Thursday, September 19, 2013

Burpees and Box Jumps and Squats, Oh my!

Mary and I have been walking/running about 4-5 days a week at 5am.  We started in August of 2012 and soldiered through the freezing cold winter and back through Spring and Summer.  I am not a runner – never have been.  But over the course of the year, I managed to get up to about 5 miles without stopping.  This was huge for me!  But it wasn’t enough.  Sure I could run, but my body was not really where I wanted it to be.   Mary and I had drinks with an old friend who told us about Crossfit.  We hadn’t seen her in several years and while she always had a thin build, we noticed that she was lean, tight and strong.  She started back in May and raved about the classes.  We both decided our “workouts” were getting pretty boring and we weren’t really seeing any significant results. 

So we agreed to give it a try.  We started August 26th at 5am.  Why 5am?   That’s the only time during the day where I’m not working and anyone that needs me is still sleeping.   I recommend a time like that for everyone.  Makes excuses nearly impossible.  So our already lean, tight and strong friend met us there for our first workout.  She usually goes later in the day, but got up early to help shepherd us into this crazy, mystifying workout culture.   The WOD or “workout of the day” was thoughtfully written on a whiteboard in the front of the room.  The room, lovingly called “the box”,  is basically some warehouse space with gym equipment lining the 4 walls.  Lots of weight bars, kettle bells, medicine balls, jump ropes and bars to hang from.  While I don’t recall the exact WOD for my first day, it most likely consisted of some running, weight lifting and core work - all in about 45 minutes, with some optional floor work (core exercises) after that.  I was pretty much hooked from the beginning.  The time in class flew by and I didn’t feel intimidated by what others could do, or how fast or strong they were.  I knew I would improve each day. 

The box is my new sanctuary.  The coaches are fantastic and the people seem really nice.  The vibe seems a bit more mellow than some other local Crossfit gyms I’ve only heard about where competition seems paramount.  I love a good competition, but for right now, I’m just trying to get through these workouts, learn the proper form for some of these moves, and not throw up during class.  But don’t get me wrong – many of these people are fierce!  And I’m certain if they do compete, they do very well.  But I like that the coaches tailor their approach to what your goals are.  Like today, all I wanted to do was get through the workout.  No one was shouting at me with a stop watch telling me to hurry up.  All I got was encouragement from the coach, and others participating in the workout. 

So you’re probably wondering since I’ve been doing this for about a month now, how much weight have I lost.  Well, that’s the one thing about these workouts, and any strength training workouts that are worth a damn.  I’m not losing weight on the scale - YET.  I’m sure I could use some help with my diet, but being a vegan and working this hard has proven difficult.  But my body is totally changing.  I can see it already.  My first goal is to reduce the extra flab I’ve got between the armpit and my bra line a.k.a. bra fat.    I know once I get my diet squared away, some of the weight will start to come off.  I’m not seeing this as a temporary fix, I really do see myself doing this long term.  I’m up to 6 classes a week now, been doing that for about 2 weeks, and I plan to continue.  I can tell that I’m stronger already.  Adding weights to moves where just a few weeks ago, all I could lift was an empty bar.  This was just what I needed to get me to that next level of fitness.  And really, at my age – it’s more about health and less about a bikini bod.   The good news is, I know if I keep this up – the bikini bod will follow!  

I encourage my local friends to give it a try.  The first class is free, you can join for your first month for just $99 and that gives you unlimited number of classes per week.  Visit for more details.   

Break out the Advil and join me – you won’t regret it! 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Vegan Slippage

Yikes – I went “Vegan” over 15 months ago.  No animal products.  No cheese, eggs, meat, milk.  Lost about 8 pounds in the first 3 months.  Kept it off for another 6 months.  All my health markers improved (Cholesterol, glucose, etc.)  Then I started eating fish and some dairy.  Then Thanksgiving and Christmas came.  Then I realized that French fries and bean burritos are vegan! Then cheer season arrived.  Weekend travel, budget hotels, and vendor food makes it impossible to eat healthy, let alone vegan.   All of a sudden I gained back the 8 and another 4.  I’m only 5’2” people.  That’s like 2 dress sizes.  My closet can’t handle all that.  Neither can my wallet.  Mind you, I’ve been walking/jogging 3-4x a week religiously since September.  I can only imagine what I would weigh if I hadn’t been exercising.


So here I am in the month of June switching gears yet again.  (I must have burned out a clutch or 2 by now)  Back to vegan.  Fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds.  I’ve been following this for about a week.  Aside from some birthday cake (for my daughter) and some sushi, I have not detoured.  I am not hungry, have no cravings, and am losing weight.  I’m only 7 pounds away from my lowest of 2012.  I’m still jogging/walking and I’m trying to fit in some weight training now that regular baseball season is over and cheer is slightly abbreviated this summer.  I had been previously swayed by the shakes and pills, but I firmly believe that real, whole foods are the best foods and I’m staying away from processed anything.  I’m feeling a little tired, probably because I’m off of my daily caffeine.  But no headaches and I’m sleeping really well.


I’m so glad that some of my favorite fruits are in season.   I hit Costco for mangos and peaches.  My breakfast secret is a cherry/banana drink.   I take 1 fresh banana and about 6 cherries and freeze them overnight.  Then add them to the blender with almond milk and some flax seed.  Watch out with the flax seed, though.  Add too much and you’ll end up with cherry/banana gelatin that is totally gross!  I also made a veggie stew in the crockpot that’s good for a meal each day.  Just lots of veggies – cabbage, carrots, onion, green pepper, celery, tomatoes in a vegetable broth with 2 cans of beans.  Third meal is a huge salad with mixed greens, green pepper, cucumber, sliced strawberries, avocado and crushed cashews.  No dressing required.  Snacks include an apple or orange and some cashew/pumpkin seed clusters.  It’s about 1200 calories per day.  Sometimes less because I’m truly not hungry.


So stick with me to see how this all works out.  I’m guessing if I keep this up I should reach my goal weight in about a month.  Not sure what happens then.  I want to continue to eat this way – I guess my body will decide to stop losing when it’s at its happy weight. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Halfway there

I was supposed to peak at 40.

I was going to:
Weigh 120 lbs
Do a back walkover
Grow out my hair
Get promoted
Go on a girls’ trip
Teach ballet

I turn 40 tomorrow and here’s the deal:
I weigh 140 lbs
I can do a cartwheel and a round-off with straight legs and pointed feet
I have lots of muscles
I fit into all of my size 8’s and some of my size 6’s
I haven’t had a cigarette since 2009
I have long hair
I got a raise
I ate red meat maybe twice in the last year
I cut out all artificial sweeteners
I can surf
I have been walking/jogging 4x per week since September
I joined the Y and have been going
I take a ballet class 3x a month and smile the entire time I’m dancing
I sing loudly to the radio often
My family loves me more than anything
I get to go on dates with my husband often
I have a sincere affection for the people I work with
I have old and new friends that I love, trust and can depend on

I haven’t peaked
I’ve decided this is actually a good thing
Once you hit the peak, there’s nowhere to go but down
So I’ve decided to peak at 80
I’m only halfway there! I’ve got lots of improving to do

Do I wish I weighed less, was prettier, had a flatter stomach, and looked better in skinny jeans?
Of course I do!
Do I wish I had more friends, more love, more money, and more fun? Absolutely!
Do I wish I had no regrets, no grudges, no vices, and no skeletons? Sure.
Do I wish I had more willpower, more energy, more flexibility, and more courage? You bet I do!
But that wouldn’t be my life.

I need to sit back and appreciate all that I am and all that I have TODAY. I have my health, my family, my friends, my job and lots of other things in my life that I love. And hopefully, I’ll have 40 MORE years to work toward my goals, or BETTER YET, I’ll discover different goals and strive to reach them instead!

Happy Birthday to ME!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Another near miss and my nerves are shot

I wrote this back in November, but never posted.  It's a bit dated, but pretty important to me:

So if any of you have been following this blog since the beginning, you will remember a little post I did a few years back about a health scare I had on my 37th birthday regarding an abnormal brain MRI.   Everything turned out to be fine, but it was certainly a scary few days.

Here is my breast cancer scare post:

Mid September I found a lump.  I had one back in 1998.  Left breast.  Had it removed it was nothing.  No mammogram, no ultrasound, no waiting around for results, etc. 18 months ago I was getting painful lumps under my left arm. They came and went each month.  I got them checked out.  Mammogram and ultrasound found nothing.  Surgeon was sure they were nothing and said if they get worse to let her know.  They went away several months later and never came back,  So this new lump, whom I've named Floyd, made himself apparent to me once day while I was stretching out my chest muscle after a workout.  A very small nodule the size of a peanut M&M.  I didn't really think anything of it.  I had my husband feel it, just to see if he could.   I decided to have it checked out by my primary physician.  I was really expecting the same sort of scenario as 1998 or 2011.  Either it was nothing or I know exactly what it is - it's benign and let 's just take it out.  So when I spent 3+ hours having a mammogram and ultrasound, getting called back and forth from the exam room to the waiting room, I had a bad feeling.  The radiologist confirmed that it was solid and would need to be biopsied.  The time span between the first doctor's appointment and my biopsy was just 5 days.  The sense of urgency from everyone was concerning.  So was the fact that unlike my previous encounters with lumps, no one was saying, "I really think this is nothing."  And to make matters worse, I got a hold of my radiology report.  While it's great to have all this information, it's best not to get a hold of your radiology report until AFTER you have biopsy results.  I googled every word on that report and every numerical classification and STRESSED over every word.  The 7 day period of time between the biopsy and my "results" appointment is just inhumane.  Insomnia, irritability, diarrhea - you name it.  It was a terrible week.  Nothing compared to what a woman facing breast cancer has to endure, but crappy nonetheless.

My breast biopsy results were negative and I have a benign breast mass.  I had surgery mid-November to have the whole  lump removed, and then some.  Now the bills are streaming in.  My insurance SUCKS.  While I was due for a mammogram last April and didn't get one, the one I got last month was not considered preventive since there was a lump, and therefore not covered - all because of one stupid diagnosis code.  Ridiculous!   I am so lucky that at least I can afford all this garbage.  I can't imagine what people go through that don't have the means, or who end up being truly sick.  I want to shout out to a colleague of mine at work who is a 9-year breast cancer survivor.  I reached out to her earlier this week when I was convinced I had cancer.  She was so gracious and giving of her experience and information.  She calmed me down and was honest with me about her experience.  She offered me her contact info to call her at ANY time and gave me the names of her awesome doctors.  She checked up on me even while away on business. I can't thank her enough, and I only hope that she had an equally generous mentor to go to when she was waiting for her results.  Everyone should be so lucky to have her on their side.  Thank you Sheila!

So despite some funky scar tissue, I'm totally fine.  Things could have been so much worse, and I am thankful this was all just nothing.  I doubt any future mammograms will be uneventful, and I'm sure I'll always panic each year at the dr's office.  But I'm riding the wave for now and enjoying my health.