Sunday, June 27, 2010

What It's All About.

This is why I CrossFit. This is why I'm proud to be a part of this great community. This past weekend I participated in the Battle Buddy 57 Reps for TCH WOD. It was a fundraiser WOD for Texas Children's Hospital in which each 2-person team completes 57 reps of 8 exercises. This WOD was in honor of Olivia Stevens whose dad, Chad, works out at Bayou City CrossFit. Little Olivia was born with a rare chromosomal deletion and spent the first 57 days of her life in the NICU at Texas Children's Hospital. She's been fighting ever since but is doing well. The "Perseverance through Hardship-57 Reps for TCH" WOD was our way, as a CrossFit community, of showing our support and I was amazed at how many people were there. It's like all you have to do in this community is share....share your stories, share your hardships, and peopl will be there to pick you up and help in whatever way they can. That is CrossFit. I wish I had more articulate things to say about the amazing people that make up our local CrossFit community, but I guess sometimes you just have to come and see for yourself. Here's a few pics from the weekend.

"Perseverance Through Hardship-57 Reps for TCH"
57 Reps of Each Completed by the Team

1) Box Jumps, 20 inches
2)Push Pres, 75 lbs
3) Sit Ups w/Med Ball, 16lbs
4) Lunges with DB, 25lbs
5) Push Ups
6) KB Swings, 35lbs
7) Squats w/DB, 25lbs
8) Burpees!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mind Gym

"What you think affects how you feel and perform. Training your brain is as important as training your body."-Mind Gym: An Athlete's Guide to Inner Excellence

If there's one thing I learned at the Regional CrossFit Competition it's this: I need to SERIOUSLY work on my mental game! If I had to make a list of all the things I excel at in CrossFit, I think it'd be pretty long...Cleans, Deadlifts, Burpees, Thrusters, Ring Dips...I've spent the last year trying to master all of the physical movements in CrossFit (though I still need work on some of them....(hello handstand push ups and muscle ups!) but there's one thing that I've been completely ignoring, my mind!

Taking a look back at my athletic life, I can't really remember a time when I've ever thought about my mental game. A good friend of mine explained it to me like this. "Natural athletes have never had to rely on anything except their physical abilities and when they finally reach a point in their athletic careers where it takes more than just their bodies to achieve greatness, they falter."

Growing up, I was always a natural athlete. I started playing organized sports at a very young age and transitioned seamlessly into Junior High Athletics. I was always on the A-team. I played Junior Varsity Volleyball as a Freshman when all my friends were still on the Freshman team. I was a starter for the Varsity as soon as I made the team. When I got to college, things weren't quite as easy for me. I walked on to the Trinity University Volleyball team, but by 2 months into my Sophomore year, I had earned a starting position and kept it until I graduated in 2007. But that was then....this is now! Now, I don't walk into the gym knowing that nobody can beat me. You see, back then, I didn't need to rely on my mental game to make me a better athlete. I knew how to play the game and I just did it, without thinking about it and this unfortunately has left with a big handicap to overcome.

At the end of day one at the Regional CrossFit event, I was in 14th place and I was happy. 14th out of all the competing Crossfitters in Texas, Oklahoman, New Mexico, and Louisiana was pretty damn good in my mind. I knew that I couldn't physically finish the fourth and final workout on day two, but I figured if I competed really well on the 3rd workout, I'd have a chance to keep my spot in the top 15. Day two rolls around and I'm in the first heat for the 3rd workout: 100 double unders then 3 rounds of 10 deadlifts @185# and 1 sandbag sprint then 1000 meter row to finish it off. I was feeling pretty good about it. 185 pounds wasn't anywhere close to my max and I'd been doing really well with my double unders lately. But as soon as that clock started and I started my jumps, I was in trouble. I only got through about 20 some odd double unders before I messed up and immediately my mind started racing. How was I supposed to win if I had already messed up?? How many other people were having trouble with their double unders?? And that's where I lost mind was so busy worrying about what everyone else was doing and berating myself for messing up, that I completely "checked out" for the rest of the workout...I had the whole rest of the workout to do!! How much time could I have made up if I just gritted my teeth, finished those double unders, and then raced through my strengths (deadlifts and the sandbag)?? But I had given up. When the day was done and I was lamenting my 24th place finish, I came to a strange realization. The reason I was so upset about it was that, deep down, I knew that I hadn't given it my all. In fact, I couldn't remember the last time I had actually given it my all in a workout.
"You know what your problem is right?" One of my friends said to me on the way home. "You don't have a mental game. You don't gather yourself and focus. You don't come to win...You just come to do a workout." I guess I should have been upset about this comment, I mean come on...I just finished 24th in the whole region! But he was right...I don't have a mental game. I don't focus, I don't think about what I have to accomplish, I don't visualize myself winning...and because of that, I don't win.

And this has led me to my new summer goal, finding my mental game. I have so far purchased "Mind Gym: An Athletes Guide to Inner Excellence", "The New Toughness Training for Sports: Mental, Emotional, Physical Conditioning from One of The World's Premier Sports Psychologists", and "The Mental Edge". Hopefully by Sectionals next year, I won't be looking back at my performance wondering how much better I could have done if I had only tried harder!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Staying Organized

Well, It's been almost a week since I started the Whole 30 and, surprisingly, things have been going really well! One of the biggest excuses I've heard from people with regards to healthy eating, especially on the kind of scale that the Whole 30 is judged on, is that they just don't have enough time. They can't cook all the time. They're too busy. Well, I may not have kids, but I am juggling a bootcamp 4 days a week, partially managing the CrossFit gym, nannying for my step-siblings (ages 17, 10, and 7), and I'm a full time student at UT Houston School of Nursing (My day planner looks like something exploded all over it, there's so much to do!) and if I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT! The secret is....organization! Yep, organizing your meals and snacks is just as important as organizing the rest of your life maybe even more important because what you put in your body determines your overall health and well-being...what could be more important than your health?? Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox now. What I really wanted to share is my tips and tricks that help me stay on the Whole 30 no matter how busy my life gets. Obviously the most important thing to do is to head the grocery store and make sure you stock up on plenty of Whole 30 approved foods. The biggest change I wanted to make, aside from the completely cutting all the not so healthy stuff out, was to really try and up my intake of veggies. I happen to be a snacker so I figured the best way to ensure that I'm getting in plenty of fresh veggies was to find portable, tasty veggies that I can use as snack foods when I get hungry in class or in between school and bootcamp when I just need something to tide me over until lunch or dinner. So, on my last trip to the grocery store, I was on a mission for snack veggies and that's exactly what I got! Sugar snap peas, baby carrots, yellow and red grape tomatoes, yellow, red, and orange bell peppers and last but not least..celery! I spent about 30 minutes of my Monday slicing, separating and bagging up my veggie snacks and I now have plenty of grab and go bags for the entire week! Bottom line ya'll is that it's not that hard! It just takes a little planning and a lot of ziploc baggies! :-)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Whole 30

On Sunday, May 23rd I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend the Whole 9 Nutrition seminar at CrossFit West Houston. Whole 9 refers to the nine factors related to optimal fitness and health goals. These nine factors are Nutrition, Sleep, Stress Management, Active Recovery, Injury Rehab, Fun and Play, Personal Growth, Temperance, and Training. This particular information session was focused solely on nutrition as it is truly the base for a healthy life. You will never reach optimal health and wellness without a solid nutritional base. It's just not going to happen. No matter how much you think you can negate that bad food with exercise or a "promise to do better tomorrow" a crappy diet is still a crappy diet and it will get you crappy results! Get it?

Now I have really cleaned up my diet exponentially since January of 2010 but I have to admit that there was still about 10% wiggle room that I left in there. I love diet cokes! Yes, no matter how much my mother harasses me about them, I still drink them and I still love them! I also have become really lenient with regards to sugars and I drink way too much coffee and not enough water. But after sitting in the Whole 9 lecture and listening to the success stories that many people have had with regards to their health and athletic performance, I decided that it was time to clean it up completely. So I decided to embark on the Whole 30 program. The Whole 30 is kind of a blueprint of what to eat and what to avoid for optimal health. The challenge is to spend 30 days eating a completely clean, Whole 30 approved diet for 30 days to sort of give your body a chance to re-set from all the junk that you've been pumping into it over your lifetime. I have much much more scientific explanations on how this happens, but I won't get into that here.

So as of June 1st, I have been on the Whole 30, that means 30 days of no dairy, sugar, grains, legumes or alcohol! Yikes! So far it has been going really well, but I'm sure I'm in for a bumpy road ahead, after all, a month is a long time! :-)

If anybody wants more information on the Whole 30 or chooses to join me on this journey, you can find all the information online at! Stay tuned for some Whole 30 approved recipes and a peak at what I'm eating to stay Whole 30 approved!


It was a hot one at GSX at the South Central Regional CrossFit Competition this past weekend in Ft. Worth! Rumor had it that it was the hottest place in the country that day....not sure if that was true but it was definitely one of the hottest Regional events this year!

Saturday went well. I PR'd on my Squat Snatch with 115lbs and I got 9 rounds on my weighted Half-Cindy. That put me in 14th place at the end of day one with two more workouts set for Sunday. Day two didn't go as well as day one and I ended up 24th overall at the end of the weekend. Looking back, I was pretty happy with how I placed though. I've made some great strides in the past year and am looking forward to how much more progression I can make before Sectionals next year!