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Homeschooling Mom of 4 Makes it to The Games

25 Jun

You heard me right.

If you’re following CrossFit games this year, zero in on Christy Runey. 

Holy Grail!!!   50 looks amazing…swoon! PC: @ctpcam

She’s about to be 50, has only CrossFitted for 5 years, and has no $1,000 certifications (yet).  

Christy maintains cast-iron faith; she’s a West Point Woman (class of 91), an Army Veteran, an Army spouse of more than two decades, a homeschooling mother to four.  There are undoubtedly countless other accomplishments I don’t even know about.

To top it all off, she’s on her way to Madison.

A decade ago, she took me under her wing despite my naivete and inexperience. And she liked me, she REALLY LIKED ME!!!  If only I could sit at her feet every week to soak up all of her practical and spiritual wisdom, life hacks, fitness and nutrition tips, and homeschooling guidance.

She exemplifies and embodies the premise of this entire blog: always stay in the prime of life.  This woman is one of my life’s all-time role models; it’s an honor to get to call her my friend.

She graciously answered a few of my questions to share with us.

__________

Leigh: Where are you training now, and what other boxes have you trained in the past?

Christy: Currently, I train at Crossfit Oyster Point in VA.  I began my CF adventure in Schweinfurt, Germany.  It wasn’t an official affiliate, we used equipment in a generic rec gym on post, and we were only allowed to call it “Functional Fitness.”  I joined my first real box at Fort Knox: the newly-opened CrossFit Hard Knox.  Our next move took us to Carlisle, PA where I trained at CrossFit Perseverance. 

__________

Leigh: Who is/are your coach(es): 

Christy: Right now I am with Becky Rogers from Training Think Tank in Alpharetta, GA.  I also consult Dani Kearns and Trey Steele at Oyster Point for additional coaching and feedback.  And a big shout-out to coaches James Hoffman and Fritz Chatelier who both told me I would go to the Games one day.

__________

LeighWhat fed your initial CrossFit addiction?

Christy:  My husband introduced me to CF in 2006 when really, you just got your information from the website.  He did it with the kids while I was homeschooling.  He put sand in the basketball, strung rings over a tree limb, installed a pull-up bar, measured running distances, etc.  I was fascinated but quickly dismissed it because of the various technically complicated movements I didn’t understand how to do. 

The necessity to perform multiple pull ups was intimidating–I couldn’t do one and never dreamed that I could!  How I wish I had started back then! 

It wasn’t until 2012 that I was ready to give it a try with coaches.  My Germany “Functional Fitness” group captured the heart of the CrossFit method: quantifiable physical improvement + magnetic community.  A powerful bond solidified with that original crew.  We had so much fun, we pushed each other, and we each made rapid and significant improvements in strength and fitness. 

This became my sport.  Now, every time we move, my first google search is to locate the best CrossFit box in our new area.

__________

LeighWhat has been the hardest thing about competing at this level?

Christy: Whew!  This is a tough one because there have been several hard things.  I usually train alone now.  So it’s harder to push myself, and there’s no one to cheer and push with.  Along with that, I miss the rich camaraderie and making some of those deeper friendships which come by experiencing sweat and effort together.  Also, the time commitment decreases opportunities of friendship and service that I would otherwise seek out.  

Finally, while I am at my all-time peak of fitness, I have far more awareness of my limitations and weaknesses in my body.  There are some niggles that keep rearing their heads.  It’s hard to know when to push through discomfort vs. pain or, whether it’s time to back off.  Obviously this is not an ideal season to do much backing off! 

Oh yeah, how could I forget…I’ve had to eliminate my need for regular doses of ice cream! 

__________

LeighHow much training time does the Masters prep really take? 

Christy:  The training has definitely changed from pre-game to now.  Prior to the games, I worked out 5 days a week, 2 of which had AM & PM work.  The other 2 days–complete rest.  I contacted my coach almost monthly in concern that I wasn’t training enough.  I was so sure that I would never improve enough to get to the games. 

My coach encouraged me to trust the process and that she didn’t want me peaking for the Opens.  (That made me more nervous!) Then when I made it to the Qualifiers, she upped the training a little bit more.  I still was afraid it wasn’t enough.  She assured me: trust the process…

Now, I am trusting the process!  Currently I still train 5 days a week.  But 3 of the days I have an AM & PM session, and one of my rest days I swim for “active recovery” (which is comical for me since swimming is anything BUT recovery feeling for me!)  

The actual amount of time I “train” averages 15-20 hours a week.  That includes warm-up and cool-down.  I also do stretching and mobilization stuff at home.

__________

LeighWhat does your nutrition have to look like to maintain this kind of training schedule?

Christy:  Optimum nutrition for performance does not necessarily equal optimum nutrition for the long-term.

Games training requires that I fuel my body quite differently.  In the past I focused on calorie consumption.  Now I must spend the extra time dialing in nutrition at the macronutrient level.  I do try to eat fairly clean.  I aim to eat as many vegetables as I can – lots of greens, some cooked, some raw, some fermented. 

I eat most of my simple carbs (least fibrous) around my workout session.
Most of my fats away from my workouts.
I spread my protein evenly throughout the day.

I need way more carbs than I thought.  I increased carbs through the opens, then had to increase again during the qualifiers, and again pre-games.  I eat less fat now than I normally would. 

I’ve never done CrossFit for the aesthetics.  But right now, my body fat is lower than it’s ever been. I am okay with that as an athlete getting ready to compete.  But after the games, I look forward to more dietary flexibility and establishing a healthier percentage of body fat.  

One size definitely does not fit all.  Dialing it all in may require consulting a nutritionist, even if for a short time.

__________

LeighAny advice for hopefuls in the Masters category? 

Christy:  Take your Open scores and see how you would have done in the next age group up.  You might be surprised and motivated that you actually have a really good shot to be competitive when you promote into the new age group. 

That is what happened to me last year after the Age Group Online Qualifiers…after doing a little comparison research, I realized that I had a serious shot to make it to the Games in 2018!

Just do your very best whatever level you’re at.  Have fun performing better now than you could when you were younger!  It’s amazing to keep hitting new PRs while you are aging!

__________

LeighFavorite motivational saying? (i.e. “Sweat’s just yer fat cryin!)  Yours is probably something less shallow than that. 

ChristyKatrin Davisdottir said 

“Success is giving full effort knowing that was the best I was capable of… “  

For me, this means that I don’t have to worry about the things that are out of my control.  I can know that my good, heavenly Father is in control.  He cares as much about the shaping and prepping of my heart as He does my body. 

How I respond in the daily moments of joy, heartache, bodyache, stress and challenge is an important part of this journey. 

He desires that I would give my very best for His honor and glory, and leave the results to Him–whether I am #1 on the Leaderboard or if nothing goes as planned.  Either way, I can trust in His goodness knowing I gave my all. 

The results are His win or lose.  THAT will be enough for success. 

__________

Quick-Fire Q & A: 

Hand protection or calluses?  Recent convert to Victory Grips for most bar work. Wodndones for Bar Muscle Ups, and still prefer bare hands for Ring Muscle Ups.
When you WOD: Makeup or morning face? Only a little mascara (otherwise I have no eyes)
Leggings or shorts? Leggings in the winter and all rope climb WODs, shorts in the summer
Reebok or Lulu? Ack – both?!…and Nike.  I’m not a purist.
Better Hair Day: Washed hair -or- sweat + dry shampoo? Whatever time constraints allow has gotta be my ‘best’ hair day
In the Box: Metal or Rap? Oooo…rap, if we must.
Cheat meal: Pizza or ice cream?  My two favorite foods usually go hand-in-hand…Pizza + Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk = slice of heaven and a big double cheat…which I haven’t actually given myself yet (only cauliflower crust pizza + Halo Top Oatmeal Cookie!)
Television or scrolling?  Scrolling

__________


Did you hear that folks?  Her **
cheat meal** is caulipizza + Halo Top.  That’s what separates the wheat from the chaff.  

Christy confirms the vast physical possibilities for our “middle” years.  Age doesn’t have to take you past your prime.

Christy, thank you for sharing with us!
Good luck, be safe, and have fun!

Leigh

Christy, your family is gorgeous–in spirit and in looks!

So You Haven’t Worked out in a Year.

25 Feb

I have not made exercise a part of my life in well over a year.  Every time I begin to think about which workout to pick, I do a mental down-spiral into a cesspool of despair about how far I have fallen.  You know, back when I was so good at working out.  

When I won THIRD PLACE at the Ft. Leavenworth Veteran’s Memorial WOD.  Boom!

I am at zero.  Maybe even below zero.  Never been lower than this. (Something something two babies in two years something something five kids is hard something something homeschooling something moving from Hawaii to England excuses excuses). 

I don’t have a workout plan to follow or to share with you.  (However, up in our Fitness menu you will find a nice long list of “PRIME workouts” to choose from.  They are all awesome, we did these in a large group class a few years ago in NY.)  I do want to share some highlights that have helped me feel excited to dust off my lifting gloves, get back out there, and even anticipate the sweet pain that is coming as I begin training again.

How did I get back on the horse?  One word.  Fundamentals. 


Step One.
Get a Box. 

Recognize that I want two things: physical fitness –AND– a hot body.  It’s imperative to see these 2 desires as 2 ends with 2 DIFFERENT means.

Go ahead and adopt the mindset that exercise and weight loss are not related.  It’s like I was born hardwired for thinking that exercise makes me lean.  

When you place the burden of weight-loss onto the shoulders of an exercise program, you are already falling behind.  Any earnest upfront motivation will drain away because it is too hard, it’s going to take too long.  A handful of workouts every week can’t make you instagrammably instalean.  

There was a time in my 20’s when training for a half marathon caused me to lose bunch of inches.  I attribute it to a few things, but those inches came back.  The body adapts.  All that intense exercise made me legit hungry and it took about 3.5 seconds to undo the calorie burn from a really good run.  

Running five miles is the exact same thing as eating a donut and a half.  Not eating 1.5 donuts is the same as running five miles.  That’s why I stopped running.  It’s dumb to do it for weightloss.

A clean, dialed-in diet will improve your physique in a matter of weeks.  I am hoping to teach my kiddos this lesson, (in an age appropriate manner) so that they don’t have to relearn this in their 20s or 30s after years of wrong thinking.

Don’t attribute exercise with weight loss.
Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson in Bright Line Eating goes into this concept with complete scientific research.  Read that book!


Now that we have drawn clear lines in the dirt, let’s go over step two.

Focus on what exercise will do for you. 

Memorize the following, or post it somewhere:

Cardio-Respiratory Endurance.
Strength.
Stamina.
Flexibility.
Power.
Speed.
Capacity.
Agility.
Balance.
Accuracy.
(NB: Again, weight loss is not one of these components)

We had to memorize these in the CF level-one course, and it was one of their koolaid shots I happily chugged.  I’ve listed the definitions of these terms for you at the bottom of this post.  But those 10 words stand alone.  Yes!!  I want those things!!  

Good news.  One four-minute tabata pushup session instantly hits the body with all ten of those components. 

The ship hasn’t sailed.  You might have been off for a while, but it’s parked right here.  Get back on it and get a dose of those ten for yourself.  Right now.  


Step Three. 

Think Positive.

Stop telling everyone who will listen that I am not currently where I used to be.  

Some time in the past, I had a larger, quantifiable measure of those ten components of fitness. It’s intimidating and disheartening.  I am stretching my arms way back into the past, crying out, “I used to be better!!  I am alone in a sea of despair about lost time and look at those chicks over there who are wodding at 39 weeks pregnant and I’m gonna order a “has-been” shirt for myself right this minute.”

Turn around, face forward.  Turn eyes and heart back toward that list of ten.  I want those!  I need all ten of those for multiple reasons!  –to take part in life as actively as possible.  –to enjoy sport and recreation.  –to be able to move heavy things around.  –to do everything in my personal power to maintain/improve my body’s capacity to operate at its peak.  (Its peak.  Not that instachick I keep seeing.  Unfollow.)

 

Take the has-been t-shirt out of the shopping cart.
Also go ahead peel off the “I used to be cool” bumper sticker off the back of the 07 Odyssey.


Four:

Form.

A 15-month hiatus forced me to rework my form from the ground up.  It has been refreshing in a lot of ways (after taking a couple hundred humble pills) to work out slow, study the movements again, and practice good form.  

This is one of the foundations of the CrossFit** method: form is paramount.  Once you have established consistent good form, build upon that foundation with speed and load.

Form.
Then consistency.
Then speed and load.

Rolling it all the way back to the beginning renewed my interest in this hobby.  I’ve been using the pipe or the naked bar to train.  I am actually stoked to re-hone my form…bring it back to what it should be.  After a couple of years of working out like crazy, my form absolutely backslid.  I was getting by with some pretty bad habits.  I don’t think I would have carved out time to fix it.  

The one good thing about losing overall fitness was that the bad habits got lost along with it.  Now, I because I am slower + using a lighter load, I can truly focus on consistent ideal form that I formerly overlooked.  I can’t wait to have amazing new push-ups, proper foot stance, a properly aligned core, fix my early arm pull, use the hook grip every time, reset my lazy running form.  All of it.

A break can be a good thing. 


Five: 

A little actually does go a long way.  

This is something I can attest to because of my age.  I have seen that it does not take hours upon hours of training to make quick improvements in one skill or another.  It is surprising to see how much headway you can make in a short amount of time.

 The couch to 5k program is the perfect example of this… and it applies to every skill in the book.  Can’t knock out ten pushups in a row right now?  I bet you can do 4 sets of three.  Knock those 12 out, and go again tomorrow.  If you want to do pull-ups, you gotta do pull-ups.  😉

Do a little bit a couple of times, you will be able to do more the next time. 

Has this been true for you?  Comment below!


Six.

Know YOUR why. 

I talked about this in the recent clean eating post, and it applies here. 

Part of getting over the mental mountain of a major restart is to clarify your why.  In this endless onslaught of fitspiration (ahem, marketers trying to make money off of you) it’s harder than ever to keep your head down.  The products, the before and afters, the programs, the plans, the PR’s, the results, the finishing times.  It all throws me off my own course. 

I have to be calculated and deliberate about keeping my goals in my direct line of sight.
You can’t have all the goals, and that doesn’t make you a weak person.

I’ll be vulnerable and let you in on the goals for this mom of five living in a relatively isolated situation.

1.  Look good in my clothes–the clothes I already own.  That is completely raw and honest of me.  If I am not entering into any lifting competitions, then do I need or want to work on a double-body-weight back squat?  No…but I sure as heck want to ensure I can keep my guns out if the sun’s out.

lifelong wodnas

2.  WODdates with the man.  Nothing gives more butterflies than grabbing the hubs, sneaking away to our gym, and having a go with Pukie the clown.  Same workout at the same time, It’s GREAT.   It’s exhilarating for me.  It builds solidarity, it’s a shared passion, and we accomplish something productive together.  My goal is to get my fitness levels back up for our WODdates to be back on.

3.  Eventually: return to finishing WODs at rx.

So that’s me.  But whatever it is you are hoping to accomplish, define it.  Goals can change from season to season.  


Seven:

Internalize the difference between a goal and a desire

Goals are attainable, measurable, quantifiable.  You set them, create a plan of attack, and reach them.  Desires are different: aspirations, wishes, longings.

Goals are achievable–they are blocks you can check off.  Desires are arrows aimed at targets.  We can do everything to set up perfect conditions for the arrow to hit that bullseye, but we have to keep our fingers crossed that a rogue gust of wind doesn’t knock it off course.  A desire cannot be a condition that defines my success. 

Fitness goals vs. desires kind of merge into a murky gray-zone… because injury, malady, timing and circumstances can throw things sideways.  So it’s wise to guard your fitness-heart.  How much power am I giving those desires in my life?  It helps to identify what’s in my power to accomplish, versus what I can only cross my fingers for.

Use the power of a strong desire to propel you into doing what it takes to meet the goal you have in mind. Then can begin working on the plan to successfully accomplish the goals.

Good luck!


So, while I am not going to win a third place medal any time this year, it feels fab knowing that each opportunity of exercise is another productive step forward.  It is one of the few things in my day that can’t be undone.  That feeling is the best.

Have you had a long hiatus from exercise?  Do you have any other tips that has helped you get into the right mindset for a solid restart?  Please share in the comments!!

Thanks for reading,
Leigh


Revisit the definitions of the 10 Crossfit General Physical Skills:

 **CrossFit disclaimer: I am using the CrossFit terminology and verbiage because that is the organization that taught me most what I know.  CrossFit lit a fire in me, gave me a dose of motivation for exercise/fitness so large.  I have been impacted for life because of what they have taught and shared.  I have to (and want to) give them the credit for every bit of insight I have gleaned from them.  However, if the word “CrossFit” causes you to recoil…if you have a bad taste in your mouth about it…if you have a preferred/better method for physical fitness, then you’re still good.  Just stay on your favorite method/program you love the most. 

It really only matters to keep moving and enjoy it.


If you don’t like CrossFit, then this will be hugely validating.

Also, this.  

 


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5 Tips to Maintain a Clean-Eating Mindset

9 Feb

My hubby entertains me from time to time with a very special talent he has developed.  He does bodycomp transformation before-and-after selfies in a mirror.  30 seconds apart.  A slight shift from slightly slumping to meticulous flexing while breath holding, and his entire torso can look months apart in leanness.  

I begged for permission to share pictorial proof for all you loyal readers.
One, for the purpose of illustration.
And two, that we all begin to flood the internet with our own same day before-and-afters.
He agreed.  

This dadbod works for me 🙂

I love it.

Needless to say, When I see a before-and-after on social media, I am rather suspect.  Look closely.  Did the camera really show something different…did they actually radically alter their lifestyle?

I think this kind of thing can throw people off their game, make people feel like giving up, or assume that it’s all too hard.  


pin this! 🙂

A great side-by-side selfie should not be the endstate of your eating program.  The goal is cruising in clean-eating autopilot.  You can do it!

But it’s so easy to overthink the whole thing.
With all this said, let’s discuss five ways to keep your mind in the game.


1.  Know *YOUR* Why

Why is not a result. Why is not, “I am going to eat 100% paleo this year” -or-  “I am going to lose ten pounds.” -or- “I am going to shock the internet with my before-and-after selfie.”

Why is a purpose:

  • I am empowered in knowing that I can partner with food to promote my total wellness. (Nothing I am ingesting will exacerbate health maladies).
  • I have seen what years of bad habits can do to me and/or my loved ones
  • I want my bodyskin to become paperthin, in order to scratch fitness modeling off my bucket list*

My why is
1. Mental health
2. Insulin/hypoglycemia issues (read: hanger.)
3. Setting a good example for the 5 sets of eyes on me.  Constantly. 

Keep YOUR WHY at the forefront of your mind.   

 


2. Re-Read

Re-read the original sources that point you to the best nutrition.

Not little quips off of Pinterest, but get back into the good stuff:  The Primal Blueprint, Mark’s Daily Apple, It Starts with Food, The Paleo Solution,  Bright Line Eating.  If you read those 4-5 years ago, re-read.  (Or read for the first time!)  You will gain inspiration all over again, and perhaps you will even see things in there you did not catch on the first go-around.  


3.  Don’t do work twice when you can do it once.  

Double batch every time you cook.  If you are not able to eat twice from whatever you have cooked, you are not winning. 

You are thinking, gosh this is so much food prep already, now I have to double it?  Yes.  Heck, you might as well do it 4x and have your Mondays taken care of for the month.  Remember, the freezer is your pantry.  The moment it feels like too much work is the moment you call for pizza.  Nothing takes the wind out of your sails faster than having one more thing to do.  

Nick Shaw is over there at Renaissance Periodization making A MILLION DOLLARS merely convincing all his minions to multiply food prep times seven.  So, double, triple, quadruple if you have to.  It’s worth it.  

Bonus: you will always have a bench stock of healthy freezer meals to deliver to someone in need.  That is one of the best ways to be the light in someone’s day!


4.  Stick to the old reliables. 

Re-creating the wheel every week makes clean eating a chore.  Stick to a solid rotation of delicious food.  Pick 7-10 of your favorite clean meals, and just make those…over and over.  When I was growing up we had spaghetti every Monday.  I thought it was awesome.  Here are my reliables on the rotation all the time:

Clean Spaghetti (with zoodles or spaghetti squash)
Fresh Roast Chicken  (make two while you’re at it)
Butter Chicken (perfect freezer meal)

Marinated Flank Steak (freeze a second batch raw in ziplock, thaw then throw on grill)
Kofte Kebab Meatballs
Seasoned Fish or other Meat + 2 veggies

6 meals right there, and there are usually leftovers for night number 7.  Pick your 6.

I have been doing a lot more work over on Pinterest in an effort to pick up momentum for this blog.  I am totally baffled by the amount of content over there.  It’s dizzying, and gives me recipe FOMO.

Don’t make more of cooking than it needs to be.  Get into a niche and cruise.


5.  Draw your own HFO chart.

Simply put, there are foods that you will not want to eliminate from your diet.

I want to re-introduce you to one of the original Melissa Hartwig inspographics.  I can’t remember if this is in the book.  It was on her blog ten years ago.**  I’m not promoting this kind of language, but it is not my brainchild.  

HFO Scale

 
To further explain:
 
The healthiest foods are low on the F-off scale. (Example: Salmon is very healthy. I love salmon, and concur with your analysis and therefore eat lots of salmon.)
  
Foods that I am told are not SO healthy, but I think are healthy enough on occasion, are closer to the F-off zone. (Example: On occasion, despite all the arguments against legumes, I will tell you to F-off and eat the damn peanut butter. These occasions are not common, but they do occur.)
  
Foods that should be eliminated from my diet completely because they are nowhere near healthy, but which I have determined are mandatory for me having an enjoyable existence for the next 50 years, are EXTREMELY high on the F-off scale. These foods include iced coffees, Grey Goose dirty martinis and anything covered in maple syrup.  You gotta live right? (Source: AMRAP Fitness, I think it *might* have been lifted from Melissa’s early writings, so I will credit them both.)
 
My list is cheese, dark chocolate and half & half (Had a complete and total meltdown in the grocery when I found out it doesn’t exist in the UK).  Allowing these three foods back into my diet liberated me to keep it clean everywhere else.

I will go a step further and even submit that an HFO Chart could possibly look different every month.  Or even every week.

Keep two or three things on the f-off list in order to stay sane.


Don’t let anything throw you off course. 

  • Know YOUR why
  • Read original sources
  • Work smarter not harder
  • Stick to a reliable meal rotation
  • Draw your F-off scale

Also, stop stressing over the before-and-after selfies.

Do you have any other tips that help you keep your mind over the matter?  Please share with us, I would love to discuss in the comments!

Have a great weekend,
Leigh


*If your why is to become a fitness model, then yeah.  A paleo diet will not be the path for you.  It’s too calorically dense.  You instead need to become a chemist in order to account for every molecule that crosses your lips.  Different plan altogether.

**(Her blog was hilarious and *brilliant* and the precursor to her awesome books.  I have asked her people over at Whole30 if I can have a special invite to the old blog, but they didn’t respond. )


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cleanmindset1

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