Category Archives: Crossfit Journal

Pause

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Woohoo! I’m alive!! I have finally come through the other side of an incredibly stressful and completely jam-packed week and a half. I am now a certified Wilderness First Responder (WFR), after spending 5 full, consecutive days from Friday-Tuesday practicing how to deal with emergencies or any kind of injury/illness in the outdoors. The course was extremely intensive and required a lot of critical thinking, so I was exhausted by the end of each 10-12 hour day, but then still had to stay up late to do homework for my other normal classes in order to not fall behind. As of today I have now made up the TWO exams that I missed on Monday, and all my work is back up to date. Finally, I have a chance to pause and breathe. And sleep.

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A few vegan things that the WFR taught me included how to pack a full day’s worth of healthy snacks and lunch without relying on Shaw, which should be quite useful next year when I won’t have a meal plan. I went with the ol’ PB&J or AB&J (almond butter) for my lunches, and then brought an assortment of veggies like baby carrots or bell pepper (that I cut up that morning), cashews, apple + PB or AB, and a Bobo’s Oat Bar just in case. I try not to eat a lot of bars since they all have a disheartening amount of sugar, so I didn’t end up resorting to the Bobo’s bar after all. They key to vegan snacking, I discovered, is to have a protein/fat source along with it, such as the cashews or PB/AB, or else you can snack all day long on your low carb carrots and never feel satisfied. Also, for the sandwiches, PB&J gets old pretty quickly for me (especially since jam has LOTS of sugar), so I like to do hummus/salad greens/cucumber/whatever veggies you want sandwiches, which turn out really well and stick to you for a good while due to the hummus. And all of my sandwiches go on Dave’s Killer Bread! Recently I found a type of Dave’s bread called Powerseed (comes in a red bag) that is only sweetened with fruit juices, has low sugar, and has lots of protein from all the yummy seeds and nuts inside! Highly recommend it.

Back on the adventure front, I am excited to be shadowing our Ladies Rock Climbing Trip to Moab this weekend! Shadowing is the first step to becoming a Trip Leader in our Outdoor Rec program, so I’m on my way. Also, I plan to stay in SLC this summer, rather than go home to Nevada, and work with the Outdoor Program for their really cool Summer Program where we work with younger kids from the South Salt Lake area and take them on fun day trips and camping trips. This is the best way to really get my foot in the door with the program, so I’m hoping by this coming fall I will be a member of the main lead team on a trip or two!

The only thing still bringing me down (now that the WFR wall of doom has been broken through) is my very possibly broken middle right finger. I smashed the tip of it between two kettlebells at crossfit on St. Paddy’s day (how completely¬†unlucky!). It began bleeding profusely from my nail bed upon impact and I started running around the gym shouting and grasping my bloody hand like a small child. It was quite the scene I must say. Anyway, it swelled up to be pretty large, and while the swelling is pretty much completely gone, my finger is still rather tender and weirdly kind of numbish/tingly when I put pressure on the tip. I would post a picture, but it almost made my roommate throw up when she saw it, so maybe it isn’t appropriate for all viewers. Unfortunately, this injury has set me back a little bit in crossfit, since I can’t really grip super heavy bars, and I’m a little worried about the upcoming climbing trip where all fingers are rather essential. Nonetheless, yesterday I made it down to crossfit after not going for a solid 6 days (darn you WFR!) and got a PR clean and jerk at 105lbs! What a great way to fully de-stress and get all the yuckies out of my system, even with a lame finger; it was the icing on the cake and totally rejuvenated me to return to the real world in my “life after WFR.” Just goes to show how amazing exercise and working out are for your body, mind, and soul.

I hope all of you who may be pushing through some tough parts in your life get a little hope from this post. Just know that whatever it is, it is impermanent. After some nitty gritty perseverance and hard work, you too will have a moment to pause.

Silver Linings

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I have to say, ever since I arrived back in SLC from my adventurous break in Moab, I have been right back in the grind, but even worse than normal. This past Sunday (the 15th), all of my pre-practical tests for my Wilderness First Responder certification were due, which took a lot of time and effort. I worked all day Thursday, Friday, and most of Saturday to finish those up; my roommate even left for the night, came back the next day, and was concerned that I hadn’t moved from my permanent study spot on the couch. In addition, all of my other classes required quite a bit of work over break that is all due this week, including a lengthy research paper, with many tests looming next week (I know, it’s the first week back and there are already tests on my mind, ugh). And that’s just the general overview; you could say I’m pretty darn stressed.

BUT, I am a firm believer in finding the little, happy things, even when times seem dark and gloomy. So today, I am grateful/excited about two things:

1. Shaw served a vegan lunch option, and it’s not even Meatless Wednesday! It was a delicious, light Indian curry type thing, with chickpeas and lentils for some good complete protein. I love finding proteins, like the beans today, outside of the classics like tofu, especially since there is some negative research about soy and its affects on hormones.

2. I maxed my deadlift at crossfit at 225lbs (personal record by a ton)! I have not really found my max for a lot of movements yet, so today was exciting just in that I got to work up to a max for once. But I also broke 200lbs, which I had no idea was even possible for me. This was a little glimmer of the improvement I’ve been working towards in crossfit. Sometimes it is really hard to tell if you are going forward at all, and it can seem like a lot of tough workouts for not a lot of results. But then there are days like today where you can really see all you’ve put into it. Stoked!

So I guess this wasn’t much of a vegan post aside from my brief lunch shoutout, but being a health freak, I do think it is important to focus on the mental health factors too (like controlling stress). Even the bad days have redeeming qualities. The world is not actually completely against you. And boy am I glad about that! Happy Monday!(:

Crazy Cool Costco Coconut Curry

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The title pretty much explains it: tonight I made some crazy cool coconut curry using a sauce from Costco! Who knew Costco had fresh (in the refrigerator section), vegan curry? Even better, it is Costco size, so if you are cooking for a whole crew, you will have enough. Or if you want a good batch of leftovers to last the week, BOOM, you got a pot of curry.

The important part of tonight’s cooking, however, was the prep of the tofu. A while back I discovered the importance of draining tofu as much as possible, but I never went all out. Usually I would just pat the brick dry and press it between my hand and the cutting board for a few 5-second intervals and call it good. But no, being vegan requires the REAL tofu prep techniques, none of this amateur stuff. Tonight I used a technique I saw on A Vegan With A Plan’s blog. All you do is put a colander in a pot, put your bricks of tofu in the colander (I managed to fit 2 at once), put a piece of plastic wrap on top of the tofu (lacking plastic wrap, I cut up a ziploc bag…#college), cover with a plate, and stack something relatively heavy on top. Then you pop the whole thing in the fridge, come back in an hour or so, and tah-dah! Nicely pressed tofu, ready for any cooking endeavor.

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To complete my curry masterpiece, I chopped up some onion and got it saut√©ing in a pot, then added the tofu and let that brown up for a while. Unfortunately, I made such a massive amount that there wasn’t enough pan space for proper browning, but each piece got a little golden on at least one side, which works for me. Then I chopped up two heads of broccoli, a big carrot, and a big red bell pepper and threw them in, along with the whole tub of curry from Costco and a can of light coconut milk from TJ’s. I find that adding a can of coconut milk to most pre-made curry sauces works really well both in increasing the volume and in taming the strong curry flavor, which can be pretty concentrated. To serve, I put a couple big scoops of curry on top of a bed of a 2:1 quinoa-brown rice mix from the rice cooker. YUM.

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On another note, today is the first day of the Crossfit Open, which is the crossfit competition that is open to anyone who wants to sign up. They even have a new Scaled category this year, so that you can do the Open even if you can’t snatch 5000000lbs or whatever it is the top athletes do these days. I’m not signed up this year, because I didn’t want to dedicate my Saturdays to crossfit when I could be skiing/volunteering/homeworking/sleeping/recreating in some other fashion, which I seem to be prone to do on my weekends. Anyway, in celebration I watched the recent documentary released on the 2014 Games, as well as the first Open event showdown between the 2014 champ and 2nd place finisher at the Games. Those athletes are truly inspirational. But it made me think a lot about what it takes to be at that level, and I decided its mostly a lot of commitment and a very high pain tolerance. No matter how strong and bulky you are, you will have to push through some mental walls that you might not even know are breakable. Both inspiring and frightening to think about, especially since I am so passionate about crossfit and am at the prime starting age for training for competition. Would I ever want to go to those lengths, and spend that much time, for what is essentially a glorified workout? I guess it’s some food for thought.

Although I’m no pro crossfitter, I did get some exciting feedback yesterday and today! My coach, the lovely Taylor, commented on my push-up form and strength yesterday and how much it has improved since my arrival a little over a month ago. And then today, during my now normal 70ish Burpee warm up, my friend Kiersten commented on how big my triceps have gotten! This is encouraging news, since I am still struggling back from my “Freshman 10” during 1st semester where I put on 10lbs within the first month, as well as trying out this whole vegan+fitness thing. While I am still at the same weight (after a small drop in January), I am proud to say I have experienced some body composition changes, and I feel a lot stronger! This just goes to show, once again, that a tiny waist and slim legs and arms don’t have to be the only image of sexy ladies: muscles are healthy and sexy too!