Kool-aid

Do you remember the last time you were being introduced to a new person?  “Hi, My name is Tricia, so nice to meet you”. “Hi, I’m Sue So And So”  The next question might be, “What do you do?”

How do you compile your answer?  That question can be answered in so many different ways, with emotion or without.  My answer could be that I sell lab equipment – true and with no emotion.  Or I could answer with who I am:  Crossfitter and trainer.  (I am also an equestrian, home owner, business woman, wife, friend, daughter, etc….but you know this article is about Crossfit, after all).

I often struggle with this first impression moment.  Being a sales rep is what I do, but not who I am.  Crossfit is who I am and that is so much more representative of “what I do”…with my time, energy, passion.

Most every Crossfitter will talk your ear off about how awesome it is, how it challenges them everyday and changed their life.  We drink the Kool-Aid and we want everyone drinking the stuff!

Moving to Cleveland in 2005 for an outside sales job was the loneliest time in my life.  I ran a marathon with Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training and met three amazing women that are dear friends.  And I found out that I love my girls, but I hate running.  We stumbled upon this little gym at the corner called Crossfit Cleveland and tried it out back in 2009.  My life in Cleveland would be so different if I hadn’t met the amazing people that I met inside the gym.  Crossfit is a community made up of some cool, interesting, and freakin’ weird people! but it works and I love it.  When Crossfit comes up in conversation, I will first let you know that I know that I drink the Kool-Aid.  I became a Level 1 Certified trainer in November 2010 and I haven’t looked back. 

I’m not a college athlete – I am not very coordinated and I struggle in the gym most days.  But I am amazed by my accomplishments and where I’ve come in the 3 years that I have been in the gym.  I couldn’t jump rope until I was 33 years old.  It took me over a year to do Fran (one of our workouts) as prescribed.  I thought there was no way I would ever power clean more than 65 lbs…..my current personal record (PR) is 125 lbs and I’m building a stronger body everyday so that I can continue to challenge myself to bring that weight even higher. 

What Crossfit does for me?  At the core of the program, on paper, Crossfit provides a template for improved fitness:  Constantly varied, functional movements done at high intensity increasing work capacity over broad time and modal domains.  

You don’t have to understand what that definition means before coming into the gym for the first time, but you do have to be prepared to learn, to be instructed by your trainer, and to strive for improved fitness for yourself.   

 This short video summarizes why I drink the Kool-Aid:

http://community.crossfit.com/video/let-me-tell-you-about-crossfit

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The Curse of Dairy

The Curse of Dairy. 

I’ve suffered from allergies my whole life.  I was the kid with snot, puffy eyes and Kleenex with me everywhere I went – my mom was nice enough to have them in her purse, handing them to me quietly so as not to draw attention.  Teachers would bring me the classroom box of them so I didn’t have to walk to the front of the room and disturb class.  Boyfriends would comfort me while I sneezed all night and went to bed early.  Running partners would turn the other way while I shot snot rockets into the woods on our runs.

G-R-O-S-S.

Over the counter medicines – spaced out medicine head – addiction to Sudafed (it’s kind of like speed).  A casual conversation in 2002 directed me to chiropractic care for relief.  I found chiropractic adjustments would help by alleviating my allergy symptoms and I could take less medicine, but I was still managing misery.  In a moment of weakness, I went to an allergist. 

The allergist explained that she was going to use my back and graph out 60 different allergens to see which I had a reaction.  She would put eight tests in a row and just continue down my back.  Measuring the reaction on a scale from 1-4, 4 being the worst reaction.  Before we started, she asked if I had anywhere to go for the next week.  I said “No, why?” and she explained that if the reactions were bad, the bumps could be super itchy and stay for a week and I wouldn’t want anyone to see my back.  Great.

It was torture!  Immediately itchy and tickling.  This is not good.  On a scale from 1-4, fifty-seven allergens scored 3+.  I wasn’t surprised and I don’t know what I had expected.  She didn’t offer any correlations or trends in her findings.  She simply grabbed a plastic baggy and started pulling drug samples.  Offering nasal drops, daily pills and eye drops.  I sighed.  As you can imagine, I’m not a big fan of all of these chemicals every day for something as silly as allergies. 

While visiting my chiropractor and relaying this allergist story, he challenged me to give up dairy for two weeks.  See what happens, he says.  Famous last words!

I gave up dairy almost three years ago.  Remembering things is not in my wheel-house, but I know it was a few years ago.  Dairy is not worth giving up because cheese and yogurt and milk and ice cream are so amazing:  how could anyone live without dairy?  I travel every day for work – living on cheese and yogurt and soft-serve ice cream!  However, a two-week challenge is so easy.  I can do anything for 14 days.  So let’s go. 

Change my to-go foods, remove cheese or milk or cream from every meal.  It’s really hard to eat out and stay dairy-free.  There’s cheese or milk in everything – salads, salad dressing, sandwiches, dips, spreads, and my head was spinning.  And then the A-HA moment!  I was going about my business, working, cleaning, living.  And it dawned on me that I had been cleaning all day and hadn’t blown my nose.  The dust didn’t bother me, the cleaning products didn’t bother me…this is nuts! This is exciting!  I called my mom and my husband to tell them the news!  This was life changing! And it was only day 4 of the challenge. 

My life hasn’t been the same since – I feel free.  And so much healthier – less sickness, no sore throats, short colds if I even get one…I can go on and on! Something so “hard to do” but so simple made a huge difference in my day to day life – no pill could give me the relief that I found in identifying this allergy to dairy.  I haven’t gone back to the allergist to see what my reactions would be today – perhaps I should.  But my quality of life is really what I had been trying to improve with that visit to the allergist and I have found my quality of life with the absence of dairy. 

Pills and medicines aren’t the only answer – your food choices have so much to do with how you are feeling, how your skin looks, acne, aches and pains…we are such complex beings.  How can you think that food choices don’t affect your body when without food you would die?  Food is so powerful and it’s due the same respect we give to medicines and doctors.  If you suffer from sinus infections or seasonal allergies, I challenge you to give up dairy for 2 weeks – see what happens.  And please let me know – I love this crap!

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oh heaven help me…..

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Fat Girl

Fat Girl

My adult life has been sprinkled with different forms of exercise: weightlifting, running, aerobics, yoga, Pilates and finally Crossfit.  I have definitely found my niche and I am thriving.  However, I have a secret.  Inside of me lives Fat Girl.    

After a nice clean meal and not-so-clean-dessert, I will proclaim, “Fat Girl’s happy!” 

Maybe it was a birthday doughnut (last year), “Fat Girl’s happy!”

Or a binge into pesto rigatoni from Presti’s, “Fat Girl’s happy!”

What I’ve come to find with clean eating, and my journey on the Whole30, is that every proclamation of “Fat Girl’s happy” is a setback.   Adding kindling to the fire of unhealthy habits.

My goals today are clear:  A healthy lifestyle by nourishing my body with an anti-inflammatory diet (greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar) and constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity (Crossfit).

In Crossfit we perform these high intensity workouts and push our bodies to places we never thought possible.  Through that internal competitive spirit we learn that our bodies are capable of things our mind was putting limits on.  For example, yesterday I wanted to quit after 33 Toes to Bar, but I had already accomplished so much in that workout and I only had 18 Goblet Squats and a quick 750 meter run to finish the workout – no excuses – Crossfitters don’t give up and we don’t give in.  Confidence builds and goals are achieved and records are broken.  It is this same philosophy that I challenge you to have with food. 

I’ve committed myself to 30 days of Whole30 program.  It’s amazing and challenging – Fat Girl is still chirping in my ear.  I could have had that bread served at lunch, I could have had a drink at the bar, I could have ordered dessert.  But I exercise my willpower muscle everyday at the gym and in life.  And I will not quit this 30 day challenge. 

Believe this: I want a doughnut every day.  I want bread every day.  I want a milkshake every day.  But that’s bullshit.  These intangibles, these things will not control me.  I choose to be healthy and I chose to be strong in the gym and in life.  Fat Girl doesn’t have anything on me!

 If you are interested in more reading or recipes about eating clean / Paleo, please check out my favorite sites:

Chowstalker.com

Jan’s Sushi Bar

Mark’s Daily Apple

Whole 9 Life

 

 

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Clean or Paleo? I really don’t care what you call it.

Clean or Paleo?  I really don’t care what you call it.  There are a million different ways to skin a cat.  You can spend hours Googling and reading and chatting.  My commitment is to eat food.  Not that fancy; sorry to disappoint.  

What is food?  I define food as real meat, vegetables, fruit and nuts.  Nutrient rich, quality, gonna-rot-in-three-days FOOD.  There are a lot of things you can put in your mouth hole and chew, but not everything is food.  Food had a mother (meats and eggs) or was picked from the ground (vegetables/fruit/nuts).

You can call this Paleo – but that’s unnecessary.  It’s a bit pretentious and it puts limits and walls around you and pushes people away.  When you name something, it makes people feel like they have to decide if they “buy it” or not.  There isn’t anything to buy here.  I’m just talking nutrition. 

I’m not introducing anything to you – nothing fancy, nothing radical here.  It’s actually kind of radical to consider what other people eat so I want to compare the two.

My lunch – grass fed beef roast with coconut milk, onion, mushrooms, salt, pepper, garlic and homemade chicken broth.

Normal, healthy lunch might be a Turkey Sandwich – regular deli meal, right – should have 6 ingredients: turkey, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and bread….well, let’s see.

Oscar Meyer Deli Fresh Turkey Ingredients:  TURKEY BREAST, WATER, MODIFIED CORN STARCH, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF SODIUM LACTATE, SALT, SUGAR, SODIUM PHOSPHATES, CARRAGEENAN, POTASSIUM CHLORIDE, SODIUM DIACETATE, SODIUM ASCORBATE, SODIUM NITRITE, CARAMEL COLOR

Land O Lakes Swiss:  Cultured milk, salt, enzymes

Lettuce, tomato, red onion

Hellmann’s mayonnaise:  SOYBEAN OIL, WATER, WHOLE EGGS AND EGG YOLKS, VINEGAR, SALT, SUGAR, LEMON JUICE, CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (USED TO PROTECT QUALITY), NATURAL FLAVORS. GLUTEN-FREE

Brownberry Whole Wheat Bread:  Ingredients:
WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, WATER, SUGAR, WHEAT GLUTEN, YEAST, RAISIN JUICE CONCENTRATE, WHEAT BRAN, MOLASSES, SOYBEAN OIL, SALT, MONOGLYCERIDES, CALCIUM PROPIONATE (PRESERVATIVE), CALCIUM SULFATE, DATEM, GRAIN VINEGAR, CITRIC ACID, SOY LECITHIN, WHEY, NONFAT MILK

That’s 46 ingredients that we can count – I don’t know what “enzymes” covers in the Swiss cheese – and I have NO idea what “Natural flavors” in Hellmann’s Mayo are, and for that matter, why they aren’t named as actual ingredients – I mean if they are natural, why are they hiding?

A turkey sandwich is even a conservative “healthy lunch” choice – heaven help me if I pulled the ingredient list for Lunchables, or Tino’s pizza or a Five Guys Hamburger and fries! 

It’s not always about making huge changes in your life, or grand proclamations.  The only thing I hope for is that you are more aware of what you are putting in your mouth hole and maybe after reading this, you will eat more food. 

If you want to know more, check out http://whole9life.com and the book It Starts With Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig

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I am not ready.

I am not ready.

Right, I know…probably shouldn’t open a post calling myself out.  I’m looking into this weekend and FitClub competition in Columbus OH with 180 athletes and this is the first thought that comes to mind: I’m not ready.

I love competition.  There is so much to be gained putting yourself out there, pushing further than you’ve ever gone, measured against people you’ve never met, accomplishing feats that you wouldn’t accomplish in your regular training.  But this is competition – anything is possible.  I’ve been embarrassed by not being able to complete toes-to-bar (T2B) and I’ve PR’d my deadlift by 20lbs.  Each experience will stay with me – both integral in my Crossfit journey – but I grew more from that embarrassment and today I have T2B in the bag.

Now some people say if you’re not going to win why compete?  Well, I’ve run marathons and never considered winning.  I’m a competitor not a winner.  Middle of the pack is fine with me!  Not the bottom, not the top – just blend in, baby!  Most of all, I’m three years into Crossfit and I’m competing against myself.  I ask myself: How did I manage my energy?  Did I push myself hard enough?  Did I give it my all? And most importantly, did I support my teammates?

It’s a careful balance between coach and worker-outer (I’ve never called myself an athlete).  There will be growth this weekend, camaraderie with my teammates and another personal weakness (a goat) will rear its ugly head.  I will take it all in stride because Fall Brawl, hosted by R.A.W. Training, is coming up in October and I’ll be back for more!

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Day 1 or Day 12786?

Today is the day after my 35th birthday.  My wonderful husband showered me with gifts all week.  He truly knows me like no one else in the world.  Our lives are so busy and so much independent from one another that I’m continually surprised that he can still rock it with the gifts. 

The first gift was a card:  super simple but totally awesome!  Outside cover is a cartoon figure woman on a yoga mat with an exercise ball and tiny little weights “working out” and he’s drawn ALL over it!  He’s added a white board with WOD details, added Crossfit to her tank, and “gun show” with an arrow to her biceps, a little paw off the side of the card representing our dog, Hanna, who joins me at the box every week.  This is a guy who does not Crossfit.  But he’s one heck of an athletic-supporter!  

Day two was Saturday and I had previously taken off from coaching at Crossfit Cleveland to enjoy sleeping in and having a nice day at home.  Don’t you know that Dan Bell – Holley Mangold’s (Olympian OLY weightlifter) coach – was running an OLY Seminar at a neighboring Crossfit gym….Well, I had to attend!  And my awesome husband paid my fee – Happy Birthday to me, baby. 

Sunday, I hit the farm to pick up free-range, organic chickens – slaughtered just the day before.  The best chicken I’ve ever had in my life.  If you want to know my farmer, you’ll have to message me privately…the golden rule of farm-fresh goods is that you have to protect your supply!  But more on that later.

The week went on and the gifts continued.  I moved through the week on our normal schedule: Crossfit, Valley Riding Stables, Metroparks with Hanna, and work.  All the while he was cooking meals, vacuuming and taking special care of me.  Not that he doesn’t pull his own weight at home, but he is often traveling.  This week was really spent in the home and that is awesome for us.

That’s a snapshot into our lives, but it’s very telling.  Most of my energy is Crossfitting, finding high quality foods, and spending every possible moment with my family.  All the while my husband supports me, facilitates my growth, and in tandem, his growth.   

I hope you keep coming back to see what we are up to and the different avenues this blog takes us along this journey.  I have a lot to say. 

Tricia, 07.27.12

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