Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Tides of Change

After three years, I've come to a conclusion... it's time for a change.  With much debate, I've decided to move my blog to a new home with more focused content.  I'm inviting you all to come check out GastroPrimal - fusing culinary science and wholesome, natural ingredients.  Over the past two years, I've found myself drifting away from the kitchen and I want to use this new outlet to reconnect.  It's time for a fresh start and I hope all of my readers are ready to come on the journey with me...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Winning & Ready for Some Changes

Today was a really good day.  Since getting sick, feeling like myself in the gym has been a bit of a struggle.  My strength pared back a bit and my endurance took a nose dive off a cliff.  It's my own damn fault as I completely fell off every wagon during my recovery - working out, nutrition and mobility - and it's been a battle on several levels to get back to where I was.

Tonight's workout was really challenging, but for the first time in a while, I was able to keep a good pace the entire time and finish strong.  Definitely a tick in the win column.

I've also come to the conclusion that The Tipsy Cupcake needs a bit of an overhaul.  Three years ago when I started this blog, I was a completely different person in a very different place in my life.  Although I think it's a great chronology of my journey, it's time to take a step forward and better reflect who I am now and the topics I talk about.

There are some big changes on the horizon coupled with some new projects (I wouldn't be me if I didn't have a new project in the works....)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Back and on track to better than ever...

So first and foremost, I need to apologize for my lapse in blogging.  I managed to hurt myself pretty badly and hostly, the past few weeks I haven't been in the best headspace with regard to sharing my thoughts.

As many of you know from my previous entries, 14.5 was a pretty challenging workout for me.  As it turns on, pushing through that workout gave me a moderate case of rhabdomyolysis (aka rhabdo), a rare condition that's prevalent in crossfitters and marathon runners where you over stress a muscle group and the proteins begin to breakdown into your blood stream.  A normal person at rest has a protein count of around 100 units at any given time, by the time I got tested over a week after the workout, mine was around 3,000 units.

While the experience was far from enjoyable and I'm still slowly ramping back into my regular workouts and weights, I'm just thankful it wasn't worse.  Severe cases of rhabdo can lead to kidney and liver failure, as well as a host of other unpleasant long term side effects.

One thing I've definitely taken away from this, is to really listen to my body.  There's a pretty substantial difference between "I want to stop because this workout sucks but I can push through" and "I need to stop because my body is telling me something is wrong."  Being that CrossFit is a community full of people who love pushing their limits, myself being no exception, the idea of tapping out on a workout isn't an idea I love but I do see the necessity of listening to my body.  During 14.5, I remember hitting a point where I just started crying, not sobbing, but just uncontrollably tearing.  In the future, I've accepted that signs like that are things I need to actually pay attention to.

Lessons learned and moving forward, I know what to look for to prevent ever pushing myself past my body's capabilities again.  I've used my recovery time to work on some things that don't require weights and I must say, my handstands and pistols are looking much better.  Silver linings...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Down... But Never Out

Did anyone get the license plate of that truck that hit me?  CF 14.5... got it.  It's been a while since I was this sore from a workout.  Standing hurts, sitting hurts, breathing hurts... you get the idea.  It's also kind of funny how a little time (in this case, about a day) can change my perspective on things.

I completed workout 14.5 on Monday night, after procrastinating it as long as humanly possible, with less than stellar results.  The workout itself was an awful experience for me and literally brought me to involuntary tears part of the way through.  Once I collapsed after finishing (literally), I remember thinking, "you never, ever have to do that again... silver lining."  Yesterday, while I maintained my fervor that 14.5 was a one time thing, I started thinking about my thrusters.  

I've hated thrusters since I started CrossFit.  I know my form isn't ideal - okay, let's be honest, my thruster form is typically a front squat followed by a strict press - my form sucks.  During the workout, one of my coaches started breaking down what I was doing wrong and how to fix it.  Okay, when i do them right - as in, using your whole lower body to "thrust" the bar up - they're not so bad.  Granted of the 82 reps I preformed on Monday, around 70 of them were still awful, but the 12 or so I managed to clean up actually didn't feel that bad.  

So after another night to sleep on the pain and anguish that was 14.5, my mindset has transitioned from "never again" to "I can do better."  Maybe it's the ibuprofen talking (yep, I'm hardcore), but I see no reason I can't work on my cardio endurance and lifting form to improve this workout.  So, in order to hold myself accountable, here it goes - I'm giving myself six months (that will bring us to the end of September) and I'm doing it again.  This time, my thrusters will be thrusters, my burpees will not be me collapsing in a pile of goo 82 times.  14.5 won this round, but I'll be back.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

14.5... a.k.a. Fran's Drunk Sister

Last night, I completed my first CrossFit Open.  I also engaged in a workout that made me cry, throw up and question my sanity.  For the first time in over a year now, a workout has made me, albeit for a brief moment, consider quitting CrossFit.

14.5 was a descending rep ladder of 65# thrusters and bar facing burpees, starting at a round of 21 and decreasing by 3 reps each time until you reach the final round of 3.  At first glance, I thought the workout looked challenging but not crippling.  I was wrong.  Thrusters have never been a strong movement for me - although they're a work in progress, they tend to be more of a front squat followed by a push press rather than a true thruster per se.  Burpees are well, burpees.  Nothing I can't do, but definitely a movement that slows down drastically once I get tired.  After my first round of 21 thrusters, I was tired.

Usually, I can find a point in a workout where I'm proud I accomplished something, a silver lining if you will.  I'm at a loss here.  It did eventually end.... I suppose that's a positive note.  This was far and away the hardest, most painful workout I've done in my CrossFitting experience thus far.  Well done Dave Castro, well done.  Please don't ever make this a throwback workout in future opens, okay?

On the whole, I'm glad I participated in the open but I'm also glad it's come to a close.  I'm ready to get back to a solid blend of lifting heavy weights, skill work and metcons, which we needed to step away from during open programming.  The open did teach me a lot about my abilities and how far I've come in the past year - I can do chest to bar pull-ups and double unders gosh darn it - but it also brought to light a lot of movements I want to work on more intensively (cough, cough, thrusters cough, cough).  While I'm no where near ready to think about next year's open, I am glad to have the experience of my first one under my belt and I'm excited to see what I can do in the coming year.

I am actually excited for the rest and rehab week we have programmed at our gym prior to jumping back into a strength cycle next week.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Pole Fitness - Trying a Variation on the Barbell

So yesterday, I joined the Blog & Tweet NH group in a Pole Fitness class at New Perspectives Pole & Aerial Fitness with Juel Sheridan.  I know I've been talking a lot lately about stepping outside my comfort zone and let it be known, this is WAY outside the box for me at this point in my life.  While I did have a few flashback to my time at Coyote Ugly in my early 20's, this was certainly a new experience for me.

First and foremost, I have to give some credit to our instructor Juel for her incredible athleticism and strength.  This woman is amazing and I aspire to have half the quads and core strength she brings to the table.  On top of that, she brings fantastic rhythm and a way of moving from pose to pose that is just flawless.  Unfortunately, I lack anything resembling grace and coordination so my attempts at the routine were far less appealing.

We began the class with some basic floor work that started with a few yoga-based stretches and quickly transitioned to fan kicks and body rolls... moves that can be used in a routine to keep it flowing after you dismount from a spin or lift on the pole.

Once we began working on the pole, my extreme lack of coordination began to shine though... as in, I managed to turn into the pole on a few occasions.  Juel however, was patient and extremely helpful with form so by the end, even though my face may have not conveyed the right level of sex appeal (I was gripping the pole for dear life), I was able to complete the move.

Our class was a crash course in pole fitness that would traditionally be broken up over two or three intro sessions, making the moves a bit less overwhelming for the rhythmically challenged, like myself.

The session was a lot of fun, and definitely something I'd consider doing again but on a regular basis, I think personally, I'm more suited for sticking a heavy barbell on my back and squatting.

If you're in the Manchester area and interested in checking out New Perspectives, they're hosting a grand opening celebration on May 3rd.  You can also check them out on Facebook.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Find Your Weakness... and Destroy It

Winter in New Hampshire is starting to show signs of drawing to a close... halle-freakin-lujah.  While winter brings a few perks along with it, if I'm not careening down a mountain bound to a board, I'm not exactly a huge fan.  I don't do too well with cold in general.

Last year, as winter was wrapping up, I was just starting to get into my CrossFit routine, which led to a lot of positive lifestyle changes.  While I'm not looking to take on a new activity again this year, I do want to look at this as an opportunity to adapt some positive new habits into my everyday routine. I read a pretty great list this morning on 50 Ways to get Better at CrossFit written by Colin Suckert that really struck a chord.  I've made some really positive progress in the past few weeks and I would like to figure out some steps to keeping that moving in the right direction.  My 30 days of wall balls and pull-ups has yielded some solid results as well - I get far less winded doing wall balls than I had before and my pull-ups have come a long way.  After getting 12 strict chest-to-bars in open workout 14.2, I did manage to link 3 kipping pull-ups together.  I'm still not 100% there but they're definitely coming along faster than before.  This idea of taking my weaknesses and deciding to convert them into strengths might actually be on to something.  When I see pull-ups in a metcon now, I don't panic, I'm actually excited to work on them.  Woot for progress!

Next on the docket, along with continuing work on pull-ups, double unders.  They've transitioned from "I can't do these damn things at all" to "on a good day, I can string quite a few together," but I know there's a lot more ground to gain here.  Cheers to baby steps!