My “Fitness Journey” is really just my life

Bing, bang, BOOM! So, lets chat about this little “fitness journey” of mine that’s really just, well, what is now my not so lazy life. Four and half years ago, I decided, “I want to run.” So, I threw on a pair of old sneakers, cotton shorts and shirt, and a bra that didn’t hold my (then) 36D ladies. Needless to say, I hated it. But I learned to walk before I learned to run. And before I knew it, I was killing 5k races and completed marathon relays and training for half marathons. And then – BAM.

Injury. I hurt my ankle running, ended up in PT and couldn’t run for months. I turned to indoor cycling and swimming – both of which I sucked at. It’s also when I found Crossfit. Injured and whiney, it became a no excuses playground for me to learn and grow. I healed and became stronger than ever, and figured out that lifting barbells was pretty fun. My push press went from 10lb dumbbells to a 90lb max and I was learning to throw weights over me, around me, through me, and I loved it.

Then I decided I’d sign up for sprint triathlon, mainly because a friend convinced me. My swimming improved a little and I stopped looking like a fish out of water and not knowing what I was doing, I bought my first bike since I was a child: a hybrid. With some setbacks, I still completed my first triathlon in under my goal time and 2 weeks later, bought a road bike on craigslist, practically new, for hella cheap. Right after that, I did other triathlon and killed it on my new bike. Basically, I fell in love with road biking – put on well over 1000 miles on my new bike that summer of 2014.

Then came grad school that fall. That meant little less time in the gym and lots of time on my indoor trainer. I learned to downhill ski and at that point, had been cross-country skiing with my hubby for 3 years. But came February of 2015, and boy did my fitness journey throw me for a loop.

So to quickly go back, in 2014 I was peaking. I looked like a triathlete/runner with tiny arms and I was the smallest I had ever been at 120lbs. Looking back, though, I was doing workouts a day, working out at a Crossfit gym focused on endurance and not as much on strength, and I was not eating nearly as much as I should have been. So my body, reflecting back, was moving into a breaking down point. Then I was learning how to do jerks with a coach in the gym, and tore my quad.

Guys…I TORE MY F**KING QUAD. I couldn’t believe it. I still have the forever indent in my leg to prove it. I was struggling through grad school, working an unnecessarily stressful full time, a part time job and interning, verging falling apart and then, I all of a sudden couldn’t run, bike, lift… nothing. I could do nothing involving my quad for months, and no coach at my gym could figure out how to help me modify. It was the most frustrating thing that could have happened to me. Many times I would go in and try to do a workout, and just leave, frustrated and crying.

Finally, months later, I was released to start lifting, biking and running again. Yay! I tried training for a marathon, but my knees would hurt and my muscles weren’t strong enough yet. Biking and swimming were the only things I felt I could do and not feel like I’d have to spend days recovering from. 10 months later, in December 2015, I decided to leave my Crossfit gym, feeling it wasn’t a good fit and I wasn’t making any improvements. I felt lost, and weak, frustrated, and unsettled that I wasn’t working towards anything.

Then my friend said – come try Crossfit Fairbanks, see how you like it. So I did. And I did. Shortly after starting, I did my first ever weightlifting meet. I can’t remember the last time I had that much fun and felt that strong. I started the RP Diet and my quad gained so much strength and recovered so well and so quickly (don’t forget ya protein yo!).  I was able to downhill ski (finally) with no pain from my quad. I started a cycle of Oly lifting and it was fun, but frustrating, and I discovered I am definitely a Powerlifter.

So here I am, 7 months later, stronger than I have been in close to 2 years. My endurance is not the same, but I PRing lifts like crazy, and I have never enjoyed something so much. I still love biking, it is my passion, and lifting only complements it. So the bottom line is that this journey has brought me here. I have tried this, and tried that. I thought I might be a runner forever, but my body had better plans for me. I thought swimming might be next and I took time to improve my technique, but just realized it’s become a nice backup for me. I love to lift and I love to ride and it’s taken me some trial and error to get here, and what I do inside helps me to be strong and play outside and that’s just as important to me. Lifting makes me strong when I bike, and biking keeps my endurance up. You need endurance and you need strength if you want to get outside and hike, paddle, ski, and play play play!

So I encourage all of you to stay active, and find things you love. Don’t let people but you in a box, or tell you what fitness is supposed to be, and that to love one thing you have to be able to do another (i.e. if you want to love biking you have to cross training – do what you love!). Want to bike all day every day? Then do it. Want to run everyday? Then do it. Do what you love and love what you do.

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My Healthy Living Journey

An oldie but a goodie. As I prepare for the #CrossfitOpen, I think about where my journey has taken me. What a roller coaster of a ride it has been! It is so hard to be in graduate school and not be training hard for a race or triathlon, but to know I get to compete in the Open, and just against myself, and a nice feeling.

My Healthy Living Journey.

Recipes of Chia Seed Deliciousness

Chia Seeds are something to definitely have in your diet. Not only are they delicious, but they easily fit into many recipes and have plenty of health benefits (like combating diabetes, stocking up on fiber and omega-3s…the list goes on). Here’s a few of my own recipes that I use regularly.

My Simple Chia Seed Pudding

  • 1 cup nut milk (almond or coconut)
  • 3 tablespoons chia seed (as you start making it, you made decide you like more or less)
  • maple syrup (around 2 teaspoons – sweeten to your taste)
  • pure vanilla extract (if desired – around a teaspoon and sweeten to your taste)
  • I love to add sliced almonds or walnuts. You can also add fresh, diced fruit on top and mix in after it’s thickened.

Put all ingredients in a quart size mason jar, stick the lid on and shake vigorously for about 3-5 minutes. Do this every few minutes for about 20 minutes and it’ll thicken up and be ready to eat. You can also stick in the fridge to eat later on or the next day. Your other option is to do this in a bowl with a whisk or in a blender.

Almond Butter-Banana Smoothie with Chia Seed

  • 1 cup nut milk
  • 1 banana, fresh or frozen (here’s a tip – when your bananas start to go, stick them in the freezer to use in smoothies!)
  • 2 tablespoons nut butter (peanut or almond)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey

blend in blender and enjoy

Chocolate Avocado-Banana Smoothie

  • 1-1.5 cup nut milk (depending on your thickness preference)
  • 1 banana, fresh or frozen
  • 1-2 tablespoons chia seed (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder (you can also use cocoa)
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1/2 avocado

blend in blender and enjoy

Chia Seed Coconut Water

  • a refreshing drink that’s great post-workout!
  • 8-12 ounces Coconut Water (flavored or regular)
  • 2-3 tablespoons chia seeds

stir and enjoy!

My Healthy Living Journey

Recently, I joined two of my favorite people, the Katz family, and completed a 60-day challenge as a team at our gym. Although our team didn’t win, one of our team members won the whole challenge. I was so proud of him and inspired. One of the biggest things for me during this 60-day challenge was joining others on their journey. I wanted to share both my written and video testimony at the end of the challenge.

I surprisingly lost 4 lbs., around 4 total inches and 7% Body Fat. I concentrated on strength for this challenge, and did a lot of cycling and swimming for a TRI that I was training for. I lost a lot of fat/gained muscle in my thighs alone from all of the cycling. I can say with my new road bike, I seriously fell in love with cycling.

My video testimony:

My written testimony:
I was surprised by my measurements today. I didn’t think I would have lost any weight! I came very close to meeting my personal goal of a no-band pull up and I started with the blue one when I set the goal a month ago! Now I am a step away from using no-band at all. I have set some really great personal fitness goals and it’s my belief that you always keep doing this – no matter how big or small that goal is. Whether it be doing a push up or finishing a marathon. Nothing is out of your realm of possibilities – I have just discovered that some things take longer to get there. Even when I started my journey, I never expected to be where I am. You start with one small step and one day you look back and realize how far in the distance that step is. The most amazing part of this 60 day challenge for me has been watching other peoples’ journeys – ALL OF YOU. I’ve made friends, I ‘ve gotten stronger and more fit – yes, yes, yes. But when someone allows you to be part of their journey, it is incredibly inspiring and powerful.

For most of the world around us, we don’t know peoples’ journeys. We don’t know if they were once healthy and fit and now are obese and sick. But people around them judge them. We also don’t know the skinny girl in the store and her journey to being an athlete – because we don’t know her. But most will judge her. They may say she is anorexic or too skinny. They may say she is not a role model just because of how she is built, not knowing anything about her. 

Here, I get to be part of your journey and you all part of mine. With encouragement instead of judgment. With the true vision of how we want the world to see fitness: as a lifestyle of eating healthy, being active and sharing that joy with our friends and family. So THANK YOU all (at Elite Urban Fitness) for being courageous enough to take on the challenge and let me see you progress and cheer you on. It has been TRUELY inspiring!!!

Remember that you can do more than you think you can. You are more than you are think you are. Set goal. Exceed Goal. REPEAT. If you fall down, get back up and do it again. #fearless2014

Oatmeal Favorites

I just had to share two of my morning oatmeal favorites. These are especially great if you are someone who often works out in morning and needs a quick breakfast post-workout and pre-shower. PS- Oatmeal is also a great post-workout meal!! These are both dairy free and you can use gluten-free oats!

RAW Overnight Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Coconut or Almond Milk
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup Raw Oats
  • 2-3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • large scoop protein powder (vanilla or chocolate is probably the best)
  • splash of pure maple syrup or honey

Directions:

  • Mix above ingredient together the night before and put in fridge. I mix mine in a mason jar.
  • In the morning when you’re ready to eat, mix again.
  • Add in diced apple or other favorite fresh fruit, dried fruit and nuts. My favorite is a peeled and diced red apple and chopped walnuts

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Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • One apple – peeled and diced
  • 1.5 cups coconut or almond milk
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 cup STEEL CUT OATS
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

  • In a crockpot pot, mix ingredients and cook on LOW for 7 hours overnight.
  • Add walnuts or dried fruit (such as cranberries) if desired.
  • Enjoy in the morning!