you are what you eat

Happy Tuesday, you guys! I am so excited! We are wrapping up our second Nutrition Challenge at CF Ripcord and from what I can tell it has been a success. I am in no way an expert on nutrition or health, but I’ve experimented with quite a few diets/ways of eating and learned what works for me. We didn’t want to push any specific diet or lifestyle, so the whole focus for the challenge was to help build habits towards a healthier lifestyle, habits that are sustainable and not just a crash diet where you starve yourself and then binge like crazy when it’s done.

After experimenting with eating habits for the last few years, I’ve noticed quite a few benefits from making healthier choices in my diet and lifestyle.

*I have fewer breakouts than I used to and my skin tends to be clearer now that I stay more hydrated.

*My hair and nails seem to grow faster and are stronger and less brittle than before.

*I have a lot more energy throughout the day. I still sometimes get the “after-lunch sleepies”, but I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.

*Before changing my diet, I would have trouble falling asleep and sometimes wake up throughout the night for an hour or two here and there. Now, I fall asleep faster and usually stay asleep through the whole night.

*I have noticed an increase in my performance at the gym, both with being able to lift heavier weights/do more reps and being able to do bodyweight movements more easily.

*I feel like my mind is clearer and I can focus more easily when I’m not eating junk food all the time.

*I used to feel congested or stuffed up a lot and didn’t even realize how “bad” I felt until I started eating way more veggies and lean protein. I can totally tell when I indulge too much because I always wake up the next morning feeling congested.

*I have made new friends with people who share my interests in eating well and wanting to be active. I’ve also tried new things out of my comfort zone and gone on new adventures because of this- hiking, boating, spelunking, all kinds of fun things!

*I have saved money by not eating out all the time and instead cooking at home for the majority of our meals.

*By watching what I eat and cooking at home a lot, I’ve learned to really take the time to enjoy and savor  something when I do decide to indulge. I make sure it’s really worth it- I can easily pass on the store bought donut when I know I’ll be enjoying homemade lemon meringue pie later instead.

I encourage everyone to make the healthiest choices you can and build a lifestyle that works for you. You’ll be amazed at the differences you’ll notice in your body, mind, and even relationships!

balancing act

I am super pumped because Saturday marked the start of week 3 on mine and Josh’s RP cut and week 3 of our CF Ripcord Nutrition Challenge! Josh and I had been on maintenance for a little over 3 months (from April to July) and I was more than ready to get back on a “normal” eating schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed being a little more lenient over maintenance and eating some really great food on vacation, but there’s just something about eating healthy on a regular basis. I really just feel better, sleep better, work out better, everything’s just better! When we realized it was time to start another cut, we thought why not get the whole gym involved in a nutrition challenge with us? Josh and I have had some great success adjusting our eating habits and I wanna share the wealth! The nutrition challenge at the gym will last 3 months, from the beginning of July to the end of September (this is how long a cut with RP is as well). We wanted it to be a length of time that really got people in the habit of eating healthier long-term and not just a quick fix, 30 day thing that likely wouldn’t last past those 30 days. As part of  the nutrition challenge, we came up with a challenge workout that was done at the start and will be repeated again at the end. We also have weekly mini challenges throughout the twelve weeks to help keep people involved and interested- little things such as drinking eight 8-oz glasses of water each day or completing 100 double unders throughout the week. It’s so great doing this as a gym because it helps us all stay on track and hold each other accountable. If anyone is having a rough day, there’s always someone on the Facebook group willing to offer encouragement or good tips to get through the day. I’m really hoping this challenge will help people make healthier choices. Switch the Mountain Dew for some tea or water. Snack on some cucumbers instead of a Milky Way. These are all seemingly small changes that really add up over time and make a world of difference. They have for me anyways. Through RP, I have really come to appreciate my body and what I put into it, while still being able to enjoy life. It’s been such a learning experience and balancing act. I’ve learned that I’m going to sometimes eat foods that aren’t considered healthy. I’ve learned that it’s ok and I don’t need to punish or starve myself when I do eat something unhealthy- just get right back at it for the next meal. I’ve learned that I feel so much better when I eat healthy and that helps me stay on track. I’ve learned that sometimes I’m not really hungry-sometimes I’m bored or tired or stressed and instead of stuffing my face, I should sip on some tea or get up and move around.    

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Saturday was packed full- we spent our morning at the gym lifting, getting in some mobility, and doing a partner hero workout with LOTS of burpees and barbell movements. It was the most amazing weather (sunny and mid-70s) and I tried to soak it all in. After the gym was the usual Saturday afternoon adulting- mowing, laundry, and all the meal prepping. My sister-in-law, Kena, has been sharing some zucchini from her neighbor with us and I love it! There is nothing better than fresh garden vegetables, store bought just doesn’t even compare! This week she spoiled us and brought over 5 of the biggest zucchini ever- I was able to sauté some, use a bunch in our veggie chili, and still had so much left that I had to use 3 whole baking sheets to roast the remainder in the oven.

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With the cut and the gym nutrition challenge going on, Josh and I have been really good about staying on track with our nutrition and not eating out. We purchased the newest RP cookbook “The Renaissance Feast” and have been loving it. Every week during the cut, we have decided to choose one recipe out of the cookbook and make it together for Saturday night date night. This week’s choice was orange beef- steak and broccoli covered in a delicious orange sauce on white rice. The best part is all the recipes can be altered so that we can hit the protein, fat, and carbs we need at each meal. It was very yummy and I can’t wait to try out another recipe from the cookbook!  

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After dinner, we searched through Netflix to find a movie to watch. Josh found a movie named “Butter” which neither of us had ever heard of, but Netflix was recommending. We decided to give it a try. I’m glad we did. There is a great cast- Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman, Ty Burrell, Olivia Wilde, and several others. The movie is about a butter carving competition at the local county fair in a small town in Iowa. It was not what I expected, but it was so great. I never knew butter carving could be so impressive!

Sunday morning I met up with Kalee and Des for breakfast at Cracker Barrel for some much needed sis time. I have genuinely missed these girls- our schedules are all so different and crazy, we hardly get to see each other as much as we would all like. They both do RP too, so I didn’t feel guilty about meeting up with them while on my cut because I knew they would make healthy choices and help me stay on track as well. It’s seriously the best! We all ordered the Good Morning Breakfast which came with scrambled egg whites, turkey sausage, sliced tomatoes, a small fruit cup, and cheese grits. Not bad for eating out! I loved being able to catch up and laugh so much at their stories.

After breakfast, Josh and I finished the newest Netflix series “Friends from College”. There were only eight episodes, so it took us no time at all to finish the season. And you can’t not watch a show that features Cobie Smulders, Fred Savage, and Keegan-Michael Key as main characters. Rocko just wanted to go to Mamaw’s for ham!

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For lunch, we headed to Josh’s Mamaw and Papaw’s house to celebrate Josh/his cousin/his uncle’s birthdays. Rocko absolutely loves riding in the car (I promise, he was very safe and not at any risk of falling out of our car)- seriously how cute is he?!

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Before you ask-no, we did not stay on track with our eating. Before starting the cut, we had already decided this would be one of three “off track” meals. This is where the balancing act comes in- I understand that I can’t eat cake every single day, but during a special occasion there is no reason to deprive myself from enjoying something worth it like Mamaw’s home cooked meal and Kena’s homemade cake. Mamaw served us a delicious meal of meatloaf, ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, broccoli salad, a veggie tray, and rolls with apple butter and sorghum. I had never tasted sorghum before…I’m a fan. If you like thick, sugary syrup, sorghum is where it’s at! For dessert, Kena made her best cake yet- a vanilla cake with white chocolate chips filled with raspberry icing and topped with white chocolate frosting. She even brought fresh raspberries and made a raspberry compote to put on top. All homemade. *drool*          

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After cards and presents were opened, it was game time. While half of his family played a card game, Kaylie, Josh, and I played Settlers of Catan. Even though I’m pretty terrible at this game, I really enjoy playing it. Especially now that we finally read the rules and know how to play it correctly (it’s only been 7 months since we started playing hahaha). Kaylie won…probably cheated lol jk…and Josh and I called it a tie for the loss.

We capped off our evening at home watching “Shameless” (we’re on season 4 now!) until Game of Thrones time. Finally! Having to wait 3 extra months for the premiere was no fun. Game of Thrones is probably one of my favorite shows of all time- I know this because it’s the only show I’m willing to stay up an hour past my bedtime to watch live. I can’t lie, part of the reason we stay up to watch it live is because I don’t want it ruined by people on Facebook and other social media. Seriously, people, not everybody gets to watch it as it airs. Keep the spoilers to yourself!

Someone was all tuckered out from a late night watching GoT.

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goal digger

You might be thinking “It’s the middle of the year, why would she be posting about goals now?” Well, I’ve had these goals since New Year’s (ok, some have been around for years lol) and I’ve been pursuing them. But, honestly, to me, there isn’t a bad time to think up a goal and start working towards it. There are no rules regarding when you’re allowed to dream a dream and work towards being your best self. I have goals for my marriage, for my career, for CrossFit, just life in general.

Eat clean and stay healthy.
Get butterfly pull-ups.
Reduce credit card debt and budget better.
Get a bar muscle-up.
Be consistent at getting a strict muscle-up.
Go on more adventures.
Move 95# clean & jerks and/or snatches in workouts.
Learn how to handstand walk.
Be actively supportive (of Josh and others in my life).

I made my goals list and wrote it out on card stock to keep on the front cover of my gym accessory work binder, so that I would see it every day and help keep myself accountable. Plus, if I have it sitting out on the bench, someone might ask about it and that can help trigger others to set goals of their own and work on them! While I may not reach all of these goals this year or next year or even the next, I am actively working on being the best version of myself that I can be. And that right there is a win in and of itself to me.

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I got my very first bar muscle-up back in January, but have still been working on progressions and drills because I have problems with “chicken-winging” or throwing one arm over before the other which is bad form. For the first time this weekend, I was able to get three bar muscle-ups with no chicken wing…on purpose! I’ve been told many times over the last several months to use my hips, keep my feet together, etc and for whatever reason it finally all clicked for me! If I hadn’t set a goal to get a bar muscle-up, I would never have put in the time and effort. I would have never known how amazing and accomplished I could feel after putting in all the hard work!

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My RP Hypertrophy lifting went much smoother on Saturday than the last few weekends. I didn’t miss any lifts and even though it was the heaviest weights for this cycle, nothing felt overly terrible. We got in a great mobility session with Ryan and then stuck around for the class WOD. I partnered up with the ever amazing Jessica Downs and we had a grand ole time working through our 10 rounds of thrusters, chest to bar pull-ups (I substituted ring rows so my giant blood blister wouldn’t rip and bleed all over the place), and ab-mat sit-ups with a partner overhead barbell hold.

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After class, Josh and I hosted a nutrition information session for our very first CF Ripcord Nutrition Challenge! Josh and I (and a few other members at the gym) have really been putting in an effort to eat cleaner and fuel our bodies as opposed to just eating whatever food is in front of us. We finally decided to ask if we could get the whole gym involved- what better way to keep everyone motivated and working hard than to involve the whole gym?! We had over 15 people sit in at the information session and at least half that many went ahead and signed up for the challenge! I am hoping we get at least 10 people to sign up, so I’m more than excited that we’re over halfway there already! After the info session, we stopped at Ryan and Jessica’s to pick up their lab, Beans, to watch her overnight for them. She’s just the sweetest pup and such a good house guest! We headed home for all the usual fun adulting- meal prep, laundry, mowing, and tidying up around the house. I had two of the cutest little “helpers” while I meal prepped…secretly I think they were just waiting for me to drop something!

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Saturday evening we had planned on going to see Wonder Woman up in Columbus. Josh and I were sitting on the couch watching TV when he suggested maybe we could head up to eat at 450 North Brewing Co. before the movie. It was going to be a time crunch to get there to eat and make it to the movie, but their pizza is too amazing to pass up and with the nutrition challenge starting in July we knew we wouldn’t have any time to make it there again. We got there at a perfect time- it was busy, but the dinner crowd hadn’t shown up yet and we got a seat immediately. I ordered a Juicy Peach hard cider (it was so crisp and light, the perfect drink for me) and Josh got a Citra Rainbows Double IPA. We got an order of two breadsticks with white queso and the Sweet Asian pizza, a brick oven pizza topped with a sweet chili sauce, red onion, grilled chicken, red peppers, and gooey Mozzarella cheese. It was the best pizza I’ve had from there, definitely my new favorite flavor.

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When we got our pizza, we realized there were only about 15 minutes until the movie was supposed to start. Instead of rushing, we decided it was no big deal to just skip the movie and enjoy our dinner date. Even though Josh and I spend almost all of our time together at work/the gym/home, I never tire of going out on a date and just spending time with him. After devouring the whole pizza (yes, we ate the whole large pizza between the two of us), we came up with a brilliant plan to stop for a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cinnamon Buns ice cream, rent the Lego Batman movie, and head home to relax. Sometimes I genuinely wonder how I got so lucky…

We spent Sunday afternoon at Mamaw and Papaw’s house celebrating Father’s Day and Kena’s birthday with Josh’s side of the family. There is never any worry about getting plenty to eat there and yesterday was no exception. Kena grilled some juicy ribs and chicken, Kaylie made homemade corn bread, and we also had the usual broccoli salad, rolls, corn, mashed potatoes, green beans, and veggie tray. For dessert, Kaylie made a homemade red velvet cake with chocolate chips and cream cheese icing and Mamaw had homemade vanilla ice cream.

While everyone played a card game, I took a nap in my “nap” chair. When the card game was done, Kena, Papaw, and Kyle opened up their gifts and we sat around and talked for a bit before heading home. We’re leaving for vacation this coming Thursday, so I took advantage of some free time to sweep, vacuum, and wash our blankets, just so we can come home to an extra tidy house. We ended our weekend relaxing in our room, watching “The Switch” on Netflix. Another great weekend in the books!