PaleOH MY GIVEAWAY!

Do you eat Paleo? Have you always been dyinngggg to try it but unsure of where to begin?

Well today is your lucky day.

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Buck Books, which is an online provider of discounted ebooks, is running one of the most STELLER giveaways I have ever heard of! Seriously, I am like in awe of the prizes they are offering.

The giveaway is currently running from now until March 23rd. Prizes consist of:

  • Paleo f(x) Premiere ticket

  • $200+ Amazon Gift Card

  • 10 Bestselling Cookbooks,¬†physical copy¬†

  • 3 Bestselling Paleo informational books, physical copy

  • Kasandrinos Olive Oil, Lip Balm and Soap

  • Kindle Paperwhite

That adds up to over $1000 in prizes! :O

It is absolutely FREE to enter the giveaway. No purchase necessary. No commitment.

Whether you are all about the paleo lifestyle or just looking to find out more about it… or you just want a great gift card and kindle (heehee), this is a great set of prizes. So what are you waiting for?

Go WIN ALL THE PRIZES!

Aaaanddd to make it even better the are hosting a killer Paleo event with super discounted ebooks on St. Patrick’s Day (as if it wasn’t already my favorite day of the year!) …

If you enter the giveaway you will automatically receive a reminder for this Paleo event.

If for some reason you aren’t into free stuff, then you can just click HERE to check out the event.

The Paleo event is a 24 hour flash sale of 3 Paleo info books and 12 Paleo cookbooks, all starting at $0.99 !!

Some of the books available in both the giveaway and the flash sale event are some of my favorite liiikeee….

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Where else can you get books by some of the biggest names in Paleo for LESS THAN ONE DOLLAR!

EEEKKKKK!! ‚̧

So head on over and check out these awesome events and use these awesome deals to get your feet wet in the paleo world or discover some fun new recipes to add to your inventory.

Trust me, you will not regret it!

Satisfy That Sweet Tooth and STOP Overeating

with MealEnders.

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Okay Fit Fam. So, I was afforded the awesome opportunity to review a new lozenge. I was told that these lozenges were created in order to help people working on their overeating or over-snacking BUT…  oh. my. goodness. I honestly did not expect them to be as great as they are! Seriously.

MealEnders tagline themselves as “The Antidote to Overeating”. While this may seem like a real bold cause, and – to be honest – I was super skeptical myself, I have really come to believe these are a game changer.

Unlike many chemical filled pills, supplements, or even snacks, MealEnders are stimulant-free, drug-free, real food lozenges that have a unique make-up which works in a duo-sensory taste system. Essentially, they combine sensory science with behavioral psychological to satisfy our cravings and allow the body and mind to work together on recognizing the body’s natural hunger response and fullness. Thus, labeling them “signaling lozenges”.

The fight against overeating begins when you teach your body how to recognize the “signals” of cravings versus actual hunger. When you can recognize these differences, you naturally begin to avoid the snacking and allow yourself the ability to work on portion control during meals. Rather than continuously shoveling food into our mouths, we become more aware and able to recognize the satisfied feeling that comes with eating and learn when we are “fulfilled” versus “full”.

So how exactly do they allow the brain and body to work together?

MealEnders have two parts. It begins as a sweet outer layer that seriously satisfies any sweet tooth. Hence, the “dessert” portion. Once you get past the sweetness, you reach the cooling center of the lozenge. The part that resembles a cough drop (except insanely more delicious). The center signals the trigeminal nerve, or the “taste” nerve, to cue the end of eating… And also to clear the palate.

Okay okay so now that we have covered how they work. DO they work?

I brought in the troops for this one so you guys could get a good overview… My own opinion, 100% yes! I am guilty of day time snacking, especially at work. Sometimes it is warranted if I don’t get the time for lunch or have a before work workout that leaves my metabolism roaring. Sometimes though, it definitely is not. I will admit it. And considering I have an important event that includes lots of photographs in dresses and being on a stage in front of tons of people, I need to keep myself in check! Haha. I can say that the chocolate mint and mocha are my favorite flavors because of my love for all things chocolate. They are sweet and chocolately. Satisfy any sweet cravings. AND definitely kick my snack urge.

Now, my mom is the world’s biggest skeptic of all things AND the worst snacker I know. She is the get up from the table after dinner and go right to the snack cabinet kind of snacker. I tried for about a week to try to get her to try the MealEnders and she refused. Until one day, she let me convince her and she took a Citrus lozenge right after dinner before her snacking. Aaaannndddd low and behold, she went right upstairs and not one snack did she eat that night! IT’S A MIRACLE! While she is still stubborn, each night that I can get her to take a lozenge, she goes to bed snack free.

I also had a family friend of mine try them. She is a pretty healthy person but she can give my sweet tooth a serious run for it’s money. I gave her 3 lozenges of each flavor and there is not a single one that did not get un-wrapped. As far as the taste scale, she said each flavor satisfied any sweet craving she experienced.

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So here is the overall ratings on a 1-10 scale,

Me – Taste: 10 (chocolate mint, mocha) 7 (citrus) 5 (cinnamon)   Craving Busting: 9

Mom – Taste: 10 (citrus) 9 (mocha) 5 (chocolate mint and cinnamon)   Craving Busting: 10

Friend – Taste: 10 all   Craving Busting: 6

Now for the fun part, lucky for you all, MealEnders is offering to give ONE of my readers the chance to not just trust in my opinion (or the opinions of my mom and friends) but to try it out for themselves! One lucky person will win 4 bags of MealEnders lozenges. One full bag of EACH flavor. (Each bag containing 25 lozenges). Enter through the link below for your chance to win!

MealEnders Contest Entry!

Contest will end at 11:59pm Friday March 13th.

Each person is eligible for up to 11 entries.

Once you’re done with this giveaway head on over to Erica Finds and/or Running With SD Mom to #winalltheprizes ūüôā

Love Your Real #Selfie

For those of you who do not know, this week (February 22nd-28th) is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. I am sure most of you are aware of the existence of eating disorders… but are you really AWARE?

Up to 24 million people suffer from an eating disorder. Twenty Four MILLION.

Common eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive overeating.

Eating disorders do not have a specific host or target. Eating disorders can affect people of all ages, races, cultures, genders, socioeconomic status… Everyone.

In fact eating disorders are extremely prevalent amongst athletes and even the “fittest of the fit” …¬†[For more awesome info on that and an awesome Instagram challege check out THIS¬†post by¬†my kick ass fellow GGSA]¬†

So how do we make ourselves knowledgable on this topic? And why should we bother to?

For starters you never know who is struggling with an eating disorder. The woman on the treadmill next to you that looks super thin but you just think maybe she’s a marathoner. The man who is a bodybuilder and you envy him for being so cut and in killer shape. Yeah. Sometimes we don’t really know why people do what they do but maybe we should.

Eating disorders are extremely serious, life threatening, and just super debilitating.

From the time I was even in middle school I struggled with extreme body image issues. Like not just your normal teenage girl trying to wear makeup to be cool like the other kids issues. Like hating everything about myself and weighing myself 4x a day issues. It took me probably 12 years from the time I was 10 to just about two years ago to be able to actually look myself in the eye in the mirror and think that maybe just maybe I actually was pretty. I went through so many painful years thinking if I could make my body PERFECT, be skinny enough, have a big enough butt, have that ridiculously absurd thigh gap… maybe then I would be pretty. Maybe that would make up for the natural beauty I thought I somehow lacked.

Back in November I did a “No Makeup Challenge” (which if you didn’t see it then you can catch my re-cap here) Even after all the progress I have made with loving myself and my body, it still taught me things I didn’t think I was still hiding from myself. I am happy it did because I can truly say over the last 2 years that I have come to love myself… Every perfect imperfection.

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I can now eat pizza without wanting to kill myself or weighing myself multiple times the next day. I can look at my less than perfect body in the mirror and know that I am still awesome.

And I credit a lot of that to crossfit. Getting in shape, seeing my physical imperfect body conquer amazing feats I never expected possible, and just feeling and knowing that I am in shape, fit, HEALTHY regardless of the number on the scale has completely changed my world, my life. SAVED my life. Now I wouldn’t trade¬†my tough, strong, healthy, beautiful, and imperfect self for smaller size jeans or a “skinny body”. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

 Find YOUR healthy.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” ¬†Love it with everything you have.

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Eating disorder awareness is SO IMPORTANT because I truly believe that until you know what it’s like to look at yourself and be disgusted with every inch of you, it is hard to understand how UNBELIEVABLY AMAZING it feels to love yourself. And everyone… man or woman, old or young… deserve to know that feeling.

Please I really encourage each and every one of you reading this to go to http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/ and learn more about eating disorders and what you can do to help the people around you.

And everyone… You are ALL amazing. You are ALL beautiful, perfectly imperfect works of God. You ALL deserve to love your real #selfie. ‚̧

Cold, cold, go away

Come again NEVER

It’s that splendid time of year again. The time when even the best of us catch a bit of the sniffles… or if we are the more unlucky of the bunch, flu-like symptoms.

Well for the first time in YEARS I had a legit punch in the face kind of cold. Thankfully, the fever was minimal and lasted only less than 24 hours. However, the rest of the pesky symptoms have been a pain in my butt from Sunday until Yesterday. Today was the first day I felt like a real human being, like myself 100%. I rarely ever get sick so when I do I am kind of a wimp haha. However, being that I grew up in a household where medication was never given to us (or even really kept in the house), I have learned a trick or two along the way. I mean I have never gotten the flu shot in my life and SHOCKER I have never gotten the flu. So, I am here to share with you some fun things I did for myself from Monday to Today in order to work on ridding myself of these pesky cold symptoms……¬†spoiler alert: It had nothing to do with medication……

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So, before I get on my anti-medication soap box, two¬†of my F A V O R I T E things, both on a regular basis and when trying to get rid of those sicky bugs, are…

1. Yogi Tea Green Tea Triple Echinacea

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This is BY FAR my absolute favorite tea. I adore green tea to begin with and this is just above and beyond. As the subtitle on the box states, it is also good for your immune system. Your immune system is ya know just the most important link in fighting these nasty buggies. So why is this tea just a miracle worker?

Green tea. Not only will green tea not dehydrate you like other teas or hot beverages, but it has anti-inflammatory and anti-infective properties (mainly due to the level of¬†epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG). When you are sick enough that you are experiencing fevers and the like, you have swelling in your body. This is NO BUENO. A¬†hot cup of green tea will help with clearing your sinuses, providing healthy anti-infective properties, and kicking that fever… Ya know, the thing that tylenol claims it’ll do but usually doesn’t. Oh okay.

Echinacea. Studies have shown that echinacea extract has the ability to boost immune system in the way of increasing the number of white blood cells and boosting the activity of macrophages, a subset of white blood cells. Take that bacterias!

Elderberry extract. Elderberry contains Sambucus nigra¬†agglutinins, or SNAs, which have the ability to “lock” the receptors of certain flu viruses, preventing them from invading human cells. Sambucus nigra¬†may protect against as many as eight flu strains, as opposed to the flu shot which protects against only one strain.

2. Eucalyptus

The ULTIMATE decongestant. Inhalation of the strong aroma of eucalyptus oil while you have a stuffy nose, cough, or congested chest is super powerful. The aroma acts as a vapor to help relieve the congestion. You can achieve this strong aroma by rubbing the oil on your neck or chest, similar to how you would use Vicks as a child. You can also do this through steam inhalation (which is my favorite). Steam inhalation involves, as you guessed, some arena of hot water to intensify the aroma and also had the steaming sensation. You can add a drop of oil to a hot compress or to some sort of hot water, like a bath. A nice hot bath with 3 drops of eucalyptus oil and a palm full of epsom salt each night you are sick is sure to do the trick! [Trust me. That’s my go to! heehee :)]

While these are my top two home remedies for the common cold and for getting back to feelin like a million bucks, there are still a bunch of other things I would say to make sure of liiikkkeee…. WATER WATER WATER! Make sure you are keeping a high intake of water in order to work on flushing out all the grossness. They don’t say bed rest and fluids just for the heck of it.

Another is making sure that you are eating right. It’s super to just fall into microwave foods, canned soups, or snacking when you are under the weather because you don’t feel up to cooking. But listen, leave the elaborate meals for another time and whip up something small. Now is NOT the time to be skimping on the food. Your body needs to battle with everything its got and that takes having the right supplies.

Lastly, get in some good physical self-care. Monday I basically died but I made sure the I rolled out on my foam roller, went over to my Chiropractor to get adjusted, and did some stretching and SUPER LIGHT mobility. And honestly after finally getting out of bed and getting that in I felt already 50% better. Don’t let bed rest get the best of you and spend days on end just laying still under the covers. Your muscles need a little movement, a little stretching, a little getting some of the tension out. With that said, know your body and read your body well enough to know what is too much in the way of physical activity. For instance, I went back to crossfit Tuesday – Thursday. However, my workout doubly kicked my ass yesterday just because,¬†other than that it was super aggressive, my body was still getting back to functioning at 100%. So I decided my body probably needed the extra rest day today.

There is no magic formula to take away a cold in the snap of a finger. Even the most aggressive of medications will take a couple days at minimal; and they will destroy your body while they are at it. Take the time to treat your body right, rest up, stretch, eat right, relax in a steaming hot epsom salt and eucalyptus bath, and drink some yummy teas. Heal. The right way. And your cold not only will be history but will have a slimmer chance of returning! [YAY]

Get to feelin well everyone : ) ¬†….¬†And if you need a good place for solid deals on essential oils check out this kick ass all natural company that I am absolutely head over heels for by clicking here.

Why You Should Sign Up for the Open

Yes… YOU

The 2015 Crossfit Open is upon us and as someone who went into last year nervous as all hell I feel some sort of responsibility to everyone who is experiencing even partially the amount of anxiety I did last year.¬†So for starters, let’s just touch base of what exactly “the Open” is and why you need to care…

The Crossfit Open is the first step in be all, end all of Crossfit. It is the first qualifying round for the Crossfit Games. Ya know that thing you’ve on tv with absurdly fit men and women doing the most insanely impressive things you’ve ever seen people do… Yeah. That. Expect the Open is the time that even just non-Fronings and non-Bazinets are able to compete against one another by doing weekly workouts either on our own or at our respective boxes and pushing ourselves to the max.

Beyond that, the Open is a time when everyone in the entire Crossfit family, immediate and extended, bonds together while competing against one another… AKA it is the coolest atmosphere you will ever experience. Sounds overwhelming? Intimidating? Nerve-racking? Well yeah. It’s all those things. And FUCKING AWESOME at the same time. So you’re asking yourself now why you should subject yourself to the pressure of having to complete these weekly workouts just to be anxious that you won’t stack up… That’s exactly how I felt last year.

So with that I say let’s talk about all the reasons you should throw your excuses to the side and man, or woman, the hell up and face that fear!

 

1. Who the heck cares.

So you’re not gonna make the games. So you’re not gonna make regionals. So you don’t even know how well you will do against so of the badass people in box… SO. WHAT. Join the rest of the 95%. The Open, while yes the first qualifying round to becoming the fittest on earth, is not just about getting to regionals and ultimately the games. The Open is about challenging yourself and impressing yourself and pushing yourself past your limits.

With that said, the Open is about Y O U. Not the people in your region, your nation, the world, not even the people in your own box. The focus should be on yourself. On making sure you pull the best in you and really show yourself what you are made of. I mean, when it comes down to it, fitness is really all just about being the best version of ourselves isn’t it?

 

2. Rx? 

Now you’re sitting there thinking about the fact that you don’t Rx enough workouts regularly to actually compete in the Open. With the rule changes this year, this excuse is two-fold. First I will address the fact that this excuse holds NO weight anymore now that there is a scaled division. Like none. Like stop it. Like why the hell are you not signed up yet?!

But even beyond that, let’s re-visit myself last year as an example. The number of times I Rx-ed a workout before the Open last year I could probably count on my two hands (at the most). I couldn’t do double unders. I couldn’t do pullups. I could barely do toes to bar. I hated rowing. I was slow. I was insecure. My lifts were soupy and weak. I could barely get into a handstand let alone manage one single handstand pushup. I mean I was lucky I was doing pushups at all. I was not at a point where I could make any sort of wave or actually be any relative competition for anyone. And yet there I was. Competing.

Completing the Open with so much fire and passion. Because it was damn freakin exciting! You don’t have to be the best of the best to compete. That’s the whole point! It is events like this and competitions like this and environments and moments like this that make you better. That make you great. Which brings me to my last point…

 

3. Stop Being Scared!

How often do we avoid things that intimidate us? How many times do we maybe not add the extra 5 lbs to a lift because we god forbid may fail a rep? How often do we scale workouts because we don’t think we can do that stuff? Well I can say for myself, far too often. Except recently.

Recently I have adapted a “fuck it, let’s try it” attitude and it has felt amazing. I have failed at some times and so what! It taught we what I can’t do just yet, what I need to work on, and where I stand. Failing is even more beneficial than succeeding. If we were just perfectly naturally good at everything we tried how would we ever learn or progress?! Exactly. Failure is what makes us better and encouraging, nerve-racking, anxiety-provocking, and challenging environments are what push us to be more than what we are at this moment.

 

The 2014 Open pushed me in the most amazing of ways and allowed me to do things that I honestly did not at that time think I was remotely capable of. I fell in about 3,500th place or so but I was beyond proud of myself. The placing didn’t matter. The scores of the workouts did not matter. What matter was that every week I found myself doing more than I thought I could, feeling amazing, and being a part of one of the greatest experiences of my life. Seriously.

So what are you waiting for… Go sign up!

Yeah Baby, Get Your Competition On

Yesterday I participated in the “No Baby Leave the Socks On” competition at Crossfit 973.
 
Yesterday I pushed myself way outside of my comfort zone (AGAIN).
 
Yesterday I climbed a huge wrung on my crossfit journey ladder.
 
 
Signing up for the open last year terrified me, pushed me, and made me realize that I am capable of more than I tend to think I am. (See previous post for that revelation) I didn’t think it was possible to shock myself more because well, I expected to be shocked… If that makes any sense… But yesterday I proved myself wrong. Yet again. See I¬†have been itching to get into a competition ever since seeing how electrifying the Open was. I was hooked on the energy and needed more. HOWEVER, I was also paralyzed and terrified of the idea of competing. I didn’t know if¬†I was ready, mentally or physically. I was unsure if I would crack like an egg under the pressure or if I would¬†could possibly hold my own against better¬†athletes… Clearly confidence has never been my strong suit.
 
Almost a year later and that fire for¬†finding a competition to sign up for¬†had all but faded to ashes, especially¬†given my recent struggles with myself and my performance in the¬†box. Then out of¬†nowhere my coach asks me if I am doing the women¬†only competition next month and¬†my eyes lit up and ears perked up like¬†a dog about to get a treat. Fast forward through the determined work day in and day out. Here we are. January 17th. It is the morning of the competition. I wake up at 5am. I’m tired but can’t sleep¬†another second. I leave my house at 5 minutes to 7am and get to the location of¬†the competition¬†more than 30 minutes before the designated athlete check in time. I sit in my car for a full 15 minutes just trying¬†not to puke, forcing myself to breathe, and getting up the nerve to actually walk in there. I was a messy ball of¬†nerves and anxiety. In fact that same heart racing nervousness¬†stayed with me through the entirety of the first WOD and up until probably about the minute my legs went numb and I had to start consciously reminding myself to breathe¬†during the second WOD. By the time I finished the second¬†workout I was so¬†deep in just doing the workouts I think I almost forgot to be nervous and my goodness did it feel amazing. In fact I distinctly remember even saying I was excited for the third WOD. Yupp, I was fully invested and ready to bring it on.
 
Now, this new found excitement could possibly have been due to the fact that, as I implied earlier, I surprised the shit out of myself when I saw that I actually was doing well!
 
Let’s revisit my lack of confidence for a moment. The competition had an Rx and scaled division. When I looked at some of the weight I decided to go for scaled. I decided I wanted to give myself a chance to do something rather than nothing. My confidence needed to not come in last place and I figured in a scaled division I had somewhat more of a chance to not come in last place. I was told by many I should’ve done Rx but ultimately I didn’t and in the end I am happy I stuck to my gut. Okay, back to the day of…
 
(Successful 125# power clean)
 
I went in with a very simple goal… Work hard and don’t come in last. In fact, other than the weight I wanted to hit in the first workout, I had zero goals or expectations for the entire rest of the day other than not sucking. After I hit a PR power clean at 125# during the clean ladder of WOD #1 (in practice I had only gotten that weight in a squat clean – which we found out on competition day would not be allowed), and finished WOD #2 tied for 5th place overall I realized, “Holy crap maybe I really don’t suck that much!” After that I was pumped. I was motivated. I wanted¬†it.¬†I was gonna make WOD #3 my bitch!
 
The third workout was 50 double under buy-in, 2 rounds of: 25 box jumps @¬†20″, 25 wall balls @ 14# to 8′ target, and 25 KBS with 35# all followed by a 50 double under buy out. In my mind, I broke these movements down and they really didn’t seem that bad at all. However, lets remember I have never done a competition before and I severely underestimated the mental focus and strength it would take to push past the fact that my ENTIRE BODY HATED ALL OF THIS by that point in the day. Ultimately, though it wasn’t as well as I wanted to do, I ended up finishing the workout in a respectable¬†8 minutes and 46 seconds, the longest¬†almost 9 minutes of my life,¬†and taking the 9th spot for that WOD. Disappointingly not enough to get me into the final top 5 but enough to get me tied for 6th. Tied for 6th place out of 37 women. That¬†certainly wasn’t anything to sneeze for my very first competition.
 
For a few hours post-competition I kept beating myself up, replaying the second and third workout thinking about everything I could’ve done. How I should’ve pushed harder through the burpees during the second workout. I should’ve started setups sooner in the third workout and done the KBS unbroken. I watched the video of the second workout 3x. And then it took coming home to my dad, who had just been shown the videos of my competition by my unbelievably impressed aunt, and him almost tearing up, telling me how he couldn’t possibly do any of time, and being actually – not parent faking it to be nice – but genuinely shocked and impressed by me to make me realize how ridiculous I was being. It was my first competition. So what if it was the scaled division and not Rx like people told me I should’ve done. So what if I didn’t make the final 5. So what if I can’t walk today even though I didn’t think I pushed hard enough haha. I did something I never in a million years would’ve possibly seen myself doing 2 years ago. I did better than I ever could’ve expected to. No matter what I coulda, shoulda, woulda change it didn’t happen that way. It ended the way it did for a reason. I did the best I could do. ME. Not anyone else. And that¬†had to be enough. That WAS enough.¬†
 
So what I take away from this is … Yesterday, I learned a lot about myself, about my insanely amazing Maxability family, about the beyond impressive women that I have the honor to workout with on a regular basis.
 
 
 
 
Yesterday I impressed myself and got even more addicted to the insanity that is crossfit.
 
Yesterday I decided you haven’t seen the best of me yet.
 
 

Pushing Through Plateau

Plateau.
 
The literal definition of this word is “an area of relatively level high ground”.¬†Just as we¬†see these in¬†nature, we can experience them in life. A plateau is caused by an ability to adapt; in nature being land adapting to a pressure of water over time. In life¬†we can experience a plateau in many ways. As we grow, we adapt to¬†whatever pressures we may frequently experience and become able to respond. However, once we stop experiencing NEW challenges or facing¬†changes in our daily routine,¬†we can reach¬†this¬†dreaded plateau. We stop growing, stop progressing,¬†stop moving forward. We¬†become kind of stagnant. Recently, I experienced this in a drastic way.
 
I am planning many¬†big life changes¬†set to happen within the next year and while those are extremely exciting, it has¬†led me to feel kind of¬†non-content and¬†stuck in my current routine. Being 24 and having failed at my first life endeavor post-college, I look at myself – paying back loans aggressively, pursuing¬†my future in the counseling world, in a¬†real mature promising¬†relationship –¬†and think¬†I am in pretty good shape life wise. I am proud of myself for being the person I am and being in the position I am in at this point in my life. I wouldn’t have it any other way. So why did I experience such a sucker punch to my stomach kind of self-doubting frustration station plateau? Because I have an insatiable hunger for bettering myself.
 
I know most people would say that isn’t a bad thing and I don’t think it is either. I am constantly reading, researching, looking for ways to feed that hunger. For me that outlet, that thing that keeps me constantly hungry yet always satisfied, is my fitness journey. My crossfit progress. My self. My body. My health.
 
Remember that definition of plateau? A level ground caused by an ability to adapt. Yeah. Well a year and a half into¬†Crossfit I freakin adapted all right and I was stuck.¬†Or at least it felt that way.¬†Stuck in this spot that I had adapted so darn well to I felt like I couldn’t get out of. I spent a good month or two being entirely frustrated. Trying to find any little thing to make me feel better or show myself there is still some progress or I should still be proud of where I was. But all I could was so many people around me getting better and doing more and growing and there I was just hanging in there being the same old Kaitlyn I had been for the past few months. November was a difficult month¬†for me and December did not start out much better. For a couple weeks I just had no motivation. It took everything I had to get to Crossfit each day. I was frustrated. I didn’t understand the point in pushing myself so hard if I wasn’t going to get any better or see the improvement I wanted so badly. One the Friday before Christmas week I remember going off via text message to my boyfriend. I was done with myself. Frustrated. Pissed. I wouldn’t be able to get to Crossfit that night and it just ate at me. I remember just ripping myself to shreds talking to him. Saying it didn’t matter what I did I wasn’t going to get any better. I’m not an athlete anyways. I never have been so who cares. I just can’t get to the fitness level some people can. My body isn’t made that way… Every excuse in the book… And “AFTER A YEAR AND A HALF WHY CAN’T I DO FUCKING PULLUPS!”
 
My boyfriend of course tried to comfort me and I calmed down after a bit and went to Crossfit Monday morning as usual. I had a great morning and a good workout. I felt okay about it. Then my coach asked me if I was signed up for the competition a bunch of people were doing. Of course I freaked and needed more information. It was a women’s competition in mid-January. One with workouts that I could actually do and feel confident in. I was immediately PUMPED. The conversation from just under three days ago flew out of my head and I was like yes I haaaave to do this! After I signed up I couldn’t stop smiling all day. I knew this had to be exactly what I needed to get back the motivation I had somehow lost recently. I thanked God and the universe for sending me this at the absolute perfect moment. I honestly don’t know if I would’ve have been quite as excited if this opportunity presented itself at any other time. This was my chance to prove something to myself.
 
Fast forward to Wednesday and some post-wod competition practice. I decided, after wearing my shoulders out to death, that I would use the empty box as a moment to try something which I was deathly afraid of continually embarrassing myself with. I attempted a kipping pullup. And holy mother of pearl! I freakin did it! (If you saw the video I posted you know how shocked of a reaction I really did have haha). Not even 5 days after yell-texting about hating myself for not being able to do pullups I did my first pullup! I mean talk about timing haha. The just two days after that I did real unassisted kipping pullups in an actual workout for the very first time.
 
Now why am I telling you this story?
 
Plateaus are something that we all are probably familiar with; whether they come in your weight loss efforts, in your gains, or whatever else. Reaching that plateau is easy. Pushing through it, not so much. However, as difficult as it is sometimes (both physically and mentally) it certainly is never impossible and just takes so honesty and hard work. In each step of pushing through make sure you pinpoint the physical and mental things that may be holding you back. A plateau is just as much a mental state as it is physical. You need to get your mind right first and believe in yourself to make these changes. And then go kick some plateau butt! ūüėÄ
 
First, determine whether you are really at a plateau.
This is especially important as related to weight loss. When we begin working out in different forms, our weight changes and sometimes that change isn’t what we expect. Before getting fed up with the scales refusal to decrease or constant up and down look at things that may be contributing. Are you losing fat but gaining muscle? Are you constantly sore from your workouts and not hydrating properly? Are you weighing yourself at different times of the day? All of these things could affect the number you see from day to day or week to week. Make sure you are accounting for all variable factors before you start giving yourself the beat down.
 
Second, have concrete, measurable, and realistically attainable goals.
Far too often we look all the way down the road to what¬†we ultimately want to be. What “success” would mean. However, this can be damning in the sense that when it takes a while for us to get to that point it can cause unbelievable frustration. Like my damn pullups haha. Pullups are all I have wanted since starting Crossfit. Rather than commending myself for being the girl who could not even do one single knee pushup or one ring row, I was condemning myself for not progressing at what for me would be¬†super speed. Set small achievable goals that will keep on the path to your ultimate goal. Goals that you can achieve more frequently to keep you aware of your progress and your little successes and results.
 
Third, focus on one goal at a time.
It is natural to have a lot of things that we want to improve upon. When we put effort to a multitude of things at one time we are more likely to find ourselves falling short in all areas and again becoming frustrated with ourselves. If you focus on the primary goal and put all your efforts into conquering that it is more likely that you will find success, have something to praise yourself for and feel good about, and then move onto the next goal with a bode of confidence. One prime example for me was learning to conquer double unders. After last years open, I spent most of the summer in my driveway as often as possible trying to get them down. Now they are easier and easier each time I do them and I am able to focus my energy elsewhere. (For instance on those pullups! Are you sensing a theme? heehee)
 
Finally, switch it up!
As I mentioned previously, staying in the same routine for a prolonged period of time is not only boring and stagnant but a straight path to hitting a plateau. I mean doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity right? Many times we find ourselves hitting a plateau, specifically in muscle gain and strength, when we never change up our routine. Being that my exercise regime is programmed by my Crossfit coaches and “constantly varied” is something Crossfit prides itself on, this is something that I can easily manage with their help. If you have a normal gym routine you do, whether it be weightlifting or cardio or both, switch up the movements you do and the machines you use every few weeks. Your muscles need an element of surprise and change and challenge. Something they have to continuously adapt to in order to keep progressing. Same thing with weight loss. If you are doing the same things you’ve did to lose the first 20 lbs but it doesn’t seem to be helping with that last 10 its because your body has plateaued and it needs a new challenge! Stay thirsty my friends … thirsty for fitness ūüėČ
 
 
 
 

Calm Down with These Foods

It’s no surprise that when your body is healthy, you will feel better overall.¬†When we are healthy our immune system is kicking butt and keeping us from getting sick, we have more energy, we have better focus and cognition, and physically we are just killin it…¬†
But did you know that the foods you consume can have a huge impact on your mood?
I’m not talking about that chocolate cake or ice cream that “made you feel better” after that awful breakup or those shots that completely reversed the shitty day at the office. I’m talking about a real physiological response… And no not like the coffee that wakes you up in the morning and allows to tolerate all the idiots you will inevitably deal with throughout your day haha… Stay with me here…
Basic foods.
Foods we consume on a regular basis.
Foods that we all eat with (probably) no idea these are making an impact in our stress levels.
Here is a handful of foods and their specific vitamins that can help IMPROVE mood and control those stress and anxiety levels…

Whole grains, broccoli, and vitamin D:
Complex carbohydrates and vitamin D rich foods boost our serotonin levels. Foods such as cod, tuna, salmon, and eggs are all good sources of vitamin D. Broccoli is also a strong ally of serotonin.
Omega-3 fatty acids:
These guys relieve inflammation and improve communication between nerve cells in the brain. People with omega-3 deficiency are more susceptible to mood instability and have a higher risk of panic attacks. So eat your nuts, seeds, oils, fish, and leafy greens everyone!
Arugula and basil:
Certain herbs, these in particular, have a high level of folate which helps to enhance mood. Herbal teas including chamomile and green tea also have a calming effect on the brain due to certain combinations of amino acids and antioxidants. These are often used in stress relief.
Amino acids: 
L-tyrosine is an amino acid used by the brain to make neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine. L-tryptohan is one of the main building blocks of serotonin. Meats, poultry, beans, lentils, and other protein rich foods are good sources of L-tyrosine. Wheres L-tryptohan can be found in turkey, bananas, baked potatoes (with skin), dairy, legumes, and seeds. 
Deficiency in L-lysine is also linked to stress-induced anxiety. Similarly to L-tryrosine, this is found is high protein foods. **Tip: For all you protein powder drinkers, L-lysine is found in many protein mixes, especially those containing an amino complex. So check that label and buy smart ūüėČ **¬†
Antioxidants:
Foods rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E tend to have antioxidant properties. These foods include many fruits (berries, pomegranate, grapefruit, and pineapple), vegetables (kale, peppers, spinach, and beets), and nuts and seeds (pecans, walnuts, sunflower seeds). 

Sunflower seeds and vitamin B complex:
Sunflower seeds are also a great source of vitamin B5, which is often referred to as the “anti-stress vitamin”. Bananas and avocado are also high in B5. Vitamin B6, B12, and Thiamin (B1) also play a part in the balance and communication of neurotransmitters in the brain. B6 assists in the processing of serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine. You can find this in liver, red and green peppers, beef, wheat germ, and nuts. B12 is essential in the formation of red blood cells; a lack of which can lead to mood swings. This is heavy in shellfish, eggs, meat, and lamb. Thiamin converts glucose into energy which, as we all know, if you have none of that can play a gigantic part in depression and anxiety. Peas, spinach, and brown rice are good sources of this.¬†

Melatonin:
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep, something that plays a huge role in depression, anxiety, and stress levels. Some foods contain small amounts of melatonin. These foods include oats, rice, tomatoes, ginger, bananas, radishes, and barley.
So like I said…
Foods we consume relatively often can help our body process, fight, and prevent stress and anxiety. Certain foods can also regulate mood in a way to help prevent and reverse depressive feelings and symptoms. Next time you have a super stressful day or are experiencing high anxiety, put down the chocolate and the vodka. Instead have a cup of green tea. Make a fishy meal with leafy greens, brown rice, and basil seasoning. Feel the benefits! 
Fuel your body. Be great. 


My Weeks Without Makeup

After seeing a blog post about a woman who¬†challenged herself to go¬†a week without makeup it really made me think. I am not the type of woman who takes hours to do her makeup in the morning. In fact my makeup routine consists of tinted moisturizer, the occasional mousse concealer and/or bronzer, my favorite blush, and mascara. Never have I ever been good at eye shadow, eye liner, layers and layers of foundation, or whatever contouring is. I don’t understand shades and shading and proper things for skin undertones or eye colors. I honestly don’t even understand colors in general for that matter. Like what in gods name is periwinkle?! But I digress… I decided that this concept intrigued me enough that I had to try it myself. Since I am an overachiever and into self-challenges aaaaannnddd since I figured my makeup routine isn’t nearly the same as many women’s I would push myself to go TWO weeks, 14 straight days, without wearing a drop of makeup. This is what I learned…

DAY ONE

I woke up on the first day ready to tackle this challenge and hopeful that I wouldn’t be all that hard… Unfortunately I was wrong. I showered and went upstairs only to look in the mirror 9458237x more than the average morning. I got dressed and somehow felt undressed for work. I left the house feeling unprofessional at best. Like as if not wearing makeup would complete destroy my abilities, professionalism, and respect when I got to the nervous. I was NOT feeling this. I wasn’t picking apart all my flaws… yet… but I was certainly insecure. The day was much harder than a typical day at the office. I definitely didn’t feel like myself and I was not excited for the next 13 days to come.

Fast forward to day seven…

DAY SEVENÔĽŅ
 
I began my little journey on a Thursday. Typically, I¬†go makeup less over the weekend unless I am going out somewhere Saturday. So days 3 and 4 weren’t tooooooo bad. Day¬†2 was just as¬†much of a struggle¬†as the first day and unfortunately¬†it didn’t get much better throughout the first week. I spent most of the first week¬†picking myself apart.¬†Every time I looked in the mirror I felt defeated;¬†as¬†though I looked absurdly tired or sick or just¬†awful.¬†I realized¬†it was going to take a lot of self-love to get me through the next week.
 
Day seven was also¬†when I decided to take a deeper look at my skin, which is the¬†problem behind why my¬†non-makeup wearing self¬†struggled with feeling beautiful and wonderful. For the first week of this challenge I used the face wash I had been using, which is¬†one I switched to from a face wash I actually really liked¬†because it was recommended by someone. I¬†decided for the second week that I would purchase my old favorite along with face wipes that I would carry in my gym bag for post-CrossFit. You see¬†bad skin runs in my family, thanks a lot dad haha, so¬†skin care is something I know I¬†have the pleasure of having to be extra conscious of.¬†Rather than covering up the acne and flaws, I was¬†now forced to really attack them head on or be faced with them daily… literally.
 
 
DAY ELEVEN
 
By now¬†I¬†had gotten to a point of self-acceptance. I knew my flaws and I was ready to work through them and love them and accept them as me.¬†Somehow not wearing makeup when I was at home and around my¬†parents and siblings and even my boyfriend was like second nature. I didn’t think twice about it and I felt¬†fine. They loved me for me and they accepted my flaws and loved my flaws… and honestly told me repeatedly that they didn’t notice any of the things I kept pointing out (though they were probably¬†just being nice). Yet, it was the going¬†out in public around people I didn’t know and who didn’t matter and whom I would probably never see again that drove me insane. Makes total sense -_-¬† I¬†was determined to work through this over the next 3 days and made it a point to¬†be in public as much as possible and allow the world to see me for who I was. ALSO, by¬†today I had noticed a difference in my skin. I had begun using my own oil scrub in addition to the Olay Total 7 scrub that I had decided to go back to using on day 8. I ditched my Say Yes to Tomatoes and I returned to the land of¬†Olay. It was making a difference. But the biggest difference I saw was due to using my¬†oil scrub at night. The invigorating and¬†moisturizing and healing combination of¬†the olive oil, coconut oil,¬†epsom salt, and lemon was something my skin just adored and it made me,¬†both¬†in a mental placebo way and an actual physical change way,¬†better.¬†I was gonna get through this challenge with progress wasn’t¬†I?

DAY FOURTEENÔĽŅ
 
Ending this challenge I realized just how big of an impact makeup makes on women and their perception of themselves. Throughout the entire two weeks, not once did anyone comment on my appearance in a negative way. Not once did anyone else mention that I looked tired or sick. Not once did someone respond to me differently than they normally do. I wasn’t criticized at work for not looking professional. I wasn’t disrespected or bypassed. No one looked at me with judgment or disgust. Everything was status quo. The ONLY person that noticed I wasn’t wearing makeup and that my “flaws” were showing was me. Ladies, our perception of ourselves with makeup versus ourselves without makeup is something only we notice.

(me with makeup – compared to 2 previous no makeup pictures)ÔĽŅ

Wearing makeup doesn’t make us any better or worse at our jobs, in our relationships, at the gym. It doesn’t bring us any closer to that new PR on a lift or make us run faster. It doesn’t make us any more or less funny (unless you’re a professional clown lol), loving, caring, responsible. It doesn’t increase our IQ. It honestly doesn’t even make people like or respect us any more or less.

Everything in our lives is about our attitude, personality, and the way we conduct ourselves. The problem, or the benefit, is that the way we conduct ourselves stems directly from the way we feel about ourselves. (aka our self-esteem and confidence) Women allow ourselves to use makeup as a way to cover up our flaws physically in hopes that it covers those flaws emotionally or mentally. Makeup makes us more confident and therefore we believe we need it to be good at our lives. When in fact, the person you are behind that makeup is much more important. Women need to allow ourselves to feel confident and strong and BEAUTIFUL without makeup… And the world will be in big trouble ūüėČ

Barbells For Boobs

This past weekend I was lucky enough to take part, for the second time, in my box’s annual “Barbells For Boobs” fundraiser. If you don’t know anything about Barbells For Boobs¬†please please check them out! This is an amazing organization which raises to fund mammograms for uninsured women. Early detection and information is the first step in saving lives right?! Okay back to our fundraiser….
Last year, Barbells For Boobs was the first any sort of anything I did pertaining to CrossFit that wasn’t just showing up for the 6am WOD every day. I was beyond excited. I made the effort to raise money for a great cause. My father came out to support and watch. It was a great day. So of course going into it the second time around I was just as pumped. You see this year, I was determined to raise more money AND I knew I would be RX’ing the workout for the first time. I was ready.

Let’s talk a little about progress and transformation…

In recent months, namely July and August, my life outside of CrossFit had kind of sent me on a detour. All my focus had been put on helping my boyfriend organize, pack up, and move himself and his life halfway across the country. I wasn’t going to CrossFit as often as I had been, taking stretches of days off, and I was tired or on the run so often that my eating habits fell off… Except for when I was actually with my boyfriend because he was able to keep me somewhat on track. Thank you love :* …But I didn’t mind because for that time, something big came first. However, after the boy thaaang was all moved in down in Texas and I was back to my life (alone) in Jersey I was frustrated with my lack of performance and progress. Especially physically. I felt as though I had taken 10 steps back in my physical appearance results. For a small wrinkle in time I was so angry at myself and was my own worst critic. Like a super harsh critic. I experienced this fall off in endurance at CrossFit and a plateau in lifts, when others who were at my level had progress. I was PISSED.

But. Rather than allow this feeling to overcome me and succumb to this irritation. I became determined to get myself back to where I needed to be. The latter half of August was were this new journey began. I was BEYOND determined. I was focused. I did have a definitive goal but I had a million goals. I didn’t want to just be better. I knew exactly and specifically what I needed and wanted to be better in.

Cue, September. Again I had almost a week off right at the start of the month due to traveling to Texas to visit this ambitious man of mine. Then I returned realizing that I had finished my Saturday classes and could FINALLY return to my favorite of all gym times! Saturday morning workouts… One of the first Saturday workouts I came back to was a partner WOD. Besides the aggressive combination of suicide like sprints and kettlebell swings, part of the workout was clean and jerks. My heart dropped in nerves and anxiety when, in announcing the partners, my coach looked at me and said “95 would be nice to see”

Now I knew we were doing “Grace” soon at Barbells For Boobs and that the Rx women’s weight would be 95#. But was I ready? I seriously doubted myself.

I finished the workout that Saturday… Barely and with great thanks to my amazing partner!… ¬†But I didn’t really touch 95# for anything over head until the week before. I was (again) in Texas and got to work out at Crossfit Cedar Park, being coached for that one class by a former games athlete. I found myself PR-ing my push press at 110#. Excuse me?! And it seemed relatively, well I wouldn’t say easy by any means but as if I could certainly have done more. That moment boosted my confidence like nothing else.

Fast forward to October 18th…

I woke up in the morning telling myself “Just finish. Juuuuuust finish.” I had practiced in my attic a few weeks prior with what I thought had been 95# but was informed by my father, to my dismay, that it was actually only probably about 85#… That’s what we get for having weird weights with a bar of unknown weight lol… My practice offered a 7:15 finish. Just barely under our 8 minute time cap. Finding out so close to the fundraiser that it was 10 pounds less than I thought was discouraging to say the least. But I kept a positive mindset and made my way over to Hackensack.

Before I discuss how I felt in and after the WOD, let’s just touch on WHY this was so important…

Have you ever had a definitive checkpoint with which you could measure your progress and results from all the hard work you’ve put in? Ya know the kind of checkpoint that means you H A V E to be real with yourself and you can’t sugar coat anything because the numbers don’t lie?

Barbells For Boobs was that for me. It was something, the same exact workout I had done at the same exact time I had done it the year prior. I had to face myself. I had to see how far I really had come, or not come, in the past year. This was it. All I wanted more than anything was progress and pride.

Needless to say, I looked at that 95# on the bar and I said “Let’s FUCKING Do This Shit.” I finished in 6:40. Just a little over 1 minute slower than I had performed the year before. However, the real factor that made a difference is that the prior year I did this workout (which by the way was “Grace” – 30 clean and jerks for time) with only 75#. A 20 pound difference. This time last year if I even attempted cleaning 95# I would have collapsed. It wasn’t a possibility to be considered by a long shot.

THIS is how far I have come. I have learned so much from these past couple months. Going from feeling frustrated and angry at myself for a lack of progress to showing myself that even with some detours the progress I have made over the last year is immeasurable… Or, literally,¬†actually greatly measurable ūüôā

I am an entirely new person. A year ago in October I was in my 7th month of Crossfit. Even then I was insanely impressed by the person I had become. I had NEVER in my life touched a barbell (or really even a dumbbell over 5 lbs) before. I could not do ONE SINGLE PUSHUP. I actually distinctly remember the coach doing one of my first On Ramp beginner classes laughing out loud at me when I attempted a push-up and even attempted a knee push-up. Hashtag embarrassing.

Moral of the story here is that no matter what is getting in your way, look at yesterday and remember that you are not the person you were then… Be determined. Stay focused. Know yourself.

Always remember that there are enough haters and critics in this world that will “offer” or force their opinion and judgment on you, don’t be one of them. LOVE yourself.

No matter where you are in your journey it is where you are meant to be and you are meant to learn from every experience and every step, whether forwards or backwards, in your goals. All you can do is never give up, never quit, and work as hard as your body will let you.

You are all amazing.

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