featured, fitness and nutrition

Squad Goals

It’s Saturday, the week before the competition. One week until the big day. I already worked out at 8:00 am but I am back at the box for a Squad Games team practice at 3:30 pm. Practice makes perfect (or it is needed) so that we can work together as a team since this is, in fact, a team event. But let’s just say my legs are screaming at me (due to soreness).

What is so great about this squad? It is made up of some amazing people and folks that I am happy to call friends. Our team name is “All Jacked Up” which you can read into  for multiple meanings but for me we are each jacked up in our own way. Different backgrounds, different careers, different lifestyles, but one common passion: CrossFit. We are not set to win per se but we set out to compete to win. Is there a difference? Yes. All-male teams can dominate some workouts and coed teams can compete but most likely can’t put up the numbers needed on the top of of the leaderboard. All-female teams would likely struggle a bit more in this area as well but they show up and compete for their own personal best performances as did we.

I was going to introduce each squad member in detail here with how much each person means to me but instead I am opting for the condensed version. Drumroll for Chris our fearless leader, but on completion day he is a little under the weather, fighting off a cold. He is still going to give it his all because I know he doesn’t give anything less than 100%. He should get props for still competing!

Then we have Lisa, who threw out her shoulder doing split jerks the other day and the doctor didn’t release her to compete. This means I have an IOU on the table to compete with her sometime in 2019. What a let down for her but we found a fill-in at the last hour.  Enter Nick who already had a 5k to run at 8:00 am across town, but don’t worry he will just jump in when he gets there. Yup: 10:30am arrival after his 5k and ready to put in work.

Then we have Sarah and David who are both long standing buds in the 6:30 am time slot I workout in. Both are nervous in their own way but they will crush their movements and be great teammates.

It appears we are all jacked up in our own way as we enter the competition. The name we chose a while back couldn’t be more fitting. As I mentally prepare for the games at the wee hour of 4:00 am I am jotting down these notes so this is as raw as it gets.

T-shirts are in for the Squad. Carpool is all lined up. Everyone is nursing their pre-comp jitters or sore muscles. Snack prep is happening for some. Let the countdown begin…

12/8/18 Squad Games

It began with the packing of the bag and a good night’s sleep with an alarm set to meet for carpool.

The weather was cold and rainy in the early hours of the day and I woke to darkness outside. My nerves were at bay but my energy spark hasn’t hit yet. Time to rev that engine and get those muscles ready to go go go.

A long hour drive happens. Sign in and then off to another table to get the floater WOD assignment. Workouts are firm for 11:00 am, 1:00 pm and 2:40 pm. Lots of waiting and time to mentally prepare and bond with the team and meet lots of new faces from around the area. Did I mention lots of potty breaks, too?

WOD 1 has a Part A and Part B back-to-back. First flub-up on this was my weights. Somebody put the wrong weight on one side of my bar when we were climbing. I was lopsided overhead with about 105 lbs on one side and 95 lbs on the other. Definitely not a good moment overhead, but a teammate picked up my share while we fixed the issue. We finished a notable 5th in both these rounds which was pretty good.

Next WOD was the floater WOD and the judge gave us the wrong weights so we had to shift our game plan on the fly to adjust to the higher weight. David’s shoe fell off during the sprints and we fumbled a little on double unders. We came in about 9th this round I think despite the flub-ups. I guess the point I am sharing is nothing goes as planned and you need to adjust on the fly and work it out as best you can. This is one of those aha moments that you realize this can easily crossover into life…you don’t need to be perfect all the time, just try your best all the time and results will follow.

The last WOD was running behind so our muscles where starting to get fatigued and this workout was a doozie. It had compounding burpees each set. 5-10-15-30-25-30 and of course I am thinking “I am going to die” as burpees are my worst movement by far and these are synchronized burpees so my whole team has to wait on me. Holy cow! And that didn’t even count the 12 grueling calories on the death bike, or the 10-15 overhead lunges assigned to me that took place each round either. Holy leg burner at the end of a long day. 5 burpees was easy enough. 10 was a short chipper. 15 was taxing. 20 was a lot of self talk one by one. 20 was: damn we really have another round! 25 wasn’t so bad when I started but but about 18 it was all mental. Another round in and the team was wearing down and splitting movements to get it done. We entered the round of 30 but only made it to 13 burpees. I was not sad about that timing because I’m not sure I would have made it so thank god for the clock! And believe it or not we finished third in this round even with me slowing us down in the burpee area.

We nailed a 6th place finish overall and the point difference was ever so close in the top section of the ranks. Out of 14 teams we didn’t do too bad. There were three other teams from our box competing in a different division, one taking home first place. It was amazing to watch that team and know you are a part of their community and they are all down to earth.

Loved working out with my crew. We had a couple of friends cheer us on including the amazing Lisa who was unable to compete and the fabulous Beth aka chick 2. Beth was also the one who ran around to take pictures and videos so that we have all of our blood, sweat, and tears captured. So thankful for her dedication to get all of us documented as it is no small task. Even those who hate taking pics love to go back and review photos and videos to see how they can improve under pressure.

Well, I am pooped to say the least. Up at 4:00 am, on the couch showered by 8:00 pm. What an adventure. But at almost 47 I can say I definitely kicked ass today and did it amongst those in their 20s on up to their 40s…and maybe older but that is just my guess.  #girlswholift #girlswhocompete

Competition is a whole different level. Mental toughness, physical strength, team unity, stamina to go the distance and sheer willpower to push through all that is thrown at you. I love to compete in life at every level.

Hope you liked my blog this week. I ended on a high note and I am definitely sore but it’s all good. Until next time get off the couch and get moving. #beyourowninspiration

fitness and nutrition

Behavior

Oddly enough, I said at the end of my 12 weeks of posting on fitness and nutrition that I would take a break from posting weekly. Shocker, here I am again!

It almost seemed like I needed to take a break mentally but then I realized I was in a routine. I modified my behavior to include writing/blogging into my week for 12 weeks. What an irony? But then again it’s no different than establishing a fitness or nutrition routine.

You have to commit to your goals, set a plan of action and then follow through. When you do all that you are essentially creating a routine, a habit, and ultimately your behavior is modified.

So here I am blogging again and it’s just Monday. The start of the week. I have a hefty to-do list today but thankfully I started my day at 6:30am surrounded by people who make me feel strong and confident. I start most days this way at the gym, my box or home away from home.

I also get to exchange communications with my nutrition coach on Mondays which is always amazing in itself. It’s a positive and reflective interaction that provides an outside look at my eating habits from the previous week. It lets me realign and adjust where needed for the upcoming week. The lessons I learn here can be applied to other areas of my life making this coaching experience extremely valuable. For this encouragement I will give a shout out to my coach, the wonderful Jodi Bainbridge of Stronger U. #sherocks

If you think about what I wrote above about feeling strong at the gym, I mirror that by being strong in nutrition and it’s almost comical that the company I chose to work with on nutrition is called Stronger U. Odd but interesting little tidbit. If you have been looking for change I would encourage anyone to check out this program. It is pretty unique and I don’t get paid for any endorsements, This is honest. Stronger U is life changing for many and I don’t have to inflate that, I can see it through testimonials. #strongeru

What I think I rediscovered over the Thanksgiving break is that progress isn’t immediate. It happens over time. It’s a moving target. Whether you are focusing on weight changes, nutrition changes, or business changes they happen over time.

When you get a new job you are not the best employee on day one you have potential, and if you work hard and master your role you become an asset to your organization. If you start your own business venture you don’t become an overnight hit, it takes time. If you go to school to get a degree, you graduate in time. Why because it’s a process and not everyone have the same timeline or the same path. That is what makes us all special.

Today’s post is for those who watch the clock or desire instant gratification in every aspect of life. Take a breath, enjoy the ride to whatever destination you are heading to. You may meet cool people, learn new things, and grow as a person along the way. Trust the process. Enjoy the journey. The journey is unique to you and it’s one that others can’t take away from you.

Another fun fact about me: I used a countdown clock to reach a specific goal recently. It was a countdown clock that was started over 1.5 years ago. This clock told me if I hustled and worked hard and chipped away for the duration I would accomplish big things. I set benchmarks along the way to give me celebration points. Mini-milestones that I shook my head at each time saying “I did it, I really did.” This clock was a gift from a dear friend but provided lots of encouragement as I plugged away at my goal(s). The hashtag #rearview symbolized letting go of the old and embracing the new. As I near the end of the countdown I figured I would share this tool with you in case it influences others to try this method.

As for me, once it runs out I will reset the clock. Most likely for three years this time while I catalog and chart a new path for myself. I will just need a new hashtag for the new duration. #namemyhashtagpeople Drop me a note and you can be part of my next story!

As I recap the rear view (not my butt, people) of my fitness journey, I am approaching the three-year mark of committing to a regular fitness regimen. I didn’t start at CrossFit on day one but I found a passion in CrossFit about 8 months into my journey when I embraced change. Along the way I hit milestones and created new goals to attain. My body is being sculpted over time as is my mind and my can do attitude. I’m embracing new tools along the way that are new parts of my personal maintenance plan. Remember the past or rear view doesn’t dictate your journey or your happiness, rather it’s part of your story. The memories, the lessons learned, the pictures taken, the people you meet along the way all play an pivotal role in your journey. Embrace YOUR path.

Until next time. And when will next time be? I am not sure as I am not watching the clock right now. I’m looking ahead to see what is on the horizon for me as 2019 approaches…

fitness and nutrition, perspective

Going the Extra Mile

It’s a phrase we hear often…someone who “goes the extra mile.”  But what does it really mean?

I’ve been thinking a lot about that phrase for the past few days.  I went to the gym on the day after Thanksgiving.  There wasn’t a workout at the times I could make it.  So, I took advantage of the open gym and walked in between classes. My goal was 10,000 meters.  My legs were screaming sore after a long Thanksgiving Day workout so I started by hopping on the bike erg and did a pretty quick 5,000 meters.

Then, moved over to the rower for a somewhat slower 3,000 meters.

Finally, I faced down the dreaded ski erg and did 2,000 meters, split in half.  (Ski is much more challenging for me!) I had stretched in between, so I was feeling pretty good and sweaty by this point.  I had a few minutes left before I had reached my hour-at-the-gym benchmark, but I had already met my 10,000 meter goal.  What to do?

Enter the Assault bike.

And on that, I just decided to do skip meters and do a mile. And as I rode, I got to thinking about the extra mile…which is what brings me to this post.

To go the extra mile is to go beyond what is required.  What is expected.  The minimum.  As my kids say (or used to say, since once I understand this kind of thing it is definitely past its moment) you can be basic or you can be extra…regular or over the top, I guess.

There are areas of life where I want to work harder to go the extra mile.  Friendship. Family. Fitness / Nutrition.  Those are probably the big three for me right now. Ones I want to work on.

How can I go the extra mile?

-Send a note or out-of-the-blue text to a friend who may need a pick-me-up (and couldn’t we all?)

-Remember to get all the things my family needs as I shop / do errands, etc.

-Check in with family and friends more often

-Make time for meaningful conversations and traditions as the holidays arrive

-Commit to both staying consistent and challenging myself as I workout

-Get serious about nutrition; buckle down (instead of backing down) in the face of challenges

-Give in unexpected ways: time, care, gifts, resources

I am not going to lie.  There are many areas of life where I am struggling to meet basic expectations.  But, at the same time, I feel a deep level of fulfillment when I exceed what I and others expect of me.  Over the next day or two I’ll be planning and making moves to get these things in motion.  Even just this list with a daily checkoff can be a step toward accountability and progress.

So, readers, how are YOU going to go the extra mile in the next month or two? How can you extend kindness, comfort, or even badassness to make your life and the lives of those around you a little more over-the-top-amazing? Tell us in the comments.

Here’s a glimpse of the sunrise that surprised me mid workout that morning, a brief break in a week of dreary rain. Be the unexpected, the surprising light for others and yourself.

fitness and nutrition, Uncategorized

KT’s Week 12: Weekends are Not for the Weak at Heart

This week I was going to talk about booty gains but decided to push that to another week because I just wasn’t feeling the post after I started it.

Why wasn’t I feeling it? Because I had a craptastic weekend. I had worked my ass off all week to hit my numbers and Friday night came. I was in a situation where there was no water available. Sounds so simple and I will learn to keep extra water in my car but yeah I was in an environment that didn’t have water and I was thirsty. Not a good position late in the day when you already planned your day of macros. Juice and soda doesn’t normally fit in my macros. Did I mention who doesn’t offer water at a concession stand? Fail #1.

Update: I had another busy weekend before I posted this blog and to let you know I learned but failed again! I packed my extra water this time when I hit the road and some good snacks and then left it in my car. I guess the take away is practice makes perfect. Two Fridays in a row I struggled with hydration on the move with last minute plans.

Move on to Saturday and the conflict of eating out and having to guess on some numbers at a restaurant. It’s just not the same as home and measurements. This can cause a ton of stress if you are really focused on working your plan. Yes I fall into this category! Missed opportunity #2. #lackofplanning

Update: spontaneous decisions get me all the time! Yup, I went to breakfast and planned and used a good portion of my macros but in a healthy way. Somebody picked up my table’s tab as a random act of kindness. Double yeah on the morning. Then I was off to adventure unexpectedly the rest of the day. Guess what? I left my water in my car again. #epicfailagain but I did have access to a convenience store so crisis was averted. Managed to eat some Chick-fil-a nuggets on the move for some protein and fat. But again, not the same as home. Big takeaway on this post is I still have a ton of work to do on the weekends so I don’t kill all my progress from the week.

Then, fast forward to Sunday and my kid makes breakfast for the family that included cinnamon buns, bacon, toast, eggs, all of which are high in fat. If I would choose one of these as a treat I could, but not all at once, in the same day, in the same meal. Ugh on so many emotions at one meal and how not to hurt anyone’s feelings. And, this type of eating can make you lazy the rest of the day! #realworldchallenges #foodprobs

Update: I am posting this now before I have to admit another failure, bump in the road, struggle or excuse.

As I sigh, this post is about how to eat or choose healthy when your environmental conditions may challenge you or throw you curve balls. This is life and it’s a delicate balance. If I was a weight lifting competitor in training would others understand my need to eat clean? Would my friends think I am less neurotic? I don’t have the answers but I will tell you it’s a struggle. Don’t offer me desserts. Don’t give me chocolate. Don’t tempt me. Support me.

For instance, if somebody offers you a gummy bear that can blow your carb numbers, just say no. If somebody offers you a cocktail, just say no. If you will feel guilty later, it is not a good choice. It’s more likely that you will have to decline a sweet of some kind because I can’t remember the last time somebody said “Hey Karen, do you want 4 ounces of chicken or shrimp?” It’s pretty random and funny when you think about it. Same goes for vegans. How many people don’t get that lifestyle? Ignorance is all around us.

Also, many will say let’s go to McDonald’s, grab a pizza, or grab a coffee or a sugar-infused drink vs. let’s go and drink green smoothies. Just learning to maneuver life’s challenges each day and each week is full of emotions and why many gain weight back after making progress. Hoping that I don’t fall into that same slump and why I have my goals set over time so that if I struggle at any one point I can readjust as needed to conquer my long term goals. Fab at 50 is the master plan and you all have a front row seat in my journey.

Every weekend is more challenging than the weekdays. More time on the go. More family or friend events. More socializing. Just more chances to make bad choices. During the week I am more routine and regimented, making macro mastering so much easier.

In the coming weeks I am rededicating myself to following my plan of nutrition while stepping up my fitness regimen to prepare for the approaching holidays and temptations because I know I am not perfect and will opt for that cheesecake at some point. Kickstarting a burner program post workout and stepping up my macro game is on my agenda. I added #saturdaysprints yesterday but only because the weather was cooperating.

I am also spending time thinking about Thanksgiving. Need to get my workout in that day and need to plan an activity after the food festivities. Thanksgiving is lots of food so it’s important to include healthy options. Time to get cracking on a healthy menu. I will also be focusing on some random acts of kindness around Thanksgiving. I hope this post inspires you to give your time or something to somebody in need.

In closing, when I started this fitness/nutrition blog series I committed to a weekly update, but then extended my nutrition coach time to 6 months instead of the original 12 weeks. I get bored easily so I probably won’t write each week moving forward but I will catch you up on my progress here and there over the next several weeks. Stay tuned on this topic but jump on over to some of the other areas the Chicks write about. You might find a nugget of information you like elsewhere on the blog site. And who knows? Maybe my hitting pause will motivate my co-author Beth to share some more of her amazing stories on here.

Chick 1 and Chick 2 are always cooking stuff up (aka working on writing). Just stay tuned for whatever strikes our fancy to write about as we prepare to release our next book.

Remember to have fun in your day. Smiles are contagious and good for the soul. I hope my silly pics along the way give you some giggles.

Happy holidays to all in advance and remember to plan and prepare for temptations. Can’t wait to see what 2019 brings me.  I may even have a goals blog for 2019, if I dare to be different. Maybe those abs I asked Santa for will let me start the year with a half of two pack, if that is even possible!

fitness and nutrition

Another digit down

A while ago, I posted about a personal milestone…one that probably no one else has and, until that post, no one else knew about.  (Aren’t you all lucky?!)

This week I reached another milestone, one that is more widely shared among those who are watching their weight…this week I reached “one-derland.”  I dipped below 200 pounds for the first time in about 15 years.  I was newly married the last time there was a 1 at the beginning of my weight. Wow.

This is just another leg of a long long journey.  I’m still trying to figure out my health, my body, and how to get everything working at optimal levels.

Some would say that health is an everyday decision.  Ironically, one thing that has worked for me is trying to minimize the number of daily decisions I have to make.  How does that work, you ask?

Life can get complicated. Sometimes the level of decisions can be dizzying.  That’s why I make the same thing for all of my lunches and all of my breakfasts (see the pic for this week’s example). I make it all on Sunday, bring it to work Monday, and it’s done. Boring?  Maybe for some. But it just keeps it simple.  For me, these days, sometimes it is helpful not to have to think about every little decision. (And, then there’s fewer opportunities for me to make bad decisions, too!)

Should I go to the gym or not? Those decisions are also made on Sunday, when I map out my week.  If the answer can be yes, it will always be yes.  This one isn’t quite as easy to carry out anymore, though. My old routine of every day at 5:30 am was shifted this year.  It is a struggle to get to the gym in the afternoons after work.  There is interruption after change after unexpected wrinkle.  It is a fight.  I have to make it a priority, which means saying no to other things. But, I get there at least 5 days a week, if not six.  If I can possibly go,  I go. Even if I hate the workout.  Even if I don’t know if anyone else will be there.  I go.

Even with many of my decisions made, there are a lot of things that can still come up. I’ve had to learn how to deal with weekends, and how to try to plan for the unexpected.  I’ve had mixed success.  Bowls of tortilla chips are hard for me to resist.  So, I try to avoid Mexican restaurants completely if possible (sadly, since tacos are my favorite).  But, this past weekend I didn’t see the deliciously fresh fried pickles coming and let’s just say I didn’t deal with that decision well.  I am still learning.

So, I’ll celebrate this milestone then keep moving on to the next. I’ll keep figuring out how to make all this work, and try to make the most of the decisions I make, both in advance and in the moment.  Every good decision gets me closer to my goals.

fitness and nutrition

Baby Steps and Big Jumps for Chick 2

Is there such a thing as a “traditional” or stereotypical CrossFitter? Maybe there’s an image in your head of what a CrossFit athlete looks like.  Muscular, slender, radiant (or rugged), ripped, youthful. (Hobbling, maybe).  You can tell who they are because they are always Talking About CrossFit.

If there is a stereotypical CrossFitter, I am NOT that.  I am heavier, older, basically an uncoordinated mess on most days. I do talk about CrossFit a lot, but that’s where the resemblance to that image stops.

I have a long road. Everyone starts somewhere, but many of the people at my box have some sort of sport or physical activity in their background. Swimming, gymnastics, dance, and so on. Not me. So I’m not getting back on the horse or the bike or whatever, but riding it for the first time. I’ve described CrossFit as finally getting to know my body after living in it for 45 years.

Between my lack of athletic background and various injuries, my workouts look different than most of the people I am in class with. I have been doing CrossFit regularly for 15 months and still do many / most workouts with some kind of scale and / or adaptation.  Thankfully we have great coaches who know me and help me continue to improve.

Here are some recent milestones that might be unimpressive for some, but were big deals for me.

A couple of weeks ago we had 1000 jump ropes in a single WOD. Five rounds, 200 in each round. Jump ropes are a struggle for me, both in coordination and breath control.  Lifting 200+ pounds off the ground that many times is a lot of physical and mental lifting. I was already preparing myself for failure, asking my coach what to do if I just couldn’t get the rope to cooperate. I had to complete it in in sets of 30 or 40, sometimes even 20.  But, I made it through it. I’ve never done that many in a single workout before! Celebration!

The second big milestone was burpee jumpovers.  Sometimes the workout calls for jumping over a barbell (with plates) or a box.  I always either step over the box or jump over a bar on the flat ground.  But, this time the WOD had dumbbell jump overs.  I was working out by myself and just went over to the little side area of the gym and gave it a try.  Ok, so it’s only like 6 inches off the ground, but it was still another mental and physical challenge.  So tiring! But I did about 50 of them (without falling) which felt like an amazing accomplishment.  (See pic below. Too tired to smile.)

My steps forward may be smaller than most.  There are movements that may take me many years to attempt, much less achieve.  But, I keep showing up and trying to get better each day.  It has given me new confidence. I’m not even afraid of sled pulls anymore! Or embarrassed by doing them in front of people in the parking lot!

I don’t think there’s such a thing as a stereotypical CrossFitter. It can work for anyone, and it’s big for someone like me to say that.  As time goes on, I’ve come to see myself as an athlete after all.

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fitness and nutrition

KT’s Week 10 or Weak 10?

It’s been a 10-week roller coaster ride already? Where does the time go?

As I rolled into week 10, I was exhausted from travel yet pumped for my competition. Adreneline won out for sure on Saturday morning but weakness set in by Sunday. Thank goodness for rest days.

Week 10 was a hot mess for me. I ate well and worked out consistently Monday through Wednesday, then I hit the road for a trip and packed and planned for eating healthy when I had access to my hotel stash.

Enter conference food. Breakfast was meh but lunches were high on carbs as far as choices go…well, high for carbs based on my eating plan. Then, flip to dinner and that’s a dine-on-your-own type of deal, but then you have peer pressure to try the local spots in groups. Enter butter, desserts, extra fat, more fat, extra calories that serve no purpose, and so on.

Fast forward to the scale. It is just not my friend today. Well, is it the scale’s fault or my lack of will power? Whatever the reason, the scale is up by week’s end. I am not a happy camper!

So much reflecting to do. Would have, could have. Should have. But yup, that time has come and gone and just as night turns into day I need to reset and move on. New day. New challenges await. New outlook. Reset. Repeat.

I shopped for groceries and everything fell into the clean eating category. Threw down the “no eating out” message to the fam for the week. See, anything is possible if you adjust your mindset.

On the flip side of the scale debacle, we didn’t finish first nor last in the competition. We finished about middle of the road. We didn’t quit and we endured some hard workouts. We pushed through soreness and we ate lots of bacon which always makes me happy.

We appeared to be one of the more vintage looking teams and that made us smile. Our sparkle-N-snatch shirts were a hit. We met some cute puppies looking to get adopted and we met some amazing people in between heats. Overall, it was an amazing experience.

Boom, there it is! Thunder I tell ya. My buddy Jim inked me as part of his #inktober illustration series. What an honor and privilege and it was just what I needed to reset my mind. A vantage point of me from another that I don’t see daily. A portrait of a strong and healthy badass chick. Yup, that’s me folks. Welcome to my world. Enjoy the glimpse into my world that I share in this blog. It’s only one tiny piece of me but one that is important for me to share.

Some may knock my motivational ways but others embrace it. Whatever category you fall into it’s okay with me. It takes all types to make up the world and I know I am an acquired taste. You might not have had enough of a taste of me to see how I sparkle in this world. Thank you, Jimmy. You put a smile on my face and you are incredibly talented. People please check out his art on instagram @jimgleeson. Of course, I am a little biased since he illustrated my first three books!

Midweek moves on to Halloween and how a little fun can improve your mindset. Wednesday Wisdom is don’t forget to have fun. Check out my Halloween pic from the start of this post. I am wearing my 13-year-old’s uniform so big score for Mom right there and boom! my 5am makeup was on point. Hope you all had some fun this week but didn’t eat too much candy. I skipped the Kit Kats, the Rolos, the dark chocolate, etc. I didn’t miss it.

I’m back to the grind of macro management as we approach the holidays and my travel demands increase on the work front. Discipline, dedication and consistency are the name of the game for me.

More trials and tribulations of KT to come. Keep following along and see where I end up next.

Adios for now.