Sunday, February 16, 2014

Top 10 Things No One Tells You Before Starting CrossFit

I have been doing CrossFit for almost 4 months now. The first 3 months I loved going but I wasn't consistent. I would look at the WOD online and decide it was too hard or that something else was more important. I wasn't eating clean like I should have been. The past month I have been going 5-6 days a week and eating cleaner than ever before. I can tell a huge difference in my performance, my energy and the numbers I am putting up on the board.

For those of you who are not familiar with CrossFit, here are a few terms you may need to know:

WOD - Workout of the Day. This is the combination of exercises, prescibed weights, and time or reps allowed for each exercise. This will control the entire workout each and every single day.

RX - Doing the WOD exactly as prescribed. If one RX's the workout then they have done the weight, reps, and exercises exactly how they were prescribed.

Box - CrossFit centers are not called gyms, they are called "boxes." They literally resemble a box made of cement walls that contain bars, weights, and ropes. No TVs, no mirrors, and no cute posters.

Before starting CrossFit I did a ton of research and asked other CrossFitters what to expect. Throughout all of my research and questions there were things nobody ever told me. The following are the top 10 things I think people should know before starting.

1. You will find out how out of shape you really are.

Having been an athlete for 13 years, a runner for 8 years, and a consistent YMCA-fitness-class-goer, I always thought of myself as someone who was in shape. The first WOD I ever completed led me to think differently.

I didn't come close to RXing the WOD nor did I come close to getting the same number of rounds as the other members. As I was leaning over the bar, out of breath, thinking "I don't want to do another deadlift," I saw other members knock out their deadlifts and then sprint out the front door around the building and then come back in and do it all again. It was then that I thought to myself, "Wow, I am really out of shape and tomorrow morning I need to get up and come straight back."

Well, the next morning I did get up and come back but it wasn't easy. Every single muscle in my body ached, even muscles I didn't know I had. Every step hurt but the best step I took that day was the one back inside that box. After a few months of CrossFit, it is safe to say that I am in the best shape of my life.

2. Your friends and family will begin doing research on "Crossfit" and tell you how bad it is for you.

Before starting CrossFit, I consulted with people who have done CrossFit before and others who only knew of it. Those who had done CrossFit gave me great advice and those who had only heard of it gave me the opposite. At first people who had only heard of it told me that the coaches weren't properly trained, they made you lift more than you were capable of and injuries will happen all the time due to improper lifting skills. What I came across my first day was the opposite. The coaches tell you to only lift what you can and they teach you the basics. Our box actually has classes for beginners to teach them the lifts before they are allowed to do the WODs in an effort to avoid injuries.

In the few months that I have been doing CrossFit I have found that it is insanely good for you. It is good for your aerobic and anaerobic respiration, your muscles, your heart, your mental toughness...the list goes on.

3. You will be good at little.

Every single CrossFitter wishes they were good at everything and could RX every single workout but in reality you are worse at more things than you are good at. CrossFit includes a variety of workouts from gymnastics to weightlifting and running to bodyweight exercises so it is almost impossible for one person to be good at them all. Some people can deadlift 500 pounds but they can't run a mile to save their life, while others can do rope climbs all day long but can't do a handstand pushup (aka me).

4. It is OK to ask for clarification.

Don't waste your time and money doing the workout wrong and getting hurt. If you don't understand how you are supposed to do a specific workout or lift, then ask. That's what the coaches are there for. Don't feel like you are being annoying or holding up the WOD. Everyone was new at one point so they all know how you feel.

5. Don't be afraid to scale down.

If you need assistance or lighter weights so you are able to get through the entire WOD then use it. If you can't do a pull-up without the assistance of a resistance band, that is OK. Eventually you won't need the band and will be able to do them on your own. If you can't lift the RX weight then don't. Don't be too proud to scale down.

6. What you eat is more important than what you lift.

Nutrition is key. Nutrition affects your energy levels, recovery, and performance. And let's be honest, it affects the way you look. You can do CrossFit for months but if you are eating junk then your results will be junk. For the first couple of months I would have a granola bar for breakfast before the WODs but after doing some research I heard that oatmeal was better for you. Once I began eating oatmeal for breakfast I saw a huge difference in my performance and energy levels throughout the workouts.

When you are doing CrossFit the quality of your food is more important than anything else. Research different eating plans such as Zone and Paleo and eat like that. Eat like a caveman. All you really need to consume is lean meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds so cut out the fast food, sugar, and starches.

(Image Source)

7. You will have more bruises, blisters, and scrapes than you can count.

I am almost positive that my shins will constantly be bruised from some of the Olympic lifts, I will always have a scar from rope burns, and each day the blisters on my hands will get worse. If you are worried about scrapes, bruises, blisters, and blood then CrossFit isn't for you. I have seen people miss the box when they do a box jump and they end up cutting their shins and I have seen the palms of people's hands tear off from too many muscle ups, so if you are afraid of a little blood or getting bruises then CrossFit is not for you.

8. You will form lasting friendships.

When I began CrossFit I only knew one person at my box and now I know almost everyone. You will form friendships and make so many different connections. If you aren't there for a few days, people will notice and they will ask you why you haven't been coming. If you get hurt during a workout, coaches will call and check up on you.

9. No two days are the same.

I can guarantee you that no two days will ever be the same. From the warm up to the WOD, each day will be different. Yes, the exercises and lifts are the same, but the order you do them in or the amount of reps or time allowed for the WOD is always different. That's what makes people come back. When people go to a gym they often start off with 30 minutes cardio and then go do a few bicep curls and lunges and then leave. They then do this every single day. CrossFit is completely different, its always changing, and the change is what people love. The change is what keeps people from getting bored.

10. You are only competing against yourself.

While some people like to have fun and see if they can beat their friend's time, in the end the competition you have inside the box is only against yourself. I have let out so many different emotions inside the box including happiness, frustration, anger, tears, joy, and the feeling of accomplishment. When you do your first pull-up or rope climb, the feeling you have is like no other. But that also goes for saying when you drop the bar for the first time because it is too heavy and you can't get out of a squat, you will be beyond frustrated with yourself. CrossFit really pushes your mental strengths and weaknesses. You can't blame someone else because you couldn't lift as much as you wanted, you have to blame yourself, and that is the hardest part.

Question of the Day

If you are a current CrossFitter, what are some of the things you learned after starting that nobody ever told you?

Friday, February 14, 2014

LARABAR Giveaway Winner

I hope you all are having a fantastic Valentine's Day!

Today is a bit hectic over on my end and I am squeezing in this post between classes. I just wanted to pop in and announce the LARABAR giveaway winner.

And the winner is... Lauren from Breathe Deeply and Smile Blog! Congrats! I hope you are feeling the love this Valentine's Day and enjoy your variety pack of LARABARs! (I will be sending you an email with more information about claiming your prize.)

Don't forget to follow me on social media that way you can stay up to date with the latest news and giveaways!

Question of the Day

What are your Valentine's Day plans?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's Day Treats

Valentine's Day is just around the corner! Actually, it's tomorrow! Which is even closer!

I have been having some fun baking delicious treats, using tons of sprinkles, and crafting up some cute cards.

--- Happy Valentine's Day ---
from Truffles n' Treadmills

Being the broke college student that I am, I didn't have a ton of money to go out and buy fun presents for all of my loved ones. I also didn't have enough left over spending money to go out and buy more dipping chocolate so I had to do some improvising.

I had a package of Oreos that I wanted to dip completely in white chocolate but I only had one square of white chocolate bark leftover from Christmas baking. I decided to instead spoon some of the chocolate right on top of the Oreo and then decorate with sprinkles!

They're still fun, delicious, and festive. Oh, and they're "better" for you because they are covered in way less chocolate than if I were to dip them completely ;)

Pretzel Crisps® was so kind to send me 9 different varieties of their crisps so I could incorporate them into my baking and cooking. I have came up with a few recipes already but still have a few more up my sleeve so I am not going to share them all with you just yet!

I dipped the Original Pretzel Crisps® in milk chocolate and then decorated with fun Valentine's sprinkles. I love the sweet, salty, and crunchy combination that this treat has!

I found these cute treat bags at Target in their beloved dollar aisle. I also found the fun holiday paper straws there too! I stuffed the bags full of treats and then used washi tape to tie them closed. The washi tape also doubled as name tags for the treat bags.

On a side note, if you don't follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest yet, click HERE so we can stay connected and up to date! You will know of upcoming giveaways, be able to see some of my delicious meals, and see all of my favorite pins!

P.S. The LARABAR giveaway is ending today! Be sure to enter before it's too late.

Question of the Day

Do you have any fun plans for Valentine's Day?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Valentine's Day LARABAR Giveaway

I have definitely been in the Valentine's Day spirit lately.

My mom gave me a bag of Dove chocolates (my favorite), a cute personalized notebook, and a pretty red casserole dish for the holiday. Today I used the new dish and baked up a delicious Quinoa Banana Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bake that I found on Pinterest - I will share the recipe with you all soon because it was delicious.

In the mean time, how about a giveaway? Wow, when was the last time I hosted one of these? I can't even remember because it's been so long.

If you aren't familiar with LARABARs here's a little bit about them - LARABAR is a pure and simple bar made of fruits, nuts, and spices. The bars are gluten, dairy and soy free, have no added sugars, are vegan, and have no preservatives. So pretty much anyone can love and enjoy these bars even if they have allergies or special eating habits.

They have so many yummy flavors from apple pie to peanut butter chocolate chip so there is a bar to meet everyone's liking!

The winner will win a case of 16 assorted LARABARs. Talk about awesome!

All you have to do is enter and a winner will be announced on Valentine's Day next week! Also, you may earn extra entries by tweeting each day - just make sure you come back to the blog to enter each time ;)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 3, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Heaven

Peanut butter M&Ms are my favorite. Actually, let's face it, anything peanut butter and chocolate is my favorite.

I made these peanut butter M&M chocolate cupcakes the other day and every one loved them. They were chocolatey, moist, and had a hint of peanut butter. And the best part? They were so easy to make.

These cupcakes ended up serving a lot of different purposes - I gave Jon a plate for our anniversary, I gave my roommate a few for her 21st birthday (I used M&Ms to create the numbers "2" and "1" on her cupcakes) and I took the rest to our Super Bowl party!


1 box chocolate cake mix
ingredients on the back of the cake mix box (eggs, water, oil)
1 cup Peanut Butter M&Ms


1. Preheat oven to 350'
2. Prepare cake mix as directed on box
3. Put M&Ms in a ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to crush them up into pieces.
4. Fold crushed M&Ms into the batter
5. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake as directed on the back of the cake mix box
6. Let cool and frost with peanut butter icing and decorate with any extra M&Ms.

yields: 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes

Peanut Butter Icing

I used this recipe from Better Crocker to make my peanut butter icing and it was to die for! I would recommend cutting the recipe in half because I have so much icing left over but if you are planning on caking the icing on the top of your cupcakes then the original recipe will work.

*Beware, these will not last long!

Question of the Day

What is your favorite peanut butter and chocolate combination?


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