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About Me

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My excessive energy, extreme narcissism, and intense love of neon-colored spandex is both managed and fueled by my addiction to fitness. I push myself to extremes and I push other people's buttons. Obviously I needed my own blog.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Pat Sherwood

When I started CrossFit, I YouTubed everything because I normally had no idea what the posted WOD meant and even if I could decipher the acronyms, I still had little to no idea of how the movement should look. Thinking I should go to the source, I frequently hit up CrossFit HQ's channel, and while they certainly post instruction, I didn't always find what I needed as a beginner for the day's particular WOD. I may not have found the how-to videos I was looking for, but I did find Pat Sherwood.

I love Pat Sherwood.

What started as a casual affinity for The CrossFit Games Update Show, became quality time with my future husband. I didn't care that most of the content was outdated considering it was already July 2013 and the Games were fast approaching. It was all new to me and I enjoyed it.

the picture that really stole my heart

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Fall Half Marathon

I've been thinking a lot about running lately. My good friend and Facebook wife, Rebecca, likes to get my riled up about running and then I adamantly insist that I hate it. I didn't always hate running and sometimes I do miss racing, even with all of the pressure I put on myself. Running used to be fun and I want that fun back.

these are photos from a run along the Beltline during my first week in Atlanta

Friday, June 27, 2014

The 2,645 Calorie Burger

Yesterday was one of the best days. I got to do so many things that I enjoy and love. My new job puts me in charge of the logistics and operations for a bunch of mini-conferences and I had the opportunity to help out with ops at another team's mini-conference this week as a bit of practice. A bunch of my favorite colleagues were flown into Atlanta for two days and I got to see my friends and organize stuff and internet stalk research our guest facilitators and basically do everything I enjoy doing at work. And there were paleo-compliant snacks. FOR. THE. WIN.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Vacation in Naples

Throwback to the time my dad and I went to Naples, Florida for our father daughter vacation.

It was an awesome four days at the beach.

Got some treadmill time in and attended a group fitness class.

Discovered Publix key lime pie. I eat it every week now that I live in Atlanta.

One of my favorite hotel gyms of all time.

Bench Presses and My New Lady Crush

So Tuesday was bench press day at CFID and I was psyched because I know I like bench presses although I am terribly inexperienced at them. I have benched exactly four times since high school and that's including this past Tuesday (once at CrossFit T-Town, twice at CrossFit Central LI, and once at CFID.) For whatever reason, we didn't bench at CFHK.

The programming said to do 5x5 at 80% across and to warm up our deadlifts between sets. My 1RM (debatably 2RM) is 70# so my 80% is ~55#. I ended up being with a group of women who are a lot stronger than I am, we were using 65# faster than I would have liked, I got uncomfortable, I got unhappy, I decided that I was going to focus on warming up my deadlifts. Because I don't skip work, I went back after the metcon and used the empty lady bar to do my 5x5. It felt light but I knew I was performing the movements correctly. 

Overall, I considered Tuesday a failure. I didn't speak up when I felt uncomfortable and I didn't perform the way I would have liked. And because my boyfriend is a dick, he decided to rub salt in my wounds on Instagram and compare me to Ella Anne Kociuba (@ekociuba) and her bench press. 

Ella Anne Kociuba @ekociuba

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Atlanta Pride Run 2014

Yesterday I ran the 2014 Atlanta Pride Run and Walk 5K. It was my first 5K race in 2014 and the only short distance I've raced since the Oyster Bay Thanksgiving Turkey Trot. I came in first in my age group and in 6th for women. My time was 23:41.20, not my fastest 5K time by any means, but it was hot, there were a lot of hills, and everyone was talking about how slowly they ran (even the sub-20 finishers.) I'm feeling good about my time. Even while I was running the race, I thought about how I needed to reset my expectations because I have never raced in Atlanta before.

The race was held in Piedmont Park and I live right there so I walked over. I was hoping there would be baggage check so I didn't have to run with my iPhone and keys but I was out of luck. I imagine baggage check is unnecessary when most participants drive to the race. Thankfully I had thought to wear my iFitness running belt.

Sunday Funday: Drew's Chipper

I went to open gym at CrossFit Identity this morning with the intention of catching up on my burpee challenge but when I got there I heard Drew say, "Alessandra wants to do a 30 minute chipper with me," and I said, "Sure." Drew welcomed me to CFID right away and she's a certified coach who comes up with great programming. I was excited that she asked me to participate. Sue and Maren were also game so we went about setting up and warming up.

This workout was hard and the other ladies were finishing their rounds a lot faster than I. They were coming back from their 200m runs as I was starting mine, and while I'm pretty fast at running, I wasn't making the time up. It was hot and I needed the energy for those power snatches.

At one point, during round 3, I starting getting discouraged, and then I remembered I fucking love CrossFit. There was no where I would rather be than at CrossFit so if I finished last, that meant I had some extra time doing what I love. Why was I in a rush on a beautiful Sunday morning with nowhere else to be? This change in attitude made me approach the rest of the workout differently and I finished strong in 30:21. I finished 1:45 after Drew, who finished first using 65#, which is a testament to her programming. Four women with varying ability, strengths, and weak spots all finished within 2 minutes of one another. That's pretty damn awesome.

Friday, June 20, 2014

WOD Times

Every CrossFit box around the world programs a Workout of the Day, aka a WOD, and as the name implies, it is the workout that is offered all of that day. Some boxes also offer boot camps (drives me fucking nuts even though I'm guilty of going), mobility classes, oly lifting, or advanced level programming at times throughout the week, but my experience has been that the same WOD is offered multiple times in the course of one day. So if you're getting the same movements, does the time that you go matter? I say that it does.

Some people have strong preferences about their workout times - they perform better in the morning, they're not awake enough to train before work, they can't go in the evening because it keeps them up all night. But others, myself included, can workout any time. Why should we commit to a WOD time?


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

CrossFit 1 Year Anniversary

Today is my CrossFit anniversary and it has been a great day. I wrote the post below on Facebook this morning.

Abby, Garland, me, and Svetlana the night of my last WOD (for a while) at CFHK
Today is my one year CrossFit anniversary and I could not be happier with the last 365 days of my life. By signing up for Essentials at CrossFit Hell's Kitchen, I started a journey that took me from a pretty dark place to one where I am filled with love for others and allow them to love me in return. I am a better friend, daughter, sister, and employee. I am also strong as fuck. Thank you Anthony Preischel for putting up with my shenanigans and always pushing me to be better. Getting my first rope climb with you was one of the greatest moments ever. Thank you Jim Cerqua for being a badass Essentials coach who made me psyched to show up the next week for the "scary and intimidating" WODs with everyone else. Thank you Danielle Eberhart, Hayden-William Courtland, Marc Giordano, Jason Fernandez, and Stephen for being great coaches with your own coaching styles - I'm so lucky to have trained with each of you.

I am blessed to have such a wonderful CrossFit family at CFHK and to have made friends across the NY CrossFit community. Matthew Bronson, James Quigley, and Blair regularly welcomed me to EVF. Chad Syniec, Alex Wong, PJ, and Chris made me consider moving back to Long Island so I could go to Crossfit Central LI more often. And without Team Dangerous and their prom, who knows if I would have stayed in NY long enough to make any of these friends?

While I miss every one of the amazing people I call my friends in NY, today I am excited to spend my anniversary at Crossfit Identity in Atlanta. As Frank Sinatra said, "It was a very good year."

Friday, June 13, 2014


This post is about food - cheat meals, cheat days, cheat months, whatever. I frown upon all other forms of cheating, including cheating on your hairdresser. Nothing good ever comes of it.

I think everyone has an opinion on cheating and their diet. (I'm interested in your opinions so please comment and let's get a discussion going.) Some folks go with the cheat meal once a week, others have dessert at one meal every day. One of my favorite coaches and his girlfriend eat incredibly clean except for about once a month when they celebrate that month's holiday. (It's actually pretty cool - you can go through the calendar and actually find a major religious or cultural holiday that warrants sugar cookies and booze each month.) My boyfriend eats like a saint Sunday through Friday and then Saturday is a hedonistic free-for-all of Doritos, ice cream, and whisky. (He has some of the best ab definition I've ever seen so clearly this works for him.) I try to follow his example but I'm a work in progress.

I've been a lot more consistent since I moved to Georgia. I have a protein shake that I split between before and after my morning workout. I eat some bacon after my morning shower. Lunch is Caprese Greek yogurt with a tuna packet or 3 oz of Boar's Head Ovengold roast turkey. For dinner I've been eating 3-5 oz of steak with steam in the bag broccoli and cauliflower with a tablespoon of Kerrygold butter. I might also have another protein shake. But then fun things pop up, like the Professor was in town for work and we had a delicious dinner that involved fried asparagus fries. And yesterday I ended up staying at the office later than I had planned and I picked up some sushi and a packet of Raisinets. I took today off from CrossFit, completely throwing off my autopilot morning routine and forgot my Fage at home. I went to Publix, where I could have purchased a Fage, and instead walked out with 8 pieces of fried chicken, a slice of key lime pie, and a half-gallon of unsweetened iced tea*. Best damn 1,400 calories I've ever had.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Double-unders have been programmed twice in the week that I've been at CrossFit IDentity, and like most things in life, practice makes improvement.

Victor, the coach who most frequently coaches the 7 AM WOD and the man I credit with finally getting me into a handstand, told me that I was working too hard for my double-unders. He was obviously right. He gave me some very helpful cues - relax my shoulders, keep a loose grip on the end of the handles, keep my arms at my sides and a little forward, and look straight ahead at some point that would be the horizon if I were outside. And then he fitted my new Again Faster rope to my height. Victor is great if you haven't picked up on that yet.

Speaking of my Again Faster rope - remember when that "Top 12 reasons why this 47-year-old HATES Crossfit" post was making it around the interwebs? The author Mark Johnson from the blog A Write Smart held a meme contest and two people submitted memes. Mark declared both folks winners and since one of those folks was me, I got $25 to Again Faster, which I spent on my beautiful pink jump rope. I love it. It is fitted perfectly to me. I cannot thank Mark enough.

So I heard that the Pink Iron ladies were at CFHK last night. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Saving Your Hair

One evening I was in the shower with this guy and he tells me that he only shampoos his hair once a week because that's the secret to having great hair even if you workout 5 or more days a week. He then picks up a piece of my hair and tells me I'd benefit from laying off the shampoo too.

He was right.

I shower after every workout. I usually rinse out and condition my hair. I make exceptions if I know I'll be training again that day (morning run and evening CrossFit), going to the beach or pool (my hair is going to get gross anyway), or for some crazy reason I'm somewhere where I don't sweat (Granby, Colorado.) I only shampoo two or three times a week and I have noticed a difference in my split ends and the texture of my hair.

I'm fortunate that I have a lot of hair and it's pretty thick. I can get away with some extra oil a lot longer than someone with thinner, finer hair would. A deep side part ponytail is my go-to for hair that's pushing the boundaries of cleanliness. I try to avoid the messy bun because dirty, messy hair screams "I'm hungover" instead of of "effortless chic."

A fitness addiction can wreck havoc on your looks - bacne, sports bra tans, scraped up shins - but you can save your hair by ditching your shampoo a few times a week. There's a so-called "no poo movement" but I don't trust those people. You need to wash your damn hair eventually.

When I do use shampoo, I like head & shoulders clinical strength.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Burpee Challenge

Full disclosure: I stole this idea from CrossFit Central LI

I am partaking in a burpee challenge. Each day for 100 days, I do the number of burpees as the number of days in the challenge. So 1 burpee on the 1st day, 2 burpees on the second day, and so on. I started on June 1 and I finish on September 8. And I'm actually holding myself accountable because I tend to start a lot of things and then don't bother to follow through.

Why have I voluntarily signed myself up to do a burpee challenge alone? I want to see if this small additional amount of work adds up to anything significant.

It hasn't been bad so far. I forgot to do them Saturday but we did 10 burpees as part of the warm-up. I don't believe in cheating so I did an additional 7 yesterday. From what I understand, the Central LI challenge allowed participants to make up missed days.

Check back in with me once we get over 20 a day and perhaps I'll be telling a different tale.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hotel Handstand Practice

What do you do when you have a huge hotel room at the Hilton? Practice your handstands.

This video captures the end of my practice. I finally stayed up there but I still look sloppy. Really excited to keep working on this.

CrossFit IDentity

Greetings from the Atlanta airport! I'm off to Houston for a 24-hour business trip and then I'll be back in my new place for a while, fingers crossed.

I joined CrossFit IDentity on Saturday and I've attended the 7 AM WOD the past two days. I really like the people that I've met and Victor is a great coach.

Today I got my first unassisted handstand against a wall. And then I got two more. This has been a goal of mine for a while and I am excited to practice and master this skill.

Took me a moment to realize that Monday was in fact the 2nd.

This met-con was posted on HQ recently and I did it on my own by the track near my parents' house. My time was better then, 11:18 versus 12:07, but I ran past the marker today (oops) and I did my squats on the 800m mark at the track and today I went back into the box with everyone else. I did get the 100 squats unbroken this morning.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sunday Funday: My New Home in Atlanta

On Thursday around 2:45 PM, I got into my car and started driving south. I arrived at my boyfriend's parents' house at 10:20 PM on Friday night. There were multiple Dunkin Donuts and bathroom breaks plus a night at my beloved Hilton Garden Inn, but I am now officially an Atlanta resident.

I'm all moved in and I signed up for my new box yesterday. I had some time to kill before I needed to pick up my mom at the airport so I drove over to CrossFit IDentity. I met two of the coaches, Victor and Ryan, and had a look around. I bought my membership within 10 minutes. Ryan graduated from PT school and moved back home today, but I am excited to meet the head coach Keith later this week.

I got a quick workout in the hotel this morning. Obviously another Hilton Garden Inn. One mile warm-up on the treadmill, starting with an incline walk and then working up to an all out sprint. Then 2 rounds of 10 squats with 30# dumbbells, 10 deadlifts with 30# dumbbells, 5 man-makers with 20# dumbbells. Just a little something to make up for my utter lack of movement during my epic drive down here.
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