Crossfit

15.4 {Scaled} -- This was a fun one!

15.4 Scaled Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 8 minutes of: 10 push presses 10 cleans

Men push press 95 lb. and clean 115 lb. Women push press 65 lb. and clean 75 lb.

I'll admit I was a little annoyed with the scaled workout yet again this week. It hardly resembles the Rx workout of handstand push-ups and heavy cleans but when I did it, I was pretty happy the weights weren't a pound heavier! This little 8-minute AMRAP took the wind out of me!

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This workout was right up my alley -- all barbell, no body weight, but it was a hard one to pace. I knew I could do each set of 10 unbroken, but when I rolled through the first round in 45 seconds, I also knew I was moving too fast.

I decided to slow down and rest between sets of 20, but I think I probably slowed down too much. In hindsight, I would have set a rest limit, such as 5 or 10 seconds, rather the 30 seconds I spent pacing around the bar to catch my breath!

I did break up the cleans into sets of 5 during the last two sets -- cause after three rounds, 75 lbs felt pretty heavy! 

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I finished the workout with 110 reps, which is five rounds and 10 push presses. Not too bad.

All in all, I really enjoyed this workout and it's one I'll likely do on my own on day in the future for fun. I think a great goal to work up to is 160 reps, or 8 rounds!   

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15.4 Rx'd

Complete as many reps as possible in 8 minutes of: 3 handstand push-ups 3 cleans 6 handstand push-ups 3 cleans 9 handstand push-ups 3 cleans 12 handstand push-ups 6 cleans 15 handstand push-ups 6 cleans 18 handstand push-ups 6 cleans 21 handstand push-ups 9 cleans Etc., adding 3 reps to the handstand push-up each round, and 3 reps to the clean every 3 rounds.

Men clean 185 lb. Women clean 125 lb.

Sometimes in CrossFit I think we forget that doing push-ups upside down is pretty freaking amazing! For this very reason, watching the Rx division was exhilarating!

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I'm really proud of Aaron for topping the leaderboard at our box with 57 reps. He worried me all weekend about the cleans, saying they were really heavy for him; yet he power cleaned them with no problem!

He definitely underestimates his strength!

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Way to go babe!

The day after the open I woke up extremely sore! I think it's from not working out as regularly lately so I'm going to try to get back in my CrossFit groove this week!

Did you do 15.4, scaled or Rx? 

If you did it scaled, did that workout surprise you? 

What's been your favorite workout so far? 

15.3 & Thoughts on This Year's Scaled Division

IMG_7791 You guys probably know how much I enjoyed blogging about the Open last year -- it was truly epic! Each weekend was full of so much anticipation and excitement. I felt like I was breaking down barriers and setting new records with each new workout and the whole thing started with a bang when I got double unders during 14.1!

This year the Open is a little different. I guess it could have something to do with the fact that I've done it before but I think my feelings are also tied to the new scaled option.

At first I was excited to hear scaling was allowed. It sucked only getting 10 reps on 14.2 last year because I couldn't do chest-to-bar pull-ups. This year I really enjoyed the repeat of that workout (15.2) because I could scale and do regular pull-ups instead of chest-to-bar pull-ups.

However, this past weekend, I started to feel like the scaled division was too scaled.

In everyday CrossFit you only scale the movements you have to. You never eliminate an entire movement, opting to do nothing in its place.

If you did that, how would you ever expect to get the movement? We should always be willing to practice some variation of it, right?

I assumed 15.3 would have a scaled movement in place of muscle-ups but instead, they were eliminated entirely. What's worse, so were double unders! I think it's kind of ridiculous to assume those that can't do a muscle-up can't do double unders either. I mean, come on! 

Jennifer over at Wine to Weight Lifting wrote about this in her post, Is the Scaled Division Too Scaled? I agree with her sentiments! Of course I still enjoy the Open -- I'm still going to push myself, even if the weights are lighter and the movements are different, but I think we need to find the sweet spot between scaled and Rx, at least for the purposes of the Open.

15.3 (Scaled)

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 14 minutes of:

50 wall-ball shots 200 single-unders

Men use 20-lb. ball to 9 feet, Women use 10-lb. ball to 9 feet

My goal for 15.3 was to get through three rounds and even though I didn't, I still felt like I pushed myself. I almost finished the third set of wall balls, finishing with a total of 547 reps.

I had the most trouble with my first set of single unders because I kept sub-consciously gearing up to switch to doubles and tripping under my feet. 

For me, the best part of the weekend was really watching Aaron and others at my box who are able to do the workout Rx -- I swear they make muscle-ups look so easy!

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The Rx competitors I watched in heats 3 and 4 (including Aaron) were so intense! It was amazing to see these guys really push themselves -- I mean REALLY push themselves -- and go faster and longer than I know they imagined they would. It was invigorating to watch!

I also loved pushing the guys to keep going, especially when I could see they were mentally breaking down! I lost my voice screaming things like, "YOU BETTER PICK UP THAT WALL BALL!" Haha.

All and all it was a fun weekend and I think the Open will always be a fun time.

Are you participating in the Open?

What's your opinion on the Scaled Division?  

How did you do on 15.3? 

CrossFit Open: 15.1 (Rx) & 15.2 (Scaled)

Hey, hey and happy Monday! How was your weekend? In DC it warmed up -- all the snow is melting and I have to say, I'm happy to see it go! With daylight savings, spring feel so close and I'm so, so ready for it! You might have noticed I haven't been blogging as much lately (insert sad face!) but I didn't want to miss the opportunity to tell you about the Open. Even though I wasn't looking forward to 15.2 when I heard the announcement -- that it would be a repeat of 14.2 -- I ended up really enjoying the workout! Here's a recap:

15.2 {Scaled}

Every 3 minutes for as long as possible complete:

From 0:00-3:00 2 rounds of: 6 overhead squats (65 / 45 lb.) 6 chin-over-bar pull-ups

From 3:00-6:00 2 rounds of: 8 overhead squats (65 / 45 lb.) 8 chin-over-bar pull-ups

From 6:00-9:00 2 rounds of: 10 overhead squats (65 / 45 lb.) 10 chin-over-bar pull-ups

Etc., following same pattern until you fail to complete both rounds

I wanted to do more than 10 squats this year so I decided to scale the workout. At first I thought that meant just swapping whatever movement I couldn't do -- chest-to-bar pull-ups -- for a movement I can do -- kipping pull-ups -- but, when I showed up Saturday I found out scaled meant fewer reps at a lighter weight, too!

I debated scaling the weight because I'm pretty comfortable squatting 65 lbs (the scaled weight was only 45 lbs) but I decided to just go with it, knowing that'd be the easy part of the workout. Pull-ups, on the other hand, have always been really challenging for me.

Knowing I was a bit nervous about the pull-ups my friend Wendy suggested I just do one pull-up at a time. I really liked that advice because when I try to string them together I usually get tired fast (after just 3 or 4), and frustrated with myself for not being able to kip string them together easier.

Welp, guys, Wendy's advice was golden!! I don't think I've ever enjoyed pull-ups as much as I did Saturday!! Doing them one at a time gave me so much confidence. They felt great! I would do one and get my chin well over the bar. I'd plop down feeling really good -- strong! -- and ready to tackle another one. Of course I tried to be quick about it -- jumping right back up after rep, but because the squats were so easy, I had plenty of time to pace my pull-ups. All in all, I'd say the technique really worked for me. It was awesome! I felt great! You can see my big kip in the photo below... Can you tell I was putting my all into it? I was! :)

15.2

In the end, I got a total of 135 reps.

Considering I just figured out how to do kip and pull-ups have always been such a mentally challenging and frustrating part of workouts, I'm really happy with my score. I know I should have squatted more weight, but in the end I had a lot of fun with this workout and that's what it's all about anyway, right?

Super proud of Wendy and Naomi for their hard work, too! Check them out!

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15.1

Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 9 minutes of: 15 toes-to-bars 10 deadlifts (115 / 75 lb.) 5 snatches (115 / 75 lb.)

15.1a

1-rep-max clean and jerk 6-minute time cap

15.1 and 15.1a weren't nearly as fun as 15.2, but part of that was also because I did them on a Monday night; not at our usual Open event on Saturdays. I met up with Naomi to do the workout in just enough time to post it and truthfully, both of us were sort of dreading the workout... I think we were nervous and neither of us have been going to CrossFit as often as we used to, but in the end I think we both had fun.

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Yay! We did it!

I ended up doing the workout Rx even though I knew the toes-to-bar weren't going to suck. The deadlifts were a breeze and the snatches felt good, but I ripped my hand on my last few toes-to-bar, which I think totally messed up my one rep max clean and jerk. In total I got 95 reps (three rounds and 5 toes to bar). My goal was to get at least three rounds so I was pretty happy with that! My clean and jerk max was 115 lbs (my PR is actually 135 lbs!). I know I can go heavier, but whatevs! I did my best considering my hand was bleeding!

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I'm predicting 15.3 will involve thrusters, wall balls, and/or box jumps. Whatever it is, I know it's going to be good.

Are you participating in the CrossFit Open? 

How did you do on 15.1 and 15.2?

Any predictions on what 15.3 will include?  

To learn more about the Open, visit the CrossFit Games website.

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet's Advice for 15.1

Guys, so excited to share this - my trip to San Diego started with a bang! I was wandering through town on Thursday and happened into the Reebok store to see if they were hosting 15.1 just to find out Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, the reigning champion of the CrossFit Open, aka the Fittest Woman on Earth, would be there the next morning dishing out CrossFit advice!

Ah, WHAT? This was the opportunity of a lifetime; I couldn't pass it up!! I rushed over from my work conference the next morning and stood in line for about a half hour with about 30 other people. Once we were all in the store, they shut the doors and started our chat with Camille! From the moment she started talking I think the whole room fell in love with her sweet personality! She's seriously so adorable!

WATCH Camille Leblanc-Bazinet talk the Zone Diet and her "power pouch"

It's funny I've actually followed Camille's CrossFit career since 2013, when I started CrossFit. In fact, she was the first and only CrossFitter to ever grace the cover of my favorite magazine, Oxygen! I remember ripping into that magazine when I saw a CrossFitter on the front and getting really excited about my own CrossFit journey! I cheered for Camille at the CrossFit Open but it wasn't until the following year that she won -- do you remember her famous transition from pull-ups to bar muscle-ups?

She's a beast! But yet, adorably small in person! 

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I know most of you have probably already done 15.1, but I couldn't help but share her tips anyway!

Camille Leblanc-Bazinet's Advice for 15.1: 

  • Breakup the toes-to-bar into sets of 5 or 3 (if you can't kip 5 easily) but don't waste time under the bar.
  • Don't go too fast at the start. Pace yourself and stay consistent.
  • She said 15.1 is really a toes-to-bar workout, not a lifting one. It's funny she said, "75 lbs is a baby weight!" Haha. She quickly felt bad saying that I think and followed up, "I'm sorry if that's not the case for you!" :)
  • She gave a lot of mental tips, too. She said after two rounds she likes to tell herself "you're doing well, you're fine" and then start speeding up/pushing herself. Of course she said to have fun too and to compete with yourself, not others at your box.
  • I thought it was interesting she thinks of workouts in terms of running distances (she said this workout is like a 2k) to anticipate how she should feel during it.
  • She also said to keep hips high during deadlifts to engage hamstrings, not rely solely on the quads.
  • She also recommended a wider stance on deadlifts.

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  • For the lift, she suggested taking a full minute after 15.1 to bring your heart rate down.
  • She suggested planning ahead and knowing in advance the clean/jerk weight you KNOW you can throw up. Plan three lifts around that number, don't do 6-7 tries or try to go too heavy at first and get mentally frustrated having to scale down.

WATCH this video of Camille Leblanc-Bazinet providing advice for 15.1 

After the Q&A session, everyone got into a line to get a photo with Camille. She was super nice when I talked to her! She also signed a Reebok tank top I bought from the store that says California! She wrote "work hard, be proud," which she says is her personal mantra. I love this next clip where she talks about her cameo in this CrossFit documentary.

She had a great sense of humor! She joked about some challenges - like pushing the sled in this documentary - and how Josh Bridges jokes that she workouts in her underwear but she really only takes her shirt off because she tends to fiddle with it if she doesn't. She also joked about how her coach started counting reps when she was resting one time and it made her crazy! She really had a fun-loving personality! I'm so glad I met her, you bet I'll be rooting for her this year!!

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I was really happy to get to take a photo with her! I also bought a Reebok Top Tank for her to sign, which she wrote "work hard, be proud," a motto she's adopted for herself.

To say this made my trip would be an understatement! This was the most surreal experience ever!

Have you ever had a chance sighting of a celebrity? 

Did you do 15.1 yet? What advice would you give those who haven't yet? 

Capital Affiliate League Ends & the Open Begins

Good morning! I'm sitting at the airport getting ready to head to San Diego - it's snowing out and I have to say, I'm so ready for sunny skies and warmer temperatures!

I wanted to do a little CrossFit check-in because life has been pretty hectic lately but, good news: I'm trying to keep up with CrossFit! (Trying!) In fact, when I go, it usually ends up being the best part of my day (week, really - since I've been going less often), which is why I decided to go ahead and sign-up for the Open! YAY! I'm pumped that the first workout will be announced TODAY! CrossFit peeps: ARE YOU READY?

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It's amazing to me that Capital Affiliate League ended last week and the CrossFit Open starts this week. No rest for the weary, I tell ya!

Registration really snuck up on me so I haven't thought much about what the workouts will be, but I vividly remember last year's announcement: doubleunders! WHAT!? UGH! I have a feeling this year might kick off with pull-ups? I've seen so many people pumping out beautiful butterfly pull-ups during Capital Affiliate League - I really need to work on my technique! Pull-ups are the bane of my existence, I swear. Please God, no pull-ups! At least not for the first week!

I wanted to also update you on how my team did in the Capital Affiliate League championship tournament last Saturday.

We arrived at the event in first place (woo hoo!) but didn't make it past Race 4 of the day.

It started early Saturday morning. We all met at our team captain's house and ate breakfast. He made this wonderful spread - a paleo egg casserole, fruit, coffee, and bacon! Then headed to CrossFit Lorton for a long day of workouts! The first Race was announced in advance but because we were first place we got a bye. Phew! Good thing - this looked like a doozy!

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Race 2 was announced after Race 1 Open, Upper, and Masters divisions competed.

Race 2: Double Double (12 minute time cap)
In the Double Double formatted race the required work must be completed at 2 stations in each sector.  2 Athletes will be working at a time, only 2 athletes will be allowed in the sector and teams may rotate as many times as possible.  There are only 4 athletes in this race.  Once all work has been completed at BOTH stations the team may advance to the next station.  Race is complete once all work is complete in Sector 3 and the 2 athletes in the sector cross the finish line.
Sector 1: 50 Hand-Release Plate Burpees
Sector 2: 40 Pull-Ups
Sector 3: 50 Ground-to-Overhead (115/75)
Sector 4: 40 Box Jumps

I got to be in Race 2, mostly because I thought I'd be strong with ground-to-overhead at 75 lbs; however, I have to admit, this workout was a lot harder than I thought it would be! The burpees really winded me! We traded off so I only did a total of 30 but they wore me down. I didn't help with the pull-ups because I have two teammates who kill pull-ups, but by the time I got on the barbell, my plan to pump out 25 clean and jerks, dropped down to 10 reps and then a call for relief! Ack!

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We ended up losing the workout by probably a full minute which was frustrating because we were all BEAT afterward. The day definitely didn't start off like we planned. Next up, a Thruster Ladder:

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My teammates did AMAZING with the thruster ladder and we won the third Race! Woo hoo! They lifted some heavy weights and moved fast. It was definitely an exciting, quick workout that gave us all a much-needed shot in the arm! We're still in this! 

Race 5:

Station 1: 20 Front-Rack Lunges (95/65) Station 2: 40 Toes-to-Bar Station 3: 40 Kettlebell Swings Station 4: 20 Pistols

My teammates gave Race 5 their very best effort and even though they moved swiftly through each station, the other team beat us by a half a minute. It was deflating to say the least! Everyone was so bummed and we kind of just scattered and started to gather our stuff. It was snowing pretty hard outside so everyone wanted to get on the road home - it was close to 4 o'clock and we'd been there since 8 am!

Even though we didn't win the season, I really enjoyed participating in this League! I think it revealed a lot about my strengths and weaknesses (squats = strength, pull-ups = weakness) and gave me a lot to work on in the coming year!

I also loved making so many new friends! I loved my team: they're all amazing CrossFit athletes that inspire me and make me want to be better! Plus they're all super nice and funny!

The next CAL season starts after the Open in the summer but I doubt I'll join. But, guess what? Aaron's interested in doing it now! Ha! So, likely my Saturdays will still be filled with CrossFit!

To learn more about Capital Affiliate League, check out the website!

Have you ever participated in a league competition? 

What do you think your strength would be on a team? 

My New Job, Capital Affiliate League, and New Friends

First: a confession-- this will not be a perfect blog post! It's 11 o'clock at night, I'm exhausted, have to wake up early and well, I've tried writing (and rewriting) this post a bunch of times the last few nights to no avail! The problem is my days are full and by the time I get around to blogging, it's 11 o'clock at night, I'm exhausted... you get the idea! But, I miss blogging! I miss you guys! And I wanted to check-in and share some updates from my life -- my new job and Capital Affiliate League have kept me very, very busy!

So my job is great! (YAY!) I love it! My days are full and they go by fast, which I love. I'm also extremely enthusiastic about the work I'm doing (blessing!) because I get to create various publications from scratch: think, weekly newsletter, monthly magazine, BLOG! It's right up my alley! :)

Of course it is challenging. There's so much to do and learn and I'm still trying to get into a routine. My commute isn't the best (40 minutes each way) but I could take the metro... I'm just being a wuss about the weather!

Besides work completely occupying my days, Capital Affiliate League has completely taken over my weekends! Competitions last anywhere between noon and 3 o'clock on Saturdays and there's usually a get-together afterward. It's been a commitment, but a fun one and I've made a bunch of new friends!

Here's a photo of me (nervously) doing push press the first weekend of the competition.

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Being totally honest: team CrossFit is a lot different than regular CrossFit!

Have you ever been on a CrossFit team? 

It's great because there's always someone there to do a movement you can't, but it sucks to put so much stock on your small part of the workout. For me -- a person who generally thinks way too much about what others think -- the pressure is a little too intense! I think I might be more of a get-my-workout-on-to-feel-good kind of gal or, maybe someone who'd be better off doing an individual competition?

Regardless, I'm incredibly lucky to be on the CrossFit Adaptation team -- they're phenomenal and the pressure I feel to do well definitely doesn't come from them! They're so, so encouraging and a fun bunch. There's also another team from CrossFit Adaptation competing in the league this season (and they're so fun!) - talk about a little friendly competition! (Hope you guys don't mind me putting you on my blog!)

CAL Teams

It's funny because CrossFit Adaptation is the sister box of CrossFit Falls Church where I've been doing CrossFit the last 2 years, but I didn't know any of these people before joining CAL! Yet, they've welcomed me onto their team with open arms (thanks to my friend Wendy speaking so highly of me - thanks Wendy!) and I've really enjoyed this new sense of community. More to love about CrossFit! YAY!

Did I mention everyone on my team is really good at CrossFit, too? Whether they're crazy good at moving heavy weight quick (Ambrea), butterfly'ing the heck out of some pull-ups (Justin), or doing lightening fast burpees (Jim), everyone has something to bring to the table and I love that!

CAL Team

Aw, we're cute! :)

The few small things I don't love about CAL are that practices aren't actual workouts. Typically the races are announced on Mondays and we meet on Wednesdays to strategize and practice, but we mostly strategize. Our meet-ups are pretty meh as far as tough workouts go and the same is true for the weekend competitions -- I really only ever do ONE (maybe two) parts of a workout. For example, week one I did two sets of 15 push presses; week two I  did 20 goblet squats (that's it!); and week three, 20 front squats. Combine those things and you've got a typical CrossFit WARM-UP! However, the intensity level does go up when you take into account the anxiousness and anticipation you feel on game day!

The practices and Saturday competitions have thrown-off my usual routine a bit too, but my routine has been kind of off anyway because of my new job. I think it's probably a really good that I'm getting there. I'm doing something. (Period) Cause most days after work, I'm THIS CLOSE to skipping CrossFit. But guess what, I made it tonight and it was an actual workout (not a practice for one)! 100 burpees, ya'll! I felt out-of-shape for sure!

CAL wraps up at the end of February so we're halfway done already (I can't believe it)! It's been getting funnier each week so I'm looking forward to finishing out the season strong!

Please share you tips for team CrossFit or, how to better manage work, blogging, and workouts!

Have you ever done a team CrossFit competition? 

Do you have a hard time juggling blogging with your full-time job or other commitments?

Top 14 in 2014

Happy New Year's Eve everyone! Fit for a Bride is back online and I couldn't be happier. I have so much to share with you! Last December I did a Top 13 in 2013 post, which I love to go back through and read. 2014 was such an incredible year I thought I'd carry on the tradition and share another round-up of the major moments/my favorite memories. So here it is!

  • My photoshoot with Sneha of Pretty in Pic Photography 

In November I reached out to a photographer (a friend of a friend) and scheduled a photoshoot because I wanted to update all my profile pictures, get new headshots and have fresh photos for the web re-design I was planning. I was totally wigging out before the session -- nervous about what to wear and how they'd turn out! -- but boy, was I pleased! They turned out amazing! I love them! I felt great, looked great, and had a great time during the shoot.

http---makeagif.com--media-11-28-2014-WoFRul
http---makeagif.com--media-11-28-2014-WoFRul

Sneha - thank you for making this a fun and memorable experience, and for making me look good! I hope we can collaborate again in 2015!

  • The Whole30. (Read my Whole30 posts here.)

Wow - there's really no words! I'm just a few weeks past the Whole30 but it's etched vividly in my mind as a time of feeling total peace and confidence and just all around goodness! I'm planning to do another Whole30 in 2015, too. Wanna make a lasting impression on your year? Then join me!

My friends know I run a fitness blog, but this past year was the first time I ever used that passion to bring us together in a healthy way, spearheading a summer weight loss competition, which, I have to say, was pretty rewarding for everyone involved! I was so proud of the efforts of everyone in the group, myself included, and it was really nice to get together with friends and be on one accord: more workouts, less wine! Haha. The group of 10 girls combined lost more than 30 lbs! And, it was a friend from this group who started the idea to do a Whole30.

  • Redesigning my website. 

I love my new look and I'm so proud of it because I did it all by myself!! It really makes me so much more confident starting the new year with a fresh look, especially one that really reflects the brand I've been trying to create and, one that gives me so much room to grow! I hope I'm looking back in 2015 saying how far I've come in making this new design work for me with all the shop functions! (Read about my branding journey: the Concept, Web Design, WordPress, Bluehost & Studiopress, and Finally Finding an Identity. Then read, the Bottom Line.)

Not only did the Open provide some really great content for the blog (I shared my reflections on each and every workout) it was emotionally and physically such a time of growth for me! I made some amazing friends in the process (Hi Naomi! Hi Wendy!) and it was thrilling to be a part of something so big-- the whole waiting for the announcement of the workouts, practicing those moves I couldn't do in the days leading up to it, and then giving it my all when my turn was up! That final workout was such bittersweet victory, too. 14.5, I'll never forget you!

Ok so, this wasn't really blog related, but I'm not sure I've ever been anywhere as gorgeous as Turks! Seeing it from the sky (my first time parasailing) was pretty thrilling, too! This was by far the best (most relaxing) beach vacation ever. It felt like a dream!

Seven Stars Turks and Caicos
Seven Stars Turks and Caicos
  • The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. 

Some of you know I lost my grandfather to ALS and a dear friend, Rivaud. It was really nice to see so much awareness spread about this awful disease and to get to be apart of it myself.

  • Reviewing the Reebok Nano 4.0s and other brand partnerships.

As a blogger I'm always on the lookout for ways to partner with brands, especially ones I love! So when I had the opportunity to review the Reebok Nano 4.0s for Reebok I was beyond thrilled! I was also excited to work with a smaller, local company: South Block Cafe, and review their three-day cleanse. I'm looking forward to more partnerships like this in the new year!

  •  Ordering Fit for a Bride tank tops 

Even though I haven't sold any of these tank tops and I'm still experimenting with tank top designs, I'm really proud of myself for getting the ball rolling in that direction! I had so much fun packaging these and sending them off to a few featured brides. I'm full-steam taking on tank top production in 2015 so be ready!

Cherie is such a doll! Words cannot express the excitement I felt when she emailed me to express interest in the opening for a real bride blogger. I had no idea she would be the whole package y'all -- her faith, love for fitness, her hand lettering skills, and her sassy writing style has been such a breath of fresh air week after week! I've been so lucky to get to have her contributions to the blog. Cherie: THANK YOU! (Check out Cherie's blog here.)

Cherie_Gym
Cherie_Gym

This is an event I'll never forget because it was the first time I ever did rope climbs during a workout and somehow, I did a total of 8! Not to mention the ropes were 15 feet high - a little more rope than I'm used to, that's for sure! It was both terrifying and thrilling to be apart of this workout and to getting to do it with my best friend and hubby, Aaron, made it that much better! (Another memorable WOD was the 9/11 hero WOD.)

31-Heroes-Sara
31-Heroes-Sara

Check out Kx photography on Facebook

  • Oh, hello - buying our condo! (See our house tour)

I can't believe we bought a house! Ah! We dreamed, looked (and looked!), prayed, and even put an offer in on another condo we didn't get! But, in the end, we feel like we ended up right where we're supposed to be. I LOVE our house and I'm looking forward to a fun year of decorating and making it ours.

  • Landing a new job

So, this literally just happened but I'm too excited not to mention it: I'm getting a new job!!! After the purchase of a sassy new suit from the Scandal Collection, three interviews, and a sad goodbye to my current employer, I'm moving on to work for MedStar doing marketing and communications for the academic affairs department. I am truly excited to get to work for such a great company and alongside some of the top medical experts in our area. I'm also so excited  to get to learn a lot more about human health! It's going to be a big job that's fast-paced, but I'm ready for it!

  • And, finally: OUR CROSSFIT SHOOT! 

After a year of featuring CrossFit couples, I moved from behind the computer into the spotlight with Aaron for a feature on Southern Weddings' blog! I was so pleased when Southern Weddings responded positively to my idea to feature our favorite date night as going to CrossFit for their Southern Newlywed column. (Who am I kidding? I had to pinch myself when they responded yes to the idea!!!)

The shoot was great for a number of reasons but namely, meeting Katie Nesbitt and her husband, the photographers, was awesome! I also fell in love with Aaron all over again; he was so sweet during the shoot; making it fun and light. He's a natural in front of the camera!

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You'll have to wait till the New Year to see the full shoot; the feature is scheduled for January 9th!

Happy New Year friends!

What are the top 14 moments of your year?

What are you most looking forward to in 2015? 

29th Birthday WOD

Hi guys! Happy Monday! Did you have a good weekend? Mine was great! I turned 29! :)

I decided to bring in the big day with a CrossFit workout -- one I've done before, but this time, with a little birthday twist!

Birthday_WOD

Knowing that I could devise my own workout because it was open gym on Sunday, I decided to revisit an old favorite. I did it back in August 2013 and at the time, loved it -- I think because it was ALL barbell!

Of course I switched it up a little for my birthday, swapping wall balls for doubleunders (cause, I mean, really, who wants to do wall balls on their birthday? No one!) I also upped the reps from 25 to 29, per challenge posed by a fellow CrossFitter at open gym. "Surrrrrre. Why not?" Well that DEFINITELY upped the ante and let me tell you - this workout was HARDCORE!

Close to 120 reps of hang cleans? push jerks? AND back squats? I'm SO sore today!! My back. My quads. (Seriously, ouch!) I'm feeling old, haha! It was fun doing this workout, though, and as always, I felt so proud finishing and knowing I really pushed myself---during that first round I didn't think I was going to make it, but, I did! (PHEW!)

The rest of my birthday was fun, too. We went to breakfast with my sister-in-law who actually has the SAME birthday as me! (Crazy, right?) Then headed to dinner with my family later that night! It was a sweet day!

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While we're on the topic of tough workouts, I thought I'd share some others I've done recently! There have been a lot of hero WODs lately!

Last Saturday I did the benchmark workout, “Danny.” It was OK. I didn't feel my best doing it. I used a red band on the pull-ups, which, in hindsight I think hurt me more than helped me and I had trouble push pressing the weight; I kept doing push jerks! Nevertheless I did it and finished with 3+22 rounds.

"Danny" AMRAP in 20 minutes of: 30 Box Jumps (24/20) 20 Push Press (115/85) 30 Pullups

Also, I worked out next to this girl at my box (I say girl and she's really a beast, haha) and she finished 4+22 Rx! She was seriously so inspiring to watch! #oneday

Later that week I decided to do a CrossFit workout at my work gym, which was awesome! Of course doing the workout alone was hard, but I was so happy when 5 o'clock came and I could head home, having already done my workout for the day!

The workout itself was perfect for a non-CrossFit gym -- alternating wall balls and double unders.

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Wall Balls and Double Unders:

21 wall balls 50 double unders 15 wall balls 50 double unders 9 wall balls 50 double unders

Rest 3 minutes, then:

50 double unders 9 wall balls 50 double unders 15 wall balls 50 double unders 21 wall balls

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I finished this workout in about 21 minutes, which was quite a bit longer than the average time it took others at my box to finish it but the doubleunders took me awhile. I didn't have a good jump rope and they just felt like they took forever! But, I will say I was proud of myself for doing them all the way through (that's 300 total!) cause I could have easily switched to singles, but I didn't! Yay me! Practice makes perfect, right? #noshortcuts

Two days later, I was back at my box for "The Pentagon."

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"The Pentagon" 

Run 800 meters 46 power cleans (135/95) 46 situps 46 box jumps 46 pull-ups Run 800 meters

I blogged a little about this workout on Friday. I did the same one last year and it was awful! I hated every second of the pull-ups. I remember using TWO bands and taking forever to get 46 reps! I also did the workout with 65 lbs, which, at the time, was pretty heavy for me! Well, this year I upped the weight to 95 lbs and did all kipping pull-ups -- YAY! I finished in 26:53, down from 33:15 last year. It's seriously so awesome to see progress and know I am stronger AND faster! (Aaron did awesome as well -- he shaved close to 10 minutes off his time!)

Rewind about 2 weeks and we were doing "31 Heroes" -- yet another hero WOD! I wasn't kidding when I said there had been a lot lately! You can read about 31 Heroes here.

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Phew, so that is a lot of tough workouts lately! I'm ready for a rest just recapping it all! I have to say, the hero WODs are always the most memorable!

Have you ever done a hero wod? Was it memorable? 

Happy September & 31 Heroes

Hi guys! It's taken me all day to get this post up, sheesh - sorry! First of all: it's September!!!!!!!! Cue the confetti! And the pumpkins, sweaters, and football season! :)

Are you ready for Fall? I'm seriously *so* ready! Even though it's still hot as blazes in DC, I know the cooler temperatures are coming -- soon! With them, our annual trip to Tennessee, lots of Fall favorites (colorful leaves, knee-high boots, scarves, and pumpkin-spice lattes) plus, eventually, the holidays! Eek!

So how did we spend the last unofficial weekend of summer? Doing 31 Heroes -- a partner workout and fundraiser sponsored by our CrossFit box. Have you heard of it?

31 Heroes - A Workout to Remember

31 Heroes is a "CrossFitters moment of silence." The workout was created specifically to honor the 30 men and one dog that gave their lives for our country on August 6, 2011. It is 31 minutes long—one minute in remembrance of each hero and the rep scheme is 8-6-11, the date of their ultimate sacrifice.

“31 Heroes”

AMRAP in 31 minutes of: 8 Thrusters (155/105) 6 Rope Climbs (15') 11 Box Jumps (30"/24")

Like I mentioned, this is a partner WOD. Partner #1 performs the work listed above while partner #2 runs 400 meters with weight (45/25). Once partner #2 returns from the run, partner #1 begins their 400 meter run and partner #2 continues work wherever #1 left off.

I partnered with my hubby, Aaron and I think we did great! Both of us decided to scale the thrusters (um, 155/105? No thank you!) and ended up doing 125/75 lbs.

31-Heroes-SaraPhoto by Kx Photography

Even though it was just a fundraiser, I was nervous about the workout and especially, the rope climbs. The ropes at our sister box (where the fundraiser was held) hang 15 feet -- 5 feet higher than the ropes at our box. Not only that but six sounded like quite a lot! I've only ever done one, maybe two at a time, but all that changed Saturday: I got a total of 8! EIGHT!

Who am I???

The rope climbs were tough but getting my footing right made all the difference. There's a lot of different ways to climb a rope but I've only ever been able to do so by positioning my feet in what I believe is called a "j hook" (it kinda looks like this; similar to Aaron's footing in the photo below).

31-HeroesPhoto by Kx Photography

I started with the run and when I returned, Aaron told me there were three rope climbs left! "Welp, it's now or never" I thought and I certainly didn't want to *still* be doing rope climbs when he got back!

Adrenaline? Excitement? Panic? Something happened and I shocked myself getting three right off the bat! I think getting one and hearing encouragement from the coaches and crowd gave me the confidence to keep going.

I honestly can't remember how it all played out after that first round but it definitely felt like all rope climbs! I think I got another set of three and then two -- the last round was a bit harder because I had developed a nasty rope burn, which was my own fault for buying cheap ($1.50) socks from Target, not real CrossFit socks! I think Aaron got a total of 16 climbs! Amazing!

In the end I was really proud of myself! With CrossFit I truly believe in the motto "feel the fear and do it anyway." Being scared of something shouldn't stop you from doing it -- or at least from trying to! Because you know what? You might surprise yourself!

After the workout we took a picture with the others from our heat -- we're in the center, third row down. Partnering with Aaron was awesome; I love sharing this sport with my better half!

31-Heroes-Heat1Photo by Kx Photography

We ran some errands when we left, which in hindsight probably wasn't the best idea! We were standing at the bank and Starbucks really, super sweaty! Lol! The bank teller even joked with a coworker that we'd just finishing climbing "like 300 feet!" It was cute! (He probably thought we were crazy!)

We spent the rest of the weekend house hunting -- we're looking to purchase our first home and I think we saw close to 10 properties this weekend -- maybe more! We've been looking at condos close to the city and houses further, going back and forth about what's more important to us, space or location! At the moment we're leaning toward location.

Homeowners, I'm curious: did you go through this same debate? What did you chose?

Oh, and I did a lot of home decor pinning this weekend, too!

What did you do this weekend? 

Have you ever done a workout fundraiser? 

Have you ever tried rope climbs? 

Tips for Building Endurance

Hey guys! I'm not sure if I've shared this here before but my husband, Aaron, was pretty discouraged when we first started CrossFit because he didn't feel like his endurance was where it needed to be for the kind of fast (and furious!) workouts we were required to do. He had no problem with body weight exercises like pull-ups and push-ups, or even heavy weight for that matter but stringing those things together, adding a fast run and some burpees -- for time -- often made him feel discouraged because he'd have to stop and rest between sets and just generally felt winded fairly quickly.

I've seen my husband slowly build his endurance over the last year and half that we've been doing CrossFit and I gotta say: he's rocking it out now! He can push himself further and longer than ever before! His success with the Spartan Super is a testament to that; while most participants finished in 6 hours, he finished in 4.5. Way to go babe!

Here are some tips we put together for building endurance. These things have helped us and we hope they'll help you.

Don't cherry pick your workouts:

Some boxes don't post their workouts in advance and it's for this very reason! If you cherry pick your workouts you're likely not working on the things that need improvement.

Supplement CrossFit with other cardio workouts:

Go running, take a zumba class or take up spinning; all that cardio work will kick in when running or fast burpees is part of the WOD. This is especially important if you're only attending 2-3 CrossFit workouts a week -- supplement so each workout doesn't feel like you're starting from scratch.

Find the right pre-workout snack.

Aaron's tried Cliff bars and pre-workout powders -- recently he settled on bananas as the best pre-workout snack for him but it's been a process of trial and error. Food matters so if you feel weak, tired, or slow during a WOD, it might be because you didn't eat enough. Experiment with different pre-workout snacks to find the right food for you, and make sure you fuel up before go-time.

Be patient with yourself.

When I told Aaron a friend of mine wanted to build her endurance he said the most important thing to tell her was to be patient. It's taken him over a year to begin to FINALLY feel comfortable with his endurance, and even still -- there are times when he has to just stop and take a break during a WOD. It's important to realize this is a process and nobody becomes a superstar overnight.

During a WOD, tell yourself to go non-stop.

For big picture - yes, be patient. Day-to-day --push yourself. This was some advice I gave Aaron early on and it's helped! CrossFit workouts are short for a reason -- you're meant to go non-stop! If it's an 8 minute or 10 minute or even 20 minute workout it's not like you'll be doing that work forever! Keep in mind that it's short and sweet; fast and dirty! Grunt, sweat, push! Whatever you do: just. keep. going.

Don't walk away from the bar.

Along those same lines, if you can help it, don't walk away from the bar. This is easier said than done, but the moment you turn away from the barbell or begin pacing around your space you add a lot of time to your finish because you have to walk BACK to the bar and muster up the mental strength to get BACK on it. Sometimes this is inevitable (hey, I've been there!) but if you can, stay on it. If you do have to walk away, countdown from 3 and start back at 1 -- 3, 2, 1 - go!

Stay positive! 

If you're telling yourself you're slow or weak during a workout your performance is likely going to reflect that. On the contrary, if you tell yourself you're fast, you're strong, and you're going to crush this workout, you'll go in with a lot better chances of doing just that.

There's a lot of other things I tell myself, too: "Your heart loves this" -- a reminder of how good cardiovascular work is for my heart. And I also tell myself, "You're OK," a lot. It's easy to get worked up thinking, "OMG! I'm so tired. I'm gonna die!" (We've all been there right?) Try the opposite -- "I'm OK. You're OK. You got this!"

Finally, and most importantly: Embrace the suck. From Aaron --

You know that feeling of when you simply cannot do one more rep? Or that feeling after you have just dropped the bar and you're thinking “OK, breathe a little, let's get the heart rate down a bit, and then pick up the bar.” Or the feeling of being on death's door and you cannot possibly pull once more on that rower?

That is the suck!

The suck is unique to you; only you know where it is and how it feels. It’s YOURS, EMBRACE IT. And what do we do when we embrace something? We bring it in closer to us, feel it, know it, sense it. You might THINK it’s physical and that your body can’t take anymore but I am here to tell you (and everyone else that has made gains is here to tell you) that your body MUST be pushed beyond what you THINK it can do.

The people you want to be like (on Instagram or at your gym) -- those people put in work. They may make it look easy but I bet you that is because they have found their SUCK and now, they hunt for it. They seek it out.

You will not get better until you become a stalker of that SUCK, and when you find it, GIVE ME TWO MORE!! Remember: this is your life, your body, your suck. You will never get these seconds back, make them count!

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This is Aaron embracing his suck -- wall balls! We dropped into CrossFit Port Orange on vacation earlier this summer and I thought Aaron was going to walk out when he saw the WOD -- Karen: 150 wall balls for time! He stayed, stuck it out and did great!

Just another stepping stone to building his endurance.

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Phew!! OK, well if Aaron's "embrace the suck" speech doesn't inspire you I don't know what will!! I know I've been there before: face-to-face with my suck! (Remember 14.5, Naomi?) We've all been there!

Have you experienced overcoming a breaking point during a workout?

How'd you fight through? 

Do you have any tips for building endurance?

 

My New Reebok Nano 4.0s

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Reebok.  Good morning and happy Monday! Did you have a good weekend? I did! It's funny because I talked about special deliveries last week and then I got a surprise package of my own: a pair of Reebok Nano 4.0s! Eek!! Somebody pinch me!

SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC As soon as I pulled the Nano 4.0s from the box I started snapping photos!

My initial thought was that I LOVE the color! My friend Naomi said they're a Tiffany blue and seriously guys, I acted like I got something from Tiffany's when I saw them!

[Insert ridiculous happy dance here.]

My second thought was that look SUPER durable! A lot more so than the 2.0s! They have a caging around the outside that looks and feels indestructible, and the heel is a lot more sturdy, too.

I was really shocked by this! I had been planning to forgo the new 4.0s for another pair of 2.0s to save a little money, however, now that I have a pair of 4.0s, I can see why they are a bit more expensive. I can also say they're definitely worth a few extra bucks cause Reebok has clearly improved the nano formula!

Things I love about the Nano 4.0s -

  • The wrap portion around the toe of the shoe is very durable! I used to be able to wiggle my toes in my 2.0s and see the cushion of the shoe move all around; not anymore! They say the new grip is great for rope climbs and I believe it. I haven't tried rope climbs yet, but the whole cage of the shoe seems suited for just about anything, including climbing!
  • There's an ultra stable platform. I read that the heel-to-toe portion on the Nano 4.0s is 4mm, which is definitely a step-up from the 2.0s. The bottom of my feet were getting sore in my 2.0s at our weekly olympic lifting workshop when we'd jump out and down into a squat (multiple times) because the bottoms of my 2.0s were thin and worn. I'm so happy that I don't have to worry about that anymore!
  • Even though they look and feel a lot more durable they're still breathable and light. It's pretty amazing that Reebok has found a way to make the shoe more wear-resistant and durable but still keep it minimal, light and breathable.
  • Ok, so am I the only one who gets super annoyed when the tongue of a sneaker slides all around? That was a thing with my 2.0s and although a small thing, it's something Reebok improved with the Nano 4.0s by adding a no-slip tongue.

I worked out in my new Tiffany blue Nano 4.0s for the first time last Thursday and they felt great! Here's a few snapshots from that WOD:

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Part A: 1 RM (rep max) Strict Press -- I got 90 lbs. I would love to get lifter shoes (I want a pair!) but I felt good lifting in the Nano 4.0s. They gave me so much stability - you know how you have to tighten everything for strict press, and push your heels into the ground? I felt solid!

Part B: AMRAP of 9

  • 200m run
  • 20 shoulder-to-overhead
  • 20 double unders

The shoes felt great on the run and were no problem for the shoulder-to-overhead movements (I did push press). My double unders were hittin' too, which is always a great feeling. I finished the workout with 3 rounds and 7 reps; it was a tough one!

See a short clip of some cleans and front squats in the Nano 4.0s over here.

Overall, I'm very impressed with the new Nano 4.0s, and I'm thrilled to have a pair!

Do you have a pair of Reebok Nanos?

What's your favorite feature on the new Nano 4.0s?

The CrossFit Games & My Summer Bucket List

Hey guys! Happy Monday! Did you have a nice weekend? Mine was wonderful! It was very low-key, which I love! We spent a lot of time in front of our TV, actually, watching the CrossFit Games. I was super excited to see Camille Leblanc-Bazinet (pictured below) win it for the women.  She was the first CrossFitter to ever grace the cover of Oxygen Magazine, one of my favorites for fitness reads!

CamilleIt's actually kind of ironic because the article about her was in the July 2013 issue of Oxygen, which was right around the time Aaron and I started CrossFit! I remember soaking in every word, and thinking it was the coolest coincidence ever!

Oh and I would be remissed not to mention Rich Froning! I was shocked to see him win for the FOURTH year in a row. How incredible is he? If you want a glimpse, I suggest you watch the event "Quick & Dirty" where he does four 20-foot rope climbs and three 250 lb overhead squats in less than a minute in a half! Incredible!

So, obviously, all this CrossFit made me want to do more CrossFit! Lol. Luckily, I did get in some good workouts this weekend! Saturday was a partner WOD:

In Teams of Two*: Complete 400 m Runs simultaneously with: AMRAP in 20 minutes of: 5 Pullups 10 Hand-Release Pushups 15 Air Squats

*Partner 1 runs 400 m while Partner 2 completes AMRAP. When Partner 1 returns from run, they pick up where Partner 2 left off while Partner 1 completes AMRAP.

I absolutely loved teaming up with Aaron! We got 15 rounds and 27 reps; we wanted to get 20 rounds in but I was happy with our score, especially because we did the workout Rx, meaning, I did all kipping pull-ups! (No bands! Woo hoo!)

On Sunday I did a workout that I missed on Thursday:

3 Rounds of: 1000 m Row 20 Lateral Over-the-Bar Burpees 20 Push Press (115/75)

It. was. tough. During the last round, especially, everything felt so hard! The last few push presses were brutal! I had 10 left when the coached yelled for me to "finish in under 27!" It was 26:30 on the clock and somehow - I don't know how! - I threw up 10 consecutive presses and finished in 26:56! Then I assumed the usual post-WOD position: laid out on the floor! Haha. I was so happy I got that extra push from our coach for the last ten reps, though! Sometimes it just takes someone yelling at you to keep going to know that you can keep going!

Having such a low-key weekend reminded me how carefree summer should be. We often feel bogged down with work and weekend obligations; this summer has been especially busy for me with work. But, summer is just a few months long and we really ought to enjoy it, right?

This picture of Aaron with our gorgeous little god daughter is the perfect depiction of a perfect summer day, spent the day relaxing by the pool!

Summer Bucket List

I know I'm a little late in the year to be making a summer bucket list, but better late than never. Plus, I've already done a few things on this list!

Visit my god daughter, Eva and take lots of pictures. Done.

Go to the beach. See the sunset. Done. We went to Daytona - the sunset was beautiful!

Go on a romantic, relaxing trip with just Aaron. Planned! We're headed to Turks & Cacios next month! I can't wait!

Have a blog day; similar to a "me" day but all for blogging.

Have a fitness photoshoot. Done! Aaron got some pictures of me doing a few moves with the resistance bands - There's a workout coming your way Wednesday!

Get to the Olympic Lifting Workshop at my CrossFIt Box. Done. We've been twice and it's great!

Wear my bikini. Done. More on this coming soon!

A lunch date with my dad. Done! In fact, I'm planning to another one next week. (He's a teacher so it's the perfect time of year to catchup with him.)

Have a weekend getaway with friends somewhere nearby. Done. I had an amazing time at the National Harbor for my best friends' birthday weekend!

Read my kindle. Started! I wrote about what I've been reading in You, Inc.

Go to a cookout or plan a cookout. I keep seeing awesome cookout photos on all my favorite blogs and I'm seriously craving a burger, some grilled corn on the cob and watermelon! Will someone have a cookout and invite me over, please? Thanks.

What are some things you want to get in before the summer is over? 

Kipping Pull-ups, My Weekend, & Weight Loss with Friends!

I can't believe I'm just getting around to posting this! It's been a hectic Monday! This weekend was a busy one, too! From Friday night on, we've been go-go-go and I haven't had a free minute! Friday night at CrossFit I PR'd my front squat hitting 180 lbs! I'm so excited! My previous max (tested last month) was 170 (and I distinctly remember not being able to squat 175!) but I've been squatting 145-150 during 5x5 sets (usually Part A of our workouts), which was hard but I think it paid off! I wasn't sure I got "below parallel" for the 180 (it felt really heavy and I dind't want to bottom out), but my coach and Aaron confirmed I got low enough! Woo hoo! I'll take it!

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The actual workout involved chest-to-bar pull-ups, which I can't do, but I decided to try to kip a few regular pull-ups just for the practice,,. You won't believe this but I ended up kipping all the pull-ups!! And my chin actually went over the bar every time! It was awesome! I did them one at a time because I'm still not able to string them together, but it was still major progress! I finished the workout in 10:26 and Rx'd the weight for clusters at 75 lbs (PS: I love clusters. They're a mix of cleans and thrusters and most people hate them but for some reason, I just love them!)

Here's a video Aaron took of me practicing kipping a few weeks ago one night after class... taking just 5 minutes after class to practice this movement has helped tremendously. (Don't laugh; there's sheer determination on my face!)

Kipping pull-ups from Mrs. Brooch on Vimeo.

The only bad thing about doing actual pull-ups Friday night was ripping my hand (ouch)! I ripped it on the last three which was such a bummer because I had plans to do Murph the following morning (i.e. 100 pull-ups)! I knew I would need all the help I could get so I headed to Dick's Sporting Goods after class to get hand grips...

rage_leather_hand_grip_action

A little side note about Dick's - oh my goodness the selection of cute workout clothes is crazy! I will never shop anywhere else! (Well maybe, but that's definitely my preferred spot now!) I was actually at Lululemon earlier in the week looking for some new pieces and didn't see much I liked or wanted, especially for the price ($$$); there were so many awesome pair of leggings in different patterns and colors at Dick's though, and the prices are much more reasonable.

I walked out with a pair of hot pink UnderArmour crops (similar). They were marked down to $45 and even though that's still a tad more than I wanted to pay, having a new pair of pants was seriously helpful for my psyche, with Murph to look forward to in the morning!

On Saturday Aaron and I met two others before our box even opened at 8 am to get started! Everyone looked pretty tired and terrified of the workout to come, but guess what? It really wasn't THAT bad!! I mean, it wasn't my favorite workout (by far) but it was doable...

Look, we even took a picture afteward!

IMG_2810Notice my new hot pink pants!

For me, the initial run was a little tough and I felt a little overwhelmed at round four, knowing there were 16 more to go plus a run... But, by the time I got to 15, I knew I could finish! I kipped most of the pull-ups but they definitely weren't Rx... (sometimes my chin didn't make it over the bar). I started using a red band for the last few rounds, which was really helpful!

The push-ups really held me up the most. I could only pump out 5 or 6 at a time, and then I'd have to rest before doing the last 4. Overall, our rep scheme of 5, 10, 15 (pull-ups, push-ups, and squats) really helped. The final run was an awesome cool down! I finished around 57 minutes -- less than an hour! -- woo hoo!

Did I mention the hand grips saved me? They did!

After the workout we had to rush home, shower, and hop on the road to Williamsburg for a family event Saturday. Aaron's dad's church was celebrating their 133rd anniversary and there was a wonderful evening planned with a silent auction and play. It was really nice! Also, my sister-in-law surprised me with this:

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SHE ASKED ME TO BE HER MATRON OF HONOR - GAH!

Of course I'm super excited and cannot wait to get to work helping her pick out a dress and whatever else she needs me to do! We got to see her venue on Saturday and it's simply breath-taking!

Of course we woke up super sore on Sunday and I really wanted to lay around and do nothing but we had to go to church!  It was a long service and we didn't sit down to eat until 1:30! Unfortunately, the food that the church served wasn't healthy and it was the first day of the weight loss challenge I'm doing with my friends! I had to improvise so I pulled the skin off the fried chicken and ate some green beans (I passed up the rolls and cake - yay - go me!) but then I was starving on the ride home. There weren't many healthy options nearby so I stopped at grocery store and I grabbed a box of lettuce and some fruit. (They didn't have a salad bar... I would have preferred that!) I didn't cheat and got full so that's what mattered!

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When we made it back to town we ran to the grocery store to get a few things for our weekly meal prep, but by the time we got home, we were too tired to cook so we heated leftovers from last week and sat on our butts to watch Game of Thrones... Do you watch that show? I can't even!!!! The anticipation of the season finale is KILLING me! I can't believe there's only 2 shows left.

I have to say, I was really surprised Sunday to see my friends so pumped for the weight loss challenge. I was really nervous that it would get off to a smooth start, without too many complications or questions; I was also a bit concerned about asking everyone to post their weight, but it's been going GREAT! Everyone was more than enthusiastic that first day - not only did we all post our weight, we posted "before" pictures too!  There were several posts of healthy snacks and meals, and encouraging comments everywhere; I'm loving it!!!

I don't think anyone really cares about the cash prize, either. It's more about making healthy strides and uplifting each other. So far the whole thing is a hit and I'm happy I'm doing it!

 What did you do this weekend? 

Do you and your friends have common goals you can help each other with? 

Industry Fit with Corrie Childers, CrossFitter & Photographer

One of the reasons I blog is because of the people I meet! Even though these "meets" often happen virtually (via email or Twitter), I've made instant connections with some really awesome and inspiring people. And, I'm a people person! I love getting to know people and especially their stories -- what's your story? Are you a new mom, newlywed, or bride? Are you a wedding planner or photographer? Oh you CrossFit!!! Haha. Just kidding! (Actually, that is usually my reaction! :)) But no matter who you are, if you're on a fitness journey, it's likely I'll be inspired by your story, and such was the case with Corrie Childers, who photographed the CrossFit engagement session I shared yesterday. Corrie's known for being behind a camera, capturing weddings, engagements, and birth stories, but guess what I found out? You might also find her behind a barbell!

I'm excited to share a look into Corrie's life as a photographer and CrossFitter as part of my Industry Fit series (sharing the untold fitness stories of wedding industry professionals). Thanks for these awesome photos Corrie, and CrossFit on!

Crossfit_Photographer

How long have you been a professional photographer? 

Sitting here thinking about it, I realized I have been shooting for other people for about 4 years now. Whoa! Time flies when you’re having fun!

When did you start shooting engagements?

About a year ago. The first few years I was shooting, I shot anything and everything I could. Families, newborns, engagements, kids, etc. I knew I loved photographing people, but had very little direction other than that. Just last year I really fell in love with engagement sessions and decided to narrow my focus to engagement photography and birth photography! I have a very photojournalistic style and something about those two types of shoots just work beautifully with photojournalism. It’s been amazing and so de-stressing to have a clear direction.

What's your favorite part of your job? 

My favorite part of my job is definitely when I show somebody’s photo gallery to them and see the love and joy in their eyes. I’m a self-confessed hardcore people pleaser and literally nothing makes me happier than making someone else happy! I have always thought it is so amazing and rewarding to be able to give a gift such as photographs, which are basically beautiful memories. That might sound a little cheesy, but it’s truly how I see it! I feel extraordinarily blessed to have been given the abilities to make this my job.

What's the hardest part? 

The hardest part for me is balance in my business vs. personal life. My husband works full time and travels and I’m a stay-at-home mom with a 7 year old and 2 year old, both homeschooled. In years past, I have sort of swung back and forth between wanting to go full-force into building my business and then wanting to have a ton of time to spend at home with my family. I kept finding myself either with a ton of photoshoots but no time with my family or a ton of time with my family but no photoshoots, and neither way is ideal for me! Both scenarios drive me crazy. So I have to remember to only take a certain number of shoots per month and only spend certain times of day editing or working on marketing, and really stick to that.

You mentioned you do Crossfit - when did you start?  

My husband and I started at the beginning of June 2013.

What box do you belong to?  

Crossfit Northwest Arkansas - we love it there!!

Who introduced you?

Honestly, this one girl from my pre-teen years that I only had contact with through Facebook (Hi Brittney!!). I sat on my butt in front of my computer screen and watched her amazing journey unfold over the past several years (and yes, sometimes got irritated at how often she talked about Crossfit… something I’m probably guilty of now! Ha!) and always thought “good for her, but I can’t do that.” Then after I had my daughter in 2011 and developed this crazy miserable grain allergy out of nowhere, I sort of unofficially started the Paleo diet when I realized how much easier it was to find grain-free recipes when I searched with the term Paleo. Since Paleo and Crossfit kind of go hand-in-hand, I started seeing Crossfit stuff in front of my face all the time in the groups I joined and having the constant reminders kind of ate away at my determination that I couldn’t do it. One thing led to another and after nearly two years of resisting, we finally went for it and never looked back!

What did you think after your first class? 

I thought it was crazy! I had hopes that we would be able to stick with it, but I wasn’t sure. My legs were so sore I couldn’t even get up and down on the toilet without hanging onto something! But our coach was incredibly awesome (Hi Josh!!) and had just the right balance between listening to how we were doing and being conscious of it vs. encouraging us to push ourselves farther than we thought we could go. And he never once made me feel stupid or embarrassed for not being able to do something (and trust me, there were a lot of those moments)!

Did it help you in the way you thought it would? 

Oh yes, and so much more. I went into it wanting to lose weight, and I have lost weight and inches (went from a size 12 to a size 8) and gained muscle. But another, totally unexpected way it has helped me is in my mental/emotional health. Leaving my comfort zone in such a big way and stepping out in total faith not knowing what to expect has done truly amazing things for my life. It’s like a switch has been flipped in my mind. I have gained confidence and lost most of the shyness and insecurities that have held me back in life. Even my business has been directly effected and I have seen huge growth since realizing that I really CAN come out of my shell and go out into the world and make contacts and meet people and even pick myself back up when I fall.

Crossfit_Photographer

Do you have an athletic background? 

No. Not even remotely. In fact, when I wanted to be thin in junior high and high school I went down the path of an eating disorder rather than exercise.

What do you like about Crossfit? 

I like just about everything about it. This is the first fitness program I have ever stuck with in my entire life (and I tried many in the years I’ve been married) and that says something huge to me. I really love the way Crossfit is set up to have classes. Joining a conventional gym and telling myself I’d go every morning at 6:30am was a HUGE fail for me because I had no contacts at the gym, no real direction to go in my workout, no workout partner, no coach, nobody texting you saying “missed you today!” when you don’t show up. Same with trying TapOut or Zumba in my living room by myself. I love being a part of the community and I think that their sense of community is one of the biggest reasons why CF is so successful! And good for them!

What's your favorite movement? WOD? Lift?  (I love kettlebell swings and clean & jerks!) 

I like goblet squats a lot because I struggle with squatting in any other way (I have weird spine/pelvis tilting), but for some reason can goblet squat pretty well! I also love Clean & Jerks, especially split jerks. I’m not that good at them, but there’s something about them that makes me feel so strong!

How often do you go? 

I go 3x/week when I can. Every once in a while our babysitter won’t be able to make it here for some reason or the weather will be bad, but I do get pretty antsy when I don’t make it 3x/week so all effort is made to get there!

You mentioned your husband does Crossfit too. Do you enjoy sharing the sport with him? 

YES. We love going to the same class and talking about the WOD and comparing our battle wounds afterward. Ha! We married in 2005 and for many years we had very little in common other than our children. He’d talk to me about his work and I’d talk to him about mine, but we had nothing to really collaborate on. That’s just how it goes sometimes! But having this in common has been great for our marriage and, of course, I love that he’s hotter now than ever ;)

Do you have any Crossfit-related goals for the next year?

I have small goals. I will be happy to see each of my lifts go up in weight, even if it’s just a few pounds. I can be too hard on myself and end up getting frustrated and performing badly, so I’ve found that small goals work for me! I would also like to improve my breathing. I feel like I can do all the conditioning in the world and it still never really gets better! So searching for what might be going on and how to improve it is pretty important to me.

Crossfit_Photographer

How do you juggle Crossfit and your photography business? 

The one and only way we have been able to make it work is by finding an early-morning babysitter (our box doesn’t have child care) and going to the 6:30am class before we do anything else for the day. My husband and I both know that if we put it off until the later part of the day, we’ll be stressed/tired/cranky/rushed/busy/lame/whatever and find excuses not to go. A lot of mornings it’s hard to get up at 5:30 and leave at 6, but we make it work because we love it and know it’s worth it!

Do any of your clients know you do Crossfit? 

Yes! Some of my clients are members at my box, in fact. But a lot of times in conversation with other clients it just comes up and most people want to hear more about it. And of course I’m happy to oblige them! It’s kind of funny the misconceptions that people have about CF.

Has Crossfit changed the way you view/feel about your body? 

Oh yes. I have always struggled with body image and I mentioned already that I struggled with an eating disorder years ago. Crossfit has a lot of great bodies among it’s ranks, but I have always found that really Crossfit’s emphasis is on mental strength and endurance. It’s about working hard and not quitting, even when you want to. And I don’t quit!! That amazing realization has taught me that even though I might not ever deadlift 300 pounds or have that “Perfect 10” bikini bod, my mind and body has strength and beauty and can do things that I never thought it could. I don’t have to have a perfect body or lift a zillion pounds to be amazing.

Finally, do you have any advice for other wannabe-active professional photographers?

I think what it comes down to for anybody, not just photographers, is making your health/fitness a priority. I didn’t make it a priority for years, and I suffered for it. What is holding you back? Is it childcare? Find a sitter!! Is it shyness? Find a personal trainer and learn how to workout with just that one person, and not in a class setting (though I bet once you get the hang of it, you’ll want to be around others while you’re working out). Is it a lack of time? Go to bed a little earlier and get up at the crack of dawn to get your workout in. Whatever it takes, just do it! One of my favorite quotes pertaining to fitness is this: “A year from now, you’ll wish you had started today.” Wow, right? It might seem intimidating or overwhelming right now to find a sitter or add to your busy schedule or walk into a gym where you think everyone is more fit than you, but nothing will ever change if you don’t go for it. It will get easier. You’ll get into the swing of it and in a few months, you’ll be thinking of how far you’ve come and how glad you are that you took the leap.

Do you recommend Crossfit to others?

Um, that would be a resounding YES! I recommend it to literally everybody that doesn’t have a fitness/exercise system that works for them. It’s hard not to suggest something that has made such a huge difference in my life. I haven’t made any converts yet, but hopefully soon (I’m looking at you, mom)!!

Thank you for answering my questions, Corrie and sharing your CrossFit journey with Fit for a Bride readers!  Good luck getting your mom to CrossFIt (I'm working on my dad)! And with all your goals! 

Crossfit_Photographer

Are you a photographer who does CrossFit? 

Have you had a similar experience with CrossFit boosting your confidence, professionally, personally and in your marriage? Share your story with me! 

10 Things That Surprised Me About the CrossFit Mid-Atlantic Regionals

Hey guys! I hope you're enjoying Memorial Day! I'm off work and planning to go a barbecue a little later but for the most part I'm taking it easy because, well, Saturday and Sunday were action-packed! I spent both days at the Patriot Center for the Mid-Atlantic Regionals. It was my first time attending a CrossFit competition and I'm not even sure where to begin; it was totally crazy but I loved every second! Here's a picture of me and others from my box supporting our coach, Linsey Wise, who placed 8th overall in the individual women's competition! Go Linsey!! linsey

When I say the event was crazy what I really mean is that it was overwhelming. Everywhere we turned there were people we knew, brands we recognized, things we wanted (LOTS of things we wanted!), and like a billion CrossFitters all under one roof! There were booths for everything from beer to protein, and pop-up shops selling all the latest gear, from wrist wraps and Rx jump ropes! ALL the big CrossFit brands were there -- Reebok, Progenex, the WOD Outlet -- it was seriously like a CrossFitter's shopping mall!

I've decided the best way to recap the experience is to share 10 things that surprised me about the event. Read more below. :)

CrossFit-Surprises

1. The Excitement of the Team Events: 

The main reason we went to Regionals was because our coach, Linsey, was competing. We hadn't watched or even discussed the teams, but OMG, they were the BEST! There was so much happening all at once, there wasn't a single dull moment! There were so many close calls, too, that would send sections of the crowd into a yelling rage! It was intense!

Mid-Atlantic CrossFIt Regionals

I have to admit, we got really into it. We saw one girl steal the lead in the last round and nearly jumped out of our seats when she hit the finish line! At the same time, I felt really bad for the girl who lost the lead for her team (that would suck!), but there was so much camaraderie and love among teammates, in the end, it didn't matter, I think everyone was just having fun and proud to be there.

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The men's event was surprisingly exciting, too! Check out this video I posted on Instagram of another surprise win!

2. The Clean-up Crew:

This might sound corny, but the clean-up crew was pretty cool! After each heat, they'd run out in a single-file line wearing hard hats and matching grey t-shirts, and scatter in perfect formation to begin to breakdown and setup for the next heat. They were so in-sync and efficient! They were probably volunteer CrossFitters!

Mid-Atlantic CrossFit RegionalsMid-Atlantic CrossFIt Regionals

3. The Abs! 

OK, so this probably shouldn't have surprised me... we all know CrossFitters have crazy abs but seeing them in person - holy crap! I'm inspired!!!! Could that be me in another year? Haha. Probably not, but hey, if 8 out of the 10 chicks I saw had them and they CrossFit... why couldn't I? A girl can dream, right?! :)

Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Regionals Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Regionals 4. The Emotion of Watching Someone You Know Compete: 

Oh gosh, where to begin. It was so intense watching our coach, Linsey compete - I could hardly take it y'all! Watching someone you know out there changes everything! My heart was pounding for Linsey the entire time! Go, go, go! Luckily, she didn't have any big issues (we saw other CrossFitters hurt themselves, cry, EVERYTHING!). She was super strong and efficient, but it was still hard to watch! If you want a glimpse of Linsey in action, check out Heat 3 of Event 3 - she CRUSHED IT! She came in first place in her heat and I love what the commentators say about her cleans: "She's just bouncing the barbell off her thighs making it look so easy!" Yea!!!! That's my coach! :)

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5. The Dreadfulness of that Last Rep: 

I can't tell you how many times we saw an athlete held up by a single rep, sometimes for several minutes while scores of athletes passed by, which was gut-wretching to watch. One guy even started crying because he just couldn't seem to get in that LAST rep (during a team event) and I almost started crying for him!

I imagine the movements, whether it's overhead squats or snatches, are nothing new to these athletes, but when they're on stage and the clock is ticking, and the fatigue of three days of competing sets in, I think a "no rep" throws you way off!

Mid-Atlantic CrossFIt Regionals

6. The Maybe-I-Can-Do-That Feeling! 

OK, again, why am I surprised? Who WOULDN'T feel inspired around so many talented athletes? There was definitely a sense of monkey-see, monkey do going on, especially with moves that have been more challenging for me, like handstand push-ups, rope climbs (just regular ones though - legless is crazy!), and pull-ups. Seeing so many women do these moves over and over again made me want to jump out there and try them again! I definitely left with a sense of, "I WILL GET THOSE!" Especially about handstand push-ups... they're next on my list of things to conquer!

Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Regionals

7. The Short Shorts:

Holy batman - who wears short shorts? THESE GIRLS! My goodness - I saw so many butt cheeks and wedgies! Lol! I can't say it looked bad though! Quads were poppin'! These chicks have no shame and why should they? Squats do a girl good!

Mid-Atlantic CrossFIt Regionals

Mid-Atlantic CrossFIt RegionalsMid-Atlantic CrossFit Regionals

8. Feeling Star-Struck:  

Oh hello, Christmas Abbott!

Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Regionals

I surprised myself hopping in line to get a picture with Christmas Abbott! In all honesty I don't know much about her except that she was a Regional competitor and part of a Nascar pit crew. I think she's also from Virginia! I saw her on Carrots 'n' Cake blog at last year's Games and thought a celeb photo was a must-have being that I'm a blogger and all! She was really nice!

9. The CrossFit Fashion Coordination! 

I was surprised at how well all the CrossFit chicks coordinated their outfits! There was seriously an outfit change for each event and the more I saw, the more I felt like I needed to step up my own workout wardrobe (which I've said before)! Headbands, socks, hair ties, and tanks! Oh yea, and here I am, with my one pair of first-generation nanos. (Embarrassing!) I NEED MORE. Haha!

Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Regionals

10. The Endless Swag: 

My plan is to stash away a little money for next year's event so that I'm more prepared for the vendors! I mentioned a little earlier, but the protein, t-shirts, tank tops, wrist wraps, shorts, and shoes-- evvvvvvvvvverything was overwhelming!

Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Regionals Mid-Atlantic CrossFit RegionalsMid-Atlantic CrossFit RegionalsMid-Atlantic CrossFit Regionals SONY DSC

Other than that, I saw a lot of commradarie (not surprising), athletes cheering on other athletes and a lot of love in the stadium and in the stands (families, children, lots of non-Crossfit supporters)!

Mid-Atlantic CrossFIt Regionals

All and all, Aaron and I left feeling inspired by the community to which we can now say we belong in, which for us, is pretty cool! We had a little conversation with some members of our box about competing too. Not at Regionals of course (ha!) but there's some smaller competitions around town that might be fun for us to try. At the end of the day a competition - whichever one - is just more practice, which, with CrossFIt is always good! Not to mention a whole lot of fitness and fun!

Would you ever partake in a CrossFit competition? 

Have you ever been to a CrossFit competition?

Regionals-Inspired CrossFit Fashion

Hey hey y'all! Happy Friday! I feel like I haven't blogged in awhile - really blogged anyway with what's going on in my life! Well, I don't know about you but I've been obsessively watching the CrossFit Regionals! We have an Apple TV that allows us to view whatever is on my computer (usually streaming videos of the event) to the big screen. Aaron and me stayed up past midnight last week watching! It's incredible!

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I remember watching a little of the men's event last year, and at the time, having just started CrossFit, of course I was intrigued, but this year, it's totally different. I follow a lot of these athletes on social media (Instagram) and I watched a few of them compete live during the Open. Not to mention, the owner of my box, Linsey Wise (CrossFIt Falls Church), is going to Regionals! Aaron and I bought tickets to go next Saturday and Sunday - it's all going down at the Patriot Center! I cannot wait! 

A few really cool things I've seen at Regionals... well, Elizabeth Akinwale is INCREDIBLE to watch! She makes everything - including legless rope climbs look effortless! I also happen to see the footage of her setting a new personal record (PR) for her snatch - 200 lbs! (Wow!) Despite that, though, she actually came in second place overall for her region, which I think was a bit of a shock to everyone... But, she's already blogged a little about how she's using the disappointment to fuel her determination and preparation for the Games in Carson California later this year... I love that she blogs! :)

I have to say, it was really cool to see a first-time individual competitor, Alexandra LaChance will the North Central Region (Elizabeth's region). She beat out Stacie Tovar, a five-time Games competitor and you can tell from the interviews afterward, she never in a million years thought she'd quality for the Games! How cool! I also love the fact that her roommate and training partner, Kelley Jackson is on the podium with her in 3rd place. Just imagine the excitement the two of them feel right now!!!

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Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 9.31.27 AM

I've also enjoyed watching Talayna Fortunato and Stacie Tovar -- I'm so sad she didn't qualify!  She reflected about the experience on her Facebook page.

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Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 9.37.48 AM

This weekend last year's winner, Samatha Briggs and another top contender, Michelle Kinney go at it and I'll definitely be turning in! If you're interested in tuning into to one of the events, I suggest checking out Event 5, the legless rope climbs or Event 3, which is pistols, muscle-ups, and hang power cleans. You can see all the events here.

Speaking of muscle-ups, Aaron got his first one this week!! So proud of him!!

Alright, so onto Fashion Friday!!! I was inspired by all the booty shorts and six packs I was seeing at the Regional competitions... I can only dream of one day being about to workout in something so skimpy!

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Workout-in-Style

CrossFit Bra / Reebok CrossFit Lifter Plus / Compression Booty Shorts

Have you been watching Regionals?

Would you workout in booty shorts? 

My CrossFit Birthday

Hey guys! Happy hump day! I've been writing this post for several days now! I'm excited to finally release it!

The occasion? Welp, this month marks my 1st CrossFit birthday! Yay! An occasion indeed!

In May of last year, Aaron and I had just moved to Falls Church from Fairfax and I was full-on raving about this new trendy workout everyone was doing called CrossFit.

I knew it was expensive and there was no way I'd be able to do it without Aaron's support, but let me tell you: never in a million years did I think he would one day want to do it with me! Initially, I think he was intrigued by its popularity, but I also made a strong case for it after sampling a class at CrossFit Silver Spring. When we discovered there was a CrossFit box near our new home, we committed to trying the free one Saturday...

I vividly remember leaving Aaron in my dust during that WOD (Haha! Sorry, hunny, it's true!); I believe it was an AMRAP of box jumps, burpees, and a 10-meter sprint. But, to my surprise, he loved it just as much as I did and we both left feeling invigorated.

At the time, our box was running a special for the required Elements class through Groupon and we knew we had to strike while the iron was hot to get the deal. We bite the bullet, seized the moment, and started Elements first thing that June! (We loved it so much we even did a CrossFit-style workout on our cruise vacation that month!) Since then, we've been going regularly, averaging about 10 classes per month.

Crossfit-Book

My love for CrossFit is pretty obvious... I blog about it all the time and this blog has even morphed into a wedding-CrossFit blog! Who would have thought?!

I also shared exciting changes I was seeing in my self-confidence, strength and weight around my 4-month mark, and both Aaron and me have blogged about the way it's changed our marriage.

Now, 6 months after that, a full year in, and an Open competition under my belt, I have even more progress and praises to share about this sport!

First, let's take a look back after that first Elements class!

Crossfit

Oh y’all. We did it! Survived our first #crossfit #elementsclass and let me tell you: I am in SHOCK! Those #pullups killed me! Going from those to push-ups SUCKED. My arms were literally giving out! SO frustrating!! But, the silver lining was my babe (@aarellis) helping me add an extra band and continually asking ‘you ok?’ It was sweet! (And as you see from this photo, he’s quite pleased with his abilities tonight– he acted like it was a stroll in the park! Made jokes and kept the mood light and fun.) As for me, this is gonna be a real wakeup call/challenge! Glad I have this guy along for the show!

I remember being in shock after that first class! Even though I'd been working out for a few years at that point (had even run a marathon!) and generally loved tough workouts, it was still quite the challenge! I remember thinking "Pull-ups?! Are these people crazy? I can't do a pull-up!" Well, a year later (about a week ago), I got my first kipping pull-up! And that, really, is the testament I want to share on this anniversary: I'm doing things I never thought I could do and it's awesome! 

I probably experienced the most growth during the Open in March because I really pushed myself to try new things, like doubleunders and chest-to-bar pull-ups; things that I would otherwise scale during class.

The Open also highlighted my strengths and weaknesses. In the beginning everyone was asking what I was hoping the workouts would be, "What are you good at?" And I honestly had no clue! I just kept thinking please, no pull-ups!

Now, I know I'm much better with the barbell than with any body weight movements. I'd prefer to do 100 snatches and cleans before any push-ups, pull-ups or handstands! I also know that if I'm determined enough, I just might do something I otherwise thought I couldn't, like doubleunders! :)

I think realizing my strengths has played a part in my growth. Of course it's always easier to focus on what you can't do, but I've learned that acknowledging what you can builds confidence and in turn, improves performance!

The Open also brought me closer to other CrossFitters at my box! I really felt a sense of community seeing the same faces every weekend and cheering each other on! Now CrossFit is a lot funnier because they're not just familiar faces, they're friends! I'm looking at you Wendy, Brendan, Naomi, Lynn, and Brandi! You guys are the best!

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Going back to the barbell for a minute, it's funny, I used to hate weight lifting when I went to a regular gym. I would get so bored using the machines and hate the feeling of trying to lift something heavy for 3 sets of 12! Now, I love strength training! That is, if it involves a barbell! If it's a workout with cleans, especially, I want to be there. I also like the 5x5 sets we do before workouts, especially front and back squats! I just love 'em!

CrossFit -1

I want to be able to look back and see how I've improved in another year, so here are my current one rep maxes for some of the main movements:

  • Overhead Squat: 105 lbs
  • Back Squat: 185 lbs
  • Front Squat: 170 lbs
  • Split Jerk: 105 lbs -- recently PR'd this at 115! 
  • Clean & Jerk: 110 lbs
  • Push Press: 75 lbs
  • Snatch: 85 lbs

As for body weight movements, I'm a lot better off than I was before CrossFit, but I still have a long way to go. What I mean is that I never knew just how uncomfortable I was with my body weight until I started CrossFit and had to try to do things like pull-ups and handstands. As I did them - reluctantly! - I realized I had some major mental blocks and fears surrounding them!

As an example, during a recent warmup one of the coaches wanted us to do cartwheels and I immediately bucked: I can't do cartwheels! She suggested I just attempt a round-off or something of the sort and guys, when I threw my body up in the air it totally freaked me out!! My STRENGTH freaked me out! I quickly jumped down because I'm still really uncomfortable being inverted but in that moment I realized, my strength is not my issue, my mind is!

vvv Case in point vvv

Crossfit 2

Here's a look at where I stand with some of the other major body weight movements:

Handstands: As you can see from the photo above, I can do a handstand but they're still new to me and I'm not comfortable doing them during a workout. It takes quite a bit of mental focus to successfully get inverted against the wall and during a workout, I just don't have the strength or focus. Obviously I don't have handstand push-ups either, but I hope that once I get more comfortable upside down, that'll come next.

Pull-ups: I started out using a box and two blue bands and now, I'm using the small red band and even kipping sometimes! It's hard and I often get frustrated quickly, but when I go into it with the right mindset, I do OK! Like handstands, pull-ups have a bad connotation in my mind and I think part of this battle is overcoming that.

Push-ups: Ugh. What can I say? Not my favorite movement! Especially renegade rows. Blah! It's hard to stay locked out through the entire movement for several sets, but I've definitely gotten better since before I started CrossFit (my trainer at work commented on a noticeable improvement in my push-ups since CrossFit).

Funny story: Aaron does push-ups on his fists!! He swears it's because they're "easier" that way, but I think he just likes showing off! I'm certainly not there yet!

Rope climbs: I got a few rope climbs in this year (and two the other night!) but I don't feel consistent or strong in this area. Again, I know I have the strength to do them, but I don't have a reliable technique yet. I need to practice them A LOT more to begin to feel confident, but hey, I would have never thought I could do one and I can now say I have!

Toes-to-bar: We've been doing these a lot lately and they aren't getting easier; they were especially brutal during 14.4. Again, I think it goes back to being more confident and comfortable controlling my body weight. Even knees-to-elbows, which is a slight modification are tough. It's particularly hard on my hands as well, and is something I need to get used to!

CrossFit

Other areas for improvement: 

Choosing a weight: This is something Aaron and me discuss a lot - the balance between challenging ourselves with a heavier weight and working slower versus using a comfortable weight and blowing through a workout. I almost always know when I went too light because I finish a workout too fast and it's really frustrating to know I didn't push myself enough!

On the other hand, it can be hard to know whether a heavier weight is feasible... so there's a happy medium I have to find each class. It's really hit or miss, but lately I've been challenging myself to go a little heavier, and it's been rewarding to get through a workout! (I used the 55 lb dumbbell for the first time Saturday! Woo hoo!)

Keeping better records: This is a biggie! I'd really like to keep better records. It can be very frustrating to not remember my one rep max and therefore, not know my 80 percent for a workout. Along those same lines, I'd like to purposefully do some benchmark workouts to compare to down the road. I'd love to hear your method of record keeping and tracking progress in the comments!

Diet: Of course, I am always trying to improve my diet. As many of you know, Paleo is the preferred diet of most CrossFitters and while I felt great during the Paleo challenge, I haven't converted 100 percent to this lifestyle! I think improving my nutrition would definitely improve my performance and it's something I have my eyes set on really working on this next year.

Yep, because I don't plan to stop doing CrossFit anytime soon!!! :)

Finally (and I'm sorry this post is becoming really long!), if you don't take anything else away, I think the most important take-away and testament to this is just the fact that we've been doing this an entire year, still love it, still see positive change, and still feel challenged! I think this is in part due to CrossFit's consistently varied programming, but also the amazing instructors at my box - thanks for being awesome, CFFC!

And to end with something a little funny:

CrossFit Has You

Yes, it does! Haha.

Time to share your CrossFit story!!

What's been your experience with CrossFit within the first year? 

Are you a new-comer or have you been doing it even longer?

Are you someone who wants to do it but hasn't yet? 

PS: I wasn't lying when I said I blog about CrossFit a lot!

Baby CrossFit Workout for Beginners

I've had a few people ask me to post CrossFit workouts for beginners on the blog but I've been hesitant because I'm not a Certified CrossFit instructor. Nevertheless, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to show one of my new coworkers some CrossFit moves last week, when she asked if we could do a "baby CrossFit" workout together at our work gym. This coworker is the sweetest young girl (I think she's in her early twenties) and if you can believe it, she had never even done a burpee before! Her reaction as I demonstrated one was priceless: wide eyes as she let out a long "Woaaaa!" (She's also from Michigan and often says "Nutcrackers" when something goes amiss-- she's adorable!!)

I wanted to do a dynamic stretching warm-up because Aubrey (my coworker) said she liked stretching, and I also knew stretching might wakeup some of the muscles and target areas we'd use during the workout. I also wanted to go through some common CrossFit stretches so that Aubrey had a better since of what to expect in an actual CrossFit gym.

We started with this line-up of movements/stretches, walking (or duck walking, Samson stretch walking, spiderman walking, etc.) about 10 meters and back to the starting position) (Google or YouTube these phrases if you're unfamiliar with any of these movements):

  • Duck Walks
  • Spiderman Walks
  • Inchworms
  • Sampson Stretch
  • High Knees
  • Butt Kickers
  • Squat stretch (sit in a squat and push your knees out with your elbows; grab your toes and slowly lift your butt and body up!)

As we did these, I explained that the first half hour of CrossFIt is always dedicated to warming up. We often joke it's the WOD (workout) before the WOD (the actual workout). I never used to warm up before working out, but since I've started, I can tell a big difference in my performance when I'm not warm! I also talked about CrossFit lingo: WOD, box, AMRAP, etc...

I wanted to make sure Aubrey got a real sense that CrossFIt is not just an hour of crazy exercises (a common misconception)- it's actually at least 20 minutes of warming up, usually 15 or so minutes of lifting, and then the actual workout usually only lasts between 8-15 minutes. I told her it's never the same, but always challenging.

After stretching we were pretty warm -- we were both sweating! But I wanted to make sure we were warm so I suggested we run a quick .25 miles on the treadmill, which is the equivalent of a 400 meter run. (I can tell you some of the coaches at my box would not approve of this as a full warm-up; ours are usually much longer! But for time's sake and it being Aubrey's first real workout, I decided to keep it simple!)

After that, I demonstrated each movement we'd do in the workout:

AMRAP 8 minutes:

  • 10 Dumbbell Squats
  • 10 Step-ups
  • 10 Burpees (We dropped this to 5 since she'd never done a burpee before)
  • 10 Weighted Russian Twists

Squatting:

We did several squats during the stretching portion of the warm-up so I already had a chance to see Aubrey's form and give her some feedback, but I demonstrated the weighted squat for her anyway, emphasizing that she keep her chest up and her weight in her heels. I used a 25 lb dumbbell for the workout and she used a 10 lb, but midway she dropped it and just did air squats (an easy scaling option)!

Also, if it's your first time showing someone CrossFit moves, be prepared to keep an eye on them! People who have never done these moves before lose their form pretty quickly and that's dangerous! I noticed Aubrey did this - her stance wasn't wide enough and she was bringing her knees inward [instead of outward] - so we stopped for a minute during the workout to go over form again.  (To those who aren't familiar with the air squat, these images are helpful.) (There's a also a whole Squat Clinic by Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit.)

burpeesStep-ups and Burpees:

Step-ups are an easy swap for box jumps and in a regular gym you can easily put together a step-up station with risers, which is what we did. When explaining the step-up to Aubrey I emphasized opening the hips to full extension at the top, and for the burpees, I suggested she just pop her legs out instead of going chest-to-deck, since it can be harder to maintain a straight back and tight core that way. She happily accepted the scaled option!

Russian Twists:

The Russian twists were pretty simple: keep your legs elevated and twisting to one side counts as one rep, so these would go pretty fast!

Unfortunately I didn't have a great playlist or loud speakers to mimic the start of an actual CrossFit workout but I promised Aubrey next time, we'd have the music to get us pumped!

When we started Aubrey jumped right in! But halfway through the workout she said she felt like she might be overdoing it... (I could tell she was definitely winded!) I suggested she drop the weight (she was using a 10 lb dumbbell for the front squats and twists), and just do air squats, as a scaled option. Adding weight to a cardio or other fast motion definitely makes it more challenging and dropping the weight is the easier way to scale without feeling like you have stop altogether!

I got in 4 total rounds and Aubrey got in 3! I was really proud of her for pushing through - it was tough for her, and understandably, she'd never pushed herself like that before! It was really funny when the timer went off, she totally sprawled out on the gym floor - she was whooped! (I secretly patted myself on the back; if she assumed the position, she's gotten a true taste of CrossFit!)

As we left the gym I begin to worry about the impression I gave Aubrey of this sport, though: did she like it? Hate it? Is she upset? Worried about soreness? What's she thinking!

Well, when I woke up a little sore the next morning, my worry persisted! Uh oh! Poor thing! She's probably done-for! But, good news: as soon as I got to work I checked on her -- how are you? "I FEEL GREAT!" She said! "Not nearly as sore as I thought I'd be and I got this burst of energy when I got home last night, it was wonderful!"

That day I sent Aubrey a few links about squatting and wouldn't you know, the next week she came in and she she'd been practicing and wants me to check her form! I think she might have the bug! :)

Below is the workout we did for your Pinterest quick-reference pleasure! Remember: I'm not a CrossFIt instructor and this post is by no means adequate instruction for doing some of these moves yourself at home. PLEASE do your research, read and watch some videos online, but then, yea, go for it! AND GIVE IT YOUR ALL!!

CrossFit-Beginner's-Workout

Happy Friday loves!

Have you ever pretended to be a personal trainer/CrossFIt instructor and done a CrossFit workout with a friend?

What workout did you do?

CrossFit Proposal & Link Love

Hey guys! Happy Friday! Look at this awesome proposal moment captured by Koda CrossFit I found on Twitter! CrossFit-Proposal

Aww! Isn't this the sweetest?? Congratulations you two! I'd love to hear more about this proposal and how it unfolded. I plan to reach out to Koda CrossFit and see if these two are interested in sharing more! What an awesome picture to have!

I hope everyone is pumped and ready for Easter this weekend. I'm going out of town but not leaving until Saturday. Aaron left yesterday because he's off today and I'm supposed to meet him in Williamsburg tomorrow. I had plans to go to a happy hour tonight but it got postponed, so, guess what exciting alternative I have in mind? AN ENTIRE EVENING WORKING ON MY BLOG!! :)

Yep, the perfect Friday night is sitting uninterrupted in front of my laptop, working on the backend of my blog and writing future posts. You might have noticed I started toying with the design last night, which is why my sidebar is gone... please bear with me! :)

In other news- Cadbury Eggs. This is probably the first-ever Easter I haven't had a Cadbury egg... yet! I keep seeing them out of the corner of my eye at the grocery store, but I've resisted! This time of year those and icing-covered cookies are my weakness! Of course I always feel gross after eating either (maybe because I eat more than one?) but I'm working hard to stay. away. What are your Easter food weaknesses?

Some weekend reading:

Brides: You might want to enter this giveaway for 10 Free Weeks of Workouts from Unite Fitness in Philly!!

Bloggers: I just discovered this website (authored by the creator of Oh My Veggies) and it's filled with helpful monetization tips! This may have something to do with my itch to change things up around here! :)

CrossFitters: Have you ever heard of "Death by Barbell," the WOD? This looks insanely awful! (Or awful amazing!?) The tank top is pretty cool, too!

What do you have planned for tonight?

Are you going out of town for Easter? 

How did you fiance propose? Was it a surprise? 

March Post Round-up

Hey guys! How are you? CrossFitters: Are you still sore from 14.5? My soreness is finally starting to subside! Yesterday was rough, though - holy triceps! Anyway, I'm popping in this afternoon to do a round-up of my favorite March blog posts! Blogging was really fun in March because I felt like I actually had something to blog about-- the CrossFit Open! I also picked up a few new readers this month! (Hi Naomi!!!) In case you missed anything, here is a look back at it all:

CrossFit Falls Church Open

CrossFit 14.2

CrossFit Open 14.3

2014-03-23_0006

SONY DSC

My very favorite posts were definitely the recaps of each week of the CrossFit Open. These were fun to write and I'm so glad I have them to refer back on now; that's one reason I love blogging, it's like keeping a journal! If you want to revisit any of these, use the following links: 14.1 / 14.2 / 14.3 / 14.4 / 14.5!

This month I also introduced our first fit-mom contributing writer, Karlye! I'm thrilled to have her onboard and hope you all have been enjoying getting to know her. She has a wealth of great health-and-fitness knowledge and I'm excited to give her a platform to share it all!

Also for the fit moms: I shared my friend Sarah's weight loss transformation! Sara is a huge inspiration and working so hard to meet her goals, if you're not following her on Instagram yet, you should!

Fit Mom_Sarah

In March I also made a few changes to the blog design and created a static homepage. This is probably going to change -- I know! I know! I keep messing with the blog layout, but I'm hoping to settle on something once-and-for all soon.

LIFE-Transformations

March was also the month of the Get Motivated Calendar! I had fun putting this calendar together and coming up with daily prompts to get us thinking about our weight loss goals -- I hope some of you found that helpful.

I shared two new recipes in March, too! There's this recipe for lemon coconut chia truffles and a delicious paleo sweet potato hash! Have you tried either one of these yet?

Coconut Lemon Chia TrufflesPaleo Sweet Potato Hash

I have even more recipes planned for April as well as some other stuff. You should already have heard about the new weekly challenges, I hope you're participating in those!

I'm curious, what were your favorite FFAB posts this month? 

What were some highlights you experienced in March?