Tuesday, December 1, 2015

1 year of Crossfit and my first competition

My one year anniversary of Crossfit is in 10 days! I remember the first day I walked into Crossfit and felt so out of place and anxious. I imagined how things would be if I was to stick to Crossfit for a year though. I wondered how strong I could get and if could do handstand pushups, pull-ups, and toes-to-bar. But I also wondered if I’d build friendships with people there. Well now it’s been a year and I can look back and compare. In the first month of Crossfit, my one one rep max for a clean was at 65 pounds, my back squat was somewhere around 100 pounds and my front squat at 95 pounds. I really started to track my one rep max PR’s about 5 months in. Below are some of my PR’s at 5 months and then 11 months in. 

5 months: 

Clean – 90 
Back Squat - 145 
Front Squat – 120 
Deadlift – 205 

11 months: 

Clean – 120 
Back Squat – 170 
Front Squat – 145 
Deadlift – 235 

(all in pounds) 

 It’s neat to see how I’ve progressed. In the past 6 months, I added 30 pounds to my clean, 25 pounds to my back squat, 25 to my front squat, and 35 pounds to my deadlift. I can now do assisted handstand pushups using 2 mats on the ground, I can do about 4 strict pullups and 10 kipping pull-ups, I can string together my toes-to-bar, and I can do 40 double unders in a row! I’m so excited to list out all of my progress because now I’m wondering what I’ll be doing within the next year!
I also competed at my first Crossfit competition a few weeks ago at NLI Classic OC on November 14th. I definitely didn’t feel ready to compete, but I wanted to get the experience out of the way. I wasn’t sure if I would love it or hate it. If you read my other blog posts, you’ll notice that I’ve done a physique type competition in the past. I did love the process at first, but realized it wasn’t for me. You can read about it here: "Will I Compete Again?". As for Crossfit competitions, I would say, I’m still unsure if I love it, but I do see myself competing again.
I competed in Division 3, there are 4 Divisions with Division 1 being the hardest. I was surprised that Division 3 was exceptionally difficult and I came in almost last in all 3 workouts. But I’ll just say I’m happy that I picked a more difficult division instead of going with the easier one. The coolest thing I learned from this competition is that I couldn’t do it alone. Counting on my friends and coaches for support is a neat feeling and made me feel more appreciation for them. I few things I would do if I competed again are to practice the workouts more. The specific workouts were provided about 3 weeks before the event and I only practiced them once. The second thing is move faster because every second counts.  It’s easy to focus on what I could’ve improved, but I tried my best to see how far I’ve come instead. Most important, the relationships I’ve built at Crossfit are priceless.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bikini Competitor to Crossfit

I am now 31 years old and my perspective in life has changed drastically. I used to obsess over body image and would yearn for validation. I won’t lie and say that I no longer care about validation and body image but it’s nowhere near how I felt in my adolescence and into my 20s.  My opinion and happiness comes first now. 

I’ve mostly worked out at a gym like 24 hour fitness (a gym in California). I remember seeing the Crossfit Games on TV while working out and getting a surge of motivation. These women were so strong and pushing their bodies to the max, but I still felt reluctant to do anything different from what I had already been doing for the past 8 years. Especially because I had competed at a fitness bikini competition and I was constantly reminded by coaches that my physique would change if I did Crossfit workouts. Well, now that I don’t care about what those coaches want my body to look like, I can disregard those opinions. I want to be strong and do something that I never imagined myself doing. Handstands, muscle-ups, and Olympic lifting? No way! I could never imagine that I could be capable of doing those things, but why not? Why not me? And why not try? Besides, I never imagined that I would step on stage either and I did that too.

Years later, it was mid-December 2014 and I had been going to the gym less, indulging in lots of holiday food, and had just come back from vacation from the east coast and I got the bright idea to try Crossfit. I weighed myself and was surprised that I had gained 10 pounds from my normal weight. I wasn’t feeling the greatest but I did it anyway. My first few weeks I felt intimidated, nervous and out of place. I’ll admit that I didn't love it from the beginning, but I continued to go because I knew a lot of my anxiety was coming from learning something new and being around a lot of new people. I’m more of an introvert so being around a lot of new people gives me anxiety. Sometimes I wish I could change that about me, but it’s still a reality.

Fast-forward 2 months later and I’m still going to the same Crossfit gym (I don’t like saying Box, I think it’s weird, lol) and I’m seriously considering cancelling my normal gym membership. I’m getting to know people there so I don’t get the same anxiety like I did before and I can see improvements already. The Olympic moves are so much more complex than normal lifting so the excitement of learning something new is back. I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do. 
I can do 1 strict pull-up so my pull-ups have to be modified for the WODs
Squatting 105 pounds for 5 reps. Currently my 1 rep max for back squats is 145 pounds

What I look like now. I used to weigh around 116, now I'm more like 130lbs. 
 I'll consider this my Crossfit Before picture...hoping to see more muscle and increased strength

About 3 years ago, weighing between 112-116 when I used to try really hard to be lean. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Where have I been?

I haven’t posted in 2 years! I took some time off to reflect and take some much needed personal time. I felt like I needed to figure some things out for myself before I could attempt to help others. Since I had decided that competing in fitness type competitions wasn’t for me, I had to find out how to re-balance my lifestyle to feel comfortable and happy. I knew that the lifestyle I was leading was taking too much of my time and they didn’t reflect my values.

The first thing I did was I took about a month off from the gym. I needed to free myself from the addiction I had to it. Realize that it’s not a big deal if I don’t go. At the time I was working out 6 days a week and felt sore and tired all the time. I also started to resent the gym. What happened to my love and passion for it? I stopped following a lot of fitness people on all my social media, especially those that posted a lot of selfies, so that I would stop comparing myself and to rid myself of caring so much about body image. I started eating a vegan diet because I was SICK of eating meat and the “bodybuilder” type diet. My point to do that was to realize that not just one type of diet works. I can base my diet on the lifestyle and the values I personally have. After a month or so of no gym and a different diet, I felt a little different, but guess what? My body didn’t change too much. I wasn’t all of a sudden overweight and the sky didn’t fall. This meant, being so controlling over myself was wasted effort. Slowly I got myself back into the gym and back to eating meat. I no longer track my food in a diary, I no longer take progress pictures of myself weekly or even monthly, I no longer feel bad about eating whatever I want and I have respect and love for myself no matter what my body looks like. I also only go to the gym about 4 times a week now (compared to 6). I still mostly lift weights with plyometrics and I picked up jump roping too. 

My health journey didn’t end, but it went into a different direction. It was no longer about getting validation but instead, it was about finding what I care about. For example, now I’m reading a book on Zero Waste by Bea Johnson. The book is about living a more simple life and reducing your waste (Trash) to almost zero. Check out her blog here: http://zerowastehome.blogspot.com/

Other books I read for my personal growth:
Boundaries by Townsend and Cloud
Safe People by Townsend and Cloud
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
The Urban Farm Handbook by Annette Cottrell

 Here are some recent pictures just for fun.

I recently won tickets to an Angel's v. Red Sox game from my work. Finally! I usually don't win stuff. What's even more exciting is that I got selected to be the Honorary Game Ball Delivery person. That means I got to place the ball on the mound after the national anthem and before the first pitch of the game! I was so excited and honored to get to stand on the field during the national anthem. Never guessed I'd see myself on the jumbotron while the announcer said my name! I was pretty geeked about the whole experience.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Genetically Engineered (GE) Foods Labeling (Prop 37 CA)

I thought I’d share some of my thoughts and knowledge on the new initiative to label genetically engineered food. I’m not going to tell you what to vote for because even I’m still trying to decide. I’m also not claiming to be some kind of expert. I am just a normal person like most people trying to figure out what I should vote for. I can’t exactly say that I have an unbiased opinion either because I already practice staying away from genetically engineered food. I trust Mother Nature and believe there is a need to change the DNA of our food or any living thing.

First of all, what are genetically engineered (GE) foods (also known as GMO – genetically modified organisms)? It means that the genetic material (DNA) of a living organism has been changed. Most of the time plants are changed to be able to resist pests and pesticides. Sometimes living organisms are genetically modified to grow faster and bigger. Most genetically engineered crops are corn and soybeans, but other common crops are alfalfa, canola, cotton, papaya, sugar beets, and zucchini.
What is Prop 37 proposing?

Just to quickly summarize it, here are the 3 main proposals:

1)      Requires that most GE foods sold be labeled as such. All plants, whether partially or entirely GE have to be labeled.
2)      Requires the Department of Public Health to regulate the labeling
3)      Allows individuals to sue food manufactures who violate the labeling provisions

This is where it gets confusing. There will be some food products that will be exempt from this labeling. That includes alcoholic beverages, organic foods, and restaurant food. Also animal products such as beef or chicken that were not directly produced through genetic engineering even if the animal was fed with GE crops.


What plants are used in alcohol? grapes (wine), barley, wheat, corn (beer, spirits), potatoes, and fruit. 

I would guess that if you’re drinking beer that it contains GE plants in it because it’s mostly made with wheat and corn. Both of those crops are usually GE. When drinking wine it’d be easier to avoid GE food because I’m not aware of grapes being GE. If you get organic wine then you’re even guaranteed they didn’t use GMO or pesticides. 

Why wouldn’t alcohol be included?

I’m guessing that maybe people feel that if you’re drinking alcohol maybe you wouldn’t be as health conscious or maybe we’d just not care as much because it’s not something we drink every day. Or perhaps alcohol isn’t regulated in the same manner as food. What’s your guess? I’m not too sure on this one, but it won’t really affect me since I’m not a big drinker.

Organic foods are excluded.

This one is easy. Certified Organic food cannot intentionally contain GE ingredients, so why waste the time and effort to regulate this when it’s already regulated by the USDA. 

Restaurant Food:

I’m going to guess that restaurant food is excluded because it would be difficult to regulate. I actually always assume the worst when I go to a restaurant because I would guess that most (especially fast food) restaurants would want to buy the cheapest food for their restaurant and most of the time it will be low quality unless you’re going to an upscale or health-type restaurant. This doesn’t bother me at all because I try not to eat out and keep it to once a week at the most.

Animal products such as beef or chicken that were not directly produced through genetic engineering even if the animal was fed with GE crops are excluded.

This is yet another confusing one. Why would animal products be excluded such as beef and chicken? 

“Not directly produced through genetic engineering” - This tells me that if the animal was genetically engineered it would need to be labeled. But if the animal was fed with GE crops then it doesn’t need to be labeled. Most factory farmed animals are fed with GE crops such as corn (not part of their natural diet by the way). I’m not aware of any animal that is genetically engineered. I know that there was a proposal to introduce a GE salmon that grows faster and bigger, but it hasn’t been approved. From what I read in the proposal for Prop 37, I would believe that this salmon would have to be labeled if it was introduced to the market. You can avoid eating animals that were fed with GE crops by purchasing organic meats and looking for beef that is pasture raised and also grass-fed. Chickens should be cage-free. Another option would be to go vegan and not eat animal products at all.

If this proposition passes, I think people are going to be very surprised that a lot of their processed food contains GE ingredients. It seems like most processed food contains some type of “corn” product such as High Fructose Corn Syrup. It makes me wonder if people saw the label GE all over their food, that people would start to question the health of their food or where it came from. Is it possible that processed or GE food would become more expensive and piss off a bunch of people? Possible but not for certain. Let’s just say it’s possible - If you shop at non-health food stores where that label might be plastered everywhere and prices might go up as companies try to continue to make as much profit as possible and also possibly try to bully us into turning away from this labeling system. I think that could piss off lots of people. On the plus side, it’s possible that the demand for organic food would increase, which would cause organic food prices to decrease. Let’s all consider this though, when we asked companies to add information to their products such as nutrition info and ingredient lists, did the prices go up? Not that I noticed, so it’s possible that the prices won’t be affected as well. There are a lot of “ifs” here.

Whether this proposal passed or not, people that care most about staying away from GE food are more likely to do their own homework and find a way to stay away from GE foods like myself. I find it fairly easy to not eat GE food. For example, buying organic food, shopping at health food stores and farmers markets, frequently cook at home instead of eating at restaurants, and staying away from processed food as much as possible. 

Find tips on how to stay away from GE (GMO) food here: http://nongmoshoppingguide.com/tips-for-avoiding-gmos.html

I do love the idea of pushing out companies like Monsanto, Dupont and DOW and putting pressure on everyone to find new options because our system now in my opinion is not sustainable. If you have interest in finding out more about GE or GMO watch the film The Future of Food or Food Inc or watch both. They’re both available on Netflix.

I also find it scary that large companies like Monsanto, Dupont and DOW don’t want people to know what’s in their food. If GE food is so safe, what does it matter if people know more about it? These large companies are also the supporters of opposing this proposition. Tip: Look up the background information of these companies. “Monsanto was also one of the most important producers of Agent Orange for United States Military operations in Vietnam”

On my facebook page I had mentioned that I saw a commercial that opposed Prop 37 that was very misleading. From my memory, and maybe you’ve seen it, the commercial showed that this proposition would require that dog food be labeled but not beef or chicken that’s for human consumption. In the commerical  it states that the measure “makes no sense at all” because it mandates that some foods be labeled while others are exempted by the proposed law. It also says, “It just gives an indication of the arbitrary and completely illogical nature of this ill conceived proposition”. If you read the proposition proposal, you can easily see the reason for this. It’s because dog food contains animal products AND grain/corn products that are more than likely from GE crops. Since dog food has GE products in it, then it will be labeled. However, beef and chicken are exempt because the animal themselves are not GE. See how the commercial is misleading and not totally true?

Do you believe you have the right to know if your food has been modified from its natural state? 

Resources and helpful links:

The complete official voter guide where you can find all of the proposition details: http://vig.cdn.sos.ca.gov/2012/general/pdf/complete-vig-v2.pdf

See who is supporting No on Prop 37: Coalition Against the Deceptive Food Labeling Scheme, sponsored by Farmers, Food Producers, and Grocers. Major funding by Monsanto Company, E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and more than 40 food companies. For a full list of donors visit www.NoProp37.com/donors

No on Prop 37 supporters: http://www.noprop37.com/facts/

Yes on Prop 37 supporters: http://www.carighttoknow.org/

See who is supporting Yes on Prop 37. Endorsers include: the California Nurses Association, California Democratic Party, California Labor Federation, United Farm Workers, American Public Health Association, Consumers Union, Sierra Club, Whole Foods Market, California Council of Churches, Organic Consumers Association, Center for Food Safety, Consumer Federation of America, Mercola Health Resources, Public Citizen, and Food Democracy Now! http://www.carighttoknow.org/endorsements

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Giant Breakfast Cookie

I've only experimented with vegan food for one month now, so I've been finding recipes from others for inspiration for the most part.

After several weeks of using other peoples recipes, I was finally able to come up with one of my own! A big breakfast cookie! My boyfriend said it's his new favorite breakfast :)

1Tbs Flaxseed Meal
1 Banana
1/4-1/2C Oatmeal (I used rolled oats)
2Tbs of Brown Rice Flour or flour of choice
2Tbs of unsweetened shredded coconut
Other goodies like chocolate chips, raisins, dried cranberries or crushed nuts :) Add your favorite.

In a small stovetop pan, add 1Tsp of virgin unrefined coconut oil, and turn on your stovetop to medium heat so that you can preheat the pan. In a bowl add 1Tbs of Flaxseed meal and 2 1/2Tbs of water and mix it  up. If you're not vegan, you can use one egg white instead. Add one banana to the bowl and mash it up with a fork. Then add oatmeal, flour, and shredded coconut. Mix it all together. It should look like a cookie batter. Then put the batter on the pan and create a cookie shape. Add your topping such as chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, etc. Let it cook for maybe 3 minutes and then flip and cook another 3 minutes.

Enjoy your healthy dessert like cookie for breakfast and feel good about it :)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Meat Eater gone almost VEGAN (no labels or promises here)

I first started researching some vegan recipes because I wanted to add more veggies to my diet and I thought Vegans would have creative recipes. As I started my research I realized I’m the type of person that has a million questions and I dive in and take in as much information as possible. What really sparked my interest through my research is that some athletes are vegans. All this time I was trained to eat animal protein with every meal. Why would I think there’s only one way if others were doing it other ways with success? I thought my way was right, but it stopped working form me after a while. I was overwhelmed by thinking about what my next meal was going to be. Food prepping, looking at my macros and even calorie counting or some kind of portion control. I was always left craving more food. I wanted to eat more starchy carbs, or I wanted to eat more fruit, or I wanted to eat more fat (mostly nut butters), or I wanted sugar in the form of baked goods. I was in a constant battle with myself. I was happy when I ate my food, but was always waiting for the next meal. I felt like I was addicted to food. This lead to more questions. If I was so healthy, why would my body have so many cravings for other foods right after a meal? My body craved carbs from starches and sugar. I started to lose my appetite for animal protein. Well, I got to a point where I couldn’t keep giving into parts of my mind (ego) and I had to give into what my body wanted. Did that mean I went and ate junk food? NO!! Your body doesn’t naturally know what junk food is. It knows natural food, so I listened to my body and gave it what it wanted. If I craved sugar, I ate fruit, if I craved starchy type carbs, I ate sprouted grains or potatoes. If I craved fat, I ate nuts. I also made sure to add plenty of leafy greens at every opportunity. At first I was freaked out about eating so many carbs and not eating enough protein. I was going against everything I believed in, but again, others have done it with success and I wanted to test this all out because I won’t let fear control me!
Something happened! My cravings went away. Wow! Almost instantly. I wasn’t waiting for my next meal. I was eating a lot less and I was feeling a lot more satisfied. Other great things happened too. My craving for coffee went away and so did my craving for sugar. I was getting so much natural sugar in my diet that I didn’t desire anymore than that. I also decided to take a break from the gym because I had been going hard for over a year, 6 days a week non-stop. I took about 2 weeks off. It made me a little anxious because I knew I felt like I’d gain weight. Something funny happened! I lost weight. I know, it could be muscle, but I’ll tell you what. I look in the mirror and my waist looks smaller. I love that because that’s exactly where I gain fat first and I also used to get very bloated after certain meals. Since I’ve been eating mostly vegan, I haven’t gotten bloated at all. I’m slowly getting back into the gym again now because I do love working out, but now I feel like I’ve released myself from my addiction to the gym too. I can now have a much more healthy relationship with the gym..haha. If I miss a day, it doesn’t matter. I can stay lean from my diet and I’d prefer to use the gym for health reasons not for vanity.

The first few days I was lower in energy. I decided to keep at it though, because it was possible that my body was using energy on detoxing and also maybe my body was readjusting to the new type of energy I was providing it. After a week or so, I started to feel more normal again. Going vegan also meant that I had to do a lot of research on new recipes because a boring/bland diet will most likely set me up for failure. I did enjoy trying new recipes and found it easy to pack fruit, nuts, Ezekiel bread, or veggies as a snack in between meals. I did eat eggs, chicken, etc a few times during my transition, but to be honest; I really didn’t crave or feel a need to eat it. I just ate it because it was available, but it’s interesting to see how I’ve lost my appetite for it so quick. I don’t want to label myself as a vegan or any other label. I just want to be healthy and care about the decisions I make. I also want to know the impact of my choices not just to me, but to the world. 

My research started with prayer and I got my answers before I even dived into my research. But, let me also share with you some of my finds during my research. I found that Ellen DeGeneres is vegan. She mentioned a documentary named Earthlings. I was compelled to watch and I found it for free online here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6361872964130308142. After watching that video I remembered why I had stopped eating factory farmed animals and had tried to only eat organic animal products. Just a warning, there are some very graphic scenes! If that film is too graphic for you, watch something like the film, Food, Inc. You can watch the documentary Fresh www.freshthemovie.com to see the difference in animals that are raised with higher standards and on a sustainable farm. I also found that movie on Netflix. I like the idea of researching both sides and then making a decision. I think it can be dangerous to refuse to look at the other side, you know?

I was also inspired by gokaleo (gokaleo.com) I loved a lot of what she represented. She is vegan and she's packed with muscle. Could it be possible that I could keep my fit body and not have to consume so much meat? The answer to that question is, of course! I had also met a lovely girl at my first bikini competition that was vegan. You can find her here: http://healthybeafit.blogspot.com/

I ingested a few books in a few days. One by Julianne Hever, Plant Based Nutrition: http://plantbaseddietitian.com/. I also read Get Naked Fast by Diana Stobo and of course Skinny Bitch. Skinny Bitch is a great book for girls that don’t have much experience with nutrition or environmental issues: http://www.skinnybitch.net/ and http://www.skinnybastard.net/ for men. They all had different styles of cooking and all were a bit different in what they believed. None of these I would call diets, but more a way of life that considers a lot of different things: health, environment, etc.

At the end of the day common sense helped me the most. I had to clear my head of all the things I’ve learned so far and really think about what made sense. To me, it didn’t make sense the way I was eating before and it also didn’t make sense to me that it could be dangerous to eat plant based. People are willing to eat non-food and food that’s full of chemicals and fortified. That to me is dangerous! 

I guess now I should start to post vegan recipes so you can see what I eat, but I’ve just been winging it more and not really thinking about food so much. I do enjoy cooking very much and I’m also considering starting my own garden to be more in tune with nature and to insure that I can have access to organic food. That’s a dream for the future and yes, I’ve been reading up on it too. 

Inspiring Documentaries I watched on Netflix about food:
Forks Over Knives
Food Matters
Food, Inc
Bag It – not about food but still a must see

Some of my notes from prayer:

I am choosing to see. I want to stop being distracted by the media and advertisements that are made to distract me from learning truths. I want to care about the choices I make. I know sometimes I may not want to know the truth because it'll make my life harder, maybe? But my life will be full of purpose. I want to stand up for those that choose to not know out of fear. I choose Faith and Love.

Love for God, love for others, love for the earth and love for animals.