Friday, April 19, 2013

What is Crossfit? & a few Workouts to Try @ Home :)

Happy Friday! TGIF folks :) I told y'all earlier in the week I would be sharing something random on Friday's, whatever's on my mind, and today that is Crossfit. What is Crossfit? I get this question all the time and it's kind of convoluted answer. (I know my mom just read that and fist pumped for the word "convoluted" btw, great word;)) In very basic terms Crossfit is a strength and conditioning program. Usually in a Crossfit- style workout there is a warm-up, a strength portion (some kind of weightlifting) and then an interval style cardio workout (Like a high intensity interval training kinda thing). I've been doing Crossfit since September of last year and I'm into it. I wanted to share with you my little story of how it came about and what I love about it now! {Warning this post gets kinda long, sorry I have a story to tell y'all!}

Now here's the thing about me. I'm lazy. I like to watch shows on Bravo and bake things and working out has never ever been my thing. I know that staying active is important, I've just always loathed it. I've done the standard gym thing before, I was a member of a YMCA. I would go in and do the elliptical for a while and then try some of the machines, I really had no clue what I was doing and didn't really feel like it was doing anything for me honestly. I tried the Zumba classes and they were fun but I never got hooked enough to do it regularly. I've tried to go jogging and be a "runner" but that's just really not in the cards for me, and when you're doing solo running it's really hard to hold yourself accountable to stick with it! I just resigned myself to the fact that I'm not an "active person" and I was okay with it. I made little jokes about myself "um I don't work out" "I don't like sweating, ew" and I just decided that was the way it was. My husband on the other hand is super active and started Crossfit about 3 years ago. He is in incredible shape and people are constantly asking for his advice on working out. It was always awkward for me, "Hey here's my super fit husband, he works out like crazy. Me? No, I don't work out. I'm cool" Whomp whomp. He would try to get me to go to the gym with him but I just felt like he was way far ahead of me and I was so out of shape that I could never keep up and I would just be a burden. Fast forward to last summer when he was deployed overseas and I was staying with my mom in Jacksonville for the summer. Our anniversary rolled around in September and I was stuck on what to give a man who is in the desert. Sending him a nice watch would obviously be pointless, new clothes were no good, any material items would be totally out of place in his situation. I thought about it and decided I needed to make a grand gesture. I'm actually pretty good at those, I'm a dramatic person by nature. :) Lo and behold there was a Groupon type deal for a local crossfit gym I came across online. Obviously it was written in the stars, I would do Crossfit, take pictures, and send them to him for his anniversary present. I told my mom my idea and she was super excited, she even offered to go with me and try it out as well! She's really the best :) We signed up for class and I didn't say anything to Nick about it, I wanted it to be a surprise!

The first day we showed to the gym we were TERRIFIED. I seriously could have walked away right there. You have to understand I hadn't worked out in probably 3 years and when we walked in people were lifting heavy weights, flipping around on rings, doing pull-ups, running, tossing medicine balls onto a wall, using a crazy rowing machine, jumping on boxes, it all looked so intimidating to me! I'm actually getting anxiety right now thinking about the way I felt walking into the gym that day! One of the coaches came up to us and introduced herself, she was so nice and immediately made me feel a little better. A little. I was still horrified. She took us through all the different equipment and gave us a little introduction to the gym and then showed us the workout we would try that day. It was a base-line workout just to use as a point of reference so the coaches could know where we were physically. This was the workout:

500 M row (on the rowing machine)
40 Air Squats
30 Sit- Ups
20 Push- Ups
10 Pull- Ups
For Time (Meaning do it as fast as possible)

Sounds easy enough right? OMG I thought I was going to DIE. Literally have a heart attack right there. I got through everything and was more exhausted than I had ever been in my life. It was actually pretty embarrassing, my mom beat me in the workout and I was a 24 year old in terrible shape, dying on the ground post workout. We took a picture of me with the sign to send to my husband that night:
Do I look exhausted?! I was dead. I sent the picture to my hubby that night and said "Happy Anniversary! Here's your present!" It was on Facebook chat and it took him a moment to respond. He was in SHOCK. This was probably the exact opposite thing he imagined I would be doing. He told me he cried a couple happy tears and it was the best gift he had ever received. Grand gesture, check. 

Now I had one session down and I was scared as heck to go back. In my mind I would NEVER be able to do the things I saw other people doing in the gym that day. I was weak, out of shape, and SCARED. Luckily I had already paid for 10 sessions and the cheapness in me outweighs the laziness so 2 days later my mother and I took our butts back to the Crossfit gym for our first real workout. I learned that day a lesson that I would continue learning over the weeks I spent in that gym, I could do MUCH MORE than I thought I could. I was out-of-shape, weak, and slow but I could do the same things that everybody else was doing- maybe less reps or less weight or at a slower pace but I could DO IT. Some days were exhilarating as I lifted much more weight than I thought my weak arms could handle, and some days were extremely frustrating as I realized how poorly I had treated myself in the past years. I laughed during some workouts because they were fun and I cried out of frustration in one too. But I never quit, I continued to push myself and felt good about something I was doing for the first time in awhile. The coaches were AMAZING they never let me quit on myself or undermine my worth. They taught me the correct way to do things and encouraged me during every workout. If I didn't show up one day, everyone in the gym would give me hell the next time I came- "um where were you?!". It's a community, a little family! It motivates you to keep going back and it becomes a routine. My mom was KICKING BUTT also, which was a huge motivator to me- I couldn't let my mom be better than me! But she usually was. And I'm okay with that. I've learned that Crossfit is competitive, but not with everyone else- I'm much more competitive with myself. I want to lift more than I did last time, I want to run faster, jump higher, be more efficient. 

Crossfit has changed me. I'm so not the same person. I now would definitely consider myself an "active person" and when I went to my check-up at the doctor last week I gladly checked that box. I feel better about myself than I have in years but it's not just because I'm different physically, I just feel STRONG. Feeling strong is an AMAZING feeling. I highly recommend it. It's better than feeling skinny or pretty, those things can come naturally- I WORK to feel strong. 

Currently I workout 4-5 days a week. I try to be on a "3 on 1 off" schedule- workout 3 days, rest 1. Some days I can't wait to workout (weird!) and other days I dread it. I always feel better afterwards though. I have a great group of guys and gals I work out with regularly and we all keep each other moving. Like I said, it's a community. It's not like a regular gym where everybody is doing their own thing and no one gives a hoot what you're doing, EVERYONE is rooting for you, everyone is there to help you. My mom is a full-time member of the gym we originally started at- Bold City Crossfit in Jacksonville, FL. I HIGHLY recommend you look them up if you're in the area, they are awesome! I don't know if I started somewhere else if I'd still be doing this well. Check them out here {

I did this the other day: 
Handstands and power cleans. Yeah, we do handstands- how fun is that?! And power cleans, who am I Arnold Schwarzenegger? I kinda feel like him when I do them, I feel like a beast! But I can do stuff like that now, things I NEVER thought this self professed "No upper body strength" girl could ever do. If you're interested in Crossfit I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you look into joining a Crossfit Affiliate. A lot of the maneuvers, especially the olympic weightlifting stuff- you need a coach for. They are very technical and can be dangerous if done incorrectly! There's just no better environment than a Crossfit gym. The coaches, the members, it's just SO different from any gym you've ever been to. In a GOOD way. If you want to find a gym near you (they're EVERYWHERE, I guarantee there's one near by:)) go to and check out the "affiliate map" Most gyms do a free introductory class or have a free open gym on Saturdays so you can go get a feel for the environment before you join. DO IT! It's fun. :)

AND If you'd like to try some "Crossfit- style" workouts at home with zero equipment to see what all the fuss is about here's a couple:

 Workout 1:
4 Rounds for Time (Complete as fast as possible!)
Run 400M (a 1/4 Mile)
50 Air Squats

Workout 2: (This one is BRUTAL we did a couple weeks ago)
50-40-30-20-10-20-30-40-50 (9 rounds, 50 reps 1st rd, 40 second round, 30 3rd rd etc..)
Jump Rope (double unders if you have them)
Sit ups

Workout 3:
On the Minute Every Minute for 12 Minutes complete:
3 Broad Jumps (jump forward as far as you can)
Sprint 30 yards
(IE: Minute 1: 3 broad jumps, sprint 30 yds then rest until min 2)

So that's just a sample... if you want to get into the really good stuff you need to go to a Crossfit gym. I could go on and on about it, but you should really just try it :) AND I want to thank my lovely hubby for introducing me to the world of Crossfit and for my fabulously inspiring mom for joining me in the journey :)


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sweet Little Bar Cart Facelift

What I'm Working on Wednesday :) Technically, this is a What I've Worked on Wednesday because I finished this bar cart about 2 weeks ago, but I'm still catching up! This sweet little bar cart is probably my favorite project I've worked on thus far in 2013. You see, ever since I saw this blog post last year: I have been on the hunt for a cart of my own. I looked high and low, but didn't come across much. Then I was browsing a Goodwill store out at the beach one day when I spotted this little cart hiding in the corner!
She was a little dirty and missing the piece of glass in the bottom of the cart but I knew  I could save her! $11 later she was packed up in the back of my car and I was headed home giddy as can be over my new buy! Luckily for me I have a bunch of different sized glass pieces I've collected from past projects and I had one that slid perfectly into the bottom of the cart. I used some all purpose cleaner on a microfiber towel to clean the cart all over. Next up was a fresh coat of paint. My house is decorated in a beachy cottage style feel so I opted for a beachy blue color! Lately I've been OBSESSED with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for about a million different reasons , the main one being it's ease and versatility. You see chalk paint is different than traditional paint because it's not oil based or water based, it's chalk based and therefore adheres very easily to pretty much any surface. No priming or sanding needed, just wipe down your piece and paint. I've used Chalk Paint on several different wood based projects with great success and even painted a couple of mason jars that came out beautifully but had yet to use it on a metal piece like this cart. Typically I would go the spray paint route, start with an even layer of primer (my fave being Kilz) let that dry and then another 2 layers of my color of choice and maybe finish with a coat of poly or wax, but I decided to try my magic Chalk Paint this time. I chose the color "Duck Egg Blue" loaded up my fave paint brush (Purdy) and got to painting. The paint adhered fabulously and after 2 even coats I was over the moon with the results!
You like?! It reminds of something Don Draper would have at his beach house. That idea makes me happy. Here's a side by side so you can get the whole reveal:
Whadda ya think? I loveeeeeeeeeeeee it. 

If you wanna check out Annie Sloan chalk paint just check out their website: you can find a retailer near you and discover the magic! Just make sure it's actually near you and you don't end up driving an hour and half on accident like I did. That's a story for another day. 

HAVE A GREAT WEEK! I'm headed out thrifting now :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spinach & Beef Stuffed Sweet Potatoes!

Good afternoon friends :) How's everybody's Monday going? Good I hope :) We have been super crazy busy over here, I've been meaning to post this recipe for about a week now but life just got the best of me! It's GOOD crazy busy though! My husband found out last week that he passed his promotion test and I am now a proud wife of a Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force!
My hubby (on the right) accepting his promotion! Whoo!
How cute is he?! Proud wifey over here! Plus I've been super busy painting pretty little things for my shop, you can keep up with those things over at Brittany's Beachy Chic Creations!

So I've decided to set myself a little blogging schedule to keep me on track here and with my other projects as well! Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays will bring new blog posts. Mondays will be "New Meal Mondays" - a new recipe, Wednesdays will be "What I'm Working on Wednesday" and I'll share the details of my latest DIY projects, and Friday will just be whatever I feel like sharing. I've even set little reminders on my phone, it's gonna ring at noon Mon, Wed, & Fri and tell me to get my butt blogging. Done & Done. 

Alright so I swear this blog post is actually about a stuffed sweet potato. 
If you know anything about my husband and I at all you know that we are OBSESSED with sweet potatoes. We probably eat them with dinner at least 4 times a week. Excessive? Maybe. But they taste great, they're super good for you, and they're so simple to cook! The brilliance of this whole meal is that it comes together lickety split and the flavors just taste good together. And it's REALLY SUPER GOOD FOR YOU! I love this meal post workout because I can just throw the sweet potatoes in the oven to bake while I'm in the shower and then cook up the beef and spinach when I get out and throw them together quickly. Done. Delicious. :)

2 Large Sweet Potatoes 
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil (divided)
1 LB. Lean Ground Beef
2 tsp. Seasoned Salt
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Onion Powder
1/2 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
3 Cups Baby Spinach
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper to taste

Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake your sweet potatoes about 45 minutes or until they're cooked through, this will depend on the size your potatoes! You can also microwave first to speed up the process:) 

Step 2: In a large skillet heat 1 Tbsp olive oil, add ground beef and cook through. Add seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper and mix well. Drain beef and set aside.

Step 3: In same skillet heat 1 more Tbsp olive oil and add spinach. Season with garlic powder, salt, & pepper and cook until wilted.

Step 4: Set up a little mixing station with your spinach, beef, and potatoes.
Step 5: Cut open sweet potato and flatten with a fork to make lot of space for stuffing. 
Step 6: Top sweet potato with half of the spinach mixture.
Step 7: Top with ground beef mixture.
Step 8: Use your fork to mix the sweet potato, spinach, and beef all together so you get a little bit of everything in every bite!