Posts Tagged ‘food’

Alright folks, I sucked it up and I did it: I started CrossFit!  Our gym requires new members to go through four 2-hour orientation classes, wherein they teach the basics that come up during WODs and classes, and ensure that you know how to safely and properly complete each exercise.  The training is completely hands-on, and they wrap-up with a solid workout so you can see how it feels to AMRAP (“as many rounds as possible” in a given time), or do a set number of reps “for time.”

I’ve been to two of these, and I’ve learned different lifts with a bar (and weight), kettlebell technique, and some other basic CrossFit standards.

I realized right off that while I am not in great shape, the past few months have really increased my body awareness and my general strength.  My squats are great, I can keep my back in good form when lifting, I have great form and speed while doing box-jumps, I’m able to push myself while keeping in mind my own pacing needs, and I’ve already started developing good stabilizer muscles from the various exercises I’ve tackled since February.

I feel good.  I feel like I have a ton of work to do from here on out, but I feel good.

So, intro courses should be finished in two to three weeks, then I’ll be getting up early twice a week to tackle WODs with my Beast Coach, Aja. Yep, she’s now the Beast Coach – that person who is further along the path but headed toward the same goals: strength and overall badassery. Whether it’s being able to run a Half Marathon, beating a certain time goal for the Spartan Beast, or proving to the nay-sayers that YES, I CAN LIFT THAT HEAVY OBJECT, WATCH ME DO MULTIPLE REPS, everyone’s goal path needs a Coach – to stand as an example of what’s ahead, to remind you what’s possible, and to kick your ass off whatever plateau you eventually find yourself on.

I’ve also started logging food, using the MyFitnessPal app. I figure it’s time to start paying closer attention to nutrition and fueling now that I’ve got the exercise piece knocked out solid.  The past 2 days have been fine goal-wise, though it is nearly impossible to accurately log any foods that I didn’t make myself (or find in a conveniently-labeled package).  This winter will be a big one for crock-pot leftovers and cooking 5 meals on Sunday night (then sticking ’em in the freezer)!

So all in all, life is busy and I’m super excited to start going to CrossFit for real.  I’ve got a couple races left this year (one easy 5k with my coworkers, and my Half Marathon in Newburyport MA in November), and PLENTY to tackle before January.

First Up: Go To Bed Before midnight tonight!

Advertisements

(when said with an Austrian accent, that title is absolutely hilarious.  Go ahead, google it.)

SO!  Yesterday was my big 27th Birthday.  I got up, ran a fast (11ish min) mile in the cemetery, and STILL nearly missed the school bus (I get paid to start and end my workday riding with a student – not so bad).  I figured I’d do more after work to make up the difference.  Fast-forward to the end of the work day – I was planning to go out to dinner with my mother, and I got a text message from my running buddy: “Gonna run 5k after work…5:30ish. Interested?”  And here’s where I had a realization:  Yes, I really do want to go run with a friend, almost more than going to delicious dinner.

I wanted to RUN rather than stuff my face. (insert head’splosion here)

You know you’ve made a life change when running practice is a desirable option after work on your birthday (not gonna lie, the social creature in me really enjoys running with this chatty running buddy, too).  So we worked it out that we’d go running post-dinner.

Realization number 2 came with dessert: decadent chocolate ganache cake.  Last year, I’d scarf that thing twice on a full stomach.  This year…

(Big spoon = BIG chunk of cake left over)

…I didn’t need to finish the whole thing.  Economically, yes, I wanted to not waste food.  But personally, I realized that I didn’t need to eat the whole piece – a few spoonfuls were enough to satisfy this time, because I was already full from dinner.

Later, I warmed up and headed down to the cemetery for my run.  In case you wanted to know, this is what the start looks like in the late afternoon:

Elmwood Cemetery, at the start of the .5 mile loop.

We hopped-to, and went on the old route – the one I haven’t done in nearly a month.  It’s mildly hilly throughout, so when I realized I hadn’t requested a walk yet, well over a mile in, I was rather stunned.  I didn’t NEED to walk!  SAYWHAT?! by the end, I’d probably only walked a minute, and ended up running MOST of the gigantic hill below the cemetery.  It was a proud day all around, and I even finished up with an ice bath (of doom) before going to bed.

***

This morning, I got dragged (willingly) to Bring a Friend to WOD day at The Confluence, our local crossfit gym.  I call it a “gym” only because it’s hard to describe a place where workouts seem like play (sweaty, dirty, exhausting and awesome).  Admittedly, today was MUCH less structured, so the likelihood of crossfit death was significantly reduced.  THAT said, the warm up alone nearly killed me!

Here’s how it went:

-Arrive, stretch, and watch people lugging crazy things through the Fit Park – a nature walk on steroids.
-Circle up for 15 reps of jumping jacks, high-knees, squats, mountain climbers (DIIIEEE), burpees, butterfly situps, pushups, superman…and maybe one or two more things I only remember hazily.
-“Easy” jog around the 400m fitpark trail, over logs and other terrain (warmup: done.  Don’t Die Yet).
-10 burpees as fast as you can, then count off into two groups based on how fast you burpeed (to make 2 comparable teams).

-Now the FUN!  Each team has its huge pile of stuff: 200+lb tire, 100lb tire, lots of 25lb and 40lb sandbags and rocks, a bunch of 40lb logs, some 40lb buckets of dirt, and 40lb pallets x2.  The idea was to move as much of it as possible from point A to point B in 10 minutes, going through/over obstacles: Over huge log, over little logs, under mock barbed-wire bungee cord crawl (not as low as Spartan race wire, or sharp, but still while carrying/pushing/rolling Heavy Things), across balance beam (if person touches ground, 10 burpee penalty), then up the hill and into the new pile.  Run back and do it again.  And again.  Our team of 9 hauled 1025lbs of stuff, the other team (with my Spartan sprinting buddies) chose to move the Big Tire and beat us by a mere 30lbs.

Then, we did it backwards – first team to put everything back AND recite the first 10 presidents in order: wins.  Our team lost, but only just!

As for my performance, I lugged 25lb items at a pretty good pace.  I’m not at the point where I can comfortably take the 40lb stuff from the stronger people in a team race situation, so I opted to have better performance with the littler things.  It was dirty, sweaty, and fantastic.  The people are competitive but excited to be on a team with WHOMEVER (yay)!  I had a blast, and I’m sure the pictures they took of me in progress are ridiculous.  CONCENTRATING FACE: GO.

Wrapped up with a slacklining demo, where they hooked the Largest Ratchet Strap In The World between two points, and helped us walk across, tightrope-style.  Once I got up there, it was oddly relaxing (with spotters holding my hand at first), and I did WAY more than my goal of 1 full step.  I did the length, twice!  Hooray for Fun Things!

We then tried on those crazy-but-comfortable Vibram Five-fingers minimalist shoes, and ran around in the grass/dirt to test them out.  Pretty neat – thanks Onion River Sports and Product Reps!

In all, Crossfit session #1 was a resounding success.  I didn’t fall off the balance beam, so no penalty burpees!  That’ll come with time, as will the ability to lug heavier things.

Woot!

Remember how I said I didn’t want to burn-out with the fitness thing?  Well, now that I’ve been working out consistently for a month, I’m ready to start overhauling my nutrition practices.

*deep breath*

It’ll be easier this time around, as I’ve kept up quite a few good habits like buying fresh foods rather than easy/cheap middle-of-the-grocery-store processed foods.  I DID fall back to pasta for lunch sometimes simply for financial reasons- and okay, sure, because of general cooking laziness.  I know, I know, pasta=the carby devil (and no, I didn’t do whole-wheat pasta – it never cooks through and just isn’t worth the trouble).  BUT, I’ve been pretty good, and I think it won’t be hard to integrate everything this time AND enjoy what I’m eating.

Some ideas I’m going to check into or get rolling again:

-Protein shakes for breakfast (soy milk, fruit, peanut butter, and soy protein powder in various combos)
-Eggs/Egg whites to get protein but watch cholesterol
-CHICKEN BREAST (panko, almond-crusted, salsa-topped, etc., all cooked ahead of time for lunch the next day)
-Chicken sausage – Al Fresco with the casing taken off = glory glory glory
-Using cinnamon or cocoa-roasted almonds as a snack between major meals
-Avocados as a good fat (in salads, with eggs, etc)
-Mom’s amazing turkey burgers (cranberries, apples, and herbs = OMNOMNOMBESTEVAR)

That last one is actually part of a further-reaching goal: learn to understand cooking like Mom.  You know those people who just “get it” with cooking?  Which flavors go well, how long to cook EVERY protein, and the ones who have that uncanny understanding of kitchen chemistry – substitutions, maintaining baking consistency, etc?  That’s my goal – to teach myself how to put crazy ideas together into a delicious, not-boring meal.

So there goes my federal refund: buying the basics I should have stocked aaallll along.

GERONIMO.

Baby spinach salad with avocado, shaved herb deli turkey, sauteed onions and peppers, with a splash of balsamic vinegar.

The taste verdict is: Ohhhdeliciousomnomnom.  Just finished, so we’ll see how full I am in an hour or so (after making sure I’ve had enough water to balance out the sodium in that Turkey…eeeee).

But how are we on health here?  It’s got protein, good fats (avocado, how I love thee), dark-color veggies, and fiber…but what about the right type/amount of carbs?  There’s maybe a tablespoon of olive oil, too – the peppers would be awful “bleh” without it; is there a better oil alternative?

As to timing: I’ve heard it’s not good to have a carb-heavy dinner, and since we’re at about 7pm right now I decided to go full-on salad rather than wrap.  I’m trying to fill my stomach with more veggies and protein than carbs – have I succeeded?  Is this a good idea?

Remember, I’m starting slow with the dietary stuff, but suggestions are awesomesauce.