From Couch to CrossFit

My journey to fitness from a sedentary, food-obsessed lifestyle.
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Last year I did a lot of amazing things that I never thought I was capable of.  

1) I decided I wanted to step up my CrossFit training and find out what my body actually looked like under there, so I entered Randal Setzler's 30 Days to Shredded program (with Brian, who I had never been brave enough to work out beside).  I dedicated myself to true Paleo zoning and working out 5x/week.  I felt amazing.

2) Because I was feeling invincible, I decided I would continue the 30 Days to Shredded programming and do the the most terrifying thing I could think of next: a fitness competition.  I chose Iron Belle, a women’s only weightlifting and Crossfit challenge. Many things happened that made me want to quit — my partner had to pull out, my back was killing me, I was afraid — but somehow I made it through.  I finished in 18th place (LOL!) and hit a personal record (PR) of a 95 lb. clean & jerk! 

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3) I made a goal to go to Greece, a place I have always dreamed of, even though I couldn’t afford it and I had never planned an international trip.  Turns out, I’m basically a badass at international trip planning, you can live on half of your salary for a couple months to save for vacation, and Greece was everything I imagined and more.  I turned 29 in Athens with the love of my life after the best week of my life!  I was on top of the world.

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…and then we came home.

After months of really hard training and being more disciplined than I have ever been, I was so happy to reward myself with bread! Sugar! Waffles! Margaritas!  To say thanks to myself for all that hard work, I also decided to take some time off from the gym!  Everything was awesome!  I looked great!  I was still on vacation high! 

Then I settled back into the stress of work, the stress of bills, the ease of eating whatever I wanted instead of weighing and recording food, sleeping in, skipping workouts — and I created about 1,000 different excuses about why I deserved that.  I’d go through spurts where I really missed my workouts and the girls in my class and I’d go back to CrossFit for a month or two — I always felt better then.  Just when I’d get back in my groove, I’d find a new excuse: my work was too demanding, I started school, CrossFit was too expensive, I felt like my life was too scheduled, etc.  Finally, I stopped going altogether.

Today, I feel more fat than fit.  My body fat percentage has gone up significantly and I’ve gained enough weight to need new clothes.  I’m not sleeping as well, I’m irritable more often, and my nightmares are out of control.  These are small things in the grand scheme— #1stworldproblems, I know— but they are startling reminders to me of how different I felt at almost 200 pounds.  I never want to get there again.  

So, great wide internet, friends who think I am more disciplined than I am, I needed to say: I fell off the wagon after vacation.  In fact, I fell so far off the wagon I have literally been living under the wagon hoarding french toast and curly fries since September 2012. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Earlier this month, I eased back into CrossFit with the amazing Karen Pierce, who coaches me Monday & Wednesday mornings in CrossFit’s Relentless Bootcamps.  She’s been a patient and amazing leader and I look forward to adding more days, lifting heavy again, and finding a rhythm I can stick to with my food.  I’ve been taking little steps to get back to where I want to be, but I know I have a lot of work to do.  

I want to be able to be an example of discipline and consistency — not of emotional eating and hiding from things that are scary.  Here’s to transparency, positive thinking, and making progress instead of excuses.


Ashley

After I completed Randall’s 30 Days to Shredded last August (aka the best shape I’ve ever been in).

This Saturday, I had the great pleasure of participating in Girlstart’s Girls in STEM conference! Our team from EA consisted of:

  • Sandra Suarez, Senior Program Manager, EADP
  • Myself (Ashley Pierce, Recruiter, BioWare)
  • Gloria Belanger, Procurement Manager, EADP
  • Holly Berry, Senior Technical Recruiter, EADP
  • Susan Calland, Senior Network Engineer
  • Janet Cinfio, VP, Online & Infrastructure Services
  • Angela Gallant, QA Lead, BioWare

We led 3 one-hour workshops titled “Gaming Adventures” for 4th-6th grade girls.  We started with introductions and talking with girls about what we do at EA!  (I’ve attached the deck we used.)  Then we explained the goal of the workshop and the rules – essentially, each team of students was tasked with creating their own game prototypes.  They had to create a game title, main character, rules of the game, and a game environment and present their finished product to the group.  The most creative game team from each session won EA messenger bags (and we hope to have their games on display at the studio)!  I was so impressed by the initiative, creative ideas, and teamwork I saw from these girls!  They were truly inspiring!

Winners from our 1st workshop! This team’s game was called “Starships” and had the tagline, “Try don’t die!”

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Winners from our 2nd workshop!  This team’s game was called “Polar Bears vs. Penguins,” and you had to make it through the world of polar bears to enter the more “girly” world of penguins and glitter!

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Winners from our 3rd workshop!  This team created “Trapped!”, a game where you must make it through various levels of a tower in 60 seconds (without falling off into the lava on either side)!  1st rule: don’t get caught by the fire-blowing snake!

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“Help Sue & Mike get to the moon. (Watch out for asteroids.)” Great game advice from one of our teams!

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There were lots of space-themed games in the workshop! 

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Another awesome game, “Girls’ Career: A Girl’s Life”.  To win, you have to progress through several levels – math, engineering, science, and reading – to get a career!  Note: this game is only $5.99! LOL

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A survey one of the girls filled out after our workshop:

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Pretty powerful stuff!

THIS!  THIS!  

My vice is food.  I hide food, I hoard food, I eat food in secret, and I get more excited about the food at events than the actual events sometimes.  I throw evidence of the food I’ve eaten away at random trashcans instead of at my actual house so I don’t have to be reminded of what I have done.  These are all pretty giant flashing lights around a billboard that screams FOOD ADDICTION!  UNNATURAL EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT TO TREATS! 

I can relate to Kat’s anxiety over 30 day challenges and food logging accountability — for the longest time, I would refuse to participate in these and felt certain I’d be more successful winging it alone instead of triggering so much anxiety from the pressure of accountability to my coaches or teammates.  That said, I just finished Randal’s 30 Days to Shredded program and really committed to confessing where I cheated and trying my best to stay on track.  I’ve decided to continue the program Monday-Friday, with room for treats on the weekends as long as I make it through the week without cracking.  My goal is to eventually cut sugar out all together — baby steps for now!

katgrosshaupt:

The Wilke Warriors….. My awesome support Team!

This blog post was supposed to be about my 30 day Reset Challenge and about my Goals and how I am proud of myself for sticking to it for the past 3 weeks. But as luck would have it, Tumblr erased my post that I worked so diligently on and now…

coachjessicaclark:

Got 5 mins? Try this core training workout:
5 Minute running clock. Every minute on the minute, perform the specified number of reps for each movement. Rest with any remaining time. Full range of motion on the situps is shoulders in front of hip crease at the top of the movement, shoulder blades touching the mat at the bottom. Keeps abs contracted on the crunches and pulse the chest up, brining the shoulder blades off the ground. Use your breath to exhale on the contraction (up phase). 
Minute 1 = 20 situps
Minute 2 = 40 crunches
Minute 3 = 20 situps
Minute 4 = 40 crunches
Minute 5 = 20 situps
It looks easy, but I assure you, it’s a burner! 3..2..1..GO! 

coachjessicaclark:

Got 5 mins? Try this core training workout:

5 Minute running clock. Every minute on the minute, perform the specified number of reps for each movement. Rest with any remaining time. Full range of motion on the situps is shoulders in front of hip crease at the top of the movement, shoulder blades touching the mat at the bottom. Keeps abs contracted on the crunches and pulse the chest up, brining the shoulder blades off the ground. Use your breath to exhale on the contraction (up phase). 

  • Minute 1 = 20 situps
  • Minute 2 = 40 crunches
  • Minute 3 = 20 situps
  • Minute 4 = 40 crunches
  • Minute 5 = 20 situps

It looks easy, but I assure you, it’s a burner! 3..2..1..GO! 

(via coachjessicaclark-deactivated20)

I love this idea of eating clean Monday-Friday and allowing weekends to be the only time for treats (within reason).  My nutritionist suggested clean eating with the exception of 1-2 treat MEALS per week.  For me, tiny cheats lead to full on binges, so I have more success with a strict schedule most of the time.

Great read!

tinyfitlauren:

I found a great article by Neghar Fonooni of Eat, Lift, And Be Happy about her personal experience with diet and nutrition. There are a lot of points I can relate to, but the most important thing to take away is that everyone is different when it comes to nutrition. As much as I would love to…

thetriune:

By: CrossFit Central Women

Ladies - If you aren’t doing workouts as prescribed and find yourself reaching for the same bumper plates in each class, it’s time to challenge yourself and go heavy. In short - add some more weight on that bar! Will you go a little bit slower than usual?…

Annie Thorisdottir is my ultimate idol.  So proud of her 2012 CrossFit Games win!

Annie Thorisdottir is my ultimate idol.  So proud of her 2012 CrossFit Games win!

Carey Kepler really changed my life by teaching me about goal setting as a way of achieving what sometimes seem like impossible dreams.  Around this time last year, I took her Signature Series course and set a goal of going to Greece in 2012.  I put pictures of Greece on my vision board, made a plan, and started saving.  This week, Brian & I bought our tickets for September — I’ll be splashing around on Santorini & Crete and will turn 29 living a dream.
Last night, something clicked with me and I realized that I CAN DO ANYTHING NEXT.  Anything!  I can literally set any goal I want and start working toward that goal right now!  I love this part of being a grownup.  You can literally choose to do or be or create anything that your heart desires! Today, I am rededicating myself to eating clean, lifting often, and taking the best care of my body that I possibly can.  This includes managing my stress and once and for all breaking my dependance on food as a primary source of comfort.  There are so many other things on this earth that can bring me comfort.  Puppies!  Kittens!  Sloths!  Baby pigs!  And none of those things will make me sick, make me sad, or hold me back from the goals I’ve set for myself.
I’m really excited to find out where the rest of 2012 takes me.  Greece first; next, TBD!

Carey Kepler really changed my life by teaching me about goal setting as a way of achieving what sometimes seem like impossible dreams.  Around this time last year, I took her Signature Series course and set a goal of going to Greece in 2012.  I put pictures of Greece on my vision board, made a plan, and started saving.  This week, Brian & I bought our tickets for September — I’ll be splashing around on Santorini & Crete and will turn 29 living a dream.

Last night, something clicked with me and I realized that I CAN DO ANYTHING NEXT.  Anything!  I can literally set any goal I want and start working toward that goal right now!  I love this part of being a grownup.  You can literally choose to do or be or create anything that your heart desires!

Today, I am rededicating myself to eating clean, lifting often, and taking the best care of my body that I possibly can.  This includes managing my stress and once and for all breaking my dependance on food as a primary source of comfort.  There are so many other things on this earth that can bring me comfort.  Puppies!  Kittens!  Sloths!  Baby pigs!  And none of those things will make me sick, make me sad, or hold me back from the goals I’ve set for myself.

I’m really excited to find out where the rest of 2012 takes me.  Greece first; next, TBD!

June 2010 vs. June 2011. 

I still can’t believe I have had such crazy highs and lows, but am determined not to backslide and be even healthier for June 2013!