My recent article from Breaking Muscle. Enjoy!
you can also read a more personal view on it from my blog post kettle bell box squat.
My recent article from Breaking Muscle. Enjoy!
you can also read a more personal view on it from my blog post kettle bell box squat.
Catch up on the latest articles on superfoods, including two that i wrote for Breaking Muscle!
check out my recent article i wrote for Breaking Muscle!
i haven’t written about crossfit/strength training for a few months. so, i thought i would give an update about my training! you may be asking, “what exactly are you training for?”. well, i am training to stay in shape and continue to provide my body with a healthy outlet to enhance my physical and mental growth. but, the past few months have challenged my training with chronic pain in my right neck/shoulder area and i knew there had to be some form of therapy that would help release this pain for good!
enter: neurokinetic therapy (NKT).
NKT addresses the cause of pain – dysfunctional movement patterns stored in the brain. basically, it is a combination of deep massage and muscle testing. during the process of massaging, you are able to fire the nerves and open up a pathway to receive new information from the brain. there is about a 30-60 second window where your brain will receive this new information. our brains are amazing! at the end of my first session, the low-level headache, along with sharp pains in my neck, were gone!! i let out a big sigh of relief but, then i was told that i had to take a WHOLE week off from lifting/moving anything that would activate those nerves and muscles in the wrong way. so, this led me to become more creative with my workouts this week, since all i can do is lower body weight/movements.
here is what i came up with to add weight to my already stellar perfect squat: the kettle bell box squat!
what you need: two boxes, a belt/rope, kettle bell and weight lifting shoes (if you are serious about lifting weight and don’t own a pair, i don’t think we can be friends.) i started with the 18#/10 reps, then 26#/10 reps, and 35#/8 reps (2x) this was for part of my strength training session. (see pics below.) this lift helps improve your balance, strength and form.
this past year, i started to write articles for Breaking Muscle. i am stoked that two of my articles made it in the Top 10 Nutritional Articles for 2012! i am excited to continue with my writing and to share my knowledge and experiences with all of you. thanks for the support!
i have a confession to make. i have not been completely honest with you, my readers. and i want to change that. one of my best friend’s called me out on this the other day. she told me that she loves to read my blog posts and enjoys that i channel my experiences into a positive outcome but, that i am not being completely honest. because, what she loves about my self-expression, is that i am not afraid to show my pain, my sadness and my frustrations through my writing. and i have not really been doing that. the past six months have been complete chaos transformed into the deepest-darkest holes and caverns. to the point where i did not want to exist. and that is my truth.
‘altered groundlessness’ is the best way i can describe my current life situation.
five months ago, i thought that having my girlfriend breakup with me on my 29th birthday was about the lowest life could take me but the universe decided to throw even more complications into the mix a few months later. all of my expectations of 2012 have completely gone out the window and i’m not even close to where i had started.
i realized i had finally hit rock bottom.
When the sweet ache of being alive, lodged between who you are and who you will be, is awakened, befriend this moment. It will guide you. Its sweetness is what holds you. Its ache is what moves you on. -Mark Nepo
basically, after getting my heart broken, i made the choice to move on and everything was going great! i was doing awesome at my job, (despite the daily hysterical breakdowns in my car), my home situation was amazing and i fell in love with all my roommates, i was gaining strength and speed in the gym and i had a new appreciation for life and the challenges it gives us! but, a black cloud was quietly hanging over me. i didn’t see it coming because i was choosing to ignore it. i was having so much fun with life that i didn’t want to acknowledge that i was sick and depressed and that there was something deeper going on.
then, i realized that the icing on the cake of my life was black mold.
two months ago, it was confirmed that Stachybotrys, otherwise know as black mold, was in my home. let me tell you, this stuff is serious and it can do major damage to a person’s immune system and mental health. all of which i was experiencing first hand. after two months of being sick, i intuitively knew something else had to be going on with my body. i was experiencing many of the major toxic mold symptoms such as: fatigue, unable to concentrate, night sweats, hives, hormonal imbalance, loss of appetite, persistent cough, join pain and mental instability. it is crazy that something so small can attack your body and drain your immune system to the very core! i knew it was time to get out of that house for good. i reached out to my crossfit community and they provided a place for me to stay until i found something more permanent. i was being taken care of in terms of shelter and support but the next step was taking care of myself and healing my body, mind and heart.
consequently, over the past two months, the “altered groudlessness” of my life has been teaching me a lot. like. a LOT. to help me cope with the uncertainty of life, i decided to follow along with a 21 day meditation challenge through the Deepak Chopra Center. this challenge focused on abundance and gratefulness on one’s life. i certainly had a lot to be grateful for and these daily intentions helped to bring that to awareness and become alive in my heart! i then went one step further and created a physical place of grounding in my temporary room with an alter.
“As I let go of the need to arrange my life, the universe brings abundant good to me.”
i share my experiences not to receive pity, but in hopes that whoever is reading them will feel inspired by my rawness and expression of the challenges in my life. the level of grief that i have experienced over the past few months has been deep. dark. and intense. but, it has also been filled with a level of growth i did not expect! i have been provided for and supported and loved in so many ways that my heart overflows with the feelings of gratefulness. but, what i have learned the most is that it takes work. you have to work through the pain and heartache. and you will have set backs. and you will have gains. and just when you think you are riding smoothly, the biggest wave will crush you and send you to the bottom. this is the real test. then, when you can stand up and climb out of that pit, this is when you know that the work you have been doing internally has paid off. you truly do have the strength to live on.
you have to honor yourself. love yourself. respect yourself and be at peace with who you are and where you are in life. i know that i will feel different levels of pain and grief throughout my lifetime but with each experience, i am empowered by the challenge to work through it and love myself through it all. namaste.
the loudest cheers came from the sidelines this year and i was a part of it for the first time. i never realized how much the spectators at the annual TJs Games put into their efforts to cheer on their fellow teammates until i was on the other side. it was an equally amazing experience just as participating in the games always is for me.
but, to be honest, i was absolutely devastated when i realized that i would have to drop out of the games this year. it’s not like i was out to win a prize full of gold or a year supply of protein powder but, i still wanted the thrill and excitement that comes along with that day. i had been waiting for months to spend all day with my “crossfit family”.
with my friends and community.
to push through those crazy WODs and to go to the places that scare you the most and come out a winner in the end.
but. it was not my story to tell this year.
two weeks leading up to the games, the nerves in my neck started to lock up again. i keep thinking that if i rested a week before the competition, i would be ok. then, a few days before game time, i had a visit with my doctor, “the thumb”, and he basically said to not lift anything heavy over my head. my heart sunk deep down in my gut and i began to battle with the forces of my ego and she was coming on strong!
i went back and fourth with the pros and cons of competing. i sought advice from two good friends (Sunya & Jamie) and i looked back on my past experience of pushing through an injury, and decided it was best to drop out of the competition two days before game time. instead, i stood on the sidelines and cheered for my amazing teammates of TJs Gym!! i am so honored to know all of those women and men who competed and gave it their all with grace, dignity and excitement!
i also want to give a special shout out to my girl Tia who originally signed up because i talked her into it (so she says although i feel it was more of a nudge.) Tia has really taught me a lot over the past couple months and i am so proud she put it all out there and the glow on her face when the competition was over was worth everything!!
i admit that it was hard to watch but after awhile i felt a deep appreciation for the lesson that i am getting out of this event. on top of my physical pain that stems from my right-side neck down the right-side of my back, i have been dealing with intense illness and a major hormonal imbalance in my body. it’s not exactly the wake-up call i wanted but it is what i am getting. so, i know that i have to make serious changes and to find new ways of healing my body outside of physical activity. anyone who knows me, will understand how difficult this is for me to do! and, while i get frustrated with myself at least ten times a day, i know that it will not be like this forever and it is simply a small chapter in the book of my life. i am taking on the changes beginning today and plan to keep track of them all and share what i come up with so that others will find their healing process easier and comforting to know they are not alone.
to everyone that is feeling something. anything. physical pain. emotional pain. spiritual pain. or a combination of them all. i want you to know that on my in breath, i take in your pain, and on my out breath, i blow healing love, compassion and kindness into your heart. (this is called the practice of Tonglen in the teachings of Buddhism.) stay strong and learn from your discomforts and keep breathing into them!
in less than a week, i will be competing for the 3rd year in a row at TJ’s Games and i have been preparing for months to dominate the scaled division!
ha. totally joking.
in all reality, i am in fact competing. (if all goes to plan and my cold subsides and the inflammation in my neck goes on vacation.)
but, i honestly have not been preparing for months by following a strict paleo diet, workout plan, getting adequate sleep and visualizing each move to bring me closer to the prize. basically. i live this life to my highest ability each day. we are always in training for something and i want to have the healthiest, strongest and most sustainable body as possible because who knows when the beginning of the end of the world will begin (or has it already?)!
i do hold myself accountable to many parts of my life. i follow the paleo diet about 90% of the time (did you really think i would give up peanut butter for the rest of my life?) i work with a 6-8 week cycle of strength training and only focus on certain movements/lifts during that time frame. i get roughly 7 hours of sleep each night and i make sure to meditate at least 30 minutes before jumping into bed with Pema Chodron and Emily Dickinson (my cat pillow. yes, it does get crowded at times). and, when it comes to recovery after a workout, i make sure to always have a proper combination of protein and carbs in the form of REAL FOOD.
for the past two months, i have diligently been downing my green smoothie after my wod at the gym and everyone will ask me, “what is in that thing?” i find it interesting that people refer to it as a “thing”. as if a green liquid could not possibly taste good. but, my smoothie tastes so good that i would take a bath in it if i could. that is why i am sharing my secret recipe and you need to make it yourself.
here is the basic recipe on my super nutrient-protein dense vegan smoothie that i chug down each morning in my re-usable cream jar! (it tastes like vegan chocolate milk!)
2 frozen organic bananas
2 tsp Vitamineral Greens
1 1/2 scoops of Nutiva hemp protein powder (use the scoop that comes in the container when you buy it.)
1 Tbsp raw organic cacao powder
4 organic ice cubes
1 cup organic water (add more for a thinner texture.)
*blend in a vitamix or whatever kind of blender you have that can handle all the rawkin’ organic ingredients and enjoy!
stay tuned in the next couple weeks for a recap of the Games that will take place on October 28th at the Marin Civic Center! if you are in the area, come check it out and see over 100 TJ’s gym members in action and doing what we love!
this past labor day weekend, i had the pleasure to dog-sit for one of my fellow crossfit teammates up in the hills of Mill Valley. i love spending time at their home because i am always inspired to create unique dishes in their spacious kitchen, which is pimped out with cast iron skillets in every size imaginable, a huge gas oven-stove and an alkaline water filter connected to the sink! this is a food-lover and conscious hippie’s dream come true!
the past few weeks, i have been seeking out other ways to indulge in my obsession and connection to the cacao bean. i reintroduced raw cacao powder to my morning smoothies, i also started making my own raw chocolate sauce and sometimes i mix a spoonful of cacao powder with organic peanut butter to break all the rules! then, inspiration struck in the kitchen this weekend and i decided to use cacao powder as a more savory addition and created the most amazing and delicious version of sweet potato fries! follow the recipe below and enjoy them as a meal or side to any entree!
sweet potato cacao fries
2 organic sweet potatoes
2 Tbsp of raw organic Ecuadorian cacao powder
1 tsp organic ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp organic cayenne pepper
1 tsp Himalayan sea salt
2 Tbsp organic coconut oil
PREP: turn over to 400 degrees. slice the yams into thick french fry style pieces. melt the organic coconut oil on the baking sheet by putting it in the oven while it is warming up. then, in a bowl, mix the melted organic coconut oil, yam fries, cacao powder, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper until they are all coated. immediately lay the pieces out onto the already coated baking sheet and sprinkle them with sea salt. bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. you can also turn the broiler on for the last few minutes to acquire an extra crisp to your fries!