Tag Archives: health

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 …)

podium

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!

double-unders

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.

cfl1-staff

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!

post-workout

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.)

is-this-real-life

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.

anxiety-cat_o_179256

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:

34c927424a04601d11f0ba7709335094b362972b870612340f39b59e576c538a

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!

 

Meal Prep Monday: Chicken curry + coconut rice

Happy Monday! Our weather over the past week has been insane. It started out gorgeous on Tuesday and Wednesday, with over a foot of fresh powder:

img_4430

snow-2

And then it got ridiculously cold (like, negative degrees cold), then snowed some more, and then poured rain all weekend. The storm drains are all blocked up with snow so the roads have flooded on top of the packed snow/ice, so driving around town right now is like a real-life version of the winter level of MarioKart. I may start carrying a stash of banana peels around with me so I can throw them out the window in front of tailgaters.

let-it-snow-winter-cat-meme

Me on day one of the storm.

553295_459921600748554_1950320326_n

Me right now.

Anyway, on to this week’s Meal Prep Monday! If you’re new to meal prep, you can read about my meal prep method here.

This weather has me craving warm, rich comfort food, so for this week’s lunches I decided to prep coconut rice and chicken curry. The idea for this came from my coach, who told me she adds coconut milk to her rice to make it creamy and delicious and I was like YES I MUST TRY THIS.

To make the rice, I just replaced half the water with coconut milk and cooked it like usual. I co-hosted a baby shower on Sunday and knew I wouldn’t feel like coming home and slaving over homemade curry, so I kept it super simple and used this simmer sauce:

prod-ss-kc

I try not to eat too many jarred sauces because they tend to be really high in sugar and artificial ingredients, but the ingredient list for this isn’t too terrible: Onion, Water, Tomato, Tomato Puree, Coconut Cream, Tomato Paste, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Spices (Including Turmeric), Lemon Juice from Concentrate, Salt, Sugar, Garlic, Ginger, Gum Arabic, Xanthan Gum, and Carrageenan.

I just sauteed some onions,  mushrooms, and chicken in a little olive oil, then threw in this sauce once the chicken was cooked through and simmered it on low for 15 minutes. It tastes AMAZING with the rice – I’m super excited to eat it for lunch next week.

img_4475

Since I’ll be eating the same lunch throughout the week, dinners will have a bit more variety: I plan to make Pioneer Woman’s Sausage, Potato, and Kale soup (using turkey sausage) as well as PaleOMG’s slow cooker Barbacoa (which I will likely wind up throwing over the coconut rice since I’m not actually Paleo). Both of these make enough to provide ample leftovers, so I’ll be cooking a grand total of two days this week. Which means I can spend more time huddled in front of the wood stove trying not to freeze.

What are you prepping this week?

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.

meal-prep-memes-03-640x640

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.

img_4414

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

Back.png

(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:

pumpkin spice pudding.JPG

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.

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 7.15.21 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 7.15.42 AM

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 7.16.00 AM

12063589_10207756119600014_338229435242530723_n

(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.

broccoli

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.

Ice gif

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!

My First CrossFit Experience

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 7.26.44 PM

A new CrossFit box recently opened in Yreka, and my friend Jayne talked me into going with her  Saturday morning. Full disclosure: I avoided CrossFit for a long time because I was pretty afraid of dying/puking/somebody telling me I should stop eating cheese because CAVEMEN. (Calm down, Paleo fans: I’m sure your body is better than mine and you will outlive me by decades. I still choose Brie.)

The good news: I had a ton of fun, and nobody diet-shamed me. The bad news: I’m afraid to go back because I haven’t been able to lift my arms above waist level since Saturday. Seriously, I had to ask Dave to put my pajamas on me like a damn toddler on Saturday night.

Me, every time I move.

Me, every time I move.

I am happy to report that I’m already seeing some positive changes in my health. For example, I thought about drinking a beer Saturday night, but decided it wouldn’t be worth the effort to lift the bottle to my mouth. Maybe this is CrossFit’s secret to success: tiring the arm muscles to the point where they’re physically incapable of lifting anything heavier than a kale leaf.

heykale

Hey Ryan, you can start with my triceps.

All joking aside: I can’t wait to go back. I had no idea my upper body was so weak, and I’m determined to do something about it. I also wouldn’t be mad if my butt was a little more Beyonce and a little less Roseanne Barr. I know it can be a good thing to work through sore muscles, but at this point I feel like it might not be wise to lift heavy stuff when the act of fastening my bra feels like summiting Everest. Any CrossFit experts reading? Please advise in the comments.