Monday, June 10, 2013

Courage and Might, make all things right....

I begin my first inspirational post on someone that I feel continuously inspired by. Her story is something I find amazing and commonly links us all together.  Soon you will see why as I introduce whom I would like to call out as CrossFit family....Diana.

Diana has a familiar story if you read back to my very first blog.  She too struggles with weight and has all of her life.  Diana has tried so many types of workouts, even losing 90 pounds while doing Zumba, swimming and weight watchers.  But I dare to ask, what kind of life is that?  For the average person, you are asking they give up everything they have grown up to hold dear; foods, lifestyle, habits, interests, and so on.  Not impossible to change, but who honestly wants to?  Once you give up everything you have enjoyed for so many years to reach a single goal, you can begin to resent it. 

Not for my friend Diana.  Instead, she seeked a new/better way of reaching her goal. In doing so, she faced her own painful outlook and tried something new...CrossFit.  At first, she didn't find the achievement she desperately seeked with CF but she later stumbled upon KOCF.  Since,she has come to love and adore CrossFit. Only starting since October, she has quickly migrated from 3 times a week workout to now working out 5 times a week; two of those days working out twice so she can also conquer our "Strongman" classes. I too admit, her commitment is impressive.

A mother of two, Diana reflects many of the common conflicts we all face; food addiction and self doubt.  And yet, after her introduction at KOCF, she has found new ideas, strengths and addictions.  What nearly brought me to tears was her honesty about herself; self doubt, body image and weight struggles. Something I know all too well but she said something that rang in me louder then the liberty bell herself.  In all of that honestly, she exclaimed "I will finish this, no matter what.  I am not giving up on me, not this time." I know what she means now, thanks to CrossFit.  She means that no matter how difficult the class or the worry of finishing last, all that matters to me is that I finished.  I conquered.  I completed the challenge.

Diana has done exactly that.  Not concentrating on her body weight for once, she has concentrated on her ability.  In doing so, she has set multiple personal records.  She has even found her self image confronted by wondering into class with a tank top only to be complimented by her CrossFit peers on her fit appearance.  Something she never expected or requested.  This in itself is an intense motivation, one that I have never stumbled upon at home, at the gym or anywhere else until I found my CrossFit family where I have done the work.  Finding a new group of friends, or even a new family who remains in contact with you every single day to help encourage your new goals and remind you on how amazing you truly are. This family has even inspired Diana to establish goals she never thought possible.  Goals I hope to one day accomplish with her.  That is what CrossFit is about. Family without judgement.  Family with inspiration.

It is my hope and dream to share that more, each and everyday with you, about how CrossFit becomes not a lifestyle....but a life. Meeting people who become your biggest cheerleaders, challenging yourself and overall jumping at the top of those victorious stairs that you never thought you could reach.  Diana is one of those people.  Ever reaching for the stars.  Forever smiling no matter how far.  Seeing yourself one way and changing that direction, no matter where you are in life. One of many, my inspiration...

My friend Diana before...and her many challenges/happy faces since...

My goals are united with my dear friend/family Diana.  May you inspire the world as you have inspired me.
I feel your heart and want to wish I could beat more into my description of who you are and who we all truly inspire to be as your story is strong and your spirit even stronger.

~Anna Dubya

Friday, March 29, 2013

No limits! No excuses!

Time flies when you're having fun!  Or at least it feels that way since seeing the date on my last blog entry.  Sheesh, where did the time go? 

I am incredibly proud to announce that I completed my very first Spartan race this March! Actually, my first race of any kind...ever.  No way did I ever imagine I would do anything remotely like a Spartan race, but I did and the best part...I had a GREAT time!  I admit, I was very scared at first and nearly didn't sign up because I am still struggling with "how can a big girl like myself even begin to compete with the elite Spartan crowd"?  I even admit that I watched a ton of video's beforehand and searched for people my size as assurance that I wouldn't be the sore thumb sticking out.  Did I find any?  No.  LOL!  But screw it, I signed up anyway and it was the best decision I made thus far in 2013.  

There were tons of elite people, but there they plus size buddies showing no fear.  Even more incredible was the woman pushing into her 70's, another pushing over 300 lbs and even people without leg(s) and/or arm(s).  Yet there they were, attacking the course with incredible strength, courage and determination.  It put me to shame for thinking I couldn't do the race because of a few extra pounds.  Now I really know what it means to say "NO LIMITS!  NO EXCUSES!"

The best part about the Spartan race for me was the camaraderie. Too often do we hear, see and experience the negativity of our fellow human beings.  (Especially in Atlanta traffic.)  So it was refreshing to see people, to see strangers, stop what they are doing to assist a Spartan in need.  We were allowed to help one another across some of the courses to avoid the dreaded burpee penalty, and everyone did exactly that. If anyone saw you struggling or looking on in fear, it wasn't but a second before someone you never met stopped and asked if you needed help.  Even when I was clearing an 8 foot wall, I suddenly felt someone's hands under my foot from the other side to help me safely down.  A man I never met assuring me that he has me and that he won't let me fall.  It was those acts of kindness that still have me smiling when I think back on the Spartan race. Who would have thought that of all places, a Spartan race intensifies your faith in humanity?

I took my time through the courses, helping people where I could and enjoying my time in the mud.  Felt like being a kid all over again.  I am so incredibly thankful to have found CrossFit, which has not only retrained me physically but mentally as well.  Never would I have done anything remotely like a Spartan race without CrossFit in my life.  In fact, I am looking forward to the next race!  Electric run, BadAss, Zombie run, Color run and the list goes on!  Here are a few pictures of my time as a Spartan...

The three amigos from left to right: Afaf, me and my husband.  We stayed together throughout the race and had the greatest time laughing, smiling and sharing burpee penalties.  (OK, burpees suck but they aren't as bad when you get to share them. Haha!) 

Afaf is a big part of my CrossFit family and has been a huge inspiration for me personally.  From the first day I met her, she has greeted me warmly and encouraged me when I needed it the most. Her CrossFit journey is truly amazing, even making her the first official spotlight athlete at KOCF, which you can read here.  Here is her incredible before/now picture, which she is kindly letting me share with all of you! Not only does she look amazing but she can outlift most of the guys I know!  Love that girl!

Remember my friend Kim?!  Well, she has found an amazing CrossFit gym back at home in California and is doing great! I am so proud of her and love this picture she shared with me where she is nailing the kettlebell swing with great form!  GO KIM!!!!

I want to thank you all for the encouragement, love and training you have all provided.  I love hearing everyone's stories as we all have one and truly appreciate every moment I have more than ever.  Never forget....

Anna Dubya 

Friday, January 25, 2013

6 months later...

Time flies when you're having fun!  I can't believe it has already been 6 months since I started Crossfit.  The past 6 months have been challenging, fun and above all, inspiring.  I have met so many great people with the most amazing stories, who have always been so supportive of me and my journey to get fit.  I still have a ways to go, but I really look forward to getting there!  Crossfit has changed my life completely...

  • THEN: Smoked for three years (1/2 a pack a day).  NOW: I quit smoking 6 months ago and am still going strong!
  • THEN: Hated working out in any gym.  NOW: Crossfit is an addiction that I look forward to everyday.
  • THEN: Battled with bulimia, starving myself and overeating due to my extreme struggle with food.  NOW: I eat 4-5 times a day, Paleo style and am loving it.  (I even make Paleo brownies which appear to be a big hit with my Crossfit family.)
  • THEN: Depression, exhaustion, back pain, insomnia, laziness and the list goes on.  NOW: I am loving life and all it has to offer. I can sleep, back aches gone, more energy and I am constantly active and trying new things.  Even signing up for the Spartan race in March!
I can now deadlift 215 lbs, front squat 195 lbs, benchpress 100 lbs, run a mile in 11 minutes, conquer a double under and so on.  Even if you are a gal like myself trying to lose weight, realizing what you can lift, press or squat gives the most indescribable yet amazing feeling imaginable.  Trust me, when you try will want more!  Don't worry, you won't get bulky.  Takes a lot more than 1 hour or less a day to get you lookin like a bodybuilder.  The muscle you build will help you burn fat naturally, plus, it feels great when you can lift more weight than some of the guys you probably work with.  HA!

I can actually feel the muscle on my sides now.  Not so squishy anymore, but there is a rock hard layer there.  Anyway, here are my latest measurements and weigh in:
Date Chest Waist Hips Right Thigh Right Arm Weight
July 20, 2012 47.5 46.5 51.5 29.5 13.5 223.2
October 19, 2012 45.5 39 49 29 14 197.5
Total Loss in 3 months 2 in 7.5 in 2.5 in .5 in -0.5 in 25.7 lbs
January 25, 2013 44 40.25 48 29.5 14 199.9
Total Loss in 6 months 3.5 6.25 3.5 0 -0.5 23.3 lbs
I can't explain why I gained in my waist and my right thigh.  I simply did.  But areas where it is pretty much pure fat, no muscle (chest), look at that loss!  So I really feel that muscle is forming beneath my fat, even in my waist, and I am so excited to see what my body will do next.  I keep hearing "Muscle burns fat" so if I have a mighty muscle layer below my fat layer(s), will it be the fatapocalypse where the fat just disappears? We shall see!  Here is a look of where I was and where I am! (I even changed my hair color.  Tired of living a blonde lie. Hahaha!)

I have truly been honored to share my 6 month journey with all of you and plan on continuing this blog until you all get bored with me.  However, I really want to start sharing the stories of my Crossfit family with all of you.  See the people that inspire me on a daily basis and who help start my day off with a mighty smile.  A new year, new goals and an exciting future...I am COMMITTED!  Are you?

Love you all and hope to see you around and hear your stories!
Anna Dubya

Friday, January 18, 2013

A horrifying

Every person in the world has done some form of a diet, one way or another.  Usually diet means, count those calories, low fat, low fat, low fat.  Then came Atkins, pulling the rug from underneath us with a very meaty/low carb diet.  Don't forget South Beach, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, and the list goes on.  So many diets that the word itself should be introduced with thunder, lightening and a dark gloomy sky because just hearing it creates terror.

I have done my fair share of all those diets and I have never succeeded at any of them.  Instead, I resorted to foolish/drastic measures and became bulimic. That eventually evolved into not eating for days.  I loved food so much that I started to fear it.  Finally, I just gave up and ate whatever whenever, resulting in a big weight gain and tipping the scale at 223 lbs.  All in all, I really screwed up my metabolism with my shameful eating habits and needed to find a healthier balance.  Crossfit helped me get there.

I never heard of Paleo until I started Crossfit.  But after eating Paleo style, I refuse to refer to it as a "diet".  I love food, but my problem is I love the "wrong" foods. I also love to cook and experiment, which goes great with Paleo.  So what is Paleo?  Check it out where I blogged about it a few weeks ago to give an idea of what it is.  With Paleo, I have had brownies, burgers with homemade buns, fried chicken, steak, meatballs, pizza, hummus, and the list goes on.  It just makes me overall feel better, and my cravings for the naughty foods completely disappear within a week of eating Paleo.  I even flavor my drinks with water enhancers, like Mio, which are yummy and help kill my sweet cravings.

A typical Paleo day for me...(scrambled eggs, sea salt and nitrate/nitrite free bacon)
Baked chicken in spices, carrots, onions, garlic and mushrooms.  With garlic mashed steamed cauliflower.
Fried chicken bites with steamed veggies of my choosing (Lately I have been addicted to steamed cabbage)

How do I get away with fried chicken?  Easy, batter the chicken in egg and almond meal then fry in a little bit of coconut oil. I use just a small frying pan and put enough oil just to help me get the almond meal crispy.  If the chicken is thick, I throw it in a pyrex after frying and let it bake at 350 until fully cooked.  There are so many recipes and free apps for paleo that it makes the options endless.  I never count calories, I never concentrate on what I "have" to eat.  I simply think, what am I in the mood for, find a Paleo recipe and attack!  They even have crockpot recipes, which rocks when you are not in the mood to cook dinner.

So far, 2 weeks of Paleo this year which must be working because I didn't get to work out until Thursday this week.  Ya, I got sick again.  This time an ear infection and on the edge for bronchitis round 2.  But I am back on the road to recovery.  I was so frustrated while I was sick because all I could think about was crossfit  Finally, upon my return on Thursday I did 2 WODs and today I did an extra round, rowed a mile and completed a burpee challenge after my WOD.  Ahhhhh, it is good to be back...again.  LOL!

Last week, I weighed in at 201.3 and this week I am down to 199.1.  Not bad for just 2 days of working out, but I am telling you...Paleo has a lot to do with that.  Here I am on Thursday getting back in the swing of things.  I admit, I struggled pretty hard that day but I still completed my WOD and even attacked a second WOD!  Whoot whoot!

I hope this time I crushed my cold for good!  It would be nice to get back in the swing of a normal weekly routine again as I missed all my crossfit buddies who help get my day started with a smile.  

Work it and cook it baby!
Anna Dubya 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bench it with Paleo

I'm aliiiiiive!  I was out of commission for a week thanks to attracting both bronchitis and the flu last weekend.  So I was forced to take a week off from Crossfit, something I haven't done in 6 months.  The first day back, ya, that was tough.  For a week, I was out of breathe by just peeling an orange.  So my first warm-up of the week included hacking coughs like a 70 year old smoker, lots of stares from my fellow crossfitters and an icey cold bengay burning sensation in my chest.  While that all sounds terrific, I pushed through and by the end...felt oh so much better. 

I was even surprised by my performance this week. WOD times were good, set a new personal deadlift record of 215 lbs, mile run was less than 12 minutes (usually take longer) and the best part...I didn't have that 70 year old smoker cough during the WODs.  My body was cooperating and now I feel great!

I certainly have missed crossfit and most of all my crossfit family.  So to celebrate the completion of my first WOD week of 2013, after our WOD today we partnered up for a bonus WOD.  A bonus WOD which included a few wall balls then bench press your WOD partner.  Here I am, working extra hard.  Ok, it may have been a "little" unfair seeing my partner was probably 95 lbs and I weighed in today at 201.3 lbs.  But hey, laying there is hard work people!
I keed, I keed!  I admit, I missed you guys and am so glad to be back in the swing of things.  I am a 6am crossfitter and have missed the usual, good morning laughs, was that warm-up our workout?, WOD attack with serious face, victorious collapse on the floor followed by post WOD laughs. My daily workouts always put me in a good mood (unless there are burpees), giving me a great start to my day.  

Oh, ya...the paleo challenge.  I started on Monday weighing in at 205 lbs.  Found a great free app called myKitchen that has some GREAT paleo recipes.  One of which was brownies, which I made and were actually pretty darn good.  They really should be called fat burners, seeing that the ingredients were all items that actually help your body burn fat naturally without even trying; coconut oil, almonds, etc.  Good stuff, and it helps that the local Kroger sells grass fed beef, nitrate/nitrite free meats, etc.  So I am paleo happy these days!

Happy to be back and look forward to seeing you all again soon!
Anna Dubya

Friday, December 28, 2012

Form Play

A lot of my workouts before I found crossfit had one and only one goal in mind...hurry and get it over with.  However, with crossfit I have so many goals that I could dedicate an entire blog entry on them. I admit, there is a level of competition in crossfit at times, especially when you really don't want to be the last to finish. I know this because for months, I was nearly always the last to finish.  Sometimes finishing 20 minutes after everyone else with that awkward "they are watching me." feeling.  Don't worry about all that.  Your true competition is yourself.  

  • Think you can't finish, prove to yourself you can. Your body is a machine.
  • Want to stop simply because everyone else is done, tune the world out and finish at your own pace.  
  • Rushing through it to try and keep up, stop and reset your mind to ensure your form is good.  
  • Not sure of your form, ask a crossfit instructor to watch you.  
  • Thinking about cutting a few reps out because you "just want to finish", you deserve the best workout possible (don't cheat yourself my friend).  

The best part of the WOD...finishing everything with good form.  I am still working on my form. When I get fatigued, that is where I have to concentrate the most.  If I get sloppy just because I want to hurry and finish, I am likely to hit an injury.  I have already accomplished this with deadlifts by lifting like I was the hunchback of Notre Dame.  Bad deadlifts = bad back.  When I first started, my squats were also all ballerina toes.  Bad squats = bad knees.  I have had to face these injuries because I rushed and got sloppy.  But now, not only do I listen to the instructor go over form...I practice it.  It isn't as cool with a PVC pipe, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.  I have also found that it helps to know which muscle I should be feeling during my workout.  For instance, I now know if I don't feel my butt and hamstrings during a deadlift...I am doing something wrong.  Just remember that the WOD is for you, to help you, to improve you overall...and good form is a huge part of that.  Hitting the muscle groups meant to be hit and avoiding injury, it all pays off in the end even if your time is a bit slower at first.  My time has gotten a lot better thanks to good form and less breaks.  Even now when I run, I am not totally gasping for air like I was in the beginning.  It is a great feeling!

Unable to go 4 days without crossfit, I decided to get a pass at a local gym and redo the 12 days of barbell Christmas on Monday morning.  (My favorite WOD to date!)  My brother wanted to try it with me, so off we went to face off with the local gym.  No disrespect to local gyms, but the equipment felt, well, limited.  I guess after going to a crossfit gym where the barbells are plenty, pull-up bars as far as the eye can see, medicine balls for all to use, GHD sit-up bars everywhere, kettle bells ringing, and so on, I was expecting the local gym to have the same type of equipment. But alas, most of everything was machine driven and even their barbells were tied to specific machines/benches.  Working with what I had, I weaved a barbell free from the machine it was tied to and we were off!

Right away, I went over how important form is with my brother.  I would show him, in detail, what to do and he would execute it with me as his guide.  I used all of the "Anna, get your elbows up.", "Anna, use your heels.", "Anna, keep your chest high.", and so on to ensure what I learned was passed onto him.  I was so proud as he did really well and even finished the WOD with really good form.  He is a natural crossfitter!  Sorry for the picture quality.  The iPhone doesn't really take good pictures when someone is in mid-movement.

Alas, I am excited to start my 60-day Paleo challenge next week!  Today's weigh in was 200.9 lbs, which is actually not too bad if I say so myself with all the Christmas food temptations around last week.  It is a very tiny loss (.1 lbs) from last week.  This weekend I plan on getting my paleo grocery list written, menu's typed up and everything purchased before the challenge begins so all I need to do is cook.  Oh, and I also found a local ATL restaurant that serves grass fed beef!!!  Paleo baby!

Happy crossfitting into the New Year my friends!
Anna Dubya

Friday, December 21, 2012

New Year Paleo Style!

I am so excited!  A new year paleo challenge has been announced at knockout crossfit today and I eagerly signed up for the 60 day challenge.  I know a lot of people are probably asking, "what is paleo?"  To put it in the simplest terms, you eat like a caveman.  I know what you are thinking...that doesn't sound very appetizing.  Trust me my friends, it is super yummy, easy and very filling.  You just gotta find the right recipes.  As we approach the New Year, I will share more links and recipes on paleo.  First tip, save the bones from your turkeys or chicken holiday dinners!  That way you can make a really yummy bone broth for a hearty soup.

Taking a trip down memory lane, I did a similar challenge back in August for 8 weeks and it truly made a big difference.  The reason I did Paleo was because my body was shutting down after just a few weeks of crossfit.  I was trying to do my usual diet of low calorie/fat intake and eating clean, but it wasn't giving me the nutrition my body desperately needed to do crossfit.  That is when I found paleo, which apparently is the preferred diet for crossfitters.   I gave it a shot and absolutely loved it.  One day a week I would buy all the foods, cook my meals and freeze them.  I even found some amazing crockpot meals that took maybe 10 minutes to prep and I come home after work....bam....dinner is ready!

With all diets, there are small sacrifices.   Paleo means no grains, dairy or sugar.  Everything else is up for grabs.  Now I am a huge food addict so I was even more surprised during the diet that I didn't crave any of those 3 items.  Why would I?  I could still have bread, made from almond/coconut flour.  I had my sweet tooth through MIO drinks, which has no sugar. Dairy, I love my milk but honestly, I had so many amazing meals during paleo that milk was far from my mind.

I can't wait to see how many people join the challenge.  The best part will be motivating one another, sharing ideas, sharing recipes and seeing progress!  I hope you all join the challenge as there is a 30 day or 60 day challenge. Personally, I recommend a 60 day challenge to allow your body time to adjust to the change and respond to it.

My workouts this week have been amazing.  I guess I say that high on endorphins.  Haha!  I was even complimented on my form this week and how happy I look.  I am truly happy and a big thanks goes to crossfit.  I have so many plans and ideas for 2013...motivation high baby!

While my weight benchmarks are increasing, even though I have been dropping weights during the WODs, I was super proud of my Over Head Squats.  My form was good and I was able to go heavy.  Honestly, when I started crossfit, the first month I could only do the PVC pipe.  Now, I am able to do 3 OHS at 75 lbs.  I say that because it took 3 times to try and get a good picture. Haha! Here I am, getting low but good lord I hate the way my shirt falls and my legs look massive.  I need better fitting workout clothes.  ;)

Here I am smiling as I straighten out.  Kinda blurry but you get the point and at least my legs don't look like steroid enhanced turkey legs.  Or do they...

I still walk about 4 miles 3-4 times a week. I tried walking last night but got skeered because the wind was blowing so hard that I could hear the trees in my neighborhood crack.  So I reduced it to 1 mile and hurried my butt home.  I walk at night, but no worries...I am not alone.  In honor of my pup Lexi who passed away after Thanksgiving, I am proud to announce I rescued another furbaby from the local shelter who was on the kill list.  He is so gentle, loving and a great walking companion.  I introduce to you, Bear...

Today I weighed in at 201 exactly.  I swear that scale hates me.  I am really hoping the paleo challenge STOPS the yo-yo numbers that I have been seeing on the scale.  My pants are still looser then ever, but granted I have cheated a little bit.  I know I said I would reduce the weights during my WODs and for the most part, I have.  But some days I can't resist and I go for heavy weights, like today.  Then I have also been staying after class to do barbell work and find out what my max weight is.  I just wanted to find out before the new year started.  :)

A big shout out to my fellow crossfitters today who continue to amaze me and motivate me to go further then I ever thought possible!  Merry Christmas everyone!  I hope your holiday is filled with laughter, love, warmth and happiness!
Anna Dubya