Saturday, October 24, 2009

A weekend full of Schoolwork . . Again




Okay, I am soooo close to finishing my degree, but am so far past the point of burnt out, it's not even funny. I know that I can probably wrap up all of my remaining assignments this weekend if I just buckle down and DO them, but every time I start to do research or write a paper, my mind wanders off to Weightlifting stuff, or CrossFit stuff, or I start thinking about creative paleo recipes that I could try, or I start daydreaming about my upcoming vacation. . . It's like my brain is hell bent against my finishing.

I am so tired though, and the classwork is just hanging over my head like a cloud and making everything else less enjoyable. I know that if I just knock it out, I'll be able to get on with enjoying all the other stuff in my life. . . so why won't my brain cooperate???

So I have made myself (and my husband) this promise - I will not log into facebook, blogspot, yahoo or ebay. . and will not do one single CrossFit workout or Oly Lifting session until I have completed the rest of my coursework. If you know me personally, then you know that I will go absolutely mental if I am forced to go more than 2-3 days w/o my workout "fix". . . so I absolutely MUST just suck it up and finish the course work.

Wish me luck (Lord know's I'll need it!!!). . and hopefully I'll be back posting an update that I'm finished by Monday!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Fridge stocked with Paleo food is a Beautiful thing!!

I went grocery yesterday morning on my way home from CrossFit, and stocked up on all of my grub for the week, but I decided yesterday afternoon that I would go ahead and prep most of it all at once.

Usually, I cook meals each night, and throw together a salad from scratch every day at lunch, but it's interfering w/ my schoolwork in the evenings b/c by the time I cook and clean up from dinner, I feel like half the night is gone!

So I transformed into Chef-Boy-R-Paleo last night and cooked up a storm :)

My fridge is now stocked with:

Cooked Ground Bison, already portioned into 3-4 oz servings


Cooked Egg Whites already portioned
Cooked Breakfast Turkey Sausage Links
Baked Chicken Tenders (enough for 3-4 days)
Paleo Turkey Meatballs (a John Berardi Recipe that I LOVE! I'll share it below!)
Collard Greens/Onions/Garlic Sauteed in Olive Oil
Green/Red/Yellow/Orange Peppers/Onions/Garlic sauteed in Olive Oil

Roasted Beets (YUMMY!!)

Broiled Brussel Sprouts
Carrots already diced up for salads
Scallions already diced up for salads
Pre-cut broccoli & Cauliflower
SOG Paleo Hummus (another YUMMY recipe find!)
SOG Paleo BBQ (yep, yet another great home-made paleo condiment)
Hard Boiled Eggland's Best Eggs (for salads)
Watermelon (cut up and portioned)
AIN'T IT PURTY?!?! :)

I also have some meat that I didn't cook yet, b/c it will be easy to just throw it on the grill or in the oven for a quick dinner:

  • Wild Salmon
  • Wild Snapper

  • Bison Steaks
And of course, I have the essentials that don't require prep:

  • Fresh-Ground Almond butter

  • Pastuerized Egg Whites

  • Baby Spinach (for salads)

  • Avocados / Tomatoes / Onions

  • Coconut Water (for PWO)
I feel SO great having 95% of my cooking done for the week, and the combinations are endless w/ the stuff above!

One of my favorites: Throw some of the sauteed peppers/onions in a bowl w/ ground bison, a diced tomato, and half an avocado - YUM

Now, I'll have my evenings free for the rest of the week to concentrate on nothing but schoolwork - Yay!

Here's the link to the Turkey Meatballs reference above: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/berardi85.htm#14 - I make it exactly as directed, except I only make the turkey "meatballs", and not the green beans b/c the green beans aren't 100% paleo.

A fully stocked fridge, and a backyard full of fitness "toys" . .it doesn't take much to make me happy ;)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Coach's Comments - Things That Need Work

Okay, got feedback from Coach Wilkes on my videos, and here are the things that I really need to focus on correcting ASAP:
  • STOP LOOKING UP!! - I have this "habit" of looking up when I Snatch. Don't know when it started, but it's throwing off my balance, and it MUST STOP IMMEDIATELY. I spraypainted a spot on the fence in front of where I lift so that I can focus on an area directly in front of me.

  • Finish Extension / Don't pull with arms/bend arms early - In the rapid-fire photography shots that I had taken of my Snatch, it is clear that I am rounding forward and pulling the hell out of the bar with my arms. I don't even begin to finish the pull, and my elbows start bending at the begining of the lift b/c I'm trying to muscle the bar up. I HAVE TO FIX THIS NOW before it becomes a habit that I have to spend months trying to correct.

  • Don't Dip Forward on Squat - Keep Chest Up - I tend to dip forward badly when coming up from my squats, and I really need to work on staying upright/keeping my chest out.

  • Don't "Flop" in the bottom range of squat - control full range - Another bad habit of mine is to control the top range of a squat, but then to just kind of collapse into the bottom, and then stand up. I really need to work on controlling the weight through the full range of motion.

One of my problems is that I sometimes don't realize that I'm making these mistakes because I don't have anyone in my back yard to correct me, and there are no mirrors so I can't see myself when I'm lifting. Solution - I'm going to record each workout session with my camera, and quickly review my lifts at the end of each session.

In order to help myself stay focused on correcting these things, I will be applying "motivational consequences" (as Coach Burgener called them!). When reviewing my video, I will make a note of every time that I make one of the errors above. I will then do 15 burpees for every error made. . . . . Last night I did 60 burpees - Rounded forward badly on my squats on 4 seperate occasions.

I think that reviewing my lifts daily will help me to notice where I am making mistakes, and will help me to be able to correct them immediately rather than continuing to make them and forming bad habits. Additionally, the fear of the dreaded burpee should help me to really stay focused on keeping my back straight, controling the weight in the bottom range of my squats, and not pulling with my arms on my Snatches. . . .

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Maxed Front Squat & Deadlift today

Keeping this post short and sweet.

Did the last of my 1 rep maxes today - front squats and deadlifts.

Front squat was 109 lbs and deadlift was 165 lbs.

Not thrilled with these numbers, but I know that this is just a starting point, and it only goes up from here!

One thing to note is that my 1 rep max #'s for the squats are literally ass to the grass. My butt probably gets w/in 2 inches of the ground. If I were to do "typical" squats like they do at the globo-gyms to 90 degrees, I could squat a hell of a lot more. The thing is, the primary reason I'm squating is to improve my Olympic lifts. And it is absolutely imperative that I increase my stregnth in the bottom range for these lifts.

One of the things that I noticed both on my Back Squat and Front Squat max days is that my legs feel that they could lift a lot more, but my core strength sucks. I tried SO hard to keep my chest up, but as the weight got heavier, I started to dip forward on the drive up. I will continue to squat with lighter weights until I can increase the weight and still maintain proper form.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Upping my Caloric Intake

Okay, it's official - I need to put on some (healthy) weight in order to really maximize my potential in Olympic Lifting.

Have you ever seen a 5'9" 135 lb Oly Lifter at the competitive level? Yeah, me neither!

Here's the game plan (changes to workouts):

  • Cut out CrossFit Endurance sessions (for now)
  • Continue to follow Coach Wilkes Oly Lifting Programing 5x per week
  • Do CrossFit MetCon workouts 5x per week (3 on, 1 off, 2 on, 1 off), but spend more time working on skills like ring dips, chest to bars, hand stand pushups, ect. . . . and also concentrate more on proper form, technique and full ROM than speed - I think that the speed will come if I improve the rest of it
Here's the game plan (changes to eating plan):
  • Staying Paleo, but increasing Caloric Intake from 1,300 range to 1,800 range
  • Majority of extra calories will come from red meat and healthy fats
  • More Steak, Ground Beef (grass-fed), Whole Eggs, Avocado, Nuts, Nut Butters, ect.
  • Will eat steak/ground meat w/ slightly higher fat content (85-90% lean instead of xtra lean)
  • Still going to try to keep fruit and simple carb intake to a minimum, but will eat approx 6 oz sweet potato immediately post-workout (after my Oly lifting sessions, not MetCon)
I've never actually tried to put on healthy weight before - I hope that a considerable amount of it will be muscle, but I know that the "other stuff" is going to come along for the ride, and I'm okay with that, as long as my performance and lifts increase simultaneously.
I have no idea how quickly I will see a difference, as I've never done this before and don't have any past experience to draw from. For now, I'm going to set a goal of reaching 145-150 in the next 4-6 months, with a large portion of the gain hopefully contributed to increased muscle mass (and resulting increased strength).
If anyone has reading this has any suggestions or critiques of my plan, please feel free to fire away! I'm new to this, and it will definitely be an experimental process - and I'm sure I'll make adjustments along the way.
If you don't think my goal is realistic, or if you think I'm under-shooting it, please feel free to chime in there too!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

ANOTHER PR!!! YAHOOOO!!!!!

This weekend, I had the absolutely awesome opportunity to attend an Olympic Lifting Certification in San Antonio with Coach Burgener - What a great learning experience!

I think the thing that I enjoyed the most was learning how to explain and teach the basics of Olympic Lifting to people without a lifting background. This will be extremely helpful as I teach Jamie the lifts over the next few months :)

It was also a great opportunity to have my technique analyzed and areas for improvement pointed out. I am by no means a world-class lifter, and there is plenty of room for improvement! It was great to identify a few of those areas and be taught drills that I can do that will help me continue to improve on my weaker areas and the things that I'm not as comfortable with.

I have high hopes that my lifts will be going WAY up over the next several months, as long as I stick with Coach Wilkes programing, and continue to apply the corrections to technique that I learned this weekend :)

One of the things that I know that I have had a problem with is bending my arms and trying to "muscle up" the bar when doing a snatch. I know this is one of the reason that my snatch stalled several months ago, and I haven't been able to increase it since. It is only humanly possible to "muscle up" so much weight! I've been told several times to pull myself under the bar, and not to bend my elbows so early, but for some reason I just couldn't seem to make this knowledge translate to my lifts. . . . This weekend, Coach B and his trainers went into a lot of detail explaining how to pull oneself underneath the bar. They also emphasized over and over again that you do NOT pull the bar overhead - you accellerate it through the middle, and then pull yourself under it as soon as you finish your extension. For some reason, it FINALLY "clicked" for me!!

After the Cert, I decided to do a few quick lifts with "real weight" in order to help all of the information that I learned sink in (we used PVC and stripped barbells for most of the drills during the cert).

I started by warming up with the bar, then snatched 65lb, then 85lb like it was NOTHING! My previous PR was 87lb . . . . I took the weight up to 95lb, and nailed it on the third attempt!

Then I dropped it and did the happy dance! lol :) The best part is that Jessica from Atlas CrossFit in Chicago got a picture of me in the bottom of my 95lb snatch! I'll post it once I get a copy :)

I really think I could have gone even heavier, but I didn't want to wear out my welcome, and it looked like the Alamo crew was packing up and getting ready to call it a day - so I will have to max out again next weekend and see just how heavy I can go :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Playground Complete . . and DEADHANG PULLUPS!

I am SO happy to announce that my Backyard Playground is finally complete!

Here's some pics of my completed Squat Cage (w/ spinning pull-up bar and wall-ball target), pull-up bars, and ring bar:





I'm heading to Alamo CrossFit in San Antonio this weekend for an Olympic Lifting Certification with Coach Burgener (YAY!!), and when I get home I am going to finish up my class work, and then it is ON! I am so excited that I will finally be finished with school, and have the time to take my training up a notch!

On to food - Still staying 100% Paleo :) I've successfully reduced the amount of carbs I'm eating by cutting back on fruit, and I'm feeling really great! The extra fat is helping me to maintain good energy levels, and I'm already feeling like I'm running more "efficiently" w/ less bloat, ect.




I found an AWESOME "hummus" recipe that is 100% paleo here: http://www.sonofgrok.com/2009/06/primally-delicious-hummus/


Enjoyed it with some fresh broccoli for a snack today!



I'm getting ready to bake some chicken, grass-fed beef, and veggies to take with me this weekend so that I can stay 100% on the Paleo Wagon while in San Antonio.

Then I'm going to knock out as much schoolwork as possible before the end of the night, and then crash by 10pm so that I can get up early and leave for SA tomorrow morning :)

OH - I ALMOST FORGOT - MAJOR HUGE GINORMOUSMILESTONE/ACCOMPLISHMENT TODAY!!!

A little background first - I've been CrossFitting for approx 18 months or so now, and I kip all of the pull-ups in the WODs. My kips aren't bad, but I've got grip strength issues to work on - right now I can only do about 5 in a row before my grip gives out. . .

Anyway, Long story short - I have not ever done a dead hang pull-up before. I tried (extremely unsuccessfully!!) for the first 3-4 months, but just couldn't do it - I mean not even close! Then I learned the Kip, and kind of forgot about my inability to do "strict" pull-ups.

Earlier in the week, I was reading a bunch of stuff about dead-hangs on Melissa Urban's blog (http://www.urbangetsdiesel.com/ ), and decided that I needed to make mastering the dead-hang my next priority.

Sooo. . .I strolled into CC CrossFit this morning, warmed up, and then casually grabbed the bar, hung, and attempted a pull-up . . .

I'll be honest - I had already pretty much convinced myself that I would not be able to get one, and that this was something that would require a few weeks of work. . .

So imagine my surprise when I practically floated up over the bar!!! OH MY GOD!!! I almost fell off the bar out of pure shock! So I lowered myself back down, still in shock, and then said to myself "okay, that was a fluke".

I got Mary's attention, and said "hey - check this out!" figuring that it didn't count unless someone saw it. Again, I hung from the bar, and BOOM - before I knew it, my chin was a good inch over the bar again! Mary's jaw hit the floor!

So I grabbed Eduardo, and was like - hey - CHECK THIS OUT! And proceeded to do it again. . and again. . and again!!

So guess what - it's not a fluke! Apparently my strength has increased significantly over the last 6 months through CrossFit and Olympic Lifting. . . and I hadn't even realized it!

Sometimes it is hard to notice progress because I train every day, and typically only improve my times or lifts by a few seconds or a few pounds at a time. It is easy to get a little impatient with myself or feel that I'm not progressing as quickly as I could or should. . .

Then I get a wake up call like this, and it really reminded me that I AM making weekly progress - and when I add up a bunch of small weekly accomplishments, and look back at where I was 6 months ago, compared to now, I really have nothing to complain about.

Can I do Chest To Bars or Muscle-ups yet? No

Does that bother me a little? Sure!

But am I going to continue to work my ass off and appreciate even the little improvements until one day I wake up and surprise myself with a Muscle-up or Chest to Bar? HECK YES!


PROOF of Dead-Hangs!
at home tonight. . . a little tired, as this morning's WOD involved 120 Kips! But I've still got it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gotta love PRs!!!

It's been a little bit since I've posted an update, but things are going REALLY well!

I've stuck with the Paleo Diet 100% - for 12 days now - not a single bite of anything non-paleo. The next step for me is going to be to cut out the little things like Stevia in my coffee. I am also planning to try to reduce my carb intake a little by reducing the amount of fruit that I'm eating. I "binged" a little on Saturday by eating waaayyy too much Almond Butter. . and then did it again on Sunday with waaayyy to much Pineapple. . .but at least I stayed paleo! :)

I'll be trying to log in each evening and just list what I ate that day in order to keep myself accountable, and also to provide the information for anyone that may be curious about the Paleo Diet and what kind of foods it allows.

I'm taking this week to determine my current Max lifts:
Mon - Snatches
Tue - Clean & Jerks
Wed - Back Squats / OH Press
Thur - Front Squats / Deadlifts

I maxed outmy snatches at 39.5K / 87 lbs on Monday. This is equal to my previous PR so I was a little dissapointed initially, but then I really thought about it. The last time that I got this weight, it was extremely difficult, and I barely got it by the skin of my teeth, and couldn't have repeated it if you'd offered me all the money in the world. This time, the weight honestly just went right up on the first attempt - it wasn't that bad, and I felt like I could have repeated it 10 times if asked to. I just couldn't manage to get the next weight, but I think it was more a mental block than anything, and feel confident that I'll get it next time I max out my snatches. The other difference that I noticed was this: It used to be that standing up from the catch at the bottom of the snatch was the part of the move that held me back. My squat was just so weak that I had a very hard time standing up, and would often fail in the bottom position. This time around, the standing up was EASY!! I mean, literally easy as pie. It felt like nothing to stand up with that from the bottom range of my squat, so I know that my OH squat has improved drastically over the last month :)

As for Clean & Jerk - I blew my last PR out of the water last night!!! My previous C&J PR was 95 lbs, and I'd cleaned 99 lbs a few times without the Jerk. Last night, I maxed out at 109 lbs!! That is a FULL 14 LB INCREASE! To say that I was ecstatic would be an understatement! I'll be honest, it was ugly as hell, and I barely got it, and couldn't have repeated for the life of me - but I got it! I am a very happy girl b/c this proves that Coach Wilkes programing is working very well for me - I don't expect these kinds of increases every month - but boy was I happy with the first month's results!

Okay, back to food - I mentioned earlier that I'm going to try to significantly reduce the amount of fruit / carbs that I'm eating. Because of this, I'm increasing my fat intake so that my energy levels (hopefully!) won't be affected too much.


I found some AWESOME Nitrate Free, No Sugar, All Natural Bacon at HEB, so this morning I made a yummy breakfast of egg whites, spinach, portobella mushrooms, and bacon - I mean food porn at it's finest! Didn't miss my fruit one little bit :)



One other note regarding food - I have found that I am VERY carb sensitive. Also, I have great willpower, but once I have a bite of a high GI carb, I spend the next 3 hours fighting off the sugar cravings - which is the other reason that I'm reducing my fruit.
I picked up a few Larabars this weekend at HEB, and those suckers didn't stand a chance! I officially can NOT have those things in the house any more! They may be Paleo, but they are definitely not the best choice for me because they do nothing but wake up my sugar craving demons big time!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Happy, happy, happy, happy Girl!!!!




SO EXCITED!!!


My Bumper plates, dumbells, 1 pood kettlebell, 1K and 0.5K plates, and gym chalk just arrived!!! I feel even more giddy than a kid at Christmas! :)


According to tracking, my Oly bar should be here tonight as well - OH I AM SO HAPPY!!!


Quick update - I'm still staying 100% Paleo - no cheats, and not even any oatmeal! I am a little bit low on energy, but I'm going to give it 2 weeks to see if I adjust before I decide to add back in the oatmeal.

I had an AWESOME lift at the Community Center last night (Wednedsay)! Something just "clicked" with my snatches, and the bar was flying up over my head with next to no effort! What a GREAT feeling :) I'm on cloud 9 right now!

Gonna head to Tractor Supply tonight to pick up some Stall Matts, and then I will be all set!

Yay for no more metal plates!! It sucks when I have to bail from a snatch and throw the bar at the community center b/c the plates are so loud the whole gym stares and half the guys run over to see if I'm okay - embarassing as hell! Now I'll have bumpers, and I can bail any time I need to . . . yipee :)

UPDATE 5PM - THE BAR IS HERE!! :) WHOOPEE! Time to go get my first backyard lift in!









UPDATE 7:30PM - Stall Matts are Down! Tomorrow's Lift is gonna be AWESOME :)


Monday, October 05, 2009

Making Progress :)

Had another really good day today, but running a little low on energy.

Started the day w/ 5am CrossFit - 100 Burpees for time - 7'21". My best time was 7'06" so I'm still off a bit, but not by too much.

After work, I got my lifting in at the community center. Squats are getting easier by the week. My shoulder presses still need a ton of work :( And I swear the Planks get me EVERY TIME! But I am getting better at the planks and can hold them a lot longer than I could the first week.



Had an awesome lunch today of grilled chicken, avocado, and salsa served w/ steamed broccoli and slivered almonds :) It's amazing how much jucier and more flavorful the all natural organic chicken is than the frozen stuff I'm used to!
For Dinner, I made an awesome Red Snapper recipe courtesy of Rachel Ray. I'm too tired to type the whole thing out right now, but it was a-freaking-mazing! And totally Paleo :) I cooked up some spicy collard greens to go along w/ the fish, and it was a very satisfying dinner.
Studying is done for the night, and I'm off to hit the sack.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Productive Day!!

WOW! I had such a productive day today :)

I got a ton of schoolwork knocked out, and then tonight, I got most of my cooking for the week taken care of!

I just finished cooking:
Paleo Bison Meatballs (perfect for snacks)
Mini Swt Potato/Spinach Frittatas (perfect early morning pre-workout)
All Natural Organic Chicken Breasts (enough to get me through Thursday)
Baked Sweet Potatoes (for my post-workout recover snack)
Hard Boiled Omega-3 Eggs (for salads and late-night snack)

I've also got all of my meals planned out for the week - lots of yummy stuff on the agenda: Wild Salmon, Wild Mahi Mahi, Grass-Fed Beef Steaks, Organic All Natural Chicken Breasts, Bison Meatballs, Frittatas, Collard Greens, Organic Broccoli, Baked Beets, Mashed Cauliflower, Brussel Sprout "fries" . . .Yep, it's going to be a GOOD week :)

WooHoo ;)

A little more schoolwork, and then I'm hitting the sack!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Feeling Better!

Had an AWESOME day today!

Started out with my first CF workout since Monday - I hate being sick, but when you start feeling better it's like you're a new person :) Today's workout was 75 Power Snatches for time. I did RX weight at 55lbs and finished in 9'26". I was really focusing more on maintaining proper form than I was on my time though.

Went to Sun Harvest after CF and bought some Wild Salmon, Wild Red Snapper, Grass Fed Beef, Buffalo, and some Organic Veggies (oh yeah, and a few of those yummy date rolls too!)

Came home, knocked out some schoolwork, and then went for a nice long run this evening. . . well long for ME anyway! I ran 3.55 miles. I had to stop and rest for about 5 minutes at the half way point, and again at the 3/4 point, but it still felt really good to get out there and run. It was a beautiful night for it with a cool breeze and a pretty sunset :)

After my run, I came home and cooked up the Wild Salmon - sooo yummy! I tried a new recipe tonight and it turned out great!

Salmon
Onion
Tomato
EVOO
Salt/Pepper

I drizzeled the salmon w/ a little EVOO, then sliced the onions and layed over the salmon, and then sliced the tomato and layed on top of the onions. Then I drizzled a little more EVOO, and sprinkled with some salt and freshly ground pepper. Then I wrapped it in foil and baked at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. It turned out PERFECT! I served it with some sauteed zucchini and squash.







Bed time now!