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