for this next chapter in my fitness journey. If you have questions about my Level 1 experience, feel free to ask!

 

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Meal Prep Monday: Slow cooker turkey chili and jalapeno honey cornbread muffins

Good morning! I’m still in my pajamas enjoying my coffee, as I have the day off for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. I spent some time this morning reading his letter from Birmingham jail. It took me a while, since I had to stop every 30 seconds to scream into a pillow. How are we still fighting these same issues over 50 years later? I don’t know about you, but for me January 20 is going to involve sweat pants, beer, and ugly crying.

Actually, it WON’T involve beer because I have a CrossFit competition the next day and I’d like to minimize the chances of me throwing up in front of a crowd. (<– Please admire my not-at-all-subtle subject changing skills.) I’m pretty nervous, since it’s only my second individual competition – I usually do them with a partner, which is way less scary to me. It’s also my first “RX” division competition. (Most CrossFit competitions have two divisions: scaled and RX. The RX division involves heavier weight loads and more advanced movements like handstand push ups, toes to bar, chest to bar pull ups, and whatever other evil movements the event planners can think of!) I just keep reminding myself that the worst that can happen is that all the other people finish before me and then everyone in the building stares at me while I struggle to complete the workout and then a few days later I find out that somebody was taking video and now I’m a sad gym fail meme.

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Welcome to my mind. It’s terrible here.

Anyway, I’ve been pretty good about keeping my nutrition dialed in since Christmas, although I did eat a slab of German chocolate cake the size of my head at a birthday celebration at work on Friday. It tasted really good, but I spent the rest of the day wanting to unzip my pants and take a nap under my desk, which wasn’t the greatest.

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For my meal prep this week I made a huge batch of this slow cooker turkey chili. It’s really good topped with plain Greek yogurt and a little cheese,  but you could also roll it up in tortillas with some avocado to make tacos or burritos, plop it on top of a bowl of greens and eat it as a salad, or even use it to make stuffed peppers.

And since chili is basically useless if you don’t eat it with cornbread, I made some cornbread muffins to go with it. I was going to use a box mix until I looked at the macros and HOLY SUGAR, that shit is not great for you. I made them myself instead, using Greek yogurt and decreasing the amount of oil. I also added finely diced jalapenos to the batter, and these babies are SO good eaten warm with a little butter and raw honey.Here’s the recipe for those:

Greek Yogurt Jalapeno Honey Corn Bread Muffins
Ingredients:
1 egg
8 oz plain Greek yogurt (I used Fage 2%)
1/2 cup milk
3T oil
1T raw honey
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 large jalapeno, seeded and finely diced

Method:
Preheat oven to 425.

Mix together wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients, then add to the wet. Whisk until just combined. Add the jalapeno.

Grease a muffin tin, and fill the cups 3/4 full with the batter. (I wanted my muffins a little larger, so I only got 11). Bake for 12-14 minutes – you’ll know they’re done when the tops begin to brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

They’re SUPER tasty, and the calories/macros are WAY better than the boxed stuff:

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Of course, the macros will vary slightly depending on the brands you use!

Stop what you’re doing and make them right now!

 

Meal Prep Monday!

I put all my Christmas decorations away yesterday and now my house looks so sad and boring. But do you know what is NOT sad and boring? Meal prep! OK it’s kind of boring but it will definitely make you happy to have delicious and healthy food at your fingertips every time you get hungry during the week.

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LIES! You totally got time fo that.

Meal prep has 100% changed my nutrition game. I didn’t start to see real changes in my body until I started paying more attention to my food, and the only way I’m able to stay on track with my nutrition is to take some time on the weekend to prep healthy meals for the week ahead. I’ve been thinking of starting a Meal Prep Monday feature where I tell you what I’ve prepped for the week, and I figure the new year is probably a good time to finally kick it off! I love getting new meal ideas from bloggers so I don’t get bored, so hopefully this will help you think of some different ideas to try.

I should note that I subscribe to what I call a “flexible meal prep” philosophy. Some people find it easier to prep and eat the same meals/snacks every day of the week. If I ate the same meal every day I would go crazy by day 2, so what I like to do is make a big batch of a healthy protein and/or carbs on Sundays and use it in a bunch of different meals throughout the week. Sometimes I do chicken and sweet potatoes, other weeks I’ll do ground beef and rice, etc.

If you’re new to food prepping and are feeling lost, here’s a bit about my method: I do my grocery shopping on Saturdays and my prep on Sundays. On Friday evenings, I sit down and make my shopping list for the next week. My first step is figuring out what I want to prep for lunches for the week. I work full time, so it has to be something that’s easily re-heatable and also portable in case I have to take it to work with me. Then I take the extra step of entering my lunches into MyFitnessPal for the next week. After that, I add my breakfasts to MyFitnessPal. I basically alternate between three breakfasts (protein pancakes, oatmeal with egg whites, and Kodiak Cakes with eggs), so this step is really easy.

After that’s done, I’m able to look at my macros for each day and see what I’m short on so I can plan for dinners. This sometimes involves what I call “Macro Tetris.” If I’m high on carbs one day, maybe I’ll switch my breakfast from oatmeal to protein pancakes. Or maybe I’ll plan a dinner of chicken thighs and veggies. If I’m low on carbs, I’ll plan a dinner that involves rice or pasta. It sounds high maintenance, but once you do it for a few weeks it really takes no time at all. The key is to find a lineup of recipes you love, and then cycle through them so you never get bored.

If you’re just getting started and all that is giving you a panic attack, then just start by prepping some healthy food on Sundays so that you don’t find yourself in the McDonald’s drive through at lunchtime or after work.

One of the easiest things to prep is chicken. If you have a slow cooker, just dump some chicken breasts in there with salt/pepper and a little bit of water or chicken stock (or salsa if you’re feeling fancy!) and let it go for 6 hours or so until you can shred it. Then you have a giant pile of chicken you can use for so many things throughout the week. Here are some of my faves:

Chicken burrito bowls
I start with cauliflower rice/crumbles (available in most grocery stores, including Walmart), then top with chicken, avocado, onion, plain Greek yogurt, cherry tomatoes, salsa, and sometimes cheese if I have enough fats 🙂 I’ll usually dump whatever greens I have in my fridge on top as well!

Healthy chicken salad

Avocado chicken salad
Mix shredded chicken with 1/2 an avocado and season with salt and pepper. I’ll eat this as a sandwich on whole wheat bread, or roll it up in a FlatOut wrap.

Another thing I like to prep are snacks. Sometimes I’ll hard boil a dozen eggs to have on hand, or just pre-portion Greek yogurt so I can grab it and go. It doesn’t have to be hard!

For lunches this week, I made a double batch of Juli Bauer’s Pizza Spaghetti Pie.

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You guys, this recipe is SO AMAZING. I know I said I get bored eating the same thing multiple days in a row, but this is one recipe I look forward to eating for multiple days. I modify the recipe just a tad by adding mushrooms to the sausage and onion, and sprinkling a little Parmesan on top for the last 15 minutes of baking. It’s one of those recipes that seems to get even tastier re-heated, making it a perfect make-ahead meal.

Do you have any favorite food prep meals/recipe? Let me know!

Oh hey there

I’ve had the last four days off of work and it has been glorious. We were supposed to go to the coast, but shit happened and instead I spent 96 hours hanging around my house doing WHATEVER I WANTED. Sleep in until 8 a.m.? Sure! Re-watch Grey’s Anatomy (the good seasons) for the nine thousandth time? Come here to me, Mark Sloan. Mid-morning ceramics painting? YES PLEASE.

ceramics

Via Instagram

This super cute ceramics painting place opened in town recently, and I finally got around to going a few weeks ago. Naturally, I am now totally obsessed and want to paint all the things. It reminds me of when I discovered paint by numbers in third grade and realized I had finally found an artistic outlet for people with zero talent. This is basically the same thing – I just Google mugs I like and then painstakingly copy them down to the last detail. (SPOILER ALERT everybody I know is getting mugs for Christmas.)

Anyway, in between ceramics and Grey’s Anatomy, I did a lot of catching up on blogs and realized I kind of miss blogging … Out of curiosity I looked back at my last post, and it was back when I first started to count macros so I figured I’d give a little update on that.

It’s been 8 months (!) since I started my macro-based nutrition plan, and I still love it. It’s been super easy to stick to, probably because I get to eat a ton of food and it doesn’t require cutting out certain foods or drinking special shakes or anything like that. Every Saturday I make a meal plan/grocery list, then enter my meals for the coming week into MyFitnessPal (I start with dinners and then adjust my breakfasts and lunches accordingly to meet my daily macro/calorie goals). Then it’s as easy as just eating what’s already programmed in my app every day. Of course stuff comes up (or I just feel like having two beers and a cheeseburger for dinner), and when that happens I just get back on track the next day. I’ve only lost like 8 lbs since February, but I can see a huge difference in my muscle tone:

before-and-after-abs

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(I should also note that I’m still doing CrossFit 5-6 times per week.) If you’re interested in learning more about counting macros, let me know in the comments and I can post about tips and tricks that I use to make it really easy to stick to my plan. I’ll leave you with a little 100-calorie snack I made up today because I was craving something pumpkin-spicey:

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Pumpkin Spice Pudding

Mix the following together:
4 oz plain Greek yogurt (I used nonfat Fage)
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp pure maple syrup
Pinch of pumpkin pie spice
Optional: pinch of stevia (makes it extra sweet!)

Nutritional info: 102 cals/13g carbs/0g fat/13g protein

Life Update

Lots has happened since I last blogged! First of all, I went temporarily insane and signed up for a CrossFit competition. It’s scaled for newbies, but still. I am going to be working out in front of people. For a score. Luckily, I’ve been training hard and am super confident!

Hahahahaha! Just kidding. I mean yes, I’ve been training hard, but this is waaaay outside my comfort zone and every time I think about the competition I do this:

Dee Reynolds

We just got back from a week in Hawaii where I spent most of my time hunkered down in front of a mai tai instead of working out, so that probably won’t help my performance at the competition. Unless there is a “drinking mai tais for time” event, in which case everybody else can step aside because I WILL WIN THAT COMPETITION SO HARD.

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(The fact that it’s 60 degrees in my house as I post these is especially gutting.)

My parents moved to Hawaii in March, so they had the skinny on all the awesome foods we needed to try. This included malasadas (fried dough balls stuffed with flavored custard) as well as Spam pizza. Then when we got home we went to a birthday party for Dave’s dad, where I was suckered into trying deep fried Doritos pockets stuffed with jalapeno cheese. Does it GET more American than deep-fried-cheese-stuffed Doritos? I was waiting for a bald eagle to swoop in and claw it out of my hands while I was eating it. Anyway, after all that all I want to eat right now is chicken breast and broccoli. So much broccoli. How a vegetable that smells like farts marinated in Satan’s tears while it’s cooking can taste so good is one of life’s greatest mysteries.

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What else … I’ve got my Halloween costume under control several days before Halloween, which is a huge accomplishment for me. I found this cute tutorial for a DIY strawberry costume and had to make it. My white puff paint “seeds” look a little like bird shit, but in my defense I was making them while watching Hocus Pocus and I DARE you to not be distracted while watching this cinematic masterpiece.

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Next year, I’m dressing up as Ice.

We also managed to squeeze in a visit to the pumpkin patch on Sunday, which I was excited about. It doesn’t feel like fall until I’ve ruined a cute outfit by traipsing through a field and carrying a filthy pumpkin to the car.

Carrying cute babies is way more fun than carrying dirty gourds.

Carrying cute babies is way more fun than carrying dirty gourds.

So that’s about it … if anybody has tips for dealing with crippling self doubt when it comes to fitness competitions, I’d love to hear them.

Thoughts On My First Month of CrossFit

I just realized I haven’t posted since I wrote about my first CrossFit experience, so I figured I’d check in and let everyone know that no, I didn’t get trapped under a barbell and die. Although I’ve wished that would happen lots of times over the last month, particularly the day I learned how to do man makers.

Me, after every class.

Me, after every class.

I have lots of feels about my experience so far, so I’ve decided to arrange them in a neat little list. If you’re on the fence about trying CrossFit, maybe this post will help you decide to go for it! Or if you’re a normal person who enjoys being able to sit on the toilet without crying after a workout, it might make you run away screaming. Anyway, here are my thoughts after completing my first month:

  1. It Doesn’t Get Easier. My coach likes to say, “It doesn’t get easier: You get better.” At first I didn’t believe her, but I think she might be right. I can now do five tricep pushups instead of zero, so I guess I’m getting better, but I still feel like I’m going to lose control of my bowels and crap out all of my internal organs at any minute, so it’s definitely not getting easier.giphy3
  2. I want to talk about CrossFit all the time. I didn’t think I would become the person who talks about CrossFit constantly, but lo, HERE WE ARE. I don’t really feel bad about it though: If I have to sit through stories about your kids, you can damn well settle in and listen to me weave a yarn about back squats. I’m sure it annoys some people, but whatever. I’ve got my PRs to keep me warm.giphy
  3. I’m getting better about comparing myself to other people. Most CrossFitters lift like three times what I do, and it’s easy to be like, “Uggghh why am I so terrible?” I’m getting better at reminding myself that a) they have worked really hard for a long time to get where they are, and b) their asses are getting kicked just as much as mine is (see number 1). EXCEPTION: It’s OK to get annoyed when children under 12 show up to class and still lift more than you. RESPECT THE EGOS OF YOUR ELDERS, KIDS. YnHKYzh
  4. I have better body image. I’ve always been really self-conscious of my body. I still remember the first time somebody called me chubby, and I think I was in junior high when I went on my first “diet.” When I lost 30-ish pounds several years ago, I got lots of comments about how much better I looked. But instead of making me feel good, those comments made me afraid of gaining it back and becoming “unattractive” again. Not surprisingly, my pre-CrossFit fitness goals revolved around looks: smaller thighs. A firm butt. Arms that appear to be chiseled by the Goddess Jillian Michaels herself. SPOILER ALERT: Those things did not happen. I did, however, succeed at making myself feel like a total failure. Since I started CrossFitting, my former goals have been replaced with: lift heavier. Run faster. Do a damn pull up OH MY GOD WHY ARE PULL UPS SO HARD. I’m not sure when or why that priority shift occurred, but I suspect it’s  because I spend so much energy on my workouts that I don’t have any fuel left in the tank for giving a shit about whether my jeans make my legs look fat.

    It also helps to do this before leaving the house.

    It also helps to do this before leaving the house.

  5. I’m facing my fears. Two weeks ago, I was so afraid of box jumps that I scaled them to step-ups every time they came up in a workout. Tuesday night, I decided that enough was enough, and forced myself to just do them. I wound up doing about 50. And that’s my favorite thing about CrossFit so far: With every workout I get a little bit better at silencing the voice inside my head saying, “You can’t do this.” Most of the time this means just getting on with the workout before I have time to psych myself out.
    Box Jumps

    Thank you Jean Smith for taking this picture and not laughing at my rapidly windmilling arms.

    All that to say: I really love CrossFit, and finally feel like I’ve found my exercise niche. I actually took 1 month progress pics that I had planned to share here, but now I’m chickening out about posting photos of myself in a sports bra on the internets. It might need to wait until I have a six-pack, at which point I’ll basically stop wearing clothes and it won’t seem like such a big deal.

If you live in the Siskiyou County area and want to try CrossFit, or if you’re a CrossFitter visiting Northern California/Southern Oregon and want to drop in on a class, I highly recommend that you check out CrossFit Northern Limits. They’re the best!

Back in the swing of things

Thanks to a work training and a quick trip to visit my family, I’ve spent one night in my own bed in the past week. This morning it felt SO GOOD to wake up and get back to my normal routine. (Coffee. Blogs. Work. Exercise. Sleep. Repeat.) My training was held at a casino in Reno, so basically my nights from Tuesday-Friday looked like this: tumblr_lzpm6hmfkx1rpq0uwo1_500_zps8ebddcf2 Just kidding! I was in bed by 9 every night and the only thing I was grinding on was the world’s biggest piece of New York style cheesecake, which I discovered at one of the casino’s coffee shops:

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That big boy lasted through three nights of Forensic Files marathoning. MUCH WILD. VERY PARTY.

We had a lot of downtime in the evenings, and one night I decided to go swimsuit shopping at a nearby mall. NOTE TO SELF: scrutinizing your thighs under fluorescent lighting after eating 5,000 calories worth of cheesecake is not a good idea. And speaking of scrutinizing thighs, I watched my brother compete in his first fitness competition on Saturday night:

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Apparently that’s what 4% bodyfat looks like. I’m depressed, pass the cheesecake.

He competed in the physique division, and I’m not totally sure what that means aside from the fact that he got to wear board shorts. This was great news, since I can’t imagine anything more uncomfortable than sitting next to my parents and grandma while watching my little brother flex his muscles in a bedazzled scrote tote. I spent most of the bodybuilding portion worrying that somebody was either going to poop their pants and/or have an aneurysm from the sheer force of their flexing, and the highlight of the bikini competition was my grandma shouting, “How does she even stand up?” when a contestant with particularly large implants took the stage. my-reaction-when-I-get-into-an-argument-with-women-homer-simpson-hide-in-bush-disappears Anyway, I’m pretty much in awe of his dedication – he worked out six days a week and basically ate chicken, egg whites and vegetables for the last five months in order to look like that. I was starting to question whether we’re actually related, but when we met up after the show he said that all he wanted to do was drink a beer and eat a really big burger. We may have also driven to two grocery stores at midnight to find some ice cream. That sounds about right. The rest of the weekend was spent visiting with my parents, whom I haven’t seen since they moved to Hawaii back in March. It was awesome to spend some time with my mom on Mother’s Day, even though she’s a jerk and texts me pictures like this all the time while I’m at work: 11182185_10206379527706077_9014370125745713902_n Rude, right? It’s a good thing I love her, or I’d be irritated 🙂 HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, MOM!