Sunday, September 29, 2013

These are a Few of My Favorite Things...

I haven't done a post like this in a while...maybe ever. I'm not a great sales person and I sometimes feel awkward pushing people into purchasing things unless I KNOW that the product I'm peddling is the best! So here goes, my first edition of Leah's Favorite CrossFit Things (insert drumroll and dramatic music!)

1) Atlas Power Wraps
Me and My Custom Atlas Power Wraps at the 2013 Regionals

I pretty much can't say enough about this product or this company. I was approached by the founder of Atlas Power Wraps, Nicko Kazadzis, a few years ago and was asked if I would be interested in being an Atlas Power Wrap Sponsored Athlete. I was, of course, flattered but wanted to know more about the company and its products before saying yes. Nicko was great and immediately shipped me a trial pair of Atlas Wraps to test out in my WOD's and I haven't used any other type of wrist wrap since! Atlas Power Wraps had humble beginnings. Nicko started CrossFitting in early 2011 and was dissatisfied with the standard wrist supports he'd found at his local sporting goods store and decided that if he couldn't find a wrist wrap to meet his needs, he would just create one himself. He started making wraps out of his garage and after receiving rave reviews from his fellow box members, Atlas Power Wraps was born! We at CrossFit Katy love them so much that we have since started carrying custom CrossFit Katy Atlas Power Wraps in our gym. If you don't have a pair yet and have any kind of wrist joint issues, you NEED to get some. We have custom CrossFit Katy wraps available at the box or if you'd like to check out his other colors and prints (yes there are even mustache printed wraps!) you can go to the website and use the Promo Code LEAHCFKATY to get $3 off your purchase!!

2) RokFit Clothing 
My sweet RokFit Hoodie and the Team CF Katy Shirts that RokFit designed for us for 2013 Regionals!

So this isn't really a single thing, more like a bunch of things, but RokFit clothing is hands-down one of the coolest CrossFit clothing companies around! Honestly, I can't take credit for finding RokFit. One of our trainers starting wearing RokFit gear shortly after the formation of the company, but it didn't take long for me to catch on...I'm a fast learner :) RokFit was founded by Jason Greenwood out of Oklahoma City kind of on a whim. The new CrossFitter started designing shirts, logos and website for local Crossfit boxes in the area out of his newfound love of the sport. Jason had so much fun designing shirts that he decided to launch his own brand in 2010 and RokFit was officially born. It was a labor of love for a few years but things are going well for the company. Now officially co-owned by Jason Greenwood and Jason Boag......"The Jason's" as we like to call them are wrapping up a good year in 2013 and are looking forward to 2014. Personally, CrossFit Katy has been using RokFit for our logo and t-shirt designs for almost 3 years. I always look forward to checking out The Jason's new designs and products. My current favorites are the new black and blue RokFit Compression Shorts with the RF log on the side and my Black/Blue/Orange Striped trucker hat that I picked up at the CrossFit Games. Side-note, The Jason's are also probably the coolest crew to hang out with between WOD's and after competitions in the Vendor Village. So if you see the RokFit tent posted up at the next competition you go to, be sure and stop by to say hi to the guys and grab some of their badass gear! If you're not going to a competition anytime soon, then check out the RokFit Website!

3) Blonyx HMB+Creatine

I just started using this supplement about 4 months ago and the PR's haven't stopped! The first month that I was on the product, I got 7 count them 7 PR's!! Creatine is one of the most highly researched supplements out there. It helps supply fast-twitch, high glycolytic muscle fibers with immediate energy which means it is ideal for high intensity workouts like CrossFit. HMB is a metabolite of leucine and can actually help prevent muscle protein breakdown and signals the cells to preserve existing muscle. Ideally I take 1 scoop of Blonyx HMB+Creatine in the morning (I like to mix mine with my morning coffee) and one post-workout or at night. I must admit that I have not been as diligent with this as I should be meaning I have not been taking it every single day, twice a day and I have STILL been hitting huge PR's. I plan on taking my training to an even higher level starting in October and will be more diligent about my Blonyx Supplementation. I can't wait to see what happens this fall! To try Blonyx for yourself check out their website.

4) Goat Tape

I honestly don't know a lot about this company. The first time I used it was at my USAW cert when I needed something to protect my fingers from all the repetitive snatches and cleans. This was the first time I'd ever taped my fingers and hadn't had it roll up and get all funky. In fact, it was still stuck firmly in place after two hours of lifting! Solid!! It's now the only tape that I use when I lift. If you want to buy it individually, you can get some through but if you're super lucky like me, you get to use the Custom Weightlifting Wise Goat Tape (Thanks Ursula). I know you're jealous that I get such cool tape but I promise that the regular Goat Tape is almost as good ;)

No real reason for this pic except I love CrossFit....Happy WOD-ing!

That's all I got for now. If you have some favorite CrossFit things that you can't WOD without, leave a comment and let me know. I'm always up for checking out new gear, clothes and companies.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Oly Lifting.... I think I caught the bug!

Usually when I think about Olympic Lifting, I think about it in the context of CrossFit. How many snatches are in that WOD we're supposed to do? 30 clean and jerks for time? sweat. I've been doing CrossFit for about 4 1/2 years now and I've definitely done my fair share of Oly Lifting so when I saw an opportunity to compete in my first ever Olympic Lifting meet, I secretly thought to myself, "This is going to be that hard. We do this stuff in the gym a lot." Boy was I wrong!

Let's just get a few things straight though so you all don't think I'm just a cocky a-hole. I went into this event fully knowing that I knew NOTHING about how an Oly meet runs. In fact, the only reason I went was because I had a friend who was going to be there coaching his team and competing himself who offered to let me jump in with his team, warm me up accordingly and basically supervise everything I was doing. This would ensure that at least I wouldn't look like a complete dumbass! But I also went into this event knowing that if I hit 5lbs under my current one-rep maxes for Snatch and Clean and Jerk, I would qualify for the American Open in Dallas in December. That in and of itself was enough fuel to make me suck it up, forget about not really knowing what I'm doing, and just go for it, something I think more people should do! Just go for it!

So the real bitch of Olympic Lifting has nothing to do with the actual lifting part. Olympic Lifting has weight classes. What? I haven't really cared about my weight in years! Yes I said years. Because of CrossFit, I stopped caring about how much I weighed and more about how much the bar I was lifting weighed. I have never had a weight problem or body image issues growing up, sometimes I swear I'm the only female in the world who doesn't have some kind of complex regarding their body, but that's besides the point. For the first time in who knows how long, I was legitimately concerned with my weight! Why? Because I comfortably sit at about 70.5 kilos (155lbs for those that don't speak kilo) and my weight class ends at 69 kilos....which means I needed to lose 1.5 kilos (or 3.3lbs) in order to get into my weight class and 3.3lbs for a person that doesn't have a lot of extra body fat is a lot to lose in a short period of time in my mind! Mostly because I love to eat. To tackle this problem, I decided I was going to eat really clean and really light starting the monday before the meet. That would give me about 5 days to drop almost 4lbs. Easy right?.....By Tuesday night, my body was so fed up with the caloric restriction that I ended up eating a half a pizza from Grimaldi's. Good job me. So scratch that idea. Instead I decided in order to hit my competition weight, I would just fast for most of Friday and Saturday morning and then eat after weigh in. That seemed easier because it was only 24 hours of caloric restriction and not multiple days. And surprisingly, it worked perfectly. I woke up Friday morning and just had a small cup of coffee, then I had a dry cappuccino on my way to work. For lunch I had one can of tuna, half a small apple and a small cup of cottage cheese. For dinner I had 7 pieces of sashimi and some salad. The weirdest thing about the whole day was that I felt fantastic! I had more energy that day than I have had in the past two weeks. I didn't need a nap. I was super productive. It was really strange. Almost makes me want to fast once a month just to see how it goes. Ok so the morning of the meet, I weighed in at 67.9 kilos (149.4 lbs) That's the first time I've been under 150lbs since high school....I still think the scale was a little light. Ok so first concern, making weight, out of the way. On to the actual meet.

So like I said, one of the only reasons I even signed up for this event was because I had a friend who was going to be there coaching and competing alongside his weightlifting team. I do most of my Olympic training either on my own or with the Advanced Class at CrossFit Katy but I am extremely lucky in that I also periodically get to work with Ursula Garza Papandrea. If you don't know who she is, get to learning. She's the only woman to ever attain a Level 5 from USAW and is the only Level 5 coach in all of Texas.....let's just say, she's kind of a big deal. Now unfortunately Ursula wasn't able to come to the meet but lucky for me some of her athletes were there and one of them, Stephen Galvan from 210 CrossFit, offered to take me under his wing and show me the ropes.

Oh side note, if you want to lift in a sanctioned USAW meet, you have to wear a singlet. That's like a spandex not hott :) Well I guess on some people it is a good look but not me! Warm ups were very calculated. When I warm up, I usually just start at about 45-50% of my max and incrementally move up depending on how I feel. For this meet though, Stephen had a list of his whole team, what their starting weights were, where they wanted to end up and what order we were going to lift in and that made warm ups very very calculated. Obviously you don't want to warm up too far away from your actual lifts.

So my max lift in the Snatch is the world of Oly Lifting, they don't use pounds so I had to convert everything to Kilos on my phone...haha! So 145lb is about 66 kilos and my max Clean and Jerk is 200lbs which is about 91 kilos. Now in order to qualify for the American Open (which is like a big deal in Oly Lifting) I had to total 152 kilos. Meaning if you add my Snatch and Clean and Jerk together it has to be 152 kilos or more. So my goal for the meet was to get a 62 kilo Snatch and a 90 kilo Clean and Jerk.....both of which were under my current PR's. Well, you can start out with the best intentions BUT...that's not exactly how it played out.

My opening lift for Snatch was 57 kilos and I got it pretty easily. Then I jumped to 61 kilos. Failed that one because I was expecting it to be light again and I didn't pull aggressively enough. But since I wanted to hit 62 kilos, I decided to go for it on my third and final lift (oh did I mention that you only get 3 chances for Snatch and 3 for Clean and Jerk at an Oly meet?) Unfortunately I failed 62 kilos out in front and there went my chance to qualify for the American Open. I still had Clean and Jerk so I collected myself and warmed up for it but I wasn't really into it anymore since I knew I would have to PR my Clean and Jerk by 12lbs in order to qualify...not likely to happen. I opened with 80 kilos and failed but I got it on my second lift. Then I jumped to 85 kilos and failed that one out front again. And that was it! My total was 137 which to my surprise at the end of the meet was good enough for a 3rd place finish! But I definitely wasn't satisfied since I was about 20lbs under my snatch max and 15lbs under my clean and jerk max but you live and learn. Overall I am really glad that I did the meet and I definitely encourage all CrossFit Athletes to give it a try. I for sure am going to be putting more work into my Olympic Lifting and I WILL qualify for the American Open next year!