BASEDTraveler

You may have noticed my lack of new blog posts over here. Yeah, life gets busy sometimes. If you are interested in all things related to me Germany and Europe adventures please follow my writings on BASEDTraveler Wiesbaden!

If you only want to read about Crossfit and fitness journey I will try to keep this blog more current. In the meantime, I did do a review of my local Crossfit Gym here!

Thanks for following!

Liz

Overhead Squat

15.1 & 15.2

Raise your hand if this is your first Crossfit Games Open!

::raises hand::

Ok, so why are we as nervous as we are excited? I guess that is part of the fun, having your nerves worked up a little, not entirely sure how you will do on a workout, but digging deep and just going for it and (hopefully) feeling good about the results!  I was sitting on pins and needles for 15.1 to see exactly how this whole RX vs. Scaled plan was going to work and decide which path I had to take. It was waiting on my fitness fate to be written out before me. Then 15.1 was announced and the decision wasn’t as easy as I thought.

15 Toes to Bar    – Oh, oh! I can do those!

10 Deadlift @ 35kg – Psh, no big deal!

5 Snatches @ 35kg – ummm….

Yeah, those snatches! I started to talk myself into going scaled because of those darn snatches. But then I was reminded that 25 Rx reps will still be ahead of 300 scaled reps so I may as well go for it. So I did! I did my T2B, deadlifts, then spent the next 7 minutes or so trying to get just one 35kg snatch. I must have tried 10 times and got SO close, but it didn’t happen. But you know what? Right after than I got a Clean & Jerk PR of 45kg!

Moving on to 15.2, I found myself awake at 1:30am thanks to my two year old, and thought I may as well stay up for the announcement at 2am. Yeah, here in Germany we have to wait until our conscience, or alarm, wakes us up Friday morning. So, 15.2…Overhead squats and chest-to-bar pull-ups. If you read, Why I am doing the Crossfit Open, below, then you know I don’t yet have pull-ups. Yeah, those chin-over-the-bar things much less the chest-to-the-bar-things. I was pretty confident I could do the Rx OHS, even if it was one rep at a time so this decision was much easier.

10 Rx reps > 6 scaled reps

While warming up for the overhead squats today my coach suggested going heavier to warm up and I gave her an eye-full. “Um, remember I couldn’t snatch 35kg a week ago and you want me to overhead squat it?”  But, I gave it a try and let me tell you I power snatched that 35kg like it was nothing. What. The. Hell.

What the hell?! At first I was mad, but then excited. And proud. I may not have gotten the 35kg snatch when it counted for the open but just one week later I broke down another PR! The goal, the point, is to push your personal limits and do YOUR best. It doesn’t have to be on the Crossfit Games Open timeline. Although I’ll be the first to admit that would have been nice. But how long would I have waited to attempt 35kg snatch with out a little push from the open?  Oh, and I got 10 Rx reps on 15.2 as well.

Rx, scaled, there is no right or wrong in my opinion. But, don’t cut yourself and your effort short just to get a higher amount of reps. Now, if Dave Castro could give me a workout for 15.3 where I get past the first round…well, that would be nice. Pretty, pretty please?!

Why I’m participating in the 2015 Crossfit Open

lift The Crossfit Open begins in four days. I’m excited to participate for the first time this year but dang, I really hate not being at100%. No, I’m not mad I can’t lift as heavy as Camille (umm, not even close!) I’m not sad because I still have a swing in between each rep of Toes-to-Bar. I’m a little irritated that I can’t do pull-ups yet, but mostly I’m frustrated that I’m coming off of two month long absence due to family emergency related travel, sickness (my kids and myself), and most recently a pulled muscle. Needless to say, my 2015 did not get off to a roaring start, physically speaking. As annoyed as I am, I’ve had to remind myself that I’m human and life happens, kids get sick, and injuries occur. I found Crossfit as a means to lose baby weight and get back in shape after having two babies in two years. I accomplished this, although I still wear a little mommy-pudge around the middle. Ultimately I have fallen in love with the challenges and community of Crossfit.

‘So if it bothers you that much why participate in the open at all?’

Valid question, right?  Well, my reason is simple. The open brings out the two things that made me fall in love with Crossfit to begin with. Challenge and community. Last year I didn’t participate because I thought I was too new and we were in the middle of moving to a new country. It seemed like too much. My husband didn’t think so and he completed the first three open workouts in Virginia and the last two in Germany. I, of course, came with him to cheer him on and it was so much fun to watch everyone trying their best (THEIR best) at each workout, their peers cheering them on, and the smiles on people’s faces as the got their VERY first double under or pushed through the cruel thruster/burpee combo of 14.5. The challenge and the community was infectious and I regretted not participating, even though several of the moves were beyond my skill level.

So why am I participating in the 2015 Crossfit Open when I am not feeling at my personal 100%? For the challenge and to be a part of the community. I belong to an awesome local box, Crossfit Liberty, and I imagine the days we do the open workouts will be even more fun than our usual WODs! I haven’t yet decided if I will do the new scaled option or just go for RX, a question I’m sure several people are asking themselves this week. But honestly, it doesn’t matter. Both will be a challenge and either way I am a part of an awesome community.

Paleo Challenge – a reflection and summary

My month long Paleo challenge ended over a week ago and I’ve been avoiding writing about it, obviously. Looking back on the full month long challenge now I have mixed feelings about it so here we go.

My initial reaction when asked by friends, ‘How was your paleo challenge?’ is to say, ‘Oh it was an epic fail!  I ordered pizza twice the last week and ate tons of non-paleo foods!’  Which is all true.  I stopped logging my food completely after a couple weeks. It wasn’t intentional.  One day slipped by, then another, and another and it was too hard to remember what I ate 4 days ago so I just stopped.  Into the third week I was just tired of thinking so hard about every meal, fighting with my two toddlers about food, and dang I really just wanted to eat a loaf of bread and have a glass (or 3) of wine!  Especially during week 1 and week 3 when my husband was out of town and I had twenty-four hour duty with thing 1 and thing 2.  Needless to say, I have concluded that strict Paleo, well, strict ANYTHING is not for me.  Sometimes with food it is about what is good for your soul as well as your body. In moderation of course.

When I thought a little deeper about the Paleo Challenge I remember some of the great recipes I’ve discovered and hope to continue.  Paleo granola?  Addictively delicious. Cauliflower rice?  So easy and a great alternative!  Greens in a shake?  I’m not so scared anymore. Coconut oil?  Amazingly easy.  I also noticed how much better my belly felt when I was strict, or strict-er paleo.  After the initial sugar detox passed, anyways.  Once I reintroduced wheat, I could definitely tell a difference which is part of why I avoided taking an after picture for a week.  I clearly felt better on Paleo and it looked good on me!

Besides generally avoiding an after picture, I mentioned before our schedules recently changed and and I hadn’t had a chance to have my hubby take after pics like he did the before ones.  Today I finally decided to do them myself, poor lighting and all.  To my surprise I CAN see a difference so apparently the Paleo did more good than even I realized.

image

Also, I knocked 30 seconds off of the baseline workout I did on the first day and the last day.

So what will I do know?  The approach I have maintained for the past couple of years which is gradual changes (swapping real granola for Paleo or learning to use coconut oil) but allowing indulgences (wine and cheese anyone?)  This was my first ever ‘diet’ and the last 5 days my body went into complete rebellion eating everything I should not.  That is not healthy.  My way is a slower road to getting results, but it is working for me and will keep me more sane in the long run.  This was definitely a learning experience for me and hopefully it has been for someone else too.  I really wanted to have an after picture with 6 pack abs but what can I say. Nobody is perfect.  And I like Pizza.

My {almost} Paleo challenge Week 3

Confession.  I stopped recording my daily eats all together this week.  It wasn’t intentional.  A day passed, and then another, and another before I realized I hadn’t been logging exactly what I eat daily.  Most of it is the same as the previous two weeks with a few changes for dinner.  Sorry, no month full of interesting and new Paleo recipes here!  I’ve taken a few things that I loved from the first two weeks and put them on repeat.  Coming up with all new recipes is too, well, exhausting!  I also have had more hicuups this week.  On Wednesday I REALLY wanted a grilled cheese sandwich.  So I fixed a Harvarti dill cheese and bacon on oat and nut bread sandwich.  It was delicious and Iwent on to eat a good paleo dinner that night.  I also broke from Paleo on night by eating nearly a whole salami pizza (no really, the whole pizza), then a few beers and trying yuka potatoes for the first time at a friend’s house another night.  I kept up with my usual healty eggs, veggies, ‘granola’ and yogurt, and Paleo dinners most nights.  Here are few foods from this week:

Simple, delicious dinner of steak over sauteed mushrooms, onions, & spinach with a side of broccoli.

image

Grilled Havarti dill cheese & bacon on oat & nut bread.

image

Paleo ‘granola’ that I could eat by the pound.

image

Farmers Market find too good to pass up!

image

This weekend Summer decided to show up on last time and I was quite surprised to find shorts, that had been skin tight all Summer, were now gapping at the waist! 

image

Despite the failures I keep thinking I am making, these diet changes have overall been wonderful.  Wonderful for my waistline and wonderful for how I feel.

There is just one more week, or technically 8 days to go for this month long Paleo challenge to end.  I can’t wait to see my final results!!

Stay tuned!

My {almost} Paleo challenge Week 2

Sorry I am so late posting this guys. The four day Holiday weekend and my son starting pre-school has me behind on everything.  So, I’ll make this short and sweet.  I lost a lot of points this week of my Paleo challege BUT I think overall I did ok.  Life is about balance.  At about Day 10 I was burned out on cooking and prepping every single meal I consumed so I ate a couple mini bagels while out (so as not to starve myself) and then ordered Pizza for dinner.  My thoughts on that decision?  It was delicious. :)

I had a few more Paleo hiccups over the weekend but I’ll let you just look at what I ate below.  The not so Paleo meals definitely messed with my stomach and I felt better after jumping back on track the beginning of week 3.  My weight has maintained but all of my clothes ar fitting better or getting big.  Generally I just feel good!

image

image

image

image

Well there you go!  Week 2 of my almost Paleo challenge.  Just two more weeks to go!

My {almost} Paleo Challenge week 1

**I decided to call this my almost paleo challenge because the version of Paleo I am doing for this challenge is not true strict Paleo as I am allowed dairy and sweet potatoes.  Also, I am bound to make a few slip-ups here and there!**

As week one comes to a close it is time to recap what I ate and how I feel.  I felt like I could have written an entire blog post about day 1 and how hungry I was but I spared you the drama and decided on a weekly recap.  So yes, I was very hungry day 1.  Who knew without my usual snacking and sugar that I would need to eat so much more food!!  If you read my previous post about preparing for the challenge and why I decided to do it, you will know that I am not a diet person and I was, and sometimes still can be, a picky eater with a crazy sweet tooth.  Snacking on an apple or veggies instead of graham crackers or goldfish is HARD for me.  However, I’ve noticed in the past 2 days I reach for that apple a lot easier than just a week ago!  Here is a snapshot of what I ate this week:

image

image

image

So here is where I should mention as the week went on I started to feel worse and worse.  I thought at first my body was just going through a sugar detox, but by the weekend I realized that I was also getting a cold.  Yesterday and today I’ve barely had a voice.  In addition my husband was out of town all week for work.  With that said I am really proud of myself for not finding comfort in a bottle, I mean glass of wine and a pint of ice cream AND managed to workout 4 days.  The next 3 weeks should seem easy as pie compared to this first week!

I did take a few pictures of some things I made during the week but I really kept it pretty simple.  And, I don’t take pretty food pictures.  Sorry.  Here ya go!

image

image

So I used the homemade paleo olive oil mayo to make chicken salad.  I learned that it doesn’t stay as creamy as regular mayo which was ok with me but it didn’t soften the broccoli as I expected so next ime I would steam the broccoli first or just not use it.

image

This was supposed t be a picture of my chicken salad but again, day 1 I was so hungry I forgot to stop and take a picture so here are the cumin roasted carrots.  They were OK, not really a favorite.

image

Meatza pie, yum.  I nearly ate the whole thing.

image

Bulletproof coffee. So frothy and yummy.

image

My homemade ‘granola’ fresh out of the oven and obviously too hot to eat yet.  It is made of walnuts, slivered almonds, raisins, honey, and cconut oil. So simple.  I typically ate it over greek yogurt.

image

image

Banana pancakes.  Yeah, not so pretty.  I perfected the batter later in the week but of course didn’t take a picture.

image

Sweet potato & mushrooms served with eggs over easy. So simple yet so delicious.

image

I know people have been adding greens to the juice and shakes forever but it honestly freaked me out.  My husband brought to my attention I was lacking in carbs and adding in greens (very hard for me) would help curb the hangry feeling so I gave it a try.  Well, the people are right. You do not taste the greens!  I will have to make this a staple in my everyday diet.

Oh, I almost forgot to add how my body reacted!  I dropped 4-5lbs and my stomach has visibly (to me) reduced in size.  I really wasn’t expected that but I won’t complain.  I wouldn’t be surprised, actually, if by the end of the month I put a few pounds back on but it will be lean muscle from lifting, not fat.

Now begins week two!  I anticipate it to be easier and for myself to feel better.

But I do miss pizza. ;)

Paleo Challenge

Today is Day 2 of a month long Paleo Challenge at my local Crossfit box.  Before you go assuming I am some typical Crossfit crazy lady who is just jumping on the Paleo bandwagon, let me give you a bit of my ‘diet’ history and why I agreed to the challenge. 

I grew up as a very picky eater.  I’m talking no veggies, apples (if they were peeled and sliced), and ‘salads’ made of croutons, bacon bits, and ranch dressing, but no lettuce, picky.  I remember sitting in between dance classes guzzling orange soda and eating pizza combos.  Mmmmmmm.  I wasn’t overweight.  I danced competitively, dabbled in track, cross country, and even competed in roller speed skating for several years.  I was just not a healthy eater.  My parents were.  They both cook and both love baking but I always remember them eating a well rounded diet.  ‘Super Size Me’ came out when I was in college and I remember swearing off fast food after. I did, but my roomates can vouch for me love of soda, pizza, and pancakes.  I can also credit a study abroad internship with a catering company in England to opening my eyes in terms of food.  Lunch everyday was whatever the chef whipped up for us as there was no time for lenghty, luxurious lunches and unused food not to be wasted. A few years later ‘Food Inc.’ was released and the way I looked at food continued to change, for the better.  My husband had also recently joined the Army and without me able to find work we were trying to cook at home more to save money.  The few years after that we (as a couple) gradually experimented and shifted to healthier choices and ingredients.  The discovery that I DO love veggies, if they are roasted, to playing with  almond flour and alternatives to peanut butter. When we joined Crossfit almost a year ago we were exposed to Paleo and The Zone diet.  We took from both of those ideals what worked for us, but agreed the strictness of either one was not for us.  I, for one, love dairy. Yogurt, cheese, yum, yum, yum.  I also have a great appreciation for baked goods and fresh bakery bread and all things chocolate and peanut butter.

So why am I doing this Paleo challenge?  A few reasons:

1. Sugar.  I have been on a bit of a sugar binge since we moved to Germany.  What does eating sugar make you do?  Crave more sugar!  From the delicious ice cream to all of the German Wine I have been over indulging.  A month long break from (most sugar) and alcohol will be a good thing. 

2. Goals.  I am overall happy with my body and weight, yes, but I know to further reach my goals is more ‘diet’ related than workout.  I know I need to eat more veggies and less processed foods.  The paleo challenge is the perfect kick start!

3. Community.  A lot of people at our Crossfit Box are doing the challenge together which makes it more fun.  No, you are not banished from the group if you don’t do it but why not try?

4. Recipes. I am learning some great new recipes as well as how to make things at home that I would typically buy in the store.  Nothing is lost if I am gaining knowledge about food!

Will I stay strict Paleo after the challenge?  No.  My hopes are to reset my body’s constant sugar craving, learn to cook more creative recipes, and shave a little bit off of this muffin top.  Will a month of Palo do it?  Well, lets find out!

What I learned from Day 1 – I need to eat more. Period.  I was starving all day.  There is no calorie limit as long as you eat Paleo approved ingredients.  I guess I didn’t realize how many processed snacks I was eating in between my wholesome healthy meals.  Oops!  And for experiment’s sake here is a before picture taken on the first day.  I can’t wait to see the after, and more importantly I can’t wait to see how I feel!

image

On my mind

I haven’t blogged in a while. Sorry. When I think I have a topic in mind it seems too brief for a full blog post or not interesting enough.  So, here is a short list of what I have been up to lately and what has been on my brain:

– The Crossfit Games ladies are such positive body image role models. Short, tall, blonde, brunette, red head, strong as hell, wearing make up, but focused on their strength, endurance, and skills, not their boobs, thigh gaps, and hip bones.

– Translating my son’s Kindergarten paperwork before he begins in a couple weeks. (I’m probably WAY more nervous than him!)

– Completing the fundamentals course at my new Crossfit gym. I’m not a fan of going to the gym at night and I didn’t have to take the class but it was nice to get to know all of the people joining at the same time as me and it’s never a bad thing to review the basics.

– Riesling Route Wine Tour – Wait, this one is blog post worthy. Maybe I will work on that soon.

– Sitting in front of my tablet researching jobs then thinking maybe I should start a new career in fitness/personal training/nutrition.

– Cleaning up toddler messes that happen while I’m daydreaming about my future.

– Working on my weaknesses: double-unders, pull-ups, and overhead squats.

– Toddler exploring – a kid friendly café, a petting zoo, and lots of playgrounds.

– Reading ‘Well Fed’ and preparing for a month long Paleo challenge that starts Monday.

– Rearranging the kids playroom….in my head anyways.

And there you have it, the random hodge podge of my brain and my life. Summer is almost over and everyone will soon be jumping back into a routine.  I hope to do the same.  What routines are you ready to dive back into?

Americans in Germany – language barrier

Do you know what it’s like to be sitting in a small room full of people who are speaking a different language than you? 

I do. Terrifying.

Terrifying and intimidating. I feel guilty and inferior because most of the people know (at least) some English and I can only say hello and goodbye in German. Why was I in this situation?  I decidedI wanted to make the most of our time living in Germany and I wanted L, my three year old, to attend German Kindergarten (Kindergarten in Germany refers to daycare/preschool for ages 3-6.)

So here I sat, nervously with my pre-schooler, in a circle of other parents and kids at orientation for a local Kindergarten.   I should mention I had previously toured the school and know that one of the teachers speaks a little bit of English (she gave me a tour afterall) but when I received and translated the orientation invitiation I had no expectations of the orientation being in English.  When the teacher walked in she began speaking to all of us and handed a notepad to me as I was the closest person she walked past.  I sheepishly look up at her but she must not have remembered that I only speak English.  I hesitantly raise my hand as she continues talking and another person calls her attention to me…

‘Sorry, what should I do with this?’

‘Oh, sorry please write your name so I know who is here.’

Embarrassing moment #1.  I write my name and my child’s name beside it and wonder if I did it in the right format and if everyone after me laughed if I didn’t do it correctly.  The teacher continues talking, I hear a couple people respond, and soon another Mom moves to sit beside me.  I look at her confused.  She says, ‘I speak English and German so I am going to translate for you.’

Oh thank God! – I think to myself.  There isn’t even time to introduce ourselves because the orientation gets started and the last thing I want is to draw more attention to myself. Cue the awkward silences when the teacher pauses for my new friend to tell me in English what has just been said while everyone else is silent and looks at us.

CRINGE!

My new friend was only able to translate for half of the orientation because her son became as restless as all of the other kids and she had to step outside with him for a little bit.  L began to get restless as well but I wasn’t sure of the right protocol.  Get up and let him go play outside because, well lets be honest I didn’t understand what they were saying anyways,  or force him to sit there politely because that is the respectful thing to do.  (Where is the manual for this situation!!)

I eventually cave in to the restless toddler and go outside to let him play.  Soon after the orientation is done and each parent is sitting with the teacher individually to get what I assume to be a student handbook.  Or parent handbook?  I’m not exactly sure.  And also to be given a start date for their child.  I finally get to chat more casually with my new friend, who is German, but married to a US Soldier and can speak my language.  Her children spoke both German and English.  Another Mom comes over to say hello and talk to me.  She is also German, married to a US Soldier and inquisitive of my decision to choose a German Kindergarten over a pre-school on base.  I still worry if this is the right decision for my child.  I go from one extreme of total excitement for the opportunity to the other of complete fear.  A litle bit for L, but mostly for myself.  He is three and such a social butterfly.  He approaches all children on a playground and manages to socialize and play even when they don’t speak the same language.  I don’t worry about him not learning enough of the basics to enter into regular school.  Honestly I like the philosophy here that is a bit more laid back in academics for the pre school age group.  I worry, mostly, about my own fears.  Learning the language myself and blending in with the other parents. Ok, so I’m not going to blend, but I want to learn and I want Landon to gain incredible experience from living abroad. 

So I faced my fears of walking into that room where I didn’t fully understand the language, and wouldn’t have even known if someone was speaking under their breathe about me, in hopes that three years from now we can look back on what an incredible experience we had in Germany.  Really emercing ourselves in the culture and learning the language.  Living on a military base means we have to take extra large steps out of our comfort zone to gain those experiences.  Experiences I hope both of my children can carry with them for a lifetime.

Soon it was my turn to meet with the teacher.  We have L’s official start date and my new friend is going to translate all of the paperwork in an email for me so that I am as prepared as I can be!  We are on the right track and most importantly,  L is excited to start at his new school.  He loves it there!  What more could a mother ask for.

We are Americans in Germany, trying to make the most of the opportunity in front of us.