Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Diet Fail/Paleo Breakfast

Good grief - it's almost February!  Between recovering from the holidays and surviving Snowpocalypse, I feel like January has flown by.

You may recall that at the beginning of the year, Jared and I had decided to succumb to the Crossfit peer pressure and give the old college try to the Paleo diet.  I bought us a cool Paleo cookbook and did my best to get excited about the experience (as you recall, I am REALLY not a fan of diets).

I felt fine most of the first day (Sunday) until the evening, when I got a massive headache and felt sick to my stomach.  We went to the grocery store to prep for the upcoming week...and I ended up having a panic attack and standing in front of the jam trying not to faint, puke, or cry.  Fun flashback to my bout with severe anxiety last spring.  (Seriously, why do I always freakout in front of the jam?  The live lobsters are WAY more creepy.)

While my anxiety is about a million times better than it was last spring, what I eat or don't eat can really set me off.  Lots of sugar or caffeine/lack of protein = world ending stat except without Jesus coming back.  Apparently, cutting out dairy and grains = freakouts at your local QFC. 

I was gonna try to be a tough girl and ride it out, but Jared told me that I didn't have to do Paleo full-bore, that I could try to just eat most of my meals Paleo and that way still give it a shot. 

We lasted till about Thursday night, at which point we had both felt like crap all week (nausea for me, dizziness for Jared), had eaten more than usual calories but felt increasingly hungry, and had run out of food from our almost $300 Sunday night grocery run after only 4 days.

In summary, we decided that Paleo is not for us (if it works for you, more power to ya!) :
  • Paleo made us feel worse and not better
  • Paleo upped our calorie intake and appetite (but...we didn't always feel like eating - see point above)
  • Paleo was not sustainable from a budget standpoint
That being said, we both realized that we could stand to have a lot more vegetables in our life.  We've incorporated more of them to up our daily servings, which is definitely a win.


Double yum

Plus, we love the Paleo cookbook!  If you are looking for a killer breakfast you can make on Sunday to enjoy throughout the week, Paleo Comfort Foods is your new best friend. 

Try Morning Glory Muffins, Breakfast Egg Muffins, and Sausage Balls. 

You'll have to wash a few muffin tins, but SO worth it! 

This is probably the healthiest breakfast you could have on a tight schedule sorta morning.  Pull this stuff out of the fridge and microwave the eggs and sausage...or just eat them cold!

YOU TELL ME: Are you a Paleo advocate or critic?  Have you tried any other diets?  Does jam make you want to cry?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

GEAR: ToeSox

Hello, world, and Happy Thursday!  For me, Thursdays are basically always happy, and not just because they directly precede Fridays.  (If you REALLY want to brighten up your day, head over to Thankful Things Thursday at AliOnTheRun.  This girl will stop at nothing to make you feel grateful...think cute puppy photos.)

I spend most Thursday afternoons trading in my daily desk job in favor of teaching musical theatre to junior high and high school students.  Sometimes I'm choreographing, sometimes I'm filling in vocals for whatever kid decided to catch a cold/the flu, and I'm always laughing my head off at the crazy stuff that goes down.

But today I shoulda brought my rain coat:

Post-commute this fall...
love my bike, need this jacket
 I am planning on getting a run in after class, but was running late at 5-something this morning and dashed out the door without a minute to spare...and realized it was pouring.  And I didn't have my cute purple polka-dot Nike running jacket that I got on sale at the outlets.  (Yes, I like good deals.)  It will be a wet rat kinda run, folks.

GEAR: ToeSox

For Christmas with my husband's family, we draw names around Thanksgiving for the big gift exchange on Christmas Eve.  If you have a big (or rapidly growing) family, this is seriously a genius idea.  You usually end up with a different person to shop for each year (helping you get to know different family members better), and no one spends half a fortune and goes insane trying to hunt down gifts for the whole family!

This year, I got a pair of ToeSox from Aunt Brenda, Uncle William and cousins Esme and Analise.  (I took this to mean that Jared's family has fully accepted me for the little workout fanatic that I am.)

Esme and Analise at our wedding a few years ago - adorable!
 I was excited to try the ToeSox, because I've seen them around a lot but haven't known anyone who has used them.  I was really impressed!

Effectiveness: My mat doesn't have any "grip" to it, so the socks made a big difference for me in doing balance poses and even in downward dog.  I also like the fact that my toes poke through - one thing I've been working on with physical therapy is "holding my arch": not rolling my feet in.  This is easier to do when I can use all of my toes for balance.

The one thing I think these wouldn't work for is hot yoga...at least for me.  I sweat like a pig (thanks, genetics) and would slip right out of the socks while they stayed gripped to the mat and I landed on my butt or face.  Hilarious for the rest of the class, I venture, but embarassing for me.  Maybe if you are one of those lucky girls who just glows a little at the back of the neck, these could work for your hot yoga practice?  I just have no sweatless workout experience and couldn't say.

A fun side perk is that if, like me, you have to be really sweating for your feet to not be freezing, these keep you warm!

Cost: These run about $15 a pair on the ToeSox website, which is surprisingly reasonable.  (Have you seen those thin yoga towels that go for $65???  Yikes.)

The Cute Factor:  Personally, I think these are adorable.  They remind me a little of Doctor Seuss, and you can get then a wide variety of colors if you like to mix things up.

Verdict:  I would definitely recommend these for anyone practicing yoga at least a few times a week, whether at home or in a (not hot) class setting.

Thanks, Brenda and fam, for the awesome gift!

You tell me:  Did you get any super-awesome Christmas gifts?  Try any new workout gear lately?  Forget your rain coat on a soggy day?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

SNOWPOCALYPSE! (Snow Day Fitness)

Last week, Seattle and the greater Eastside withstood snow, ice, power outages, zombies, and other terrors during one of the most signficant area storms in decades.

New England and Mid-West folks mock the way our cities shut down for a few inches of snow.  Yes, we are probably wimps.

But boy was it gorgeous!

The view from our porch
Sunday morning the 14th, we started getting the first flakes...we were serving on the parking team at church as usual.  I was doing my happy snow dance and putting my tongue out to eat snow like the tiny kids around me.  (I'm pretty short, so I think I blended in alright.)  Our team lead said he felt like saying, "Merry Christmas!" to the folks driving in and out.

Jared and I made our weekly trip to the grocery store right after we were done at church...I like to put things off, and he likes to get things done ASAP.  Good thing we followed his lead this time, because after we got home with our food, the snow started really coming down.  Usually we take Sundays as a rest day from working out (and from life in general), so it was just an extra-beautiful rest day.  Although I was doing my Calvin & Hobbes dance every few minutes, shouting, "Snow! Snow! Snow! Stick! Stick! Stick!" and praying we'd be snowed in so I wouldn't have to go to work on Monday.  Hopefully Jared found my antics cute instead of annoying?

Well, I got my wish.  Our apartment is at the bottom of a very steep hill, and Monday morning Jared watched a few cars trying to be Dorothy Hamill before deciding we should stay put.  Between Sunday and Monday, we did a ton of chores, and Jared made a ton of food.  (We try to get some cooking and prepwork done at the beginning of the week since things get VERY busy from Monday through Friday.)  Most notably, we went through the "plastic bin of crap" as I fondly call it - which had been sitting in a closet waiting to be organized for almost 11 months. Go team!

Jared made dark chocolate
raisin oatmeal cookies.

Monday evening we made it out for a few hours.  I stopped by work to gather up some things I could do from home, and Jared ran a few errands.  We parked at the top of our hill in hopes of making it to work alive the next day.

Tuesday morning, we walked up to our car in thoroughly safe conditions...it honestly felt like it had simply rained or something.  Roads bare and wet, etc.  But by Tuesday afternoon, the storm was heading in for round two.  They closed Jared's gym and my team at the office started to run for the hills.

We toodled back home and I tried to get motivated to work out. 

Usually, this is not a problem for me...I sort of live for my workouts.  I have plans and spreadsheets and class schedules and racquetball dates and training plans.  Working out keeps my stress and anxiety way down and my happy appetite way up.

But after two rest days in a row that included eating of food, watching of Scrubs, and enjoying of cozy fire...I was not feeling it.  What I recommend to fight the "Gee I'd rather sit on my butt and eat cookies and read"?  A good kick in the pants from a great friend.

Yay for motivational texts!

My friend Meghan is a natural at kicks-in-the-pants, since her workout of choice is karate.  We keep each other posted on workout fails and successes.  Although we rarely get to workout together, I think of her as my workout buddy and accountability partner for getting a good sweat. 

The only sad thing about this is I have realized we have no good photos of the two Meghans.  And by "good photos" I mean existing photos.  Lame.

So, I put on my new workout clothes, dug out my binder of workouts, and turned on a musical-theatre heavy playlist.

10 minutes of physical therapy (band), 5 minute warm-up (jumprope - not mine...I hate mine, so I assume this one must be better), 20 minutes of core work (kettlebell), 35 minutes of WOD-style strength and conditioning (mat - if I bought a new one, this would be it), and 10 minutes of yoga/stretching.

We keep workout magazines on our table.  Just in case.
Tank - lululemon,
sports bra - Victoria's Secret,
running tights - lululemon
I was honestly surprised at how much the no-equipment workout kicked my butt.  It probably helped that I treated it like a WOD.  There were 3 circuits with 3 moves apiece.  So my workout went like this:

Circuit 1: 16-14-12-10-8
Circuit 2: 16-14-12-10-8
Circuit 3: 16-14...and I think I pooped out at this point after 35 minutes.  It's amazing how much harder and faster I work if I just set my little phone timer.  If you are short on time, skip cardio and treat your strength workout like an AMRAP WOD: if you have 20 minutes at the gym, race yourself (safely with good form!!!) to see how many rounds of your workout you can get done in 20 minutes.  And then go shower and feel proud!

After working out, I refueled with clean cookie dough protein bites and black cherry juice mixed with water.  YUM.

No, I didn't eat ALL of this cookie dough.

Wednesday we were totally snowed in.  I made the most of the day by waking up early (morning person...what can I say?) and tackling some chores, having tea, and reading.  Jared and I got some Real Marriage homework done, had a snowball fight, and went for a walk in the snow.

Finally wiped down my hot yoga mat...about time.

This tea is AMAZING!!!

We couldn't make it to Crossfit, even if we could've driven over safely, because the J was still closed.

No barbell snatching in THIS storm!
So with another magazine workout in hand and snowboots on my feet, I walked with Jared up to our complex's "cabana."  We call it the clubhouse since cabana sounds uber-sketchy.  We are blessed to have a mini workout facility with real showers available to residents.

There is also a pool, but for some reason we didn't feel like swimming.

10 minutes of PT, 10 minutes of core work, a 15 minute kettle bell "WOD" (I made it through 4 rounds, plus 2 reps on each side for the 3rd move), and 10 minutes of yoga/stretching. 

Jared did the assigned "snow day" WOD - that man is a beast. 

 This is one of my favorite workout hairstyles.  I call it the German pony.  Technically I know it's sort of a French braid...but my blood is significantly German.  Plus headband style braids make me think of German beer girls...er, milkmaids.  I like it because it's cute, keeps the hair out of your face, and does a great job of hiding the fact that you just worked out and didn't have time to wash your hair afterwards.  Shh, don't tell!

Plus I grew up with only brothers...so I know how to french-braid my own hair.  Fast.

Tank - lululemon, sports bra - Victoria's Secret,
capris - lululemon, socks & shoes - Nike
Refuel?  My favorite "chocolate milk."  Seriously, this stuff is udderly amazing. 

Thursday we made a brief foray into the world with our chains on to beat the ice and snow.  The gym (and Crossfit) were still closed, so back we went that evening to the clubhouse.  10 minutes of PT exercises, and 10 minutes of the shoulder stability work I do once or twice a week...then WOD time!

Jared made up a WOD for us to do with the equipment we had available at the gym.  We had to switch it up after the first round, since he realized we were doing a ton of pushing and not a lot of pulling:

3 rounds for time...5 pike pushups, 10 plyo pushups, 15 rows, 20 lat pull downs (originally overhead press machine), 30 walking lunges holding a weight plate or with raised arms. Jared finished in about 13 minutes...it took me around 21.

After the WOD, I am thrilled to say I ran my first pain-free mile after 3 weeks of no running and a lot of physical therapy!!!  I went very slow and focused on form.  Woohoo!!!

I'm back!!!
Jared was going a little stir crazy from not being able to play basketball, but thanks to the big screen at the clubhouse, he got close.

All in all, even though a lot of folks found the it stressful and inconvenient, I'm really thankful for the snowstorm.  It gave us extra vacation time together, helped us get through a lot of projects at the apartment, and forced me to stay dedicated when my usual routine and resources went out the window.

That being said...I'm also glad it's over.

You tell me:  Did you have snow last week?  Lose power?  Find creative ways to work out?  Did you win or lose your snowball fights?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Resolution Revolution @ Stoneway Crossfit

Buon Weekend!  Stoneway Crossfit hosted several boxes this morning (including a team from California!) for the Resolution Revolution Throwdown.

The competition was 20 two-person teams, 1 guy and 1 gal, performing two team WODs within just a few hours.

When I first heard about the competition, I honestly thought it wasn't for me.  I'm not very competitive, and my husband is...I was afraid we'd end up fighting and not having a good time at all.

Coach Corey talked us into it, and Jared was super sweet in the week beforehand, letting me know he didn't want us to try and win...he just thought it would be fun to work out with me.  It's amazing how much I psych myself out about things that are really no big deal.

Well, I guess with Crossfit, everything is kinda a big deal.  But you get my point.

WOD #1 consisted of a hill run, front squats, and push presses, for 11 minutes.  There were stipulations - only one partner could be lifting at a time, and both had to keep going with the front squats until the 4 minutes left mark, before moving to push presses.

I am thrilled to say that all the time at Advantage Physical Therapy has paid off!  Joel okayed me to run, and I had zero pain in my knee today.  Woohoo!  Thanks, Doctor Joel!

Since I'm still pretty new, I scaled the weight for the lifts (65 instead of 75 for the front squats and 45 instead of 65 for the push press).  Jared's been feeling sick since yesterday afternoon, and had a hurt muscle from earlier this week, so we just wanted to finish and have a good time.  I thought we did quite well, all things considered, and it was so fun to be a team and have our friends from the Mercer Island box cheering us on!

After all teams had completed the first heat, we got to go and eat, stretch, and rest.  It was a VERY cold Seattle morning, and it wasn't much warmer inside the building than out.

Some of the Mercer Island crew
WOD #2 included a 2 minute sled push (1 minute per partner), a team deadlift, wall balls, burpees, wall climbs, and a 1 mile run...carrying a 45 lb. bumper plate.  Insanity.

Did I mention around the end of the first heat of WOD #2, it had started raining and then HAILING???

The white specks are not my poor camera. 
This is HAIL, people.
With Jared's nausea and adductor pain, we decided to spectate and cheer rather than participating in the 2nd WOD.  Which in the end, I think, was the right decision.  Going hard core is all well and good...until you get injured and sideline yourself for weeks or months.
Chris and Heidi from Mercer Island Crossfit graciously allowed me to shadow them around with my flashing camera and cheerleader antics...so now you can give this a shot yourself if you find a crazy, er, brave enough partner!

Sled push: 220 lb for guys, 110 for gals.  They measure how far you go in your minute apiece.

Heidi finishing up the sled push!

After the sled push, teams ran out of the hail and into the box for the deadlift.  We're talking 275 lbs, 50 reps.  Both partners have to achieve full range of motion.

Next came 40 partner wall balls...each.  Guys had a 20 lb ball, girls a 12.  You can break up reps however you like, but your partner must catch the ball and hand it back to you on each rep.

Each team was assigned a judge
to watch form and count reps.

Watching the gals catch the 20 lb ball w
as pretty funmy...that thing is heavy and
almost knocked some people down!
After wall-balls, 30 burpees each, done together.  You had to be in the air at the same time as your partner for the rep to count.

They were so in sync it was crazy!
Next, 10 wall climbs.  Teams could split these up any way they liked.  Chest had to touch the wall for a rep to count,  Some teams opted instead to do 20 regular burpees (no jump over the bar) and add a 2 minute penalty to their WOD #2 time.  Chris and Heidi went big:

Then came the final kicker...grab a 45 lb plate and run an 800 meter loop twice.  One plate per team...you could carry together or take turns.

Heading out

The team from California!

Finishing the first lap...IN THE HAIL

Hauling buns on the second and final lap!
Drop off the plate and the clock stops!

Joel, one of many awesome volunteers

Chris and Heidi after killing the WODs!
I think the hail finally stopped when Jared and I headed out...

Thanks to Coach Scott and Stoneway for hosting and for all the coaches and volunteers who made it such a great event!

You tell me: What crazy stuff did you do this week?  Did you cheer for or volunteer at any events?