10 Signs Your WOD Is Destroying You

This morning’s WOD was ROUGH.

8 rounds: Run 200 m, 8 Sumo Deadlift High Pulls (google it), 8 squat jumps, 8 thrusters. That’s a LOT of thrusters.

There were only 2 other people there, one being The BF who I never beat at anything (except Scrabble and being right about things), and the other being one of my very favorite people who we work out with. My second favorite thing about her is that she is better than me at most things, a little faster and a little stronger, but not by too much, so when we WOD together I can try to keep up with her and it pushes me without totally destroying me. My FIRST favorite thing about her is that she is one of those people who just has so much heart that you can’t help but totally root for her at all times. So I wasn’t too upset when she finished a full set in front of me, even though for the first 3 of 8 sets we had been exactly pacing each other. I am blaming it on the fact that halfway through the 3rd set I took some weights off my bar because I was getting crushed and that put me behind… but really I think it was just that I got destroyed.

So I decided to put together a few tips and tricks to recognize a WMD… WOD of Mass Destruction. (I just made that up, do you like it? Ha.)

1. You reach muscle failure during the warm-up. Twice.

2. You have to take weights off your bar less than halfway through the WOD, when your bar only had 5’s to start.

3. When you try to cheer someone else on, the only words that can come out of your mouth are “I’m going to die” and “Aaannggghhh…” (Maybe if you’re lucky you can get a “Yeah” out, but that’s it)

4. 8 sets of 8 reps turns quickly into 64 sets of 1 rep.

5. Your coach is watching you with a very concerned look on her face.

6. You start to legitimately wonder how long it would take them to notice if you passed out while running since everyone else is already finished.

7. You have to squeeze your eyes shut in order to get yourself to touch, let alone grab and lift, the bar.

8. There is a fleeting moment where you wish you were doing Wall Balls instead.

9. Later in the day you can’t actually recall almost any of the experience.

10. You look like the picture at the top by the end of it. Please notice The BF’s sweat angel in front of me. PS no that is not, by any stretch of the imagination, my bar.


Hey Ladies!

Don’t forget, Juli Bauer’s Women’s ONLY lifting class is THIS SATURDAY from 12-2 at CrossFit Jai (on 15th just north of I-25)!

This 2-hour class with cover the snatch and the clean & jerk. You don’t have to be a weightlifting expert, but some past experience with these lifts is required. Even if that includes falling flat on your butt while attempting a snatch with an empty bar like I did this morning. Yep.

The cost is $50 but it will be totally worth it.

CLICK HERE for more info and to register!

See you on Saturday… 🙂

Food: The Basics

I thought a good place to start the discussion about nutrition and food would be by talking about what I eat and why I eat it. There are tons of other topics I want to eventually talk about, including addressing common nutrition myths and misconceptions, the obesity epidemic, the “American” diet, and how that has all influenced the choices I make about what goes into my body. But for now, let’s start with what I actually know about, which is ME!

I’ve definitely talked a lot about this topic on this blog already, so to recap what I’ve already said: I appreciate the concept of Paleo and try to eat Paleo-esque, but eating 100% Paleo is too much meat for me. I am lactose intolerant and all signs point to being gluten intolerant as well. I really enjoy beer. I have been known to consume entire boxes of mac & cheese in one sitting. My favorite food of all time is nachos.

Despite my affinity for melted cheese, a normal day of food for me looks like this: Breakfast–1 or 2 eggs and a banana, or a kale and spinach smoothie with strawberries; Snack–almonds; Lunch–salad or veggie stir-fry (or the equivalent in a burrito-bowl style, sans rice or beans); Dinner–usually involves 1 serving of meat, some style of veggie side dish, and lately has been involving sweet potato chips and a lot of guacamole. Tortilla chips and salsa frequently sneak there way into my day as well (tortilla chips are, by far, my biggest diet vice).

A lot of what I believe about food is constantly evolving. For example, up until about 2 months ago I thought gluten was totally fine–now I make conscious choices every day to keep it out of my body. However, my firmest belief when it comes to food is that what you put in your body is your own responsibility, and if you want to be healthy, you have to eat healthy.

Some other things I believe about food (as of today, at least):

Eating healthy looks a little different for everyone, but I believe that eating a healthy diet basically means eating as few chemicals as possible (ideally, zero chemicals) and limiting your sugar intake. If you can do those two things, your diet will automatically be limited to mostly whole foods that have little chance of causing your body to flip out.

Everything in moderation. Even too much kale can be a bad thing, and there is absolutely a time and place for ice cream.

Food can be super powerful. I have read stories about people curing diseases, controlling seizures, and reversing chronic symptoms by just changing their diets. I really believe the quote at the top of this post, and try to think about that a lot.

I try to look at food as fuel and consider what my body needs instead of thinking about how I want to eat Chicken McNuggets. I have a very, very sensitive digestive system (and always have), and it shocks me how different I can feel from day to day based on what goes in my body.

I will pay twice as much to get organic meat and eggs because antibiotics and artificial hormones scare me.

I try to eat as healthy as possible at all times, but food is complicated. We live in a culture where very little value is put on a healthy diet, and where many of our social interactions revolve around food and alcohol. It’s not always possible to eat well and be social at the same time. I try to minimize these situations, but don’t stress out too much about having a few beers with friends on the weekend.

Those are the basics. I am lucky that I have never had an eating disorder or developed a legitimate emotional attachment to food, and I recognize that this is not the case for a lot of people. What do you believe about food? Is your relationship complicated or have you figured out a diet that works for you?

There is a lot more to it than just this. I don’t want you to have to be reading forever, so stay tuned for Part 2 about the “American” diet.

Spinach + Garlic Scape Fritters

The switch back to Paleo the past 2 weeks has been a little bumpy in the home-cooked department. Eggs for breakfast? Check. Salad with chicken for lunch? No problem. Get home and am ravenously hungry and down almost an entire bag of chips? …Yeah. That happens a lot, actually.

And then on Thursday morning at about 4AM I woke up with something that REALLY needed to get out of my body RIGHT NOW, if you know what I mean. I spent the next several hours running back and forth from the bathroom (I miraculously managed to make it to a WOD in the middle of all this, thinking Surely this is out of my system by now, how much more could there be?) and ended up staying home from work because, well, that just wasn’t a process I wanted to continue in a public bathroom.

So Thursday night I was a little weary when it came to what we should have for dinner. Our CSA box the past 2 weeks has been filled to the brim with spinach, and punctuated with a handful of funky little garlic scape twists. So I thought I would try to make some fritters–no crazy ingredients, but still hopefully enough gumption to help replenish my defeated system.

Fritters are so easy to make, and you can pretty much make them out of anything. I have made kale fritters, onion and red pepper fritters, and basil fritters before, all with great success. To make a fritter, you coarsely chop whatever you’re using, lightly cook it, then add it to a bowl with egg, flour (or, in our case, almond flour), and spices. Then you deep fry it, which we used coconut oil for. So here is the recipe for spinach + garlic scape fritters, but really you can get creative and use whatever you want. These were surprisingly filling–2 fritters made for a great light meal, even for The BF who is the hungriest person I’ve ever known. They would also be great topped with a fried egg.

Spinach + Garlic Scape Fritters (Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free)


(Note* ~1 cup of raw, lightly packed spinach will yield 1 fritter, so you can scale this however you want)

4 cups raw spinach, with stems removed, coarsely chopped

1 garlic scape, finely chopped

1 egg

1/2 cup almond flour

Salt & pepper, to taste (I used about 1/2 tablespoon salt and a few shakes of pepper)

2 cups coconut oil for frying

1. Lightly steam the spinach for about 1 minute. It should be wilted but not too mushy.

2. Immediately move spinach from the hot pan and into a large mixing bowl. Mix in the raw garlic scape, salt, and pepper.

3. Add the egg and gently mix until all ingredients are combined.

4. Slowly begin to add the almond flour. The exact amount you need will vary slightly–you want to add enough that the ingredients stick together firmly but not so much that they crumble. If you add too much flour, just add a little bit of water to get back to the right consistency.

5. Pour the coconut oil into a small pan and turn the heat to High. We use a small cast iron skillet but anything will work. The smaller the pan, the less oil you will have to use to fill it up. You want at least 1/2 inch of oil covering the bottom.

6. As the oil is heating, use your hands to form the spinach mixture into small patties.

7. Test the oil by dropping in a tiny bit of batter. If the oil is ready, the batter will fizzle and sputter.

8. Using tongs or a spatula, very carefully place the fritters into the oil. When the bottom side is golden brown (this will take 1-2 minutes), flip onto the other side for another couple of minutes.

9. Carefully remove from oil and place on a paper towel to catch the extra oil. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

PS–I made this again last night but accidentally used falafel mix instead of almond flour (we don’t really label things at our house) and it turned out AMAZING… so, you could try that too if you want!


Woohoo! The transformation is complete!

90 Days of CrossFit is now OFFICIALLY The Ascent Blog!

PS: If you used to follow 90 Days of CrossFit, did you get a notification about this new post? I spent a long time today making sure all my followers got migrated but right now the little “Followers” tally is only at 3 when I used to have 61… Fingers crossed!

Day 89: The Last WOD

I’m tired. I’m really, really sore. And I made it.

I mean, this is not over. I will clearly keep doing CrossFit. Because it’s amazing. BUT, let me tell you that I have never before in my life set out to do anything for 90 days and stuck to it. I also want to stress that CrossFit is NOT a 90-day “program” and that it will take you much, much longer than 90 days to even begin to reach your potential with CF–but man, it’s been a great start.

I am working an event all day tomorrow and then Sunday we are hoping to get out of the heat (100s in Denver! Not cool, people. If I wanted heat like this I would just move back to Moab!) and head up to the mountains to hike a 14er. Which means that, as of now, I can say that I have officially reached my 90 day goal, because, well, tomorrow is the 90th day and I am not doing a WOD tomorrow.

This week we set out to do a WOD every day for 5 days. Having only ever done 2 days in a row before, we made it 4 days and then desperately needed to take today off. I’m happy with the 4 days we did–and my shoulders are very, very thankful that I didn’t go for that 5th WOD (Monday push presses, Tuesday thrusters, Wednesday clean & jerks, Thursday push-ups). But it does just go to show that even after doing CrossFit very regularly (3-4 times a week, on average!) for 3 months, we are still nowhere near reaching our full potential. I still can’t even do 1/2 of the movements, and of the 30+ WODs we’ve done in the past 90 days, I’ve only done a small handful without modifications.

Things I have done that I thought I’d ever actually do:

  • Lifted heavy weights, period. I used to stick to Jillian Michaels-esque workouts where “Grab your heavy weights!” meant I was reaching for 8-pound hand weights. On Monday, I deadlifted 150 lbs.
  • Drank protein powder every day. The only people who do that are meat heads, right?And me, apparently.
  • Done 100 squats, or 50 burpees, or run a mile–and then continue to do lots of other things before, after, and in-between. I never would have done 50 burpees for any reason period, but if I had, you can bet that I would have spent a good long time sitting on the floor afterwards. If I sat on the floor between sets at CrossFit… Well, I just wouldn’t do that (unless I was about to pass out, which is a different story).
  • Cried after a workout.
  • Woke up at 6AM for many days in a row just to go kill myself at the gym before rushing home to shower and go to work. I am NOT a morning person. But this week alone I made it to three 6:30AM WODs.
  • Gave up gluten. REALLY never saw that one coming. But I can’t tell you how much better I feel for it.
  • Kept going even though every firing synapse was shouting, “What are you doing? You can’t do this! Just stop now!” And I relearned the most valuable lesson that’s been taught to me in my life: It’s not a matter of “Can I do this?” but “How can I do this?”

Thanks for sticking with me through this crazy 90 days! Before & After photos and measurements will be put up later this weekend, and next week I will start using The Ascent Blog! “90 Days of CrossFit” may be over, but I’m just getting started…

Day 88: Paleo Strawberry Cake

This cake is DELICIOUS. It tastes like strawberry shortcake, but it’s grain free, gluten free, and sugar free. I’ve been eating it straight out of the pan with a spoon. However… it does have butter and honey in it.

I consider butter to be Paleo (and use it sparingly in my diet) because it so closely mimics animal fat, but it is technically dairy and therefore is not technically Paleo (you can read more about butter and Paleo here). And the jury is out on whether or not honey is Paleo because it has a high glycemic index, but the amount of honey you would have to consume for it to have any more of an effect on your body than, say, an apple is pretty extreme. So there you have it.

I thought about substituting coconut oil for the butter, but since there is hardly any sweetener and no cream or anything in here, the browned butter is really where the cake gets its richness. I think if you used coconut oil you would end up missing a lot of depth in the flavor.

I found this recipe on The Roost Blog via foodgawker.com. If you haven’t been over to foodgawker, I would highly suggest checking it out–it’s where I find probably at least half of my new recipes, especially paleo and gluten-free ones.

Please click here for the original recipe–her pictures are MUCH nicer than mine plus she includes a great recipe for paleo meringue frosting.
Brown Butter Strawberry Cake (makes 1- 8inch round cake) Note* I made mine in a 10″ pan because that’s all I had. I baked it for 15 minutes instead of 30 and it turned out great! I think this could also be adapted into muffins, just keep an eye on your time. I also think you could really add any fruit to this that you want. I think next time I might also add some rhubarb.

1 3/4 cup almond flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 TBS honey
3 eggs
1/2 TBS pure vanilla extract
4 TBS butter
1/2 cup quartered strawberries (about 8-10)
Preheat oven to 350F.

Grease an 8inch round cake pan. Trace the bottom of the pan on parchment paper, cut out circle and place on bottom of pan.

Melt butter in a small pan over medium/low heat until browned and fragrant. Set aside.

In a blender pulse almond flour, salt and baking soda until combined. Add honey, eggs, vanilla, and brown butter. Blend until smooth.

Pour mixture into a bowl and fold in quartered strawberries. Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes