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On Starting Crossfit

Crossfit

If you follow me on Instagram, then you have probably seen that I’ve started doing Crossfit.  I needed a change up.  Running was OK but I was still having some hip issues that were frustrating.  I was stuck at 2 miles because of it.

I’m also pursuing a big career change, one that is more manual labor focused.  You would think these would be unrelated but they are not.  New career would require me to carry and lift 50lbs at a time along with other heavy labor stuffs.  I want to be able to do this on my own without asking for help.  I also want to be stronger so I can handle my job safely as possible.

I have tried Crossfit before and had a really bad experience with it.  I lasted about a month and then wiped my hands clean of the whole situation.  I vowed to never do Crossfit again.

Never say never, is the big life lesson that I learned this year.  Sounds cliche as hell but it’s true.

On paper Crossfit is exactly what I am looking for in a workout.  Varied workouts each session, strength training, and something that is going to kick my butt.  Workouts that are scalable to all levels.  This was not my experience the first time I tried it out but that was three years ago.

I have come to realize that not all gyms are the same, each is going to have it’s own dynamic and community.  Because of this new mindset and determination, I set out to find a gym that fits me and my needs.

Fort Collins is not lacking in Crossfit gyms, that’s for sure.  I checked out gyms that are close to where I live because that plays a big factor in motivation.  I’m not going to go to a gym that’s 1/2 an hour away, I have no desire to spend that much time in the car just to workout. Plus that is a huge demotivator (yup, I’m using this word). If it’s snowy or pouring rain, who wants to drive 1/2 an hour to work out? No one.

I found some gyms that were just like the one I tried before.  I had some gyms that didn’t even respond to emails.  Those were immediately crossed off the list.  Then I found MY gym.  And man do I love this gym.  Ask Scott, because I tell him every time I come back from working out how much I love my gym.

It is everything that I was looking for in a Crossfit gym. The workouts are different each time and the coach is great at making sure that they are scaled to each athlete’s level. I look forward to working out and leave each session with the desire to get better the next time I workout.

Oh, so this is what loving Crossfit is like.  Now I get it.

I will also be starting a Whole 30 on January 1st.  Joining Crossfit and doing a Whole 30 are related in an unrelated way.  I’m not doing the Whole 30 because of Crossfit.  I’m doing it because I want to kickstart my new fitness and health journey this year from the beginning.  I want to start clean and eat well because then I preform better in the gym.  This is my year to get fit and strong, Andrea 2.0, now with muscles is my goal for this year.  I don’t want to just lose weight and be fit, but I want to be STRONG.

If you want to kickstart your health in 2016 and are interested in joining my Whole 30 group, just let me know and I’ll add you in! The group is free and there’s a bunch of us starting on the 1st.

Here’s to a new year and starting things off with a bang!

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Running Free

Horsetooth Reservoire

Last week I decided to kick running up a notch to see how I would handle back-to-back runs.  I accidentally (trails were blocked off and so I ran more than planned) ran just shy of three miles on Wednesday and then ran 2 miles on Thursday.  I did well!

The three miles went really smoothly.  My hip wasn’t any more sore than after a 2 mile run so I’m considering that a gain.  I stretched really well afterwards and was pleased with how my hip was holding up.

After the run the following day, my hip was a little tight and a little more sore but nothing that would cause me any concern.  I really was hoping that I could push it and go for another run on Friday but that wasn’t going to happen.  When I woke up, my hip was tight and a little stiff.  I didn’t want to risk a run so I went on a 4 mile hike instead.

So far I’m very happy with the progress that I’ve made with this stupid hip issue.  I can still run and even though there is some slight soreness afterwards it’s not a big deal.   As long as I continue to work on stretching it out and do strength exercises I should be back in tip top shape pretty soon.  I’m also going to start rotating in some three miles runs.  It may sound silly but I’m super excited about that!

Hopefully I’ll be able to add running back to my routine full time!  I love working out but nothing makes me feel as awesome as running does.

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Grains and Gains

cheese danish from farmer's market

Recently I talked about how I was going to start adding in some whole grains back into my diet to see how I handle them.  I’ve been focusing on old fashioned oatmeal and whole grain breads.  So far things have been going well with that.  Those grains aren’t causing me any sleep or digestive issues.  This means I can get back to eating oatmeal (I do love it!) and having a sandwich on occasion.

I pressed my luck and splurged a bit.  I got a cheese danish from the farmer’s market last week and had that for breakfast with coffee.  It was delicious and decadent.  And it caused me a lot of problems.  Booo

It left me feeling bloated and crappy.  Plus I couldn’t sleep that night.  The bloaty feeling stuck around for two days after eating that danish.  Bleck!  So while delicious, I know that those are the types of things I need to stay away from.  I can have a few bites if I really want it but otherwise, white flour based treats are out.  Which is fine because I typically don’t gravitate towards that stuff anyway.

My gains are with running and this makes my heart sing!  I took some time off running since it was starting to bother my hip.  Instead I started focusing more on HIIT workouts (Insanity Max 30) and weight workouts with 21 Day Fix Extreme (21FX). Both of these have helped me get back on track and being able to start running again.

Max 30 helped me keep my endurance and cardio levels up.  21DFX helped me strengthen my core and work on my leg strength.  That program has a lot of one legged exercises (think one legged squats) that helped me with balance and to make my legs and hips stronger.

I started running again last week and it went well.  My hips were only a little sore after the run but the soreness didn’t last. It did not linger through the next day and I could walk up stairs without limping.

Score!  This is amazing!  Running is so much my jam and we have so many amazing places to run here.  I love getting up early in the mornings and knocking out a run.  Nothing makes me feel as amazing as a run does.  It always puts me in a good mood and starts the day off on the right foot.  I love it.  I can’t go run every day but right now I’ll take something over nothing.

Where do I go from here?  Still going to focus on eating whole grains on occasion and keeping that in check.  Along with adding running back in a few days a week.  I’m also getting ready to start a new workout routine called CIZE.  I have a challenge group that starts next Monday and it’s not too late to join in.  CIZE is a hip-hop dance focused workout routine.  No burpees and no weights.  Just shakin’ the booty and getting exercise at the same time.  There’s still time to join the challenge group if you want in.  Give me a shout and I’ll send you all the details!

How are your workouts going lately?

 

 

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Life Currently

Salad with a mahi mahi burger and smoothieThe radio silence around here is because Scott and I are working hard on launching a beer related site along with getting a podcast up and running.  It pretty much has my whole attention at this point.  Summer is also jam packed with beer events that we have been covering and attending as well.  Our beer life is super busy at the moment.  Not that I’m complaining!  But life is a little hectic right now.

I have not been out for a run since I decided to take some time off from it.  The weather has been amazing lately and finally free of rain so I’m really bummed that I’m missing out on these glorious mornings.

I’m back to doing Max 30 when I don’t get sucked in to doing website stuff.  Sometimes it has been taking up my whole day and my workout slides.  I’m at a point where I need to take my own advice and start scheduling the workouts into my day like an appointment so I don’t miss out.

Eats have been going strong.  You can follow me on instagram to see the meals we have.  I am sticking to a mostly primal diet with the occasional gluten free bread.  I have also been experimenting with adding oats back into rotation to see how my body reacts.  So far the results are inconclusive at the moment.  I have had bites of a few gluteny things here and there.  One or two bites and I’m done.  Usually the item isn’t worth me dealing with bloat and insomnia to keep going.

I’m also starting to keep a food journal which is something I’ll be talking about fully in another post.  It’s something that I feel is crucial when starting a healthy lifestyle.  I have all my health coaching clients keep food journals as well.

This is life currently!  Don’t worry, I’ll be back soon because I have lots to talk about plus several reviews to share as well.

Tell me what life is like on your end!

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June Goals

Pineridge trail It’s a brand new month which means it’s time to revisit goals from last month and set some new goals for this month.

May goals, on paper, look pretty simple and straightforward; run more and add in strength training.

I failed at both of those but part of it wasn’t my fault.  I’m blaming mother nature for some!

May was a ridiculously wet month.  It was raining all the time which caused the trails to be flooded out which meant no running for me.

Could I have run around my neighborhood?  I suppose but trails are a little easier on the joints while cement makes my knees ache like crazy.  So unfortunately I didn’t get to run nearly as much as I would have liked and I didn’t get a chance to work up to more mileage.

I also didn’t do strength training nearly as much as I should have.  I did a few workouts here and there but nothing substantial.

For June I’m sticking with the previous goals.  The weather is starting to clear up and it isn’t as raining nearly as much and a lot of the trails are back to being open.

It’s also time to kick exercise back into high gear.  I’m at the halfway mark for my weight loss goals and I’m looking to be at my happy weight by this fall.  I won’t be able to do that if I don’t kick up my exercising just a big.

Two goals for this month are:

Run as much as I can and to focus more on strength training again.  I have a lot of professional goals as well (Scott and I are working on some fun stuff for Beer Fort Collins) but for lifestyle goals right now these are the main two.

How about you?  Do you have any exercise or healthy lifestyle goals you are trying to hit this month?

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Non-Food Related Weight Loss Goals and Rewards

Short purple hairRewards are a big part of the whole diet and weight loss cycle.  “If I do X then I can have Y.”  Which doesn’t seem that bad but a lot of people rely on food or drink as their rewards.  “If I workout all this week, I can have fries this weekend!”

I’m all about rewards but feel like we should start moving away from food/beverage rewards and start focusing more on non-edible rewards for our hard work.  Maybe a massage?  Or a new outfit or pair of shoes?

Setting rewards definitely helps keep us focused and to stay on track.  I don’t think it’s bad or counterintuitive to set rewards.  I do feel that we should make these rewards something that are also going to make us feel awesome and keep us on track with our goals.

I have set up several rewards for hitting my weight loss goals.  There was a time when I didn’t even think that I would make it to any of those rewards.  It seemed so far down the tunnel that I didn’t know if there was light at the end.

This month I have hit one of my goals and was able to reap the reward.  It was amazing!

I have always wanted purple streaks in my hair but never pulled the trigger and got it done.  Lots of reasons why but the most recent one (and most silly!) was because I thought that I was too chubby to pull it off.

Because of that reasoning, I made it one of my rewards.  Something to work towards because I really wanted that purple!

And I made it!  I’m down 25 pounds thanks to working out and eating well.  That was my goal, once I was down that amount, my reward was to go and get some purple in my hair.

BOOM!

Now I have awesome purple hair (it’s hard to capture in a picture but it’s rad, I promise) and I feel amazing thanks to all the hard work I’ve been putting in.

Do I have more goals?  You bet!  I have several for when I reach my happy weight and I can’t wait to get there because I will get to do all these awesome things.

So do you have a reward for hitting a weight loss or workout goal?  If not, set one today and keep a note of it somewhere so you have a visual of what you’re working towards.

 

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This Week In Pizza And Fitness

Grain Free pepperoni pizzaThe pizza this week was super simple, pepperoni and some pickled jalapeños on top!  The crust was the same base as last week.  I still don’t have any cassava flour so it was all almond flour and tapioca flour.

For some reason, yeast is not an easy thing to purchase here.  All the stores carry only the small little packets of yeast that are on the pricey side.  I recently ordered some Bob’s Red Mill yeast off of Amazon and I love it!  So far it’s been the best yeast that I’ve used and it comes in 8oz bags which is bigger than the jars of yeast that are available.  If you’re looking for yeast, check out Bob’s Red Mill (not an ad, I really like this yeast).

Scott and I have come to a conclusion about Pizza Thursdays though.  We’ve decided that we’d rather have pizza on occasion instead of having it each week.  For me personally, I have found that I really would rather have a big plate of protein and veggies over the pizza.  The pizza is delicious, don’t get me wrong!  But it’s not as satisfying as having veggies and fish, for example.

So pizza is only going to be on occasion and not a weekly thing.  I know, just as we were getting started again with Pizza Thursday, we’re nixing it.  It won’t be gone forever!

Fitness

Fitness has been going strong this week but running hasn’t been at the top.  We’ve been getting hammered with a ton of rain lately and getting out to run hasn’t happened all that much.  I know we need the rain but I have been bummed that running has been mostly sidelined.

Monday and Tuesday I did Max 30 workouts.

Wednesday was a day off.

Thursday, Run!!  There was a break in the rain in the morning so I was able to get out for a run.  It was glorious!

Friday, either another Max 30 workout or a 21 Day Fix workout.

I did get a chance to run last Sunday as well and that’s been all for this week.  It’s supposed to rain the rest of the weekend and possibly snow on Sunday.  Yikes!

How was your fitness this week?

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May Goals

Fort Collins TrailNew month means it’s time to set up some new goals!  Let’s check back with April’s goals and go over those.

Getting up at 6am during the week

I have successfully established an early morning routine.  I’m in bed early and because of that I have no issues with getting up early in the mornings.  I have two days during the week where I can sleep in but otherwise I’m up and getting my day started.

I feel so much better when I follow this routine.  I am much happier and get so much more accomplished!

Running several times a week

I didn’t get to run as much as I would have liked thanks to weather and muddy trails but I did run a good bit. I only focused on running as my main exercise last month because I was working towards establishing a good foundation. I feel like I have that now and am looking forward to increasing distance.

Going full on Primal with eats

Done!  I’ve been mostly Primal since February but last month I decided that this lifestyle was fully working for me and it was time to embrace it.  I posted all my eats on Instagram and aside from some tots on occasion, my eats were entirely Primal.  It’s amazing how much better you feel when you eat well!

Overall I feel that last month was a success and that I met all of my goals.  Now it’s time to improve on them!

May Goals

A lot of goals I have for this month are more professional focused but I do have a few personal goals as well.

Keep Running, Run Farther

I am still focused on running and now want to work towards increasing my mileage.  My big goal is to work up to a six mile run.  I’m not sure if that’s something I can achieve in one month as it takes me a long time to be able to add on mileage.  However I am going to work towards increasing my mileage and break past the two mile run zone.

Add In Strength Exercises

Since I was so focused on running, I stopped doing other exercises and I definitely notice a difference!  I’ve lost some of the strength I built up when I did Max 30.  My endurance and cardio are still good, thankfully!  Along with running, I’ll be doing the Max 30 routine again.  This will help me gain some strength back and also should help my running as well.

What goals or items are you looking to accomplish for the month of May?

 

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This Week in Pizza and Fitness

grain free pizzaI have yeast!  Crazy thing to probably exclaim from the rooftops but it makes me so damn happy.

Yeast based pizza crusts are much more enjoyable to me over yeast-free crusts.  The yeast gives much needed airiness to the heavy almond flour base.  The dough becomes light and crunchy instead of being dense and crunchy. Using a lot of almond flour can make doughs so heavy but by adding yeast, it makes them less like a rock in your stomach.

I’m still experimenting with dough ratios and finding the one combo that works the best taste-wise and also results in a dough that is more manageable.  This week’s dough was:

  • 2.5C Almond Flour
  • 1C Tapioca Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1TBSP Yeast
  • 1TBSP Sugar (Your choice, cane, coconut, or honey are all fine)
  • 1/2C Warm Water

Add the water to a stand mixer bowl, add the yeast, sugar, and combine.  Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes so the yeast can bloom.  Then add in the eggs and 1 cup of the almond flour.  Mix on low and slowly add in the remaining flours.  Mix until well combined.

This is a wet dough, do not expect it to look like a gluten pizza dough.  Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap leaving a small open space for gases to vent.  Let rise for at least an hour (can go longer).

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Grease the parchment paper with olive oil and dump the pizza dough on top.  With your hands and a spatula move the dough around until it fills the whole baking sheet.

This takes time! The dough is sticky and tricky to move around. It will work, you just have to be patient.  Once the dough is spread out and even, put the dough in the oven to pre-cook.  About 5-7 minutes.  Remove add, sauce, and your toppings and cook for about another 20 minutes until the cheesy is all bubbly.

Our toppings this week were red onion, roasted red pepper and spinach chicken sausage, and a few random pieces of pepperoni.

The chicken sausage is new that I picked up at Costco.  Minimal ingredients and contains no gluten.  You can actually see the large pieces of spinach and pepper in the sausage! That’s pretty impressive for a sausage.

This dough wasn’t bad and up there as one of the better ones.  Very crispy with a nice light center.  I’m hoping to get some more cassava flour so I can experiment a little more with that.  I don’t like only relying on almond and tapioca flours for all the things.

Looking for standard pizza dough?  I’ve got one right here. (You can use all-purpose, white whole wheat, or spelt. It’s a really forgiving and versatile recipe).

FITNESS

 

maxwell_trailThis week was a good one!  Well except for skipping a workout on Monday.  Shame on me!

Monday 4/27: No workout!  I got wrapped up with some work projects and time got away from me.  I worked right until I had to make dinner and then it was off to bed.

Tuesday 4/28: Run!  We had some rain over the weekend and on Monday so I should have realized that some of the trails would be closed but I didn’t check before I headed out.  I spent a too much time driving around town looking for an open spot.  Finally found one and got 2 miles done.  This was one of my better runs!  I also went out at like 10 am and found that I really enjoy that time for a run.  I’ve had breakfast but I’m not hungry for lunch just yet.  It seems like a good balance.

Wednesday 4/29: 2 mile run!  Same route that I took on Tuesday because I ended up really enjoying that run.  A much later run, around 1pm.  I was hungry and a little cranky so this run didn’t feel as solid as Tuesday’s.

Thursday 4/30: 2 mile run bright and early with my girl Jenny!  She just completed her first Whole 30 and she did an awesome job!  We’re both at about the same pace and same distance right now so it was great to have a buddy.  This wasn’t one of my better runs though.  I had to stop and walk twice for a few seconds.  I was so fatigued!  I hadn’t been sleeping well this week and that finally caught up to me.  I was spent and my legs were so tired.  I crashed hard after breakfast and ended up taking a nap.  It was much needed!

I am playing the rest of the week by ear.  There will be something done but not quite sure what just yet.

How was your exercise this week?

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Chubby In A State of Fit

Winding TrailWhen we first moved to Colorado I had the visions of becoming a stronger runner and running on all kinds of trails. This was my dream but as it turned out, not my reality.

I was a few pounds heavier when we got here thanks to the stress of losing our first dog, selling our house, and packing up everything to move to a state we had never been to before.  The move was exciting but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t also a tad stressful.

We started our life in Fort Collins and that’s where my healthy lifestyle changed for the worst but (spoiler alert) also for the better.  I’ll get to that in a minute.

I had the worst time running.  I was never what would be considered a fast runner but when I got here the elevation smacked me down to the ground.  Suddenly I was running really slow, needing to take walk breaks, and having a horrible time trying to breathe while running.

It sucked.  Sucked hard.

Whenever I tried to talk to others about it, everyone just looked at me like I had three heads.  As if the concept of struggling to breathe was so completely foreign to them that they thought I was making it up or being overly dramatic about the situation.

I started to feel isolated, like I was the first person to ever experience this before in all of Colorado. Sound ridiculous?  It totally does.  Until you are surrounded by folks who all do some sort of activity and they look down their nose upon others who don’t.  I realize that sounds very dramatic and that obviously not everyone in Colorado is this way.  But when you are struggling to do something that you have easily done for years and everyone around you acts as if you’re being ridiculous and please just get over it already, that is exactly how it feels.

Scott always supported and encouraged me.  Always. But when you’re struggling through a one mile run and your husband can just go out and easily run 3 miles like it’s no big deal, that doesn’t really help matters.  That only made me feel worse.

Why is exerting myself at high altitude so hard while everyone else seems to have no issues with it?

This is what caused to me spiral down into what I’m labeling, “A Running Depression”.  And I spiraled down hard. I didn’t have anyone to connect with or a support system so I stopped caring about anything, most especially me.  I gained a bunch of weight and didn’t give a flip about anything.  Someone I knew (I am not saying friend because they clearly are not) even stopped talking to me because I wasn’t running and had gained weight.

Thanks buddy! You’re awesome!

I couldn’t connect with others and when I tried to “talk shop” about running everyone would just stop and stare at me.

Here I was this chubby chick who talked about how I used to eat half marathons for breakfast, and everyone gave me the side-eye like I was lying.  Well there’s a smack in the face for you.  That stung.  I’m chubby so obviously I have no clue about exercise, right?  (And yes, people still do not take me seriously when I try to talk about running or share my distance running history.)

That forced me into isolation even more.  Every time someone brought up a race or was looking for some advice for running, I couldn’t even join in the conversation since no one would believe me or take me seriously anyway.

As much as I love where I live, there was a lot of, “what the hell am I doing here” moments.  Again, something I never talked about because if I couldn’t even share my struggles with running, I obviously can’t share my struggles with life.

Joining a running group? Ha! My pace is considered walking to them.  “Slow” here is a 9 minute mile.  I didn’t even run that when I was at my peak let alone now.

There was no place for me.  I didn’t fit in.  I was in a very dark place for about two years because of this.  I was unhappy and oh man did I hate that time.

Did I get past this?  YES.  I am here to tell you that there is light at the end of this dark tunnel.  I finally found a support group.  It is online, not local.  I was able to connect with a bunch of other women who are also working towards either getting back their healthy lifestyle or are starting a brand new healthy living journey.  We all support each other.

Because of this I was able to start working out at home.  I was able to get my shit together.  I worked out at home for two months doing an exercise program called Max 30.  I was able to drop some weight and bump up my endurance since I was doing HIIT style workouts.  Which are HARD.

This is what gave me confidence.  I tested the waters and tried running again.  I could do it!  I ran a whole mile without stopping!

I am slow.  It takes me 30 minutes to run two miles.  Sometimes I have to walk for a few seconds.

I am OK with this.

Because I know that I’m on the right path and I’m doing what is right for me.  I’m done caring what others think because I’m making progress.  On my terms.

I’m doing my own thing, I have a support system, and I’m making progress.  This is all that matters to me right now.

And OK, yes, I’m also silently flipping everyone the bird who treated me like I was crap.

This will be something I’m constantly battling.  Even now, when out on a hike, a hike that would be considered “easy” by others, I still have to stop and catch my breath. “Easy” hikes are challenging for me.  I’m a slow hiker.  Again, I’m OK with this, because I’m outside and doing something I love.  I’m just a little slower and I do not have a problem with this anymore.  I would rather be a slow hiker verses being someone who doesn’t hike at all.  I am not that girl anymore who doesn’t give a shit about anything.  I don’t ever want to be that girl again.

I was prompted to share my story thanks to Outdoor Beginner’s post.  Because she shared her story it made me realize that I am not alone.  That yes, struggling with exercising at elevation is a thing and many people are currently working through it.

This was really comforting for me and made me realize that I should share my story too.

I’m here to tell you, that there are others who struggle with exercising at elevation. You are not alone. It’s hard and it takes time.  You will get past it but it does take some time and everyone’s timeline is different.  If you are feeling isolated or feeling like you don’t have support, reach out!  If you need support, let’s talk so that I can help you and help you connect with others who are going through the same thing.  Support is key so that we don’t feel so alone and isolated in the land of the fit.

Also, for those that are active and fit and doing their thing, if someone tries to reach out to you and talk about their struggles, don’t blow them off.  Don’t tell them to just get past it.  Support them and help them through it.  They opened up to you, don’t squash that.  Be a friend.