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Life Lessons from the Ranch

28 Jul

My husband and I had the amazing opportunity of spending a week at the JH Ranch near Etna, CA for a Husband and Wife Adventure. It’s an exquisite place where the air just feels thinner and you are free from all modern-day distractions. The theme is having an everlasting adventure and the goal is to take your faith to a whole new level. We went in super psyched about the ropes courses we heard about, and came away re-born as individuals and as a couple–with life lessons that seem just too valuable not to share.

Discipline becomes desire. This applies to so many areas of life. I, of course, quickly relate it to diet and fitness, but it just as easily relates to everything from flossing your teeth to daily Scripture reading. What may seem tedious, tiring, difficult or boring at first can quickly become such a big part of your life that you find yourself needing it, rather than dreading it.

A life not evaluated is not worth living. Socrates had it right. It’s too easy to busy ourselves throughout each day and never take the time to ponder goals, successes, and failures. Don’t settle. Push a little further to determine what could be better and how you can get there. It was often quoted at the Ranch that “evaluation is the gateway to transformation” and it couldn’t be more true. If you’ve hit a plateau with your diet and fitness, record and track what you’re doing, and look for patterns and ways to improve. If your marriage seems more like a business partnership than a fairytale, dig deeper together to see what’s missing.
I constantly find myself puttering my way through the day because I’m too afraid to STOP and evaluate. I want to be more in touch with the Holy Spirit, but tie up my mind with email/chores/music. I want more from my workout routine, but I don’t take the time to habitually record my results. I’ve pretty much determined that I do this out of straight fear. I fear the results or perhaps lack of results. Don’t settle for the desert when you can have the Promised Land (thanks for your wisdom, Ruthie!)

You only live life once but if you live it right, once is enough.  This pretty much sums up the top two. They might take a bit of time and a whole lot of courage but lead to a more purposeful, joyful, and passion-filled life.


GPP is life in action. At the ranch we found ourselves climbing ropes and rope ladders, tangoing across tight ropes (sometimes blindfolded!), scurrying up 50ft poles and jumping to a bar 7 ft out and up, playing rodeo games, and rafting down the Klamath River.  GPP (General Physical Preparedness) kept running through my head as we tackled the daily fun.  If you’ve perused the CrossFit journal, or hung around a CrossFit gym long enough, you’ve probably heard the term. Basically, you should want your fitness regimen to serve you well in anything that life throws at you. If all you do is run, you’ll be decent at running. If all you do is lift weights, you’ll be good at lifting heavy things. If you do a little bit of everything fast and hard, you should be able to handle any workout, task, obstacle, game or challenge with a certain sense of ease.

You’re not always going to be in control. Of your food, that is. Before we signed in to the Ranch my husband asked me what I would do if they served chili-mac for lunch. After listening to me banter on about all the reasons I would absolutely refuse this hypothetical chili mac, he brought up some very good points. Will I become physically ill after eating chicken that touched some pasta? No. Will I break out in a horrible rash if I try the fancy dessert? No. Will I lose everything I’ve worked for the past two years with some breakfast grits? No. Will I appear ungrateful and elitist by outright refusing food that was so graciously prepared for me? Yes. I quickly learned to take what was given to me with a smile, decline the dinner roll, and make it work with a little help from the salad bar.

Life lessons are great but the challenge is implementing them into your life. For me, I started with a 6 week Scripture challenge and utilizing LogWod to record my workout notes (whether I like them or not!). What are some life lessons you live by? How do you keep them going?

Happy weekend,


Related Reading:

Taking something good and turning it into god

Get off the Hamster Wheel

This is a Guilt Free Zone

Celebrate Memorial Day…

25 May

with a WOD. For Warriors.

Last week our Iron Works women had the privilege and honor of participating in the WOD for Warriors. It was an inspiring morning filled with a lot of hard work, sweat, burpee box jumps, pull-ups, squats, digging deep, and team work. Leigh and I are so fortunate to be in the company of such dominating women, and they truly gave it their all for the cause.

Check out the women in the above photograph: real Army wives, (4 are veterans), having countless years of combined deployment separations, mothers of many children, doing EXTRAordinary things on a daily basis to improve their health, well-being, fitness, and strength. And, believe us….they are getting stronger every day!

The man in the photo…well, we were honored to have a special guest counting our reps for us. A true American hero, MAJ Daniel Gade.  He is the real reason all CrossFitters across the globe are doing this WOD.

It is really important for all Americans to do what they can to bridge the gap between Military and Civilian society for our veterans.  Plenty of people are so quick to spout the phrase “I support our Troops.”  What does that even mean?  I implore you to take stock before you say that.  What exactly are you actually doing to support them?  Find a way.  Even if it is just passing over a Starbucks gift card to a service member (especially an Enlisted member), you are putting your action where your mouth is.   There are many strong organizations that contribute to this cause.  Team Red White and Blue is leading the way.

The WOD for Warriors is one great way to actively remember the blood, sweat, and tears shed by thousands upon thousands of Americans, and to remind you to do something for the veterans who keep our standard of living so high.

So, before the usual Memorial Day barbecue cook-out find your inner warrior, get inspired by past-present-and-future American heroes, and get some work done first!

“21 Guns – A Memorial Salute”
 excerpt from WOD for Warriors site 

Partner #1:

21 Pull-ups
21 Burpee Box Jumps (20″ Rxd)
21 Firemans Carry Back Squat
21 Burpee Box Jumps
21 Pull-Ups

Partner #2 executes
Partner #1 again
Partner #2 again

The 21 reps signify a 21 gun salute, the 5 exercises are one for each Branch of the Military. Executing with a Partner signifies the bonds we aim to create between our Nation’s Warriors and the communities they grow in and return to, and doing it twice reflects the fact that we honor both the living and the deceased. 

Peace to each soul that sleepeth;
Rest to each faithful eye that weepeth.


Don’t let being “broken” break you

26 Apr

Like I’ve said before, I have a very love/hate relationship with pull-ups, but little did I know they would do me in one day! I broke my foot. Doing pull-ups.

It was Sunday morning and all the signs were there telling me to take a rest day….tired, little one wet the bed, kids were already up, husband was hungry but I decided to put everything on hold and give a go at “running” Fran from the main site a few days back. Then, on round two…jumping down off the pull-up bar I caught the edge of the squat rack and took a hard fall. I jump down from that same bar every day and never noticed any potential hazards. Perhaps I was delirious from finally stringing together a bunch of kipping pull-ups (something that’s been on my homework goat list for a long time!) and flailed down to the ground!

My result was an avulsion fracture of the navicular bone. Basically, I chipped a piece of bone off the small disc shaped bone at the top of my foot. I have a sweet robot air cast for a few weeks so that piece of bone can find its way home, and a foot that looks like a sausage! First day I cried several times for no reason, but day two I got inspired by some injury stories on CrossFit forums and a great Kelly Starrett video about training through acute injuries. They are right: injuries are opportunities!

Some thoughts to ponder:

-Human growth hormone release aids in both muscle AND bone repair. You can boost yours by intense resistance workouts and deep sleep. My translation: scale and modify CrossFit workouts to fit my injury and go to sleep early.

-Endorphin release after intense workouts give your immune system a boost and just plain make you happy. Anyone suffering any injury-big or small or life in general- can certainly benefit from this!

-Continuing to train on your good side will result in crossover, especially in lower limbs.  Continuing to train on other parts of your body also promotes healing, keeps your entire system going, supports surrounding tissues and limbs, and reduces your chances of having future related injuries/pain.

-Taking the time to work on exercises that don’t always frequent your programming may even leave you better off than pre-injury. Try dumbbell work, L-sits, pistol squat progressions, wallball situps, knees to elbows….

-Keeping your diet clean and supplementing with fish oil will fight inflammation. Pair that with ice, elevation and a good night sleep at the end of the day and you are setting yourself up for success.

For those interested, I’ll be posting some of my daily WODS adjusted to fit in with my robot boot foot here. This week my focus is zero pressure on the bad foot. I am certainly nowhere near a physician or physical therapist and every injury is clearly different. I’m just doing what’s best for me! Take what you like, leave the rest here, listen to your body (and your doctor!) and do what is ultimately best for YOU!

Happy healing,


CrossFit and hormone release
Great story about CrossFitting with a broken foot
Great story about CrossFitting with a bum ankle 

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