Fur Buddies – Why Working Out with Dogs is the Best

One of my favorite things to do on a weekend morning is go for a hike with the one creature in my household that may rival me for my love of the outdoors.

I’ll admit, a big reason why I’m a dog fan is they keep me active. Olive can get rather, um, destructive with one’s personal property if she’s not regularly exercised.

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Clearly I didn’t need that.

It is another commitment to my already-packed schedule, but Olive is pretty good about giving me hints that she’s ready for a walk. And by hints, I mean she doesn’t leave me alone until the leash is in hand and we’re walking out the door. Now I know where the idiom “being hounded” originated. But going for walks and hikes is something I enjoy doing on the regular, and I probably wouldn’t get out as much if it wasn’t for Olive’s insistence. It’s good for her, and it’s good for me! Plus, nothing beats a pooped pooch after a long, rambling hike through the hills.

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For more info on the benefits of exercising with your best four-legged buddy, here’s a cool infographic from the canine lovers at PuppySpot (and can we just take a moment to appreciate that dog yoga is a thing? I may have unintentionally practiced this! What a great time to be alive):

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While Olive is a rescue dog and your local animal shelter has many animals that would make great pets, I recognize that not everyone is up to the task of adopting and caring for a rescue, and may have different needs when selecting a new pet. PuppySpot is a great alternative to bringing a new fur-member to your family. PuppySpot is a service committed to helping responsible breeders place their puppies with caring individuals and families. They are a community of dog lovers whose mission is to make lives better by placing healthy puppies into happy homes.

And even if you’re not in the market for a new puppy, it is a worthwhile effort to check out their website just for the cute puppy pictures. Cute puppy pictures are scientifically proven to brighten your day. Okay, maybe not really, but that’s the kind of science I would totally sign up to be a test subject. You now, for posterity.

If you have a dog, what kinds of activities does your dog enjoy? And if you have a cat, do they even do anything? (<–Okay that last question was so my sister can be annoyed that this post was only about dogs.)

Go make it a great day!

 

On Owning Life Decisions

If you’ve been following me on Instagram (and you totally should, because sometimes I post unicorns) you know that last week I started a Whole30. I had been W30’ing and posting on it for six days, but now I have a confession to make … I had beer the other night. Not one, but two beers. It was a conscious choice I deliberated prior to and at the event, and I decided to go for it. And in my opinion it was deliciously and soul-fully worth it, despite the heartburn, crummy sleep, and rough morning after. I enjoyed the experience with a new friend, and we had a great time. I felt the situation called for it, so I allowed myself to make whatever choice I felt was appropriate.

Normally if I “quit” a Whole30, that’s it. I dive-bomb back into whatever my diet was before I started. But this time, I picked right back up where I left off the next morning, getting up early to make an egg scramble and pack a tuna salad for lunch. Because to me the process of getting my lifestyle and habits overhauled to embrace healthier food choices for myself matter more than giving into the “What the Hell” effect described in the “Food Freedom Forever” book, as in “what the hell, I’m eating this so I might as well eat all the things and go down in flames of glory,” which is so tempting. But I’m not tempted.

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I know, right?

Now, I’m not too proud of going off-plan. Let me just make that clear. But what I am proud of is that it was a conscious choice, I don’t feel bad about myself, and my only regret is that I chose to make this Whole30 so public on my Instagram, only to “lol just kidding” six days in. Kind of awkward. But I am picking up where I left off, and I’m back on plan. This is a huge leap of difference between old Emily and new Emily. Old Emily would throw in the towel, fully succumb to the “What the Hell” effect (as in, what the hell, I might as well also have pizza and top it off with some Safeway sheet cake … and go for my usual Starbucks breakfast sandwich and coffee with creamer tomorrow morning for breakfast because whoops I’m done oh well) and it would be several weeks before I finally emerged from my nutritional off-roading glory to crawl back to the program, confess to my dietary sins, and try again. Oh, and feel terrible and beat myself up for “why can’t you just be healthy!?!? What is wrong with you?”

So, new Emily has come to realize that this is a journey, and what’s a road trip without a few pit stops along the way? Sometimes the detour to see Carhenge is appropriate (I mean, it’s a Stonehenge replica made entirely out of cars can you not even) even if it sets you back a bit both time and budget-wise. Or maybe not. But you need to own the decision. If I had planned ahead of time to have seltzer with lime, got to the bar, and threw it all out for a beer, that would be different. That was not a conscious, deliberate decision. That is old Emily behavior. New Emily considered the options ahead of time, and decided to evaluate in the moment. And then in the moment, evaluated the options again and concluded that this would be okay. It is not sticking to the Whole30, I am not following the program in that moment, but for me personally it is okay.  And you know what? I’m still a good person at the end of the day. Well, okay, some folks might beg to differ, but my dietary choices have no affect on my morality and self-worth. And that is something that it’s taken me the better part of two decades to figure out.

I have a couple other social opportunities this week where I’ll have to make a decision whether to stick to the Whole30 plan or not, because I’ll be at a party or at a restaurant and temptation to stray will be there. But for these situations, I’ve predetermined that no, going off-plan will not serve me, and I’m making arrangements to stick to the program, such as suggesting to my friends to cook a meal at their apartment instead of going out (I offered to grill steak for them, so I’ll still be popular don’t worry), and looking at the restaurant menu ahead of time to figure out how much I will be able to make work and bringing some snacks to supplement. This is not hard, it just takes a little planning an experience.

The takeaway is sometimes plans and intentions change, but instead of regretting and berating yourself for “not being more disciplined” or “I just have no willpower,” own your choices, take the results with grace and compassion, and go on to enjoy the rest of your life.

Am I perfect? Nope. Will every off-road decision be made with this amount of contemplation and contentment of the results? Most definitely not. I’m sure at some point there will be some regretful break-room-donuts or home-alone-beer-and-nachos decisions that were more automatic than mindful. But it’s about progress, and the best kind of self-care is when you can celebrate the wins.

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And homemade chicken curry, because OMG so good.

I hope you are having a fabulous morning. Go make it a great day!

 

ERTR’s Summer Reading List

With longer days, vacations and travel booked, and the sunny outdoors calling, up here in the Northern Hemisphere there are an increasing amount of opportunities for a good summer read. I cruised through my Goodreads list, and here are a few page-turners I have gone through lately.

“Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline

 

Geeks, unite! This is an entertaining and nostalgic romp through 80’s pop culture as seen from a gamer in the future. Adventurous, mysterious, and a little teen romance because why the heck not?

“Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life” by Susan David

If you are looking for something a bit more self-helpy, this is a good find as it is both informative and entertaining. According to the book, emotional agility is being able to detach, acknowledge, and move through uncomfortable feelings without having them consume your life. After reading this book, I was very much more at peace with routine negative emotions I encountered (Awkward situations! Disagreements with family an friends!) and better able to work through them rather than ignore them or drown them in cupcakes and mindless Facebook scrolling.

“The Last Runaway” by Tracy Chevalier

This one is a good poolside or beach read. I’m a huge Tracy Chevalier fan; I love the language she uses and how she pieces together a historical story in a personable way that makes me understand and appreciate the character’s environment. This is a sweet, quick read of a young Quaker woman who immigrates to America in the mid 19th century with her sister, who is to be married. After her sister dies during the long voyage, the protagonist relies on the kindness of strangers and her new American Quaker community to make a new home in the new world, while becoming an advocate and support to the Underground Railroad. It’s a story of courage in unexpected circumstances, and how to follow your intuition despite outside pressures.

His Dark Materials trilogy (“The Golden Compass,” “The Subtle Knife,” “The Amber Spyglass”) by Philip Pullman

I would say this series ranks up there with Harry Potter and the Narnia series if you’re looking for YA fantasy. I wish I had the opportunity to read this as a youngster, but I read it the first time a couple years ago and it absolutely haunted me, in a good way. It was one of those stories that I just absolutely curled up into and consumed. You know that feeling with a truly good book that speaks to you. The characters, the language, even the characters’ names and how the author used unfamiliar words as if in another language to convey you were in a world similar yet separate from your own. It’s a story of a prophesies, strange magical creatures, and parallel universes, and a young girl finding her destiny. Block out a good chunk of time for this one, because you won’t want to put it down.

“The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith” by Gabrielle Bernstein

I had no idea who Gabrielle Bernstein was when this book popped up on my Audible suggestions list last fall. Apparently she’s a big deal. But I was going through a tough time, and the title of the book seemed to tell me what I needed to hear. I mentioned back in last year’s New Years Resolution post that I was seeking a new method of spirituality, and this was the book that finally opened the door for me. Full disclosure: this book is a bit high on the “woo-scale” for me. It’s a collection of guiding principles to help you reengage and stay aligned with the power of God/the Universe/the loving and creative energy force/whatever you want to call your higher power and potential. Maybe it isn’t quite what you’re looking for, but if you’re on the lookout for something else to spark up in your personal spiritual realm, this might be helpful. Since then, I’ve read this book and listened to the audiobook maybe 20 times. It’s full of encouraging reminders to keep me centered and on my own personal track. I’ll be honest, some of the stories and examples she gives are a bit first-world-y, but so are most of my problems so there you go. I do think that you can apply the general concepts of choosing love over fear to many situations.

“Food Freedom Forever: Letting Go of Bad Habits, Guilt, and Anxiety Around Food” by Melissa Hartwig

And I have to put a plug in for my girl-crush Melissa. The Whole30 program has helped me so much in my health and wellness journey, and this was the book that finally put the last of the pieces back together – it’s not as much as about the program as it is what you choose to do with it. It’s the answer to the question, “Ok, so I did a Whole30. Now what?” Hartwig walks you through the whole process, from deciding to do a dietary reset to executing the 30 day protocol you choose to how to reintroduce the eliminated foods to how to use your experience to build a custom way of eating that works with you, putting you in the driver’s seat for your own food choices. Spoiler alert: sometimes a cupcake is a perfectly good dietary decision, but only if it’s worth it, and only if you own that choice.

What are you reading poolside?

Go make it a great day!

Bonus Vacation: My Costa Rican Adventure (Part 4)

So I left you with a bit of a cliffhanger in Part 3 of my Costa Rican trip. Ha ha, I’ve always wanted to write a cliffhanger! Anyway, I missed my connecting flight from Panama City to San Francisco due to some other flight delays, so I landed in Panama City not really sure what would happen. Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one traveling on to SFO. My fellow passengers and I were met at the gate by an airline gate attendant who took us over to the information desk to sort things out and get us rebooked. I tried my best to be calm and remain positive.

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Freaking out on the inside

I patiently waited, and a few moments later the gate agent came back to me. “Here is your boarding pass, we have you rebooked for a flight leaving at 9:00 am tomorrow morning. Here is your hotel and meal vouchers. The hotel shuttle is waiting outside of baggage claim. Wait one moment, and I will escort you through customs and immigration to the shuttle.” I could not believe my luck. I was certain that I would be spending the night in the airport, and now I have a free night in a hotel!

I got through customs and immigration and onto the shuttle, and in no time I was standing in a really nice hotel room with a big, fluffy hotel bed and AIR CONDITIONING.

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I had a really nice hotel buffet dinner (MORE PLANTAINS YAY!), a long shower, and settled into my fluffy hotel bed with a book and a cup of chamomile tea, feeling super grateful that my awesome vacation continued on for another day!

In the morning I hit up the hotel gym. The hotel gym was gorgeous, and I used my newfound joy of movement to play around with some dumbbells and get some arm work done.

  • Couch-to-5k run on the treadmill
  • 10 x 3 @ 20 lb Shoulder press
  • 10 x 3 @ 25 lb Rows
  • 10 x 3 @ 25 lb dumbbell bench press

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I cleaned up, had a lovely breakfast buffet at the hotel (YAY MORE PLANTAINS!), and hopped on the shuttle to head to my flight. I also got a sneak peek at downtown Panama City from the hotel window.

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Maybe next time I’ll have a few hours to explore!

I made it on my flight, watched more in-flight movies and read my books for a few hours, and landed on US soil. Made it!

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And now to begin the process of coming down from that post-vacation high back to the real world! And figure out how to make plantains, because those just need to be in my life.

That’s all for now, go make it a great day! Pura vida!

For the Love of Movement and Sunsets: My Costa Rican Adventure (Part 3)

You know how in Part 2 how I said it was Best Day Ever? Well, in my journal for the next day I corrected myself, “No, today was Best Day Ever!”

It was our last day in Costa Rica, and I was feeling a bit sad that our trip was almost over! Making the most of it, I was up a bit early and spent some time enjoying the hammock life for a bit.

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After breakfast we congregated by the hotel pool for a final workout using the EmPacks! (

Team Relay of 3 rounds:

  • Maybe 200m sprint with the EmPack
  • 21-15-9 Thrusters

Once all team members have completed all 3 sets, continue with:

  • 200m sprint with the EmPack
  • 21-15-9 Power Cleans

Teammate #1 runs with the pack and performs the first set of 21 thrusters. While the Teammate is working, the other teammates squat hold. After Teammate #1 is done with the 21 thrusters the pack is passed to Teammate #2 and they perform the set. Continue cycling through teammates until back to Teammate #1, where they only do 15 thrusters. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Once all of the thruster sets are completed, start over with the Power Clean set. On this set, the non-working teammates plank instead of squat hold.

This workout was so, so fun. This was totally the moment when I realized, I just love working out for the sake of moving and enjoying movement. For once I wasn’t working out because I ate too many cookies, or because I have a race coming up and I have to prepare, or because I’m supposed to. I wanted to work out because it was fun and makes me feel good. The end. And the vibe was so positive. When we all first got there and Donny was explaining the workout and the EmPacks, you could tell none of us were really sure how this was going to go. After a few rounds, the energy totally shifted. We were all getting dirty, cheering each other on, and really getting into it. It was the best.

After the workout we showered up quick and assembled to walk down to the local farmers market. I bought some souvenirs for the fam. And I bought another coconut.

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After the farmers market we had some downtime before our stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) session, so I took the advantage of the hammock and took a little nap. Hammock naps are so a thing. Now I want one at home.

Then we walked down to the shore for some SUP’ping!

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SUP was incredible. The water was so warm, and although I’ve paddle boarded a few times at home, it was always in the bay or lake or otherwise still water. The ocean was fairly calm, but even a calm ocean has some waves to it. I’ve never fallen off the board before, and there is a first time for everything! But the warm water felt really nice, and soon I felt gutsy enough to try to do yoga on my board. Because the worst that can happen is I fall into the warm water! I did nail a headstand, which was pretty cool 🙂

South of us there was a thunderstorm brewing, but it was far enough away that we were safe, but we could still see the clouds and feel the energy from it. We ended up paddling way too far out to sea, and by the time we went to turn around it took me about 20-30 minutes to get back! But we were rewarded by the most insanely gorgeous sunset imaginable.

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Like, seriously. Can’t even.

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Yup, pretty damn content.

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We enjoyed every drop of that amazing view, then headed back to the hotel to shower an start getting packed up for our airport shuttle in the morning. Insert pouring tears crying emoji face.

The next morning we all trekked back to the airport to head home. We talked nonstop about how amazing the trip was, and how we weren’t ready to head back yet. I asked our guide Adrian if he would adopt me so I could stay in Costa Rica. He said yes, but I don’t think he realized I was serious, hahaha! As we got off the shuttle we hugged goodbye and swapped Instagram handles (as befits our generation) and wished each other safe travels. They were an amazing group to travel with; everyone was so nice and welcoming, and even though many of us didn’t know a soul there we became great travel buddies and had a wonderful time together.

I had some lunch at the airport – my last opportunity for plantains! – and hunkered at my gate with a book.

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I was connecting through Panama City, and I knew my layover wasn’t very long, maybe 45 minutes. But I didn’t worry too much about it, until I realized the flight before mine was taking a way long time to load. Too long. Which ended up delaying my flight by an hour. Which means I missed my connection in Panama City. Which means I would have to spend the night in Panama City. Alone. Which has always been my number one fear with international travel – being stranded in a foreign city. Eek!

With that, I’ll see you next time in Part Four!

(Spoiler alert: I survived. Obviously, because I am writing this like two months later)

Go make it a great day!

Under the Jungle Canopy: My Costa Rican Adventure (Part 2)

To make sure I remembered this remarkable trip, I journaled about my activities and experiences every night. On the Third day of my trip, the first words of my journal entry were, “Best. Day. Ever.” Pretty much.

I woke up refreshed and rested, but my eyes were sooooo puffy. One of the girls says that puffyness happens when it’s high humidity. I did pack some nuun electrolyte tablets but hadn’t used them yet, so I decided that it might be a good idea to balance out with some electrolytes today. A couple of nuun-charged bottles later, and I was already feeling more hydrated and balanced. I had been drinking water like it’s my job the past two days, but certainly wasn’t replenishing my electrolyte stores with all the sweating I was doing. Pro tip: if you’re drinking like 10 bottles of water today and still feeling dehydrated, you might need a little electrolytes too!

After breakfast we went out to do yoga at the beach. There were monkeys. The end.

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PC to our awesome guide Adrian

Our yoga instructor Luz was amazing. She led us through some challenging yet restorative flows, competing with the ocean’s crashing waves to make sure we could hear her, and not in her native language! And she was so freaking adorable, making sure we were all comfortable and having the best time possible. It was just the best possible experience, shaded from the sun in the trees doing yoga on the sand with the ocean in the distance and iguanas and monkeys running all around. Why can’t yoga always be like this!

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After yoga we packed up the mats and Donny led us through a super sandy partner WOD:

2 sets of tabadas (8 rounds of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off):

  • Junkyard dog (one partner sits on the ground, arms straight out and legs straight in front. Partner 2 jumps around them, over one arm, over the legs, and over the other arm, and back the other way. Switch positions after each tabada round
  • Something that I called downward dog push-ups (partner 1 gets on the ground in a downward dog pose, partner 2 crawls under them. Then partner 1 does a push-up, and as they are down partner 2 jumps over them. Repeat, and switch places each tabada round)

So, so much sand and I couldn’t stop laughing. Which was really bad, because sand. In my mouth. Another jump in the ocean fixed the sand issue!

We had lunch at Cafe Milagro, which was the coffee place we went to yesterday. I finally got my tacos!

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Then we went zip lining. Holy crap, that was one of the most awesome experiences of my life.

The team at Safari Adventures picked us up at the hotel and drove us to the zip lining site, about 45 minutes away. It was way back in the mountains, and at times it didn’t even look like we were driving on a road. The bus was fording various rocky creekbeds and streams, and we saw some amazing views. Once we got to the site, we were greeted by an ADORABLE puppy that decided he liked to chew on my leggings. Ow. The guides suited us up in our harnesses and gear, and we were ready to go!

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I was totally freaked out on the first line, which was a little one designed to get your zip lining feet a little wet first. But once I figured out the trick (just lean back and go!) I absolutely loved it! The guides were also hilarious, with this infectious energy that just kept the adrenaline going. They would give all of us a hard time in a kidding around way. Once, they were lining me up to go on this huge swing. I didn’t know exactly what was happening, and they told me “Go!” and sort of pushed me off as I half-jumped off the platform. As soon as my feet left, they yelled,” No, no, not yet!” just to freak me out. It worked. As soon as I realized what they were doing, I just laughed. We had about seven lines total to cross, and the longest one was maybe a quarter mile? It was so long! You were up in the canopy and we saw some toucans which was pretty cool.

The whole time our guide Adrian was warning us we would be getting wet, but I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant. Of course it was meant to be a surprise so I didn’t think too much on it. I’ll find out when I find out! At the very end we all found out – the last run was a 20-ft plunge straight down into a pool fed by a waterfall. They let us take off our shoes and anything else we didn’t want to get wet, and one by one we jumped. One of the guides was in the pool with our rope leads controlling the fall, but you were totally at his mercy on how fast you fell! I told him to just let it rip with me 🙂 There was nothing quite as exciting as dangling above a pool of water, suspended in time, then suddenly the rope cuts and you just drop. Pura vida.

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PC: our awesome guides at Safari Adventures

After the adrenaline rush we went back to the home base where they fed us an amazing meal of arroz y polo and I got to play with the puppy a bit more. On the bus ride how we saw legit wild horses.

Back at the hotel we enjoyed happy hour by the pool, and Joy went around interviewing for a GGW bonus episode. Then as we were eating dinner, the skies opened up and it started pouring rain! I love the energy of a good rain, and it was a soothing way to close out the day.

That’s all for now, see you next time with Part Three! Go make it a great day!

Pura Vida: My Costa Rican Adventure (Part 1)

I’m finally posting about my Costa Rica trip that I took in April! At least I only waited two months to post about it, rather than the year and a half it took for me to get around to posting about that time I went to Alaska. Better late than never, my friends!

I was chatting with a friend about my trip, and after my “what I did in 20 words or less” response, his reply was, “Wow, your trip sounded just like all of those travel brochures for a Costa Rican adventure!” Reflecting back, it totally was.

I first found out about this trip to Costa Rica last fall, when the Girls Gone WOD podcast posted about hosting a CrossFit retreat in their monthly newsletter. I’m a GGW superfan, and I instantly knew I wanted to go. It was around my birthday when I talked to Hulk about it, so he said, “How about this trip is my gift to you? Happy Birthday!” Total win-win! So I booked it for myself, not having a clue as to who I was going with or what exactly it would entail other than daily CrossFit workouts. But it was a guided trip with Under30 Experiences, they had good reviews, so what did I have to lose except to make some new CrossFit friends and do burpees on a beach followed by tacos?

My trip started with a drop off at the international terminal at SFO. I was a little nervous because for whatever reason, my airline didn’t offer online check-in. Or TSA Precheck. So I had to, you know, go to the counter like all of the common travel plebeians and obtain my boarding pass. But whatever, I got to the airport early enough to snap some pre-boarding selfies in the rush of OMGIMGOINGTOCOSTARICA excitement.

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My flight was a red-eye that connected through Panama City. So I got approximately 34 minutes of sleep, because I found after my last red-eye experience that I do not sleep on planes. But there were plenty of free in-flight movies, so I just watched “Arrival” a couple times (OMG so good!) and landed without issue in Panama City for my connection.

It was a quick flight from Panama City to San Jose, and I made it out of customs and wandered to the cafe where I was supposed to meet my group. I arrived around 8am, and my group wasn’t to leave until 1:00, so I was basically the first one there. I had tons of time to hang out … and drink LOTS of coffee. The coffee there is so good! Like angels roasted it. Then I noticed a couple of girls that appeared American and were wearing spandex a few tables over. One had an EmPack. So I figured they were on my trip and introduced myself. We joked that I introduced myself wrong. I should have walked up and asked, “Do you know ..?” If you’re a Girls Gone WOD podcast listener, you may get that inside joke. “Do you know the CrossFit?”

The rest of the group gradually trickled in, and we made introductions with each other as we loaded the bus to drive us to the beach for our first workout, then to our hotel which was a couple hours’ drive away. There were 20 people on our trip, and three guides. I knew nobody except for Joy and Claire, who would be joining us that evening, and even then I know them from the podcast, but they don’t know me. Not awkward at all! But many of us were traveling solo so we were all in the same boat.

We made a stop halfway through the drive to use bathrooms, grab some local snacks at the roadside shop, and see some crocodiles. Because why not? I picked up some sea salt and lime flavored plantain chips, and they were amazing. Then one of my new friends offered me some strange fruit I didn’t recognize – green mango. To me, mango is usually yellow and very sweet. These were green, firm, and lightly sweet. After my first bite I decided that I must have my own to devour, so I purchased a small container. The guy ringing me up asked if I wanted lime juice and salt on them. I asked, “Is that how you eat them?” when he said yes, I said to local me up! Realize it’s like 90 degrees and a jungle, so very humid climate. We were all engulfed in about seven layers of sweat at this point. Eating that citrus-y, salty, cool mango in the muggy heat was heavenly. It was a great introduction to the whole trip experience.

Then we took a short walk down the road onto a bridge over a river. A river swarming with large crocodiles.

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They were probably something like 8-10 feet long. And just up the river you see cattle grazing. Snack?

We got to the Playa Hermosa beach and suited up for a beach workout. We met Donny, our coach for the trip. After a warm-up we split up into teams of 3 for a team workout:

12-min AMRAP in teams of 3 cycle through the following movements:

  • Bear crawl 50m(ish?)
  • Air squat or squat jumps
  • Hollow rocks or situps

Start with two lines about 50m apart. Persons 1 and 2 start on one line and Person 3 starts on the other line. As Person 1 bear crawls between Persons 2 and 3, Person 2 air squats/jumps and Person 3 hollow rocks/sit-ups. Once Person 1 reaches Person 3, they switch and Person 3 bear crawls back to Person 2 and Person 1 takes over air squats/jumps. When Person 3 reaches Person 2, they switch. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I was so, so sandy after that. I mean, it’s sort of a “duh” thing, but really. Sand was everywhere. Everywhere. But then came the best part – I’m all sandy and sweat is dripping in my eyes and I’m roasting hot … so I jump into the ocean. The water is bathwater warm, but it feels amazing. We should always have an ocean dip after every workout. That is an experience.

After our swim, we cleaned up best we could in the nearby restaurant bathroom then had dinner. The restaurant was on the beach (I wish I remembered the name!) and was open-air. As the faint coastal breeze blew in, we were served on tables made of huge, raw slabs of lacquered wood. They were gorgeous. I had an amazing poke bowl, and after we ate we went around with ice breakers getting to know each other better.

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We got to our hotel later in the evening. As the bus parked and we started gather our stuff, a guy jumped on our bus and said, “Hey everyone, there’s a sloth on the power line above the road!” Turns out this was Matt, co-owner of Under30 Experiences and one of our guides for the week. Not some random guy that likes to alert tourists of interesting local animal activities. I had never been that close to a sloth before, it was hanging maybe 20 feet above the road from a power line, just chilling.

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So that was a pretty cool greeting.

At the hotel we were assigned our rooms and roommates, and settled in. Our rooms were so cute and spacious, with a hammock outside!

After getting settled in and showered up, we congregated by the pool for drinks and waited for Joy and Claire to arrive! YAYYY! When they got there, I was trying so hard not to be a goobery fangirl. It was hard. They were so sweet and gracious, and Claire kept remarking how awkward it is to introduce yourself to people who already know who you are, #sofamous. But they seemed exactly like I had imagined them from listening to the podcast for the past couple years – friendly, approachable, and fun. We all chatted with Joy and Claire for a bit, and then hit the hammocks. I was exhausted from the long day and the red-eye, and had no issues dropping off like a rock.

The next morning I woke up early-ish after a solid night of sleep and had breakfast. The breakfast was awesome. We had an option of an American-style of bacon, eggs, fruit, and toast, or the traditional Gallo Pinto that consists of eggs, rice and beans, a fresh tortilla, and plantians. I mean, COME ON that’s no contest. Give me all the plantains!

We then loaded up on the local bus to head to Manuel Antonio National Park for a nature hike, a beach workout, and some beach time. The nature walk did not disappoint. We saw all sorts of birds, some sloths, and TONS of monkeys! They were everywhere on the beach, and when we were workout out they kept trying to get in our stuff. I didn’t realize that they were so aggressive when it comes to food, and I had brought in some snacks to the park because, you know, you bring snacks on a hike and beach day, right? Anyway, I was nervous that my hidden snacks would attract the monkeys, but we were close enough to our bags and our stuff was safe.

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After the nature hike we gathered on the beach for another beach partner WOD

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Trade off with a partner on 5 Rounds of:

  • 36 jumping lunges (regular lunges for me)
  • 12 v-ups (situps for me)

MEANWHILE, every EMOM stop and do 12 burpees

Again, we all got super sandy. It was hard keeping my footing in the deep sand! After a few minutes Donny changed the EMOM movement from burpees to mountain climbers. I think my partner and I finished at around 9 or 10 minutes, because we lost count of how many burpees and mountain climbers we did! We cheered the rest of the groups on (at this point the EMOM changed to tuck jumps, SO glad I had finished already!) and then we all hit the water to de-sand and cool off.

After chilling in the water a bit, Donny organized a trail run for whoever wanted to go. I was pretty hot, but I really wanted to go on the run. The run was a short loop around the peninsula the beach was on, and we did 2 loops, so maybe 30 minutes, complete with lots of ups & downs (I love the downs!) and some gorgeous views of the ocean. I was totally the caboose and at one point Donny came back to make sure I was okay. I was starting to feel a bit dehydrated; my legs were super heavy and I felt sooo hot. We made it back to the group and he gave me some of his ice water, since my bottle was empty. WOW that ice water made a difference, and I was starting to feel a bit better. Pro tip: when you think you have enough water, bring some more anyway.

After the runners had jumped back in the ocean and cleaned up, we packed it in for lunch in a nearby restaurant. As we were walking out of the park, we passed by vendors selling coconut water … from real coconuts.

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There seriously is no better way to get your coconut water.

I had a beer with my lunch, which was delicious at the time but later maybe not the best move when I was already feeling dehydrated. We headed back to the hotel on the local bus, and on the way had the option to stop at a local coffee shop for some afternoon coffee. Um, YES. I had an iced coffee and the most amazing chocolate avocado mousse. Then we went back to the hotel where I promptly jumped into the pool.

After floating in the warm water and hanging out with everyone,  I got changed for dinner and hit up happy hour.

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Because why have one pina colada when you can have two? Dinner was a traditional casados with rice, beans, a green salad, fresh tortilla, veggies, and I chose pork as my meat. So, so good.

After dinner we hung out by the pool and recorded a podcast with Joy and Claire! It was crazy awesome to watch as well as listen. You could see their gestures and expressions where you can only guess what’s happening when you’re listening. It added another element to the show for sure! The podcast is Episode 197 of Girls Gone WOD Podcast if you want to listen! The best part was listening to the episode after it was released when I got home, and getting to live a little slice of this amazing week again!

Okay, I’ve bored you enough with Part One of my adventures. Go make it a great day, and I’ll see you again with Part Two!

Mind Your Own (Body) Business

I’m 5’0″ and currently I weigh 154 lbs.

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PC: Zachau Photography

I’ve always carried more weight on my frame than the BMI calculations for my height would recommend. The only time in my life I was in the “green zone” on the BMI calculation was when I was in college, racing bicycles competitively and barely got down to 128 lbs from riding 20-25 hours a week and restricting calories. Oh, and I was bulimic. And severely depressed. But obviously I was healthy, because I was fitting into size 6 jeans for the first time in my life, right?

Today, I am the heaviest I’ve been, aside from my pregnancies. And I couldn’t be happier about my body. Because now it’s not about what I look like; it’s what I can do with what I got that I find fulfilling and puts me in awe on the regular. It’s taken decades of hating myself because I didn’t look like what others told me I should look like. It’s taken months of self-care, soul searching, and paying attention to myself. It’s taken getting my depression under control and accepting that I am a good and worthy person who deserves health and is healthy. It’s taken owning my choices, and making those choices based on what I believe to be good for me and what I want, and not what others or the media tells me what I should be doing. I’m rocking my own road and living my own life, just like what my blog byline says. I am not perfect, but I make progress, and I am happy to do so.

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And doing yoga on the beach in a swimsuit and giving zero effs about it

My only wish is that others can be happy and comfortable with their bodies, doing what they love and loving what they do.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that still struggles with the concept of “beauty at any size.” The “right,” socially-acceptable body structure is so closely tied with morality that we have a culture that supports, or at least turns a blind eye to, body-shaming. We look at people that are “too fat” or “too thin” (because that is totally an objective measurement, right?) and immediately judge them. It’s okay to leave a mean comment about what I think they look like. Clearly, they don’t realize how they’re being perceived. They must not care about themselves. How stupid/sick they must be, to not know what they need to do to look “normal”? Just put down the fork/eat a sandwich/stop lifting because you look too bulky. Because I am offended and concerned about how I perceive the way you look, and now I make it your problem.

I must confess, I am a former fat-shamer. I would see overweight people and think, “how could they not care about their health?” Because clearly that was the only logical conclusion. And of course, their health is totally my business (sarcasm level at an 11 right there). Never mind the decades of terrible diet advice the public has been fed. Or the fact I know nothing about this person or their life, how they might be working a full-time job and caring for an aging parent at home, or how a bad knee or lack of accessible physical activities that are varied and enjoyable might make fitness extremely difficult. What, you mean not everyone wants to slog it out on the elliptical 30 minutes a day, five days a week?!? Shoot me. (And if you love the elliptical, that is awesome and you keep doing you!)

And especially with females, body-shaming women just promotes the objectification of women. Because society dictates that as a woman, it’s my duty to look a certain way so I am attractive and pleasing to the eye. If I’m too fat, or too muscular, or too tall, or too thin, or not whatever is considered “right” to look today, it’s uncomfortable for others to look at me, and I’m not holding up my end of the bargain on being a woman. This type of thinking puts me in so much rage I’m just going to end this thought here with a big load of baloney. Because this is such baloney.

 

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RAGE!!

 

Finally, there’s the “health” argument. The argument that if you’re over- or underweight (especially overweight), then you are unhealthy, and that’s wrong because your lifestyle will cause others pain down the road as your body gives out and others have to take care of you, either financially or with caregiving. To which I have one comment:

MY HEALTH IS NONE OF YOUR G*DD*** BUSINESS. AND YOUR HEALTH IS NONE OF MY G*DD*** BUSINESS.

Bob Harper, most notably known from his work as a personal trainer on NBC’s The Biggest Loser, recently suffered a heart attack. He’s an extremely fit person, and he almost died from a heart attack that nobody, least of all him, saw coming. Meanwhile, a Dutch study came out that people that are considered “overweight” on the BMI scale actually live longer lives than “normal” weight people. I cannot possibly know a person’s health history from their pants size. Fit-looking people might have cancer, and overweight people could go on a 12-mile hike and hike circles around me. I don’t know, and what’s more, IT’S NONE OF MY G*DD*** BUSINESS ANYWAY. Neither is it yours.

A couple years ago, Noelle Tarr from Coconuts and Kettlebells wrote a post that broke the internet in the paleo/health-sphere when it was featured on the Whole9 blog, called “Why I Don’t Want Six-Pack Abs.” She received an alarming amount of criticism from this post, from people who argued that if you don’t have a six-pack, you must not be working hard enough, and if you don’t want to work hard for your physique then what are you doing? SMH. This just illustrates my point that our culture is way too looks-obsessed, totally ignoring the person underneath the abs. Obviously with the personal measurements I gave in my opening sentence, you can be assured that I do not have a six pack. I have no desire for the work it takes to get one. Because those are my priorities, and this is what makes me happy. If you prioritize the diet and training it takes for your abs and are happy with it, again, that’s awesome and you keep doing you! But it is so not me, and the work it would take would make me miserable. That doesn’t make me lazy or unworthy or weak. It makes me different. Which is totally okay.

We are all on our own journey. Sometimes that journey takes us to a health-focus, sometimes it doesn’t. That is no reason to shame or hate on others. You are not bad because you don’t do what I do or think how I think, and the same goes for me. Be kind to yourself. Then be kind to others. That is how the world is supposed to work, I think.

Go make it a great day.

Shoutout to Steph Gaudreau’s article on Stupid Easy PaleoMind Your Own Body: An Open Letter to Body Shamers” for inspiring me to finally get these thoughts out that I had been keeping silent for way too long. And if this content speaks to you, check out a free pass to Steph’s Women’s Strength Summit May 15-21!

 

Loading the Bar

Happy Monday, and what is up all of you lovely people? I have been out lately on new adventures, and am happy to be back in the groove to share the little pieces of my life on the internets.

I went to Costa Rica. It was amazing. The end.

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  So many monkeys. And you can’t make those sunsets up. Magical.

Yeah, Costa Rica deserves its own post. Someday; it’s on the to-do list.

Then I took the kids up to my parents’ new place in Oregon to celebrate Easter. And consume way too many jelly beans and chocolate bunnies.

I’ve been hitting the CrossFit hard the past two weeks. It helps coming off of a CrossFit retreat, but I’m sad that my workouts are now at the gym instead of the beach and after the WOD I don’t get to jump straight into the ocean. But you know, I’m managing all right. Plus, at the gym there are barbells!

When I was in Oregon I dropped in on CrossFit GP for a super awesome workout called “Death” (it was) that ended with a 1RM ground-to-overhead. To which I accomplished a jelly bean-fueled PR of 115 lbs. I’m still doing a happy dance over that. Then last Wednesday at CFSL we did a 1RM complex of power clean, squat clean, and push jerk which I got up to 53kg (116 lbs). I  tried for 54kg but that last little kilo is the heaviest, I swear. Also, my double-unders have been magically on point for me lately, meaning I was able to Rx the last two workouts. I am usually unable to Rx since the workout will call for either a skill I don’t have yet (pull-ups) or a weight I just can’t lift for a workout. But I’m getting stronger, I’m getting more confident in pushing outside of my comfort zone, I’m seeing a PT for my hamstring (as it turns out, it’s really a lower back thing) issue, and I’m just riding this motivation train as long as it still has gas in the tank. I even worked out in the garage last week. Alone. With no workout planned. I just took the dog for a walk then worked up to my 1RM deadlift (only 175lbs since my smallest plate is a 5lb), but it was good to finally use the equipment that I’ve invested in and stop making excuses when EVERYTHING I NEED IS RIGHT THERE.

I’m also cleaning up my diet. I had to detox a bit from “Jelly Bean Utopia of 2017” (aka Easter) and am choosing more veggies with my meals. I might be doing a Whole30 soon but I haven’t made a firm decision yet. But right now I’m seeing satisfactory results from less sugar and more veggies, so I’ll roll with that for a while. It’s certainly less stressful.

A huge source of my health motivation lately? For once, I could care less about the scale or what I look like in the mirror. I just want to get stronger. The end. I want to see the numbers on the barbell increase. I want to lift my body weight (whatever that is) over my head. I want to pull myself up and over a bar. I want to feel stronger. And the only way to really do that is to eat to perform, then go and perform. No stress. No shame. No beating myself up for eating a cookie and “blowing it” or fretting over minor details like my dress size. That stuff doesn’t matter when all I want to do is increase the size of the plates I load on my bar. Because I know once I start doing the right things for the right reasons, the results don’t really matter. The changes speak for themselves.

Go make it a great day!