Band Squats

I’ve been very vocal in the past about my love of squatting. It makes me feel strong. It makes me feel lean. It revs my metabolism like nobody’s business. I haven’t been squatting regularly for the last month. I know it has been good to give my joints and muscles a little break, but now it is back to the grind!

We purchased some bands from Rogue Fitness a few weeks ago. We got the three pack with blue, green and black. We rigged up our power rack in our garage for some band squatting. We have two attachments at the bottom courtesy of my husband. Last night was our first go at the band squat.

For Kody’s birthday he wanted Westside Explosive Power Training for Sports DVD. We are a funny pair. Being the fabulous wife that I am, I purchased it for him. I knew it was really for me so I was pretty excited. Box squatting with bands was the first item on the agenda this week. This is what was supposed to happen last night….

 

Now, we don’t have the same rig Westside Barbell does. Unfortunately, this limited the space and box squatting with the band became frustrating to say the least. I couldn’t get my foot position out far enough with where our rack and wall are located. Boo. It caused the band to pull in really funny and not correct directions.  I have the bruises on my back/shoulders to prove it. After determining that we simply did not have the space to box squat with bands, we decided to just band squat sans box. While I will still work the box squat, band squatting alone is going to be awesome.

I worked some light sets last night @135 just to get a feel for how the bands react. It is crazy how much they change the squat. The goal with the band squatting is to increase my explosion out of the bottom of the squat. This is going to help with tons of elements of my CrossFit. Running, jumping and overall strength. I’m trying to get my hamstrings on par with my quads. I have a long way to go! However, since I love to squat I think I will really enjoy the next few weeks of these band squats.

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Come and Take It! ACO Recap…

Saturday was in one word, awesome. I feel like it gave me a really good idea of where I am in my training and some things I still need to focus on. All in all, I came away feeling extremely positive and excited about the next six months!

We started bright and early on Saturday. All athletes arrived at 6:30 AM for verification and heat assignments. First WOD started at 7:30AM. Here we go!

WOD 1: 1 Min Max Calorie Airdyne, 2 Min Max Distance Burpee Broad Jump

This WOD was scored as an average of your placing in both components. This prevented any sandbagging on either which I thought was smart. I have no idea about final scores as far as calories (I think I was between 26 and 28) and distance (I made it down and back the basketball court). I finished 11th overall in this event which I was stoked about. The Airdyne and I are not friends…which will be changing. I’m also not a great “jumper” so doing as well as I did on the broad jumps made me happy. It was a quad killer. Three minutes, no rest, total burn. It took my legs and body at least thirty minutes to recover. I think most everyone would say the same.

WOD 2: 2 Min: 1 Gasser, Deadlifts. Rest 1 Min. 2 Min: 1 Gasser, Front Squats. Rest 1 Min. 1 Gasser, Push Press or Jerk.

On paper you might think these WODs don’t look awful. WRONG.  I guess a full gasser is two times down back the width of the football field. We went track side to track side once. The weight was 45 KG for women (99#). I knew sprinting the gasser would be a bad idea. My goal was to keep long, steady strides and get right on the bar and not put it down. Everyone had at least one and half minutes with the bar since the run was so short. That is a long time.

The minute I put my hands on the bar for the deadlifts I knew I just had to go. I closed my eyes around rep 5 and stayed that way until my last rep at 75. I was hoping to get around 65. Very pleased. My hamstrings and booty were on fire. I remember turning to my husband during the rest period saying, “well, I think I just killed my legs”.  I was not looking forward to the front squat portion even though I love front squats. The second run for everyone was a bit slower. Again, I got right to the bar and picked it up. I was at rep 8 with 1 minute to go. I finished with 25. I didn’t drop it once. I was at 100 reps going into the push press/jerk. I was hoping to get three sets of five. The standard was that the rep started and ended on the shoulders, meaning, if you dumped it from the top that rep didn’t count. I think almost every single one of us did that once not thinking. I did it on rep 5. I ended with 13. Very happy with that! I ended up taking first in that event. It was a doozie!

WOD 3: Atlas Stones: 2 min to get five stones over yoke. 45# to 146#.

I was flippin nervous about this event. I have played around with atlas stones a bit, but really all I have done is shouldering and that was with a 75# stone. I had lifted a 120# stone onto the jerk box once and it took me longer than I wanted. I saw a lot of girls absolutely demolish this wod before it was my turn. I knew I had to not only get all five stones over, but get all five stones over fast. My training buddy and friend Jo Bittle crushed is clearing all five in 26 seconds! Smoking! I ended up getting mine over in 28 seconds. I finished 12th on this event. I can’t wait to see the final results as I know a lot of us were really close together in time. Of course, there were the few that I saw that made me feel like the slowest person on earth. Candice Ruiz and Brittany McKenna both crushed it in around 20 seconds or faster! I know there were others down in the low 20’s as well. Watching it back I honestly don’t know how much faster I could have gone. I’m just so happy I got through it the way I did! It was a lot of fun. I even did my happy jump/dance as the last stone cleared the yoke. Here is the video. It is pretty dark, but you get the jist.

Floater WOD: 3 attempts at fastest 25m sled push.

We had all day to do this so we just had to fit it in between WODs as we wanted. I had never done this before. Once I got going I felt fast, but that first initial second or two felt like an eternity. I got much faster each attempt. 6.8, 6.5 and 6.1. I finished 16th in this event which was my lowest placing of the day. The winning push was 5.5, by my friend Kristen Dolf! I didn’t see it, but I have no doubt it was crazy awesome to see! I did all three attempts after the DL, FS, PJ wod. Not sure if that was the smartest strategy, but I wanted to get it in and out-of-the-way. Again, it will be interesting to see the final results on this one and how close together a lot of us ended up. A couple of tenths of a second is nothing when you are pushing, but can mean a lot when it is scored. Fun and frustrating wod all at the same time!

WOD 4: 100 Box Jumps, 80 KB Swings (35#), 60 Push Ups (Games Style), 40 Pull Ups, 20 Ground to Overhead (45KG) 15 minute time cap.

Going into this event I was 5th. I knew if I finished it I would have a good shot of getting on the podium. Only two or three had finished it before my heat. I had a game plan going in and it kind of went to crap, but that is ok. Box jumps went awesome. I knocked out 50, 20, 10, 10, 10. I was hoping to go 50, 25, 25, but I had to rethink that. (Do not drink too much fluid prior to 100 box jumps!)  I got right on the KB swings, 30, 20, 15, 15. This is where my mental battle happened. My plan was to go 40, 20, 20, but I was getting really concerned about my grip for the pull ups. I remember having a conversation with myself as I approached 30. I knew I could have kept going. I could have easily gotten to 50. That is what I should have done. I under think and I over think. During this WOD I should have just gone. I get very annoyed with myself when I think about it now. Lesson learned. My swings took me longer than some of the other girls so I had to start playing catch up. The push ups were hand release which I hate. Why do I hate them? I hate them because even though you can judge the chest getting to the ground, it allows athletes to “worm” like no tomorrow. There was a ton of that going on Saturday. technically, it was OK because the standard was to finish in a tight plank up top and hands off at the bottom.  Standards are different all the time and you have to adjust! I did sets of 15 walking in between towards the pull up bar. I got through my 40 pull ups with about 1:30 left in the WOD. I made it through 10 ground to overhead when time was called. I wish I could have gotten to that bar one minute faster. Ugh!  I gave it absolutely everything I had. No coulda, woulda, shoulda. I’m not sure what my place was on that wod.

Overall, I finished 5th. I’m really excited to be in the top five with some really great athletes. I would have loved to perform better at the end, but this was a learning tool for me. Sometimes you just have to quit thinking and GO! I have a good idea of some things I need to get better at and I have a good idea of things I have already really improved upon! One thing I am very proud of myself for was my ability to figure out how to do things I haven’t done that much of and get better, i.e. sled push and stones. I gave myself some confidence.

We had so much fun. CrossFit OKC took 13 athletes (I think) and a big crew of spectators! We had a bunch of people in the top 20 for males and females and a lot of first time individual competitors!

I’m excited to start posting about some of my new training plans and goals. I want to be in California in July. I know I have the ability to get there. The next six months are going to be rough and intense, but I want to give myself every chance I can to get to The Games! I’m just hoping I can stay healthy and stay hungry!

Stretch U – Stretch Me!

I am not flexible. I can’t touch my toes. You may start laughing now.

There is nothing about stretching I enjoy. It is uncomfortable and frustrating. It is the one part of my training I seriously neglect on purpose. I’m not proud of it, but it is a fact. I mobilize after wods…usually. I preach mobilizing to my classes every day, but I’m a horrible example. I try to sit in front of the TV sometimes to stretch at home, but I end up just lying on the floor doing nothing. I’m hopeless.

I have come to the point now that to get better at certain movements, my flexibility has to improve. Although I try to hit a yoga class every now and then (come home soon Katy Jones!), I need some dedicated stretching time that is unavoidable (meaning I paid for it so I better go!).

Yesterday I checked out Stretch U in Nichols Hills. Stretch U has been around for about one year. The first session is free so I had nothing to lose! Fransisco met me at the door with a friendly face. He actually is very familiar with CrossFit which made me really happy! The outfit is set up with four tables and four flat screen TV’s mounted in front of each one. Soccer was on the schedule yesterday. Score. They said they get athletes and non atheltes….a lot of golfers especially.

They asked me about my goals and we talked about CrossFit and college sports. I wore my Gator socks! I felt very comfortable from the beginning. They took me through very basic stretches. Calves, hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, IT band, and some shoulder work. Yes, this probably something I could have my husband take me through a couple of times a week, but if I’m 100% honest I know I won’t do it. The entire session took about thirty minutes. I made faces (shocker) and whimpered like a sad puppy. They didn’t laugh at me when legs and arms didn’t want to move too far. They were very good about listening to me when I told them “stop there” and didn’t try to go further than I was comfortable or able.

I’m set up to start going twice a week for a month just to see how it goes. I’m excited about the idea of increasing my hip and hamstring flexibility. Maybe it will help my pistols not look so gangstafied. Today I feel awesome. I feel stretched. Nothing they did hurt me in any way, shape or form.

I highly recommend everyone check them out if you live in the OKC area! Remember, your first stretch is free even if you don’t print the coupon out on their web page. They have lots of different packages ranging from once a week to three times a week for a year. On average, it comes out to about $20ish a session depending on how many you buy. Yes, it is a bit on the expensive side, but it is something I am willing to test out. It is a big weakness of mine!

Whether you find someone to stretch you or you do it on your own, stretching and mobilizing are incredibly important as an athlete and non athlete. Not only can stretching help improve performance, but it can help decrease the risk to injury.  It can also help improve circulation of blood flow to muscles.

Stretching is probably the number one overlooked part of training (guilty!). Don’t neglect it for another day. Go get your stretch on!

*CrossFit OKC’ers….I left cards and brochures on the front desk at the gym if anyone is interested. The brochures have the free session coupon.

Happy Birthday Pumpkin Bread

Today is my husband’s birthday. He is entering his the last year of his twenties.  I love celebrating. I love the birthday dinner. Birthday cake. Birthday presents. I celebrate my birthday for a month and I get equally excited about celebrating my friend’s and family member’s birthdays.

Since I’ve decided to quit lackadaisical and full of excuses when it comes to my diet, I did not and will not be giving Kody a birthday cake this year. Instead, I made him birthday pumpkin bread! No grain, no artificial sugar, just good, natural ingredients. No, it doesn’t taste like the kind of pumpkin bread that I wished it tasted like. However, it 100% satisfies that “need” for some grain-y goodness without the grain and extra sugar!

Paleo Pumpkin Bread

2 1/2 cups of almond flour

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

2 large eggs

1/4  cup of raw honey

4 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp clove

1/4 tsp ginger

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degree. Mix wet ingredients together in small bowl with whisk (eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, honey, coconut oil). Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl until well blended (almond flour, spices, baking soda, salt).

Pour egg/pumpkin mixture into dry ingredients and blend together.

Pour into bread ban and bake for one hour.

A few suggestions….

Somehow I was out of cinnamon, but I did have pumpkin pie spice! I ended up using about a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice instead of the 1/4 tsp’s and 1/2 tsp’s of the individual spices. If you use pumpkin pie spice you might want to add just a tad bit more than I did if you like spice as much as I do!

I used 1/4 cup of honey, but if you really want to taste sweetness go for 1/3 cup. This bread was not sweet by any means, but had just enough of a hint of sweetness to satisfy me.

I might add a bit more pumpkin next time, maybe 2/3 cup instead of 1/2 cup.

Kody put some Nutella on his hot pumpkin bread and was in heaven. I stayed away from it because Nutella and I have a co-dependent relationship…meaning once I have some I can’t live without it. Dangerous.

The verdict….

I will make this again! Obviously, it isn’t something I want to have around all the time. Just because it is a better version of something doesn’t mean portion control goes out the window! I think next time I might try to add some dried fruit or chopped nuts for some fun.

If you try this I would love to hear what you think and how you switched it up! I’m still a novice almond flour/grain free baker so these are a work in progress! I wish I had a picture to show the final result, but I wasn’t thinking!

Happy baking!