The Dog Days

Ahhh, good old summer time. The magic of summer was definitely a bit more apparent when I was a kid. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still the best time of year, but now I am an adult. So just because it’s 90 degrees with 1,000,000 percent humidity doesn’t mean I can waste the day away swimming and sunning, work duties are lurking. Good thing I have a great job that doesn’t require me to wear business suits and restricting clothing. Spandex, anyone?

Relaxing by the lake on 4th of July

Relaxing by the lake on 4th of July

These days I cherish my weekends. Mostly because it gives me a chance to regroup and prepare for my week. I have an easier time recharging my batteries while I am alone, I guess that’s the introvert side of me. It’s also probably why I feel so connected to nature and the quiet that comes along with it.

The plan for this coming weekend is to get a nice day-hike in on one of the days (weather-dependent) and enjoy some quiet time around the ‘hood. I’m starting to get anxiety over the fact that we’re already into week two of July. As a kid the summer seemed to drag on forever. Now it’s like a flash in the pan. You must make the weekends count. What about the week days though? Is summer the time to live a little? Should we disregard the 9:00pm bedtime to enjoy a cocktail by the water with friends, or go for a go for a jog at 8:00pm because it’s still light out and we can? For a creature of habit like myself this is a difficult thing to do. Getting up at 4:30am is also a deterrent. The jury is still out on this one. Gotta find a balance I suppose. See what I did there? ūüėČ

My wrist is starting to feel better and I am making progress which is a good thing. Some movements still really bother me but it’s significantly less painful. My chiropractor has been working his magic doing some soft tissue and trigger point work on my forearm from my elbow down to my hand. There’s a lot of gnarly stuff going on in there. I was recently thinking about how I tend to hold my iPhone with my left hand and scroll using my thumb. I am thinking that this has played a role in my wrist issues as well. Making a conscious effort to limit the mindless scrolling on the phone. It’s unnecessary for many reasons.

I began the German Body Comp program a few weeks ago. It’s been really nice to slow things down, but still be getting an amazing workout. In CrossFit I think we get caught up in speed and intensity. I mean, it’s very important to find that intensity to get an appropriate training response, but that doesn’t mean pedal to the metal all the time. The GBC requires every movement be done with tempo, so it’s actually very challenging to do that – for all kinds of reasons, haha. I am considering this summer my “off season” from the sport of fitness. I am getting the itch to get back in the game and my goal is to able to work with a barbell again by mid-August/September-ish. So, look out, I am coming back.

I hope you are having a fantastic summer and you’re living A LOT! Go out on a weeknight, stay up late now and then, drink a margarita on the weekends, and put down the phone. You’ll wish for this come January! Enjoy the photos…

My loon buddy on the 4th of July. He looks relaxed.

My loon buddy on the 4th of July. He looks relaxed.

We could be a Sperry Topsider advertisement.

We could be a Sperry Topsider advertisement.

Since working is not optional I use a combo of peppermint and orange essential oils in my diffuser to pick me up when I want to take a nap in the afternoon. You should get in on this!

Since working is not optional I use a combo of peppermint and orange essential oils in my diffuser to pick me up when I want to take a nap in the afternoon. You should get in on this!

April Showers Bring May Flowers

This post is a bit of a ramble. I apologize for the lack of organization in my writing. I have allergy-brain today. That or I am dehydrated, but I’m working on that. Everything seems a little fuzzy.

spring

Last week was pretty cool. Kyle, my brother, was out of town so I felt a little more responsibility at the gym. It was an awesome week. I work with the best people and our members are just incredible. Anyway, I thought it would be hard and I would be tired, but I ended up feeling really good. I will admit I started feeling tired on Thursday into Friday, but it was nothing a 30 minute power nap couldn’t fix. I was definitely ready for a bit of R&R by Saturday. Something that definitely helped to keep me going last week were my essential oils. I have recently started getting into oils and I am really becoming a believer. The number one reason I like the oils so much is that they provide a natural, non-toxic alternative to chemicals, medications, and potentially harmful household products.

Diffusing oils makes your home smell amazing, but  you also get the aromatherapy benefits. Here I diffused an oil blend called Stress Away with Peppermint for unwinding and uplifting after a long day.

Diffusing oils makes my home smell amazing, but I also get the aromatherapy benefits. Here I diffused an oil blend called Stress Away with Peppermint for unwinding and uplifting after a long day. I am very sensitive to scents so traditional scented candles and sprays give me headaches and make me feel nauseous. My oils are a refreshing ( and much healthier) alternative. 

This weather is just absolutely rockin’. We have waited a long time for it. The only problem is that during Spring the flowers and leaves are blooming, the windows are open, the dust us kicking up and my allergies are kicking in! I’ve been waking up feeling like a zombie. The allergy trio oil blend of lavender, peppermint, and lemon has really been helping me to stay on top of my symptoms. I carry a roller bottle around with me and also diffuse the trio when I am home.

It’s been so nice to have the doors open at the gym. It makes the space feel larger and we have the option of going outside. Plus…running! I am struggling to get back into running shape, but I know that with time it will come. It always does. My work over the last 6+ months has really paid off. Last year I completed “DT” in 12:48. Last week I did the workout in 8:46. I am psyched about that.

allergies

 

 

I am excited for what May has to offer. Each of my weekends is already pretty full which makes me feel blessed, but also kind of overwhelmed. I can do it – it’s going to be awesome. Do you have anything fun and interesting planned for the month of May? Let’s hear it!

Weekend Update

This past weekend was damn-near perfect. Had a great training session at the gym on Saturday morning. Snatching is continuing to improve and building some power snatches into EMOMs has been helping me get comfortable. For breakfast, I got to enjoy my new favorite, Mancakes! It’s essentially gluten free pancake mix with whey protein built in. I like to add banana and some chocolate chips. What a great treat and alternate breakfast option. Because, sometimes eggs get old.

Mancakes

Mancakes

Saturday afternoon we headed to The Loop to see American Sniper. Wow, has that place changed. Apparently now you have to book your seats ahead of time. Gone are the days where you can just stroll in and choose your seats – with a popular movie, anyway. And the seats…they are not just seats anymore. They are electronic leather recliners which adjust to your comfort level. It all seemed a bit gluttonous, but it was pretty awesome and made the theater experience exciting.

American Sniper was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. It was entertaining but also very thought provoking. I’ve never experienced the profound silence that resonated in the theater once the credits rolled. All I could think about was all the stupid complaints and shit that I whine about on a daily basis. It’s ridiculous to think about it. Complaining about the weather, or that I’m tired, or sore. It’s like …yes, but you’re alive. You get to experience the weather, your get to have a great job, you get to work out and feel soreness. Chris Kyle’s story is one that everyone should know and respect. Today is the two-year anniversary of his death, so let’s all remember The Legend today.

Enjoying his reclining seats and junior mints.

Enjoying his reclining seats and junior mints.

Before the movie we stopped by one of our favorite restaurants, Plaza Azteca. I wouldn’t say I love the food there, it’s not the best, certainly not the worst either. It’s the margaritas I go for. I enjoy 1-2 drinks each week so I like to make them count. An icy cold marg with a little salt on the rim does the trick. And chips and salsa is my favorite snack of all time, so it’s a win-win. Also, at Plaza, I like the atmosphere and the large booths in the bar area are comfortable, roomy, and private. Atmosphere has a lot to do with my rating of restaurants. It could be the best food ever, but if the surroundings suck, I am not comfortable and I can’t fully enjoy the experience.

New option at Plaza. Not sure I'd be into it, but A+ for creativity. Class AND refreshing!

New option at Plaza. Not sure I’d be into it, but A+ for creativity. Class AND refreshing!

On Sunday I got a bunch of food prep done and spent some time reading for the nutrition course I am taking through OPEX. It’s another module in the process of completing all of the level 1 coaching courses. I’m currently reading a book about food intolerance, sensitivity and allergies and it is so interesting. Gotta keep learning!

In the afternoon we went snow shoeing in the Sandown Town Forest. Those trails are awesome. I have been exploring those woods since my childhood and now they have been enhanced by a true trail system. It’s so nice to go out to explore the different trails. Thankfully most of the trails were packed down because that snow is deep! Talk about a workout. We sat on the bench at The Cliffs and took in some sun. It’s hard to get vitamin D naturally in the doldrums of winter. I really appreciate my snow shoes this time of year for helping me to get outside. It’s a fairly inexpensive way to be able to do an outdoor activity this time of year. All you need is the snow shoes, some warm boots, and a bunch of layers of warm clothing (no cotton). Oh, and some good trails help!

sunshine

Then, at night, the Patriots won the Super Bowl. I’m sure you all know plenty about that. #gopats

And now, more snow.

Learning.

Learning. It’s what we do. If we are not learning, we are not growing. If we are not challenging ourselves to learn and reach out of our comfort zones we become stagnant and complacent and just keep going through the motions. To avoid the complacency and boredom, we set goals for ourselves. Even if we do not label them goals we have certain aims for our lives; our days; and even our hours.

Last week  Kyle and I were able to spend a total of 5 days with James Fitzgerald and some of his colleagues. Five days of pure learning and reaching. We reached beyond what we knew, or even what we thought we knew. We listened and learned from some of the best minds in our field and put our heads together with colleagues from around the globe.

Can you spot Kyle?

Can you spot Kyle?

We finished our experiences with more knowledge, more drive, and more focus for the business and the people we interact with each day. I left with a thirst for more and an intense desire to better myself and continue to learn. I sent a text message to Kyle at one point, “All of this just makes me want to be better”. At that moment, and still to this moment, I want to be a better coach, a better athlete, a better mentor…daughter…girlfriend…student. Each day I strive to inspire people. It was great to have the roles reversed and to have the experience of being inspired. To be the best you have to learn from the best!

Can you spot Ashley?

Can you spot Ashley?

I cannot wait for the next opportunity I have to reach outside of my comfort zone and to truly be inspired and learn so much. I’m sure it won’t be too far down the road. In fact, I learn a lot every single day when I work with people. By noticing what is going on around me I am learning and thinking of ways to be better. That is something that we can all do. Next time you’re out and about try to actually notice what is going on around you. How are people moving around a space? What are they saying, or not saying? What is their body language like? You can learn a lot from noticing. Next time you are with someone make sure you are actually listening when they speak so that you are truly hearing what they are saying. How many times have you left a conversation and forgotten details or even forgotten the entire conversation? It’s little things like this that make us better people – people that others seek out an want to be around.

Getting there, slowly…but surely. Cheers!

 

Unbelievably Fortunate Birthday

Birthday dinner at Blue Moon Evolution in Exeter, NH.

If you have never been to Blue Moon, you must go! It’s an amazing farm-to-table, upscale dining experience. The atmosphere is elegant, but casual, homey and warm. We made a reservation to sit in the dining room, but we have also walked in just to sit at the bar. The servers are friendly and informative. The cocktails are innovative and tasty. I have had the Beetnik After Dark and the Rosalita…both highly recommended. The wine list is also great, you can’t go wrong there.

Thanks, Dana. These are amazing.

Thanks, Dana. These are amazing.

That night we started with the charcuterie board. The items all the board change based on the season. I have had it a couple times and it’s never disappointed. I ordered haddock as my meal and it was delicious – I ate every single bite. This was probably my fifth or sixth time having the haddock and it is consistently amazing.

For dessert we shared the flourless chocolate cake with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. I also highly recommended their french press coffee. It’s even better in the form of “Cabin Fever” where it is served with maple whiskey.

Yes, this meal was quite gluttonous, but every bite was savored. I left feeling comfortably full. My favorite part of Blue Moon is that I always leave feeling unbelievably satisfied. It’s¬†real¬†food that has been cared for throughout the course of it’s life. That care makes better food and, in turn, make us better after we eat it. Isn’t that what food¬†should¬†do?

Found this on the whiteboard at 5:30am. Thanks Dana and Gwen!

Found this on the whiteboard at 5:30am. Thanks Dana and Gwen!

October 7, 1985

My birthday. I heard a lot o,f “You’re almost 30,” and was asked, “Are you feeling older?” Yes, I am almost 30, but no, I am not feeling older. I am feeling wiser, more secure, and more accomplished, but not old. I still think I am 22. I forget that I grew up in the 90s. I feel good. I am more fit than ever before. I cannot wait to see what the next year has in store!

Sometimes you feel like the years are catching up with you. Your mind has cobwebs, your joints might be achy, your skin doesn’t quite have the smoothness that it once did, but you somehow remember that you are, infact, still alive and have much more living to do. Sometimes all it takes is a small gesture from another person, or a great workout, or a new piece of clothing to help you feel refreshed and re-energized.

For Mexican Night! Guacamole...tableside! Thanks, Jameson. And a sharpener for my knives - priceless.

For Mexican Night! Guacamole…tableside! Thanks, Jameson. And a sharpener for my knives – priceless.

Outpouring of Thoughts

I felt like the luckiest girl in the world on Tuesday. I just cannot even describe how loved I felt on that day. The notes, the gifts, the well-wishes…it was all just so wonderful. Thank you to everyone who reached out to make me feel special on Tuesday. I truly appreciate it.

When I was going to sleep that night I thought about how lucky I am to have such amazing family, friends, and a large extended gym family. At times I think we take all those relationships for granted. We get caught up in life and sometimes end up in the motions. Those of us who are lucky enough to have such amazing people around us quickly come back from those moments and end up feeling renewed and totally revved about life!

Right now I am totally revved.

Thank you!

New crockpot from some of the 9am ladies! Thank you Carol, Audrey, Mel, and Lauren. It's already been put to good use.

New crockpot from some of the 9am ladies! Thank you Carol, Audrey, Mel, and Lauren. It’s already been put to good use.

A Little Update

Less than 2 weeks left of the Lurong Challenge scares me. What scares me is A) How quickly the past 6 weeks went by and B) What is going to happen when the challenge is over? Last year I went on a major rant about how I didn’t want people to fall off the wagon. While I have the same sentiments this year I don’t have the same energy to go on the same rant. I hope that by now you have made the choice to continue to eat this way as a lifestyle and not just for the sake of the challenge. I hope you are feeling better and looking better because I know I am. Enough about that. Stay tuned for my challenge wrap-up post in a few weeks.

I’m reeally into flavored coffee lately. Warmth!
I am totally obsessed with leg warmers. Who knew these would be coming back around on the style wheel of life!? It’s awesome. For a person who is always cold, leg warmers are just one more weapon to add to my arsenal for the upcoming winter months. Along with shirts that have a thumb hole, leg warmers might be one of the coolest things ever. I also bought and electric blanket. I crank that baby up about a half hour before bedtime and when I climb in it’s like crawling into warm cocoon. I turn it off when I sleep because sleeping with electricity running all over my body kind of freaks me out. I’m sure it’s completely safe, but I just don’t feel that need for that yet. Maybe when it’s 10 below.
Can you guess where I am?

How about those Red Sox!? It would be better if the games were on at 6pm instead of 8. Then, maybe, I could watch one. I tried to watch the game on Saturday night, but I was asleep on the couch by 9:30. It’s sad. I guess I could force myself to stay awake tonight so I can watch them win the World Series. I mean, tomorrow is my rest day. But I will be so pissed if they lose…they had better not lose. GO RED SOX!

Now we know why we find lumberjacks sexy. Or is it just me?

Weekly Update

The Reebok CrossFit North East Regional is THIS weekend at the Reebok CrossFit Headquarters in Canton, MA. We will be there representing The Fort and cheering for the athletes competing during this brutal weekend. Best of luck to all who are competing. The fittest men and women of the region will battle it out for spots at the CrossFit Games in California this July! Come down to support this amazing CrossFit community, have some fun, and buy some sweet new gear. Let us know if you’ll be there.

2011 North East Regional
Follow CP on Twitter.¬†If you don’t have a Twitter account you should definitely get one just to follow him. CP’s Twitter handle is @casual_penguin. Whenever I tweet at CP I include the hashtag #CP or #casualpenguin. He’s got some pretty hilirious thoughts these days and can turn just about any frown upside down.¬†

End of the Spring Cleaning Paleo Challenge!¬†Well, that 30 days just flew by. People look amazing, WOD results are better, and it seems like people are feeling amazing. I love it. So, the big question I always ask is, “Which changes are you going to keep as part of everyday life?” I hope the answer is “ALL OF THEM!” However, I am a realist and I do realize that indeed you might actually melt if you can’t have dark chocolate or a gin and tonic once in a while (You won’t really melt, trust me. But I get it). So GO FOR IT…ONCE IN A WHILE. Allow the things that you truly¬†missed to find their way back into your life on a limited basis and forget the rest. You don’t need it, you never did. You’ve just proven this to¬†yourself¬†by eliminating it for a month.¬†Congratulations, I am so proud of you all.¬†
We need an after picture!

A Recipe I Made Up…
Mango Avocado Salsa with Cilantro and Lime
This takes about 20 minutes to throw together, less time if you actually know how to chop a mango. How to chop a mango. This salsa has a really nice fresh flavor and is delicious over chicken or fish, but you could also put it over salad. 

WHAT YOU NEED:
– Juice of 1 lime
– 2 ripe mangos
– 1 or 2 ripe avocados
Р1 clove fresh garlic or 1/4 tsp garlic powder
– About 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped up
– Dash of cumin
РDash of cayenne pepper (more if you like a little more spice)
– Salt and pepper to taste

HOW TO MAKE IT:
– Cube avocado, add to mixing bowl
– Cube mangos, add to bowl
– Pour lime juice over top
– Add garlic, cilantro, cumin, cayenne, S&P
– Mix it all up and enjoy

Weekly Update

I apologize for the hiatus in blogging. It’s been crazy-busy around The Fort these days. We have two new batches of amazing On-Rampers; one just finished up last week and the other began on Monday. I am so excited to have so many new faces in the gym. If you see the noobs around the gym, please introduce yourself and chat for a bit.

Last weekend Kyle and I spent both days at a CrossFit Gymnastics certification course. CrossFit 110 in Chelmsford, MA hosted. What a great weekend. The cert was very personal, with lots of attention and personalized learning. We moved all weekend and there was very little sitting time. I haven’t been this sore in my hamstrings and triceps in a long time. I’m not even going to mention how fried my core was…it was about 14 hours of holding a hollow position, so you can just imagine. We have already implemented some of what we learned into our classes and the On-Ramp Program. I highly recommend this certification to anyone interested.

There is a competition this weekend at CrossFit Free in Salem, NH. The Fort has three teams competing. Dana & JP, Kyle & Brittany, and Jameson & I will bring our A-games on Saturday to go up against some great teams. If you’re looking for something to do, come on over to watch. Or you can follow the live streaming updates at this link¬†https://crossfit-free.theboxhq.com/events/team-competition. Ky and Britt are The Velociraptors; Dana and JP are Going H.A.M.; and Jameson and I are The Casual Penguins. Remember CP?

I bet CP likes this cold weather!

For those of you who don’t know the story…This picture was from the last partner competition I did at CF Free back in June. The burpee broad jumps got the best of me. Thankfully my awesome partner (thanks, J) pretty much carried our performance through this portion of the WOD as I nearly passed out in the parking lot. Burpee broad jumps have come back to haunt me. This time I have to do them with¬†dumbbells¬†in my hands combined with a thruster. Sweet. Practiced those this morning and they suck, but the scene depicted above¬†will not happen again. HAH!

Anyone else noticed that they are getting stronger? I sure am. I am psyched about that. I have been lifting heavier, consistently, which is awesome. Eating more helps, too. And I’m doing that as well. The Whole30 has been great for outlining the good food choices, I’ve just ratcheted up the amounts. More protein and definitely more carbs – mostly in the form of sweet potatoes. Yum. If I don’t eat enough carbs I am not happy. Speaking of the Whole30…I have 7 days left. That three weeks certainly flew by. I would recommend the Whole30 program for anyone looking for a challenge and/or to jump start any food or body composition-related goals. If you’re interested, buy the book It Starts With Food and get reading!

So that’s what this week has been like so far. Hope your week is going well. Keep perfecting that air squat!

Life this Week

What’s up!? This is a quick and random little post to let you know what’s up in my world this week. A few things.

Down with the sickness. Have you noticed how everyone¬†is sick. Ew. I feel so lucky to have dodged the bullet so far (knock on wood), and I’m upping the ante by adding some things to my daily ritual to continue staving off the creepy crawlies. The first is drinking lemon water. Thank you, Dana and Jameson for inspiring this trend. I’m not sure if it actually makes a difference, but it tastes damn good. I would bet that the extra vitamin C along with adequate hydration helps to boost the ol’ immune system. I’ve also been trying to get a lot of sleep by taking a quick catnap in the afternoon if I have time and by getting my ass to bed before 10pm. Thank you to everyone who has been wiping down their equipment post-WOD. Killing the bugs in the gym is much appreciated. Please, do not come to the gym if you are sick.

PRed my snatch. I was really psyched to lift on Wednesday. I get psyched to lift most of the time because it is fun and challenging. After about 2 hours of lifting, it was a lift big, eat big day. Anyway, it just felt right and I ended up with a 5lb. personal best on my snatch. I had to really work to get myself prepared for a few of my lifts. I danced around a little bit, took some big breaths, literally told myself to do it by saying (out loud), “Come on!” And voila, there I was, under the barbell, shoulders punched up, elbows locked out, deepest squat I could get. Sweet. It’s always a good day when you PR your snatch. Congrats to all other Fort Monsters who earned personal bests on Wednesday – it was PR City!

Created a bunch of CP Memes. This was purely for entertainment purposes. If you know CP, you know that he is one funny guy. When he made his¬†penguin¬†suit debut, he pulled at my comedic heartstrings and immediately became one of the best sources of comedic relief I’ve seen in a while. The best part about CP is that he gets as big a kick out of himself as I do aaannnnd he just about always has a smile on his face. Guess what, ladies…he’s single! Enjoy.

And I leave you with this: Something to get your blood pumping.
row 500m
10 air squats
10 push ups
5 pull ups (strict)
row 250m
10 overhead squats w/ PVC
10 ring rows (horizontal)
5 ring dips
10 burpees

Some Life Updates

I haven’t been able to tame my thoughts for a more concise post, so this one is all over the place.¬†
I hope you enjoy it anyway.

Paleo Challenge & Nutrition
Being just about half way through the Paleo Challenge is motivating and exciting. A typical 30-day challenge is very beneficial but when they end I always wish they were longer. Right now I feel great and I find that I no longer have cravings for anything. I have freed myself from sugar’s evil grasp! People keep asking me, “What are you going to eat when the challenge is over?” I’m not really planning to go crazy. I might have a¬†celebratory¬†second glass of red wine – maybe a tequila drink – and some super-dark chocolate. But to be honest I have no desire for any of those things. I certainly do not want to kick myself back into a sugar-addicted state which seems to happen to me quite easily. So, my plan after the challenge is to pretty much just keep doing what I have been doing.

Thanks, Melissa, for these birthday treats. The chocolate is stashed away until November 19th! 

The only times I have felt deprived or limited have been when I am out to eat. I went out with my parents to the Blue Moon Evolution in Exeter, NH. This is one of my top 5 restaurants. If you’ve never been you need to go. Make a reservation, especially on the weekends. Everything they serve is local and high quality. Therefore, I eat everything on my plate and fight the urge to lick it clean each time I am there. So my parents and I were out that night and I felt bad because I couldn’t eat my potatoes and I couldn’t eat the goat cheese on the salad. I made my Dad eat everything I couldn’t because I didn’t want to see it go to waste. Another time I was out for my 27th birthday dinner with a bunch of super-cool people at XO on Elm in Manchester, NH. Again, very paleo-friendly menu. I ordered the half duck, but asked them to omit the rice and instead serve me some asparagus. Normally I would have eaten the rice as it doesn’t really affect my belly negatively. So, my solution to feeling limited at¬†restaurants¬†is to limit eating at them until the challenge is over. This is probably good for my bank account as well. Ever notice how much smaller the check is when each person at the table only has one drink instead of 3? Haha.

I am super-proud of everyone competing in this challenge. Nine weeks is kind of a long time when you think about it. There are a lot of newbs (new to CrossFit and/or Paleo) participating as well, which impresses me even more. You will truly be a different person when you finish. If you’re a challenge¬†competitor¬†and you are feeling¬†deprived¬†or limited try making a new recipe. Find a recipe for something you really feel like eating and spend time preparing your ingredients and creating this new meal. The entire process can be very satisfying and take your mind away from feelings of¬†deprivation. Share a Paleo meal with friends and family and relax. This is not supposed to be a stressful process.

Training
I don’t usually monitor my weight during challenges, except for at the¬†beginning¬†and end. Weight can be misleading and becoming a slave to the scale is discouraging, can become obsessive, and lead to destructive behavior. I can tell by how my clothes feel that I have slimmed down a bit. I can also tell when I run and do pull ups. They feel easier! That’s a cool thing. Speaking of running…thanks to everyone who came to The Fort last Monday and threw down for my birthday WOD. It was quite a bit of running. I hope you enjoyed the hang power cleans as much as I did. We’ll see how we all do with that one next October.

Me after my first attempt at “Badger”. Rugged WOD.

I have been obsessed with lifting lately. I just want to get my hands on a barbell all the time. I think more barbell makes everything better. I’ve been back-squatting a lot and I can feel a huge improvement in my all-around strength. Good stuff. you should want to lift more too. It’s the way to go, really. I feel like a lot of times women are afraid of the barbell. I’ve never been afraid of moving weight, but I sometimes lack the confidence that I am capable of doing it. Although it takes legit strength to lift a heavy bar, it also takes the believe that you can actually do it. It’s called self-efficacy; or having the confidence that you will be able to complete a certain task successfully. Last Wednesday night at Weightlifting Wednesday I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to spend time on my clean or if I wanted to back squat heavy. I chose squatting based purely on the fact that I was feeling very strong at the moment and I wanted a new 3-rep max. I was feeling confident that I could do it. The atmosphere was awesome; it was hot and there was chalk and sweaty people everywhere. It was #haught. My lifts felt amazing. I played around with the bar position on my back and my grip width. I found a sweet spot and got a new 3RM! Saaahhhweeeet!

But back to women being afraid of the bar. DON’T BE! I find that the fear generally originates from 1) lack of confidence and/or experience or 2) the notion (myth) that you will somehow morph into the She-Version of the Hulk. The first reason is legitimate and the second reason is dumb. We can work on building a woman’s confidence by having her spend time under the bar paired with sound programming and good coaching. Voila! Problem solved, usually. Dispelling the myth that you will end up big and bulky is challenging and daunts coaches. Lifting adds lean muscle to the body, makes you stronger, helps you to move better, and literally demolishes fat. Lifting actually helps you become slimmer. Word. Now, a caveat. You might¬†experience an increase in the size of your assets. I find this happens only after quite a bit of time under a heavy bar. I like to think of this more like the booty-shaping effect. Something similar might happen with your thighs. If anyone¬†tells you that a CrossFit booty and gams are not smokin’ hot, then that person is not worth having in your life. That’s my humble opinion. Why are we so focused on appearance, anyway? Why can we not just think about how awesome it is to back squat 200 pounds, or clean 135, or bench press 140? I would rather measure my success by the numbers I write on the white board than by the numbers on a scale. It’s taken me a long time to feel this way. Okay, moving on…

I have the best brother…ever. For my birthday he arranged for me to go down to CrossFit New England and spend some time with Mel Ockerby. She is a strong, beautiful athlete, is friendly and encouraging, and has competed on the CFNE team for the past 3 years. Watch her complete “Fran” in 2:38 unbroken at the 2011 Games HERE. CFNE won that year! She is¬†competing¬†as an individual this year so we all need to be cheering her on once the Open arrives. Anyway, we had a great time working on some of my gymnastics skills and making those things better. Lots of work to be done, as always, but it was so nice to have a fresh pair of eyes watch me move. As a coach it felt really nice to “be coached”. These experiences help me to become a better trainer which is awesome. We capped it off by having a shopping spree at Lululemon. Thank goodness I got more spandex. Not too shabby. Twenty-seven (27, really!?) may be one of my best birthdays on record. Thanks, Ky.

Fall has arrived. It’s cold. The leaves are gross and falling from the trees. I have to start my car and let it warm up or else it gets mad at me. It was a great summer (sigh), but it feels nice to move on. A long winter of CrossFitting and other fun things awaits. Like acupuncture. I’m having acupuncture for the first time next week. I’ll let you know how that works out.

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