Saturday, March 23, 2013

CrossFit Games Open Workout 13.3 Recap In Pictures

Getting one of my best recipes ready for Mondays' blog requires less effort than the 12 minutes of awesome we completed today at Shotgun CrossFit. The competitors group finally took it on and we were intimidating!

Pretty sure this says it all!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Olympic Weightlifting with Coach Mike Burgener: Recap

If you attend CrossFit Classes or follow the methods for any length of time, you will eventually learn the Olympic lifts and incorporate them into your strength sets and Wods. Coach Mike Burgener is the ground floor of Olympic lifting for CrossFit and has trained several Olympians and many many elite athletes with his methods for over 40 years. When I had the opportunity to take a course with Coach and his team I jumped on it by signing up six months in advance to ensure my spot. I am still very new to the Olympic lifts and have hesitated working on them heavy before Coach B could give me his solid training. 
I wanted so badly to soak up what I could from the intense 14 hours given in the training course. You could tell withing the first 5 minutes, everyone was looking to impress, and Coach was going to have fun torturing all the over achievers...the over thinkers...the ones afraid to mess up. Me.
I know its all in fun to issue "motivational consequences" and nutty instruction to try and trip us up, but fortunately my class was on game. We killed the tasks! Mostly...
anyway, no burpees on the first round of challenges. 

My backpack was pulling on my sweatshirt making me look like a dork. Yay for dork pictures.

 After a long morning learning the basics of snatch practice and forms, we broke for lunch. I didn't have a ride into town from the facility we were working in so I brought my lunch. I'm SO GLAD I did. Coach B loves to tell stories and talk with athletes. As almost everyone else left for lunch, I was a captive audience for Coach! He and I talked family, CrossFit, teaching in public school PE programs (my former life and his) and I thoroughly enjoyed his company for the hour..

After lunch it was back to the gym for more snatch work and lots of individual athlete analysis! I wish I had taken the time to use my Coach's Eye App for the Snatch work but here is one of my better lifts for clean and jerk. I still have a long way to go on form and speed but I am getting it! Today I got a 10 pound PR from this past weekend.

After 7 hours of constant movement and brain overload I collapsed into a heap at Red Robin and enjoyed a giant burger and caffeine filled beverage.
I was in bed by 9pm and slept badly in a hotel bedroom on a queen bed with Mr Dad. We don't sleep in hotel rooms well, both of us struggled to settle down. So, when day two began at 8am, I was still fatigued from the day before.

Day two went much better that the first. Maybe because I enjoy the clean and jerk more, maybe because I was more comfortable with the set-up. Either way, my body and mind fell into the groove faster and with more ease.

Someone must have discovered my lunch date with Coach B on Saturday because many folks stuck around to chat and learn during lunch on Sunday. It was so funny to watch all these guys scan their brains to find topics to throw at our teacher. Coach ate it up and loved the attention no matter the ridiculous question he may have been asked. I guess you have to be that kind of person to be a "celebrity". Coach Bergener is a CrossFit Celeb for sure. He resonates the foundation of the sport and the raw information available to all those who seek it. Did you know he opens his garage on weekends he is home to anyone who wants coaching on lifts? Free world class coaching. How amazing is that?

As we moved to the gym for the final few hours of our training, we were able to once again turn to each other for athlete analysis and individual coaching from the staff. My awkward body is getting more fluid with the moves and were were given the green light for some weight on the bars. Finally some feedback beyond a 1/2 pound PVC pipe! I didnt want to go heavy, I just wanted enough to get the moves under some weight. I stopped at #115 more from fatigue and restraint that inability to preform. Many folks went with the notion of 1 rep max time! Now, I'm not poo-pooing the idea of loading the bar heavy for the class, I just found working the moves to be my main focus. I couldn't help but smirk again as that certain demographic went searching for every weight in the building to put on and impress each other. Why is it important for some to compromise all the form work just to max more than one another at a certification class? It's not a strong man competition!
But it is important to keep those forms we drilled in all weekend...
I was finishing one of my last lifts of the day when one of the guys in my group pointed out I had not put my grip correctly on the bar. 
AAAAAHHHHHHH! NO HOOK GRIP!!! The big NO-NO. Ugh, I wasn't done setting up there...guy. Thanks.
Jokes on him though! Coach B had overheard his anxious attempt to find fault with me and Coach wins again! No burpees had been issued all weekend. Yes, thanks to my NO HOOK GRIP I was forced to watch the whole class do 5 burpees in my honor. 
Well, OK. Fine by me! It was all in fun and Coach was all smiles at the triumph of finding the mistake. I was laughing at the guy who pointed out the mistake in the first place. HA! Have fun with your burpees guy.
Later Coach came up and thanked me for providing his win for the weekend and ability to give burpees.  I told him I was happy to be the key to his success. I haven't "forgotten" my hook grip since.

I loved the weekend with Olympic Lifting. It was amazing! I can't wait to continue improving my form so I can help others in my gym too. Also, I was so inspired, I signed up to learn from more Olympic lifters in June! I will attend the Colorado Springs, CO Oly Lifting trainer Level 1 course. Woohoo! I cant wait to be on campus with the Olympians! More on that when it comes...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Paleo Spaghetti Over Spaghetti Squash

Hello beautiful. You are fantastic. Don't you love some good comfort food after a long day? I thought this simple recipe would be a great addition to the foundation of this site as it is one I return to both in cold and warm months of the year.
Spaghetti sauce is really very simple to make and the jar sauce is to full of sugar and salt, it really makes more sense to make it from scratch! I make a large batch that feeds my family for a few lunches following the meal. As for spaghetti squash, it is really easy to do right. I prefer it to noodles and even Mr. Dad is on board with it. In addition, I like a big plop of spinach or green beans as a side dish.

Here is what you need to start your sauce:
2 big cans of diced tomatoes 28oz
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion diced
2 large garlic cloves minced
1 cup quartered mushrooms
1 tbsp sweet basil leaves dried
1 tbsp oregano
1/2 tbsp thyme
pepper flakes to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
1-2 tsp cinnamon (this sounds strange but I like the unique savory taste it brings)
1 lb ground beef 80/20

1. Warm olive oil to medium heat and add garlic and onion to soften
2. Add both cans of diced tomatoes
3. Add all spices and lower heat. Simmer for 15 minutes
4. Blend sauce with hand mixer or in blender to desired consistency
5. Brown beef in alternate pan. Drain. Add to sauce
6. Add mushrooms and allow mix to cook on low for another 15-20 minutes

So, what about that squash?
Totally doable folks!

Here's what you do:
1. Purchase a 3-4 pound squash
2. Slice both ends at 1/4 inch off each side
3. Slice down the middle and remove seeds and guts
4. Preheat oven to 350
5. Place each half of the squash in a roasting pan filled with 1/2 inch water
6. Bake for 35 minutes or until ends are tender and flaky to fork

Once you remove the squash from the oven, allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes out of the water bath

Take fork to inner flesh and scrape squash into noodles! Easy!! The squash makes a ton of noodles. There is usually around 4-5 cups of noodles in each sweet squash. The texture will me slightly crunchy but delightful. you can add olive oil and salt to give a richer texture and taste but I like mine simple.

That's it! A fantastic, tasty, easy meal the whole family will enjoy.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

CrossFit Open Workout 13.1 Recap

This is my first year competing in the CrossFit Open. I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty anxious about the whole deal. I want to do well; I want to make my gym proud. Mostly, I don't want to screw up.

I began my Saturday morning around midnight as I was having some trouble sleeping. I have terrible performance anxiety and often don't sleep the night before a race. My best half marathon was run on no sleep and pure adrenaline. Thankfully, I did get to bed around 1am. I was up early in the light hours to teach Mo-Yo (mobility yoga) and the CrossFit 101 course at our gym. It was fortunate I was there early and worked up a sweat moving the Mo-yo through sun salutations and downward facing dog. I was lose and warmed up by the time 101 was complete. As the open workout competitors trickled in, so did about 60 spectators!
Holy cow I was not anticipating a huge audience for the open workout. I knew most of the folks arriving and was happy to see my babies and Mr. Dad wander in around 12:15. Life is easier when family is close by. Nerves aside, the task of judging the men was upon us. We planned to go in heats, each competitor validating another with the eyes of a judge and a score sheet for reps. Once we were all warmed up and measured on our burpee plates we welcomed the crowd and went over the regulation standards of the workout.
The men went first...thank goodness. They all tore into the 40 burpees side by side and really challenged each other. You would be amazed at the size variations in our gym. The men range from 135 lbs and 5'6 tall to 230lbs and over 6 feet tall. The women are no different, I'm 6'1 and 187lbs and our smallest athlete is easily half my size.
The guys finished up and collapsed on the rubber with plenty of cheers and encouragement from the crowd.
Then it was the ladies.

I kept pace through the first 40 burpees, at least until the last 10. I feel like they caught me then. The 45lb snatches were a chance for me to catch my competitors and I blew through them in good time. I did put the bar down at rep 15 because I had a planned rest there. After finishing my snatch work it was back into burpees and things went downhill fast. If you have never done burpees, I challenge you to try 10. Tell me how that feels...
My set of 30 burpees were slow. I had to catch up on the 75lb snatch to hold pace with the other ladies in the gym and reach my goal before time ran out. Once I got the weight on the bar the snatches came fast. I only had 3 minutes to knock them out so...I had to push.
I reached and passed the rep count of another beside me and knew I had to put the hammer down. Frustration really set in as I saw the clock hit the final 30 seconds and I still had 10 reps of snatch to go. I was able to knock out 4 more to finish with a score of 124 to finish. totally gassed.
I'm pleased with my efforts in the first workout but, sad I didn't hit my goal of getting through the set of 20 burpees following the #75 snatch set. I am hopeful we continue the next few weeks with bar work and less body weight stuff...

I celebrated later with one of my favorite beers. I could lift the can...and not much else.
Any guesses on what 13.2 will be? My bets are on double unders... 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Paleo Thai Chicken Curry

I love a good spicy curry. Surprisingly, much of the Asian cuisine can be converted to a paleo friendly version. Since I don't care for rice, I just made this as a soup. The lime and cilantro really freshened this dish and made it a home run for me and my family. The kids and Mr. Dad love rice so they had it in addition. No complaints on this super easy, fast, clean meal.

Here is what you need:
1 lb cooked chicken breast cubed
1 cup organic chicken stock
2/3 cup coconut milk
1- 1 1/2 tbsp red curry powder
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
4 key limes
1 medium yellow onion
1 large fresh jalapeno (optional)
Sriracha sauce
1 tbsp coconut oil

1. Heat coconut oil in a large pot on medium heat
2. Add onion and allow to soften for about 5 minutes
3. Add cooked chicken, chicken stock, and coconut milk to pot 
4. Stir in red curry powder and taste frequently and before adding more than 1 tbsp. Spice can fluctuate.
5. Add chopped jalapeno to pot if you like it really spicy like I do ;) 
6. Allow to simmer for 8-10 minutes
7. Dish out your goodies! Add a healthy dose of lime and cilantro to each bowl

Serves 3-4 
Pair with rice or alone as a soup
Let me know how it goes! I love feedback and suggestions for making recipes even yummier.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Three Things Thursday

1. The CrossFit Open
Squeee! It's time. Time for the best season of sport. It is time for the CrossFit Open. Not sure what that is? Look at this:

Basically, Your competing against yourself and every other registered competitor for 2013 to see how your fitness has improved in a years time. Since I was very new to CrossFit last year, I did not register for the open and didn't even record my scores for the workouts. I wish I had. I distinctly remember the 12.1 workout (or the first of 5 total for the season of five weeks) and how proud I was of 53 burpees in 7 minutes. Thinking of that makes be look back in awe of how much I have done and how far I have progressed in 365 days. I will do the 13.1 workout on Saturday in a group setting complete with cheering fans in our Gym. I want to do my very best. In any case, It will be fun...

2. My pipes are snaked. Heck yes they are. Totally cleaned out.
My tub and toilet in the master bath had been backing up for the better part of the week. Last night I noticed a huge puddle in the laundry room and outside...Thank goodness the plumber could get here this morning before using the guest bathroom became a habit. Things are moving right along now and I can return to long showers and convenient midnight potty breaks.

3. Do you ever get sick of eating out? There is not a whole lot going on in our little south Texas town and eating out is a favorite pastime for most residents here. Lunch traffic and restaurant lines are insane here. Mr. Dad and I went to our favorite spot yesterday where I get the salad bar complete with spinach, smoked turkey cubes, avocado, and pico de gallo. We made sure to go at 11am instead of noon so we could actually get service and our pick of good salad bar fixins.

I have to say Oasis is one of the best locally owned places I have ever eaten in. Unfortunately  Im totally sick of my favorite is this possible. I wish small town Texas had more to offer in eateries than southern cooking and BBQ. Our choices are so limited. We choose Oasis because it is quality food, good service, and you can by guns and ammo on your way out. Picture Bass Pro Shop or Cabela's with a restaurant in the middle. My kids especially love the large assortment of taxidermy trophies on the walls. They name the different dear and the Longhorn Bull is known as Doctor Moose.
 not Dr Moose

In other news, it is that time of day. Time to go get kiddos from school and drive a whole bunch. I am on task to buy some hedge trimmers and deodorant too. Such in life. 

Tell me three things going on with you! Link back to this post and I will be your best friend.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Paleo Southern Style Bacon And Shrimp Over Cauliflower Smash

Oh wow. How good was this? It was total comfort on this windy March afternoon. It was exactly what I was hoping for and think this may be one of my best successes in a while. Southern child, you don't know what your missing! I was craving some shrimp and grits the other day and thought I could pull off the same texture and taste with a cauliflower smash. I tried to keep this as Paleo friendly as possible and I have to say, I am sure this is totally "Paleo".

Grits are typically a no-no due to the high sugar and corn content. Not to mention most grit products on the market are heavily processed. BUT I LOVE GRITS. Creamy and salty with a dense pudding texture, grits are where this gal wants to be. Cauliflower, did it right!

Shrimp and bacon are an awesome combo to matter what. How could I NOT make this delicious?

Here is what you need:
1 head of cauliflower
1/4 cup organic chicken stock
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
cracked pepper
1/2 tsp coriander
chili pepper flakes (to taste)
4 slices of thick cut bacon
bacon fat
1/3 onion
1 pound uncooked peeled deveined medium shrimp

Serves 2-4

Cauliflower Smash
1. Bring 4 cups water to a boil
2. Add chopped cauliflower (make sure you remove the green stem)
3. Boil cauliflower for 10 minutes
4. Strain and return to pot
5. Add chicken stock, 1 clove of chopped garlic, salt
6. Blend with hand blender or in a blender till you have the texture you want

7. finish with cracked pepper and coriander

Southern Style Bacon and Shrimp
1. Cook bacon to desired crispiness and keep some fat for reserve
2. Add 1-2 tbs bacon fat, chopped onion, and diced garlic clove to a pan heated to medium
3. Allow the onion and garlic to soften but watch closely. Garlic will burn easily and it will get a bitter taste. Be patient with garlic.
4. Add shrimp and allow the mix to cook for 7-10 minutes or until shrimp is pink an firm.
5. Toss with crumbled bacon
6. Finish with chili pepper flakes

I found a real desire for some collards or spinach to finish the meal. In hindsight, I would make a green on the plate a priority! Even though you are getting a healthy dose of veg with the cauliflower, the greens help to cleans the palette.

Please let me know what you think of this recipe and if you try it in your own kitchen! 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Smokey Chipotle Peach Salsa

The family and I had a wonderful weekend and we totally ate sugary stuff like cake and ice cream because it was my BIRTHDAY. I will tell you more about my day in another post but wanted to share my favorite salsa recipe first. I make a huge batch of Smokey Chipotle Peach (or Mango) salsa most weeks and put it on everything from hamburgers to salmon. It is most fantastic with runny eggs and avocado.

Here is what you need for a weekly batch of heavenly spicy goodness:
2 cups sliced peaches
4-5 roma tomatoes sliced or diced
1 medium onion diced
a good handful of cilantro
3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (these suckers are potent, go light)
salt (or garlic salt) and pepper to taste

A word about Chipotle in adobo sauce: You can find these smoked jalapenos in the canned international food isle at the grocery store. They are very smokey and delightfully spicy and yes, have a small amount of sugar added to the sauce. It is my personal opinion that, the sugar level is SO LOW, you can essentially call this a paleo friendly canned food. If you are a die hard paleo person you would never set foot in the canned isle so I guess you have to come to grips with the idea of how picky you want to be. The adobo sauce is wonderful too, don't pour it out- pour it in!

Put all that stuff in a bowl and blend it up till you get the texture you want. I like a little less chunk but not a pure'e. It keeps for about a week and is fresh and full of flavor. When I go to parties, this is almost always the offering I bring to the masses and get a ton of complements.

What are your ideas for salsa? Do you use this as a condiment?
I regularly eat this salsa all by itself. SO GOOD.