fitness and nutrition, hustle

19:51

It’s not military time, it’s the finish time for my completed 19.2 CrossFit OPEN scaled workout.

I finished it.

It may seem simple but I battled to finish. I may have secretly wanted to finish but didn’t say it out loud. I was just hopeful to make it to the last of five rounds and do one rep. Well I ended up doing 82 reps in that round. Talk about exceeding your own expectations! A timed workout that expands as you level up. 4 minutes levels up to 8 minutes then 12 minutes and 16 minutes when you are firing on all cylinders. Then that’s when the SHIT gets real. From minutes 16-20 you have to be all in to finish. I never reached the end before in one of these challenge workouts but today I did. #goalgetter

I had an amazing judge/motivator, Damion from my box. He helped me chip away with manageable rep schemes and then pushed me when I didn’t think I could push anymore. My success did not come alone. I had a guide/lucky charm and his name was Damion.

I didn’t look pretty doing it either. Sweat was dripping. Facial expressions were horrific. There may have been some screams of agony. And I’m pretty sure everyone behind me saw straight through my pants in the rear end when I squatted low. No ripped pants but pretty sure I mooned or shared a little more than my panty lines with people unintentionally.

All that pacing mentioned above helped in the final stretch. I had a few minutes banked for my last squat cleans and I needed every second. My former one rep max was 125 pounds on a squat clean yet today I had to finish 7 of them at 135 while fatigued.

Seemed impossible but when you look up and hear your fellow box mates cheering you on you find a way to push through. 9 seconds left and I did it. I hit one of my most proudest gym moments.

Tired? Yes. Feeling accomplished? Yes. In shock? Yes. Many emotions but thankful for all the ups, downs and in-betweens the past few years as I have been training.

I may not be at the top of the OPEN leaderboard but I am on top of my personal leaderboard. I strive for improvement each day and each week. Today is a celebration of the time investment I have made in myself.

I am a thick girl but a strong girl. My mind is strong, my muscles are visible and my drive is uncompromised. I hope everyone can push themselves at their own level to feel the sense of accomplishment I did today. It’s hard to put into words. It’s a rush.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better I received texts and personal comments and high fives at the end and throughout the day. The feelings of accomplishment flowed continually that day. People noticing your efforts and expressing their praise is a big fat cherry on top for me. I am so thankful for my box and box mates.

This year I also attended Friday Night Lights at my box and what a rush that was. I got to cheer on many athletes as they endured their OPEN WODs and then there was a grand finale. I got to watch the amazing Alex Johnson absolutely smash his OPEN 19.2 Rx workout. It was amazing to watch his methods, his approach and his drive to finish. This guy is one to watch and I am lucky to share the same box as him to train.

Cheers to all who did 19.2 and all those who are stepping off the couch for the first time. It’s your race your way. Just do it.

I’ll be back with more OPEN updates next week as 19.3 is right around the corner.

fitness and nutrition

The Difference Between Simple and Easy

I hit another milestone number on the scale today.

Today I weigh the same as I did when I got married.  Just shy of seventeen years later.  I am sure my weight went straight up just after the wedding, and I haven’t seen this number since.

Is my body the same?  No. Pregnancy and many other things have happened since then, not to mention just a lot of time being very overweight which leaves its mark.  But I’m working on shaping this body into the best it can be right now.

This was also the weight I randomly put into myfitnesspal when I started tracking last year.  I had to choose something, and 185 seemed good enough.  I don’t really know if I ever thought I would get there. Goals are not my strong point.

This week I’ll think about a new number and other goals.  I’ll try to be more mindful about it. But in the mean time…a quick reflection on one thing I have noticed lately.

As I’ve gotten further into tracking, my eating has gotten simpler and simpler.  My shopping list has gotten shorter and shorter.

Basically, most weeks look like this:

-Chicken (lots – ground / boneless skinless breast / tenderloins / rotisserie)

-Lean ground beef

-Vegetables for roasting (butternut squash, brussels sprouts, broccoli, onion, etc.)

-Yogurt – low to no fat, high protein

-Creamer

-Lowfat Cheese

-Sparkling water

-Then, if I need to replenish: extra thin corn tortillas, garlic & seasoning, carbs like PopCorners or Captain Crunch (yes, you read that right!), Fairlife milk,  protein shakes Yasso bars, etc. These are more accessories than essentials.

Sunday morning meal prep starts with roasting a huge pan of vegetables (see above).  I make my Mike Nuggets for my whole week’s lunches. Then I make one or two other varieties of chicken – crock pot fajitas, Mason’s Naked Tenders (great for the girl who chronically overcooks chicken), etc.  I also cook some ground beef to season as needed.

Most dinners during the week are just measuring and assembling these building blocks.  Veggies, meat, maybe some cheese if it works with my numbers (although my numbers are pretty much the same each day when I get to dinner, unless I am super hungry in the afternoon and have half an ace bar.) Nothing too fancy.  If I go out I have Chick-fil-a or Zoe’s Kitchen or an omelet with veggies and wheat toast, butter on the side.  End of story, most of the time.

Is it simple?  Yes.

Is it easy? No.

Simple and easy are very different things, I’m realizing.  I used to think they were synonymous.

Simple is keeping the moving parts minimal.  Staying in a routine.  Welcoming boredom, even.  Leaving little room to think about it. Deciding to stick with the plan.

Easy is more about effort and choice, I think.  I still pack my same breakfasts and lunches every. single. day.  Simple.  But, it would be easy to hit the drive-thru on the way to work. It would be easy to indulge in the staggering amount of food – mostly fat and carbs – I am offered working at my school in a given week, and have to resist.  (Someday I will blog about that.)  It would be easy to take it slow on Sunday mornings instead of cranking up the oven and meal-prepping like mad. It would be easy to drive-thru (again) in one of the hundred restaurants I pass when I am hungry on my way home. It would be easy to grab a beer when I am stressed or frustrated or anxious. It would be easy to sleep in or skip the gym when I have it scheduled but I’m tired.

All these things are easy but, ultimately, they make life more complicated. They distract me from my goals.

Will doing what’s simple most of the time ever come easy?  I have to think so. I am getting closer to seeing food as fuel and not entertainment or comfort. The gym is hard for me to resist unless I simply cannot make it.  Still, I am not always successful at resisting what is easy.  Sometimes I give in and just do what’s right in front of me, even if it goes against what I am trying to accomplish in the long run.  But I am working on it. Until then, I’ll simply choose the harder path as often as I can.  And set a new goal to shoot for, so I can earn my confetti again.

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fitness and nutrition, Uncategorized

19.1 Got Me

 

Well this year the anticipation of 19.1 got me. Anxious, nervous, tummy all wound up in a ball. What are the movements going to be? The texts and chatter started early in the days approaching the launch of the CrossFit OPEN with close box friends. All while most in my life outside the box have no clue what the OPEN is!

Thursday arrives. I actually watch the release in French. It was weird but I watched it before seeing the English version. I thought about it and said, “well I can do those movements RX.” Small celebration that I wouldn’t be stalled at rep one on the first workout. Woo hooo.

Friday morning is here. I have the the nervous jitters. I am not sure why since I am just competing with myself but it’s still a competition within myself so the adrenaline is there for sure. Like I’m ready to start a new job or meet a new client.  Just the pregame jitters, I suppose.

I am such the sweatball at the gym on any given day (tmi). I think I’ve posted multiple times about sweating hearts but generally speaking, I sweat. That makes the decision of shorts or leggings super important on this WOD or I will roast myself in 15 minutes going hard. Shorts win. Booty shorts that show my jiggle rolls and thunder thighs. Oh well, I feel bad for those around me!

I’m at a new box this year so I don’t know what to expect from the OPEN at the box or how Friday Night Lights will work. Early in the morning, girls are in Heat 1, boys in Heat 2. I normally like to watch first but this year I said “here goes nothing” and saddled up.  “Just do what you can,” I told myself. One rep at a time.

214 reps and I was done. Into round 6, 19 wall balls and 5 calories on the row. It was near death at points and my face was definitely five new shades of red! Not too bad on the performance side, but I think I could have done better. The fatigue hits you quickly but the recovery is quick as well. I wasted a few seconds in the latter rounds getting chalk for my sweaty hands. That could have been the difference in a few more reps.

Now the decision is: do I redo 19.1 before Monday? Will I be recovered? Would my redo yield better results? Will I be mad if I fall short the second time around? So many questions, but no real answers. I have until Monday to decide. Tick tock…

I’m so impatient! It’s Sunday and some people are redoing the WOD so I jump in mid-afternoon. No real game plan just gonna do it again, go hard and try to beat my first showing. I have Damien pushing me this time around and he doesn’t let me up for air. He helps me break up my wall balls:  unbroken, 10/9, 7/7/5, 6/6/7, until the end when it was more like 5/4/4/3/2/1.

I desperately wanted to know if my pace was on track to beat my score but my scorer just told me to keep pushing. I ended up beating my score by a decent amount because he kept me at bay. Had I known I hit my goal of 228 in round 2 I would have eased up. I ended up at 257, blowing away my goal with a couple of minutes to spare. I’m pooped but I conquered. I also learned a lesson about pushing until the race is over. Don’t stop when you see the finish line.  Run straight through and catch your breath later.  If you compare the end result of first attempt and second I look equally pitiful (see pics below). #spent #redface  19.1 is in the books for this girl. 4-7 never felt so good. Determined to be a better version of me each day as I compete in life. So glad I pushed on to try a second attempt.  #hwpo

As I was reflecting on my 19.1 blog post, I figured I would write a quick post about my why.  Why do I write about fitness or my health journey or all the time in the gym?  The answer is complex yet simple.  One person reading this can be inspired.  One person could get off the couch and get moving because they feel like they can do it, too.  One person can make a difference.  I know this because my storytelling has impacted others.  If you read this blog and give me an eye roll for another fit story, I challenge you to think about what you did today or this week.  My hard work pays off in dividends throughout the many areas of my life.  My story matters and so does yours.  Start living your story!

Until 19.2 peeps…

Photo creds for my clean, crisp shots go to the one and only Milagros. More to follow as she captures my moments this year in the OPEN.  Follow her (and us!) on Instagram.

fitness and nutrition, hustle

What’s Around the Corner?

My birthday for starters! Just a few more days and I’m officially the big 4-7! I should be older and wiser but I feel younger and bulletproof on most days. It’s ironic that I feel my best years are in front of me for so many reasons.

I’m not expecting any big birthday gifts as that is not what my day, week or month is about. It’s about celebrating where I am now, what my life experiences have been about, and what’s around the corner.

What’s around the corner is the best part. It’s a surprise! It’s like a new gift each day, each week. You make the adventure. You are the key ingredient. Just you!

I will be starting my birthday week the same way I have for the past three years. In the OPEN. The Crossfit OPEN.

This is an adventure in itself. I get to pull the measuring stick out to see how my fitness measures up those around the world in my age category. Some workouts I may lift more, while others I get the reality confirmation that I need to put more work in to master a skill.

Body weight movements are harder for me than loading up a bar and pushing. Running I can tolerate but it’s not my best performance. The OPEN is designed with diversity and depth in mind. Workouts are challenging and designed to test limits. Sometimes you are stalled at rep one. Do you fight for that one rep or do you quit? That’s a mental game. Maybe it’s balls to a target and your legs are burnt out. Can you push through fatigue? These are just a few examples of the OPEN. Mental and physical challenges. Can you endure? What a test that can be applied to so many life situations. Can you endure all that life throws at you? Can you push through the fatigue? Do you have the mental strength to level up in life?

Why the OPEN? For me, it’s a great health check. One, can I do it? Two, am I improving each year? Three, it’s part of my story. This list could go on and on. The point is, the OPEN is here and I have trained six days a week for the chance to participate. I have focused on my training and my eating to make my body ready to perform the best it can. I won’t be at the top of the leaderboard but I will be at the top of my game for this fabulous 4-7 year old mom. Thick thighs, sharp mind and positive attitude in tow. A bonus this year is that I get to experience the OPEN with oldest son, building upon the value of the event. He has snubbed CrossFit for years but finally took the plunge last November and hasn’t looked back.

I am also grateful to compete in the open with some fabulous fabulous ladies at my gym. Some are new this year while others been around a while. We have been practicing extra weights and trying to perfect movements and challenge ourselves. It’s been a fun road to the OPEN with my girls. Some are even just getting the confidence to compete and check their progress because it’s scary to hold yourself accountable. But, we build each other up. We cheer for each other. We push each other. We celebrate the successes and we laugh at the failures or roadblocks. It happens just like life happens. And sometimes we say “but did you die?” If you can answer, then you endured.

Making memories is easy. Living large is fun. Conquering the unknown or unexpected is my fuel to life. I am harnessing my self power this week, this year and I am cataloging most of it in this blog and the rest will be unveiled in a book project that is underway.

What do you want to be known for? I want to be known for my individuality, my kind spirit, my smile, my ability to empower others and my perseverance. I try to live and breathe this mantra daily. This is why my best years are ahead of me. I know me and I show me to others. Nobody defines me. Nobody decides for me. Just me!

Stay tuned, people. It’s OPEN season. There will soon be some pics posted as a visual representation of my efforts. Let’s see how I measure up to myself this year and compare to years past.

The OPEN is public information. Follow along if you are curious. People compete in the OPEN worldwide. If you are reading this, invest in yourself and compete this year. Not a CrossFitter? Not an excuse. Follow the OPEN online and scale a workout to get yourself started. A walk. Some sit-ups. A pushup challenge. A bike distance over five weeks. Get up and get moving. You can give me a virtual birthday gift this year by starting a journey to a fitter version of you.

Celebrate the OPEN your way. A fit life is a fabulous life, I promise.

As a closing note, the significance of the lone picture above in this post has so many hidden meanings. One, my coach Alex took it mid-workout. He captured my strength in a way I never see it. All the way down to my breathing. He caught me in a mind battle with myself: should I drop the weight in round 5, or should I suck it up and forge ahead? I was finishing last in this workout not by design but it does turn out as a testimony to one of my recent blogs about finishing last.

I was last because I challenged myself to lift a 53-pound kettle bell 120 times over my head. I had never used a #53 in a workout, let alone for 120 reps. The list could go on but the moral of the story is I did it. I conquered this movement and the other movements as well. 44 minutes later but I did it and I had fellow gym-mates supporting me along the way. One of the big benefits of CrossFitting is the community. Check out the pic below so you can see what my six rounds looked like. Thanks to coach Alex for the inspiration and push that Saturday.

 

fitness and nutrition, perspective

Challenge Myself to be Last!

So this morning my workout buddy “JB” challenged me to be last. What does that mean? I strive to be first (or top five at least) every time out of the gate even if it’s not really attainable. I have the top of the pack mindset in most every task I take on.

He said push yourself! If you are finishing too quickly every time you are not pushing yourself. Challenge yourself to be last all of 2019. More weight. Harder movements. No sandbagging.

Challenge accepted, my friend. No excuses. Put up or shut up. Enough said. I’m a take action kind of girl so I will accept the task at hand. In return expect to hear the Mouth of the South pushing you back. Out of affection, of course.

Anyone else want to finish last with me? It’s the new first place because I’m challenging myself to go harder.

Short but sweet Monday motivation for you! Everyone needs a JB in their life to notice when you are coasting. Complacency can get the best of anyone at anytime. It will sneak up on you. But guess what? If you have a good support system around you, personally and professionally, you will be one of the few who keeps forging ahead. When you find the JB in your life, cherish it. Embrace the uncomfortable feeling that person gives you.

Then pass it on. If you are lucky enough to have the person to push you, push another. Maybe not off the ledge, but give a motivational push. Today. Tomorrow. And the next day.

That person may hear you but not react on the first occasion. It may take more than once. It may even take 6-12 months. Trust me I know somebody in that category who is slaying it today and passing on the motivation now but never really saw themselves as having that power.

Everyone has the power to positively impact others. It’s Monday peeps. Slay all day.

As a closing thought, cheer on my buddy JB with a like or a comment on the post. He is one-of-a-kind. A funny character. A motivator. A friend. A good hubby to his beautiful wife. A great mortgage banker and a hell of a work out buddy. From thick to thinner, he has been part of my story and will continue to be as long as he rises at 6:30am on the daily. Check out our Instagram for a quick video of JB’s personality when he was “pushing” me to work on my pullups last year. He got a boob job and all! JB’s pushing me to FINISH LAST put him at the TOP of my MONDAY MOTIVATION list. Give him a like or a comment so he feels the love worldwide. #BurchieMonday #AllDayTodayOnly

fitness and nutrition

Grinding Out the Meters (and Dancing)

You wake up on Saturday, and see a workout like this:

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500+ meter run

25 alternating dumbbell snatch (so 50, really…)

25 calorie row

2,500 meter bike

30 alternating dumbbell snatch (yup, 60…)

30 calorie row

3,000 meter bike

35 alternating dumbbell snatch (you guessed it, 70…sigh…)

35 calorie row

3,500 meter bike

10 heavy ball over shoulder

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What do you do?  Some people get up and do it anyway.  Some people just stay home.

There are definitely days when I don’t feel like doing it, but I do it anyway and find my groove as I go along.  I am off my game if I don’t get there.

I will say, though, that I didn’t dread this workout too too much. Most of it is bike, and bike is my jam. I’m better at sprints than long distance, but I can still push through long meters pretty well.  It is not a slog, as it is for many.  Just like there are people who fly through burpees or running, when I am just trying to keep moving, slow as I am. Ever since I met the bike, we get along (most days).

This Saturday we added some classic tunes, and next thing you know I am dancing from the waist up as my screaming quads continued to grind it out. One of the amazing people at our box snapped a pic and some video. (Check out and follow our instagram feed for the video, posting soon!)

I debated on posting this picture.  It maybe isn’t the most flattering look, since it shows what I call my “flotation device” (stubborn belly flab).  My negative inner voice even wondered why I still look like a before picture when I’ve been working on health, fitness, and nutrition for years now.

But then I thought, this shows me being healthy, silly, and energetic.  And considering I was in a room with about 40 people I am still getting to know, I’m glad I felt that free, both with all of them and within myself.  That’s progress. Sharing it with you, flab and all, is even more so.

So, I ask you, in the middle of the grind, what makes you dance?  What makes you strong?  What makes you move? What makes you push yourself?

What makes you free?

Embrace the path you’re riding down, and the people you choose to share it with.

fitness and nutrition

Strengthening My Patience Muscles

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I’ve had a setback.  An injury.  My lower back flared up on Sunday. I was just sitting in a chair and turned the wrong way, I suppose.

It is the same area where I’ve had pain before.  I dropped everything and laid down.  Heat, cold, Advil, rest, rest, repeat.

I know tons of people think CrossFit is dangerous.  But, in case you are tempted to comment with an “I told you so,” I’ll just point out that it is much more dangerous to be sedentary.  My form could always be better, no matter how hard my coaches work to improve me.  Perhaps I’ve gotten overconfident while trying to increase my weights.  I still stay away from barbells for the most part, but I have been pushing myself on dumbbells.  Who knows.  I am still learning.

If you speak to even the fittest people at my gym, many have injury stories.  That may be just athletes in general.  It’s part of the process.  Of having a body.

So, I’m back to basics.  Just walking.  Trying to move.  I made it to the gym once to get on the air runner (to walk) and rode some meters on the bike erg.  It was good to see people even though I couldn’t do the workout. But for the most part I am just walking at the park, solo. I have to say, it’s pretty boring and hard to find motivation to cover any serious distance.  I miss the box. Some of the joy is in the camaraderie. It’s hard to believe I used to do this kind of solo walk / running every day.  I can’t imagine that now, although a fair amount of solo exercise is in my near future.

It is very hard to be patient. My patience muscles are some of my weakest. It’s especially challenging to wait on an injury you can’t see. No timeline. No visible progress. Just waiting.

I’ll be core strengthening and stretching more, too.  Again, weak muscles. A different kind of discipline.

So, for now, I’m bundling up. Putting one foot in front of the other. Up a hill and down then up again.