Monday, January 28, 2013

Workout Recap (Cindy RX)

Hello hello!

This weekend just flew by.  I'm kinda sad it's over, but I'm surprised to say waking up at 4:30 was a piece of cake.  Go figure.  Guess all that going to bed early stuff pays off after a while?  And my body really thrives on routine...which is good since Jared will be working at 6 every weekday come February.

Here's how last week's workouts stacked up:

Monday: Week 4 of Wendler's + Crap Ton of Walking

Walked to library to pick up season 5 of Gilmore Girls.  Realized it was MLK day.  Left work early.  Planned to have over an hour at the gym to try (a scaled version) of the day's Invictus workout.  Caught first bus.  Read Dorothy Sayers.  Waited for transfer bus.  Read Dorothy Sayers.  Started shivering.  Checked holiday schedule. Felt confused that bus should have come. Waited a total of 30 minutes in the cold.  Caught another bus.  Asked driver about getting close to gym.  Got directions.  Got lost.  Got more directions.  Walked down Gallagher Hill in boots.  Sang "Unicorn Song."  Reminded self that CrossFitters are prepared for anything.  Made it to gym without feeling in most digits.  Exhausted and a little frustrated about arriving an hour after expected time.

Got changed and decided to make most of 35 minutes at gym.  15 minutes core work and warmup, 5 minutes mobility.  15 minutes working dumbbell overhead press and dumbbell row. 

15 more minutes of mobility at home.

Tuesday: CrossFit

Walked to library to pick up season 5 of Gilmore Girls.  And an Inspector Ian Rutledge and a Lord Peter Wimsey. 

Went to CrossFit.  Skill work: technique and form on air squats.  Worked on not falling forward so much.

WOD was killer.  Scaled power snatch to #45.  Still hate wall balls.  Jess B encouraged me to keep going and finish strong.


Wednesday: Rest Day

Left shoulder/neck hurt like the dickens from carrying bag all over Mercer Island on Monday.  Did shoulder stability work and ate a ton of quality calories.  Long day at the office was made up for by dinner with the parents.

Thursday: Massage/Active Recovery

Took some sick time to get a massage from Jen in the afternoon.  Neck a zillion times better.  Arrived at the gym to pick Jared up about 30 min early due to no traffic.  Hopped on the ERG for some active recovery...felt like I needed it, and my body was really happy afterwards.

15 minutes total...4 rounds of row 400, rest 2-3 minutes.  Really improving on technique!

Friday: Racquetball (Ouch)

Work kept me busy.  Picked up car from shop and couldn't make the 4 or 5pm CrossFit class.  Kept racquetball date with dad at 6.  Got a ton of points and great shots...and also got clocked in the arm.

Nice to see skill improving on the court.

Saturday: CrossFit Olympic Lifting/Girl class

Grouchy attitude about missing CrossFit Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday.  Exercised classic whiner logic and didn't want to go to CrossFit ever again.  Dragged self to class since Jared was coaching.

Took a good 20-30 minutes to ditch the grouchies.  New "4 burpees for complaining" rule helpful.  Enjoyed working on split jerks and had my first Cindy RX!


Did weekly weigh-in and body fat test.  Muscle gained - "growth days" (aka rest/recovery days) and all those calories clearly paying off.

Sunday: Rest Day

Went grocery shopping to stock up for the week.  Did some chores.  Watched terrible movie.  Hung out with Jared.  Found out who dunnit.  Ate a cinnamon roll.  Did 45 minutes of mobility/foam rolling while watching Gilmore Girls.

Good week.

You tell me: Are you all or nothing like I am?  I either want to work out like a maniac or I want to sit on my butt forever.  How do you find balance?  Do you ever stop to notice the positive effects of planned or unplanned rest days?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Smoothies + Pizza

Eating healthy is hard.
Let's be honest: it's expensive and time-consuming.
Sometimes you need food in a hurry or want something fun but don't want to totally jack your body up as a result.
Smoothies and pizza are the low prep go-tos for us.  We have smoothies it seems every day or two, and pizza at least once a week.  Here is a smattering of how this week turned out.
Earlier this week I found myself hungry...we'd already had a good dinner but I wanted something else.  Greek yogurt, bagged kale, and frozen berries/cherries did the trick for a late night serving of veggies and protein that still tasted sweet.

Later on in the week I was craving peanut butter and chocolate.  Cocoa powder, protein powder, milk, a banana, and generous scoops of peanut butter made this one seem like a milkshake...except darn good for you with protein and healthy fats.

Oh, yeah, and after a loooong Friday, Jared made pizza.  Trader Joe's frozen 3 cheese pizza takes less than 10 minutes in the oven.  We bought the chicken tenders this week and Jared whipped them up with bell peppers.  More protein and veggies - but uber fun and sooo much cheaper than eating out.

You tell me: Got any fun, quick, healthy foods you turn to when life gets crazy?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Workout Recap/Cretus Ex Duellum

They say to "bring your all" to the box...
maybe I am taking this too literally?

Monday: Rest Day.  Short on sleep the night before plus a busy day at work, so I decided to take it easy.  Got 4 servings of veggies and squeezed in 10 minutes of mobility.

Tuesday: Lift Day.  Shoulder stability, core stability, and mobility before warming up to lift.  Week 3 of my Wendler-inspired cycle.  Currently on dumbbell strict overhead press and dumbbell row.  Got up to 60 pounds (#30 each dumbbell) on the overhead press and 80 pounds (#40 each) on the row.  Also had a trainer ask who was training on me because he was so impressed with my form.  Bragged about Jared.  More mobility to finish out.

Wednesday: CrossFit Invictus!  Had the day off work and wanted to workout with Jared for once.  Came in to the open gym class for 40 minutes of mobility, then came back around 12:15 for the workout date.  Really tough - had to scale practically everything, but loved the format.  PRed my clean - new max of #115!

Thursday: Rest Day.  Triceps and shoulders tanked from Invictus.  Shoulder stability work, a little bit of walking, and 40 minutes of mobility.  Horrible horrible tension headache - apparently bad idea not to do post-WOD neck mobility if you're doing a ton of handstand pushups and split jerks.  Oops

Friday: CrossFit & Racquetball.  Jared had me start with some SERIOUS mobility for my traps.  Almost cried.  No wonder my head had hurt so bad the day before!  Didn't want to RX but when my girl Jess showed up I knew I had to!  Great partner WOD with some of my favorite ladies.  Worked on my chest to bar pullups after the workout.


Followed up class with more mobility and my weekly butt-kicking on the racquetball court.  New shoes rocked and helped me move better...even through Dad still won both games.  Love making progress in this sport!


Saturday: CrossFit.  Slept in and didn't make the Olympic Lifting class but had a great partner workout with the later group!


Sunday: Rest/Cheer Day.  Jared and I got to go and root for our buddy JP at the Cretus Ex Duellum competition up in Lynnwood!  Snagged some photos, a few videos, and a crap ton of motivation.  Next year we may have to sign up!  (More videos on my youtube page.)

JP in green on the left

Firebreathers (Women)

Firebreathers (Men)

Masters Women

 So cool to see all the different divisions - great event with great WODs and great athletes!  Totally inspired for my workout tonight.

You tell me: Ever catch any local competitions?  Thought about competing?  Blew Lynnwood out of the water this weekend?  I wanna know!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Setting Your 2013 Goals, Part II

Last week, I talked about setting SMART goals for yourself.
But, as everyone who's ever made a New Year's Resolution knows, setting a goal (even a really SMART one!) isn't enough to ensure you'll ever achieve it.
Here are some tactics that have worked for me in making consistent progress on my goals and resolutions.  I'll stick with the "3 servings of veggies a day, 5 days a week" example, but obviously you can use these tools for any goal.
  • Explore - Probably the reason you aren't eating enough veggies is because...well, you really don't like veggies that much. This was my story.  I tried a bunch of different veggies (and different prep thanks to a husband who cooks well) and in the end found a lot of veggies that I love!  Be willing to try things that you aren't familiar with, or haven't liked in the past - you may be surprised at what you end up enjoying!
  • Get real - No matter how great your willpower, it's REALLY tough to motivate yourself to keep doing something you hate.  In the midst of finding out I loved bell peppers, asparagus, and brussels sprouts, I also realized I will basically always hate mushrooms, broccoli, and eggplant.  For a while I would try to make myself eat these veggies out of duty, but I realized I could focus instead on the ones I DO like now so I'll be excited about what I have on my plate.
Chipotle salad? Yes please!
Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus - YUM
  • Break it down - Every goal requires a lot of mini steps.  To eat have to buy veggies and prep veggies.  I found grocery stores I liked and in the summer went to farmer's markets on the weekend.  I had a loose meal plan of how I'd work the veggies into breakfast, lunch, dinner, and/or snacks.  When I could, I would pre-prep veggies on the weekend so they'd be easier to eat during the week.

  • Get help - Tracking down recipes or reading tips on blogs made a big difference for me.  I also realized that some weeks were busier than others, so I would pay a little extra for pre-cut celery or sweet potatoes or squash.  This cut down on stress and energy and was so worth it!
A lot of great pizza recipes can be loaded with veggies
  • Write it down - Track track track.  I have a Google Docs Spreadsheet I've been using for 2.5 years to track my workouts.  I added a section to track how many veggies I was eating.  It's motivating to see consistency!
  • Phone a friend - And don't pick that friend.  You know.  The one who's kinda in the same boat you are and so "keeping each other accountable" turns quickly into making each other feel okay that you decided to slack off on your goals.  Find someone who's a few steps ahead or who can show you some tough love.
  • Don't be a perfectionist - Miss a day or two?  Think big picture and remember the point.  Don't feel like you're a failure...recognize that it will be tough to keep to your goal, but ultimately the point is all the progress you've been making.  Celebrate your successes!

Do you have tips on sticking to your goals?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Setting Your 2013 Goals Part I (Plus CrossFit on the Biggest Loser)

Originally I toyed with the idea of writing a "here's how to set good goals" post.  After all, I am super type A, complete with workout spreadsheet and Google calendar mania.  If there's one thing I am good at, it's making a smart plan and then following through with it (although I don't do so well if something or someone interferes with said plan) why not share what I've learned over the years with all you Resolutionizers?

But then I thought, nah, people have heard all this a million times.  They know how it goes.

And yet after a week of seeing so-called "goals" on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, I feel what I have to say may not be so familiar after all.

Far and away the most valuable thing I learned in my final two years of college was the idea of SMART goals.  These were part of one of many business courses, but really they can apply to pretty much anything.  I don't know which textbook these came from, so let's just acknowledge right up front that I did not come up with this and kudos to the person who did.

Every. Single. Goal. you make needs to be a SMART goal. 

S - Specific

M - Measurable

A - Achievable

R - Relevant

T - Timely (I think this is a stupid way to put it...I've also heard "Time-bound" which makes more sense)

As an example, let's say that I want to "eat healthier."  This is, I suppose, a goal by some stretch of the imagination, but it's honestly more of a desire.  To actually realize that desire, you need a good SMART goal (or five) to help you out. 

Specific - "Get better at CrossFit" or "eat healthier" or "lose weight" or "work out more" are all way too broad.  You need to be specific about a key aspect of your desire.  For my Health Eating example, pick something you KNOW needs work.  Last year I knew my vegetable intake was sadly deficient.  So instead of "eating healthy" we make the goal specific to vegetables: "eat more veggies."

Measurable - While we've gotten specifc about a particular area of eating healthy, "more" is not really measurable.  A good goal can be quantified.  Veggies are extra easy to quantify, as generally 1 serving = 1 cup.  "Eat at least 3 cups of veggies per day" is now both specific and measurable.

Achievable - This is possibly my favorite piece of the goal-setting.  It factors in real life.  Maybe someone somewhere could say, "This year I will eat 3 cups of veggies every day for 365 days" and succeed, but I know I could not.  My weekdays are fairly consistent and I always pack a ton of food to bring to work, and because I am cheap, I know that I personally won't bail on the lunch I packed in favor of going out to eat.  My weekends, on the other hand, are usually when I go to dinner with people or run around doing errands, or sleep in a little extra.  I have much less time to plan ahead and less control over what I'm going to eat.  I decided to make the veggie goal a weekday-only goal.  If the weekend included some veggies, great.  But I wasn't gonna set myself up for failure and frustration with a standard I knew I couldn't keep.  The achievable goal is now: "Eat at least 3 cups of veggies per day 5 days per week."

Relevant - Usually this is the easy part.  It's where you check to see whether your goal actually relates to your initial desire.  If you already eat at least 3 cups of veggies 5 days a week, this isn't gong to be a relevant goal, since you wanted to "eat healthier" - the "-er" part implies you'll make an improvement on what you're currently doing.  For me last year, I was getting 0-2 servings of veggies per day, so I knew it would be a relevant goal.

Time-bound - Have some sort of deadline or end in sight.  Honestly, for almost any goal I would recommend no short time frame than one month, and generally no longer time frame than 3 months.  Most of us can tough something out for a week, but a month can help make something a habit.  Anything longer than 3 months can sound really overwhelming and start to feel paralyzing.  I would write out the date for yourself, and then reassess when you reach that end point.

Alright, now that you know what kind of goals to set, look for Part II next week on sticking with those goals!

Speaking of people who are trying to get healthier...on Monday night, Jared and I hiked up to our apartment complex's clubhouse to catch some Biggest Loser on TV.

We aren't big tube-watchers (as you can guess since we don't have one at home), but we really wanted to see this particular episode when we heard it would feature a bunch of CrossFit greats like Rich Froning and Camille Leblanc-Bazinet!

We wore our Reebok Nanos and Innovates, of course.

We were both surprised and impressed with the show as a whole.  It was cool to see the kids on the show, and I loved the fact that they don't weigh the kids.  They are giving the kids a fitness test at the beginning and end of the show.  I love encouraging people to measure their fitness by what they can DO and not being so preoccupied by the silly number on the scale.

We also got to catch a classic Jillian chewing out a contestant moment:

But of course the best part was squealing like a girl (oh, wait, I am a girl) when the blue team headed into Bob's workout "gym" and we saw all the CrossFitters WODding away!!!


We were so excited to see CrossFit on the show, because on the one hand you have all the world class athletes, but then you see all these contestants DOING CrossFit.  People often tell me that they want to "get in better shape" before trying CrossFit, or that they aren't strong enough or tough enough.  I hope that this show will really convince people that CrossFit truly is scaleable for any fitness level, and that anyone, no matter what your limitations, can come in and give it a shot.

And for your happy Friday viewing pleasure, check out this great video of Jillian Michaels herself trying a WOD!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Resolution Revolution 2013 at Stoneway CrossFit

My favorite (posed) photo of the day:
(Incidentally I used to think CrossFit was actually like this. 

No wonder I put off trying it for so long.)

Saturday was the 2nd Annual Resolution Revolution, hosted by Stoneway CrossFit.

Last year, Jared and I competed at the first annual Resolution Revolution (along with some other teams from Mercer Island CrossFit), but I was so new I had to scale significantly, and Jared wasn't feeling well, so we didn't finish.  This year I've come a long long way in my strength and skills, and Jared and I are better at communicating and teamwork, so we knew it was going to be an awesome event.

We were in the first heat and wanted to make sure we had good parking and plenty of time to do mobility and warm-up, so we ate breakfast, packed extra clothes and a bunch of food, and left our place at 7:30.  I started to feel nervous walking out the door, but reminded myself, "This is just like going out to run a road race...except more fun!"

We found a parking spot right by the box and were the first athletes on the scene.  There were some awesome Stoneway shirts (still gotta get me the pink one!) and some vendors as well!


I called these the Foam Rollers of Doom - don't they make you want to cry just looking at them?

I was impressed with how seamless the sign-in process was for atheletes.  We also got a sheet showing who was competing in which heat - really helpful if you have friends to cheer for!

We went upstairs to do some mobility.  Our heat wasn't for an hour, so there was no reason to start warming up right away.  Sara and Ray were in the first heat as well.  It was fun to chat with them while doing mobility work!

I mixed mobility with several trips to the bathroom.  One hope for next year: that they rent some Porta Potties.  While Stoneway is a good facility for an event of this kind...they have ONE bathroom that had to be shared amongst 80 competitors (not to mention any spectators or volunteers).  Jared and I finally started warming up about 15-20 minutes before our heat.  (So glad we had 45 minutes of mobility beforehand!)  My warmup included a 400 meter row, pass throughs, inch worms, squats, and leg swings. 

We headed downstairs and outside for our heat!  We met our judge, Ravit, who was really sweet and explained to us the movement standards for the workout.  Here's how the workout broke down for RX Lite (our division):

4 minutes (2 each partner) to get as many double-unders as possible
after the 4 minutes are up...go right into this WOD for time:
60 squat clean & jerks (30 each partner) at #115/#75
4 hill runs together
100 burpees (50 each partner)
50 deadlifts (25 each partner) at #145/#115
There was a 45 minute time cap, and except for the hill runs, only one partner was working at a time.  You could break up your reps any way you wanted, with one caveat - you shared a bar.  So in theory you could trade off every other rep (some teams did this with burpees) but anytime you switched partners on the lifts, you had to strip weight from or add weight to the bar.  This obviously made it strategically better to get as many reps as you reasonably could before handing off to your partner.

Our plan was to have me start on all the movements.  Jared thrives under pressure, so for example, if he was the last one doing the squat clean and jerks, he'd be stoked to speed up so we could get on with the run. Plus I would get a rest before heading into the run, which was a good idea for me. 


The double unders were the hardest part for me - I totally should have warmed up my calves which I didn't do at all.  My score was actually pretty decent (for me) - 70 reps with a rope that doesn't fit me.  Thank God!

Then Jared came and kicked some serious butt with 148.  It was so excited to realize Chris, Heidi, and Joel had come out early to cheer on the 9:15 teams!  Jared's mom came out to watch us, too!

After our four minutes of double-unders, we got to go right into the squat clean and jerks (SQ&J). We realized that neither of us had warmed up with the bar before the WOD.  Oops. 

For rep scheme, we had decided to have me do 15 SQ&J, then Jared for 15 reps , then 15 for me and the final 15 for Jared.


This ended up working out really well for us...we got decent room to breathe while the other person worked, and we didn't have to waste a bunch of time changing the weights in and out a million times.  I tried to smile before each rep which helped me relax, get my form set, and remember that we were there to have fun!


We could really watch Ray and Sara much but thankfully Heidi got some great shots of them - they were in the RX division with #155 for the guys and #105 for the girls!


Before we knew it, we were on to the hill repeats.  I expected this to be pretty quick and easy since our division didn't carry any weights on the run, but I had kinda hurt my calf from a lack of warm-up before the double unders...and the hill is CRAZY steep.

For the RX division, guys had to carry a #25 plate and girls a #10:


Jared was totally running the hill - he encouraged me a lot and said at one point, "come on, let's jog!" but I was so slow jogging up with my calf that I ended power walking because it was faster.  Yikes.  Gear note - my Nanos had surprisingly good traction for this, especially the downhill part - even in the rain!

After we came down the hill for the fourth time, we ran back for my favorite part - BURPEES!!!  (Yes, there is probably something wrong with me but I have already been to

I don't know why, but very early on in my CrossFit "career" I decided I was gonna love burpees and be really good at them.  It does help that I am a little person to begin with, but I've worked on my form for these a ton and it has really paid off.  Plus I just think they're fun!

I wanted to be the first burpee-doer and we were going to trade off every ten reps.  I ran into our station and started in, but it was so loud with all the cheering that I didn't hear Jared and Ravit saying, "Meghan, you have to touch the bar!" until I'd completed 3 reps.  Dang.  I got up, touched the bar, and started over.  I'd asked Ravit at the beginning if we had to clap on each rep, and she said we didn't, but we did have to make sure both feet left the ground every rep.  To save energy, I decided not to bring my arms overhead, but while I was mid-burpee, Ravit clarified that I did still have to get my arms up - we just didn't have to clap.

Thankfully instead of getting frustrated, I maintained my "having fun" mentality and carried on.  (It sure helped that Ravit made sure we heard her and communicated right away if she noticed something was off.)  One thing that was really odd was that the judge in the corral next to us started commenting on my burpees and telling me I didn't complete reps.  Weird.  I blew it off and just focused on Ravit. 

The first 10 (or really 15, but 10 towards the score) I did directly on the pavement, which kinda hurt my hands, so while Jared did his first ten, I grabbed my warmup shirt to put under my hands for my last 40.

It was so nice to know we each had to do a set amount of reps and that we had a judge keeping track!  It allowed me to really focus on what I was doing and not have to worry much about thinking and counting.  We really flew through these, and only the last two or three felt difficult.  Then it was deadlift time!

We lucked out because Jared's weight for the SQ&J was my weight for the deadlifts!  By having him finish with the SQ&J and me start with the deadlifts, we saved ourselves one time of dealing with setting up the bar.  (We passed this on as a tip for Chris and Heidi.)

I expected the 25 deadlifts at #115 to be a piece of cake, since my one rep max is at #205, but after all the other work, they were hard!  I did 15 and then added weights for Jared.  He knocked out all 25 in a row, and then stripped the bar for me.  I made the final 10 and we were done!

Our total time for the workout was 33 minutes and change, but our time not counting the double unders was under 30 minutes!  I was so excited to see we'd done so well.  I really had been focusing on form and having fun, so it was cool to see that pay off with some speed!

After our heat we rolled out and got some much-needed Progenex.  Heidi and I did some partner calf foam rolling...I almost cried and Heidi said at one point, "I thought you were my friend!"  Boy that stuff hurts.  It worked out nicely that no MICF teams were in the 2nd heat, so we got to chat and offer strategy thoughts and recover.

I like competing but I also love snapping photos and cheering!  It was awesome to watch Heidi and Chris in the RX division with such killer weight.


They really encouraged each other, and had some help from a CrossFit Amped competitor in the next station who went head to head with Heidi on some of the SQ&J reps.

The next heat was our buddy (and resident physical therapist) Joel!  We couldn't get any other Mercer Island gals to jump in and compete, so Joel got paired up with Alison from Stoneway who also needed a partner.  Joel had hurt his calf the day before, so he had fancy tape and Jared to do the hill run for him!


He toughed it out and did the final hill, though! 




We left before the final heat because we'd been there so long and had gotten to see all our box's teams compete - it was a really fun day with Allegra (also from MICF) and her sister joining in the fun as spectators!

Team Martin!

Sara and Ray!

Team Matson

Someone joked with us as we were taking off: "Don't leave!  You might have won!"  We laughed.

We showered up at home and I limped around while Jared made us a killer post-competition lunch of sweet potato fries, sausage, and beer.  I texted a friend: "Being athlete is hard work!"


Then I got a text from Coach Allison telling me WE PLACED 3RD IN OUR DIVISION and she'd bring our prizes to the box on Monday.

I was so surprised and happy I cried!  If you know me at all you know I am the theatre girl who has always sucked at everything athletic.  I've had a lot of emotional ups and downs this year with CrossFit, seeing improvement but getting impatient and feeling like I'd never really be good at it.

I told Jared as I blubbered away, "I feel like I'm legit now!"  I'm like a real athlete.  So crazy.  Oh, and we won the foam rollers of doom!

A huge thank you to Coach Scott and Stoneway for putting on this event, and for all the volunteers who made it so smooth, and all the boxes who showed up to compete and make this such a great community!  Can't wait till next year.

Now of course we want to do more competitions - so tell me if you know any good ones coming up!  Also tell me what you've done lately that surprised you.  And whether your friends curse you for foam rolling their calves.