Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Year's Time

March 1st, 2010: Unemployed, in an extremely unhealthy relationship, self-destructive, unconfident, smoker of 3 years, addicted to food, 186 lbs., and 43% body fat. I limited everything I did; from wearing things I wanted to wear to doing things I wanted to do (dancing, playing sports, following my aspirations, even bowling). On this day, my mom talked me into getting a gym membership that I really didn't want. The selling point? She was paying for it and buying me new tennis shoes. Those were the only two reasons I agreed to join. Walking into the gym, I was extremely apprehensive; I had tried dozens of times to lose weight in the past ten years, so why would this time be any different? The way I saw it, I was just walking into another failed attempt. We got signed up, I got my tennis shoes, and I unknowingly started something that would change every aspect of my life in a year's time.

One year later; March 1st 2011: Employed as a PERSONAL TRAINER at the very gym that I set foot in one year ago, in a relationship with the most wonderful man I've ever met, self-motivating, confident, non-smoker of 1 year, eats for fuel, 139 lbs., and 18% body fat. I can now feel comfortable in any clothing (or without any clothing), run, climb ropes, dance my ass off, throw 100 lbs. over my head, and believe that I can do ANYTHING in the world that I want to do. Can I get a 'fuck yes'?! I now walk into the gym as if it is my home; that place has seen me at my best and definitely seen me at my worst. Because of my [forced] decision one year ago, I have lost weight, gained health, met the most amazing people, helped others to do what I've done, and shared my story with hundreds of people. My life has changed 100% because of ONE decision and I have not looked back once. 

To everyone that stood by my side during the past year: thank you so much. There were days that I wanted to call it quits; I thought it would be so much easier to give in and go back to my old ways. It would have been easier; this has been the hardest thing I've ever done. Thank you to my family, my friends, the love of my life, Aaron, my coworkers, and even the strangers that didn't stop believing in me and continue to motivate and support me to this day. 

To those that didn't think I could do it: I did. And your disbelief and envy just fueled me every single day. So thank you, also. And it's funny because you all seem to be the ones asking for my help. From Facebook messages to small talk at parties asking for advice, the girls that made fun of me in high school for being fat have obviously been eating their karma cupcakes for a few years, eh? I'm definitely here to help, but you'll have to pay my hourly rate now. 

To my trainers/coaches, Dominique, Brian, Ma, J, and Chris: there is a special place in my heart for you all. I'm honestly not sure if I could have done this without you all by my side. You've taught me what to do and what to eat, you've never let me quit, and you've scraped my ass off the floor workout after workout. I hope to be half as great at coaching and training as you guys have been for me. I love you all so much and I have never-ending gratitude for what you've done for me :)

To my BFF, Crystal: You have no idea how much your support has done for me. You really understand how this feels and I can't thank you enough. You're my workout buddy, my inspiration, and my BFF :) You always motivate me to push a little harder and do one more rep. Thanks for suffering through awful WOD's with me, even when we're hungover. Even if you'll always deadlift and squat more than me, I love you for days! Team BFF forever!! 

To my PFCF family: thanks for cheering me on everyday. I love you all so much; you're the best motivation ever! I have so many amazing athletes that I get to call my CrossFit family. You all inspire me everyday to better myself more and more.

To everyone I know that is struggling with their weight, whether you are one of the bitches from high school or not: quit making excuses and JUST DO IT. Trust me, I wish I hadn't waited so long; I feel like I wasted 10 years of my life being miserable, self-destructive, and pathetic. I'm definitely not saying it'll be easy, but I promise it'll be incredibly worth it. I am always here if you need advice, support, workouts, meal plans, whatever. And I was only partially joking about the hourly rate; if I can help just one person achieve goals like I have, I will be happy for you...even if you are a bitch. 

Today is one of the best days of my life. I am so thankful to be where I am today. On top of it being my one year gym anniversary, I passed my NASM test on Tuesday and today was a double PR day. I finally got 5 consecutive unassisted pullups and I also got a 75# snatch 4 times :) When I'm feeling down about myself or thinking of giving up, I just need to remember how far I've come. It's been an amazing year...can't wait to see what I can do in the next 12 months. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Paleo on the Go.

Alright, I'm a slacker and I haven't posted in months, but I've been extra busy lately and it'll supposedly calm down soon, so hopefully I'll have more time to post and sleep and do laundry and fun stuff like that! 

So what has happened in the past 2 months?
  • Well, I'm taking my NASM CPT exam on Tuesday and if all goes well, which it will, I'll be training on the first of March :) Super exciting! That has been the main reason that I've been so busy lately; just studying and preparing for my career switch. 
  • I went to South Carolina at the beginning of February for my baby sister's BCT graduation. She's doing very well so far; she got Soldier of the Cycle for her company. I was such a proud biag sister. The picture is of her eating a turkey, ham, roast beef, Oreo cookie, and Dorito sandwich. Yes, it's Paleo. 
  • I turned 21!! Needless to say...I took a few weeks off of Paleo because I discovered lemondrops, but it'll be okay because I'm quitting alcohol.
  • I got addicted to watching Jersey Shore. Don't judge me.
  • I'm running my first half marathon on May 6th in Lincoln, NE with my pops.
  • The 2012 CrossFit Open started yesterday! I'm really excited to participate in this...I think it will really help with my motivation and commitment to CF & Paleo :) 
Paleo on the Go :)
Today, other than catching up, I'd like to write about staying on your nutritional program while you're traveling. Alyssa's graduation was in South Carolina...anyone that's been to the South understands why eating clean is practically impossible. They have the best tasting food imaginable because it's all covered in gravy and mayonnaise. I was determined to not jeopardize my health while I was away from home, so I decided to bring my own food with me! 

What I brought:
  • Protein: 8 chicken breasts, 1 entire turkey breast, 5 servings of protein powder.
  • Carbohydrates: 4 whole cucumbers, 3 whole zucchinis, tomatoes, carrots, apples, & oranges.
  • Fats: Larabars, natural peanut butter, almond butter, almonds, & pistachios. 
  • Fish oil & multivitamins :)
This was honestly the best decision I've ever made while traveling. I did have a couple drinks while I was on vacation, but my nutrition was pretty on point. Also, I did several body weight workouts in my hotel room and I went on a few runs (running at low altitude is nice!). I was even able to eat well during layovers and time spent in the airport. I would just order some scrambled eggs & coffee as to not look like a complete freak, and then I'd have some veggies and healthy fats. The bitches at the airport confiscated my peanut butter on the way back home, but other than that, I had no issues getting anything through security. I just brought a small cooler as a carry-on for the plane and luckily I had a mini-fridge in my hotel room to keep everything cold throughout the week :) 

CrossFit Open!! 
I am super excited for the Open. I was pretty hesitant to participate, but I know I'll be thankful that I did. It'll give me the opportunity to push myself harder than I usually do and also gauge where I'm at compared to other people my age across the world. The first WOD was a 7 minute AMRAP of burpees. I am the only person I know that was happy about this workout. I love burpees. I did the WOD yesterday; my goal was 80 and I got 73. I'm planning on retrying tomorrow or Sunday because I know I can do better. I will periodically update you guys on my progress in the Open :)

Glad to be back on the blog! The plan is that I will be back more frequently than I have been lately :) 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bear is Back!

I cannot believe it's been almost a month since I posted last! So much has happened in the last month and I sincerely apologize for being such a slacker! After the 30-Day Paleo Challenge, I was so proud of myself for going an entire month without one bite of non-paleo food, but I thoroughly enjoyed the pie on Thanksgiving :) I overdid it, as expected. 

I'm in the middle of another Paleo Challenge at the moment; even though I'll be eating this way for the foreseeable future and it's no longer a short term adventure, it is still a challenging lifestyle and I've earned the right to call it whatever I want. My BFF, Crystal, is doing it with me this time and she is kicking ass! Our birthdays are quickly approaching at the end of the month and we are eating German chocolate cake for breakfast. Seriously.

Other things that have happened recently:
  • I got 30 consecutive double unders!
  • Crystal and I did 100 burpees for time (10:29).
  • I did the dreaded Filthy Fifty for the first time.
  • I got my first hand tear doing toes to bar :\
  • I started taking creatine.
  • I cooked my very first turkey.
  • My baby sister came home from Basic!
  • I'm getting NASM certified in February!! 
Obviously, everything has been going very well :) I'm extremely excited about the last event; if everything goes as planned, I'll start taking clients within the next 2 months. Lots of studying and shadowing work ahead of me, but I can't wait to start changing some lives through fitness! 

My workouts are still kicking my ass; I was so pleased with the results I saw from strictly following my gym's programming that I decided to continue doing so. A lot of our athletes are preparing for the Reebok CrossFit Open, so most of our workouts have been pretty simple movements at painfully high volumes (100 overhead squats for time was delicious). 

Nutrition wise, things are about the same as they were during the Challenge. I basically eat the same thing on a daily basis because it's easy, it tastes good, and I'm not bored with anything yet. I eat a lot of turkey, cucumbers, and avocado lately...such a delicious combo :) The "challenge" for me this month was incorporating portion control; I have been taking the Zone-Paleo approach. So I'm still eating Paleo foods, but I measure everything according to The Zone Diet's macronutrient breakdown. I haven't seen a huge difference since adding in this new element, but I've definitely cut down my peanut butter consumption from about 4 Tbsp. to maybe 2 tsp. Sad, but necessary. I'll give you guys some more information about my decision in going Zone-Paleo in my next post.

I really hope all of you are doing well and enjoying the holiday season! It is definitely the hardest time to stay on top of your nutrition and consistent exercise, but it's also the most important time. If you are occasionally eating Christmas cookies or yummy comfort foods, it's crucial that you don't skip your workouts! Here's what helps me stay on track when I want to go Santa status on some of my momma's cookies:
  • Smell cookies, but don't eat them. I know how creepy and socially awkward this is, but it really helps me to not eat bad foods. I can enjoy how they smell for an hour if I want, but eating it only gives you seconds of enjoyment. 
  • Pick one cheat day for the holidays. One day of eating what you like isn't going to undo all of the hard work that you put in. Eating garbage on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, the day of your work's holiday party, and the day your mom bakes Christmas cookies is going to negate your effort for the month. Especially if you go hardcore cookie monster like I would. Pick the day that means the most to you. I've chosen my birthday (the 29th) to eat what I'd like because I'm 21 and this bitch wants to get drunk. Yes, this means that I will be bringing a lunch box to Christmas dinner in order to avoid the ham, mashed potatoes, and PIE. 
  • Getting a lot of goodies from people at work? A trainer I work with brought me pumpkin cookies with homemade cream cheese frosting. Pumpkin anything is my weakness. Solution: freeze them until your designated cheat day. You'll be able to enjoy them just as much then and since they're in the freezer, there is no chance of impulse eating. Unless you're really dedicated to cheating.
  • If you're considering cheating, eat something healthful that you enjoy (apple & almond butter for me), drink a few glasses a water, and reassess your desire to cheat. You'll find that after you've eaten, you may still want a hunk of cake, but you probably wouldn't sell your first born for a bite now that you've addressed your hunger.
  • Let's face reality here; it's the holidays and perfection is probably out of reach...if you slip up, accept it. Don't eat one cookie and tell yourself "well asshole, you already ate might as well eat the whole tin." Wrong mindset. Surround your cheat food with nutritious food to get back into your routine and avoid the cookie monster syndrome. And go work out! Not only will it help with the guilty, chocolate chipy felling in your stomach, but it'll obviously burn some calories. 
With that said, I'm very glad to be back to my blog. I hope everyone has a great holiday season!! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

From the Paleo King :)

I am so thankful that I got someone to do this challenge with me! Aaron is either really dedicated to his fitness or was really trying to please me! Here is what he thought of the Paleo Challenge:

Well where to start...I am however very committed in my well being and my health... good health=good life!! blank.gif

I was lucky to get a job at 24 Hour fitness where I continue my daily health and workout routine. Overall, I thought I ate pretty well; I never really ate ice cream or hot dogs, etc., so my diet plan was acceptable for me. One day when I walked into work, I noticed that there was this beautiful, new girl working in memberships; I was like, "Hey whoas!!! who is this???" Her name is Shelby; she too is devoted to working out and she is a health freak just like I am! Fortunately, she got past my ghost-busters vacuum duty and we started to talk. One day we were talking about eating habits and she suggested that we try a paleo challenge. I was like, "What the foo-foo is paleo?" After countless hours of talking with her and researching the plan, I finally figured out that commitment is all you need to have in order to do it. I was very hesitant to do this; not having my bread or milk with protein was a no-go for me. But she convinced me otherwise, and we started the "30 Day Paleo Challenge". I, as well as others, thought we were nuts, but I got past that and really tried to focus on the end goal... and that was to get in shape.

Day 1 was weird; I had to get used to what I was going to eat for the next 31 days. Anytime I needed the support or had any questions I could go to Shelby for advice. 

The first week and half wasn't too bad...I liked eating the "paleo foods"; I kept it really simple: EGGS and CHICKEN! After a while that got really old and I needed to spice things up; that was when the challenge really kicked in. It would have been so easy to give in and have a bowl of cereal or go to Subway for a turkey sandwich, but I got though the pain and cravings by talking to Shelby and staying focused. 

After about the second week, I finally started to adjust to the food and started to eat a larger variety, like veggies; I used to hate veggies, but now it's all I eat. I love carrots and bell peppers. blank.gifYum!! This is also around the time that I started to do CrossFit with Shelby at our gym, and I immediately fell in love with CrossFit.

By the middle of week 3, I really started to notice more muscle definition and higher energy levels throughout the day. I FELT GREAT!!!! I was always in a happy mood and never had that sick feeling that you get when you eat bad food... I wish I could express how I felt, so you fellow readers could understand, but I can't...its something you will have to do in order to experience what we felt.

With ONE WEEK left and Thanksgiving around the corner, I was ready for it to be done so I could eat some freakin' pie. I came to realize that I don't ever want this to be over. I love they way I feel; yes I will smack down on some mashed potatoes, jell-o, and pumpkin pie, but tomorrow it is right back on the diet...(excuse me...back on the lifestyle). This is who I am and how I eat now.

I love applying my chicken cooking skills, I love eating fruits and veggies.. I also love going to restaurants, ordering a naked chicken salad, and feeling great when I walk out the door. How many of you could honestly say that you feel great after chowing down at Old C's or most other restaurants??? Not many!! 

Overall, I feel great, I look great, and my overall lifestyle is great. I am so thankful that I met Shelby because I would never have completed this Challenge. Yes, after completing this diet I got my health to where it needs to be, but more importantly, I got a best friend who will never leave my side, and I will never leave her's.

If you are thinking about making a lifestyle change for better health and well-being.. all I can say is don't think.. JUST DO!!!!

Happy Holidays to all,
Aaron :) 


Yesterday was the last day of the Paleo Challenge! :) Aaron and I officially went 30 days without eating any processed food (except for Aaron's salad dressing haha). Let me start by thanking everyone for your continuous support and kind words: thanks for cheering me on, talking me out of eating cake, and allowing me to smell your food! Furthermore, let me say this: if I can go 30 days without eating one bite of garbage food, you can make some improvement to your nutrition. There is always room for improvement. 

Who's ready to see how we did? I am :) 
Starting weight: ~148 lbs.
Post-Paleo: ~143 lbs.
Starting body fat: 23.4%
Post-Paleo: 21.7%

Unfortunately neither of us improved on the workout portion of the challenge. We were both about 10 seconds slower than our starting time.

Starting weight: 173 lbs.
Post-Paleo: 167 lbs.
Starting body fat: 10.7%
Post-Paleo: 8.1% 

Here are a few things we accomplished, on top of having excellent commitment to nutrition!
  • My first unassisted pullup!
  • My first full rope climbs (3 of them!)
  • My first double unders!
  • PR'd my mile run by 1:30 (new time 8:20)
  • PR'd my back squat (135#)
  • I learned how to grill! 
  • Aaron got handstand pushups! 
  • He also learned how to do double unders...very well. 
  • I did my first handstand!
Obviously improving your nutrition makes a huge difference for your mental and physical health! The Paleo lifestyle is definitely something that I plan on continuing for a very long time. So many people are concerned with the cost of eating a healthful diet, but I only spent about $30/week on my groceries...much less than I did when I was eating processed food. When you aren't paying for packaging or the manufacturers' marketing, you save a lot of money! As far as discipline and commitment goes, you can do anything you set your mind to. If you never wanted to eat processed food again, you could! Physically, I feel better than I've ever felt. My body craves and appreciates the nourishment I provide it, and in turn I have high energy levels, improved performance, and better overall well-being. This is the way people were meant to eat and how I feel everyday is just further proof of that. 

Workout wise, this challenge made me realize how far I can push myself. If I am completely avoiding foods that I [used to] like for 30 days, I better work out hard to make the most of this. That's exactly what I did. Following my gym's programming everyday made such a difference! I've noticed that a lot of CrossFit athletes are pick-and-choose with the wod's that they do; they'll look at their gym's wod, deem it too hard, too running intensive, or unappealing and call a rest day. I was this way before the challenge. Now, I show up whether I want to do the workout or not. Doing the things you are uncomfortable with will make you a better, stronger athlete. If you're going to call yourself an athlete, you better be ready to live up to that title. Don't be scared of a little hard work, a lot of sweat, and maybe a few tears. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! This is has been such a wonderful 30 days...I'm so thankful for my discipline and commitment to creating a healthier lifestyle for myself. A special thanks to Aaron for doing this Paleo Challenge with me...having a solid support system makes a world of difference. Thanks to my wonderful coaches at Progressive Fitness CrossFit for pushing me to my limits everyday, encouraging constant improvement, and providing me with a little bit of that "healthy fear" we always talk about. I have so much appreciation for everyone that has supported me throughout the Challenge and my entire weight loss journey; know that the day you decide to make life changes, I'll be here for you, as well. With that said, I think I hear the mating call of a pumpkin pie...

(...goals are still goals, even on holidays. Don't get to crazy. Eat pie, but not an entire one. And you should probably try to get a workout in...I did!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Motivation Bear!

This week has been absolutely incredible thus far; a few kick-ass things have happened!! Here's a couple of stories for you:

Story #1: The other day, I was getting ready to hop in the shower and I noticed a scratch on my back from my bitch-ass cat. As I was examining my wound, I then noticed a strange lump underneath my shoulder blade. I immediately decided that I had armpit cancer. Amidst my cancer freak-out, I tried poking this "growth" and as I moved my arms, more bumps appeared on my upper back. My confusion and panic quickly turned into excitement when I realized that I didn't have cancer at all...I just have visible back muscles now :)

Story #2: The very first day that I walked into Progressive Fitness CrossFit, they were all doing a rope climb wod. Out of curiosity and never having tried to climb a rope, I jumped up and made an attempt. I literally could not even hang on the rope, let alone climb it; I pretty much wrote off ever getting up that rope at this point. Last week, I did my first somewhat rope climb...I got halfway up a few times and I was really excited! Yesterday's workout had 4 minutes of rope climbs in it; two rope climb wods in less than a week's time? Vomit. I told Chris when I went in yesterday that I had no intention on going all of the way up and that he could give me half credit for my sweet half-climbs :) 

My 4 minutes started and I slowly progressed up the rope. Once I got halfway, I looked down at my coach knowing exactly what he was about to say: "keep going". One more pull and I looked back down: "keep going". One more pull: "keep going". It was about this time that I stopped looking down and I started looking up...I was at the top. I made my way back to the ground with tears in my eyes, rope splinters in my hands, and the biggest smile on my face. My first full rope climb! Monkey bear status!! With my awesome CrossFit family cheering my on, I did two more full climbs and one 75% of the way up. On the last one, I had really great descending technique: I just let go...I burned the SHIT out of my legs, hands, and stomach, but I do not even care! 

This was the most rewarding accomplishment I've achieved so far. Reaching my goal weight was such a great feeling, but actually seeing physical improvement like this was out of this world. Knowing that I took care of something that I once deemed impossible (not once but 3 times), has really given me faith in the process and motivated me to knock out some more goals. 

Whether you are just planning out some goals, beginning your life-changing program, in the midst of achieving a strong routine, or you've already accomplished great things, staying motivated to continue leading a healthy lifestyle is very important. Without motivation, it's easy to give up and fall back into bad habits. Here are some ways I've found motivation:
  • Change up your routine; it's easy to get bored when you do the same thing every week. Try new workouts, mix things up with interval training, or try give CrossFit a shot (seriously, do it). If you're usually a cardio princess, try incorporating some strength training; vice versa.
  • Work with a personal trainer. I worked with a trainer for about 6 months and could not recommend it more. Trainers not only encourage you, but they keep you accountable with your nutrition and workouts, they challenge you to exceed your limits, and they'll provide you with overall knowledge that is simply priceless. 
  • Take fish oil; studies have shown that DHA and EPA increase motivation sensors in the brain :)
  • Create some kind of challenge: 30 day cardio challenge, try the Paleo Challenge (I dare yoooou!), etc.
  • Narrow down your goals; sometimes it's easy to feel overwhelmed when you have 15 different things that you're shooting for. For the next few weeks, focus on ONE thing that you want to achieve physically. Whether it's losing 10 pounds, staying true to your nutritional program, or climbing that damn rope. 
  • Talk to people about your goals; tell EVERYONE about them. "Hello Walmart greeter, let me tell you about how I'm going to do my very first kipping pullup!!"This will get you excited to get things done, it will build a solid support system, and it will keep you accountable because, honestly, nobody likes to look bad to other people.
  • Find a workout buddy! My girl, Crystal, is amazing :) We encourage each other in and out of the gym; whenever I feel like eating crap food or skipping a workout, I know I can go to my workout partner and she'll kick my ass into gear.
  • Try a group exercise class: if you belong to any respectable gym, they probably have some type of exercise classes. My favorites are indoor cycling and yoga! Classes are fun and you get the opportunity to surround yourself with potential workout buddies! 
  • Make weekly and monthly goals; achieving smaller things every week/month is encouraging and pushes you towards your larger goals. A few examples of weekly goals could be: no cheat foods, increase cardio by 15 minutes daily, stretch everyday. Monthly goals: get one kipping pullup, do 5 consecutive double unders, climb that damn rope.
Paleo update: We officially have one week left of the Paleo Challenge!! It'll end up being a little bit longer than 30 days, but extra time of eating well isn't a bad thing. I plan on eating like a cow on Thanksgiving (but posting about ways you can avoid that) and jumping right back into the Paleo lifestyle until my birthday (December 29th; buy me something). Obviously I am seeing and feeling the benefits of my nutrition, so I have no intent on going back to eating garbage. Paleo fo evaaaa!!

Wod update, anybody? Obviously I'm feeling great about my performance this week :) I'm already incredibly sore and I still have 2 workouts left until rest day...this is usually about how it goes. Today's workout included toes to bar, kettlebell swings, and jump roping...3 movements I thought I could dominate, but it ended up kicking my ass. I got 5 consecutive double unders though so I'm very excited about that!! Rope climbs yesterday, double unders today, pullup tomorrow? We'll see!!

I plan on posting a goals list tomorrow, so watch out for some of that action :)

"Pain is temporary; quitting is forever."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Bear Bag: Unveiled.

My gym bag is rather large, pretty heavy, and filled with mostly useful items. I'll admit, I may come a little bit over-prepared (especially considering that I live 3 miles from the gym), but 99% of the time, I have everything that I need. What does "gym-ready" look like for this lady? Let's see :)

From left-ish to right-ish:
  1. My bright blue, Innov-8 F-light 230's- THE best shoe I have come across thus far. Very minimal heel drop, flexible, comfortable, and most importantly: great for CrossFit. 
  2. Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy (AKA "Purple Drank")- I use this as a pre-workout supplement and occasionally drink it in place of coffee or tea. It is delicious and a lot milder than other pre-workout supps. that I have if you don't like feeling like The Hulk before you workout, Purple Drank is for you.
  3. Degree Active- The best D.O. for my B.O. 
  4. Lemon Vanilla lotion- It smells like lemons & cake. I can't eat cake, so I like to smell like it.
  5. Pink Fresh & Clean body spray- Because I am so fresh & so clean.
  6. BodyBugg V3- It calculates how many calories you burn throughout the day, so it is especially helpful for weight loss. A lot of people overestimate how many calories they burn and underestimate how many calories they consume, so any kind of calorie-tracking device will ensure that you are getting the calorie-deficit that is necessary for losing weight. Plus, it's fun to see how many calories you burn when you're driving, mopping, or running around your house in a Robin outfit...
  7. Chalk bag- CrossFit incorporates a lot of Olympic weightlifting, pullups, knees to elbows, toes to bear bar, etc. These are all activities where grip is especially important and sweaty palms are disadvantageous; thus, gym chalk in a cute lil' bag :) 
  8. Gym bag- For carrying all of this shit.
  9. The Paleo Diet for Athletes- This book is excellent! It is what really inspired me to be so strict with my nutrition because it discusses how big of a difference it makes with athletic performance. Even if you are not an endurance athlete, I would recommend reading this if you are interested at all in improving your workout level, your running times, or sports ability. 
  10. Organic raisins- Because most manufacturers add sugar or preservatives, I like to buy organic dried fruit instead. I eat raisins post-workout because they are an alkaline-based food (decreases acidity in blood, helping with soreness) and they are high glycemic load/index carbohydrates (taken with protein, help with protein synthesis aka muscles sucking up protein). 
  11. Dental floss- I eat A LOT of meat and broccoli; not so cute stuck up in your teethies.
  12. Blender Bottle- This baby is great for mixing protein shakes, pre-workout supps, chocolate milk, etc. It has a little whisk inside that prevents chunkage :)
  13. Lacrosse ball- I use this for self-myofascial release (muscle knots) and mobility (stretching). Just place a ball between you and a wall and roll around on the sore/tense area. Caution: this hurts and will make you want to cry/vomit. 
  14. Nalgene bottle- I love my giant water bottle because I am more inclined to stay hydrated and avoid making 1,000 trips to the water fountain. 
  15. Knee band- I have issues with my left knee (from running and attempting double unders), but this band helps quite a bit. I just wear it underneath my lil' kneecap and it alleviates most of the pain. 
  16. Workout clothes- Fact: I own 10x more workout clothing than I do normal people clothing. I really like the Champion brand (Target) because it's rather inexpensive and it all fits me pretty well. 
Alrighty, I guess that sums up the entirety of my gym bag!! 

The Paleo Challenge is still going well! I think I'm at the point where it's just an everyday thing now. I don't think about cake every 3 minutes and physically, I feel amazing. I almost don't want to eat an entire pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving just because I feel like I'm doing so well. I am really seeing the truth in the whole "it takes 3 weeks to create a habit" or whatever...this is actually getting easier as I go along. The hardest rule to follow lately has been the "no measurements until the end" rule. I really, really want to weigh myself!! I think it's just out of curiosity, but so far I haven't set foot on the scale. 

We have kind of a segregation of sorts going on at work right now: very recently, we have a few people starting on The Zone Diet and a few people that are becoming Paleo. I just think it's awesome that everyone seems to be jumping aboard the health train, honestly. I used to be such a Zone hater, but I'm getting to be more understanding with not wanting to give up certain things. And I quote "The Zone Diet gives you cookies!!!" 

In workout news, I have been the sorest of my lifetime this week. Progressive's programming has been spot on lately and I'm really feeling it. I ended up working out last Sunday (and PR-ing the shit out of my wod), so yesterday was an impromptu (and much needed) rest day, along with today. So it's back to work tomorrow!! 

"Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can do what others can't."