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Friday Faves #2

Happy Friday! Here are some of my favorite things from this week:FridayFaves (1)

  1. Quote: “This has the meaning I have given it”. This sounds like it would make a great mantra when you’re feeling dragged down.
  2. Moment: Accomplishing my first ever muscle-up! A week and a half too late for 17.2, but right in line with my March goals. Checking this off as complete!
  3. Recipe: These protein pancakes. Here’s what they looked like pre-cooked.

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What are your highlights this week?

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Crossfit Open: 17.3 Recap + Tips

So this post is a little later than usual, meaning the tips won’t really help anyone trying that’s in the open this year. BUT if your gym is like mine, you’ll have this workout thrown into your programming at some point anyway! Might as well know what to expect, right?

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I like to watch the live announcements for the open workouts. I’m the type of person who needs to know ASAP what to expect. So as I sat with my glass of wine watching Dave Castro put the dumbbell down and say the workout would be using barbells, I felt some immediate relief. THANK GOD, A BREAK FROM THE DUMBBELLS (which are such an irregular part of our programming!). Then he announced “snatch ladder” and I knew I was in for a rough one. Make that a SQUAT snatch ladder. Paired with chest-to-bar pull-ups? Absolutely savage. Brutal. Bring it on.

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Let’s start by taking a look at those jumps in weight! My power snatch max is right around 100 lbs. Squat snatches are a whole other ball game, so I knew 95 would be a struggle. Taking a look at the standards, I also saw there were “no free rides”- aka, you can’t power snatch, adjust your feet, and ride the bar down into an overhead squat. You either had to catch the bar below parallel or ride it down smoothly (no pause). Hellooooo, no reps!

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Let’s also note that chest-to-bar pull-ups increase in reps per round. So as you’re getting more and more tired and your muscles are feeling more and more taxed, you need to do more reps. Good thing I won’t be making it too far into this workout, right?

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Taking these movements into account, I went in with a few strategies.

  • I knew shoulder mobility would be important, so I spent a  lot of time rolling out/stretching and opening up my shoulders prior to the workout.
  • I knew grip would be taxed quickly – the rig + snatches are the special sauce for popeye arms.
  • Being in the rig and on the barbell means your hands are likely to rip. Especially because the kip required to successfully execute a chest-to-bar pull-up means your hands are really moving on the bar. I made sure to chalk up and break up my sets of chest-to-bar to avoid this.
  • Knowing that the weight was going to get too heavy too quick, I made it a point to fly through the reps at 65 lbs so I would have plenty of time to try to get as many 95 lb snatches as possible (and get the best possible tiebreak time at 65 lbs).

So how did it go? I made it successfully through the 65 lb round with few no-reps (squat snatching is awkward. I got better as I went along.) The chest-to-bar pull-ups presented no issues for me.

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Then I got to the 95 lb snatches. There were a lot of deadlifts, high pulls, and no-reps among my 4 successful reps. I power snatched the bar and got stuck/paused on the way down too many times which was wasted time and wasted effort. The last 4 minutes of this 8-minute workout were a bit frustrating and slow for me, but again, I know something I need to work on moving forward: squat snatches!

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I also learned just how big of a difference lifting shoes make. I borrowed a pair from a friend for this workout and they were a game-changer for stability. I went home and immediately ordered a pair!

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All in all, I left this workout with a sense of purpose. I know my goals moving forward. Is a 135 lb squat snatch one of them? Absolutely not. But I’d like to get to a point where 95 lbs is easy. Stay tuned!

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March Goals

You know what they say about March weather: coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb? Well, in addition to the weather portion, March has come in like a lion for my personal life – stomach bug, wedding planning meetings, open prep. So I’m a little late with this post! But I’m excited about everything on this list and will be using this blog (in addition to my fiance and the goals outline hanging on my wall) to hold me accountable.

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So without further adieu, here are my March goals:

  1. Grow my @healthydoseoflife Instagram to 450 followers. My action plan is to post at least twice a day, follow 100 people per week, and take the time to comment on other peoples posts and connect with them rather than just liking their pictures and moving on. I really enjoy Instagram as a platform to connect with other like-minded people, so this is where I’ll focus a lot of my energy this month.
  2. Break my record for “most viewed post” on the blog. So far, my most popular post has been my 17.1 recap. This post even ranked in search engines for some terms about crossfit open tips which brought people to my site – a first for my blog. I think I’ll need to recap all of my open workouts to break this record!
  3. Run 75 miles. This is always a tough one to complete on top of crossfit. My runs outside aren’t very long (especially when the temp drops below 30) and the treadmill doesn’t keep me occupied for more than 30 minutes. I’ll also count the few elliptical miles I accumulate each month when the only way I feel like going to the gym is if I can read during my workout. So far I’m only 5 miles in and need to pick it up!
  4. Perform a muscle up. This goal has eluded me since I started crossfit. I tried for 7 minutes to get my first bar muscle up last night during 17.2 and failed, but got really close. I know I’m strong enough but my form needs work and I need to believe it will happen. The time is now!
  5. Read 1 book for purpose rather than pleasure. I love to read fantasy. My fiance loves to read sports biographies and motivational books. The more I see him take notes and learn from the books he reads, the more it makes me want to try it myself. So this month I took out a library loan for “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. It is SO good, I can’t put it down. I can’t wait to start my own happiness project after reading it – not because I am unhappy, but because I could be happier and more appreciative of what I have right in front of me. This goal is as good as achieved already.

What goals are you focused on? How do you keep yourself accountable?

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Crossfit Open: 17.1 Recap + Tips

My crossfit journey started in July 2014. Since then I’ve completed countless wods, but not many serious competitions. This year I decided to enter the open.

The crossfit open is a 5-week, 5-workout competition that crossfit athletes all over the world can enter. The workouts are announced on Thursdays and athletes have until Monday to submit their scores. Workouts are completed in the presence of a certified judge who ensures you follow the rules (and in my case, counted my reps out loud for me).

17.1, the first workout of the series, was a couplet: single arm snatches and burpee box jump-overs:

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In my years of being a crossfit athlete, I’ve done countless wods. I start most days doing a wod before going to work. None of them felt like this: heart racing, dry mouth, nerves out of control. I started off strong – 10 snatches and 15 burpee box jumps? No problem. The snatches were unbroken and I jumped right from my burpees onto the box, no step in between.

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Follow it up with 20 snatches and 15 more burpee box jumps? You got it. This isn’t so bad, right?17-1-1

Then came the round of 30 snatches. My back was tightening up, my throat was on fire. I was really starting to feel it – which was evident by the amount of times I dropped the dumbbell, and the step I started taking between the burpee and box jump. This is where my time really started to slide.

I caught myself struggling to get full extension on the snatches and made a conscious effort to catch the dumbbell standing straight up. There were also a few times my non-lifting arm started to rest on my leg during the snatches, which would’ve been a “no-rep”. I felt it happening mid-rep and dropped the dumbbell completely so as not to waste any more time/work. 17-1-2

I was more than 18 minutes in when I started my last 15 burpee box jump-overs. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it under the 20-minute time cap – and you can see from the faces in the picture that the spectators were skeptical too (the ones not looking at me are looking at the clock).

One of my coaches saw I was fading and put on my favorite song (Project T) while one of my other coaches cheered like crazy beside me. I ended up finishing with 4 seconds to spare: 19:56. The energy in the room around me played a huge part in helping me to the finish. I struggled hard and ultimately was hoping for a better time, but I’m happy that I finished. I feel accomplished and ready for the next workout!

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So what are my words of advice for those who haven’t done 17.1 yet?

  1. HYDRATE. This is taxing cardio, you’re going to need all the water you can get leading up to (and following) this wod.
  2. Keep your shoulders above your hips when you bend down on the snatches. It’ll save your lower back in the long run.
  3. Start off taking the burpee box jump-overs slower than you think you should. It’s easy to burn out on them when you’re moving quickly.
  4. Turn mid-air when getting off the box and fall right to the ground into your burpee. Don’t waste time stepping around/setting up between each rep.
  5. Keep a number of snatches to hit unbroken in your head. This was a miss for me – I should’ve set the goal of doing 10 unbroken each round. I didn’t keep this in mind and dropped the dumbbell more times than I should’ve, wasting a lot of time.
  6. Don’t stand to full extension on the box. The completion of the movement is getting OVER the box to the other side. Standing up on the box is unneccessary and will slow you down.

Did you do 17.1? How’d you do? What advice do you have?

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Friday Faves

Happy Friday! Here are my favorite things from this week:

  1. This little reminder about an amazing cuse win: http://www.diddukewin.com/
  2. These articles that provide calorie insight for runners:
    1. http://www.crazyrunninggirl.com/2017/02/22/calories-burned-running-the-reality/
    2. http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/running-to-lose-weight
  3. This song by Coldplay and The Chainsmokers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FM7MFYoylVs
  4. This sunrise that greeted me before my morning workoutimg_0580

How was your week?

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Tabata: Legs

Happy hump day! For #workoutwednesday, I put together a leg-intensive tabata routine. This routine is great for an at-home workout since it requires no equipment. But don’t let the bodyweight movements fool you: tabata is an intense workout. This form of HIIT has a 2:1 work-to-rest ratio – so you’re working twice as long as you’re resting. Each movement should be performed at max effort for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest, for 8 rounds.

Before we get into the movements, let’s dive into some of the benefits of tabata:

  1. It’s a great time-saver. Tabata is a quick, effective workout. Studies have shown that you can burn the same amount of calories in 4 minutes as you would in a 20-minute traditional cardio session.
  2. It’ll spike your heart rate and keep your metabolism fired up even after your workout.
  3. It can be varied easily. Check out this post for more exercise examples to build your own routines.

Seems like a win, right? Try it out and let me know what you think. And don’t forget to warm up first!

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Have you tried tabata? What’re your favorite movements?

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Should I work out when I’m sick?

Great question. Let me start by saying I’m not a medical professional, so I’m not technically qualified to give you that kind of advice. But, as someone who doesn’t like to miss a workout, I have researched and read up on the topic.

I’ve been feeling sick lately myself – headache, congestion, fatigue. My general rule of thumb is to “sweat it out”, but solo. I don’t go to crossfit when I’m feeling sick. Bringing my germs to a room full of people and sneezing on shared equipment? It’s inconsiderate to other gym-goers. Instead, I stick to a home workout or an outdoor run at a slower-than-usual pace.

There are also certain symptoms that I don’t think are best helped by “sweating it out”. If I’m sick to my stomach or have a fever, I focus on rest. Generally, my body is way too tired to do anything when I’m that kind of sick anyway.

Still not sure if you should sweat or stay home? The following graphic from precision nutrition is really helpful to determine what’s best:

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What do you think? When do you sweat it out vs. stay in bed?

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Workout Playlist – Feb 2017

The right music can make or break your workout. When I need a push at crossfit, the right song can get me in the zone. Bumping beats can distract you from the pain and fatigue of a workout. Studies have shown it can even reduce perceived effort and increase endurance, allowing people to work out longer than they would without music.

Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just about BPMs – the right workout music is different for everyone. I personally tend to perform best at crossfit and sprinting workouts when listening to fast-paced, intense rap and EDM. When running for distance, I actually prefer podcasts over music (like Ben Greenfield). Knowing this helps me plan and execute my workouts in a way I wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

If you’re like me, the following songs can take your hardest workouts to the next level:

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What music helps you make the most of your workout?

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I’m Loving Lately: February Edition

February’s here, and with it comes a new list of what I’m loving lately!

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Quote: “Worry is a misuse of imagination.”

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookies: Preheat oven to 350. Mash 3 ripe bananas, 1/3 cup applesauce, 2 cups oats, 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, vanilla and cinnamon to taste. Bake for 15 minutes and enjoy! *Bonus: since these have oatmeal in them, they make a great breakfast cookie!

Quick Workout: 5 minutes of burpees. Every 5 seconds, for 5 minutes, perform a burpee. You’ll end up doing 60 burpees at a pace that’s slow enough to maintain. This also works well as a warm-up.

Latte: Starbucks cascara latte with almond milk.

Song: Project T – Martin Garrix Remix

 

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Treadmill Workouts

Winter can be a tough time for runners. Sometimes I love a snowy outdoor run, sometimes it’s dark and blizzarding and I find myself on the treadmill.

I used to think of treadmill running as a chore – sometimes it can feel that way. For the most part, that changed for me when I started using the treadmill for running workouts rather than casual jogs. Outdoor running tends to be a sort of therapy for me: steady state, enjoying the outdoors. The treadmill feels more like a training tool – now I use it for setting intervals, pace goals, and inclines that would be harder to follow outside. I’ve outlined a few of my favorite workouts below and would love to hear from you if you try them!

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How do you stay interested when running on the treadmill? What workouts are most effective for you?