Some New Goals

On an unrelated note, this is a photo one of my friends took on Mt. Evans after our backpacking trip a few weeks ago… Gorgeous!

Well, here we go. A fresh batch of goals to re-spark my CrossFit motivation. And what do we know about goals? Well, the outdoor educator in me says that goals need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely (woo dorky acronyms!). As such, most of the goals I have come up with in the past few days are super specific and relatively short-term. There are kind of a lot of them, but that’s because many are things I have been doing already and just want to keep doing (like doing 3 WODs per week or progressing with my DUs), or are at least things that I’ve already been working towards (like a pull-up and a 9-minute mile), and many are closely related (for example, if I can get one strict pull-up, a kipping pull-up should be right behind). Not all are directly CrossFit-specific, but they are all related to my physical health, and hopefully they cover some areas that I have been neglecting in the past few months.

Anyway, without further ado:

Claire’s Health & Fitness Goals, Fall 2012
(to be completed by December 31, 2012, unless otherwise noted)
**Denotes Bonus Goal… i.e. potentially unrealistic 🙂
PS, I am going to post this list as it’s own page (which will also appear in the right sidebar–>), so I can go back and cross out goals as I complete them, and also you can check in on me sometimes, too!

  1. Complete at least three WODs each week
  2. Complete at least one additional skiing-specific WOD each week (can be done at home)
  3. Complete at least two WODs with Thrusters using 65# (currently using 45# or 55#)
  4. Complete at least one WOD with only strict push-ups**
  5. Do one strict pull-up
  6. Do one kipping pull-up
  7. Do one strict ring dip**
  8. Do one strict handstand push-up**
  9. Deadlift 160# (current PR is 145)
  10. Clean & Jerk 100# (current PR is 90)
  11. Bodyweight backsquat**
  12. Run a 9-minute mile
  13. Link 60 DUs (current PR is 43)
  14. Eat 100% Paleo at least 3 days per week
  15. Spend at least two days per week without eating meat, preferably one day with no animal protein at all
  16. Take at least two yoga classes per month
  17. Work on flexibility to be able to consistently touch toes when not warmed up
  18. Work on flexibility to be able to do splits when warmed up**
  19. Read at least three nutrition- or health-related books
  20. Keep a detailed food journal

What do you think? Can one person accomplish all this in 3 and 1/2 months?

Plants & Animals

Thanks to everyone who offered their advice yesterday, it means a lot! I took little bits and pieces of what you all said, and decided to take a few days off, but not too many, to hit a little reset button and make some new goals. Also you all reminded me that smaller accomplishments are just as important as the larger accomplishments, which I need to work on remembering!

Anyway, another thing I have been thinking about is my diet. This morning I was directed by a friend and fellow CrossFitter’s blog to a short article written by a CrossFit trainer about Paleo vs. vegan. He said that he had always coached his clients to eat Paleo, telling them that they would never be able to gain muscle without a diet full of meat, but then realized one day that he had never tried training on a plant-based diet and therefore was pretty much just preaching ignorance. He spent six weeks eating vegan (but still grain-free), and was surprised by how much energy he had, how well he performed, and especially that his body didn’t actually seem to need extreme amounts of meat in order to build muscle.

That article really got me thinkin. I have always talked about how I like the idea of eating Paleo, but it just seems like too much meat. I feel sluggish and heavy when I eat a lot of meat (like right now, since I had a piece of smoked salmon and about a cup and 1/2 of ground bison for lunch…), but have kind of felt obligated to eat Paleo since it’s such a CrossFit thing. But… I think the time has come for me to stop focusing my meals around the consumption of animal protein, at least for a while… and I am pretty excited about it.

First up on my list is to make more of this paleo granola. Holy crap this stuff is good. I don’t even eat it with milk, I just eat it like trail mix by the handful. But let me give you a tip: It only calls for 1 tsp of cinnamon, but I used more like 1/8 cup, and I would highly recommend that approach.

12 Favorite Paleo Recipes


I have finally come to the realization that making up original and interesting Paleo recipes from scratch is a lot harder than it sounds. Since meat + vegetable = paleo, I am not regularly inspired to get super creative about it. This limits my ability to share exciting recipes with you guys, because I feel like I shouldn’t be sharing recipes on my blog that are not my own creations.

So today I am going to share with you the links for my (in no particular order) 12 favorite Paleo recipes! Click the photos to be taken to the recipes.

1. Butternut Squash + Bison Shepherd’s Pie from Healthful Pursuit

2. Blueberry Pumpkin Pie Protein Smoothie from PaleOMG

3. Sweet Potato Hash from Amazing Paleo

4. Coconut Shrimp (ok I did actually make this one up)

5. Double Chocolate Energy Bites from PaleOMG

6. Venison Sausage from Cavewoman Cafe

7. Fried Green Tomatoes made with Almond Flour from Jan’s Sushi Bar

8. Zucchini Pesto Roll-Ups from PaleOMG

9. Moroccan Spiced Spaghetti Squash from Smitten Kitchen

10. Stir Fried Kale + Bacon from Nom Nom Paleo

 

11. Paleo Morning Glory Muffins from Carrots n Cake

12. Paleo Granola from Paleo Table

I’m sure a lot of you do your weekly grocery shopping on Sunday evenings like we do, so hopefully this will give you some new ideas for the week’s menu! And I’d love to know: What great Paleo recipes have I been missing out on?

 

 

SlimKicker Slow Cooker Giveaway

I know you all like to win free stuff, especially free stuff you will actually use, like an awesome 6 qt Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker! So, here they are–the deets! (Is it ok for me to say deets? I think yes.)

As I mentioned yesterday, SlimKicker.com is a website/app that helps you track your health goals with points and rewards for logging what foods you’ve eaten and what exercise you’ve done that day. You can also join groups and message boards for inspiration, and work towards personal goals like a cheat meal, a night on the town, or a new iPod or pair of shoes. You rack up points by tracking healthy calories, and by completing Challenges, which is where the giveaway comes in!

SlimKicker is looking for a new fun idea for a Challenge. Some examples of what they currently use include giving up soda for a week, not eating any snacks after dinner for a week, or spending 30 minutes a day each week for a leisure activity to take your sanity back and work on your mental health.

So here’s what you have to do:

Step One, go check out SlimKicker.com and get started with keeping your food journal and exercise log.

Step Two, comment on this post with your idea for a new challenge. You can come up with as many ideas as you want–the more, the better, actually! At the end of next week (August 31, 2012), the folks at SlimKicker will pick their favorite idea and give the winner a Stay or Go 6 Quart Portable Slow Cooker by Hamilton Beach!

Get those creative juices flowing and spill your best ideas for health and fitness challenges! My idea is to start with 10 push-ups and do one extra push-up every day for a month! But I can’t win, so I’m counting on you guys to be more creative than me, which shouldn’t be too hard!

 

Busy Recipes and a Giveaway

Let’s just cut to the chase because I know that very few of you are really as interested in the fact that I did a Hero WOD yesterday morning on an empty stomach and more interested in the fact that you can win free stuff just by being a creative fitness person, which I know that you all already are.

Starting tomorrow I am teaming up with Slim Kicker to give away a slow cooker! Slim Kicker is a super fun free fitness app/site that I’ve been using that helps me keep track of what I eat, because I always have my phone with me but definitely do not always have all of my colorful sharpies with me (sad but true).

The site also has fitness challenges, message boards, groups, and other ways to connect with people who have similar goals. Even though I am not a big calorie counter, I can put in the foods I eat and it will help me track my carbs/grains, sodium, sugar, etc, and I can work towards gaining points, which then can be turned into challenges where I can win prizes!

Check back tomorrow for more details, but here’s a hint: Go to their site, sign up and take a look at the “Challenges” section if you want to get a head start!

Slow cookers are the best. You spend 10 minutes the night before chopping up veggies and the next morning you dump everything in the pot without having to think about it, then you come home to your house smelling like grandma’s chicken and dumplings, regardless of what is actually in the slow cooker. I have had a crazy, crazy busy week so we dusted off our slow cooker this week and made a beef shoulder. The recipe goes something like this: Turn on the slow cooker on Low. Put the beef shoulder in. Add enough beef broth to mostly cover the shoulder, add about 1/2 of a cut-up onion and some garlic. Walk away and don’t come back for 6-8 hours.

Why have I been so busy, you ask? I got a new job (woo!) and this is my last week at my current job, which means I have been sweeping up all the old projects I’ve been putting off–like sending out long-forgotten newsletters, registering for far-off trade shows, and trying to organize my crap in a way that might be useful to some future version of me.

We have also gotten three WODs in so far this week, including Bull, a Hero WOD that we did yesterday morning. The WOD is 200 double unders, 50 OH squats (prescribed weight is 135-whaaaat? I can barely deadlift 135!), 50 pull-ups, and then 1 mile run. And then do it again. Yep, two rounds. I finished in 53:21 using 35 lbs, Brandon finished in 43:32 using 65 lbs. Only two guys from our gym finished the prescribed WOD, and they are the type with lats that might as well be a separate appendage on their bodies. It was hard.

Needless to say, I am psyched that Friday is on the horizon. And you should be psyched too, since the real giveaway starts tomorrow! What is your favorite slow cooker recipe? Mine is: Meat, some form of liquid, any vegetables, leave and don’t come back until it’s time to eat. Yum.

Paleo Spring Rolls, Lettuce Wraps, and Shepherd’s Pie

Editor’s Note: Becky shared a post with us a few weeks ago about the basics of paleo, and here is a little more info from her about her own experiences after starting to adapt the paleo lifestyle. She even included some great recipes that are very budget friendly, which is hard to find with paleo! You can check out more from her blog here.

Right off the bat I’m going to tell you I don’t eat strictly paleo. I eat mostly paleo though. I don’t eat gluten containing grains (wheat, rye, and barley), dairy, and processed or fried foods. This is basically paleo with a slight twist on the grains and one alcoholic drink every other day if I choose to drink. Also, I give myself two “rest meals” if I want them. These are two meals where I can eat dairy or gluten grains.

There have been pluses and minuses to being on this lifestyle diet, as I like to call it. I really love the fact that I have lost around 5 pounds of pure fat, which has been pretty hard for me because of my body type already. I feel so much better on a daily basis due to no gluten, no dairy, and the addition of probiotics. I generally don’t have a 2pm dragging feeling, and I know my metabolism is working because I can feel when I am hungry. I do like that this lifestyle diet allows for two meals to eat the items I avoid
all week, because sometimes you just need a piece of bread no matter how bloated it’s going to make you feel in two hours.

However, this change has not been easy. I started this lifestyle diet in February of this year and I am still struggling to perfect it. Honestly, the “rest meals” are a blessing and a curse. Once you taste what you don’t have you want more or at least that is the way I feel. This lifestyle diet does take a good amount of discipline. When you go out to eat with friends you can either choose to have your “rest meal” or you have to order with a ton of alterations. New recipes haven’t been too hard to find and alter, but you
have to do a good amount of work to get your recipe list built up to where you aren’t eating the same thing every week. Also, grocery bills have shot up quite a bit. I recently graduated college and $120.00 grocery bills are a little hefty when you aren’t making a good amount.

But honestly the pluses have outweighed the minuses by far. I feel better, look better (in my opinion), and I’m happy almost all the time. What could be better?! I have included a couple of my favorite recipes in order to help ya’ll (I’m from Texas so no laughing) on your roads to healthier eating and overall wellness.

Summer Spring Rolls

This recipe is on her blog as well, Click Here for some more pictures and other recipes she has posted.

I adapted this from a recipe I found at http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/cucumber-and-avocado-summer-rolls-with-mustard-soy-sauce.html. I added meat to get some protein in there and I actually put the mint in there at first, but it over powered every other flavor, so I took it out. Also, the sauce is wonderful without the brown sugar, so why add extra sugar to your meal? The rice papers are gluten free and everything is pretty low calorie. It definitely was an adventure to wrap up the rice papers, but if I can do it you can do it. They don’t have to look perfect and from my pictures you can tell I didn’t care too much how they looked. This is a great, cool recipe for summer lunch, so add it to your list to try.

Ingredients:

• Juice from 1/2 lemon

• 2 Tbs. coconut oil (melted)

• 1 Tbs. rice vinegar

• 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

• 1/2 tsp. soy sauce (can use coconut aminos if you are a real paleo purist)

• 1 Haas avocados

• 4 rice paper rounds, 6 or 8 inches in diameter

• 4 green lettuce leaves

• 1/2 lb chicken breast

• 1 carrots, coarsely shredded

• 1/2 English cucumber, cut into thin strips

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice, oil, vinegar, mustard, and soy sauce; set aside.

2. Halve, pit and peel the avocado, and then cut it into 1/2-inch dice.

3. Cook chicken fully and spice with your favorite spice.

4. Place a wide, shallow bowl of warm water on a work surface. Lay a clean kitchen towel next to the bowl. (The rice papers do stick to the towel a little bit, but I assume this is the best surface to use). Dip 1 rice paper round into the water for a few seconds to soften, then lay it flat on the towel. Using another towel, pat the top of the rice paper dry.

5. Center a lettuce leaf on top of the stacked rice papers. Starting about one-third in from the edge closest to you top with a small row each of the chicken, carrot, cucumber and avocado; be careful not to overstuff the roll. Lift the bottom edge of the rice paper up and over the filling and then roll once to form a tight cylinder. Fold in the sides of the rice paper and continue to roll the paper and filling into a tight cylinder. Set aside, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining rice paper and filling ingredients to make 4 rolls.

Paleo Shepherd’s Pie

I adapted this one from http://www.elanaspantry.com/paleo-shepherds-pie/. I absolutely love this and it took the calorie laden, starchy potatoes out of the mix. The flavor is awesome and I wouldn’t do Shepherd’s pie any other way. I tweak almost every recipe I find. I don’t like having to buy a ton of ingredients for one recipe, so if I don’t have it I usually take it out.

• 2 tablespoons coconut oil

• 1 large onion, diced

• 1 pound turkey

• 2 cups diced carrots

• 1 pound organic grass fed ground beef

• ½ teaspoon celtic sea salt

• 1 teaspoon black pepper

• 1 cup chicken broth

• 2 large heads cauliflower, trimmed, chopped and steamed until very soft

1. Heat coconut oil in a very large frying pan

2. Saute onion for 15 minutes until soft

3. Add carrots to pan and sauté for 10 minutes until soft

4. Add ground beef to pan and sauté until brown, just a few minutes

5. Season with salt and pepper

6. Add chicken broth and cook down broth until 60% evaporated

7. Place cauliflower in food processor and puree with coconut oil (or coconut milk) until smooth

8. Pour ground beef mixture into a 9×13 inch Pyrex baking dish

9. Pour mashed cauliflower over beef mixture

10. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes

11. Serve

Serves 4

Wanna-be PF Chang’s Lettuce Wraps Recipe

I adapted this one from a recipe found here http://www.theculinarylife.com/2009/wanna-be-pf-changs-lettuce-wraps-recipe/.  This is one of our new favorites. I eat mine like a salad and rip up the lettuce, add the mixture to the bowl, and pour the sauce over it like a dressing. They really do taste like PF Chang’s!

Ingredients for pouring sauce:
Mix all together

• 1-2 Tbsp cup honey

• 1/2 cup warm water

• 2 tablespoons soy sauce

• 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

• 2 tablespoons ketchup

• 1 tablespoon lemon juice

• 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil

• 1 tablespoon mustard

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

Ingredients for stir-fry sauce:
Mix all together

• 2 tablespoons soy sauce

• 1 tablespoons honey (local if you can get it)

• 1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

Ingredients for chicken stir-fry:

• 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil

• 2 tablespoons sesame oil

• 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed to 1/2″

• 1 – 8oz can sliced water chestnuts, minced to the size of corn kernals

• 1/2 cup mushrooms, minced to the size of corn kernals

• 1/2 onion, chopped fine

• 3 cloves garlic, minced fine

• 6 large leaves of iceberg lettuce

To make the chicken stir-fry:

1. Combine oils and add to large frying pan. Heat oil over high heat until it glistens, about one minute. Add chicken and saute until mostly cooked through, about 5 minutes.

2. Turn the heat under the pan down to medium-high. Then add garlic, onions, water chestnuts, mushrooms, and the stir-fry sauce you prepared earlier. Stir-fry everything until the mushrooms have cooked through, about 4 minutes, and remove to a serving dish.

3. Serve stir-fry on iceberg lettuce and top with pouring sauce.

Chiseled

Ok, so we’re not quite chiseled yet. But we are getting there.

The results of 4.5 months of CrossFit, 3-5 times per week, coupled with a moderately-strict adhesion to the paleo diet (we limit grains, legumes, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar, and have all but eliminated dairy).

Since starting CrossFit in March I have lost 6 lbs, but obviously my body has changed a lot more than just weight loss. Two of my lost pounds have been since starting Paleo August. I think that a lot of that has to do with cutting Progenex and using recovery meals instead, because as great as Progenex is for recovery, it is super full of sugar. However I have noticed that the calf cramps I used to get in high school that woke me up in the middle of the night with the feeling that my calf was about to snap like a rubber band, which reared their ugly heads when I started CrossFit again but were beat back into submission by Progenex, have definitely resurfaced since I started trying to use recovery meals instead. So that’s a major downside. Otherwise, I have noticed that I am not any more sore than I am with Progenex, but the soreness lasts longer. Have you had success with using recovery meals? I have tried chicken (light and dark meat), eggs, and bananas with almond butter. I would love to try salmon but the concept of eating a $5 piece of salmon after every WOD just seems a little… expensive.

Today I am ridiculously sore. Fran on Monday and a heavy deadlift WOD last night have resulted in full-body soreness and exhaustion. Also, last night the newest trainer at our gym, Mike, gave both of us some really great feedback about double-unders–turns out that even though I felt my DUs were fairly solid, I was really kicking my feet out because I was mostly focusing on what my arms were doing, and then just trying to get my feet out of the way. It’s great to feel like I’m reaching a point with something in CrossFit where I’m finally dialing it in instead of just trying to get it to work.

Anyway, here ya go. I almost have abs and am ecstatic about that. I am also getting closer and closer to a pull-up every day, doing at least 5 but shooting for 15 assisted pull-ups at the end of each WOD for practice. Brandon is dialing in his butterfly pull-ups, and I can’t get over the change in his lats.