Friday, December 13, 2013


Week two of my new regimen was a super great success! I have come up with sort of routine that allows me to get all my lifts in and video taped properly so I can subject poor Brandon to them. Even after just a couple weeks I am much more comfortable doing lifts I have never done before and using new equipment (ie, lifting straps). There were two awesome things about this last week. Let me sum up.

When I first started this program a couple weeks ago, it pretty much shook my confidence in my ability as an athlete and a coach. Everything I thought I knew, all the advice I give members, even the things I rock at coaching were undermined with the realization that even though I may be a great coach, I completely stink as an athlete. If I can't even get myself on the right track, how in the world can I coach others to be on their right track? This week I continuously reminded myself that it is ok not to be perfect at everything the first time you do it. Messing up is fine because you can just try again. The choices I made for myself while lifting worked for me and were validated by Brandon. And, get this, THINGS I KNOW HOW TO DO FOR OTHER PEOPLE WORK FOR ME TOO! Mind. Blown. Who'd have thunk it? Sometimes I wonder how I have survived this long.

The other thing I learned is that I can hold 405 pounds on my back for 30 seconds without folding like a cheap suit. There is a magical assistance lift called a bar walkout where you get the bar on your back like you're going to do a back squat but you just hold it. It was scary and awesome. DTM took a picture for proof:

Feel free to caption this. I have no idea what is happening.
I think I slightly terrify him. The poor guy. He'll get over it though. I am sure of it.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Lift Big Eat Big

It is very hard to hear everything you are doing wrong all at once. A little bit of constructive criticism goes a long way but a lot of it can crush you like that big ol' weight you are trying to lift. That is what happened to me a couple of weeks ago.

My training had been slacking. I had no motivation to get to the gym and workout, which is ridiculous because I work there. I HAVE to be there. It isn't like I just don't show up and workout. In order to keep my job and get paid, I have to be there. I had no excuses to not train. I just didn't want to. I was burnt out. I was tired of my programming, tired of trying to squeeze a workout in between my other duties, tired of not getting stronger because there was no method to my madness. Just freakin' tired. DTM became worried about me when I wouldn't work out for days on end. I was frustrated because I no longer wanted to do CrossFit. (I realize this is blasphemy. Don't hate too hard.) Not that I didn't think CrossFit wasn't worth it, but it stopped being fun for me. I stopped enjoying it. That is when I knew I needed something else.

I evaluated my priorities and decided I want to get strong. Stronger than I have ever been in my life. I wanted a routine to stick to and for someone else to tell me what to do. I have not been coached in years because I myself am a coach. So I looked to the guys at Lift Big Eat Big for help. I applied to their consulting program and talked to Brandon, the head honcho of LBEB. He looked at my goals and my current lift weights and deemed me not where I should be after five years of CrossFit. While he is not at all wrong, it was difficult to hear. I spend all of my time helping other people get stronger and healthier to my own detriment. I haven't worked on lifts, especially Olympic ones, to get better at them. I lift when I can, so there isn't the progression there should be. The haphazard training is not helping me reach my goals. So I am making a change. I am doing the programming Brandon wrote for me to the best of my ability.

Week 1 ended on Sunday for me and it was hard, both physically and mentally. I lifted more and for longer last week than I ever have ever. And I loved every single second of it. I am doing things I haven't done before, like tricep push downs and bicep curls. I bench pressed for the first time in...years? I don't even know. I ran my butt off while carrying a heavy sandbag. I am eating more carbs per day than I have in years and my brain actually feels like it is working now. I am also way weaker than I should be and shutting up the sniping, mean Gollum Alison in my head is difficult (Bench press? We HATES it!). More than one workout ended in tears. I know, I know. There's no crying in CrossFit. But you know what? This is what I want to be doing. It is hard, it is fun, it is good. The good news is I can only get stronger from here.

Check out Lift Big, Eat Big. See what it is all about.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures: Nut Butter Edition

I am not entirely sure what is going on in Northern Virginia, but there seems to be a shortage of almond butter around these here parts. First world problems, I know. The only place we have been able to find it is at MOM's for roughly the same price as platinum. My first instinct was to throw all dietary advice out the window and dive head first into a giant jar of creamy Jif peanut butter but DTM bought Smuckers All-Natural instead. His sense of adventure is waning in his advanced age. Anyway, we sucked that down in about 3 days and have been nut butter-less since.

Until today.

Today I was doing the modern equivalent of hunting and gathering (read: digging in the freezer for snacks) when I was hit by both sudden inspiration and a falling package of frozen spinach. While the spinach left me cursing, the inspiration had me find our ever-present bags of walnuts and pecans because, gosh darnit, I was going to make my OWN nut butter to eat with my pink lady apple. I grabbed our copy of Paleo Comfort Foods, rifled to the nut butter recipe, measured out 2 cups of walnuts and 3 cups of pecans into our trusty food processor, turned it on, and waited for the magic to happen. According to the recipe, the butter would take 8 to 10 minutes to create. Here is what I learned:

1. Yes, nuts are the only ingredients you really need, though I added some vanilla for pizzazz.

2. At some point during the 10 minute time frame, roughly around minute 5, the food processor will try to make a valiant escape attempt off the counter. Make sure to either surround it with other, heavy items for emotional support or create a cushion-y place for it to land on your kitchen floor.

3. We are never, ever buying nut butter again. It is that easy to make.

That being said, I will probably gain 30 pounds from eating it with a spoon, straight out of the container and I really don't care. You should try and make your own. For serials. You won't regret it!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

What Year is It?

It is now 2013 and I would totally be lying if I said that one of my New Year's Resolutions was to write more on my blog. I have no intention of writing more or less because really, it isn't a priority. I am also extremely bad at making goals as you can read on my post here. That's right. The powers that be at the gym are letting me write for their blog. Mwhahahahaha! Suckers.

2012 ended with a sniffle and a cough for us. I have been sick and/or injured on and off since the end of October and it has put a real damper on my training. In fact, I am still fending off yet another sinus infection/cold right now. DTM has a sore throat (he literally sneezed as I typed this). We're basically a hot mess. Due to my inability to lift heavy things or train particularly hard in the past few months, I have had some time to ruminate on my training plans for the next year (if I ever get back to at least 90%, that is). I have come to this conclusion: I am done doing stupid things to try to be the fastest and the strongest. That does not mean, however, that I will not try my best and push myself to be better. It just means I will be smarter about what I do and when I do it.

Here is just an example of what I mean:

Last year was the first year I registered for the CrossFit Open. I trained extra days to try to be better at movements I was bad at and the extra training wrecked me for days. I completed the Open in a mediocre fashion because I am a mediocre athlete. The amount of time and effort I would have to put in to move out of the mediocre range is no longer worth it to me BECAUSE I want to spend my time learning to become a better coach. I can't do both so I am playing to my strength: coaching. Sure I will still register and compete to do the Open this year but I sure as heck am not wrecking my body on Sundays so I can get just one round in whatever ridiculous workouts they throw at us this year. That extra round is going to make me just slightly less mediocre that the person I beat. I'm not going to the Games. I'm not going to Regionals. Heck, I may not even make it through a workout. I will do my best, though. And that is all I can ask of myself.

It has also become blatantly apparent to me in the past couple weeks that (and I am sorry mom and dad) my shit is weak. In order to combat this, I am attempting to do the Wendler 5/3/1 program correctly. I finished reading Jim Wendler's book today and I have a plan that I am excited about. I love lifting a ton (pun not really intended...but I giggled) and I want to get strong. I am good at being strong. It is going to take some time and patience but I will get there!

It is difficult to take a step back from what you have been working so hard at when you're broken. It is difficult to tell yourself "I know you feel good today, but you need to rest. That bronchitis isn't going to be cured by Fran." I am not sure, but I may have reached a point in my training/life where I only do what I need to in order to maintain my health and fitness and not hurt myself. I have no idea if that even makes sense to anyone else. I need to pull back just a bit to get healthy and stay healthy so I can continue what it is a I love to do.

Also, I just found this and it made my day!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Yo Quiero Taco Bell

I really, really do.
Hello! I know it has been a couple of months, but I hope you haven't forgotten me entirely. Even if you have, that is cool. I mostly write this for my mom and dad anyway, so there you go. I have been reading a lot about nutrition lately so I can help people figure out what they should eat in order to get the results they want to see. Doing so, you would think that I would have a firm grip on what I eat and what I choose not to eat.

Well if you thought that, you'd be wrong.

It does not matter how many articles or books I read that tell me "Don't worry, once you get over being addicted (insert whatever processed food you're reading about), you'll stop craving it."

Speaking as a human being who has been eating much healthier for the better part of 4 years, I can tell you that is utter bovine scarpoli. I can tell you that the nutrition changes I have made over the last 4 years have stopped the persistent migraines I used to get. I have lost some fat. I have gotten stronger. I also, however, still crave Taco Bell and long John donuts from The Jolly Pirate Donut Shop.

You thought I was joking. I wasn't.
Now before you start to boo me like that old woman from The Princess Bride, stop. Taco Bell and The Jolly Pirate are two things I vividly remember from my childhood. Both crunchy taco supremes and long Johns are comfort foods for me. I know what is in them. I know what they are made out of. I know what they can do to my body. I simply do not care. What I do know is how they played a part in my life. I remember going to Taco Bell with my cousin Damon or my grandma, or my dad as a "treat." I remember going there with my dear high school friends. All of us were broke but could afford a 79 cent Taco Bell taco. I also remember the day when I had a stomach ache from what I thought was eating Taco Bell twice in one day, but turned out to be appendicitis. It is funny now even though it wasn't then. I remember my dad taking my sister and I to The Jolly Pirate Donut Shop on the occasional Saturday to pick out our favorite donuts for breakfast and telling us about when he used to fill long Johns in the bakery he worked at when he was young. Eating better and avoiding junk doesn't stop me remembering these things and, in turn, craving them. And if I am being 100% honest, the only reason I haven't crammed my yammer full of donuts recently is because they simply do not make long Johns properly in Virginia. They ruin them by filling them with BAVARIAN CREAM!!!! Oh the humanity! When I "cheat," I either go big or go home. Fake long Johns are not worth it, so I go home.

I guess you could conclude that it isn't the food I crave, although you should know that I can eat just about anybody under the table when it comes to Taco Bell food (save my sister who kept the entire franchise afloat when she was preggo with Miles). It's the fun times I had with my family and friends while eating this stuff. I want it because I miss Ohio and I miss my family, including the few friends I keep in touch with. Ok, friend I keep in touch with.

You would think that because I am surrounded all the time by people who make healthy decisions and WANT to make healthy decisions that these craving would dissipate, but they don't. They actually intensify when I am particularly missing home. I think that is what a lot of nutrition writers miss when they explain how cravings will disappear and you won't want certain foods that you wanted before, etc. Because as much as we don't want it to be, food has emotional connections. It always will. For example, my mother makes the best potato soup on the face of the planet. It is a simple soup to make and I make at least once a winter but mine never tastes like hers. Why? Because it isn't HERS. When I eat mine, I almost always get a sad sinking feeling that it would be better if I was eating it with my family. But I am also comforted by the familiar taste and smile remembering how mom used to grumble when we asked her to make it because it took some time to make.

I always do try to make the better choice when it comes to food. I have come a long way from where I started and I am trying very hard to help other people make better choices. But I will admit when I am really missing my mom, dad, sister, or grandparents, a nice crunchy taco supreme from Taco Bell does make me feel better. I think what it comes down to is the fact that if you can identify why you crave something, then you can deal with it more readily. And it becomes a habit to acknowledge the craving but then dismiss it and distract yourself by calling your mother. And thanking the Heavens you live in Virginia where they ruin donuts.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hello, My Name is Mustache Montoya...

I love sleeping. I am not good at sleeping through the night, but I can nap like a champ. I don't like being disturbed from my slumber. If there was a napping event at the Olympics, I would win the gold every time. Unless my dad was also competing, then I would take silver.

DTM can tell you that I do not like being woken up early. He will let you know that just because he can wake up the instant his feet touch the floor, I cannot. I wake up slowly and need a little time before I can really hold a conversation.

I know what you are thinking. Why are you telling us this? What does this have to do with CrossFit? What is going on?

I'll tell you what is going on. This morning, DTM found a way to get me out of bed and awake more quickly than ever. Here is how it went down:

DTM: turns on the light at 5:45am.
Me: "Zzzzzzzzz....grumble, grumble....::insert whiny voice:: DTM! Whhhhhyyy is the light ON?" 
DTM: "Hold on."
Me: ::now sleepy snarling:: "What is....happening?"
DTM: "There is a mustache bug in here and I am trying to kill it."
Me: ::jumping out of bed ninja style born from my CrossFit training while simultaneously putting on my glasses and grabbing my machete:: "WHAT? WHERE? IN OUR BED? OH MY GOSH!!!!!"
DTM: "It was right here."
Me: ::swinging the machete:: "WHAT DO YOU MEAN 'WAS'?!!?!"
DTM: "It got away."

2 things:

1) Yes, I own a machete. You can never be too prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse.
2) Other than spiders, my worst bug fear is mustache bugs.

What are those? They are really called house centipedes. I was going to post an image but I just couldn't look at the google search results. If you want to see what they look like go here. I have goose bumps. Ick.

Thank goodness my speed and agility got me out of the mustache bug situation. I have no one to thank but CrossFit. And DTM for trying to dispose of the wretched creature without alarming me. I am pretty sure the conversation between the MB and DTM would have gone like this:

MB, decked out with a machine gun and his own machete: "Hello, my name is Mustache Montoya. You killed my father and several other members of my family. Prepare to die."
DTM: "Right." Smashes MB with some toilet paper.

The MB's weapons are powerless against DTM's strength. Duh.

The real Inigo would not be bested by anyone but the Man in Black. 

As for my strength, I have not gotten to lift recently, which is sad. But, I did find out in the past couple of weeks that I can power clean 145#, thruster #135, and push press #135. So you know, cool.

Ick, I still have goose bumps. And the shivers. I hate bugs.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A New Gym, now with More Ridonkulousness!

I am thoroughly enjoying life right now. We opened up a new gym, CrossFit Metro Center, which is a gorgeous space on 14th and New York Ave right by the White House. I wanted name it CrossFit POTUS, but it was shot down. Now I think about it, that probably isn't the best turn of phrase... Anyway, it has been fun helping getting it going. A ton of hard work, sweat, and tears have been put into it and I am proud to be a part of something so cool. Here is the entrance:

I totally squealed like a little girl when I saw it.
via CrossFit Metro Center
I will share more pictures in the weeks to come!

I also must comment on how hilarious my life has been recently, even with the horrible weather and power outages. In all honesty, it could be worse. No one died. We didn't lose anything but some meat (including bacon, which it pains me to say). However, to ease the pain from bacon loss, the following things have been said either to me or by me over the past week or so. Names have been omitted to protect the not so innocent.

1) "I packed you a coconut water. Don't die from heat stroke if you work out today!"

2) "Do people know you drink wine?"

3) "Wow! You look like a girl!"

4) "Is this a bra or a swimsuit top? I don't care, I am wearing it."

5) "I may or may not be sitting in front of an open screen door, with ice in my bra, eating watermelon."

6) "Are you guys planning on coming over early? If so, I should probably put some pants on."

7) "I am basically a functioning alcoholic."

8) "I just wished a British guy a Happy 4th of July."

9) "You will absolutely not go on a 10 mile run. It is 100 degrees out."

10) "All the Avengers are on screen. Things are totally getting avenged."

I hope you had a splendiferous 4th of July! I leave you now with this hilarious picture:

Things are about to get crazy.