Motivation comes in all forms. I prefer motivation like this:

(Side note: how badass is Debbie? Read her story here.)

Or like this.

But sometimes, motivation comes when you look at a photograph of yourself. And you don't recognize yourself. And you know something has to change.

More to come. I just know, I'm not the lady in that photograph, and it's time I remembered how to act like it.


Funny Lady

I find Kristi's blog generally hilarious. And she's now on a weightloss adventure. I know nothing about Medfast or whatever it is she's using, but I do know that sometimes on my journey to fitness, I forget to laugh. (It might help if I was as funny as Kristi is.)


Eat these

Preferably with butter.  Grain-free Bacon Muffins. I used less honey, and would add some coconut oil to make up for it next time.

They are super easy and super delicious. I try to avoid all sweeteners, but I make an exception on the weekends. I like to think these are making muscles to up my snatch lift RIGHT NOW.


Learning to Move

Hey everyone! Sorry for not posting.  Work has been crazy and I'm finally crawling out from the cave of my office. Before getting my standing desk, working this much would have left me feeling achy and contorted. For some reason, sitting so much puts me out of sorts with my body, like it doesn't even belong to me.  Luckily, Conditioning Research posted this awesome video to remind you how to move your body.

I love this video, and I don't even like babies.

So far, all systems are still go on Operetion LOL. I snuck back onto the scale last week and realized that despite the insane amounts I'm eating, I dropped back down another 4 lbs.  I'm guessing this means I'm reaching that sweet equilibrium where I've gained enough muscle that I burn more calories and am dropping fat.

How's everything going with you?


Burpee variations

Those of you on twitter know that I have a love/hate (OK, respect/hate) relationship with the burpee. That said, I think I'll hate them less once I learn to do this:

This is Will, a coach at my gym. He's also insanely ripped. Ahem.

The kids are alright

More proof I shouldn't have children--my expectations for them are not normal.

12-year old April Atkins rocks my socks.

One grown person wasn't enough?  Try 3.

More here.


Day 30 Redux

To borrow from Meagan....

It's Day 30 and I:

  • Have been to the gym almost everyday, except for last week when I had so much work, I only went 4x and totally needed the rest.
  • Have managed to stay completely paleo except for dairy and chocolate on the weekends, and one super fun-filled derby night involving wine, jameson, and hard cider.
  • Have refused to get on my scale, and finally donated all but 1 suit because my shoulders no longer fit in them.
  • Have been insanely productive at work, haven't felt overly exhausted, and seem genuinely happy with life.


Day 30

It's Day 30 and I:
*haven't been to the gym since last Wednesday.
*ate crap all last week and through the hurricane barricade
*clearly need to reread this, from Dallas and Melissa's blog:

It is not hard. Don’t you dare tell us this is hard. Giving up heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You won’t get any coddling, and you won’t get any sympathy for your “struggles”. YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE not to complete the [challenge]. It’s only [six weeks], and it’s for the most important cause on earth – the only physical body you will ever have in this lifetime.

Ahhhhhhh. I feel sufficiently chastized now.



They told me the workout should take under 10 minutes. Ideally 5. It took me 15. Even with the whole gym standing around cheering me on.

And yet I'm walking around feeling all warm and fuzzy inside simply for the reason that I. Didn't. Give. Up.


Day 19: You're An Animal

One of the things I love the most about lifting (and derby and crossfit) is the mental game. Yeah, you're pushing your body, but it can pretty much always go further than your brain wants to believe. And so we come up with tricks to outsmart ourselves. Many of us go to our zen place when we're doing a hold. (Mine is the Gryffindor common room.) Others give themselves a mental pep talk. (A derby friend relives her sister screaming "You're an ANIMAL!" at her from the sidelines of a childhood soccer game.) I'm also known to make faces at the barbell. (Sometimes a fist pump is involved.)

But lately, I've been looking outside myself for inspiration. Specifically, I've been wtahcing a woman at crossfit. She's probably in her 50s, and had surgery about a month ago. While recovering, her doctors told her she wasn't allowed to do anything but walk. So she comes to crossfit with her son, and while he works out, she walks the local trails for an hour. She is there, everyday, without fail.

Yesterday, her doctors cleared her to return to traniing. Our trainer, Josh, modified the workout for her, and as she was rowing, I walked over to cheer her on. When I got there, I noticed she was doing it one handed. "One-handed row?" I asked, incredulously. "Ambitious.

"Didn't you know?" she replied, "My left arm is paralyzed."

And bam. Like that, my mental barriers have been destroyed. Watching her, there's really nothing I can say to convince myself I can't do something, when it's so clear that it's my mind and not my body holding me back.

This is her son, Matt. He gets his bad-assery from his mom.

This morning, I watched her deadlift for max, using a custom-made hook that Josh created to attach to her paralyzed arm. She never lost form. She never faltered. She never complained.


Wednesday Check In

We've been at this for 17 days, y'all.

It's time to check in and fess up: what is the easiest part of this challenge? What is the hardest?

For me, the easiest now that I'm back in NYC is the eating.
The hardest is remembering that I'm in a challenge, so the self-sabotage that I usually let derail me in my quest to greatness just isn't an option.


Why I love Meagan

And why we do this blog together.

Thanks Meagan for always being a positive force, pushing me forward.

What Does Your Vision Board Look Like?

Today on teh Twitter, a brief discussion of vision boards came up. What the heck is a vision board? From Garage Gym Blueprint:

A vision board (or book) is “a tool used to help clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on a specific life goal.” You cut out pictures, phrases or words that mean something to you and your ambitions and place them on your board. These images represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your life.

Here's what Karen's vision board looked like awhile ago.

I have to admit, I'm skeptical of the whole vision-board thing. Mostly because I'm not very observant: I've been known to live in apartments for a year or more without remembering to put anything up on the walls. So yeah, not a visual person. But this weekend, I saw Karen's beach life, and if she says a vision board helped her get there, who am I to not at least try it out? Here are a few of the things I might include on my vision board:


Day 12: Draft-eligible

Folks, we're almost two weeks in. This can be one of the hardest parts of any 6-week challenge: the new routines aren't quite yet habits, but you've been doing them long enough to possibly be bored with them. For your inspiration, I offer some more badassery at any age.

Day 12 of Operation LOL is going fine so far. I've made it to Crossfit 4 times this week, and my lifting numbers continue to go up. There's going to be a slight shift in some of my training plans, as I need to up my high interval endurance. Lately, I've been gassing out on the sprints in derby, though my pace endurance has been fine.

More importantly, I found out last night I made the 3rd round of roller derby cuts. I am now draft eligible. With only 4 weeks left in tryouts, it's time to ramp things up.

How are y'all doing? What's keeping you moving forward?


Oversharing about my day

Today I had a kick-ass workout, and it was all because I exceeded my expectations, not because the workout itself was anything to write home about. Lifting workouts I'm happy to do--because I'm big, I can usually muscle through them. But the winders or the body weight workouts--in this case a chipper--are totally intimidating and I want to hide under the bed instead of getting my butt into the gym. As soon as I saw that we were doing

-10 handstand pushups
-20 wall balls
-30 toes to bar
-40 box jumps
-50 burpees
-60 sit ups

I wanted to take a day off. Luckily I had told the gym I was visiting that I'd be in, so I couldn't just not show up. And I went. And even though an outside observer might not have thought I rocked it, I finished under the time I feared I'd finish it in, and that felt like a gigantic "YAY ME!" victory.

After the workout, I went and had a gorgeous healthy, fresh salad. So far so good. But then, there was a marble slab creamery right next door, and it was hot, and I went in... As soon as I paid for the ice cream, I realized I didn't really want it, I just wanted the feeling that I get from being bad by eating no-no foods. (I like feeling like a f-up I guess.) But I'd already paid for the ice cream, and I HATE wasting food that I've paid for. So I ate a bit, enough to satisfy myself that I was not wasting the money, not enjoying it the whole time. I threw away most of the ice cream and then felt like "OK, THAT was stupid. All of that from walking in the door to eating it to not waste $3 was stupid.

For dinner, I got back on the wagon and had fish grilled with lemon. Because I had sugar earlier, my body was physically craving more. I was eating this delicious fish, but my brain was saying, "Psst. We could stop and get something creamy after this. It could be gluten free and so it wouldn't be so so bad. C'mon. You know you want to." Turning off that self-sabotage/neurological sugar dependency voice is hard. When I'm feeling strong (like when I'm on a 6 week challenge and I'm posting semi-regularly to all 5 of you), I decided to give a competing voice a chance, the one that said that just because I had been foolish earlier in the day, doesn't mean that I had to give up on myself. So here I sit, without any dessert, typing this instead of self-sabotaging.

Yawn, no one is still reading this self-involved drivel. So look over here, fancy ladies doing burpees and deadlifts and making them look easy! This is what I want to be when I grow up:

CrossFit Women WOD December 12, 2008 from SICFIT on Vimeo.

Please share something in the comments so I don't feel like the narcissist that I am.

Oldie but a goodie


I'm pretty sure this will be me and Meagan at some point in the future.

Day 9: Who are you today?

I'm working at my new standing desk, eating an avocado, and my coworkers are giving me strange looks.  At Crossfit this morning, everyone commented on my knee socks (gray, with rainbow stripes today) and expressed their surprise that I didn't really want the "paleo" muffins someone had made.* A few days earlier, at derby practice, someone discovered that I am a lawyer, that I have represented folks on death row, and that I don't have any tattoos. 

Apparently, I am a weirdo in every setting.

It's intriguing to me the identities we take on at different times and in different places.  Currently, I'm focused on being strong physically, which means I'm identifying myself by how I work out, and not what I do. That means derby talk and boastful comments about O-lifts** are starting to work themselves into water-cooler talk.  I'm becoming a bit boring to talk to. It's hard, because it's not that I don't care about everything else that's going on, it's just what I'm trying to stay motivated about, so I keep talking about it.

What are you talking about? Do others know about your challenge?

*I appreciate the gesture, really, but when it's got dried apricots, lemon AND honey in it, let's just be honest and call it a candy bar.
**I did my first one-armed snatch with the bar today! Yay!


Day 8: Operation LOL

I only really started lifting in the past few weeks, nonetheless, I am up 6 lbs since last month. And honestly? I am enjoying every. single. second. of. it.

No, really. I feel stronger, my clothes still fit, and nothing gives me more enjoyment than the strange looks I get when I announce that I'm trying to gain mass.

Seriously. It seems like no one knows what to think when a woman says she wants to GAIN weight.  Josh, my trainer at Crossfit Sanctify, is seriously stoked about it.  Everyone else seems, well, concerned.  When I announced my increase this morning after our WOD, the rest of my fellow crossfitters gave me a sideways glance until someone finally asked: "But why are you doing this?"

A lot of reasons, really. First, I turn 30 next year, and much like Mirriam, I want to give myself a  birthday present of being stronger. Second, I'd like to have a little more heft to use to counteract some of the size being thrown at me in derby. I'm pretty stable on my feet, but when a big girl comes in from the outside with centrifugal force on her side, there's only so much my smaller frame can do.  And third, after decades of trying to figure out a million ways to lose weight, I'm pretty ready to tell society to take its norms and shove it. Quite honestly, I'm an easy gainer (both muscle- and fat-wise) and it's ridiculous when I think about how many years I've spent fighting myself by trying to change that into losing.  It's time to love my body as it is.

Which brings me to this fantastic piece of advice: "You can't fix a body you hate." And beyond fixing it, you certainly can't make it stronger.  Derby has done a lot for me--strength wise and socially--but the biggest thing it ever did for me came after I read this interview with the amazing and brilliant Elle Machete:
[What] influence has derby had on your life?  Roller Derby gave me my body back. There are so many people trying to define your body. They tell you what clothes make you look "trashy" or "matronly." They tell you to calculate health in terms of pounds on the scale. They tell you what type of jeans to wear, so your "butt doesn't look fat." Roller derby was the first time I was able to define my body on my own terms. My body can knock blockers to the floor. My body can make jammers cry (true story). And my beautiful skater booty looks HUGE in those jeans, thank you very much. Aside from that incredible personal breakthrough, derby has given me a community like none other. I don't go to church on Sunday mornings; I go to derby practice.

(Emphasis mine.) How about y'all? How are your challenges coming? Any changes in how you feel about *your* body?


Day 3 Update: Remembering our standards for ourselves

Today in class, my students were discussing a draft motion that we are planning on filing soon.  They had a lot of questions and wanted to know a lot of background information about the case, but in asking those questions, they lost sight of what it is they needed to prove: they forgot what the standard was that they needed to meet.  I feel a little bit like that today.

This morning I went to crossfit and did some deadlifts, but really felt like a failure.  The weight I did was 50lbs less than what I did last year, and I was suffering some ill effects from eating sugar yesterday (dark chocolate covered almonds.)  And so I've been beating myself up about it.  But in doing so, I've lost sight of what I'm supposed to be judging myself by: lifting heavy and eating to fuel my muscles.  Have I done that? Yes! Maybe not perfectly, and maybe not as heavy as I'd like, but that doesn't mean I'm failing at what I've set out to do.

Crossfitters, dieters and lawyers alike tend to be a down-on-themselves bunch.  Andreanna over at Life As a Plate has a really good piece about being kinder to ourselves.  Go read it, and revel in your successes.

How's Day 3 going for you?

It's been over 80 degrees and humid every day for the past few weeks.  I live on the 3rd floor, which means my house has been much, much hotter.  Cooking has been a chore. Moving at all in the apartment has been a chore. I've been struggling to keep cool, but I think these may be the answer. 

Creamy Coconut Paletas (from Mixandmoxie.com)
Makes six to eight pops

  • 1 13½-oz. can coconut milk
  • 1 14-oz. can organic sweetened condensed milk 
  • 2/3 c. half-and-half
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ c. unsweetened shredded coconut (For a toasted coconut flavor, spread a thin layer of shreds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven at 325° for 10-15 minutes.) 
  1. Put the coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, half-and-half, salt, and vanilla in a blender; blend until smooth.
  2. Stir in the shredded coconut.
  3. If using conventional popsicle molds, divide the mixture among the molds, snap on the lid, and freeze until solid, about 6 hours. If using glasses (try shot glasses for mini paletas) or other unconventional molds, freeze until pops begin to set (about 2 hours), then insert sticks and freeze until solid.

I know what I'm making tonight!


Day 3 of "pwning" August

How are you doing with your goals? Headed to the gym/beach/horses/yoga today? Taking time to treat your body right?

I had a mixed day at the gym: craptastic presses (couldn't press more than #65lbs when last week I did 75# five times!), but I conquered some mental games I was trying to play with myself and jumped up to 25", knowing I could have gone more if the class was 5 minutes longer. This is a big deal to me (although most of you can probably jump twice as high), since I have an aversion to box jumping--I'm not light on my feet, and I used to fall off the box at least once every workout that included the move.

Coincidentally, I'm also on Day Three of feeling this way:

Your day has got to have gone better than mine.


Day 2

Taking a rest day, complete with a whopping 8 hours of sleep.  After 2 days of crossfit and 2 days of derby practice, my muscles are giving me that awesome "I earned this" sore feeling. 

I am absolutely ravenous and proceeded to eat an entire celery bunch with avocado, then almond butter at my desk.  Contrary to what my students think, it is never too early for celery.

How is your day going?

What to do when traveling happens smack in the middle of a challenge

On Saturday I am headed to South Carolina and Alabama for 9 days for work. I won't have a kitchen at my disposal, and the gym is rinky dinky. So what is a girl to do? I've rounded up some of the least-annoying posts out there on the web about how to stay healthy while living out of a suitcase.

A good general read on what to do when you're traveling and don't want to be thrown off the horse and then stepped on.

How to avoid craptastic food when you're on the road.

Eva T.'s exercises you can do anywhere because they only require your body weight.

One of the less make-you-feel-bad-about-yourself posts about how to eat out healthily.


Operation Lift-o-Lot/Eat-o-Lot*

Hey everyone! Meagan's done a great job of ramping us all up, and I am PUMPED to get this six-week show on the road. You've seen the ground rules: 6 weeks to work towards your goals (whatever they may be) with check-ins at least twice a week.  First week check-ins should happen under our Day 1 post.  Original goals can be posted here.  A new check-in post will go up everyday.

Invite your friends for encouragement. Invite your enemies and invoke fear in them as you grow lean and mean. Do whatever you want, as long as it continues you on your path to badassery. Folks, we are going to OWN these next 6 weeks. 

This time around I'll be embarking on what I like to call "Operation Lift-o-Lot*/Eat-o-Lot." After years of everyone telling me how to focus on losing weight, I'm going to spend some time focused on gaining some serious muscle mass. That's right--I'll be working a mass gain plan.

My inspiration: Staci. She's a few inches taller than me and a whole lot heavier than me, but it's clear that each pound is full of 100% certified badassery. And I want in. It's no secret that I have a life-long goal of becoming generally badass. Staci has revealed a whole new path towards it.

My Plan: After a plateaued year at the Monkey Bar Gym, and a ridiculously sad 30-Day challenge with them full of fail (after 30-days of 1-3 workouts per day, I ended up losing a pound of muscle, gaining 2% bodyfat, and feeling generally terrible), I'm going back to what I love: crossfit and paleo.

I've joined up with Crossfit Sanctify, who conveniently believes in heavy lifts and short metcons, just like my favorite trainers Tony and Karen taught me. The goal is 3-4 sessions of lifting per week. I will also (hopefully, fingers crossed pending the third cut coming up this week), be going to roller derby practice 3x a week. That's 9 hours total of pure tabata/strength/endurance/metcon goodness.

To make sure that all this hard work results in more muscle and not exhaustion, I'm going to be stuffing my face full of paleo goodness.  I've just wrapped up a Whole 30, and am adding some cheese back in, but that's about it.  My household has gone full paleo and our garden is starting to bloom, so really there should be no excuses.  I'm not shooting for a number of calories per day as much as I want to make sure that everything that goes into my body is doing so for the right reason: to build powerful muscles.

I've noticed that my recovery suffers a lot when I don't sleep enough. On the flipside, I'm also much more tired when I'm lifting heavy.  After working on my cleans on Friday, I needed a nap later in the day.  Two days of derby practice with strength components also left me snoozing in the afternoon.  My goal for the next six weeks is NOT to fight this with coffee .  Instead, I'm going to give my body the rest it deserves.  I'm also going to add Natural Calm back into my daily bedtime regime. It always gives me a deeper, sounder sleep.

Odds & Ends:
There are few benchmarks I'd like to hit along the way:
  1.  Keep my knees from collapsing in derby. 
  2. Work on ankle flexibility and calf stretches. 
  3. Make it to the office by 9am each day.  (I know, I know. The sad thing is, I'm up by 6, just not in the office.)


*It's o-lot and not a-lot because 1) I'll be doing O-lifting, and 2) I like to think Gideonstrumpet is giggling at the idea of Operation LOL.

Goals for the six-week challenge

What I will do for the next six weeks:

1) Attend crossfit at least 4 times per week;
2) No more than 1 non-paleo meal per week;*
3) Go down a band size in my assisted-pull ups. I am currently using the biggest band they have (like 4.5 inches, I believe);
4) Do one thing to tidy up at home every night.

*I have a family wedding in the middle of August, and while I won't veer from paleo for the most part, I will allow myself to drink alcohol that weekend.

Mirriam and Trace's Goals.

Day 1: And we're off!

Did we all sit and think hard this weekend about what we want to accomplish over the next 6 weeks? Let's get this party started!

Tricia and I haven't quite worked out how this is going to work, but I'm thinking that I'll check in here at least M-W-F, and y'all can check in as frequently or infrequently as you'd like, BUT a minimum of two times a week. The less frequently you check in, the more you'll miss out on the totally-not-annoying-and-yet-totally-enthusiastic cheering on, which is half the fun of a challenge. Trash talk is welcome, but within the spirit of comraderie, obviously.

Also, if you're into this challenge but still not sure what kind of goals you want to set, post in the comments! We're here to support each other, and I'm sure that whatever dilemma about goal setting you're having, someone on the interwebs has struggled with it already. Don't be shy. If you think you need a little extra push to keep on top of this, let us know. We're happy to email you and check in, but would only want to do that if it motivates you, rather than make you reach for the oreos out of spite.

I'll post my goals in a separate post. I'm setting dietary, fitness, and personal goals. Ambitious, I know. But that's how I roll.

*Post script: GAH where is my head? Groundrules: 6 weeks, August 1 through September 11. Check in 2 times a week here on this blog and let us know how you're doing keeping up. Supportive badasses only, please.


How The Roomies Got Their Groove Back (and you can too)

The roomies have been sending emails back and forth that contain an increasing number of words in ALL CAPS. You know what this means: we're starting another challenge and we're pumped about it. (Nothing gets us quite as pumped as a challenge.)

This time we want you to join us.

Starting August 1, we're doing a challenge and inviting all of our friends to join in. If you ask our trainers Tony and Karen, they'll tell you that our enthusiasm is contageous. If you ask my boyfriend, it's annoying unless you're in on the venture. So start thinking of fitness and dietary goals that you want to achieve over the next six weeks, and we will cheer you to success.

This is all about choosing your OWN goals. Make it ambitious but doable. We encourage you to get fairly specific in your goals (it will help you feel more accomplished, I promise), but with measurements that are meaningful to you. If your goal is going to the gym three times each week for the next 6 weeks, that's great. Tell us what kind of exercises you'll do there (this will help keep you honest and on track). If it's doing a sub 4 minute Fran, that's also great. We don't judge where you're at, just that your goals are a good faith effort to find yourself healthier six weeks from now.

Oh, and, do not set yourself up for failure because, well, with our enthusiasm, it's not going to happen.


Badass Inspiration Thursday

Sometimes, when I think that eating paleo/starting back up at CrossFit after almost a year off is *ohhhh sooooo haaaaaaard* and I just want to feel sorry for myself while munching on the Hershey bar my client sent to me and sticking out my bottom lip as far as it will go, I turn to the internet for inspiration.

Let's talk about hard. I don't know the meaning of the word, I realize, after watching this clip. And I need to buck up and get it together, because there is someone out there who is doing something much harder, with a smile on her face.

So, may I introduce you to Irene? Irene is this Thursday's badass inspiration:

Watch this and tell me you don't feel kind of awed.


Not just for a hot bod...

We all have different reasons for exercising. I recently started up crossfit again because I was tired of feeling (and looking) weak. My boyfriend is probably the #1 fan of my doing crossfit, because he thinks it makes me a nicer person. (Apparently I get cranky when I don't get my endorphin high. Harumph.)

But if a better bod and a better 'tude don't convince you/r friends, how about a stronger brain?

Having had one grandparent who died in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's, and another who lived for ten years with really bad short term memory loss, this is no joke.


Ever have one of those days...

When you're doing pushups (on your *ahem* knees) and you look down and can see your belly through the neck of your shirt, and you think "omg I have an obese-person belly?!"

And then when you're doing back squats (again in front of the dang mirror, which admittedly helps with reminding yourself to keep your knees out), and you think "man, my hips used to not protrude so much!"

And then when you're putting on your moisturizer, you think "do I look JAUNDICED?!"

And THEN when you're eating your bacon tomato three-egg omelette, you think "meh. I am so bored with paleo eating."

It's just a pity party around these parts today.