There will be NO CFA Yoga this Sunday, June 2, as our awesome CFA Yoga instructor, Meg, and CFA member, Brian, head to South Carolina to apply for their marriage license. These two will be tying the knot next month! Meg will be back next Sunday for some more yoga fun with everyone. In the mean time enjoy her downward dog picture from their road trip south.
Bottom line upfront: I just wish I had found you sooner
I just wanted to let you all know how grateful I am for having found this amazing community. I can’t really grasp all the ways Crossfit has changed my life, but I will try to mention a few in an effort to adequately capture the impact you’ve all had on my health and well-being.
Starting with the obvious is the physical transformation. I realize this only happens with hard work and dedication on my part, but competitive and supportive nature of the CFA community lends to making this happen without it feeling like a chore. I mean yeah WODs SUCK some times, but they are ultimately gratifying when you fight through them. Probably very much like everyone else, I began my journey thinking I was a decent athlete that could handle the hard workouts. I had just come off riding a bicycle from Annapolis to Buffalo in 3 days. I thought Crossfit would be just another challenging workout program. OH, HOW I WAS WRONG!!! I have since learned not to underestimate any aspect of Crossfit. Back on the topic of physical transformation…I was 230 lbs (give or take) and not very strong for that weight as I would learn. I have since lost 25 lbs and gained a considerable amount of strength (thanks Luis).
On to a simple but often forgotten life lesson reinforced in Crossfit EVERYDAY…The realization that life is far more satisfying when you attack all of your challenges head on with everything you’ve got. That can be said for matters inside the Box and out. In doing so, you can honestly walk away from any outcome KNOWING that you did everything in YOUR POWER to influence the results.
I’ve taken it upon myself to set a goal of Rx’ing every workout (whether I finish or not) that’s my way of attacking the whole problem. Unless of course I am physically unable to do the movement PROPERLY. Those movements I’ve decided to deliberately practice outside of the WODs. My expectation is that I will get more proficient at the things I can/can’t do and will ultimately be able to focus on PRs for time and/or reps. I know I’m preaching to the choir here. My point is, I’ve applied this lesson to just about every aspect of my life and the results are beginning to show.
Lastly, CFA has a profound grasp and a seemingly effortless ability to pass on the importance of intentional community. It is, in my opinion, the best service CFA offers. I have had the privilege of working out at all different times and with a good number of the member athletes and I can confidently say I have never had a bad experience and have always felt no matter the WOD that “we were all in it together.” Everyone working out individualy against their own numbers, all the while making the concious effort to push and cheer on their peers. The attitude is infectious and it is fostered by a staff that clearly understands its importance.
I will miss this box and this family terribly. I just want to say thank you to the staff and members for the lessons you’ve taught me and the opportunities you’ve provided for me to improve myself in a deliberate, often time frustrating but ultimaley exhilerating manner. If anyone is ever in Buffalo, please feel free to drop in at CROSSFIT Athletes Unleashed in Orchard Park, NY. If you need help finding it just call me (716) 238-0656or email me.
I would like to wish everyone HAPPY SWEET TREAT TUESDAY!
For the longest time I tried to hide “sweets” from my two year old. We don’t keep to many sweets around our house so it was easy for awhile. To him, the sweetest of treats were strawberries, pears, rasperries and blueberries. Oh, how delicious and yummy they were. THEN while my back was turned, someone gave him a cookie. ‘Cookie’ became his new favorite word. Nothing was as good as a cookie. I have since gone on to teach him that sweet treats are okay to have every now and then. He knows that to many will give us a tummy ache and are not happy for our teeth.
When we do indulge in sweets at our house, I try to make them myself so I know exactly what we goes in the ingredients and into our bodies. I find it important to avoid the unfavorable ingredients often hidden in pre-made, processed sweets. Some of my experiments are a tasty success and some are a flat, unfavorable work in progress. Succeed and fail….the beautiful lessons of life.
EAT. GROW. BLOOM.
I played around with ingredients for Sweet Treat Tuesday while I had the kitchen and house to myself.
Good GOLLY! The house to MYSELF! No short, mini-fun sized humans yelling “Mommy! Mommy!” I put on music (that did not consist of the alphabet, Raffi, or grown up men with accents wearing bright colors and singing about wiggling). I threw the ball for Brody and chased him around the yard. I gleefully jumped on the trampoline that I didn’t have to share with anyone. I admit, I got distracted. Then I went back inside to bake for Sweet Treat Tuesday.
As I was saying…..THESE sweet treats that I made were considered a success. I had people taste them and after, the following quotes were recorded:
“HOLY DELICIOUS (all caps).”
“Erin- these cookies changed my life.”
“Can I have the recipe?”
“Erin- why didn’t you save any cookies for me? I didn’t get one. You never save me anything. You just tell me about it later. Not cool.”
“Dear Erin, Thank you for the cookie. After I ate it, I received a raise at work. Incredible.”
Okay, maybe the last one wasn’t really said….but the feedback I got certainly was positive. Anyway- give them a try, play around with the recipe and please note that if you have or think you have a NUT ALLERGY, these cookies are NOT for you! Nope.
Cookies from a Nuthouse
- 2 cups almond flour
- ~1.5 cup chopped up pecans (I used a mini food processor which I recommend so they turn into a more buttery consistancy)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup-1 cup coconut oil , melted (I didn’t measure exactly so somewhere around there)
- 1/2 cup honey
- Dark chocolate (amount up to you, I used an entire 100% dark chocolate bar chopped up which made them look sweet but I also added a little over 1 cup of 60% dark chocolate chips to actually make them sweet.)
Put on some good music. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Work on some of your favorite dance moves. Measure and mix wet ingredients together. In another bowl measure dry ingredients. Mix all ingredients together in a big bowl. Or if you are like me and wish to wash 1 bowl versus 3 bowls, just mix all the ingredients together right away. I know there is a reason to do it in steps…but I will be honest, nothing strange happened when I combined all the ingredients at once.
Taste the cookie dough. So good. Now do 10 burpees for tasting. Shame on you.
On a cookie sheet (spray with olive oil or rub with coconut oil so they don’t stick), scoop the cookie dough evenly on the cookie sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes or until cookies are browning and appear done. Every oven is different so pay attention. Let them cool, then share (or don’t) and ENJOY!
- 100% dark chocolate will look chocolatey, sweet and delicious. It’s not. Try between 60% (very sweet) and 85% (a bit less sweet) for a balance of sweetness.
- Dark chocolate contains flavonoids which act as antioxidants and may help lower blood pressure and reduce LDL (bad cholesterol). Antioxidants help break up free radicals (yuckiness floating around) in our body. High five!
- Dark Chocolate stimulates endorphin production (chemicals in the brain that make us feel happy). High five again!
~EK Ferner, RD, LDN
Besides being an athlete, crossfit coach, and a mom of crazy boys- I am a registered dietitian and licensed dietitian/nutritionist (RD, LDN). I passionately promote living a happy, healthy and positive lifestyle through nutrition, exercise and humor.
Nutrition- We strive to be healthy. We strive to make decisions that will benefit our bodies and our lives. It takes planning. Discipline. Learning. Support. Nutrition is one of the most important factors that affects long term health. Eat fresh, real, whole foods and less sugary, processed foods. Know the food you eat. Know where your food comes from and how it will affect your body…your life.
Nuthouse- I’ll give it to you straight. My house is crazy. I had to write this one sentence at a time because during this blog post I pulled my two and half year old down from climbing on top of the fridge exclaiming, “WATCH WHAT I CAN DO!!!” (umm…..no, thanks). My eight month old continued to faceplant into the floor because he can’t figure out how to effectively bear crawl (cue screaming baby and drool). Then Brody Monster the Great Dane put his paw through the screen….again. But it’s fine because my two year old explained to me that it was an accident. This is how Brody politely knocks when he wants to go out- ignoring the little bell we trained him to gently nudge with his enormous nose (our failed attempt at damage control from huge paws). It is in chaos that I cook to lovingly ensure that my nuthouse family receives quality nutrition.
Me- Besides being an athlete, crossfit coach, and a mom of crazy boys- I am a registered dietitian and licensed dietitian/nutritionist (RD, LDN). I passionately promote living a happy, healthy and positive lifestyle through nutrition, exercise and humor.
EAT. GROW. BLOOM.
I’ve got to talk to you about kale. It is an absolute powerhouse of a vegetable. Kale is overflowing with Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A. Need more potassium or iron in your diet? Vote kale! The antioxidants in kale have been linked to reducing cancer risks. The fiber content may help lower blood cholesterol and reduce heart disease risk. Just know when you are eating it, you are biting into crunchy, green happy-health goodness.
Kale has become a staple in my house. I have so many suggestions on how to fully enjoy it- kale chips, smoothies, salads- I can overwhelm you. While making our veggies for the week I, of course, included kale. Here’s what we did! You should do it, too!
- 4 large bunches of kale (a lot turns into a little)
- 1 package of pancetta
- 3 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil (I used a tomato, parmesan, garlic flavor infused olive oil for fun)
- Sea Salt and Pepper, to taste
Wash and tear kale leaves off the stem, set aside. In a large pot on the stove heat up olive oil and throw in the pancetta to brown over medium heat. Pour the kale into the pot, stirring so that the leaves are mixing with the olive oil and pancetta. Once all the kale is added, let it cook down, stirring as needed.
The fun thing about this recipe was using a flavored olive oil (Tomato, Parmesan, Garlic) for a different taste instead of just plain extra virgin olive oil. Check out Ah Love Oils and Vinegars if you are ever in Shirlington, Virginia (my parent’s store).
Make a lot, store in a big container, and have it available to you for the week so you are planned and prepared for meals or a quick snack. If you don’t like this recipe- make a crunchy kale salad! Be creative!
More to come by Nutrition From A Nuthouse.
This week I experimented with white sweet potatoes. It was just a fun change from the normal orange sweet potatoes we usually eat in my house. The white sweet potato has a bit less beta carotene (Vitamin A) then the orange but is still full of iron, potassium, copper and manganese. It’s got some fiber and is one of those ideal ways to get some carbohydrates through starchy vegetables.
Here is what I did:
- 4 big white sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed and into a big bowl
- Drizzled ~3 Tbs of extra-virgin olive oil (we used rosemary infused flavored olive oil) over the cubed white sweet potatoes
- Sprinkle sea salt, pepper, and thyme
- Mix everything around in the bowl (to ensure each bit is flavorful!) and pour onto a non-stick cookie sheet (or jelly pan). We sprayed some olive oil on the pans to ensure they wouldn’t stick (pans can be so funny).
- Cook at 425 degrees in oven for 20-25 minutes or until they are slightly brown and crispy. This time will vary so keep checking on them. Toss around to even out the browning.
Suggestions to have weekly veggies:
- Pick a day where you can cook a large amount of vegetables for the week to have them on hand for meals or when you are hungry. Store them in a nice sized container in the fridge that will be easy to grab and dish out of to heat some up.
- Play around with spices, olive oils, and new vegetables. My parent’s own a specialty olive oil and vinegar store in northern Virginia (Ah Love Oils and Vinegars) so we often experiment with infused favors and richness of the different olive oils they offer.
- Visit your local farmers markets! They are often a fun way to try new things (hence the white sweet potatoes) and the farmers there tend to have great suggestions for cooking.
- Be CREATIVE!
-Erin K Ferner, RD, LDN
A big CONGRATS to RJ DaPrato for being the May Spotlight Athlete of the Month. We are so proud of you!
How did you first get involved with Crossfit? Take us back to your first WOD- how did that feel? What did you think?
Complete coercion. My wife, Meredith, had been a member at CFA for about two months and in her own words had “drank the Cool-Aid”. She called me one day and asked if I wanted to do Foundations on Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/ Thursday because she had already signed me up and there was nothing I could do about it. I begrudgingly said Monday/Wednesday and have thanked her every day since that first class. It took one session of Foundations before I too was hooked. I had tried CrossFit once in college, never really gave it a fair shake, and didn’t think it was going to be a good fit for me.
My first WOD outside of Foundations was a Friday Fran. I remember thinking that I was in over my head when I looked at it. 95 pound thrusters were going to have to be scaled down and I didn’t think I’d be able to do all the pull-ups even with the thick green band. Erin was very patient and quickly found a good starting weight for me (I think it was 65 pounds!). It was exhausting, but I made it through. It was probably the first day I got that feeling of accomplishment after completing a WOD I didn’t think I had any business attempting. I was truly impressed with the people in the class, though, because even though they all smoked me (most as RX’d), they were all genuinely pleased to meet me as a new member and congratulate me on finishing my first WOD. It was a great feeling of camaraderie and belonging I never had before at a gym.
What changes have you seen in your body, health and overall fitness since starting at CFA?
I’ve gained a lot of strength I didn’t have before. These days I feel I have a ton more energy throughout the day. I’ve dropped weight from 228 to 217. I used to struggle with shoulder pain whenever I did any heavy weight or high repetition work; however, for the past five months, I’ve been completely pain free. I attribute this to the flexibility and strength I’ve gained from CrossFit.
What is your favorite CrossFit moment?
Any day I walk out of CFA completely exhausted and I feel like I’ve given the WOD my all, it’s a great moment. The open was a great experience. I loved the competitive and team feelings shared by the CFA athletes. Personally, the day I successfully clean and jerked 205 pounds and the day I finally got a real pistol were awesome. If you had asked me a few months ago if I’d ever be able to do either of those things, I’d have to say probably not. The feeling of setting a goal in CrossFit, working towards it and achieving it is tremendous.
What do you enjoy most about being an athlete at CFA?
By far, the environment. Every day you walk into CFA, you get the feeling of support and competition. Everyone is challenging each other to give it their all and the coaches are always watching and improving your form, technique and efficiency. No matter how big the class is, I’ve always felt like I’m getting personal training. Not to mention my personal support system (Meredith!), keeps me very honest by constantly reminding me that she can go pound for pound with me on the deadlift!!
What goals are you working on?
I’m trying to get my timing better for double unders, linking my butterfly pull-ups more efficiently, and the allusive muscle up. I’d trying to add weight to all my
lifts. More than anything, I’ve been trying to keep myself to the RX weights and movements for the WODs.
What the coaches are saying:
It has been pretty amazing to watch RJ transform since he has been at CFA. He is a true example of you get what you put in. His strength has really developed and he constantly strives to improve on the technicality of each lift. It was awesome to watch him throughout the open- especially on the first snatch workout. Keep it up, RJ! We love you here at CFA! – Coach Erin
RJ has made some awesome gains. Notable for me, was when he was ripping through his clean and jerks doing his open WOD. Even when he tired, he kept his form intact and pushed through. Just a small example of what he does daily in the box. -Coach Josh
For the past year, RJ has showed up and approached each workout at 100% without complaint. He diligently listens to feedback, takes it and applies it to his workout; and, it shows in the improvements that he’s made in all of his movements. Keep on doing what you’re doing and you’ll be destroying your former PR’s left and right. -Coach Bryant
RJ is always pushing himself every time I see him in the gym. He’s constantly working on his form and getting stronger. The intensity and drive that he puts into every workout SWOtivates me! -Coach Lu
CONGRATS RJ! Thank you for working so hard and making CFA such a wonderful place!
Come learn fun, effective, and easy tricks at making running more effective! CrossFit Annapolis will be holding a Pose Running Seminar on Sunday May 5th. The clinic will run from 12:30-2:30 and will be introduce participants to the principles of Pose method of running. Pose method focuses on harnessing gravity and proper body mechanics to allow individuals to run FASTER with LESS effort. Whether you are an experienced endurance athlete or simply want to be able to run short distances with more ease, this clinic is for you! The seminar will also address how Pose method can help prevent overuse injuries while getting better performance results. Each participate will walk away with drills to do at home as well as handouts summarizing the major principles of Pose running. Come join us for this fun informative clinic and learn how to unlock your natural running potential!
Click HERE to Register!
Contact Shannon Scheller at Shannon@crossfitannapolis.com with any questions.
Having a solid set-up establishes a strong starting position to enter the movement. This reduces the chance of needing to make compensatory adjustments as you complete the movement. Below you have Diane Fu demonstrating what the optimal starting position of an olympic lift and several tips that you should consider during your set up.
1. Feet underneath hips.
3. Shoulders over the bar with the hip crease above the level of the knees.
4. Extend and brace the back.
5. Elbows out.
6. Chest up.
7. Knuckles Down.
8. Hips open to the arms.
9. Eyes to the horizon or higher.
10. Barbell lines up over the base of the toes.
*Courtesy of Diane Fu (twitter: @dianefu) of CrossFit San Francisco/FuBarbell
Flowers blooming, sun shining, spring races filling up. You know what that means… Endurance class is back! Starting May 2nd, we will be holding Endurance classes on Monday and Thursday evenings from 5-6 pm. This class is open to anyone interested in learning how to become more efficient in those 15+ minute WODs.* Come learn tricks to make running easier, rowing faster, and overall just crush WODs like Helen. This class is for athletes of all skill levels. Whether you just ran your first full mile or completed your tenth triathlon, this class is for you!!! We will be working on all areas of endurance, not just running. Interval training sessions, rowing technique and conditioning, this class has it all!!! So come on out and enjoy the spring weather, while becoming an endurance guru!!! Contact Coach Shannon with any questions at Shannon@CrossfitAnnapolis.com
*CFA Endurance does require an unlimited membership plan*