Friday, June 29, 2012

Paleo Genius

I keep forgetting to talk about my new found love: Instagram. I have no idea why I like it so much, but it has definitely replaced Facebook in my time-suckage. Pretty sure FB hit its peak 2 years ago, and is about to go the way of the famous others. As it should. Anyway...Instagram! AWESOME. If you want to follow me, find me at: vbarnard. I mostly post pictures of my best paleo meals, my dog, and trains. I know, riviting.

Speaking of paleo meals, and since the majority of you don't see my Instagram feed (yet?), I'm going to share this little genius thing I did the other night. I can't take credit for it, because I saw it on one of my favorite Paleo sites (Everyday Paleo), and she got it from a different paleo site that I can't recall at the moment (sooo much sharing and LOVE). First off, on my last shopping trip I scored some major deals. I didn't even realize how amazingly nutrient packed and tasty my selections were until I saw them lined up on the belt headed towards the grocery clerk, I was so proud. Organic greens, chicken sausages, organic bananas, organic salsa, green onions, 3 packages of high quality mortadella on sale- marked down from $6.99/pack to $0.75 per pack! Yes they were a managers special, yes they had reached the expiration date on the package, but um, its mortadella, I'm Italian, and they were $0.75!!!! I got a few other items as well, can't remember, but the whole bill was under $25, and I had food for me for close to a week. Eating well=not expensive. Find the deals, eat less, LIVE YOUR LIFE. Anyway...

Back to the stolen genius idea. Probably one of the biggest things I missed when beginning my journey into Paleo was sandwiches. I LOVE SANDWICHES. I love the flavor combinations of seasoned meat and tangy pickeled things, the crunch of veggies, all wrapped up in a handheld package. To me, they are the perfect answer to any situation. They can be fancy, or simple, really, the possibilites are endless. Just like anything else, in the beginning of my new way of eating, I had limited ideas. I used lettuce for my bread substitute on things like burgers, tacos, BLT's etc. Eventually, I ended up ditching the lettuce thing and just eating the meat because lettuce didn't provide the same feeling I missed. Sure, it conveniently held the innards, but SOMETHING was missing.

Enter the bell pepper. I saw a photo on Everyday Paleo's site when she and her family were on vacation in Maui. There was a line up of sandwiches made with bell pepper "bread" on the counter. I was blown away and knew immediately that I need to try it. I love green bell peppers on my sandwiches (hopefully a salami, or other cured meat) olive oil, balsamic, S&P...OMG. My instant thought was "how come I never thought of that?" Seriously, the pepper has way more to it than a lettuce leaf, and more flavor! Then I remembered how great the internet is, and how sharing of ideas and creativity is endless with an open mind. I laugh now when people say "but what do you EAT if you are paleo?" LOL. I eat better now than I ever have. I'm fine with keeping that part a secret though. People are going to think what they think.

I happened to have a green bell pepper in my veggie drawer, I sliced it on either side of the stem, trimmed it up a bit so it was flat and "breadish" then layered my awesomely priced fancy mortadella, 1/4 an avocado, thin sliced onion, spread some dijon, and sprinkled with balsamic vinegar and S&P. I snapped a quick photo, and then dove in. It completely lived up to all my expectations and more. It held the meat nicely. It tasted fantastic. It filled me up (thanks avocado!). Oh, and the best part? Both slices of "bread" added up to a whopping 25 calories. I'm pretty sure that the bell pepper contained more nutrients than 2 slices of bread too, AND didn't cause my stomach to freak out, bloat, and make me sneezy. Honestly, I could eat that sandwich every night. The mortadella added 220 calories, the avocado 75ish, and the mustard 10? Whole sandwich= roughly 330 calories. My dinner, 330 nutrient packed satisfying calories. Oh, and since I didn't eat any bread, I won't be hungry 2 hours later.

My masterpiece:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Passing the Test

I walked into the the breakroom/kitchen this morning to grab my normal 6-pack of water, and there was a box of donuts on the counter. I immediately went over, looked at the options, and grabbed one. After a second of recognition into what I was doing, I put it down, because, WTF, I don't eat donuts, AND WTF, I don't eat until after my noontime workout. Everyday is a fight to overcome past habits. Everyday I get better at it.

That is all I can ask of myself, that each day I try my very best to treat my body right. Some days will be better then others. I am a firm believer that as long as my solid healthy efforts outweigh my times of distraction or indulgence, I will continue to see progress. Yesterday I did a push-up on my toes with 60# resting on my back. I didn't even know I was capable of that. Then I thought of all the times in recent history that pushed myself. Then I thought about how many times there were donuts sitting in the kitchen at work and I passed them up. My body continues to surprise me because I keep surprising myself.

So, here I sit, sipping my bitter BCAA's rather than feeling like crap after eating a nutrient-void donut because I have goals. I have unassisted pull-ups to master, heavy deadlifts and squats to maintain, deltoids to pop out, hip bones to discover (collar bones are found, BTW) and I am going to try really hard to never feel like there was something else I could have done when tested.

Being tested comes in many forms for me. A few examples: I can be literally tested at the gym whenever I'm trying to PR on a lift or workout, I can be literally tested with food when there are donuts or some other tempting item in front of me and I have the choice to partake or pass. I can figuratively be tested when I go for a run with girlfriends, or when I need to look good in an outfit for a party, or a swimsuit. Those are the times when I'm going to run through my life choices for the past few weeks/months/years, and think to myself, "have I done all that I could?"

Everytime I want that answer to be a resounding "YES."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Meet Fran

I'd like to elaborate a little bit on yesterday's post. Going back today (after a day of complete perfection eating/exercise wise) and re-reading it, my head is clear, and I realized I failed to mention my 5 rep max deadlift PR in addition to my new Fran PR. First off, what in the heck, or who in the heck is Fran? Honestly, I don't know who she is, but I can tell you the workout that is named after her is a complete bitch. Its quick, (like, the best people in the world finish the workout in 2 minutes) but it is SO. FREAKIN. HARD.

The rep scheme is 21-15-9. The movements are 65# thrusters (front squat into an immediate OH press) and pull-ups. So, you do 21 thrusters, 21 pull-ups, then 15 thrusters, 15 pull-ups etc. I've done this workout a total of 4 times now, and the limiting factor for me is the pull-ups. Before yesterday, I had always subbed jumping pull-ups and while that was ok, doing banded pull-ups is a whole different story. Yesterday I used the thick band, and as usual did the thrusters at 65#. Then, I moved as fast as I possibly could.

I had the whole day to mentally prepare for Fran, and also I was welcoming the sort of "punishment" for my weekend of bad choices. I did my usual 16 hour fast, consuming only water and BCAA's in the morning, and headed to the gym at noon for my fasted workout. We started off the workout with establishing our 5 rep max deadlift. The most amount of weight you can deadlift 5 times without letting go of the bar or pausing at the bottom for more than 2 seconds. I looked back through my journal to see if we had tested this before, and I could only find results for a 3 rep max. My last 3 rep max was 215, so I definitely wanted to get above 200 for my 5 rep max. I stopped at 205. I was pretty happy with that, not to mention a little light headed after setting the bar down for good. I like ending sessions like that feeling like I have a little left in the tank, so that the next time we test, I remember that I could have given a touch more, and that seems to give me confidence to try for more weight. In a few weeks I'll be testing my 1 rep max deadlift, and I would LOVE to hit over 250#. 265# or 275# would be a dream.

We cleaned up our stations after deadlifts and set up for Fran. I loaded up my bar with 65#, got my band ready by staking out a spot on the pull-up bar, and then the nerves hit. Why, after 1.75 years do I still get gut wrenching nerves before some workouts? I just want the workout to go well. That's all I'm thinking, and somehow that puts tremendous pressure on me. I wanted to beat my previous time. I wanted to push myself. 3-2-1-GO. The 21 thrusters went up like nothing. (note to self, always do heavy deadlifts prior to thrusters). The 21 pull-ups went by ok- the sucky thing about the place I'm in now, is that I'm strong enough to do strict pull-ups with the black band, but I haven't got my kip technique down to use the smaller band yet. So, I'm like stuck inbetween. Essentially I did this workout with strict-pull ups which are way harder. The 15 thrusters were rough, and I had to break them down into groups of 5. The 15 pull-ups were equally rough. I was at 4 minutes, and I was gassed. I forced myself to grab the bar and attempt the last 9 thrusters unbroken, but only made it to seven. I hammered out the last two, jumped up onto the box and struggled to get my foot into the band. It just wasn't working. Trainer saw my struggle and came over to help. That cost precious seconds. I finished my 9 pull-ups pretty quick, in time to see the clock say 6:43. I was the first person done, and I was SO happy that I beat my previous time doing a harder (banded pull-ups) movement. The next time I do Fran, it will be with the smaller band, and I expect my time to increase. BUT, that is ok. One day, I'll be doing the whole workout as it was written- no band for my pull-ups, just me, and I already have the 65# thruster DOWN.

Arriving back at the office, I felt so good. That gym sessions was pretty much the epitome of a perfect workout to end a fast (heavy weights, fast), not to mention, it was a great fasted workout, meaning I didn't feel like I was bonking. I had plenty of energy. Afterwards I ate my perfect largest meal of the day consisting of lots of protein, a little natural fat, and a ton of cauliflower. Seriously, how amazing is it that I can recover from a weekend of shit in one day just by fasting, working out, and eating properly? I used to think that it took me weeks to shake a few days of bad behaviour. I guess for someone like me, the quick recovery is somewhat of a blessing and curse because now I'll just tell myself eating bad is ok since the down time is drastically reduced. NO! That is the dangerous thinking. I have goals. I have things I want to do.

Today has been yet another stellar day, with perfect fasting/eating/exercise. Our workout today was A-MAH-ZING. When I first saw it written, I was skeptical. It was one of those tricky ones, where it looks kinda short, but then takes like 23 minutes. At the same time, I knew I wanted to do it at the prescribed weight for girls, so I was ready for it to take as long as it needed to. I looked at the 6am class times to get an idea of how long of a workout it was, and they were around 16, 17 minutes- not prescribed. I figured it would be a 18 minute or so workout for me. NOPE! Finished in 15:21. I was beat. Again, it was an amazing fasted workout where I had a ton of energy and I felt super strong. One of the movements in the workout was my nemisis- hang power cleans. The weight was 95#. I wasn't sure if I would be able to do all 3 rounds of 15 at that weight, but I was going to try. Sure enough, I nailed each and every one. It seems like not that long ago, a 95# hang clean was not in my repertoire. After today, I'm sure that I have hang cleans at 115# in me for a few reps.

I was the only person in the 8 person class today that did the workout as written, with all the recommended weights, and I didn't finish last! I have no idea what has gotten into me. I followed up today's workout with a crapton of cauliflower, broccoli salad, peas, and pork loin. My forearms are still so smoked, 2 hours after completing the workout. Tomorrow is looking like a rest day. Hooray for being back on the horse and galloping off into the sunset. Eff-you standard American diet, 45 minutes or more of cardio, and eating frequent small meals!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Eating Wheat Makes Bad Things Happen

Sooooo....this weekend. Things didn't really go as planned. What is strange is that I can pinpoint the exact moment where things took a turn for the worst. It was a few hours after I wrote here about continuing to eat well and lift heavy things in preparation for my wedding. It was after my seriously delicious bacon/eggs/greek yogurt breakfast. More importantly, it was right after I had somehow convinced myself that making cornbread was a good idea. You know, to "get the flour/cornmeal/etc. out of the house" "for the bf deluxe" "because corn is gluten free, if I mix it with whole wheat flour, it will only be half-bad" "because I'll only eat one piece" are you laughing yet? I am.

I made the cornbread to accompany the turkey chili I was planning on making. I knew it was probably a bad idea (probably??). I attempted to make it less of a potential disaster by making 1/2 the recipe, and then cutting the amount of sweetneer they called for, and using honey instead of sugar. I also (wrongly) though that somehow whole wheat flour would be better for me then white flour. I poured the batter into my cast iron skillet and started in on the turkey chili. I chopped veggies, pulled all the ingredients together- organic tomato stuff, ground turkey, seasonings. The cornbread was done, and immediately I carved out a piece. It was good. I was really looking forward to having a piece with a ton of chili dumped over it.

To take my mind off the cornbread, I began cooking up my veggies for the chili. Things were looking and smelling great. I grabbed the turkey to brown it, and dumped it on top of the veggies. After about a minute or so, the turkey started to smell "off." I just ignored it, and moved on. The smell was still there, and I began to question the meat. I ignored this further, and dumped in the tomato products and spices. Mmmm. The odd turkey smell was replaced by tomato and chili powder and cumin. That's more like it I thought, mindlessly stealing bites of cornbread edge. After a few minutes of simmering, I figured the turkey was done, and I better try a little bit just to see if the smell was my imagination. I took out the tiniest of bits, blew on it, and OH MY GOD, that turkey was NOT OK. I stopped the pot from cooking, and retreated to the couch with another piece of cornbread and continued my Dawson's Creek marathon. I was pissed. My plan for dinner was ruined, and the thought of eating meat or anything resembling meat turned my stomach after tasting the bad turkey. So, I did what any normal person would do, and just ate more cornbread for my dinner. Wow, a dinner consisting of practically nothing but carbs. I honestly can't remember the last time I did that! I knew I would be paying the consequences, I just didn't know how immediate and far-reaching they would be.

About an hour after my nutrient void dinner, I was hit with a massive wave of exhaustion- no doubt from the insulin release post carb-fest 2012. I fell asleep on the couch (I NEVER do that anymore). I woke up 45min- 1hr later, and forced myself to get up, do the dishes, toss the bad turkey chili and the remainder of the cornbread, give the dog a bath, do laundry, clean the chicken coop, and other weekend tasks. I looked at the wall containing the 50-year old wall paper that I've been trying to scrape off for weeks and told myself "I'll tackle that tomorrow." After all that, it was 8:40pm or so, and I settled down on the couch to resume DC watching, feeling like I'd been somewhat productive, and trying to ignore the fact that I ate cornbread for dinner. I checked my phone and saw that I had a voicemail from the girl that rents my condo. Oh, boy. That's never good.

"Yeah, this is (renter) and I just got home after a trip away, and my kitchen sink was full and looked like it had overflowed...I'm actually on my way to the airport for another trip..." message cuts off. Great. That happened to me once when I lived at the condo, a clog in the sink line downstream makes my sink back up since its a ground floor unit, and anytime someone above uses their sink, the water raises in my sink. If no one is there to catch it, it overflows. I call renter back and get the full story since her message cut off, and it was exactly what I expected, except since she wasn't home, she wasn't there to catch the overflow and has no idea how many times it did overflow. Wonderful. I call the bf deluxe who was at work, getting off at 10pm (then had to work at 7am the next morning) and tell him we needed to do a condo mission.

I gathered a sink overflowing kit- bucket, towels, plunger, etc. and waited patiently for the BF to get home. At about 10:45p, we were off to see what shape the condo was in. My stomach felt like crap. I was stuffed up, and my eyes were watering like crazy. Stupid wheat. We did what we could at the condo that night, emptied the sink as much as possible, cleaned up the obvious water, and placed a bucket under the sink in case of another overflow, as well as towels. Walking around on the Pergo flooring in the kitchen, I heard audible "squishing." Damn. I'm no expert but it sounded like water was benethe the Pergo. I let the bf deluxe hear it, but he just shrugged it was 11:30pm, and he had to get up at 6am. We returned home, and decided we would deal with a plumber on Monday since Sunday rates had to be astronomical. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about water under the Pergo, and how if we waited till Monday, that could be a disaster, especially if the sink overflowed more on Sunday. I decided that I would have the bf deluxe drop me off at the condo first thing in the morning on his way to work so I could mitigate the situation.

How is it that I seemed so awake and with it at 3am to have the presence of mind to come up with the grand scheme of dealing with the issue on Sunday morning, yet when the alarm went off a few hours later at 6am I was beyond groggy and SO tempted to just stay in bed. The fear of the costs of water damage forced me out of bed, and the bf deluxe asked me what I was doing. I said- "you're dropping me off at the condo, I have to deal with this sink thing today." "The rates are going to be overtime, its Father's Day and Sunday." he says. "Well, the potential costs of replacing a kitchen are astronomical if we let mold get growing." We quickly got dressed and ready, and I asked if we had time for a Starbucks visit. Starbucks was approved, and I realized I was SO HUNGRY. Now, practicing IF, I deal with a lot of stomach grumblings. This was not like that. I'm guessing my nutrient poor carb dinner the night before had something to do with how I was feeling (which was crappy with a HUGE side of hunger). It was familiar enough that I remember feeling like that prior to going Paleo (as my 'normal'), yet it had been so long since I felt that way. I always remember how amazing I feel when I'm not eating wheat/sugar. It's almost as if the whole wheat flour exacerbated the feeling. There was no satiating protein or fat in my prior meal like I'm so accustom to. Abandoning my usual 16 hour fast for a 8ish? hour fast, I got a sausage breakfast sammie from Starbucks. And I ate the english muffin. Goddamnit I never learn.

I called a few plumbers on the way to the condo and found one that didn't charge a call-out fee and didn't charge extra for weekends. Score! At 7am, they said they would be there within an hour. At 10am, they still hadn't arrived, but I kept myself plenty busy moving all of my renter's crap out of the kitchen (including her $1,000+ liquor collection on a leaning shelf), made myself at home by procurring 3 fans of hers and setting them up to fan the kitchen, and tore up the Pergo flooring that I clearly remember the bf deluxe and I laying not that long ago. My fears were confirmed and there was water under the Pergo. The Pergo was toast, as it had absorbed some water. The water had wicked up the baseboards as well. Crap. When I had all the flooring pulled up, the plumber showed up at 11 (four hours really?!) and cleared the drain. I did some light cleaning with the opportunity of having to move both the fridge and the stove to get the Pergo up. I found some delicious chocolate cookies in a glass cookie jar on top of the stove (renter is a chef) and helped myself to a few of those (NEVER LEARN!). All I could do was leave the fans running and check on it Monday after work. I finally got out of there around 1pm, and walked to the bus stop. Renter is out of town for a few days, luckily, the place is kinda a mess.

The bus drops me about a mile from my house, so I walked that and planned my clean meal of ground beef tacos and roasted cauliflower. I was pretty hungry again (weird, usually I don't feel this hungry- its the nutrient poor carbs!). Three minutes after I walked in the door, my phone rings, and its the party rentals guy. I forgot I had made an appointment with him to come check out our yard and give us pricing on tent/table/chair rentals for the backyard celebration. He was on his way over, and I had no time to start cooking. By the time the party rental guy left, it was almost time for the BF deluxe to get home, so I started making Sunday dinner- tacos and cauliflower it was! I felt better by finally getting some solid protein and veg into me.

After dinner I settled down and was kind of irriated that my day was spent working at a place I don't live anymore! I began to shift my focus to the work week, and decided that my birthday week/carb excuses/etc. was OVER. I looked to see if Monday's workout was posted, and sure enough, it was. The notorious "FRAN." Great.

So, if you are still with me at this point, do you see how wheat made my condo flood and put FRAN in the minds of the coaches?!?!?!?! I do. Wheat makes bad things happen.

However, on the bright side, some lady in my office went out of her way today to tell me how "utterly amazing" I'm looking. Then, I PR'd on Fran by over a minute, and my eating (fasted, protein, veg post workout as my largest meal) has been picture perfect today. Back on that horse!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Three Months

Yesterday after my workout, I returned to the office and quickly headed to the restroom to change back into my work clothes.  I wouldn't want to upset anyone in the office by walking around in my workout clothes a few minutes longer than "necessary."  In the bathroom was our receptionist, washing her hands.  I headed for the large stall, and she says to me "you're doing sooooo great!  Is this because your wedding is coming up?"

Ah, the famous backhanded compliment.  How do I respond to that?  I mean, I've been doing crossfit for nearly 2 years, I began months before I even took the current job I have now.  Before crossfit, I was a member of a gym, or would run, etc.  There is no way of our receptionist knowing that.  All she sees is me, headed to the gym at lunch 3-4 days out of the week.  But, I'd be lying if I said that I didn't want to look good on at my wedding celebration.  I smiled politely, and just said "oh, working out during lunch is a nice way to break up the day."  I left it at that. 

So the wedding celebration.  As of today, I'm sitting at exactly three months till the big party.  I have my dress, and if I had to wear that dress today, I'd be perfectly fine.  But, there is always room for improvement!  I'm not doing anything drastic like eating nothing but lettuce and ice cubes for the next 3 months, but I will be continuing to do exactly what I have been doing- fasted training, lifting heavy weights, and eating things in which the name and ingredient list are identical. 

What did I do today to be consistent with my current eating and goals/wedding celebration preparation?  I ended my 20 hour fast with a breakfast of local, natural uncured bacon, 2 eggs scrambled (in the bacon grease) from our ladies in the backyard, garnished with some green onions, and a dollup of greek yogurt.  Yeah.  Life is good. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Morning Workouts

I mentioned in my last post that even though I absolutely LOVE my new eating schedule of 16 hours fast/8 hour feed, I do not like the fasted workouts. There have only been a handful of workouts that I felt "me" at since beginning fasted training. The real crux is that the ENTIRE point of the 16 hour fast is to end it with a completely fasted workout for maximum effect. Yesterday, I happend to have a really good fasted workout. I thought for a second to determine if there was anything I did differently...then I thought back to the other good fasted workouts I've had (3 in total maybe? 4?). It was so obvious, I felt like an idiot once I put two and two together. All my "good" fasted workouts have been in the morning. Unfortunately, right now my schedule only allows for me to attend one morning workout/week, but that's ok, I'll still take advantage of that to mix things up a bit.

Now that I'm fully adjusted to intermittent fasting I'm going to start fine tuning a few things. First off, my post-workout meal has not been my largest meal of the day all the time, and it should be. It's usually about the same size as my second meal has been. I'm going to start putting in some real effort to make it my largest meal (900 calories or so?) I'm thinking some dinner leftovers of protein and veg, plus a "dessert" of protein shake and berries should get me pretty close to my targets for calories and carbs/protein post workout. My second meal will be smaller, and consist of meat, some fat, and veggies. Rest days will involve vegetables, higher fat intake- bacon? (kidding, except maybe once in awhile) and no fruit.

Back to my morning workout yesterday- it was basically my dream workout. I had a work lunch scheduled for yesterday, so I knew if I wanted to get my workout in, it would have to be in the morning. The night before, I was beat. Earlier that day, I had run 1.5 miles, and performed 150 back extensions and 150 sit-ups. I didn't have the energy to get my workout clothes together, let alone an outfit for work and my shower stuff. I like to do that stuff the night before I wake up early so I don't have to think in the morning. I was trying really hard to talk myself out of it, and just sleep in. As I was laying in bed, I decided to check to see if the workout had been posted. Within seconds I knew I'd be up at 5:15 (7 hours from the current time) and headed to the 6am class.

I woke up with no struggle, it helps immensley that it gets light out at 4:30am here. I quickly threw my gym clothes on, packed a bag and shower stuff with work clothes, fed the animals, downed some BCAA's and was out the door by 5:40am. The drive down I was mentally preparing for a PR. At this new gym, we don't often test our 1 rep max lifts. Sometimes we do a 3 rep max, or 5 rep max, but those are rare as well. We would be testing our 1 rep max back squat, and then our workout was 10 minutes of one arm Kb jerks. Yes. No running, no pull-ups, no box jumps, no burpees, just pure power. The last time I had tested my 1 rep max back squat, I think I hit 195#, but no one was really watching me, so who knows if my depth was good enough? It was also more then a year ago.

I was partnered up with the bad ass girl that I'm always secretly battling with. She is a 6am regular, and when I go in at noon usually, I look to see what her time and weights were. Sometimes she beats me, sometimes I beat her. When I arrived at the gym, I became aware of just how sore I was. My abs, hammies, and shoulders? were all feeling yesterdays Hero WOD, "Michael." After our warm-up, we set up the racks with the bar, and did a few reps with the naked (45#) bar. We went up to 95#, then 135#, 165#, 185#, 205# for a few reps each- all went up real easy. I forgot my soreness. I was super stoked just to get over 200#! Then we loaded on 10 more pounds, and tried for 215#. I got down on my squat and came up about half-way before I knew I wasn't going to make it the rest of the way. I shrugged the bar off my back and jumped forward. We unloaded the bar a little, set it back up on the racks, loaded the weight back on, and she tried for 215#. She failed as well. We took the 5# of each side, and put 2.5# on. The bar weight was 210#. I stepped under it, and this time had it rest a little lower on my back. It felt awkward, but when I stood up, I could feel the difference. I squatted down no problem, and felt my butt touch my calves. I was defintely low enough. I stood up and drove out of the squat with no problem. New PR!!! 210#!!! I'm pretty excited with that. The way 210 went up so easy, I'm wondering if I should have tried 215# again, but with the bar lower on my back? We ran out of time, and like I said, I'm pretty happy with a 210# back squat. Next goal is 225#. These back squat numbers get more impressive the more weight I lose.

For our workout, we did a 10 minute AMRAP of one-armed Kb jerks. The only place we could rest the Kb was locked out overhead, or in the rack position (over chest). Setting the Kb down would restart the rep count. Score is total reps unbroken. I was not confident that I would be able to hold onto the 35# for 10 minutes. The last time we did something similar to this (4 weeks ago?) with the Secret Service Snatch Test, I used a 25# Kb, and that was no problem. I definitely wanted to use the 35#, and get over 100 reps. Not only was I able to hold onto the thing the whole time, but I got 111 reps. Bad ass girl got 156. I was sweating like crazy, but it was so weird because it didn't feel like a "cardio" workout. I LOVE Kb work, despite my arms being ridiculously bruised up. My technique is improving, and the bruises are getting fewer. Post am workout, I downed plenty of amino acids, felt amazing, and that carried me all the way to my 12pm lunch meeting- lunch was seriously the best thing I've ever tasted.

Today, I'm crazy sore. I'm usually in some state of soreness nearly everyday, but today is WOW. My abs and hamstrings are on fire. I sneezed and almost collapsed because it hurt so bad. I immediately proceeded to laugh at myself. Which again, really hurt. I'm sure it was just a delayed response to the 150 sit-ups and 150 back extensions, but I really forget how weighted back squats work the abdominals. I love me some squats!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Birthday Week Appreciation

In the past week or so, the following has happened (not necessarily in order):
1) I found my wedding dress
2) I turned 33
3) I had the hardest workout at CrossFit to date (mentally and physically)
4) I came the closest I've ever come to getting a kipping pull-up- I was probably still about 6" from getting my chin over the bar, but that is a huge improvement- trust me. Must work on them more...
5) I ate bread (at my birthday dinner) it was amazing
6) Changed our wedding venue to the west coast (our backyard!)
7) I ran 2 miles with a 9 min/something per mile pace. Pretty sure I'm ready for my sub 30min 5K
8) I biked 11.5 miles in 45 minutes (mountain bike, flat path)
9) I ate a corn dog at a baseball game, drank a bunch of wine, and watched the Mariners get their third ever no-hitter

Intermittent fasting and me are still really good friends. I think I've been at this long enough to say that I don't enjoy the fasted workouts, at all, however; I LOVE everything else about this program. I love the ease in which it fits into my schedule. I love the mental clarity, the deep sleep, the lack of interest in foods that normally trigger me, the muscle retention, the energy, EVERYTHING. Its great. In a few weeks I'll be at my first "check point" in which I'll be testing my deadlift, pull-up, and OH squat to see if there are improvements. The check point will also signify 9 weeks of IF, so I'll take a look at my program and determine if I need to make any tweeks (macro nutrient adjustments, caloric adjustments, etc.)

Birthday week meant some less than stellar food choices and some downright nutrient lacking food choices (ahem, see #9), but I can say with total confidence that this birthday I'm smaller and stronger than I was last year. I'm very happy with all that my body is capable of at the moment, and I try soooo hard not to take it for granted. A perfect example of this took place on Saturday. I was home resting off a slight hangover from the baseball game birthday week debauchery, giddy in the fact that Netflix FINALLY put Dawson's Creek on their stream, and then I noticed I had a voicemail. Weird, didn't hear my phone ring? So I listened and it was my friends inviting me to a informal dinner/hang out in an hour. My house is quite north of where the get together was taking place, and the bf deluxe has the car to take to work on Saturdays. Normally if I know of something in advance, I'll borrow the car for the day. But, since this was kind of last minute, I was marooned up at my home. Without even giving it a second thought I grabbed my backpack, change of clothes, bike, helmet, and walked out the door.

As I was riding on the bike trail that is essentially a hill-free expressway to many major areas in Seattle, and accessible less than a mile from my house, I thought of how much things have changed. First of all, there was no thought about riding my bike. It just was the way to get myself from my house to my friends- as if there was no other option. I don't know how else to explain it, I grabbed my bike in the same manner in which I would have grabbed my keys if my car was in the driveway. Last year, I might have thought about which bus routes would get me there, or decline because it was so last minute and I didn't have a car. Second, when I was actually on my bike, riding it, even though I don't ride it very often, it wasn't hard. I was just going, riding my bike to meet my friends, as a means of transport. This wasn't a planned ride, or even for exercise. In fact, Saturday was supposed to be a rest day for me. Just me, on a bike, riding. Lastly, while riding I quickly made a mental note of everything that had just happened to get me to be on that trail and realized how fortunate I am. My legs and lungs have the ability to just head out the door for an 11 mile bike ride at a 15mph pace like its no big deal (and it wasn't?). My brain pathways seem to have replace lazy options with ones that require activity.

I think the last sentence of the above paragraph is important for several reasons. When I was eating the standard American diet (feeling so crappy but didn't even know it) I would force myself to do things because I "knew it was good for me" but it was always a chore. Always so much thought had to go into something as simple as walking a mile to the grocery store, or heaven forbid I do anything active in addition my 20 minute shred video! I always wanted to be someone constantly on the move, jumping from one activity to the next, yet there was somehow a disconnect between what I wanted to be doing and what I was actually doing. While the past 2 years haven't been a smooth transition from the standard American diet to the way I eat now, I see evidence of a major shift in my brain. I no longer think about activity in addition to my workout as being a chore, or any activity for that matter. I just do it, without any thought. I have so much more energy and strength, life is easier.

To me, this realization means success. I started out just wanting to lose weight. I see now that what I really wanted was an easier life. I wanted to just be able to do things without so much mental and physical effort being exerted. So by figuring out the best way for me to eat, the mental struggle with food choices has disapated. By kicking my butt at CrossFit I've got the strength and stamina to do just about anything, so the mental struggle with activity has disapated. My life has slowly become less of a struggle and more of I do appreciate this, and while I'm still going to be hard on myself for not being able to do a pull-up yet, I see how far I've come. Happy Birthday to me!

Here's a set of pictures with one if my BFF's...1) June 2009 post 1/2 marathon- largest I've been?
2) June 2012- wedding dress shopping.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Divine Anti-Cupcake Intervention

I may or may not have just consumed a 1/2 pound of pancetta.  That has nothing to do with this post, but I just had to get that out there.  I also have 69 followers.  What what!!  Ok...again, that has nothing to do with this post.   

Last week when I was flying home from the East Coast, I had a 2.5 hour layover in Newark.  Blah.  It was 90 degrees out, and I had to leave Terminal A to catch a shuttle to Terminal C.  The shuttle was packed, it was HOT, and I know for a fact my deodorant was not working.  When I got to Terminal C (after hauling my luggage up 2 flights of outside stairs in 90 degrees- thank god for CrossFit!) I had to walk at least 3/4 of a mile to my gate at the very end of some segment of the gargantuan terminal.  I just wanted to find my gate and finish up Fifity Shades of Grey, I had 25 pages left.  On my 3/4 mile hike, I noticed many food places, but one place caught my eye and proceeded to ping the back of my brain all the way to my gate, all the way through the last pages of Fifty Shades, continued after I got a quick bite to eat, and even still, as I had well over an hour until my flight boarded. 

I zipped Fifty Shades into my roller bag carry on, and having just consumed a delicious burger and yam fries, I decided to hit up the bookstore I passed to get the second book in the series- Fifty Shades Darker.  The place I passed 1/2 mile back was still nagging in my head.  I bought my book and then made a quick rash decision to head back towards the beckoning. 

Crumbs.  I've read about this place on a certain "weightloss" blog as being a serious downfall for her.  Cupcakes are a huge weakness of mine, but for the most part I can avoid them with no issues.  But I was on the East Coast, the closest I'll ever be to this famed place, and it just happened to be by my gate.  I was drawn in by the fancy french looking font, and when I reached the counter, I was blown away.  There were no less than 50 different kinds of cupcakes splayed out before me.  How could I ever choose?  I decided I would get 2, one for me, one for the BF deluxe.  I made my selection, paid at the counter, grabbed some napkins and a fork from the condiment bar, grabbed my bag with the perfectly packaged treats and headed back to my gate. 

As I was walking to my gate, I was struck with a WTF?  I didn't want a cupcake, it was just going to make me feel like crap.  Some habits (feeling the need to get something because who knows when I can get it again) die hard.  I sat down in a chair and began into the second book, without giving the cupcakes a second thought.  They were now a gift for the bf deluxe, and I might try a bite of each when he eats them, but there was no way in hell I was going to dig into that plastic container and begin eating forkfulls of an enormous cupcake by myself at my gate.  No way.

Things were getting heated between Christian and Ana (FSD) and all of a sudden I hear my name being paged over the loud speaker of the airport:  "V. B.  please come to blahbitty blah blah to claim a lost item."  Shit.  I jumped up and started walking.  Where did they say to go?  I forgot.  Fuck.  I walked to a gate agent and told them I was just paged, and they asked me where it said to go.  "I don't remember."  The large man says "um, well, I can't help you, but if you go to that phone over there, they should be able to repeat the page."  I pick up the phone and ask to have the page repeated.  Nothing. 

It was at that moment that I realized two things.  I had 15 minutes until I boarded, and I was missing my wallet.  Double eff.   I had a considerable amount of money in my wallet, a new credit card (my first ever) that I haven't even used, and stamps, license....I started to panic.  My already not working deodorant began not working in overdrive.  I knew exactly where I could have left my wallet.  Crumbs.  I was so distracted by the fact I was about to get a cupcake, I spaced and left my wallet on the counter.  I walked the 1/2 mile back there as quick as possible.  Sweating profusely and smelling awesome, I walk up to the counter cutting off others in line and say "I think I left my wallet here."  The woman pulls out my wallet, and I'm SO relived.  Without a proper thank you, I quickly grabbed it as she says "we gave your ID to those guys over there since we didn't want to give them your wallet.  They paged you."  I had 5 minutes till boarding.  I went over, waited in a 2 minute line, got my ID back, quickly checked and saw ALL my money was there, and hoofed it back to my gate. 

I arrived just as they were calling my boarding group (group 6 of 7) and I plopped down in my seat, thinking to myself how if I had never made that stupid trip to get a cupcake I didn't even want, the whole drama of the past 20 minutes could have been avoided!  It was not meant to be.  Divine anti-cupcake intervention.