Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dropping the Barbell, Lessons in Humility

Attempted an 85 pound overhead squat during my last gym visit and I dropped the ball...I mean the barbell. It wasn't a fast drop because I was able to control it on its way down but I definitely didn't place it on the floor, it fell. The drop was loud, and I felt all eyes on me from other gym-goers. The drop definitely frazzled me and left me wanting to hide out somewhere and regroup.  No, the gym is not meant for barbells to be dropped, the floor is not padded up like a Crossfit box... boo. Good new is there were no injuries except my I consider myself lucky.

Even when trying to get the barbell overhead on this attempt, I ended up doing a sloppy push press instead of a snatch because my shoulders were already shot. That was a big RED FLAG that I didn't pay attention to. But I kept on going, tried to complete the squat and ended up dropping the barbell in front of me.

Where's the silver lining in the barbell drop/fall? I took a risk and failed, but I am really proud that I tried it. I figure, if I'm going to go all out on my lifts, I am bound to miss some attempts.  Pushing myself out of my comfort zone has brought me a lot of joy recently and I can't stop now! What I will need to do is to try this again another day when my shoulders are fresh, that's going to take some courage!

All of this talk of overhead squats brings me back to Rich Froning who did three 310# overhead squats in the 2014 Crossfit Regionals. Rich Froning's body performs like a machine and I can't even tell you how much he inspires me. Here's Rich doing a 310 pound over head squat, enjoy!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

BRA-View, Sports Bra Review For the Active Ladies. From A's to D's, Got you Covered!

Honestly, I can't even begin to tell you how many times I thought I purchased the perfect sports bra only to be incredibly disappointed or downright embarrassed by the bra's lack of performance. In my bra review, I will not waste your time with the unmentionables (pun intended) but instead I will only list my WINNERS. Each bra pictured below has already had its time to shine and the review considers it's performance based on the factors outlined below.
Small Boob Bras!

Heavy Hitter Bras
I recently shopped New Balance online to scope out new sports bras.The disappointing part was the store's bra size recommender declared me as a size 36A. That felt like a bitch punch in the face. Oh I never thought I would be an A cup. I used to be a well-endowed big C/D cup. ((sigh)) My point being, I know what it's like with a larger chest needing to keep the girls properly secured during high impact sports. And more recently, I know what it's like on the other side of that; two kids and one major boob disappearing act later. 

Current, bra free (REAL, obviously)
Victoria's Secret: helping with Breasts &  sexier double unders!

Cabo, in 2008. Ah, beach. Ah, boobs (that's what he said!)
Where's the first place a girl head to when she needs busty reinforcement (hint, it's not the Kleenex box!) Me and my tiny chest headed straight to Victoria's Secret for some much needed cleavage correction! And...I am proud to announce my in-person re-measurement at Victoria's Secret reported me a 34B...Yeah! (clapping!)
Sports Bras in Review:

Sports Bra Review Factors in Consideration:
1. Impact level - you can tell which ones are going to fail just by a quick glance
2. Headlights (nipples) - Oh.My.God. All bras need at least molding to dim the lights
3. Uniboob - Is it ever worth it for the no bounce factor?
4. Back fat - Is the bra going to enhance this or can it (gasp!) actually minimize it?
5. Perky factor - Can the bra bring the ladies up from the floor to party?

BEST in big-chest class: Moving Comfort The Juno. 
Review/Buy online here

Moving Comfort, The Juno - 1st Place, Big Chested
The Juno (pictured here) keeps headlights under wraps with molded cups, keeps the girls tight without bounce AND somehow minimizes back fat. I trust the workmanship when doing heavy lifts and it has never let me down. Which is why I own 3 of them in different colors. It doesn't give much separation of the boobs but it's far from a uniboob. Somehow it manages to make my boobs look perky and voluptuous, yea! 

Best Bra for giving you "damn, she's got it going on!" looks: 
While this one makes my chest look amazing, I wouldn't want to wear it longer than necessary because it wasn't super comfy. But if you're just going for looks, it's the winner hands down. My hubby told me I should buy lots of these because it's also a personal fav of his. It honestly is the closest I could get to looking like I had plastic surgery without the knife.

Best bra for giving realistic looking volume:
The Under Armour 'Still Gotta Have It' with Cups
Purchased from Sports Authority & while I don't usually go for Under Armour Brand, I was desperate for a real headlight deflector. I was so impressed by how realistic this made my boobs look and that it had thick cups that I didn't mind that it did give me a little more back fat than I wanted. Kinda like party in the front & a tiny bit of a bummer in back.

Other brands I wear are Athleta, Lululemon, Champion and Reebok. If you have any questions on my review of these above or the ones I didn't mention, PLEASE feel free to message me. I am more than happy to share my experiences with each one! Hope this helps you ladies out and best of luck to you in your search!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Back In The (Crossfit) Box (with a big ass grin)

Katie & I at Crossfit Cherry Creek

So...I got to do a drop-in at a new Crossfit box! Actually, I've wanted to try out Crossfit Cherry Creek for a few weeks now but it still took some convincing to get myself to walk through the doors. Admittedly, I was a little nervous about going somewhere new to work out, that's totally normal right? Luckily, my friend Katie joined me, so some of my nerves were calmed by her presence, thanks Katie!

Coach/owner at Crossfit Cherry Creek
Meet Ryan, one of the Crossfit coaches! Ryan is the reason this virgin rope climber (me!) climbed the rope like I stole it! Honestly, rope climbs are so badass that I didn't think I was even worthy of attempting an ascent. So, I'm so thrilled I could climb up there even if it hurt my hands like a motha. On a side note, someone actually said I was 'a natural' when I reached the top of the rope ((sigh...))) Oh man, I really wish I had a rope hanging from my living room ceiling right about now, it is so much fun!

During our skills portion of the workout, Ryan showed us how to master the pull up, do two different foot holds with the rope and do box jump overs. Box jump overs are scary as all hell! There's a lot riding on you making that jump; if you miss it you risk an gnarly face-plant on the other side of the box. I did about 10 of these and lived to tell the tale, but decided doing these in a workout have the potential for one frightened Steph.

How-To do Box Jump Overs:

The WOD at Crossfit Cherry Creek
3 Rounds:
15 Thrusters #65
10 Burpee Box Jumps
Run 400 Meters
TIME: 11:02

The evil thrusters were quad-killers but I did them all unbroken, and pushed myself on the running, which is highly unusual. Maybe I was just so elated to be working out with badass crossfitters that it gave me super strength? It felt great to be back in Crossfit, and I will be going back for more drop ins. Can't wait!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

That Girl is Dirty! My Filthy Adventures With Spartan. Fully Loaded with Mud Pics

Nothing like cold body parts, slippery obstacles and an unknown adventure to invoke my inner badass! When else are you thrilled to get mud, dirt, and unknown debris stuck to your body? When people tell you that there is mud on your teeth and you feel more pride than embarrassment, now that's Spartan Tough! The Spartan race was one of the most fun things this girl has done, and can easily be added to the list of epic adventures, right up there with skydiving and fourteeners.
Our pre-mud pic
Does everyone look this good covered in mud, you ask

The Spartan Sprint course took place on an army base in gorgeous Fort Carson, Colorado. The course length was 4.5 miles with at least 20 obstacles. The total time it took all three of us (leave no man behind) was 2 hours 15min. Here's some nitty gritty  details of the race parts.
Sandbag carry, I got this! Beautiful Ft Carson, Colorado army base

Right before our start time when we got to scream "AROO!" and get amped up waiting for the start whistle. Everyone was pumped and I could feel the excitement in my nervous little bones. Once we got started, we were running and climbing under netting and wood barriers as our very first obstacles. We got to jump through walls like this.
Not my pic, but here is how we climb through walls

Wall Climbs were common on the course. The walls began around 4 feet tall and got bigger as we moved on; they ended up being 10 feet high. Luckily, there were plenty of people willing to let me jump off their outstretched hands to grab for the top and pull myself over. It is my goal to learn to run up those walls so I can climb them without assistance. Just putting that out there and you can hold me to it!

The obstacles are pictured here but these are not my pictures so shhh! don't tell...

- Rope climb from the mud pit (I tried, but couldn't do it, so had to do 30 burpees instead)

- Dunk wall - you had to slide into a muddy hole and then dunk under a wall to get to the other side

- Tire flip or Tire pull - your choice. We opted for the tire pull but were told we should have done the flip

- Carry a sandbag up and down a hill - we ran this part

- Traverse a wall with wooden hand holds without touching ground
- Throw a spear into a haystack from 10-20 yards (miss the target and do 30 burpees)

- Pull a heavy rock (attached by a chain) behind you up and down a hill

- Climb angled wall with a rope 
- Lots of walls to climb!

- My personal favorite was crawling under the barbed wire. One of the staff yelled at us to not scratch his barbed wire, which gave us a good distraction laugh. I felt like a total beast this part and crawled through fast, passing people like it was my job. Thus, this is where I got scraped and bruised on my forearms, but it was well worth it!
My favorite part and also where my body got the most damage

And for the end, we got to jump over fire! AROO! Now it's time to get serious and train for the Tough Mudder, who's coming with me?! 

This is not me, this is just a great shot!
My Goals for the next mud run:
1. Climb those walls without help
2. Make it to the top of a rope climb
3. Add some speed to my pace

Aroo! Did I spark some interest in the Spartan Race? Sure hope so, for more info, click here

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Body Image Blunders, before & after pics...AND a superb video, hell ya!

TODAY, May 8, 2014
As my body has begun to take on a new thin shape, I  still struggle to accept and love EVERY part. Stretch marks, check. Scars, check. Imperfections, hell yeah, big check. In the last seven months, I have lost 20 pounds and gained a super-muscular physique. In fact, it happened so freakin fast that I wasn't even sure I was doing it all myself. I questioned if I was struck with a nasty disease or diabetes. But now I realize I am perfectly healthy, my intense visualization of my body actually worked and I created this body all on my own! That's empowerment.
BEFORE. Sept 2013
 There are times that I go into a dark place where I still see that old chubby girl looking out. I gravitate towards those same insecurities and I feel her ache towards something more, something greater. There are ample times when my negative mind pulls me down and I focus on my flaws; my big thighs, my back fat, my wobbly arms. And sometimes those emotions linger for days, ah what a sad place I let myself go to in my mind.

Luckily, pulling myself out of  that dark place seems to be getting easier now. The more weight training and intense exercise that I do, the more I appreciate my  body's performance rather than judge it's appearance. Who cares if my thighs are bigger than most if I get to use them to squat clean over a hundred pounds? Who cares that my arms are big if they help me to get my chin over the bar during pull ups? Who cares if my calf muscles are super sized if they are what help me sprint like a cheetah? Who cares, and why do we care so much? Who in the WORLD are we striving towards looking like?
An amazing video which speaks numbers to me and gives my mind a break from this insane drive towards perfection. Please watch and enjoy! This video tends to bring on the tears for me, beware...