To my PFCF family

To my PFCF Family

I don’t even know where to begin and it brings me tears just thinking about what I have to say and how I am unable to put it into words.
You guys mean so much to me. The last two years have been absolutely unbelievable. I have learned so much from you guys and have been inspired every day to be a better coach, person, and athlete. Your hard work and determination have pushed me to be a coach and athlete that you guys would be proud of. Our community is something I am honored to be a part of. Every competition we have a crew supporting us and cheering on our athletes.
The family that we have created is something that I will always cherish, whether I am there every morning or not.

The times on the board matter, but not compared to the honesty, integrity, and hard work that go in to getting there. The competition is important, but not as important as the relationships that you will form competing with your teammates and fellow athletes. We are a family. We cry, sweat, and bleed together. Literally. Don’t forget this and don’t lose sight of what is actually important.

Thank you for giving me two and a half amazing years. I am not writing this to say bye or anything…believe me, I will be around…periodically yelling at you to squat lower and get your chin over the bar. I am writing this to thank you and to tell you how grateful I am for everything you have done for me in the past few years. I didn’t get to see all of you before I moved up to Denver, but thank you, and I will see you all again soon.


Another update…sort of, but not really.

I’ve been wanting to write a few different articles.
Hand care for crossfitters
What (I keep) to keep in your gym bag
Why I love my gym
A rant about crossfit gyms in general…

I’ve been really busy and really stressed.
I’m moving to Denver soon and there’s a whole bunch of stuff I have yet to do. I’m generally more interested in spending time with my tribe or at the gym (when I’m not taking care of school/house/Denver stuff) and eventually I will write about all those really interesting topics. For now, I am going to deal with the fact I have to move. I’d rather not, but I don’t really have a choice. I just have to keep reminding myself that I am not moving half way around the world, or even out of state. I am moving just an hour away.

For your entertainment…
HERE is a video of me doing a handstand walk.

Here is a sneak peak of my living room…

and here is our fur child…

Sportsmanship and CrossFit

Some of these words may be harsh and I may seem angry…this topic is important and something I am very passionate about. If you don’t agree, that is totally fine. There is a good chance we no don’t agree on anything at that point and I could care less.

One of the things I love about Crossfit is the sportsmanship involved. The quality of athletes is unparalleled in my opinion when it comes to this and I’ve never seen anything like it in any sport that I have been involved in…there’s been at least a dozen. Individual athletes stood out when they showed exceptional sportsmanship when I was growing up, they were even awarded for it. Today, with CF, those who don’t show this quality stick out like sore thumbs. And then, I GET REALLY EFFING ANGRY.

I am going to back up a little and gloat a bit to give you guys some background…I was the coaches favorite. In many of my sports. I often got mvp or some similar award at the end of the season. While I am fairly athletic, my coaches liked me because I was coachable, I didn’t argue with them or talk back to them, and I worked my butt off. I also supported my team mates and was often team captain or co-captain. I played varsity sports for the most part and always looked up to the girls who were older than me who exemplified these qualities. Hard work, honesty and integrity, and respect. These were all things I desired to be as an athlete. I take things personally. Any time an athlete or someone on my team disrespected our coach or our other team mates, I’d get upset. Any time they’d walk off the field without shaking the other teams hand, I’d get irate. And anytime anyone cheated during practice or tried to get out of working hard, well, lets just say they avoided me for a while. I have zero tolerance for that stuff and there is no place for it, on or off the field. I am also extremely competitive and anytime we lost, my parents knew not to talk to me for a few days. While I was upset in that case, I kept it to myself and used it as fuel during the next game.

So back to current day- There are few times that I have experienced, heard about, or have seen poor sportsmanship in crossfit. The few times I have, I have been appalled, angry, upset, and not to mention, embarrassed for that person. So I am going to put it out there…to all those who I coach and all those who I compete with and train with every day, If you ever talk back to a head coach or judge in a disrespectful way, we are done. (you are obviously allowed to disagree respectfully. At regionals, Quinn and I both disagreed with a call made by the judges because another athlete stepped into her jump rope. A call was made and we had to live with it. She was upset, as was I, however we accepted it gracefully.)

If any of my athletes or teammates ever walked off the ‘field’ without cheering on other competitors before the workout was over, we would have some things to discuss. (There are a few exceptions…I put the health and safety of you guys first and if you need to get into an ice bath, get some water in you, or get into the shade, these things come first.This happened to me at Regionals in a workout last year. I finished and I knew I needed to get into the shade and into some water. This generally only happens if I hit a time cap or if I feel like I am risking getting injured.) These exceptions don’t happen often though, so moral of the story- stay and cheer on your fellow competitors and athletes. This is one of the unique and beautiful things about this sport. Don’t ruin it. I have zero respect for athletes that don’t respect others. I have only seen this a few times and I wanted to take that persons face and smash it onto the concrete…just saying. That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but not really. As a coach, I would never do this. I represent the crossfit community, my gym, my athletes, and those who coach me. I expect other coaches, gym owners, and athletes to do the same.

Always finish the competition- If you are losing, get over it. It’s not the end of the world. Getting pouty because you aren’t doing well happens to the best of us, but finishing what you started is more important than being upset about your performance. With the exception of a serious injury obviously. Finally, Don’t cheat. If I every caught one of my athletes cheating, especially in competition, we would have a pretty interesting conversation. I don’t want to coach or work with anyone who intentionally shows poor sportsmanship. I actually just don’t even want to be friends with people like that. If you are incapable of getting your head out of your ass and setting your ego aside in a sport like this, you have no place in this community.

Ok, thanks for listening to me rant. The end.

These are some friends I made while being a ‘good sport.’ Oddly enough, they were also ‘good sports’ and we became friends.

Iceland and Greenland

So I’ve recently returned from Iceland and Greenland. Which was absolutely amazing…obviously. It was a completely different world (greenland) and something I’ve always wanted to experience. My father and I take a trip every year together and this year I chose Iceland. I’m going to write a little bit about what we did and the food I ate. Traveling with my dad is always an adventure. He doesn’t eat much, thinks he knows everything, and is very stubborn. SHOCKING that I am his spawn, right!? But since I am used to eating a VERY strict and clean diet, drinking tons of water, and working out a few times a day, changes to my schedule always come at a shock. We spent the majority of the time sitting. I decided not to bother working out because I could use the off time. Looking back, I should have stretched more. I am an all or nothing sort of person…oh well. So I kept track of everything I ate while I was on vacation and you will get an idea of how much of a change it was.

Airport day– salad with salmon (really gross), another salad with deli turkey (literally two slices of turkey. The salad had cheese on it so I just ate the turkey slices)
First Day in Iceland (day 1):
Breakfast/Lunch- Omelet. Evidently omelets have cheese in them so I picked off the pieces of egg that didn’t have cheese.
Dinner- Sashimi and salmon and wine.
Day 2:
Breakfast- scrambled eggs, slices of tomato, tons of coffee.
Lunch- salmon scraped away from some other stuff I’ve never seen. Salad
Dinner- sashimi and salmon and wine
Day 3:
Breakfast- scrambled eggs, slices of tomato, smoked salmon
We went 7.5 hours without eating and ended up at a grocery store at some tiny fishing town where I bought a cucumber, pepper, and coconut flake mix with raisins (picked the raisins out). Thankfully I brought protein powder. The pepper ended up having mold on the inside so I ate the cucumber, protein powder, and coconut flakes.
Dinner- salmon and sauteed vegetables.
Day 4:
Flight to Greenland
Breakfast/lunch- salad with mini shrimp and white fish
Dinner- White fish and wine
Day 5:
Breakfast- scrambled eggs with slices of tomato
Lunch- fish and shrimp
Dinner- scallops and trout and wine
Day 6:
Breakfast- scrambled eggs
Lunch- on airplane, inside of a turkey sandwich. (two slices of turkey)
Dinner- sashimi and salmon
Day 7:
Breakfast- scrambled eggs with tomato slices
Lunch- protein powder.
Dinner- (It has been 12 hours, except for the protein powder, that I have eaten at this point and I’m not very happy about it.) white fish and some chicken stuff from a nearby middle eastern vendor.
Airport Day 8:
Breakfast- Scrambled eggs with tomato slices
Lunch- smoked salmon and a few things on the plane (salad- basically 1/2 c of lettuce and about 2 ounces of chicken)
Dinner- salad with chicken in the airport.

A good example of what almost all of the fish dishes looked like:

My dad doesn’t believe you need to drink water (he’s a doctor by the way) and staying hydrated was difficult.
So as fascinating as that was for you guys, it gives you an idea of what I ate while I was gone… a ton of fish and eggs. I was really hungry on days we didn’t eat lunch and a lot of the time the food was really small for lunch. I came back quite starving and Chris had made me chocolate, coconut, almond butter bark that I love and promptly devoured.
I also forgot to mention that my last travel day was 24 hours of hell. I literally traveled for 24 hours and was awake 95% of the time. I even cried in the airport when my flight was delayed multiple times. I was quite happy to get home and see my tribe.
All in all- my trip was AWESOME and I saw some amazing things and got to spend time with my dad. Aside from some of the sauces my food was cooked in, I ate mostly paleo.
I’m so happy to be home and back on track.

Here are some awesome photos:

You can also go to my website HERE, to look at the good ones of the Icebergs and glaciers…here’s a little peak.

An update and some of the things I’ve learned in the last 2.5 years of CrossFit

Sorry it’s been a while… it was a hectic week. Chris and I had a great time in Telluride but it was cut short by the Waldo Canyon Fire outbreak. Everyone we know is safe and back in their homes as of now but our thoughts go out to those whose lives were torn apart because of it. Here are some photos of our little adventure….

Some of the most important things I have learned in 2.5 years of being a CrossFit athlete and a coach.
(in no particular order)

Don’t cheat-
You aren’t only cheating yourself, you are cheating your coaches and your fellow athletes. People will start to notice and you will never lose that reputation. Just don’t do it…under any circumstance.

Take care of your hands- While you may think it is ‘cool’ to rip, it’s not. It’s actually the opposite of cool. It totally sucks. Be smart, don’t rip. Wear tape when you need to and lay off bars when you have to. Hand care if all about prevention and maintenence. File your callouses down and keep your hands moisturized. And when you do rip, because you will, don’t be a little bitch about it. Don’t lay in the corner and cradle your hands or whine when you have to wash the chalk out…we’ve all been there and I can guarantee yours are nothing compared to when I tore every callous off my hands at regionals and had to shower for 2 weeks with gloves on…take it from me, avoid rips at all costs.

Scale as needed- this is not advice, this is me telling you what you have to do. I don’t know how many times I have seen little boys (I say this because they are acting like little boys when they do it) come into the gym on heavy days and refuse to scale the weight because women are lifting more than them and try to pick up 255 lbs for reps. I don’t need to go into the horrible form used and the stupidity of the entire situation. Moral of the story, two days later they walk in with back pain. This is just f***ing stupid on so many levels. Everyone is not created equal…sorry guys. Scale when it’s too heavy, when it’s something you don’t know how to do (high skill), scale when you are injured, and scale when we tell you to. This is not an option. Scaling doesn’t make you a bitch, it makes you a smart athlete.

Warm up and do mobility- I don’t feel like going into this. Warm ups are important (so is cooling down.) Ever play sports when you were a kid? Remember that 30 minute warm up and cool down your coach put you through? (If they didn’t they were a bad coach) Yea, it’s just as important today. Just do it and you will thank me.

Perfect practice makes perfect- I’ve talked about this before. You are not going to get better if you practice crappy technique and poor form. It’s a fact. No excuses. If your technique sucks, lower the weight or scale the movement until it gets better. A 3/4 depth squat with 200 pounds is not a squat. A full depth squat with 95 pounds is a squat. Get over it.

Post workout nutrition is very important- there’s a lot of science-y stuff that goes into this and I don’t feel like explaining it. (mainly because I’d have to go back and read science-y articles and I just don’t care right now.) You will recover faster (so that you can work harder the next training session) if you eat something immediately after you workout. I don’t want to hear that you feel sick and you aren’t hungry right after a workout. If you want to optimize your recovery and performance, do it. If you don’t care about performance or recovery, don’t do it. It’s that simple.

Competition brings out the best in us- I once told the story of the Colorado Open Masters competition that Ma was in. One of the most inspiring moments I’ve ever witnessed. These types of things happen all the time at CF competitions. I’ve been an athlete my entire life and have never witnesses the type of sportsmanship and camaraderie that I have in CrossFit. It brings me to tears consistently and I believe that competition allows us to showcase this. It lets you push yourself to places you never thought you’d go and shows you what an amazing community we have. Competition is amazing and everyone should try it, regardless if your level. One day I will write about why I think competition is so important, but for now, this will suffice.

Trying my hardest doesn’t always mean winning and I am my own worst enemy- There is a lot more to this but the way we talk to ourselves is a reflection of so much more. After a workout do you scold yourself? Tell yourself you sucked, that you could have done better? I do… a lot of the time, and It’s something I am working on. Instead of doing this try looking at the positive, at all the things you did right and how hard you pushed yourself. We aren’t going to have perfect days every day, but we are capable of trying our hardest. If that means just finishing a workout, that is okay.

Why I love CrossFit.

It’s hard to talk about crossfit with someone who doesn’t crossfit…and I’m sure we’ve all been there. Now, imagine that you are a crossfit trainer/competitor (me) and your family doesn’t actually like that you do crossfit…sounds fun, right? right.

So I would even go as far to say that my family hates that I do crossfit. They may say this is an exaggeration but I don’t think it is. My mom hates that it’s a cult and I think she secretly dislikes the fact my muscles are fairly large and that I lift weights. My dad just hates that I lift weights at all because I had back surgery (I’ve talked about why lifting is important before) and he also would prefer that I have a runner’s body. My grandmother…well she just hates my traps. While this may be funny and somewhat absurd (it’s my life and my body, it doesn’t matter what they want me to look like) it’s frustrating because crossfit, like it or not, is a large part of my life. Eating well and working out are a struggle for many and people do it because they sort of have to if they want to ‘look good.’ I do this stuff because I love it and it’s not much of a struggle. I find it quite easy to eat paleo and to workout as much as I do. It’s just part of who I am. Not being able to share this passion with my family can be heart breaking. Mainly because many of the experiences I have had in the past few years have changed me as a person. I am lucky to be able to work with some amazing people who are both family and friends but I am beyond jealous of those whose parents come to watch them compete (my mom has come to some competitions…she usually leaves because she doesn’t like watching me lift heavy things) and whose parents actually workout with them, who congratulate them on PRs on their lifts rather than telling them not to lift heavy. I actually try NOT to talk about CF around my family or anyone who doesn’t CF for that matter.

I snatched 155# today. For me, that’s unbelievable. I have been wanting to snatch 150+ for a really long time and I thought I’d never be able to do it. If I told my parents this or sent them the video, they’d actually get angry with me. I want to share my (non-academic) accomplishments with them and I want them to be proud of the work I’ve done in CrossFit…but they don’t get it. They probably never will because all they see is that my shoulders and quads have gotten a little bigger.

Video of me snatching 155#

I adore my parents, they really are my best friends and they have supported me in everything I have done my entire life. I just know the impact that CrossFit has had on my life and I wish I could share it with them, and I wish they could understand the difference it makes and what it is really about because it is more than working out. The change that occurs in someone is mental more than physical and it’s an unbelievable thing.
CrossFit is not for everyone and I don’t think everyone should do it…but it does change you in a profound way.

Cherie Chan wrote the perfect article, “Why CrossFit Ruined My Life” It is all so true…
I have learned to see food as fuel and I am incapable of eating something ‘bad’ without feeling it’s effects. I will forever keep gluten and dairy out of my diet (for the most part) and think in (somewhat) of a block system.
I have a very different understanding of what people should like like. I criticize the fronts of women’s magazines because the bikini bodies look like crap and the models couldn’t lift 100 lbs.
I have seen people push themselves farther than they ever thought they could go, and then go further. I expect everyone to do this, every day, all the time. The confidence that people gain through doing their first rope climb or dead lifting twice their body weight is unreal and it transfers over to other aspects of their lives.
I share blood, sweat, and tears with my crossfit family and have a deep respect for those who give it everything they have, every time they walk into the gym. I don’t see other people (with the exception of ‘elite’ athletes) the same way.
I will forever be obsessed with getting better at my weaknesses and I no longer workout to ‘stay in shape.’
I am not very good at wearing clothes that don’t stretch…My shoulders and quads are too big and my waist is too small.
My hands are calloused and I have bruises and scrapes on my legs.

Crossfit has not ruined my life… it has saved my life. It has changed the way I see food and it has made me a better person and a better athlete. It breeds respect, honesty, diligence, hard work, and sacrifice. There are not many things in this world that I believe have the same impact on people’s lives that CrossFit can have. (There are a lot of exceptions here guys…I believe that any elite athlete, body builder, or branch of the military, etc…can produce similar results mentally)

I will never forget the Colorado Open Masters competition last year. All but one of the women had finished the workout and I believe the last woman was a 3 time cancer survivor in her 60’s. The clock was about to run out and she had her last run left. There was no way she would finish the run in time for it to count towards her score but she took off for the run anyways. Soon after that, the 10 or so masters women who has just finished a grueling workout, got up off the ground and started to run after her. They all finished the run together. It still brings tears to my eyes thinking about it. I’ve never experienced the sportsmanship and camaraderie that I have in crossfit, in any other sport. It’s an amazing thing and I hope that one day, I will be able to share this with my family. Until then, I have an unbelievable group of friends (who are my gym family) that understand and support me.

The Unbelievable Power of the Mind.

When i go to Miami, I am around a lot of people who don’t have the same aesthetic values as I do. I am uncomfortable, instantly…as soon as I step off the plane. Uncomfortable in my own skin, uncomfortable with the temperature, and uncomfortable with everything around me. It’s like as soon as I get to Miami, I gain ten pound of fat and look in the mirror and hate everything I am. This has happened to me since I was a little girl and it’s a hard one to get over. It could be why I can’t stand Miami. It’s different there and I begin to see myself the same way that I think that everyone around me sees me. Whether or not it is an accurate portrayal, who knows…well I do know…but that is besides the point. From my grandmother telling me not to lift anymore because my muscles are big, to walking around in the heat with my thighs rubbing together (It’s ridiculously hot there all year round and I hate the heat). This has once again happened to me my entire life. My grandmother asks to look at me every time I see her…as if I was a model trying on clothes for a clothes designer (get the picture)…more commonly than not I get a “Mamita, you look great have you lost weight?” and the answer is usually yes, however, there is always that ‘are you still working out’ comment that sneaks in. (This is what I really want to say…I have muscles…get over it…they are awesome and I can do lots of fun things with them…I have been built like this my entire life and I’ve come to grips with the fact that I am an athlete. You should too) I am uncomfortable in most of the situations I am put in and it becomes an inner battle that I fight with myself every time I go there. The power my mind has over my body is unreal. The only place I am comfortable in Miami is in the crossfit gym and I am lucky to have a few friends who run a great facility who let me hang out. Check it out if you are ever down there (CrossFit Gables) Anyways, I go from unbelievably confident, strong, and happy with who I am to questioning myself and someone who I don’t recognize. It’s absurd and I know it, but it still happens. I hope that one day I won’t let this happen to me, but for now, it does.

The dark side of my mind takes over. It happens to the best of us and we can’t always control it. What we can do is do our best to get ourselves out of that situation. To ride it out and know that in the end, we can go back to being ourselves. I’d like to say it’s easy to stop thinking a certain way or to believe yourself when you know whats right…it’s not. We all have our demons and those little devils sitting on our shoulders whispering a whole bunch of SHIT into our ears. At some point we have to stop listening.

The same power of mind comes into play when I step up to the barbell. For the most part when I know I’m getting close to a max I stop counting and just add incrementally. Knowing the weight allows that little demon that sits on my shoulder to start whispering, “You aren’t strong enough, there is no way that you can get that weight overhead…you are weak and you will hurt yourself. You aren’t good enough to make that lift.” Every made lift makes that little demon shrink. Every time I step up to the bar confidently and do my best, he shrinks even further. It can be, like many things, a choice. However, it takes time. confidence doesn’t build over night and I think that without those bad days, it would be really difficult to have the really great ones. If you don’t step up to the bar and tell yourself that you are going to make the lift, I can guarantee that you will miss it and that stupid little demon will grow bigger and bigger.

I write this for those of you doing the nutrition challenge. The next 9 weeks are going to be tough and for a lot of the time, you will have a little demon sitting on your shoulder telling you things that you don’t want to hear…trying to convince you that you are a failure and that you can’t do it…I’m here to tell you that you can. Every good decision you make and every hard workout pays off in the end. The little demon shrinks, you get stronger and leaner, and your performance increases. It is worth it, I promise. Have faith in your coaches and most importantly, yourself. You CAN do it.

As for me, I weighed myself and did my body fat. I won’t put you through the pain of knowing how much I weigh, but my body fat is at 16%. Which is pretty awesome and I’m quite happy with that. We’ll see what the next 9 weeks bring…