My Pursuit of Happiness and Skinny Jeans

My journey to a smaller jean size

My Happy Place

Happy Friday, everyone!  This week seemed to go on forever, so I am glad the weekend is finally here.  I’ve got a busy weekend in store for me.  CrossFit and Ax Throwing with friends tonight, CrossFit and a 50th birthday party tomorrow, and the usual meal planning/grocery shopping on Sunday.  Somewhere in there I’d like to stop in at a Multi-vendor event my sister is going to be at and hit up a warehouse sale and check out some golf stuff.  Writing it all down sure makes it seem like I’ve got a busy couple of days ahead of me!

For this post, I’m being a bit lazy and using something I wrote for my gym…CrossFit Newmarket/Aurora Central.  Every few months, they do a “Member Spotlight” on someone from the gym.  Late last summer, they asked me if I’d complete the member profile for them.  This week my profile made it to the top of the pile and was posted on their website and their Facebook page.  It was fun to look at what I’d written almost 6 months ago and see how so much of it still applies (with a few edits since it was written last August).

So, here it is…Enjoy!

Nicknames (in the gym): Jesse likes to call me Pain Face

Age: 48

How long have you been CrossFitting? How long have you been a member at CFNC?
I’ve been CrossFitting since January 2013, when I first joined CFNC.

Were you a member at the original gym on Journey’s End Circle? How does it compare/contrast to the current gym(s)?
When I joined CFNC it was still in the old Journey’s End Circle location. It was a much smaller space but I really liked it. It felt pretty intimate and really had the “community” feel that I had read about on a number of blogs. That being said, the new gyms are awesome with lots of space. I really like the new Aurora location. It’s about a minute from my house and full of shiny new equipment! That being said, I’m not a fan of the turf and sleds at Aurora …for some reason it is so much harder to push the sled on that turf. I may have cherry picked locations when a WOD had a sled push in it last summer…I just couldn’t face that turf in Aurora! (This was before Ryan changed sled push to half body weight in Aurora!)

What did you do (athletically speaking) before CrossFit? What was your background?
Before CrossFit, and even still now, in the summer I golf in a ladies league Tuesday nights, and I play ball hockey once a week. In the winter I play Ice hockey once a week (CFNC members Nikki and Pam are on my team too!) Other than that, I wasn’t really doing too much “working out”.   I used to run – a lot (ran about 7 or 8 half marathons and 1 full marathon) – but I really hated it. Around the same time that I joined CrossFit, I had signed up for a half marathon. I made it about 2 runs into my race training schedule when I finally admitted to myself that I really didn’t like running and decided I was done with it. The thought of 12 weeks of running just didn’t seem as much fun as CrossFit, so I stopped training, sold my bib to the race, and now pretty much only run when I have to in a WOD. It was one of the best decisions I ever made! Running made me miserable. CrossFit makes me happy! ☺

How often do you train?
I do class 4 times a week. When I first signed up I was only 3 days a week, but when I renewed I bumped up to 4. I’d love to go unlimited, but I don’t think I can physically get here more than 4 times a week with all the other stuff I have going on. Plus, I’m not sure my body could take more than 4 times a week!

When time of day do you typically train? Do you like to train at this time or it because of work/schedule?
During the week, I’m usually in the 8:30pm class. I’d like to come earlier, but during the school year, 8:30pm classes give me enough time to get home, have dinner with the family, deal with kids/homework, etc and not feel guilty leaving the house. Also, I like the 8:30 class. It’s not usually that busy, so you get a lot of attention from the coaches.

What’s your favourite thing about CrossFit? Why have you stuck with it for as long as you have?
My favourite thing about CrossFit is that it’s a well-rounded hour. I like that we get warmed up, stretched out, work on strength, and then the MetCon. I also like that I don’t have to think about what to do. The programming is set and the coaches will warm us up and stretch us out. I basically just have to do what I’m told and I know I will get a good workout in.

What are you known for? What’s your identity in the gym?
Hmm…not really sure. I’d like to think that I’m known for just working hard. I’m not the strongest, and definitely not the fastest, but I never quit. I certainly want to sometimes, but I just keep pushing through.

Who is your favourite coach?
This is a tough question. All the coaches are fantastic. I don’t hesitate to take a class with any of them. I actually like when I get a variety of coaches in the week, since each one has different pointers for lifts and moves that all help me improve. I will say that I really like when I can get to a class that either Michelle or Ryan is coaching – they are tough, but I like that!  Regardless of who is coaching, I learn something new in the gym every day…and that’s awesome!

Do you prefer Strength or MetCons…or both equally?
I think I like MetCons better. I love the feeling of making it to the end of the workout and being an exhausted, sweaty mess. There are days when I’m amazed I did it, but it’s a great sense of accomplishment.

What’s your favourite workout (benchmark, style/type, movement/lift…)?
I really like double unders. I can do them not too badly, and since Ryan suggested I use a longer rope I’m getting even better at them. And in line with that, my favourite workout is Annie (50-40-30-20-10 Double Unders and Sit-ups). I like that it’s moves that I can do, and each round there are few reps. My time has gotten better every time we do it. I haven’t done it for a while…maybe Ryan should program it soon so I can see if I can beat my best time!

What’s your least favourite workout (benchmark, style/type, movement/lift…)?
This one is easy. My least favourite move is Thrusters. There is just something about them that I find so hard – both physically and mentally. Plus, I’ve hit myself in the chin twice coming up out of the bottom and chipped a tooth bad enough that my dentist had to repair it! I cringe every time there is a workout with Thrusters.

What was your best and/or worst day at CrossFit?
I have 2 days that come to mind and both days were the best and worst day at CrossFit at the same time. Both were during the Open Friday night Throwdown in 2014 and 2015. The first was Open Workout 14.5 (21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps for time of: 65-lb. thrusters, Burpees). Back in 14.5 there was no scale option, so I had to do 65# Thrusters. This workout terrified me. Up to that point, I hadn’t done a 65# Thruster, so the thought of doing 84 of them was just so overwhelming. I had a mini-meltdown and may have shed a few tears before it was my turn to go. I remember Simon, my judge, talking me through the whole workout, keeping me going and just getting me through it. I did that whole WOD in sets of 3 thrusters. It was awful, and took forever, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to finish a WOD.

The second best/worst day was Open Workout 15.5 (27-21-15-9 reps for time of: Row (calories), Thrusters 65#). Again, since it was thrusters I was dreading this workout. I was debating about whether to go Rx or Scaled and by the time it was my turn, I had settled on scaled 45#…but Alannah, who was my judge, said “Nope, you are doing Rx” and changed my bar to the 65#. This workout was not fun. It was hard and long, but I finished. This time my tears came after the WOD. When I finished, Alannah gave me a big hug and I just started to cry. Thrusters test every fibre of my being!

What are some of your accomplishments (weight loss, PR’s, overcoming injury, other personal goals, competitions, etc.)?
Getting pull-ups and lifting 100 lbs over my head are two specific things that stand out for me. But really, the fact that I have stuck with this for over 3 years now and faithfully go to class is a pretty good accomplishment too.

What are you working towards right now? Do you have any goals?
I’d like to be able to string together 10 pull-ups. So far I’ve done 5 in a row, but most of the time I can only get 3 in a row before I have to drop off the bar. I haven’t really being doing anything extra to help me with this, so I can’t be too surprised I’m not getting any better. I guess I really should do something about that ☺

Tell us about a funny/embarrassing CrossFit moment.
I would say chipping my tooth doing a Thruster was pretty embarrassing. Also, I passed out once during class, and coming to with everyone huddled around me was a bit weird and embarrassing. Other than that, nothing really sticks out. I learned a long time ago not to be embarrassed about finishing a WOD last…which I do a lot of the time.

Do you do any athletics outside of CrossFit currently?
As I mentioned earlier, I golf, play ball hockey and ice hockey. I ski a bit in the winter, usually just on our family trip to Vermont every year for March Break. Between work, kids, and CrossFit I don’t have time for much else!

Is there anything you look forward to (The Open, heavy squat days, in-house competitions, eat after your workout..etc)?
I mostly just look forward to coming to class. CrossFit really is quite often the best part of my day…especially now that I’ve finally convinced my husband, Rory, to join and we now workout together.

Is working out a priority for you? Is sleep more or less important (than training)? Does sleep/nutrition affect your workouts?
I do make it a priority to get to the gym 4 times a week. I usually have my classes scheduled out for the week and in my calendar so I can schedule other things around them. I’m finally learning how important sleep is and really trying to make that more of a priority and get at least 7 hours a night. Getting a good night’s sleep impacts my workouts, but also my day in general. When I’m tired, I don’t do as well in the gym and I tend to not eat as well either, which doesn’t help at all. I find I’m at my best when I have planned my meals for the week, prepped some things ahead, and don’t have to worry about food.

Have you changed your eating since you started CrossFit?
Yes and no. Even before CrossFit I was eating clean most of the time. Doing a few Whole Life Challenges changed the way I ate (for 8 weeks at least) since there were so many restrictions (no wheat, dairy, sugar, etc). Now I’m trying to do the macro thing, but not being too strict about it. I find that just by thinking about what I’m eating I tend to keep things within reason.

What do you typically eat on a Rest Day and/or Training Day?
I don’t really eat that differently on rest versus workout days. On workout days I do have a protein shake and some dates after my WOD, but other than that, I don’t really treat them differently food-wise. Maybe I should??

Have you learned anything new about yourself/fitness/health since starting CrossFit?
I think the biggest thing I learned is that I wasn’t eating enough and that I need to eat for fuel so I have the energy to do the workouts. I’d like to see more changes in my body – less fat, more muscle. I’m working out just about as much as I can, so these changes will have to come from getting better with my nutrition. I know I can do it, I just need to plan and be prepared so I’ve got healthy options available whenever I need to eat. If not, it’s just way too easy to eat crap. And when I eat crap, I feel like crap, so I need to avoid that.

Do you have friends/family who also CrossFit at CFNC? Did you drag them here?!
I do! My friend Pam has joined, my friend Suzanne joined last fall, and I finally got my hubby to join. I’ve been working on getting Rory to come for 2 years. Finally, with the 2 week trial I got him into the gym. Once he actually tried a real class and saw what it’s all about, he finally understood what I have been talking about. He officially joined last August, and is really enjoying it. He’s seeing the benefits of CrossFit, plus we get to spend a few more hours together each week now that we are both coming to the gym.

Do you come to socialize (take your time before/after class, stretch) or are you just business (in an out in an hour)?
I tend to come to class a bit early to do a bit of stretching and to chat with folks, but I’m pretty quick to leave after class most days.

Are you into CrossFit as a whole (Games, Open, Apparel, Competitions, Watching YouTube Videos) or do you just come here to get in a good workout?
I’m all in! I do the Open, I have the gear, and I will do friendly in-house comps. I also read and watch YouTube to find tips on how to get better, or to learn what a movement is. This was especially true when I first joined. I would go to the CFNC site and see what the WOD was, then search YouTube to figure out what it meant so I had some clue when I showed up to class.

Has your mindset changed since starting CrossFit (perception of CrossFit versus current Reality)?
I didn’t really know what CrossFit was before I started. I had read about it on blogs and just decided to try it. I called for a free class and Michelle got me set up for the Baseline test. It didn’t take very long for me to decide that I loved it. All my early workouts were hard, and all of my workouts now are hard. I think that’s one of the best things about CrossFit. It can be challenging for as long as you do it. Lift heavier, go faster, and always improve. It’s awesome!

Have your priorities changed since starting CrossFit?
I would have to say yes. I pretty much schedule the rest of my life around my CrossFit classes. I do everything I can to ensure I get to the gym 4 times a week (and just recently added Andrew’s Strength Foundations into the mix). I have never been so dedicated to a workout routine before. I’ve had other gym memberships, but stopped going after a few months, and definitely never renewed 2 years in a row.

Has CrossFit changed your life?
Definitely! I’ve still got some work to do, but I’m in the best shape of my life, and hoping to improve more! I know if I keep showing up at the gym and work hard, and keep my nutrition on track, I will get there. At this point, I can’t imagine my life without CrossFit. CFNC/CFAC is my happy place…and I can’t wait to get to class tonight!

If you’d like to see for yourself just how great CFNC/CFAC is, just give Ryan or Michelle a call at 905-726-8686 or 905-895-4461 and they can hook you up with a baseline workout and free 2 week trial!  Tell them I sent you!
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Happy Weekend!!

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The Friday Five – Facebook Memories Edition

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So a while ago Facebook started showing you “memories” from previous years on whatever day it is.  I’ve been getting a kick out of those as it’s a nice trip down memory lane, and it’s been reminding me of not only good times I’ve had with friends and family, but also good eats that I’ve made in the past and forgotten about.  Here are some of my recent “foodie” memories.  Most of these recipes are listed on my “recipes you have to try page”, but I’ve also provided links to the recipes below.

  1. Lean Green Bean Frozen Peanut Butter Cups.  

    These little beauties are quick and easy to make, and since I made them in a mini muffin tin, I don’t feel the least bit guilty about enjoying then as an afternoon treat at work or at night while watching tv.  I currently have some in my freezer at home and at the office! Find the recipe here.

  2. Clean Eating Mediterranean Veg & White Bean Pasta.
    CE med veg and white bean pasta.jpgThis is a delicious and quick pasta dinner.  It’s loaded with veggies and the feta cheese is a nice tangy topping.  Find the recipe here.  I like this one since it usually gives me 2 leftover meals for lunches at work.
  3. Clean Eating Mongolian-Style Beef Crepes
    mongolian style beef crepes.jpgThe bundle of deliciousness popped up in my memory feed this week and I am definitely adding it to next weeks menu when I do my meal planning this weekend.  I had totally forgotten about these, but do remember how tasty they were and I’m looking forward to making them again.  Find the recipe here.
  4. Clean Eating Spaghetti Carbonara with Chicken Sausage
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    I had totally forgotten about this recipe too.  I went through quite a phase of cooking from Clean Eating magazine when I first started trying to eat better and exercise more.   I made this last Sunday and it was even better than I remember it.  So good and it will definitely not be another 3 years before I make this again.
  5. This last memory is not food related, but friend related.  For the last 5 years, in early April, I have gone to Brockville to play hockey with my best girls.  This year, we were initially planning to go to Nashville for a tourney instead, but that fell through as it became a bit too expensive and people figured the hockey would get in the way of our drinking.  So, we changed to a tourney the same weekend in Niagara Falls.  All was good, except 2 weeks before the tourney, it got cancelled 😦  It seems lots of teams said they were coming and then never sent their cheques in, so the organizer cancelled.  We couldn’t do Brockville this year because many of the girls had other commitments that weekend and we didn’t have enough to ice a team.  So, we didn’t get our tourney weekend in this year.  That made us all a bit sad, because the Corona Crushers really know how to have a good time at a tourney.  Here’s the memory that came up this week from last year’s tourney.  Love you crazy chicks.  xo
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I’m sure I will be making more memories this weekend as it’s the Third Annual Jelly Bean Ball – a fundraiser my friend has for Community Living.  If history repeats itself, and I’m sure it will, we will eat, drink, dance and be merry until the wee hours of the morning.  Can’t wait!

Happy weekend!  The weather in the Toronto area is finally looking like spring.  As soon as I hit publish I’m heading to the back deck to enjoy a nice, cold Corona!  Cheers!

Are you enjoying the Facebook memory feature?

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The Friday Five – Monday Edition

I started writing this post on Friday, but didn’t quite get it finished, so here’s my Friday/Monday Five!

Wow!  It’s April already…how did that happen?  Time is just flying by.  Once again, it’s been a while since I posted, so let’s get caught up with a Friday Five.

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  1. We had another great March Break at Okemo!  This was our 9th year going skiing for March Break and the 9th year we have had a fantastic time.  The snow was not the best this year. In fact, if you just judged by the snow seen from the tow, you might doubt we would be able to ski:
    IMG_1648The snowmakers at Okemo are always winning awards, and they were really kept busy this winter with the lack of snow in the East.  The only snow in the whole area was on the runs!
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    The snow was not the best, but we still managed to have fun on the slopes.  We also had a good time with our aprés ski time!  I ate way too much cheese and drank too much beer, but that’s what vacations are for, right?
  2. We extended our March Break with a trip to Cuba!  Last year we went to Cuba with some friends and had such a good time we decided to do it again, and expand the group to include 2 more families.  This year, we were a group of 19 and we had an awesome week of fun in the sun.
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    We enjoyed lots of time on the beach, by the pool, had a few long walks on the beach, and we all experienced our first foam party!  It was pretty fun!
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    We also chartered a 45 foot boat for a day and did some deep sea fishing, explored a “virgin beach”, had a great lunch on the boat, did some snorkeling…and we even caught a few fish.  My son Jackson caught the biggest fish of the day.  He was thrilled!
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  3. I had to do 16.5 in Cuba!  We were going to be in Cuba the whole time that 16.5 was “open”.  I checked the announcement on Thursday night – was less than thrilled to see if was 14.5 again, since that workout SUCKED HUGE!!  See here for that recap. After the announcement, I checked out the resort gym o Friday morning to see if they had what I would need for the workout.  Thankfully, they had barbells, so I was set. I would be able to do the workout – yay!  Ugh!  I decided to do the workout Saturday morning.  I didn’t drink Friday, since I was pretty sure 16.5 was going to suck enough all on it’s own that being hungover would be a bad idea.I stressed a bit about the workout on Friday, trying to decide between RX and scaled.  In 14.5 they didn’t have a scaled option, so I had to do RX.  Saturday morning, I rowed for a few minutes and did some stretching, and then started warming up my thrusters.  The gym was hot and the bar felt heavy after 2 weeks away from the gym.  Plus I was on vacation, so I cut myself some slack and decided to go scaled.  In the end, scaled was still a hell of a workout.  I was a soggy mess by the end, but I was proud of myself for doing it…and enjoyed many cocktails on the beach that afternoon!  Note my very official scorecard!
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  4. I’m going to strength foundations classes.   Hockey season is over and my Thursday night’s are open, so I’m going to start going to Strength Foundations.  This class at my CrossFit that focuses on the three powerlifing lifts.  It is run by  Coach Andrew.  He’s an elite powerlifter who has won Provincial Championships, and for a relatively small guy, can lift a shit ton of weight.  In the strength foundations class, Andrew helps “fix” our back squat, bench press, and deadlift.  I’m super pumped to be able to finally be able to go to this class.  I haven’t been doing heavy deadlifts a almost 2 years since I tweaked my back in 14.3 and the deadlift ladder.  I’m hoping that Andrew can help me fix my form and get me back to lifting without pain.I went to my first class last Thursday and Andrew assessed each lift and gave me a few things to work on for each lift.  This week he will create a program for me now that he’s seen where I’m starting from.  I’m super pumped to get strong!
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  5. I rode a bull!  Saturday night a bunch of CrossFit ladies went out to a bar in downtown Toronto to celebrate Coach Michelle’s birthday.  We started with a pre-party at Michelle’s house to get things started – isn’t this a great looking group of strong women!
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    Party organizer Coach Katrina had arranged for a limo bus to take us to and from the bar – pretty sweet ride, eh?
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    Everyone brought a few “travellers” on the bus and we were off to the Rock ‘N Horse Saloon.  I’d never been there before – no real surprise  since I couldn’t tell you the last time that I went out to a club or bar.  I was glad we went here since it meant I could wear jeans, a plaid shirt, and cowboy boots and not have to worry about buying a “club” outfit!  Everyone grabbed a drink from the bar, then a few of us tackled the bull.  This is not the best picture, but it’s me on the bull, holding on for dear life!
    the bull
    Once everyone had their turn on the bull, it was time to dance…and dance we did! We danced until we got dragged off the dance floor and back onto the bus to head home.  It was a much less active ride home as the drinks and dancing took their toll on quite a few!  I won’t mention any names, but more than a few ladies “napped” on the drive home.  Everyone had a great time and agreed we needed to do it again sometime.  I can’t wait!

Now I’m home from the gym and looking forward to getting to bed. It takes me a little longer to recover from those late nights now!  

How has April been treating you so far?  

We got 6 inches of snow last night. Mother Nature needs to get her shit together. It’s April showers, not April snow! 

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