it’s a new year!

I hit the big TWO-FOUR last week so I’m officially a big girl. Here’s an update on what I’ve been up to!

  • Food – I really don’t like the word “diet” but the way I eat is mostly paleo. I’m avoiding dairy whenever possible because I’m lactose-intolerant and it gives me acne (and feeling like a 14 year old was bad enough the first time around), eat my heavy carbs post-workout, and indulge in wine, dark chocolate, and homemade treats. Whenever possible we will continue to eat seasonally and locally.
  • Fitness – Just ended a strength cycle at CrossFit Charlottesville and hit several big PRs. I followed my plan to only go to the gym three times a week and it worked brilliantly – I was never overtrained, unhappy at the gym, or restless. I’m going to continue that habit for the time being. CrossFit Total numbers listed below
      • Backsquat: 167lbs
      • Shoulder Press: 67lbs
      • Deadlift: 201lbs
      • Total: 435 (a 50lb PR from March 2011)
  • Photography – had my very first client this past December! I had an exceptional time with the family and it couldn’t have gone any better. The session made me want to jumpstart my photography so I’ve set up my photography website for all to see! Go to www.jennigabriela.com to view my work!

A shot from the family shoot! Tonks is the cutest dog!

a new experiment

I joined CrossFit Charlottesville in May 2010 and have loved it ever since. Almost religiously, I attended classes 3-5 times a week for the last year and a half. And while I’ve made some fantastic gains in strength and power (read about it here), I need to limit my CrossFit attendance. I’ve come to accept that I’m extremely sensitive to stress/cortisol and need to s-l-o-w down. The excessive stress from worrying about tomorrow’s WOD or the fact that I missed yesterday’s is counterproductive to my goals. During the past two weeks, I’ve allowed myself to go to the gym ONLY three times a week. For some people, that’s more than plenty. For me, that makes me feel antsy.

However, this needs to happen. Considering that I’m not a competitive Elite CrossFit Athlete (ie. Annie Thorisdottir), I don’t need to be hitting the gym more than three times a week. I just want to be healthy & strong and have fun doing so. The worst feeling in the gym is dreading being there.

My guidelines for the time being are as such..

  • only go to CrossFit 3x a week
  • move / play on non-CrossFit days (ride my bike / walk whenever possible)
  • allow my body to recover appropriately – I do CrossFit to be fit, not constantly sore
  • If the sun’s out then so am I

Thus far it’s been going great! I find it liberating to know when I’ll be at the gym and when I won’t be. I’m also finding that I’m really looking forward to each WOD and that’s really exciting. I even willingly did rowing sprints last week! ROWING! SPRINTS! Who am I??

This is going to be a bit of an experiment in relaxation for me and I’m up for the challenge. Thanks for reading!

Days 220 – 222

Can you believe it’s (almost) the middle of August already? I think I was too busy melting in the heat to realize time was actually passing by. Soon the leaves will start turning that vibrant red I love so much. In the meantime, I’m trying to do my best to absorb as much vitamin D as I can (mosquito bites permitting).

 

 

Since completing the Whole30 back in June, I’ve lost an additional 2lbs, totaling 10lbs lost. I went from 130lbs down to 120lbs which is fine and dandy but all actions must have reactions. This has apparently affected my strength which does not please me. We did a CrossFit total (max effort on the backsquat, shoulder press, and deadlift) recently and my lifts were not what I expected. While I PR’d on my backsquat (up to 146lbs!), my shoulder press and deadlift suffered. This bruised my ego a little bit because I had worked really hard to get my shoulder press up and I love deadlifting (no, seriously). Time to hit the gym hard(er)!

 

WOD: CF Games 2011 Events 8-10 (I hate rowing and I hate wall balls. This confirmed it)

 

My go-to snack: spoonful of almond butter. Don’t judge me.Sometimes, after a long day at work, you just gotta appreciate the beautiful sunsets

 

 

Days 206, 208, 209

Do you ever have those days when you’ve got a thousand thoughts/ideas running through your head but can’t fully grasp a single one? That’s kind of how this week has been thus far. Quite frankly, I’m blaming it on coffee.

Spent Monday night at a coworker’s Good-bye get-together at a local bar. It really says something when you like hanging out with your coworkers outside of work; trust me, it’s miserable when that’s not the case.

No picture for Tuesday night because it completely slipped my mind but I had a delicious dinner with the ladies from CrossFit Charlottesville at a local burger joint.Ha, all my other friends must be sick of me talking about CrossFit but these girls understand!

Wednesdays are always long days but highly productive. It proves my theory that a person is far more productive the busiest days. Spent the evening talking photography with fellow photogs at the Charlottesville Photography Initiative’s Small Discussion Groups. For those unfamiliar with the group, it’s a great way to converse with other photographers and get inspired to try new things. The feedback you receive is priceless as they actually know what they’re talking about. I got home and made myself my favorite dessert as of late: canned coconut milk, frozen berries, and a drizzle of Barlean’s Chocolate Raspberry Swirl. Om nom.

Ah, sweet Thursdays. Thursdays are my days off and have become my mental rest days (not physical rest days). Went to the gym in the morning to complete Fran for the first time – wowza, that’s a killer. I can’t believe that there are people who can complete it RX in under two minutes (video). Spent the rest of the day reading, lounging and cooking (obviously). I’m making kale chips about once a week now and I think I’ve perfected the recipe (after several smoke alarm mishaps). I made two batches this afternoon and somehow managed to devour both by dinner (hey, a girl’s gotta eat).

Before and after.

Side note: while relaxing this afternoon, I thought I’d give the old pull-up bar a try and managed to get my first strict chin-up! I danced around for about a minute or two to celebrate.

Day 204 – 7.23.2011

Our box recently had it’s 2 Year Anniversary and on Saturday, we were all invited to one of the owner’s houses for a pool party! The humidity in Virginia right now is unforgiving so the water was just as hot as the air but once it cooled down it felt pretty comfortable.

Can I just say that I love the people at my box? Interacting with them outside of just workouts makes me appreciate each and every one of them. They’ve all got different stories to tell and are pretty amazing people. We’ve all become a small little family, as we’ve seen each other suffer through a workout time and time again and keep pushing each other on. It makes my heart smile :)

 

Day 202 – 7.21.2011

Just to prove to you guys that I’m not sitting around eating my face off, here’s a picture of my puddle of sweat from this morning’s WOD! Deadlifts followed by tabatas of wall-balls, ball slams, and pushups. All in this wonderful (read: horrendous) Virginia heat. Fun, no? Gotta love it.

I’ve been reading a lot about food recently (currently reading Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes) and wanted to make a really great meal (it was more like a feast). It’s funny, I work in a restaurant and yet I spend my days off cooking. Started off with some beet chips that give off this wonderful saturated color and a sweet aroma. Meanwhile I had an entire chicken (bought from Sweet Peeps Farm who are fellow CrossFitters and were on the show Expedition Impossible) roasting in the oven. The ingredients for the chicken were simple yet potent – lime zest, garlic, parsley, salt & pepper, Disha’s BBQ Spice Rub, and olive oil. It’s slightly modified from this recipe off the CrossFit Journal (you might need to be a subscriber to see the page, sorry). It was super easy and made my kitchen smell delicious. Served on the side: veggie and scallion medley (not pictured).

After all was said and done, the chicken was DIVINE. (Bold font is necessary) Combining local pasture-raised chickenand great simple ingredients is a win-win situation – you really can’t go wrong. And now, I have enough leftovers for at least two days! Suh-weet!

 

Day 158 – 6.7.2011

Something funny happened at the gym today – my fear that I lost some strength was confirmed. We were doing some shoulder presses and I failed at a weight that is under my PR, about 13lbs under (even a few pounds makes a huge difference for me). I expected some strength loss after our Guatemala trip but was kind of in denial about it. Oh boy, off to rebuild some strength!

One Year of CrossFit

A year ago today I stepped into CrossFit Charlottesville for my very first On-Ramp class. I had just graduated from UVA and the classes were a graduation gift from Chris (he’s sweet, huh?). I told him that I would commit to the month of On-Ramp classes and then I’d decide whether or not to continue. At that point in my life I had been running like mad-woman, having just completed my first half-marathon in April 2010. I was the skinniest I’d ever been and quite possibly the weakest I’d ever been. To say I was hesitant to start CrossFit would be an understatement. In the back of my mind, however, I knew I’d like it – I had been an athlete (soccer and basketball) for most of my youth and a competitive one at that.

I keep a regular journal of all my fitness-related activities: CrossFit WODs, lifts, running miles/times, yadda yadda yadda. And I’m glad I’m OCD about it because on days like today, I can go back and see how much I’ve improved. Here are the numbers, then and now.

Summer 2010 / May 2011

  • Backsquat: 55# / 138#
  • Deadlift: 115# / 182#
  • Shoulder Press: 40# / 65#
  • Power Clean: 45# / 94#

I’ve also accomplished the following feats:

  • Using the 35# kettlebell
  • Stringing together a decent number of double unders (24 was a PR)
  • Using the big girl box for box jumps (24″)
  • Regular push ups
That being said, I have the following goals I want to accomplish:
  • My first strict pull-up
  • 200#+ deadlift
  • 100# cleans
  • Learn to love wallballs (God, I hate them)
  • Not being afraid of weight overhead so I can finally do squat snatches
  • Learn to row more efficiently
I’ve accomplished a lot but no way am I done – I’ll never be “done”. I’ve got lots to work on and will always have something to work on. Harder, better, faster, stronger (cue Daft Punk).

Day 107

I have been absolutely terrible at updating my blog – for that I’m really sorry. I’ve been working extra and planning the Guatemala trip, it leaves me exhausted at the end of the day.

Sunday was gorgeous and the perfect weather for a Tug-of-War competition held by some fraternity at UVA. Our CrossFit box created four total teams to compete and not surprisingly, we won. It was a lot of fun and great team camaraderie!

The Barbelles about to drag some unsuspecting college students on the ground!