It’s Open Season!: What’s different this year..

No, I don’t hunt.  The CrossFit Open is summed up with this infographic:


Basically the reason why I “do” CrossFit all year long is for the sole purpose of competing in the 5-week “Open” competition season.

It wasn’t always like this; I used to just do the Open for fun, and for the mere fact that everyone else in my box did it too; it was just a norm.  After the first year, I got a feel for my competitive side again, and I started to take it more seriously… almost TOO seriously.  I placed lots of pressure on myself–really confident about what I was good at, really scared of what I wasn’t… and it was a pretty immature mindset towards CrossFit as a sport.

Though I’m not veteran, I’d have to say this year is much different than others.  I’ve evolved both physically, and simultaneously, I’ve invested lots of time and practice in also developing my mental and emotional intelligence regarding training and competition.

I know where I stand in terms of my strengths and weaknesses; I’m far from the “outcome” goal I’d love to achieve one day a few years from now… however, I’ve never felt more prepared.  So like… if I were thrown into the Hunger Games tomorrow, would I win?  Eh… but at least I’d be more fit than ever to do the damn best I can to make sure I thrive for as long as my body and mind allow me to!

Here are a few highlights of what’s different for me going in to the Open this year:

  • General Physical Preparedness is… mostly prepared!
  • Nutrition has been dialed in with over 90% compliance for months now
  • Not “afraid” of certain movements or lifts
  • Not “cautious” to “overeat” (eating so much that it’s literally a job! #payher)
  • More positive, self-affirmations – yes, sometimes even OUT LOUD (when no one’s around)
  • Reading a lot of mindset/ achievement literature lately
  • Sleep has been a consistent 8 hours 90+% of the time and my body is noticing its effect (lower body fat retention, better recovery, sharper mind & focus)
  • I’m actually excited and not as nervous (I say this now, and tomorrow the butterflies will be sure to show up) for an Open season and all its got to challenge me with
  • I won’t be having a beer after my workout — too many other nutrient-dense calories I’ll have to have
  • I will likely be re-doing the workouts on Mondays. *cue the positive self-affirmations*
  • This year’s placing will tell me a lot about the next 1-2 years

Hopping off now because I’m so wired and need to disconnect, chill out and sleep goood.  After eating some more, though.

Keep you all posted…

5 signs of progress: WITHOUT a scale!

I’ve worked with countless clients, and even prospective clients, who have had the heaviest fixations with the number they see on the scale every morning.  THOUGH I do believe it’s an essential data tracking point for progress in any fitness or body composition goal, it surely is not the only data point, nor is it the one we should fixate ourselves on.  I mean it!  One day, our weight could be 5 pounds under normal, and the very next day, it can show 3-5 pounds over our typical weight; it varies so much, especially the more variables in your daily habits vary as well. To name a few: caloric intake, types of foods and how your body reacts to their ingredients, water intake, hours of sleep, levels of stress, hormonal balances/imbalances, timing near the menstrual cycle, and many more.

The daily scale number isn’t accurate as to how much our body has changed beyond a temporary state–it simply measures our mass’s force in relation to gravity.

Here are 5 signs of progress that do NOT include the number on the scale:

  1. Progress pictures.  Taking pictures of yourself, as you are working towards a certain goal (fat loss, muscle mass) provides a great visual to demonstrate areas of your body that may be changing over time.  People don’t realize the day-to-day change, but over 90 days, you can certainly start to see a difference!  Try it: take a picture of yourself from the front, side and back.  Take one each week and compare it at each month marker.  Determine areas of improvement!
  2. Tape measurements.  Taking tape measurements is an easy and affordable way to generally track body composition.  Since different people will lose fat, or gain muscle in different places at different rates, taking tape measurements can be an effective measure for progress with data that has less variance than our daily weigh ins (assuming that it’s the same person taking the same measurements in the same places).
  3. Energy levels.  Rating your daily and weekly energy levels from 1 (constantly tired, exhausted) to 5 (consistent, steady or high energy) can help you determine how your body is reacting to the way you are fueling it for your goals.  Also keep in mind where you start.  If you were someone who constantly rated a “1” even rating “3”s consistently has marked progress over time, even if you aren’t averaging 4’s or 5’s.  The same goes for your mood–are you generally more upbeat and optimistic, or sluggish or pessimistic?
  4. Skin complexion.  The largest organ in our body can also be one of the easiest determinants for how we are fueling ourselves.  Typically, choosing to eat whole, minimally to non-processed foods as well as staying properly hydrated will show clearer or smoother skin.  Read more on the correlation between dermatology and diet from the U.S. National Library of Medicine here.
  5. Body Composition Analysis.  While this may be a bit less accessible and budget-friendly as using a tape measure, this type of analysis can offer valuable information about your body composition that is much more in-depth than what reads on a scale or with a tape measure or pictures.  If you’re into data, you can definitely dig the analysis reports from something like say, an InBody Scan machine.  These machines typically measure what our bodies are made of from water weight, dry mass (including muscle mass) as well as fat mass.  I’ve taken a few scans myself, and its helped me adjust the amount of calories I needed each day to support my training as well as maintain a healthy, athletic body fat percentage for the sport of CrossFit.  If you’re interested in learning more about this option, feel free to CONTACT me or schedule a FREE consultation, which includes a FREE InBody Scan (scroll to consultation request form) if you are in the local area (this is upwards of a $50 value in other areas!)

So seriously.  Throw the towel in with your internal battle with the scale–in the LARGER sense, if you are working diligently towards a health-related goal, there are many more markers of progress and success.  Also, remember that there is NOT always a linear path to success!  Appreciate the progress and your successes will become much more apparent along the way.

on my way

I’ve been a constantly on-the-go kind of person.
Constantly on my way to the next destination.

When I was a toddler–it was bouncing between grandparents’ homes in the city since my parents worked long hours throughout the week.

In grade school–it was balancing being the honor roll student and figuring out what other things I enjoyed aside from scoring grades that would appease my parents.

Enter in my undergrad–it became the most jumbled time of all: moving out, making friends, switching majors, socializing and studying (probably one more than the other)… putting in hours, learning how to be a teacher by day, and serving long islands at night to help with U of I’s crazy tuition fees.  Somehow, I also seemed to fall in love with Filipino cultural dancing,  playing football with some badass girls, reversing the “freshman fifteen” on a budget, and a new love interest.

May 2013–FINALLY–I made it to the graduation stage on time, despite the whirlwind of busyness of undergrad.  I just felt like I had worked so hard, spent so many hours awake, too many hours worrying, but I finally made it.  That summer, I am fortunate enough to land my first job as a middle school language arts teacher.  6th grade.  Of course I needed to be doing more than just my day job, so let’s try this CrossFit thing.  Expensive?  It’s fine, it’ll make me go.. stay off the freshman fifteen of real, adult life and it’ll keep me less stressed.  More on this story in my About section (to come).

Fast-forward to 2017.. I’m 26 years old, and realize life is passing by incredibly fast.  It’s going by so fast that I find a hard time being able to slow down, appreciate it, or even give people close to me the time of day to listen to them.  It was like I was running on auto-pilot–wake, work, workout, worry, work, sleep. repeat.  Again, many hours awake, and too many hours worrying–that for whatever reason, whatever I was doing was just not my best–not enough.

Through months of self-talk, internal wars, pros and cons lists and numerous prayers… I came to the realization that it was time to slow things down.  Focus in on less in order to be able to do more–for myself and so therefore, for others.

That July, I decided I was going to set off on my way…
down “the road less traveled by… and it has made all the difference.”

I have left my occupation as a public school educator, and I have committed to this new journey as a full-time CrossFit and Nutrition Coach, as well as what I like to call a “casually competitive” athlete at CrossFit Des Plaines.  I say it nonchalantly/matter-of-fact-ly, but this was a crazy ride in itself!

Now, I’m on my way…
to the next destination