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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, November 11, 2019

Frank Photos at the End

Lately I have been trying out this novel idea of doing things I enjoy and not doing things I dislike. I sometimes find myself forcing myself to stick to an arbitrary schedule (I only go to yoga one day a week because I have too many other fitnessy things to do!), when in reality, I can cancel a spin class for another yoga class whenever I want. Sometimes I want to spin 5 days in a row. Breaking useless rules I have created myself has been freeing. And it's also made me feel a little silly. Why did I come up with all these restrictions in the first place?

My favorite Dancing Dogs Yoga teacher Zach taught three evening classes last week instead of the usual one. I went to all three of them because I could. That's me on the right with the pink sports bra in fish pose. I'm feeling a whole lot more flexy this week. I went to the Friday night Power Beats class for the first time and it was weird to hear music while doing yoga but I didn't hate it. I found it much harder to be present and my mind kept wandering. The playlist was [insert fire emoji].

Yesterday we took the dogs to Sweetwater Creek State Park for the first time and hiked the 3 mile yellow trail. Daisy Mae was a real trooper and only needed carrying up one hill. Dachshunds are much heartier animals than many give them credit, and a dachshund mix like Frank can handle even more exercise. 

My friend Jamie from Rukus has inspired me to start doubling up my spin classes. She doubles all the time and still comes in first place during her second class. It makes more sense for me to double because it allows me to attend my class goal (4 classes a week) in fewer days since I am capable of two 45 minute spin classes. This frees me up for more yoga (see above.)

With the Open finally almost over, I felt comfortable going back to CrossFit. I took my first regular weekday CrossFit class and did a normal WOD for the first time in months. I was able to run, doubleunder, burpee, and deadlift pain free. While I did have to scale the deadlift weight from 155# to 105#, my form looked pretty damn good, even at the end of the workout. I'm looking to go to CrossFit once a week for a bit and get my fitness back. I got Fran cough 4 minutes into a 27 minute WOD. I am a shell of my former self. [insert crying emoji | insert laughing tears emoji]

Frank is extremely photogenic and open to modeling work. Please DM for details.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

If You're Happy and You Know It, Touch Your Toes

I took for granted being able to touch my toes until I couldn't touch them anymore. Baptiste yoga has a lot of sun salutations and I got quite familiar with my shins. There was very little difference between my forward fold and my half forward fold, but at least I was able to show up to yoga class.

My precalculus class conflicted with my Monday night yoga class at Dancing Dogs Yoga, but last night I was able to return for Zach's class. His class is my favorite. Miracle of miracles, I could touch my toes. I could forward fold and touch the mat. I could jump back into plank for chaturanga. I was even able to flip my dog and hold a side plank. And then I did a wheel.

Maybe my consistent hard work and dedication to healing has paid off. Maybe it was my new cork B Mat yoga mat. It gets grippy when you sweat on it, making it perfect for sweaty hot yoga.

I don't think my back is magically cured. I still feel it several times a day and I make sure to ice it before bed. I've started to sleep with a pillow between my knees because I am a side-sleeper and I've noticed a difference in my posture since I started doing that. Regular movement from walking to class, spinning at Rukus, and yin yoga has been helpful. I started Be Better group training with Sarah Furman last week and we are focusing on our posterior chain. Taking time off from lifting was needed but I think just 2 days a week has already been beneficial.

New yoga mat feels.

Dancing Dogs Yoga now has yin yoga on Sundays with Alex. I highly recommend Alex's class because I love yin yoga and she's a lot of fun to be around. Yin yoga has you hold poses for 2+ minutes with the assistance of props. I find lying on a bolster in half pigeon to be a great way to cap off a weekend, and it doesn't hurt that I usually head over to Superica for a margarita on the way home.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Swim Lessons

I have a confession to make. I am an ugly swimmer. I am totally capable of getting from point A to point B, but there's a lot of splashing around and the occasional doggy paddle. I'm a rescue scuba diver by the way, so ugly swimming will not prevent you from dragging someone's ass to safety, in case you were wondering.

My friend Spenser is a badass mama and she signed her son up for infant swim lessons. E rocked it, and I loved following along with his progress on Facebook. His success got me thinking... if he's one year old and learning to swim, what's holding me back from achieving my secret dream of swimming beautiful laps? So I got to searching for swim classes.

It's difficult to find adult swim classes for people who can already swim. The options tend to be swim classes for adults who have no water experience or people looking for swim coaches to improve their triathlon performance. I am neither, and was getting discouraged when I stopped into Georgia State University's student recreation center to check out their gym. The aquatic center offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced swim lessons for TEN BUCKS for a 6 week course. (It's $20 for staff and alumni.)

The Aquatic Center at GSU

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Dancing Dogs Yoga

This summer I have enjoyed going to Dancing Dogs Yoga, a Baptiste yoga affiliate studio located on the Beltline at Studioplex Alley. A few years ago, I was on a business trip in Saratoga Springs and the meeting ran over (what's new), forcing me to miss my Bikram yoga class. The studio offered to let me attend the Baptiste class instead and I fell in love with the practice. Now I live a 10 minute walk away from a fantastic Baptiste studio and I'm pretty sure it was meant to be.

I started off by signing up for the unlimited intro month and then signed up for the Yoga 101 series. I HIGHLY recommend taking this workshop. It meets every Wednesday night for five weeks. Steffi breaks down the components of the practice and teaches you so much in such a short amount of time. I think it's helpful for anyone interested in Baptiste yoga, even if you've been practicing for a minute. So many things clicked for me for the first time during those sessions. You can get the series plus unlimited yoga for $75, or $50 for just the series.

Today was the first day I was in the studio since July. Even though I woke up feeling stiff with a sore back (possibly because I fell asleep on the couch binge watching Veronica Mars season 3 yesterday), I realized that I had so much more strength and mobility now than I did in June and early July. This gives me so much hope that I am finally on the right track for a full recovery.

School starts on August 26 and I plan to attend DDY every Monday evening. My favorite instructor Zach teaches the Monday 7:45 PM class. Other teachers I really enjoy include Shelley, Shannen, and Steffi.

DDY offers both class packs and memberships. You get a significant discount if you join before your intro month or Yoga 101 ends. I bought a 20 class pack at 20%, giving me a $60 savings.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

1000 Rep Challenge

I've been trying to find a new normal the past few months. While I was never a particularly good CrossFit athlete, I did show up regularly and I put a lot of time and effort into it. It was pretty much the only thing I had left of my "old life," since I don't work in my old industry or live in New York anymore. I thought that having a new goal to work towards might help me feel a little more grounded. I was at my happiest while training for that strongman competition, which as you know, I was unable to do because I threw my back out. It's still acting up and some days are really discouraging.

Recently I came across Jeremy Thiel's 1000 rep challenge. Not entirely sure how I found it but I did drop-in at CrossFit Central when I used to go to Austin for business trips so maybe that has something to do with it. Anywho, I decided to do it. It's an 8 week program working up towards 1000 push-ups in one day. Each week you are to do a prescribed number of push-ups on a daily basis. You gradually increase the number of push-ups each week. This week we are doing 22 push-ups each day.

The push-up has always been a weak spot for me. I straight up could not do one before CrossFit. Then I developed really crappy form doing them so my CFID coaches made me switch to box push-ups. That was pretty humbling after 4 years of CrossFit, but it thankfully taught me a lot. Now I can do four chest to deck push-ups at a time. I got all 22 done this morning before I got dressed for school by splitting them up. It's going to be pretty fucking awesome when I work up to the 1,000 in one day (100 each hour for 10 hours.)

I'm going to admit that I am terrible at following through on things. I get the end result done because I do what I say I'm going to do, but I lack consistency. For example, I will skip a significant number of long runs and then run an ultramarathon. I have never followed my carefully paced out project plans, and always did ungodly amounts of work every 2-3 weeks to catch up. I want to show up for myself and prove that I can commit to something and actually do it. I've been listening to the Working Against Gravity podcast, which I absolutely love, and Michael and Adee discuss the importance of setting a goal and following through on it. By achieving the goal, you prove to yourself that you are able to commit to yourself.

I looked at some other challenges and I had an honest chat with myself and acknowledged that I'm just not in a place where I can do a #75hard. I tend to choose the hardest thing I can think of (like deciding to run a 50K instead of a half marathon) and perhaps that's why I don't commit to the process. I think the 1000 rep challenge is something I can reasonably commit to because while the 143 push-up days seem pretty daunting now, it's something I am building up to. And it takes a heck of a lot less time to do 143 push-ups than it does to sit in Atlanta traffic heading to and from a box where I was easily spending 2-3 hours.

I printed out the challenge tracker and taped them in my bathroom as a reminder to get it done. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Life Without CrossFit

I haven't been able to exercise properly since March 10.

I think I like my selfie mirror in my new apartment better than my old one.

If you follow me on Instagram (@inshapeoutofmind), you might have seen that I got injured in the beginning of March and I had to withdraw from my Strongman competition. Injuries happen. I have always bounced back quickly, except for this time. My back and hips hurt every day. My iliopsoas get so tight that my body gets stuck in a hunched over position if I sit for more than a few minutes. Attending my classes hurts. My friend and massage genius Brian told me that I have lower cross syndrome, defined as tight iliopsoas and erector spinae and weak abdominals and glutes. I'm pretty proud of my glutes but I can admit that I am quad dominant and I'm not moving properly.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Why I Am Doing the Open

I wasn't going to do the 2019 Open because the 2020 Open is taking place in October 2019. Will we even call it the 2020 Open? Will it be 2019B? With two Opens this year, my plan was to sit this round out and focus on my upcoming Strongman competition. But then I was asked to be a team captain for the CrossFit Identity Open Intramural Competition, and how could I say no to that? This will be my sixth consecutive Open, and I'm glad I'm signed up because it's the last February/March Open we are going to have.

As much as I have loved participating in the Open for the past five years, I have never been thrilled with its timing. I had business travel every single year. I think I may have done more Open workouts as a drop-in my first year than I did at my home box. This year 19.4 falls over my Spring Break, so I will have to do the workout at 5:30 AM on Friday before my flight, but otherwise I am home. I am looking forward to the season changing to October. Hopefully it falls over Halloween so we can wear costumes.

For those of you who have not been motivated to become a CrossFitter from reading this blog, the Open has traditionally been the start of the CrossFit Games season. Everyone can participate, from the very new beginner to the most elite CrossFitters in the world. Performing well in the Open got you invited to Regionals, the competition that qualified you for the CrossFit Games. Regionals are gone, the season weirdly started in back in December with the new Sanctionals, and rumor has it that the CrossFit Games will not be broadcasted so unless you are able and willing to travel to Madison, Wisconsin to watch them live, you are out of luck. The Sport of Fitness might be crumbling before our very eyes, but we can still benefit from the magic of the Open.

Some members of the Grey Leopards. Please note that I already owned grey leopard socks.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Monday Macros: Cutting Diet 2019

I started my cutting diet last week and I've lost 3 lbs. If you've read this blog for a minute, you probably know that I have struggled with my weight since I was a child. I subjected myself to many years of calorie restriction and over-exercising. In 2017, I committed to increasing my caloric intake and to gaining lean mass. It didn't work as well as I would have liked (injury, poor guidance, a lot more fat gain than intended), but I learned A LOT. I spent 2018 trying to find maintenance calories, lean out a little, and get stronger, which was much more successful. I finally feel ready to implement a cut. If you've been eating in a deficit for a long time and struggling to adhere to that deficit (lots of cheat/treat meals or days, whole months where you just say fuck it, periods of binging/heavy restriction), get yourself a nutrition coach and work on finding your maintenance calories. You will be happier in the long run.

My plan and tools for the cut:

  • I lowered my macros to 135 P, 175 C, 55 F for a total of 1735 calories. I had been aiming for 2040 calories, so this is a manageable deficit.
  • I try to hit my macro targets every day but the bottom line is total calories. I used to try to hit my protein goal no matter what, but that meant I was usually going over my total calories on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I can usually get 80 grams of protein without really trying so I'm not too concerned about my overall protein intake. This is probably my biggest change from how I normally track macros.
  • I recently started intermittent fasting. I use the Zero app and I've been aiming for 14 hour fasts. I have managed a couple of 16 hours so far. I am waking up more easily and feel more focused in the mornings. I was waking up ravenous in December and January and NEEDED breakfast. Now I'm making it to lunch time pretty easily.
  • I'm aiming for 800 grams of vegetables and fruit every day. This combined with intermittent fasting has been leaving me feeling FULL. I force fed myself dinner for 90 minutes tonight because there we so many vegetables. I never thought I could feel so satisfied on only 175 grams of carbs. Volume eating for the win. #800gchallenge
  • I'm using Affinity Athletics Coach Delta to track my progress. I adjusted my macros because I know that I feel best when I'm eating 135 grams of protein. I know that this is not what Coach Delta recommends and I take full responsibility for the changes I made. My friends are the guys behind Affinity Athletics but I'm not paid/sponsored to promote their products. I bought this and I like it.
  • I plan to eat in a deficit until my Strongman competition on March 30. We are going to the BVIs the week before so I probably won't be tracking. The resort sent us an email with instructions on how to order groceries for our villa because the only on-island grocery store was destroyed during the hurricane. I am going to try to order what I normally eat during the day and then enjoy dinner at restaurants. Alcohol is going to make or break that week. The CrossFit Open has started and I am adding an extra 80 grams of carbs to Fridays to fuel our Saturday morning Open workouts.
  • I start training for my half marathon the week after the Strongman competition. I will readjust my goals based on my progress.
Here are some screenshots of my Coach Delta. I input my information into the blue cells and it populates the rest of the information. I added the column that says Weekly Avg. Calories so I can indicate if I was compliant or not. You can see that I lost 3 lbs even though I ate an average of 1911 calories last week.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Monthly Progress Photos: February 2019

I'm trying something a little different this year because Weight Loss Wednesday posts started to become a pain in the ass. My dogs weren't cool with waiting for potty time each week while I weighed myself, measured my body fat, and changed into my bathing suit for progress photos. If I took them out first, I inevitably forgot to take measurements and/or photos, or started drinking coffee, which throws off measurements and photos. Now I do all that jazz on the first of the month. I weigh myself most mornings and take a simple progress photo that I store in MyFitnessPal.

These are many January 1 to February 1 comparison photos. I weighed 152.8 lbs on January 1 and 151.6 lbs a month later. My Omron recorded my body fat percentage as 23.9% on both days. I don't put much stock in that thing because it can be heavily impacted by hydration and sodium intake, but it's good for keeping an eye on trends.

My arms look bigger and my bed is made this month so I'm declaring this a win!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Knowing Science Stuff is Neat

This morning I woke up and decided it wasn't a good day for me to go to CrossFit. I was sore from yesterday's Strongman training and I burned my finger cooking last night. Heavy hang cleans were probably not going to help me feel better. I'm trying to remember that exercise is fun and that I enjoy it and no one makes me go to the gym, and I can take a day off when I want. I got a little restless by noon and decided to go for an easy run on the Beltline.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Meal Planning and Meal Prepping

The pilot and I returned to Atlanta this week from a fun trip to Norfolk and Charleston. We ate a lot of roasted oysters and drank a lot of vodka. Personally, I was ready to get back to meal prepping because my insides couldn't take any more celebrating. I felt like I had only consumed Indian food take-out, chicken wings, and wine for the entire month of December and I craved vegetables. I spent the holidays with my family up in New York. Does anyone else visit their parents and wonder how the whole family didn't end up with scurvy from their childhood diets?

I'm not the best cook, but I am pretty good at meal prepping. I can get a week's worth of proteins, vegetables, and carbs prepped, cooked, and stored in under 2 hours. I have the luxury of getting to eat most of my meals at home (instead of at school or in an office), and so I usually store my food in larger batches and put together meals when I eat them. If I know I'm going to be pressed for time, I will measure out portions into individual Tupperware and use a dry erase marker to label the lids with the meal's contents.

The Pilot is a much better cook than me. Sometimes he's my sous chef.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Year, Same Me, Hopefully Some More Posts

It's 2019! I am excited for a new year and a new semester, but I am even more excited that I woke up this morning well-rested. I have had the worst cold since Friday. I've basically been in bed for days, and it was a legit struggle to stay awake at dinner last night. I spent my New Year's Eve exactly how I wanted to spend it - having dinner with my best friend - and then I was home and in bed with the pups by 10 PM. I just wish this cough and the rain would finally stop!

No hangover for this girl this morning.

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