You are going to hear it many times in the next couple of days, "Happy New Year!", but how do we make sure it is a Happy New Year? I have been thinking about it for a while thanks to the book I've been reading, The Happiness Project. As a result, I have made my own mini Happiness Project for 2013!
If you haven't heard of, or read The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin decides to spend a year focusing on the the things that really matter. She has a theme for each month of the year and focuses on making small changes that really add up. Examples include, Boosting Energy, Lightening Up, Making Time for Friends, Pursuing a Passion, and Paying Attention.
My mini challenge, will have focuses on my blog, finances, decluttering my life, trying to become a morning person, and getting my tail back into SUBU on a regular basis. Even if you are not in need of full-on or a mini Happiness Project, check out these tips I ran across on one of my favorite websites, Refinery29.com, How To Be Deeply, Blissfully Happy in 2013.
This week I am going to try two new crockpot recipes from Savingyoudinero.com, Hawaiian Chicken and Chicken Fajitas.
Lunch today was tuna salad with lemon juice and olive oil dressing, with a side of carrots and greek yogurt dip! Surprisingly filling!!
Im off to walk pigs and start getting ready for this evenings festivities. Hope you all have a Fabulous and Happy New Year!
Buckle up... this is a lengthy one!!
So last night was FRAN. For those of you that have no clue what this is, it is a crazy hard CrossFit Benchmark workout. It is intended to show progression for the CrossFit athlete. The video below is from a spectator at the 2012 CrossFit Games of the last heat of Women in the Games. FRAN = 21 Thrusters, 21 Pull-ups; 15 Thrusters, 15 Pull-ups; 9 Thrusters, 9 Pull-ups. The prescribed weight for the women is a 65lb bar bell. The reason that FRAN is such a bitch is, that it is generally a very heavy weight (not everyone uses 65lbs), it works every single muscle in the body, and you are intended to do it as fast as you possibly can.
I have been dying to get an (Rx) next to my name on the SUBU Board, which means that I completed the workout with the prescribed weight, or in other words, the weight that the athletes use at the CrossFit games. I was super nervous and wasn't sure which weight I was going to try, until some little, completely ripped, new girl showed up to SUBU and set up her bar with 65lbs. As soon as I saw this, I cleared it with Larry (SUBU CrossFit Coach) that I wouldn't kill myself, and I set up for 65lbs. Little buff girl was right in front of me so I thought she would be great motivation during the dreaded workout.
Timer starts and as soon as I do my first thruster, I realize that I will not be able to string them together like I can with 55lbs (red flag). I complete 21, one at a f&*$ing time. I complete 21 pull-ups (no band). I start the round of 15 thrusters and am completely, I mean completely toast, after 5 reps. In my head my choices were to stop altogether or take 10lbs off the bar in order to finish. Thankfully my trusty Gal Pal, Courtney was my partner and helped me take the weight off. I proceeded to finish the workout with 55lbs and it took me over 13 damn minutes!! I hate you FRAN.
Overall impression of FRAN... I have never felt that level of defeat before, but she left me wanting more!!
After FRAN is a great time to talk about REST & RECOVERY! Yes, I said rest. I get that CrossFit, let alone SUBU, is addicting and can result in a serious obsession. This is even more of an issue when you start seeing results ;) But what if that obsession and drive, prevents you from making progress?
Getting into shape, whether your motivation is to look sexy in your birthday suit, to run a marathon, or to finally be able to see your toes, has many moving parts. One of the important moving parts is rest and recovery. Overall, your body needs rest to recuperate and grow from all of your hard work.
As you workout your muscle fibers are being broken down and proper recovery and rest days are necessary to give them time to rebuild. If you neglect taking rest days, you run the risk of continuously breaking down your muscles, which is the opposite of what everyone wants.
Now, what exactly do I mean by rest? Technically, research states that having 24 hours/rest days between working out the same muscle groups (back, chest, legs) is necessary for adequate recovery. However, you do not have to have days where you do not work out, you just have to know how to finagle your workout plan. For instance, if you were to workout at 6am on a Thursday morning and then "rest" until your 6pm Friday evening workout, your body will have had 36 hours to rest. This way, you OCD'ers wouldn't have to take a complete day off. Voila! Everyone that hated the words Rest Day, can now relax.
*** Please remember that rest days do not have to mean doing nothing. I recommend being active everyday of your life!!! Feel free to set up a game of sand volleyball or go for a bike ride. Activities such as a short jog & stretching, yoga, swimming, and tai chi are all forms of active recovery and work great on your rest days.
Signs that you need a Rest Day
You can Google these topics (along with others, Naked Yoga) and find multiple lists of why you should take rest days; signs that you need a rest day; and ways to recover faster.
Signs you need a rest day:
Moral of the story "Always let your BODY be your guide!" (Sung to the tune of the Pinocchio song).
Since this post is long enough I am going to give you some links to other great information on rest and recovery:
Post on CrossFit Rockwalls Website - Great way to track your exercise and the idea of a Half-Intensity Week.
About.com's After Workout Recovery Tips - These tips can help to lesson the effects of daily exercise.
The title of this post is from a really great book called "Fitness is Religion". It was published in 1997, but most of the principles and ideas in it are still very relevant. Let me know if you wanna borrow it!!
Video below is of Kyle Maynard, who was born with congenital amputation of the forearms and lower legs, kicking FRANs ass. I will think twice before bitching about this workout again!
I decided to go through the health and fitness books that I have read over the past couple of years and recommend some great books. I figured I would start with the more simplistic easy reads and then progress to the more in-depth and more serious. The first one that I am going to recommend is Food Rules An Eaters Manuel by Michael Pollan. Michael Pollan is the author of Omnivores's Dilemma, another great book in which Pollan takes a look into the way that American's arrive at the decision of "What's for dinner?". It is a book that I will also recommend but I will save for another time!
Food Rules is exactly what is sounds like. A manual to help all eaters make better decisions when it comes to choosing which foods to consume. It is a great start to diving into what is in our food, where it comes from, and what goes into making the food that we eat on a daily basis. If you have never thought about those questions before then now is the time to do so.
Rule number 3 in the book is: Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry. Start flipping around the items that you eat on a regular basis and checking out the nutrition information. If there are ingredients that sound more like chemicals than things like flour and water, then maybe it would be wise to search out a better option (Rule # 2 is: Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.).
Lets look at an example. I have been recommending to many in my life that white bread be replaced by wheat bread.
Point # 1: I know that white bread "tastes" better but that is because most are just giant loafs of sugar. As with any switch there is some level of trial and error. Keep trying different brands until you find one that you could see yourself eating on a regular basis.
Point # 2: Be careful of the packaging tricks. Just cause it says is 100% Whole Wheat does not mean that it is the best option. Here is the ingredient list from a "100% Whole Wheat Bread".
Notice the fourth ingredient, high fructose corn syrup. Food Rule # 4 recommends avoiding HFCS. Pollan states that this is not because it is really any worse for you than other sugars but because it, along with other unkown ingredients, like exothoxylated mono and diglycerides, are a sign of food that has been highly processed.
Unless you decide to make your own bread, it will be a little challenging to find a bread nutrition label without some of these scientific crazy ingredients. The point is to start looking and make yourself aware of what you are stuffing in your mouth, especially the foods that are a regular part of your diet. If you find that the "healthier" options are too expensive/out of your budget, then maybe you should just limit the frequency of this item from your diet. A little less bread is usually a good idea for most.
What if you are eating out on a regular basis so you can't see the labels? This should also be questioned because who knows what is going into the food in restaurants these days.
So that is your challenge, take a look at your food and make note of which need to be replaced. If you find something you like, post it for others to try. Maybe we can lessen the trial and error process on processed food, ha!