I Compete Because……. I CAN!!!!

This past weekend I competed in a Crossfit competition with my Crossfit friends from Crossfit Solus.  It’s been two years since I have competed.  This actual competition I was a part of, I have participated in twice before.  It was a same-sex partner competition with four different WOD (WorkOuts of the Day).

I was very pleased with how we performed—except for my own performance in the last workout.  The first workout was a 40cal bike ride, 30 clean and jerks, and 20 pulls-ups done as fast as possible and broken up between me and my partner however we wanted.  We got first in our heat in this WOD.

The second WOD was two parts.  Partner 1 (which was me) did 150 single unders, 21 overhead squats, 100 singles, 15 OH squats, and 50 singles with 9 OH squats.  I was able to do this part unbroken with no problem (other than wanting to pee on myself a little.  Jumping can do that to us- HAHA). And my partner, Melissa did 12 front squats, 24 KB swings, 9 front squats 18 KB swings, and 6 front squats with 12 kb swings.  We finished well in this WOD too….maybe 3rd or 4th.

My favorite WOD was the Deadlift and Overhead Press WOD.  It was a 3-6-9-12, etc workout of 6mins where one partner held a static hold of a overhead press out while the other did deadlifts.. as soon as that partner was done she held the deadlift hold at the top while partner two did OH presses.  This one wasn’t any trouble for me.  My partner got a little tired at the end but not too bad.

Where it all went wrong was in the last workout.  Which was a workout I would think I would be decent at in the past but for some reason….that day was not my day for this chipper WOD.  First of all it was synchronized workout where my partner and I had to complete two rounds of 40 dumbbell snatches, 30 toes to pole, and 20 burpees over the db.  All was going very well for us until I got up from the toes to pole and started on burpees…..and suddenly the whole room was spinning.  I kept thinking it was going to pass, but it was actually getting worse the more I kept going.  I am not sure why….I am thinking I just got up too quick from the toes to pole (laying on the ground) and up into a burpee…which made me go WONKY.  I kept having to stop and take breaks, thinking I would be able to slow the room down.  But it didn’t work at all.  The rest of that workout was a blur.  By the end of it I even felt nauseated.  I felt terrible because I would usually rock this kind of WOD!  So I know it was a shock to my partner as well as myself.

But here is the deal….competing now in my 40s is so much different than when I was in my 30s.  I used to be extremely competitive. From grade school till now.  Don’t get me wrong. I am still quite competitive, but it’s all relative now.  A few years ago, I would have been extremely upset with myself for letting myself and my partner down in that last WOD.  But this time, I was able to shake it off way quicker than ever before.  And I know it’s because my mindset has changed.  I am not competing or working out anymore to PROVE SOMETHING.  Instead, I am competing because……it’s darn fun!  It’s fun to hang out with my best CF friends all day and get a lot of workouts in.  And its fun to cheer on each other and even pick on each other, too.  I also compete because…..well, BECAUSE I CAN!!!  I am 42 years OLD.  And there is something to be said about being older and throwing around heavy weights and doing pullups.  Frankly, that’s impressive! And it’s something to be proud of.  And I compete and workout cos it just makes me a better person from the inside out.

So will I continue to compete….you bet! Can’t wait!

 

 

Learning New Things Thru Macro Counting….

It’s not secret that I am a very clean and strict eater DURING THE WEEK….and it’s also no secret that I tend to cheat way too much or over indulge on the weekends.  Which has caused me to sabotage my own efforts of hard work.

I have had the most success with low carb/no sugar diets in the past….however, this way of fueling wasn’t helping me much when combined with working out….and we all know I am a workout junkie.  ***And let’t just be real! Life is full of little celebrations that are usually centered around food.  Who likes to miss out on that?? NOT ME!

My new diet journey is macro counting. I have done some macro counting in the past but not to the extent that I am doing it now.  I have a full time trainer showing me the ins and outs of how to do this properly.  It’s been great so far. I have been doing it for 3 weeks.  I feel like a cheat a lot but its not really a cheat if you fit it in your macros.  But of course, the more healthier nutrient dense foods your choose make the program more effective with faster results…but it is still effective even with several treats.

I thought I would make a quick list of a few things I have learned so far in the 3 weeks of doing this…..

1. Upgrading to the Premium MY FITNESS PAL APP is absolutely worth the money and an absolute must.  You can customize your macros using grams rather percentages which is one of the downfalls of the free app.  You can also add DAILY GOALS…which is what I am currently doing (meaning some days I eat high carbs and other days I eat low carbs).  No problem cos I can customize my days to fit the criteria.  And the APP also watches what I am eating and makes notes for me on what is high in fat, protein, or carbs. This allows you to see where you macros are coming from or how to hit certain numbers I am lacking at the end of the day. VERY MUCH WORTH THE MONEY if you are macro counting.

2.  I am truly learning how to balance my good foods with my cheat foods.  I admit, I do feel like I am cheating when I have an adult drink or a slice of pizza, but the deal with this program is that as long as it fits your macro numbers, then its ok. And it helps you learn how to not over indulge, either. ***THAT’S A BIG KEY FOR ME.  Sometimes when I treat myself I over do it cos I think the damage is done….  That is simply not the truth, actually far from it.  With this program you can treat yourself and learn how to not over do it, either!  #win

3.  Carb cycling is awesome.  I get three high carb days.  They are only 40grams more than normal but it feels like such a treat to me.  And these high carb days are helping me stay energized all week long, too.  I don’t feel tired at the end of the week.  I am actually feeling just as strong and rested as the beginning of the week!

4.  When I am not eating 100% clean….. I have to have probiotics.  However, if I am eating super-dooper clean, I don’t need them so much.  With that being said.  I am taking them religiously again since I am eating “some” processed foods from time to time (as long as they fit my macros). (I highly recommend anyone who doesn’t eat 100% clean to take probiotics, too.  Message me.)

5.  It truly is a pain in the butt to get in a routine of logging every single thing you put in your mouth…..exact measurements of food, cooking oils or dressings, seasoning, gum, supplements (because supplements have macros too), etc.  But to do the macro thing right, you must log everything.  It does get easier once you start getting into a routine.  But you can’t let a day go by without logging.

6. Preparing my lunches the day before a long morning/day at the gym helps tremendously.  Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I am at the gym from 6am-1:30pm.  This is my big training day and I have a few classes to coach, as well.  It is soo worth it to be prepared for these busy, active days.  And I find it helpful to pre log these meals, too…. so I can see where I land for the remainder of the my day…which in turn helps me decide to cook for dinner later.

7.  Going out to eat is just not good for macro counting unless you only want one meal for the day…..  That doesn’t mean it isn’t doable. It just means it makes it hard to calculate and usually your foods contain WAY MORE calories than what you would make at home.  PLAN for those out to eat days.  On days I know I am eating out…. I generally have shakes for my other meals.

8.  I still struggle to get my veggies in.

9.  I am enjoying eating fish more and more.  This is a big plus cos I never really liked it before.  Fish is a great way to hit my macros without the fat!!!!!

10.  Accountability is still very huge for me.  I know how to do Macro counting but seem to stick to it on the weekends knowing I have a personal coach watching my every move.  I also have other crossfit friends doing the program and find it super motivating seeing them making progress…..and love when they notice my progress as well.

11.  WATER!!!!  I drink a lot of water….but learning to drink out of a gallon jug is something I am learning to do…rather than a shaker bottle.

12.  PROTEIN……  I have been concentrating on getting my protein in for over a year.  I find having a post workout ProSupps Protein shake and nighttime protein shake helps me hit my numbers exactly. (I am a lover of ProSupps Supplements.  Message me if you want a discount on your own supplements).

 

These are just a few things that I have learned along the way while doing this program.  Like I said, it requires commitment to being disciplined enough to log and weigh everything….but in the end, its also like a daily game trying to hit your numbers.  I am seeing changes and slowly losing.  I am committed to continue this the whole summer!!! I am three week in (6# down) with 9 more weeks to go!!! COMMITTED! DETERMINED!

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The lady lumps are making a comeback:)

 

My Barbell Relationship

I used to have a “love” for running on a daily basis. More and more miles each day. More and more goals being met. Times achieved. Distances achieved. And loving the feeling of the “runner’s high”.  And to be totally honest, I loved that it was taking weight off of me pretty quickly too.

That was over two years ago…. before I was introduced to barbells and weights.

When I was first introduced to the barbell it was soon after a few months of doing kettlebell crossfit like classes (beginner crossfit so to say). At the time I was doing these classes, I didn’t realize it would advance me to barbell classes later on. Another words, I was clueless. I basically thought I was attending a boot camp style class cos that’s kind of what it felt like to a certain degree. Again, clueless.

I was quickly advancing in these classes, so my coach asked me to come try a barbell class. I reluctantly decline cos I didn’t want to drive to a barbell class or pay the extra fee. But a few weeks later I did try a barbell class.

I remember my first barbell class well. It was very intimidating as I went all by myself. I walked in and the sound of loud music and barbells crashing to the floor all around me. I remember immediately finding the bathroom to go for a nervous pee and for a quick prayer (this part is no lie either, I remember it that well). One class was finishing up a WOD while other people were rolling on foam rollers waiting for their own class to start. ***I didn’t even know what a foam roller was for, so that seemed awkward too. HA!

I am pretty sure that night we were working on snatches (which is one of the harder lifts). I was awkward. I required a lot of the coach’s attention (which I don’t think he was crazy about) and I left thinking…..NEVER AGAIN! —-and just for the record, I am still awkward with those snatches! LOL

But for some reason I came back. Something about having that barbell in my hands was empowering, frightening, and challenging. I LIKED THAT!!! It was soo much different than running, for sure.

This time I attended a morning class. I walked in and saw familiar faces….one being my previous coach who was working out and another that was a church friend. Our coach was a young, young girl. That day we were doing strict press maxes. I wasn’t supposed to be maxing out yet, but they allowed me to since they were closely monitoring me. That day, my second day of cross fitting, I strict pressed 100#.  I had no idea that that was pretty good. But I do remember my coaches and peers being impressed with me and telling me I was strong. Suddenly I felt intrigued and empowered by what I could possibly do with the barbell.  I hadn’t ever been considered strong either!?!?!

There was something about that barbell that was empowering….and a mystery, and a little rebellious too.

In the months to come, I learned so many new things about the barbell. I had no idea that you could do so many movements with one piece of equipment and some of them are very complex movements. From presses, to cleans, to snatches, to squats, to deadlifts…..this list can go on and on.

mandycf

But fast forward to NOW…the present time. I have come to have a love-hate relationship with the barbell. I absolutely LOVE IT and can be quite good at some of it, but I am absolutely terrible at a lot of it, too!!  HA!   Each day brings on a different emotion with that barbell. Some days I feel strong, like I am making huge progress. Other days I leave feeling like a defeated crossfit joke. But there is never a time I leave and don’t come back….. because I LOVE throwing around the big weights. And let’s be real, those big weight like to throw me around too. ****That’s the point of it though.  It’s like life.  There are a lot of days we are good at life….we help others, we work hard, we study hard, we take care of our responsibilities, etc…. But there are many days in our life that just plain kick us in the bootie! Life is hard. You can feel defeated, tired, and want to quit…. BUT YOU DON’T.  You continue to live life the best way you can.

This sport is so mental. It is so challenging. And it kicks my butt time and time again. But each day…. I find myself getting better, getting stronger, and becoming a better person, athlete, and coach because of it. And recently I am learning that it’s a growth that is beyond the physical growth…. but very much mental and even spiritual.
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HIIT Workouts and the Why Behind Them

You often see me post these workouts.  These are an example of a HIIT workout….which simply means a “High Intensity Interval Training.”  CrossFit uses HIIT as part of their programming.

hiit

Many people do not understand the why behind HIIT.  HIIT is a quick workout that you go all out (give max effort), usually with intense bursts of exercise, followed by short (sometimes active) recovery periods.

WHY is this a good thing? Because this type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time. This type of workout increases the body’s need for oxygen during the effort and creates an oxygen shortage, causing your body to ask for more oxygen during recovery.  Once the workout is completed you enter an Excess Post-Exercise Consumption Period (aka the after-burn) which allows the body to continue to burn more fat and calories even after the workout is complete (this is especially true when compared to aerobic activities like running).  #win

So what does this really mean!?!?!  It means that if done properly you are using the HIIT workouts to speed your metabolism rate…..which translates that you can continue to burn calories up to 48hours after you have completed the workout.  HOW COOL IS THAT???

Other “perks” to doing HIIT programs are: it’s quick and convenient.  You don’t have to spend hours in the gym or hours running to burn the calories you want.  And you can do this anywhere (hotel, home, backyard, on the beach, etc..).  You don’t have to have weights to do it, either.  *With that being said, the more you train and the more you advance, adding weight makes it that much more beneficial (more after burn of calories and builds strength, too).

However, IF you are a beginner….you do not want to immediately dive into a HIIT workout with great intensity (not yet).  Instead, all beginners must simply do the movements at their own pace but focus more on the doing the movements correctly and with the correct range of motion.  You’re still benefiting from the workout.  But know that this part takes a little practice and time.  It is very important that you do not push too hard, too fast ….as this will only lead to injuries and set backs.

For intermediate and advanced athletes: your task is to push yourself.  The more you put into the workout, the more you will get out of it.

If you are interested in learning more or starting your own personalized workout, please contact me.

 

Experiencing the “High”

Have you ever experienced a “runner’s high”? Like after the very first time you ran a full mile without stopping? Or your first half or full marathon? It’s a feeling of great accomplishment.  It’s a feeling of believing in yourself, to be able to do more than you gave yourself credit for to start with.  It’s a feeling that you can’t wait to go back and do it again! Like you can’t get enough cos it’s so fun but yet fun in a challenging way.  I know I have experienced that actual “runner’s high” and something similar as an athlete in crossfit when achieving huge lifting personal record or completing a benchmark WOD (aka workout) in the fastest time out of the whole gym!  This feeling is amazing! And is probably what keeps me coming back for more!

Well today, I think I experienced the “coach’s high” 🙂  It was a great day for me to be coach and to see how far my athletes have come. Every one of my sessions went great! Everyone of my sessions had accomplishments today! And everyone left their classes feeling like they were better athletes.  As a coach, there is nothing sweeter than having athletes being proud of themselves and believing in themselves.  #WIN

I had 4 different sessions today. Not one of them was the same.  I had an early small group who did some circuit weight training. I have been working with this group since August of last year.  When we began, not a single one of the ladies could do a strict pushup (tricep pushup). This is not uncommon at all! But today, when we got to the pushup session, they went to the scaled version of pushing up.  This looked fairly easy on them so I asked the ladies to “try” a strict pushup….and guess what? They DID IT!  They did it beautifully!! YES!!! #WIN #A GOAL MET

Then in my second session I am working my husband and his buddy out of my house/home gym.  This was their third workout and today I introduced them to an actual HIIT workout (high intensity interval training).  These guys sweated their tails off and totally rocked their first HIIT workout.  As much as they hated it, they loved it too!!! #WIN

My third session is my actual crossfit foundations class (aka beginner’s class) at my gym, CrossFit Solus. This class has a great vibe to it. It’s one of my favorites!!! I have one veteran girl (I call her veteran because she started when I started coaching in August) and several newbies who have recently joined in the last month or so.  We have become like a little family!! :-). So that in itself is a lot of fun! But today not only did my veteran athlete face a fear of doing a kick handstand on the wall—unassisted.  But my newbies each got their double-unders with jump ropes.  This is a big deal for any new crossfitter.  Double-unders are jumping rope but roping twice under your feet at a time.  These are very hard to accomplish–but every athlete did one. I even had several able to cycle single, single, doubles quite well!  ## WIN

My last session with a private session at Solus.  It’s her second session with me.  She is totally new to the sport of crossfit and working out (other than doing the treadmill).  But this girl has so much heart and determination.  She is very coachable and that makes my job so much easier! I can see that she is enjoying our workouts and more than willing to be pushed.  She is taking on every challenge I give her and she is surprising herself along the way!! How fun is that to see a client completely shocked at what they are actually able to do (that they wouldn’t do without someone spotting them and coaching them along the way).  ##WIN

So today has been a good “coaching day”.  I am loving what I am doing! I am loving the relationships I am forming with all my clients (aka my friends). And it has given me great joy (or coach’s high) to see them leaving today with their very own “highs” for the week!!!

OTB

 

 

Live Better. Play Harder.

Live Better. Play Harder.  This is my “tag line title” of my website/blog.  It has taken me some time to come up with this “tag line” but now that I have it, I can’t be more pleased.  I truly believe that this tag line explains what my goal is for myself but also for my clients, as well!!! #WIN #WIN

livebetterplayharder

A few months ago, my husband asked me to come up with a “tag line” for my new website.  I knew at that time I wanted something that involved the word PLAY.  I am few months away from turning FORTY, but I still “playing” as if I am a kid or teen athlete.  In matter of fact…. I may play harder now than I did in the “good ole days”.  I think that why I absolutely love what I am doing now.  It’s not only CrossFit alone that has me playing (even though I truly believe CrossFit has physically and mentally prepped me and given me the courage to play more), but also in so many other aspects in my life.  Like I said, I am almost 40 years old BUT I am having the best time of my life playing!!! Whether it’s tree bashing at crazy speeds with my brother snow skiing down a mountain….Or swimming way out too far into a lake (just cos I can). Or going for a random 17 mile run around Washington DC for some sight seeing…. Or simply playing basketball in the front yard with my kids.  These are the things I LOVE doing! They give me great joy and make me love living life.  I feel most alive when I am at “play”.

But here is the truth…. I can’t play hard if I am not properly taking care of myself.  I must FUEL properly (diet wise).  I must exercise (strength, endurance, stamina, etc). I must properly rest. I must take certain supplements that my body needs extra of.  I must train my mind—become wiser.  I must train my soul–mature in my relationship with God.  I must love…..my family, friends, and others. All these things are a part of what I mean when I think of LIVE BETTER.  Everyday, every week, every year…. I want to be better in all these aspects of my life that are greatly important to me.

So when you see my hashtags now….. #livebetter #playharder, you will now know what I am referring too!!!

 

Train Your Weakness *Rope Style*

One perk of being a CrossFit coach means I have the ability to look ahead into our programming to see what workouts are planned for the week.  Our athletes only know day by day.  I saw this workout posted on Sunday and immediately knew I was going to opt to do the scaled version.  Scaled in crossfit means you might sub out an advanced movement for a less advanced movement, or you may scale the amount of reps or time, etc.  Another words, it’s a way to modify the workout to fit your own abilities or needs.

The WOD (workout of the day) for today was:

Run a 800 meters

15reps-12reps-9reps-6reps-3reps of Pistols (which are one legged squats).  This could be scaled to goblet squats (which means holding the KB to do a squat)

5reps, 4 reps, 3reps, 2reps, 1 rep of rope climbing.  This could be scaled to doing 15-12-9-6-3 ring rows.

Then 100 double-unders (cycling two jumps when jump roping at a time). This could be scaled by doing 200 single jump ropes.

***The way this workout function is you run and then you alternate between doing the pistols and rope climbs reps before doing the double-unders.  Another words, you run, then do 15 pistols, then 5 rope climbs, 12 pistols, 4 rope climbs, etc….. then you finished the workout with your 100 double-unders.

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Here’s the deal with rope climbs.  They are HARD! Especially after you do one or two of them.  Or at least they are for me! One reason they are hard for me is because I need to learn a better, more efficient technique that allows me to use more legs than arms.  Rope climbs need to be more leg work, than arm work.  But this is where I struggle.  I use all arm strength.  Which is why I have never done more than two full rope climbs at a time because it simply wears my arms out!

So–I saw this workout and immediately knew there was NO WAY I could do 5 rope climbs back to back…let alone, 4 more back to back later, then 3, 2, 1.  NO WAY! I have only done two back to back before.

Of course, I get there and my coach says, “Nope, your doing them.  Just take breaks in between each climb”.  I was super reluctant.  I had my mind set on ring rows (and I am sore from yesterday’s handstand pushups—–EXCUSES- HA).  I even was ok with doing one or two rope climbs at a time and then finishing off my set with doing ring rows.  But not according to my coach.  She wanted me doing them!

I gave it my very best. To my surprise, I did my first five fairly well.  This was already a win in my book. I was stragetic. I had made sure to take breaks in between each climb.  But let me tell you, the set of 4 was soo hard! I needed more than just a break.  I needed full on coaching to get me on that rope.  Then set 3—well, it became very mental!! VERY MENTAL.  My arms were on fire (especially my forearms).  I even made it half way up a couple of times and had to come down for more break time.  I got the set of 3 done.  It was ugly! It was exhausting! It took all I had.  My arms were so spent after doing 5 in a row, 4 in a row, and 3 in a row.  As bad as I wanted to continue rope climbs 2 and 1…. I knew with my arms feeling so tight and looking a little swollen, that it wasn’t worth getting injured over.

So—-today I trained one of my weakness!  I did not complete this workout with all rope climbs.  But I am by no means feeling defeated.  I feel inspired to work on this even more.  I am very proud at the fact that I did 12 out of 15 required rope climbs—when I have never done more than 2 at time before. I will now learn a better way to use less arms and learn to use more legs (or get a better foot wrap around the rope).  But today, I didn’t just train my weakness of rope climbing, but I also trained my mind.  I didn’t want to try this workout and I did.  I wanted to walk away several times because it was hard, but I kept coming back to the rope to try again.  I quit a couple of times mid-climb because it was getting hard to hold on.  But I kept coming back to the rope again to finish that set.  My last two rope climbs were as much mental as they were physical.  It was hard to hold on to that rope when my arms were DONE, but I would hold on, take a deep breath and do all I could do regrip the rope with my feet.  I finally got up those last two ropes without quit. But I finished that set—however, I did not complete the last two rounds of 2 and 1 climbs (I subbed them for ring rows).  But that’s only because I felt like my body had actually hit it’s limits.

I trained my weakness today! :-).  I became a better athlete today, as well!