Category Archives: Spartan race

10 Day Cleanse starts Now!

I’ve posted about this before: the AdvoCare 24 day challenge; but I haven’t been really consistent with posting results or progress. I’ve had a new cleanse laying around and I’ve been trying to decide when to do it but this morning I woke up after being in an M&M, thanksgiving foods, and pie coma for three days and decided that it was time for that cleanse. 

I was doing really well with IIFYM even though I’m not a huge fan, I figured I’d try it – but after 6 days of not losing 1lb followed by thanksgiving madness and working an overnight (which always throws me off) I figured it was time for that cleanse. 

This morning I started by weighing in and taking photos and then had the probiotic, catalyst, and spark, followed by (a half hour or so later) a chocolate peanut butter meal replacement shake and unflavored fiber drink. 

Current Weight: 172lbs

Goal weight: 156lbs (must be under 158 for powerlifting meet)

Goal for 10 day cleanse: 165lbs. There’s at least 4lbs of water/inflammation from thanksgiving since i haven’t been drinking water and before thanksgiving I was 168lbs. So there’s no reason I can’t lose that + 3lbs. Then the goal will be to lose 10lbs or so befor January 23rd! 

Follow along as I post my #weightlossjourney and my #journeytoPowerLifting lol 

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Crossfit to PowerliftingΒ 

What I’ve learned in the last 6 months of crossfit can be summarized in one sentence: as long as you’re always working hard, you will crush your goals! 

There’s no denying that my fitness goals are always evolving, I started 6 years ago with the couch to 5k program and over the last few years have run 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, Spartans, completed a woman’s only bootcamp, became a group fitness instructor, and began crossfit. To continue the evolution of my fitness journey I venture into the world of powerlifting. To say I know what I’m getting myself into would be a bit of a stretch, but I have a lifting plan (a basic 5×5 powerlifting plan) and a macro based diet plan to get me to my goal. 

I am scheduled to compete in the Northeast Iron Beast Winter Classic in Latham, NY on January 23rd and 24th. I’ve signed up for the complete meet which means I will be competing in squat, bench, and deadlift. I will have three attempts at each lift. I am not planning to go in and win anything, I am using this meet as a base point – a place to start, to see where I can get better, to learn from those around me, and to network.

After this competition I will shift gears in my training to include more running as my first Spartan is in April. I plan to run 3 trifectas in 2016 – that’s 9 races total – and do at least two powerlifting competitions. I will continue to go to crossfit as it allows me to be an all around athlete and work on other lifts. 

As the meet gets closer I will post more about my training and diet – for now I just ask for your advice!

If you had any advice for a first time powerlifter what would it be?! 

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What I’ve learned since ankle injury

If you’ve been following my posts, (sorry it’s been awhile since I’ve posted) you know that a few months ago I severely sprained and avulsion fractured my left ankle. It’s been a tough road to recovery and I’m still not fully recovered, but I’m finally feeling a bit better. I’m finally able to complete the workouts I set out to do without having to do too much modification. 
Injury is never easy – for anyone – but in my opinion it’s even harder for someone who is as active as I am. Typically I workout 7 days a week – crossfit 5-6 days, and Les mills BodyPump 2-3x per week. Occasionally I will do both in one day, or I’ll add a traditional bodybuilder type workout – usually legs or shoulders – to my week. When I injured my ankle I had to scale my workouts back and at one point I was going to crossfit 1x per week and teaching BodyPump 1x per week. Once my boot came off I had to scale every workout but slowly but surely I started to feel better. 

Then I “ran” the Spartan – Killington Beast, against the advice of my doctor. I will write more about this in the near future, but I managed to complete the nearly 17mile race (13-14miles as per the map but 17-18miles as per the GPS) with a taped and wrapped up ankle that was clearly not stable. When I finished the race and headed back to crossfit the following day, I decided then and there that I would focus on my recovery and strengthening my ankle. I also decided that I would stop telling myself that I couldn’t do something – and realize that in 10.5hours I completed one of the hardest things I have ever completed – and no future workout would be even close to that day. 

Since the race I’ve paid much more attention to stretching and spending the time on mobility in my left ankle. I’ve been able to do many of the workouts using Rx weight – mostly because I have taken the time to pay attention to how my ankle feels, and how each movement feels. 

I’ve also changed my diet to a low carb, high fat – ketogenic diet. This has seemed to be the main contributor to my quick recoveries and energy. I have also spent a lot of time talking myself out of coming out of the gate too fast… Something I noticed was before my injury I would try to be the fastest and would wind up in last place – but once I slowed down – paced myself – I was able to not only complete the workouts but I was able to complete them with Rx weight and much faster than ever before – even when there is running involved (which continues to be an area for improvement because of my ankle). 

So, overall my injury has taught me:

  • Slow down, take the time to recover
  • Slow down, stop trying to be the fastest person – go at your own pace
  • You won’t die – you’ve done harder, so give it all you have 
  • If it feels good, go for it – even if your doctor doesn’t advise it (ok this one might not have been the best idea lol)

  

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Road to Trifecta, Road to Recovery

Palmerton, PA. Saturday July 11th. Picture this, looking up at a mountain, knowing that only a few minutes are left before you face one of the hardest challenges of your life…   The Spartan Super, 8+ miles, and 32 obstacles, up and down a mountain with a total elevation gain of over 3000ft. Hydration pack, gels, salt pills, GOAT tape, and green/blue hair – I was ready. I trained for this.  

At 9:30, my heat started, the first hill was a doozy, and really set the tone for the entire race. Obstacle after obstacle, steep climb after steep decline, the race was starting off the be amazing! I made it to the sandbag carry in less than an hour and I was feeling high on life after completing the uneven monkey bars with ease! I doubted myself but had an amazing volunteer who cheered me on and gave me the extra confidence that I needed and I crushed it!   Right before mile marker #3 there was a slight decline in a grassy area, most people were walking but I felt like I could jog it, so off I went – a little trot, not picking up too much speed but just enough to make some ground and then… It happened. My ankle snapped – it was one of those feelings that can only be explained with a feeling. I heard it and felt it in my throat simultaneously. I immediately thought I was done. I thought I wasn’t going to be able to finish, I thought they’d pull me off the course. They called for a medic, a few racers stayed with me, I appreciated the support but I surely didn’t act like it. I was screaming profanities, punching the ground – it felt like all the work, all the hours of preparation were for nothing. I couldn’t move my foot. I had to stop, I had to breathe, I had to think. One racer tried to take my shoe off – I yelled at her to stop. I remembered that my mom had busted her foot once and continued to walk home, when she took her shoe off her foot blew up like a balloon. I knew the moment my shoe was removed I had no chance of finishing the race.  When the volunteer came over, I realized I could move my toes. I HAD to try and stand. If I could stand – I could limp, if I could limp, I could finish. I told him I needed to try, even if I had to walk, I had to try to finish. I got up, grabbed my GOAT tape from my bag and began wrapping my ankle. I figured a little extra support would help me get through. The rest of the race was nothing short of a disaster, but I kept telling myself to keep going, one foot in front of the other. I kept telling myself that this was temporary.    

 After 6 hours and 20 minutes, I finished. As I jumped over the fire tears began to flow… 

 I was proud, I was in pain, I was scared for what I would have to deal with as I tended to my ankle, I couldn’t believe I had made it another 5+ miles and only failed 4 obstacles (3 after the injury – one of which was a voluntary fail as I decided it wasn’t worth it to climb the rope and fall – although I did get to the top knot again, but this time I chose to descend slowly rather than have my hand slip and possibly hurt my ankle even more). I failed the spear throw (before my injury), the Z wall (got very close but fell off on the last wall), the rope climb, and the multi rig (got to about the 6th ring when I had too much swing and my hands slipped off of the rings).      
Now the biggest obstacle begins…

The Road to Recovery. 

After the race, my husband carried me to the medic tent where they evaluated my ankle. The man who helped us was very nice, he said it looks like a severe sprain but it may be fractured – he unfortunately left his X-ray glasses at home lol. So, we drove home to NY and went to the hospital. The X-rays showed a slight avulsion fracture, and since it was late they wanted me to follow up on Monday with an orthopedist. They gave me crutches and an air cast and sent me on my way with 600mg of ibprofin.

The orthopedist took more X-rays and evaluated my ankle.  Although he did note two very small chips of bone on the medial aspect of my ankle (inside) he said there was a lot of inflammation and mostly looked like a very severe sprain. He fitted me for a walking boot, and said that I should be able to walk without it in about 2-3 weeks. He said overall it may be 3-6 months before it’s fully healed but we will recheck in 3 weeks to see if there’s progress.  

 Within an hour of getting the boot I was able to walk without crutches (thank goodness), and by the next morning I was feeling much more stable. 

It’s going to be a long road ahead of me, but I’m confident that I will be ready for the Killington Beast in September to complete my first Trifecta! 

The doctor said I could still workout as long as it is modified to the point that I am not putting any pressure on my leg… I will focus on upper body and grip strength work and once I can be more mobile with my leg, I will begin training for the next race.

 

 

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Intermittent fasting: another diet trend?

Recently a fellow fitness professional told me he was toying with the idea of intermittent fasting. He began explaining that it had to do with insulin sensitivity and some of the research was pretty astounding – he said that if done right one can lose fat and gain muscle .. Wait for it… At the same time! Waaaahhhhhhh????!!!!! Really?? So you know this peaked my interest… What is this intermittent fasting and is it just another low carb, low fat, never eat anything good again or anything at all, diet trend? 

Initially, my skepticism brought me to a few articles – one which showed: “A 2014 review done by Longo and Mattson shed light on intermittent fasting’s role in adaptive cellular responses that reduce oxidative damage and inflammation, optimize energy metabolism, and bolster cellular production. The study showed how, in lower eukaryotes, chronic fasting extends longevity, in part, by reprogramming metabolic and stress resistance pathways. In rodents, intermittent fasting was shown to protect against diabetes, cancers, heart disease and neurodegeneration, while in humans it helps reduce obesity, hypertension, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis.”[1] 

This is pretty interesting, but brought up a lot of questions…. Protects against all of those diseases? Really? Just by prolonged periods of not eating? But then what do you eat when you break your fast? Can I eat whatever I want or do I have to eat boring foods? How will workouts work around not eating? 

And then… Then I came across this amazing graphic:  

 <NOtE: I in no way get any sort of financial reward for posting this photo. I found it on Pinterest and am sharing it for its information and not to sell printable PDFs or posters>

This graphic is a nice visual of the different types of intermittent fasting. So, what do I have to lose? Well, I will say that I’ve read that you need to be careful and pay attention to what you’re eating because you could potentially lose too much weight too fast and then your body will no longer use fat as fuel but you can start to burn your hard earned muscle – so, like everything, intermittent fasting could potentially have negative effects but overall the information out there seems to be pretty convincing. 

So, I decided to do my own little experiment. Now, in a science lab this wouldn’t hold up, because the variables aren’t really constant and there’s only one subject – Me! 

My first day, I stopped eating at 7:30pm, fell asleep around 9pm, woke up at 5, hit the gym at 6 -7, and started eating again at 8:30am. My first fast was 13 hours. The following day I did the exact same thing, and yesterday I did the same again. This morning was the first time I hit the gym and felt freaking awesome! It was a cardio based workout – one of those FOR TIME workouts that I usually come in close to last in, and I was the first one done!  

 (If you can’t read it, it says : Suzanne 17:50) I felt like a million bucks! 

So, I’m not sure how this will go as I’m only on day 3… But the plan is to continue at least 13-14 hours of fasting daily (biggest fasting period is at night at this point.) for a week. Since Saturday is the Palmerton, Pa Spartan Super, I plan to NOT fast on Friday so that I have lots of energy stored for Saturday. If all is still going well after the race, I will begin to stretch the fast longer – and we’ll see how this goes. 

Have you tried intermittent fasting? What are your thoughts/experiences? Do you think this is just another diet craze? 


And for your reading pleasure… Here’s a great article on intermittent fasting from bodybuilding.com: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/to-eat-or-not-to-eat-your-fast-guide-to-fasting.html
[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24440038

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Getting stronger::New ink

I literally learn something new every single day that I go to crossFit. The cardio work is my least favorite but mostly because it needs the most work. I am starting to become a stronger rower, but I still find myself going out too hard to start and tapering off at the end. I do, however, feel like my technique has gotten better which has resulted in better pulls and better overall results. I also seem to have my best rowing work when one of the coaches (specifically Dave) tells me to row harder – something about having someone tell me what to do while I’m forcing out mental negativity — that helps push out those “I’m tired, I can’t” type thoughts. 

I find myself pushing harder than I have ever before – not stopping nearly as much – and being able to go for longer. I’m not sure if this is mostly mental or if it’s because I’m getting stronger in my endurance. Can you increase endurance in only a month? I can’t wait to see where I am in a year!   I can say that since starting crossFit my workouts have been MUCH more consistent – and maybe that’s why I feel like I’m getting stronger. I wake up every morning around 5-5:15am, regardless of the day – and I head to either crossFit or body pump. When I’m done I either practice something like double unders (or attempt to practice them), do some strength work, or run at least a mile. It very likely that as the summer progresses I will be doing more after work – crossfit or pump in the morning, work, and then lifting like I used to. I haven’t don’t a traditional bodybuilding workout since I started going to crossFit – mostly because I don’t have enough time in each day, plus I really need to focus on the cardio and breathing for the Spartans that I have coming up. 

Either way I feel like I’m on my way to becoming a better person both in and out of the gym. I find myself encouraging others much more than I have ever done in the past, and really looking at my abilities as a whole rather than comparing to anyone else. I still have moments where I get unsettled by a comment or someone telling someone else how strong they are… Like hello?! What about me?! But I’m learning that it doesn’t matter what other people think or say, what matters is that I dont give up and I keep trying to be the best version of myself!   

I also haven’t really talked about my eating disorder much lately. I actually think I’ve been doing pretty good – I haven’t had any real bad binge moments – I have had a few times over the last month or two where I’ve eaten either too little or too much but it hasn’t been an all out binge where I’ve considered throwing up. There has been a shift in my mindset since starting crossFit – it’s almost like unconsciously I know there’s a lot of cardio, and I know if I consume a lot of food – more than I need – I will feel heavy and my workout will suffer – whereas if I eat what I need – I will feel good and my workout will be awesome. I had an unintentional low carb day the other day followed by a high carb day — I really didn’t plan it – it just happened to be what was available – and I’ve gotta say – the day where all my carbs came from fruits and veggies rather than bread – I felt like a million bucks. My diet is always a struggle but I feel like I’ve taken a lot of the pressure off by not focusing on how I look, but how I perform. I’ve noticed how I feel during a workout after eating different things and have shifted gears towards the more whole/natural foods – craving and then therefore eating less processed foods. So, overall I feel like I’m in a good place, and headed to an even better place nutritionally.  

 
In other news – I got a new tattoo (thanks to my hubby)! It says ” the road less traveled” which is a paraphrasing of the famous Robert Frost poem: The Road Not Taken. To me, this means that in all that I do – I will not just follow the crowd, I will not let obstacles stop me, I will overcome all that is in front of me and I will take the road less traveled.   

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Update: I’ve turned into one of THOSE people

What an interesting title since I haven’t written in awhile. Sorry, life has been a bit hectic around here – I just seem to never stop working lately! With our focus on building our AdvoCare business and my schedule at my full-time vet tech job, life has been a bit crazy! 

I can’t believe my last blog was about the Spartan! (Don’t worry, I’ll get into what that title is all about shortly πŸ˜‰) Since the Spartan sprint I have signed up for the Spartan Super in Palmerton, PA on July 11th and the Spartan Beast in Killington, VT on September 19th. I’ve bit the Spartan bug, drank the Spartan kool-aid and I’m hooked! I’ve seen some photos of the Killington mountain and I can’t seem to figure out what in the world I was thinking but, I’m pretty determined to get that trifecta medal! I feel like it will be the ultimate accomplishment – those races are not easy, and it will solidify that I am no longer just some girl who likes to workout, but I’m an athlete… You have to be to complete these races!! 

That brings me to that title of mine… So what type of person have I become?    …. That’s right, this photo is of my very first crossfit competition last Saturday! I’m officially a crossfitter! 

Okay, okay, close your gapping mouth – I know all of the concerns about crossfit : it’s expensive, it’s unsafe, people get really hurt, they are a cult, etc, etc. Don’t get me wrong – I love lifting, I love Body Pump, and I love challenging myself, but I have really been drawn to crossfit as a way to step up my athleticism. After only 3 weeks of crossfit 4-5x a week, I competed in my first competition and came in 8 out of 15… This was after working an overnight and very little sleep and food. I’m sure had I slept I would have been higher on that scoreboard but I’m very proud of myself for coming in 8th in the scaled division (basically this means modified – so the weight is less and the movements are not advanced – i.e. deadlifts instead of snatches).  I’ve also since purchased some pretty sweet gear – new sneakers, strength wraps, and a jump rope! I also got some PVC pipe to stretch and practice the overhead squat and snatch movements.  I’ve gone from being completely unable to do movements like toes to bar (exactly what it sounds like) and pull ups to being able to do a few of each! I’m really feeling strong and challenged! I’d quickly like to address two other points – first – cost. Yes, crossfit is expensive – but so is Starbucks coffee. We drink 5$ cups of coffee for the name and the experience. Many people will go without food to have their coffee in the morning, because it’s worth it so they make it happen. In order to pay for crossfit I had to make some changes in my finances – cut a little here, cut a little there, but I figured it out because it’s important to me. Second – crossfit is only dangerous if you don’t focus on form and do more than you are capable of. A lot of people hurt themselves because they don’t take the time to learn their bodies and what they are able to do. Also, with any gym, you have some coaches (trainers) that may be more experienced than others – you may have a coach that doesn’t really focus so much on safety and doing movements correctly – allowing for mistakes and ultimately people getting hurt. Luckily I have found a box (gym) that has some really awesome coaches, and I know my own bodies capabilities and where I can push it and where I should scale it back.      I guess I can also address the last point I made earlier in this post – and that is that crossfit is a cult. If by cult you mean:  a relatively small group of people having (religious) beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister…. Then sure, call it a cult. But in reality crossfit is all about culture. The coaches and other members are so motivating – they cheer you on, and everyone really helps each other push harder. I’ve quickly joined a family that I was welcomed into with open arms! 

  

What are you passionate about? Have you ever tried crossfit? What’s something that you have made adjustments in your life (not just financial) just so you can enjoy it? 

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I am a Spartan! Aroo!

Today I completed my very first Spartan sprint in Tuxedo, NY. My husband had to work so I went alone and ran it alone… Well, alone in the sense that I didn’t know anyone personally. 

I picked up my bib number and headed to the start line but of course I had to snap some photos first.  

  Sorry I don’t look happy, it was really bright out…. 

Before we could even get to the start line we had to hop over a wall – I got a little help with this because, well I’m new to wall climbing – but as the race went on I got the hang of it – literally! 

I won’t go too into detail about the race, but I will say that it wasn’t easy. I got tripped up on the Z wall, the clif two bar obstacle, and the spear throw. The Clif two bar obstacle was  right after we fully submerged in muddy water to go under the wall, and the bar was just too slippery for me to hold it so I opted for burpees. The Z wall was after a muddy barbed wire crawl and I couldn’t get a good grip on the blocks to climb across it – I am also not familiar with side to side rock type climbing so I will have to figure out a way to practice this. The spear throw was really not that hard, but my spear just didn’t stick into the hay so burpees it was. Out of 22 obstacles I only got hung up on 4. 
4? But you only told us about 3! So about this fourth one… So anyone who knows me knows that the rope climb was one of the obstacles that i set out to conquer. You see, in elementary school I used to get laughed at because I couldn’t climb the rope – not at all. I would jump up and fall down – every single time. The only rope I was ever able to climb was the one with knots. But the rope at the Spartan has knots…. So, I’m 5foot tall, and the knots on the Spartan ropes are quite far apart for me… I utilized the knots the best I could and was doing really well, I was focused on getting to the top and I was able to get to the top knot! I grabbed the rope with my right hand about the top knot, brought my legs up and my hand slipped and I, only one more pull away from the bell, fell back/butt first into the water below. Water went rushing up my nose and in my mouth (yuck!!) I made sure I had my glasses and stood up. I was so disoriented I didn’t know what side I had to get out of, when one of the volunteers grabbed my hand to pull me out (thank you). Someone yelled “make sure she’s okay” which I was – for all intents and purposes. I was disappointed – I was right there – I was so close. I felt tears coming but I held them back, reminding myself that I’ve never climbed a rope and I was able to almost get all the way up there! I could be nothing but proud, although I really want to do it again and get up there – all the way and hit the damn bell!

 The hardest obstacle of the day for me was the bucket brigade. The damn bucket of rocks was so heavy I could barely make it up the hill. Once I did I was determined to just go and get down the darned thing but almost slipped because I couldn’t see where I was going (thanks to the bucket)! 

In the end I left with a mud beard, a metal, and a lot of memories!  

 Overall, it was a very fun day. I finished in 2:49:55 and I wasn’t the last in any category/division! 

  
Depending on how well I recover from today, I may do it again next weekend – and conquer that rope! At least then I’ll know what to expect! 

 
After, hubby treated me to some pizza and froyo – nothing like a good cheat meal after 4.7 miles of torture!!  

AROO AROO AROO !!

Have you ever run a spartan race? Which one? What was the hardest obstacle you faced? 

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AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge: Day 23 & 24

Well, that it! It’s over. 24 days challenged, 24 days accepted, 24 days to a new lifestyle. 

I’m not a big fan of celebrating with food – I don’t believe it serves you – but I celebrated by buying raspberries and Bok Choy (not to eat together). Okay okay, that’s really not how I celebrated but it is what I did first thing on day 25! 

So, I know you’re wondering how I did… Well I posted my photos from the other day so you can see those in my last post but I’m officially down 6lbs (it was 8 yesterday – but I’m not worried too much about numbers). 

Overall I feel great, I had the best menstrual cycle I’ve ever had – barely any cramps, barely any mood swings, and it only lasted 4 days which is crazy because it’s usually much longer and much more painful – and I’ve really gotten motivated to increase my training! 

Tomorrow I start my first regular crossfit class, and I run the Spartan sprint on Saturday. 

I’m excited to see what’s next for my health and become and even better athlete! 

 If you’re interested in the 24 day challenge or any of the AdvoCare products click the photo below or click here for more info! 

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AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge: Day 21&22: Crossfit update

As the challenge comes to a close I’m super excited to share my results so far and excited to hear my challengers results as well! 

 Remember the girl on the left!?  

With two days left on the challenge I excited to share that there have been some pretty clear changes – other than the lack of cleanliness of my apartment currently haha and the lighting being different, in 22 days I have lost about 8lbs and it shows a little bit everywhere but mostly in my midsection! I also feel like I’m standing taller! I know you can’t see it in those photos much but my upper arms also have more definition… Check out this photo I posted on Instagram this morning: 
Woah! It’s not the biggest arm or most muscular back, but it’s progress… And that’s what I’m looking for here! 
All in all I’ve felt really good! Friday’s that I work are always a bit rough for me because we don’t really have a break for me to eat – which makes eating every 3 or so hours quite difficult. I made it work today though by packing my AdvoBar meal bar with me for a quick lunch. Now, I don’t think that it’s the solution for everyday but it works when there’s no time and no choice to make sure I’m prepared for the day ahead!

Two days left and I’m full of energy, I’m sleeping better, and I feel much stronger at the gym! Speaking of the gym, I made it through my on ramp course this week with little to no issues! Now I’m free to take classes whenever I want – in hindsight I should have stayed for the class after my on ramp class – but that’s okay, I will be going next week Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday! Thursday I’m taking Body Pump, and Saturday I run the Spartan race!   

 Clearly, I love fitness haha! 

During crossfit today he had me complete a chipper – where you chip away at the workout for time…

40 air squats, 30 kettle swings, 20 burpees, 10 push-ups… I completed it in 3:25. Not too bad considering the pause during the burpees (#ihateburpees)! 

How are you feeling? 

What day are you on? 

Have you been following along and are wondering how you can get on the 24 Day Challenge? 

Head to our webpage for more info:

 

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