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!