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So, Bob and I had the amazing opportunity to help with the media team this past weekend for our regional CrossFit games in the North East.  We both ended up out on the competition floor assisting people that help run the production, so that was really neat.

Wrangling some cords before the next heat!

Wrangling some cords before the next heat!

Bob helped guide the videographer around as he filmed the competition — he kept him from running into equipment and athletes out on the floor.  I helped the “red hat” — person who handles timing of the production. I helped hold her cables from her headset and also keep an eye out for the top competitors of each heat as she related back to the producer & videographers so they knew who to be filming.

Me with Kara, the red hat I helped on the competition floor!

Me with Kara, the red hat I helped on the competition floor!

What this meant was that I had the opportunity to be up close to many incredible athletes over the course of a few days.  Two of which were competitors from our CrossFit box, Jess McNabney and Eric Schenck. They were AMAZING to watch.

Jess in the last WOD of the last day.

Jess in the last WOD of the last day.

Jess ended up 19th in the region and Eric was 11th. Out of the entire North East. There were many times I had tears in my eyes as I watched them finish, knowing how hard they must have worked to get themselves to that point. They completed 7 grueling WODs in 3 days. They are my role models. My heros. And I get to learn from them every day at the box. I’m really fortunate.

Eric squat cleaning a ton of weight. In the last WOD of the last day -- and in the final heat with the top competitors!

Eric squat cleaning a ton of weight. In the last WOD of the last day — and in the final heat with the top competitors!

So what did I take away from the Games?

A few major things:

Athletes come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the women who competed were tiny and ripped and their arms were pure muscle. Some of the women who competed were average size and average looking from all accounts.  You would have never known by looking at them that they can overhead squat 135 pounds. 3 times. (For reference, my max overhead squat is around 70. And I can only manage that once.) Some of the women were larger than what you’d typically think of when you think of CrossFit but they could lift more weight than I thought was humanly possible and jump up on boxes 21 times in the amount of time it would take me to jump 5 times.

And all of them were INCREDIBLY athletic and obviously good enough to make it to the top 48 spots of women competitors in the North East. That was encouraging to me because sometimes I feel like to be a good CrossFitter I need to have arms the size of my legs and people need to be able to tell from a mile away that I squat a bazillion times a week because my butt is so amazing.  But that’s not true. I learned this weekend that to be a good CrossFitter, I just need to give every workout my all.  And it doesn’t matter what I look like, because I did the best I could do.

Handstands at Reebok One!

Handstands at Reebok One!

Also, I love CrossFit. It makes me cry. Seriously. Watching athletes who had finished the WOD already cheer on those still working was amazing. And it made me think about all of my wonderful 5-am friends that have asked about the in the last two weeks as I’ve been recovering from my bruised rear end.  I doubt that if I went to Planet Fitness I would make friends who would be concerned for my well being. I also doubt that if I was having a particularly terrible workout, the other gym goers would crowd around me and finish the workout with me and cheer for me. You can’t find that anywhere else. I love this community.

Michael Gallant being cheered on by other competitors. Photo thanks to CrossFit Games - North East Regional Facebook Page.

Michael Gallant being cheered on by other competitors. Photo thanks to CrossFit Games – North East Regional Facebook Page.

Finally, of course, watching the Games made me so excited to work harder this year at CrossFit. Stop half-assing it. Start going regularly. Get those damn double unders. Get my toes up to the bar. Maybe even attempt a pull-up or two. Who knows what could happen? Maybe I’ll even join in the Open WOD fun next spring!

Hanging with Dave Castro, the evil genius behind all of the CF Games WODs. He's kind of a big deal.

Hanging with other media volunteers from FCCF and Dave Castro (in the middle), the evil genius behind all of the CF Games WODs. He’s kind of a big deal.

What an incredible experience. I can’t wait for next year! 🙂

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Meg and I are on our way to the CrossFit Northeast Regionals (as volunteers – not competitors!!), so we may not be updating the rest of this week (not like I have anyway recently). But we have a guest post for you this morning!

You all may remember our friend Morgan who wrote a guest post a little over a month ago. She wrote about how she was going to start a Whole30, and she has recently finished those 30 days. She agreed to write a recap for us – great job Morgan!

“Whole30” Recap

It’s official!  I’ve completed the “Whole30”.  Why is Whole30 in quotations?  Well, because if you hold me to the Whole30 standards then I know, for a fact, I did not really do a Whole30.  I’d have to qualify my 30 days as strict Paleo.  There were a few occasions where I’m sure there was something added to vinaigrette at a restaurant and I may, or may not, have had a snack with unsweetened chocolate one day.

Note: If you haven’t tried Kit’s Organic bars then you’re missing out!  They’re a great Paleo snack, depending on which one you eat.

Note: If you haven’t tried Kit’s Organic bars then you’re missing out! They’re a great Paleo snack, depending on which one you eat.

Here is a recap of my 30 days and some of the things I learned:

  1. You can do anything with a little help from you friends!  I’m fortunate enough to have a wonderful support system that helped me through my 30 days of clean eating, specifically my friend Kari who did the 30 days along with me and helped hold me accountable.
  2. Making changes can influence others.  I was inspired to change my eating habits and set some goals by reading Bob and Meg’s posts.  I’m happy to report my changes inspired someone to give up soda and they are now six weeks soda free (from over six cans per day).
  3. After 15 days of Whole30 rules I started to think about how this would carry over after April.  Eating according to Whole30 standards was not something I would continue to do as a lifestyle.  However, eating Paleo is something I can do.  So I began to relax a little.  I ate the lemon balsamic vinaigrette that came with a salad because I wasn’t going to ask the waitress to find me the list of ingredients and I used Gianelli sausage instead of making my own because that’s just practical for me.
  4. One huge key to success is preparation!  When eating clean you must plan things more than you normally would.  If you don’t, you’re more likely to stray from the course. If you do things right, then you’re promised delicious and healthy meals!

    Meat crusted quiche (top left), chicken jerky (top right), chicken cauliflower bake (middle), chicken fajita bowl (bottom left), and Mexican inspired turkey burgers (bottom right).

    Meat crusted quiche (top left), chicken jerky (top right), chicken cauliflower bake (middle), chicken fajita bowl (bottom left), and Mexican inspired turkey burgers (bottom right).

  5. Goal setting is another huge part of success!  You have to have something to work towards to keep you moving.  Make sure you set goals that are practical and attainable (especially in the beginning) to keep you motivated.  Setting goals that are unattainable will most likely discourage you when you don’t reach them.
  6. Eating clean has benefits!  Over the course of the month I noticed my energy levels were more consistent and I didn’t experience that mid-day slump that is often associated with poor eating habits.  I woke feeling more refreshed in the morning and felt my quality of sleep was better even though it wasn’t any longer.  Of course, I also had some physical gains.  I dropped about 15lbs and lost about four inches from my mid-section and thighs (I didn’t do a ton of measurements).
    What 15lbs. looks like!  While I don’t agree with focusing on weight, it is incredible to think I was carrying this around just 30 days ago.

    What 15lbs. looks like! While I don’t agree with focusing on weight, it is incredible to think I was carrying this around just 30 days ago.

    Before and after the “Whole 30”

    Before and after the “Whole 30”

  7. Part of my goal for these 30 days was to detox my body and start improving my overall fitness.  Lucky for me the CrossFit Open was wrapping up around the time I was starting my change and I was able to use workout 13.4 as a benchmark.  The workout was an up ladder of clean and jerks and toes-to-bar (complete 3 of each, then 6 of each, then 9…..) in 7 minutes.  When I did the workout at the end of March I completed 68 reps.  After my 30 days I redid the workout (with my friend Adrian who graciously suffered through the workout for a fourth time) and achieved 75 reps, a 7 rep improvement in 30 days!
  8. As much as you may crave junk, it’s often times not worth it!  I was so excited to eat ice cream and drink beer after the 30 days was up.  As of 12:01AM I was ready for my celebration.  While I didn’t feel sick or throw up, I did feel lethargic and poopy the next day.  I indulged a bit over the next few days and found I felt terrible.  Even though some foods are just amazing (ice cream) and should not be ignored, my old ways of eating may be behind me.

    On May 01st at 12:01AM I indulged in ice cream, chips and dip, a hot pocket (not pictured) and BEER!!!

    On May 01st at 12:01AM I indulged in ice cream, chips and dip, a hot pocket (not pictured) and BEER!!!

Overall the 30 days taught me a lot about myself and my lifestyle.  I’ve been out of the challenge for 15 days now and as you can imagine I’ve indulged a bit, but for the most part I’ve been sticking to Paleo (with cheese and vodka) and feel great!  This has definitely been a lifestyle change and I’m excited to see what the next few months can bring.  Thank you to all who support me and special thanks to Bob and Meg for the inspiration to make the change 🙂

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So, I apologize for the lack of posts lately. Bob has been stressed with a lot of work lately so he hasn’t had a lot of time to post. And I have been busy feeling sorry for myself.

My butt is still injured, which means I’m still not at CrossFit, which means that I’m up a few pounds, which means that I make myself feel guilty every time I eat something that’s not healthy, which means I keep eating things that aren’t healthy. It’s a bad cycle.

Why is it easier to eat poorly when you’re NOT working out regularly? What is it about laying on the couch that gives you the excuse to eat a Hershey’s chocolate bar and a graham cracker and a few marshmallows when you’d otherwise tell yourself, “It’s not worth it!”?

Unfortunately, I don’t have much to share with you other than self-pity and whining about how much I miss CrossFit and how much I dislike myself for letting my weight creep up over the last week and a half. I was actually feeling so terrible that I:

  • considered challenging myself to eat Paleo for a month but remember that meant NO ICE CREAM!
  • looked up Advocare’s 24 day challenge program but saw how expensive it was and closed out of that tab quickly
  • thought about re-joining Weight Watchers but I couldn’t remember the points value and decided it was too much work
  • considered counting calories, because that worked so well for me the last time (not).

Then I reminded myself that I am only up a few pounds, so all of those things were probably a bit too drastic.

So I’m just going to stick to what worked last time, which was eating when I was hungry and making healthy choices to fuel my body. And hoping that I’ll get the flu.

And I’m hoping that I can get back to CrossFit, at least for a few days next week, before we take off for our week long road trip which will hopefully include lots of walking and hiking.

Trying to get back on the wagon today. Had a green smoothie for breakfast (Hooray! We have a new blender!) and chicken & broccoli for lunch. Planning on a salad with chicken and lots of vegetables for dinner tonight.

How do you motivate yourself to eat healthy when all you want to do is EAT ALL THE THINGS?

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So I really love cabbage, but sometimes I get sick of the sauteed cabbage on the stovetop that I make often. Especially now in the summer when I don’t want to have to make ANYTHING on the stove top if it’s nice outside. We love our grill and use it as much as possible.

DSC04544

A few weeks ago I made this recipe and it was delicious. I fought Bob for the leftovers the next day. So I used the recipe as a base for my grilled cabbage and it worked perfectly. I did change a few things, however, so I’ll share with you my step-by-step instructions.

First, get your ingredients together. You need:

  • 1 head of green cabbage (a small one is easier to work with. I chose unwisely and picked the largest one possible.)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (no set amount here — you need to drizzle!)
  • Garlic powder (real garlic is better but I ran out of real garlic so this sufficed)
  • Sea Salt (WAY better than regular salt because it’s courser)
  • Ground Pepper
  • Pastry Brush to spread olive oil (optional — you can use a knife)

That’s all you need! And a grill, of course. Super easy already.

DSC04532

Step 1: Peel off the dirty outer layers.  Slice the head of cabbage into rings, or “steaks” as I like to call them. The “bottom” of the cabbage head should be on the side so you’re slicing rings from top to bottom with the root being in the middle of all of the rings.

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Step 2: Place these steaks on a few plates, or baking sheets, or whatever is easiest for you to spread them all out individually. I used baking sheets because they are easy to transport outside to our grill.

Step 3: Drizzle olive oil over each cabbage steak. Spread out the olive oil using your pastry brush or a knife or your fingers (just make sure they’re clean!)

Step 4: Seasonings! Generously sprinkle garlic powder, salt, and pepper on the steaks.

DSC04533

Step 5: Flip your cabbage steaks over and repeat steps 3&4 on the other side.

Step 6: Turn on your grill to medium low and place cabbage steaks on grill. Grill for about 10 minutes or until the underside is browning up and cripsy.

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Step 7: Flip your cabbage steaks and check on them after 6-7 minutes.

Step 8: Once your cabbage steaks are sufficiently browned to your liking, take them off the grill and enjoy.

DSC04543

Tip: I cut up a cabbage steak this morning and reheated it while I fried two eggs over-easy. Eggs over grilled cabbage for breakfast? Surprisingly good. Try it if you have leftovers!

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One year ago today Bob and I completed our very first WOD. It was Hang Power Cleans and Double Unders and it was 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 (or something along those lines). We started at 18 because we were new. I used 30 pounds and did the 5-for-1 singles substitute. What’s amazing to me is that a year later I probably would use either 55 or 65 pounds (depending on what the actual RX weight was) and although I would struggle through it, I would do those double unders. Every single last one. One year. I’m thankful there have been improvements, even when some days I feel like I’m still a beginner. At least I’m not scared to death when I walk in the door, though. I’ve come to know and love my fellow CrossFitters and look forward to seeing them!

My butt STILL HURTS and that makes me angry. I wanted to go to CrossFit today and I didn’t sleep well last night because I kept waking up from the pain of laying on my bruise. Hoping for tomorrow.

We’re going to see Les Miserables tomorrow night!!! A co-worker was selling her tickets because they couldn’t go and I’m really excited.

My sister told me today that all I ever talk about is CrossFit. She said, “I’ts like people who have babies that that’s all they talk about. It gets old.” And that made me laugh because it’s true, and these days without CrossFit because of my hurting butt make me realize that I need another hobby outside of CrossFit. Which is convenient because I just agreed to be a part of the leadership team of a non-profit organization my friend is starting up in Rochester so I can offer marketing advice & expertise. Hooray for new hobbies!

I read this book called 1929 on my Kindle because it was a free book. I only ever buy free books. Except it turns out it’s part of a TRILOGY (which I try to avoid because I know I’ll get hooked).  I immediately bought the next book which thankfully was only $3 and not the $15 monstrosity some books go for.

Sorry for the random thoughts — it’s been a busy week in the Hartman house!

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So, the reason you didn’t get a meal plan from me yesterday is because I was sitting in the ER with Bob waiting to find out if my butt was broken.

I fell down the two concrete stairs on our back porch and landed on my rear end, hard. (I did manage to save most of the roasted vegetables that were in my hands, though! Score!) Then, I stood up and walked over to our wicker couch to sit because I was in so much pain and instead passed out. I came to and was nauseous, cold, clammy, pale, and confused why I was laying down and Bob was saying my name over and over again.

Eventually my color returned as I sipped water. I couldn’t decide if I should go to urgent care so we called our doctor’s on call line. They never called back. An hour later we called Bob’s mom who was a nurse (in the ER room at one point!) and she said we should take a trip to get checked out just in case. So we did.

After x-rays and a pretty great pain pill, Bob drove me home with a bruised but not broken tailbone. Nothing else was wrong with me.

So although I’m relieved there’s nothing wrong with me other than a low tolerance for pain, I was frustrated that we spent 3 hours between Urgent Care & the ER (Pro Tip: They won’t see you at Urgent Care if you’ve lost consciousness and they’ll send you over to the ER).

Furthermore, now my butt hurts every time I walk or sit or move, really. I attempted a burpee today at home to see if I could participate in today’s WOD and sure enough, shooting pain the second my feet hit the ground. I tried jumping up a stair to see if I could handle box jumps and again, shooting pain.

Guess that rules out any WOD that involves jumping, running, or any impact at all. So basically I’m in the injured reserve list until this bruise heals. Which I fear might be awhile considering they gave me a prescription for pain pills last night (which I have yet to fill because I wanted to be able to function at work today).

All of that to say, I never really did put together a real “meal plan.” What our meal plan consists of now is using up all of the vegetables I bought and the meat that is in the freezer. It’s a surprise every night!

Have you ever had an injury that kept you from CrossFitting or exercising? What did you do?

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This morning I woke up at 4am and gave myself at least half a dozen excuses why I shouldn’t go to CrossFit. I was tired. I didn’t sleep well. My stomach was making noises. I didn’t have enough water last night. I was hungry. The WOD included a ton of pull-ups and dips which I dislike. The WOD included two 800 meter runs and I didn’t feel like running.

I got out of bed to go to the bathroom (fortunately I have a small bladder so I usually have to get up once the alarm sounds) and then crawled back into bed instead of putting on my workout clothes. And then I laid there, staring at the ceiling and thinking about how I would never be able to meet my goals if I didn’t go to WODs where I had to do pull-ups. And then I gave myself a few more excuses. I could always work on pull ups another time. They wouldn’t REALLY help me with toes to bar. And running 1600 meters wouldn’t REALLY help me get back into running.

And finally I ran out of excuses and the fact remained that I was still awake, and I want better arm strength, and I should just get out of bed and go.

So I did.

I tell you all of this not because I want applause that I went (although that is always nice) but to tell you that even after a year of CrossFitting and two years of exercising regularly, I still fight myself nearly every.single.time I need to go work out.

Some people say that they LOVE to work out. That they look forward to it every day. That it’s this amazing stress relief and it’s the highlight of their day. I think those people are on drugs or lying or really crazy. For me, it hasn’t gotten much easier than the first time I ran using the Couch 2 5k program and could barely run for 30 seconds without dying. Even thought I have found a form of exercise I enjoy, it’s still a struggle. And it’s still a constant battle to get out of bed and throw on my shorts and tank top and sneakers.

Of course, you feel so accomplished afterwards and you’re always glad you did it. It’s not like I ever regret getting out of bed and going to CrossFit. Which is what USUALLY gets me out of bed when all else fails. I tell myself, “You will be happy you did this when it’s over.” And it’s true.

BUT the next time you read a healthy living blog and someone is raving about their workout, just remember that they probably had to convince themselves to do it. And that’s okay. It’s normal to not want to exercise. You just have to find a way to get yourself out the door despite your lack of motivation.

(For the record, those goals I mentioned? I can now consistently do double unders if I space them out with singles. So I end up doing double under, single, double under, single, etc. I discovered this on Monday during a tabata, and practiced more today.  Now I just need to work on stringing double unders.)

Is working out a struggle for you? How do you make it an easier choice?

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