The Great Debate of 15.3

The third workout of the 2015 CrossFit Open, known as 15.3, produced the most amount of uproar yet. This threesome was particularly debated not because of the inclusion of double-unders, a problematic CrossFit movement for many, but because of the opening skill – muscle-ups. 
 
Requiring both strength and skill, the muscle-up is best described as a movement that is both physically and psychologically challenging and can only be justified by the benefit. No other movement can differentiate an athletes upper body strength. Period.  It is also commonly refereed to as….
 
“an astonishingly difficult skill” 
“the ultimate test of upper body strength” 
“the most coveted CrossFit exercise” 
“the grandest of all separators” 
“the holy grail of CrossFit” 
 
Understandably, this triplet had countless Open competitors in disarray. The rampant clamor among the CrossFit community can easily be summed up by these candid antics… 
CrossFit Open 15.3 15.3 meme 3 15.3 meme
 

The great debate of 15.3 was whether or not to spend 14 minutes attempting to get your first muscle-up or to revert to the scaled division. It was a conundrum of sorts; of course everyone wants to perform all the Open workouts RX, but in this instance it wasn’t necessarily possible. Putting muscle-ups at the beginning of the workout was Castro’s intentional separation between the RX and scaled divisions – the haves and the have-nots of muscle-ups. 

I am still in the league of have nots and so I had to chose between the lesser of two evils. If I were to do the scaled version of 15.3, it would be a long and laborious 14 minutes, but I would be able to maintain a a decent pace. I would also be knowingly subjecting myself to disappointment by not at least attempting to get my first muscle-up. On the flip side, if I were to do RX, I would potentially spend the entire 14 minutes becoming increasingly frustrated. Not to mention my great love for double-unders would sadly be stonewalled by the rings. I debated the pros and cons of each, tirelessly. When I walked into class, I had yet to come to a conclusion. I ultimately decided to do neither. 
 
Our coaches gave us three options, RX, scaled or their version of the scaled workout, which replaced the first 7 muscle-ups with 7 ring dips. I was very tempted to do the Open’s scaled workout in order to put up a score I could be pleased with. Aside from it being cardiovascular hell, there was nothing difficult about it – wall balls and double-unders until you want to puke, pass out or die. Just a normal day at CrossFit. 
 
There was a big part of me that so badly wanted to be able to say that I got my first muscle-up in 15.3, but I had to be both realistic and honest with myself. Attempting my first muscle-up against a running clock did not seem like an ideal situation. I haven’t spent an overwhelming amount of time working on the transitions, and I did not want to potentially injure myself in an effort to maybe get one rep. 
 
So, I opted for the one that would both appease my strengths and target one of my weaknesses. Considering rings dips are a major component of muscle-ups, I figured it would be in my best interest to perform the workout that would get me that much closer to my first muscle-up. I finished with 331 reps. 
 
One of the greatest things about the sport of CrossFit is its universal scalability – even in the Open. If you can’t safely and confidently perform a skill or complex of movements, then you simply scale it back to accommodate your personal level of fitness. Like so many others, I took a zero on 15.3.
 
Despite all the bellyaching, 15.3 proved to be quite rewarding for some. Social media channels were flooded with videos of athletes getting their very first muscle-up over the course of those 14 minutes. Check some of them out for yourself…

Inspiring right? Don’t worry, there is always next year! 

 
Did you complete 15.3 scaled or RX? 

What are you general thoughts on the Open so far? 

What do you predict for 15.4? 

15.2 Recap & The Infamous Muscle-Up Returns in 15.3

The CrossFit Games said it best, “Last year’s top scores were shattered by Natalie Newhart (441 reps) and Josh Bridges (435 reps) in Open Workout 15.2.” The repeat of 14.2 was received with mixed emotions. While some competitors were ecstatic to tackle this workout with the intent of shattering their scores from last year, others were not as thrilled.

This workout is especially challenging for those of us that are not elite level athletes. Chest to bar pull-ups are no easy task and requires a certain level of strength and coordination that takes a great deal of time to achieve. Without this skill, it was pretty much impossible to make it past the 3-6 minute mark. 

To recap, I completed 14.2 last year only after 2 months of CrossFit. With just an empty 35 lb. bar and banded pull-ups, I approached this workout furiously, but without any real expectations. Sure enough, I was out after the first round. It was deflating, but it also made me realize just how badly I wanted to be able to perform those movements RX, which ultimately motivated me to train harder. This time around, I felt confident with the 65 lb. overhead squats (OHS), but I knew that chest to bar pull-ups (C2B) would be difficult seeing as I can only connect a few before needing to break them down into singles. The first round of OHS felt a little rocky, but I got through them without putting the bar down. I felt wicked strong during the first few C2B pull-ups, but my arms became fatigued quickly. I went back to the bar for another set of unbroken OHS, but ended up falling short by a couple reps before the 6 minute mark. My total score was 36 reps. Not exactly worth writing home about, but it’s hard to feel bad about it when I’ve come so far in the last 12 months. Dave Castro can feel free to bring back 15.2 again next year so that I can measure my progress once more. 

But not everyone surpassed their scores from last year. In fact, Julie Foucher commented on her performance saying that, “My score was 8 reps less than last year’s score in 14.2.” She went onto to caution fellow athletes that it in no way means that she is less fit this year. “I’m the fittest I’ve ever been….even though my score was lower, a “mental win” came from the way I approached the workout and pushed though adversity.” Spoken like a true athlete, Julie reminds us that our scores do not define us. You can’t determine your progress or position based on one workout. In CrossFit, and in life, you have to look at the big picture.

So you didn’t blow your score out of the water from last year, so what? I’d venture to guess you accomplished a lot over the year, including hitting new personal records (PRs) and mastering new skills. If you struggled with 15.2 or any wod for that matter, try to remember all the days you spent in the gym – lifting, sweating, swearing and bleeding, in an attempt to  better yourself. That in and of itself is commendable progress and worthy of recognition. 

Drum roll please….

“The first movement in 15.3 is muscle-ups.” The crowd goes wild. AAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! 

CrossFit Open 15.3The muscle-ups is perhaps the most sacred CrossFit movement. Not only does it require an ungodly a mount of strength, but it is a foundational skill derived from men’s gymnastics that rely’s on a combination of flexibility, coordination and preciseness. It is the ultimate test of strength for the upper body, and it is the opening movement of 15.3. For myself and 99.9% of the CrossFit Open athletes, this announcement was not a welcomed one. You know it’s coming, you try to prepare yourself for it, but you’re never really ready to hear it. But, it is what is it and we will all suffer in solidarity to get through it because ultimately that’s what CrossFit is all about – discomfort.

If you’re not failing, you’re not learning. 

How did you like 15.2?

What do you think about 15.3? 

Do you plan on doing the scaled version? 

CrossFit Open 15.1 Recap + My Initial Thoughts on 15.2

With more than 209,000 CrossFit enthusiasts signed up for the 2015 CrossFit Open, I’d venture to guess thousands of athletes tune in to hear the live announcement of the weekly workouts – myself included. Despite not having the slightest chance of making it to Regionals, I am always anxiously awaiting for Dave Castro to reveal the movements, reps and prescribed weights. 
 
The Open is more than just a qualifier to Regional competitions, it is an all inclusive event that blankets the CrossFit community with determination and courage. If you are new to the Open this year, you will be pleasantly surprised by the unprecedented amount of camaraderie and togetherness that infects not only your local box, but spans across the entire globe. The excitement is invigorating, but that’s not even the best part of the CrossFit Open. The best part of the CrossFit Open is that it gives you the chance to put your physical and mental capabilities to the ultimate test. All the grueling 20 minute AMRAPs, the extra time you spent practicing double-unders, and goat work is about to pay off! 
 
The Open workouts are just as much about mental toughness than they are gross brute strength. For this reason, the they can be especially maddening, exhilarating, and sometimes even a bit unnerving. Let’s take, for example, the first wod of the 2015 CrossFit Open aka 15.1. 
CrossFit Open 15.1
 
I have an unexplainable aversion to snatches. I don’t know what it is exactly, but they are by no way, shape or form my favorite Olympic lift. In fact, I was seriously considering doing the scaled version because I was legitimately concerned that my last 85 lb. snatch PR was going to prevent me from completing multiple rounds. 
 
I showed up to complete 15.1 with the intent of testing a couple reps at 75 lbs. before determining whether or not I should use the scaled weight of 55 lbs. My warm up reps were a bit shaky, but I was able to perform them with relative ease. Thanks to the encouragement of my coach, I completed 15.1 RX, and I’m glad I did! The first set of toes 2 bars went off without a hitch, followed by a swift and easy set of ten deadlifts. It took me a little bit longer to complete the set of five snatches, mainly because I had to them in singles. After my first full round, I was feeling pretty good just for the simple reason that I knew I would be able to perform another set of five snatches. I ended up finishing three full rounds of 15.1 for a total of 90 reps. 
 
The announcement of 15.1 (a) was a pleasant surprise this year! As a die hard Oly fan, I was excited to have the chance to test my clean and jerk as part of the first Open workout. I did not PR, but I was able to hit my previous 1 RM of 115 lbs. 
 
Overall, I didn’t find 15.1 to be overly taxing. I wasn’t left on the floor in fetal position, gasping for air or feeling totally and completely drained. In truth, I felt more mentally exhausted than anything. The anxiety I had over the snatches took it’s toll on me before the clock even started. In hindsight, I did myself a huge injustice by doubting my abilities. If there is one thing I’ve learned since starting CrossFit it’s that there is no room for fear, doubt or skepticism, and yet I let a sense of uncertainty set in as soon as the workout was announced.
 
CrossFit, the Open, the Games is and always will be about preparedness and perseverance. Having a positive mindset is the first step to success! 15.1 reminded me that my body won’t go where my mind doesn’t push it. 
 
Today, I will be completing 15.2. In all honesty, I did not have a very warm reaction when it was announced that 15.2 was a repeat of 14.2. My initial thought was that it’s pretty lame they couldn’t come up with something new or at the very least change one of the two movements. I kind of had that been there, done that feeling. It wasn’t until I pulled up my results from last year that I became genuinely excited for 15.2. If you recall, I was only two months into CrossFit during the 2014 Open. As a newbie, my mobility and mechanics were not up to par for such dynamic movements, and so I was forced to significantly modify the workout. I used an empty 35 lb. bar  for the overhead squats and a resistance band for the chest to bar pull-ups. I very vividly remember feeling disappointed after finishing all of six minutes in. 
CrossFit Open 15.2
This year will be different though! I will be able to perform the overhead squats RX at 65 lbs. I’m quite certain that they will becomes increasingly difficult with each round, but nonetheless I can do them! The chest to bar pull-ups, on the other hand, will be a different story. I have yet to master butterfly pull-ups, so it will be a lot of overblown kipping pull-ups for me. The good news is that they don’t have to be pretty, they just have to count. 
 
I am eager to give this one all I’ve got, without any preconceived concerns or anxieties. 15.2 – I’m coming for you! 

How did 15.1 go for you? 

What was your reaction to 15.2?  

Do you watch the live announcements weekly? 

 

No Ifs, Ands or Buts! Why You Should Do the 2015 CrossFit Open

Ladies & Gentlemen, the 2015 CrossFit Open is upon us! 

2015 CrossFit OpenIn just one short day, the first workout of the 2015 CrossFit Open will be announced. If you aren’t signed up yet, stop hemming and hawing over it and just do it! Trust me you will not be disappointed. In fact, it is likely that the Open will far exceed your expectations.

It’s not just about sizing yourself up against the Games competitors. They are elite level athletes, and quite frankly a very teeny tiny percentage of the world can give them a run for their money, myself excluded. So, if you have a better chance of winning the Power Ball than you do qualifying for Regionals, I’m here to tell you that the Open is still for you! 
 

I understand that competing against some 210,000 other athletes is an intimidating thought. Try not to think of it like that. The Open is an intra-gym competition; there’s no travel, no prep and no reason to not do it. Sure, it’s easy to justify all the reasons why you don’t want to participate in the Open, but I assure you that you will be glad you did.

Here some of the reasons I’ve heard as to why you wouldn’t partake in the Open.

1. I can’t do double-unders or kipping pull-ups or fill in the blank.
2. The workouts are too difficult.
3. I am still new to CrossFit. 
4. I don’t have time. 
5. I’m not good enough. 
6. I don’t want to embarrass myself. 
7. I have no chance of making it to Regionals much less the Games.
8. I don’t want to pay the $20 registration fee. 
9. I’m not strong enough. 
10. I’m scared. 
 
You know what those are? EXCUSES, and lame ones at that. The Open is not about what you can’t do, it’s about what you can do.  
 
Here are some of the reasons why you should partake in the Open. 
 
1. You are mentally and physically stronger than you know. 
2. The thrill of competition and camaraderie is amplified times a million. 
3. It’s fun, entertaining and brings everyone together. 
4. You’ll never know what you’re capable of if you don’t try. 
5. It’s a great way to benchmark the progress you’ve made. 
6. It’s likely that you will master a new skill, PR or 1 RM.
7. There’s a new scaled division! 
8. You will have bragging rights for being a bad ass.  
9. You will have a resounding sense of accomplishment afterwards. 
10. You get to compete against the best CrossFitters in the world. 
 
The list of reasons why you should sign up for the Open is ironclad. There’s absolutely no way any seemingly levelheaded person can deny that the pros outweigh the cons. But, just in case there are still a few naysayers out there, take a moment to watch this….
 
 
The Open will push you outside of your comfort zone, test your mental strength, humble you, and motivate you. There will be moments of awesomeness and moments of defeat, but both are necessary and equally rewarding.
 
You very well might bury your head in your hands when Dave Castro announces the weekly workouts. I, for one, will be holding my breath hoping desperately that “muscle-ups” and “chest to bar pull-ups” don’t come out of his mouth, but in the event that they do – and they most likely will – it’ll be okay because there will be athletes all over the world dreading the exact same thing. 
 
Mustering up enough courage to walk into your first CrossFit class is far more intimidating and terrifying than anything you will experience in the Open. The Open workouts are no different that any other wod. All you have to do is show up and give it all you got! 
 
You’ve committed your time, energy, blood, sweat and tears into training. You are more than capable. You are an athlete. You are a CrossFitter, and so you should do the Open. 
 
You can find more information here, including the link to register for the 2015 CrossFit Open.

Are you signed up for the 2015 CrossFit Open?

Did you do the Open last year or in years past?

What advice would you give someone that’s still on the fence about signing up?

What do you like most about the Open?

One Year and Counting…

Before jumping into this post, I believe I first owe you an explanation as to where in the world I’ve been this past month. Unfortunately, I have no good excuse for being MIA. I simply had to step back from blogging for a few weeks in order to take care of the things in my life that matter most – my family, work, and school. Trust me, it was extremely difficult to separate myself and there were plenty of days when all I wanted to do was write a blog or read other blogger’s posts, but I knew I had to first un-bury myself before returning to the blogosphere. I am very excited to report that things have slowed down a bit and I don’t plan on taking any more unannounced blogging sabbaticals. 
 
Despite my absence, January was an exciting month for Beauty and the Box! Not only did January mark my one year blogiversary, but it also meant that I survived my first year of CrossFit. I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure if either endeavors would last. My expectations were low, but I knew that I had to give both a try.
 
Photo compliments of www.jenerallyinformed.com

Photo compliments of www.jenerallyinformed.com

When I first conjured up the idea of starting Beauty and the Box, I didn’t really follow any fitness related blogs myself nor did I have any experience whatsoever using WordPress. I definitely didn’t have the slightest clue what a plugin was, much less a widget. It took hours upon hours, an embarrassing amount of help desk calls, and an unhealthy amount of coffee,  but I somehow managed to fumble my way through creating a blog. It’s an ongoing project – updating HTML code, finding new affiliates, trying to engage more with readers, and of course writing interesting content. Nonetheless, I am very pleased with the outcome and progress I’ve made over the year. I feel incredibly fortunate to have readers and I value every comment that makes me smile or encourages me. You are all inspiring! I have been lucky enough to be presented with multiple opportunities to try products, supplements and athletic gear, and in turn share my thoughts and opinions with all of you. 
 
Truth be told, starting this blog was far less stressful and terrifying than starting CrossFit. There’s no denying that it is an incredibly intimidating sport; between the acronyms, awkward exercises and close-knit friendships, it’s no wonder people are scared to walk into their first CrossFit class. In fact, I was so nervous that I actually bailed on my first session. Bailed, as in, drove to the gym, sat out front in my car, watched through the window and then decided to turn around and go home. Yes, that actually happened! I’ll be the first to admit that I let my nerves get the best of me, but I am human after all. I returned the very next day and have been going consistently ever since. I love it, wholeheartedly. 
 
After I mustered up enough nerve to actually walk through the doors, I knew that a never ending learning curve and chronic soreness was awaiting. What I didn’t know was that it would lead to pure unfiltered obsessiveness. I did more than drink the CrossFit Kool-aide, I chugged it, gallons of it. I immediately traded my fashion/home decor blogs for CrossFit blogs, started following dozens of elite CrossFit athletes, spent an absorbent amount of money on branded CrossFit clothes, began collecting Nanos in every color, and adopted a Paleo-friendly diet. In just a short amount of time I became an acronym speaking, rope climbing, chalk wearing, callous ridden CrossFit devotee. It became part of me and who I aspire to be.
 
My first year of CrossFit has been packed full of memorable experiences like, for instance, my first ever wod, first time snatching, first time attempting Murph, first CrossFit competition, and so many more. Sure, the long lists of firsts are now few and far between, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a plethora of new and exciting experiences still to come, and my long list of goals for 2015 is proof of just that.
 
A year ago, I would never have pictured my life the way it is now. I find myself surprised by the people that have come into my life, the memories I’ll never forget, and the new aspirations that have been born out of my experiences. I can only hope that this year is as rewarding as the last and I look forward to sharing it with all of you! 

What a difference a year makes.

What are you looking forward to most this year? 

What goals have you set for 2015? 

How did you feel before your first CrossFit class? 

Wod Love Wednesdays – My First Time Doing Barbara

Wod Love Wednesdaywednesday
A) 2 Rounds:
200m Run
10 Push Ups
30 Sec. Handstand Holds
10 Sit Ups

B) Ring Dips (5 Ring Dips X 3)
25 Sec. Ring Support Holds X 3
3 Ring Pull Ups with tempo 32X1 X 3
 
C) Metcon (Time)
4 Rounds:
20 Kb Swings (24/16)
20 Push Ups
400m Run
 
I can do a handful of strict dips, but I can’t say the same when I’m on the rings. Ring dips are something I definitely want to focus more on this year. I completed part C RX and finished 4th with 16:34 minutes. 

thursday
A) 650m Run

B) 2 Rounds:
10 Box Jump overs
10 KB Swings (24/16)
10 Waiter Lunges w/ kb (5 ea.)
 
C) Front Squat (4 Sets X 3 @ 65% temp 24X1)
 
D) Metcon (AMRAP – Reps)
5 minute AMRAP:
Squat Clean & Jerk (115/75) Adv: (165/105)
 

We recently tested our 1 RM Front Squat, but unfortunately I did not PR. Still at 145 lbs. Ugh. At least I PR’d my Back Squat, finally. 175 lbs. and climbing. 

I wasn’t sure what weight I should do for part D. RX at 75 lbs. seemed a bit light, but 105 was a little too close to my 1 RM, so I went with 85 lbs. and was able to complete a total of 14 reps in the 5 minutes. 

friday
A) 500m Row

B) 2 Rounds:
5 Pull Ups
10 Ball Slams
5 T2B
10 Burpees

C) Hollow Rocks (20 Hollow Rocks X 3)
15 Sec. Hold Bottom of Ring Dip X 3
7 Strict HSPU X 3
 
D) Metcon (Time)
21-15-9
Hang Power Snatch (95/65) Adv: (115/75)
Box Jumps (24/20) Adv: (30/24)
 
I did part D RX at 65 lbs. and finished in 7:40 minutes. Some days my snatches feel spot on and other days I pretty much want to quit and just go pout in the corner. Sad, but true. Haha! It’s just one of those super frustrating lifts for me. Moving 65 lbs. should not be a problem, but when it comes to snatching, that’s about all I got if I’m doing multiple reps. 

saturdayRest. I have class every Saturday morning from 8am – Noon for the next 8 weeks. I am by no means happy about this. Saturdays were always my favorite! 

sundayRest.

monday 2 
A) 300m Row

B) 2 Rounds: 
10 Kipping Swings
10 GHD Sit-Ups
10 Jumping Squats
5 Burpees
 
C) Barbara (Time)
Five Rounds for time: 
20 Pull-ups
30 Push-ups  
40 Sit-ups 
50 Squats 
*3-minute rest after each round*
 

Nothing like a quick 100 Pull-Ups, 150 Push-Ups, 200 Sit-Ups, and 250 Squats on my lunch hour. The Push-Ups were by far the hardest part of each round. My arms were on fire and towards the end I was lucky to get any more than 3-4 Push-Ups in a row. Interestingly enough, my arms are no where near as sore as my abs. There is a no laugh zone around me this week. It hurts too much! 

This was the first time I’ve every done Barbara, so I didn’t have a time to benchmark it against, but I finished 4th with 35:48 minutes. 

tuesday 
A) 3 Rounds:
100m Row
20 sec Handstand Hold
10 Wallballs
10 KB Swings
5 Goblet Squats 

B) Back Squat (2×5@60%, 2×4@70%, 1×3@75%)
 
C) Metcon (Time)
75 Push Press (95,65#)
-EMOM 20 Double-Unders 
 
Part C was worse than it looked. 65 lbs. got real heavy, real fast. I finished in 5:39 minutes. 
 

Happy Training! 

What was your favorite workout this week? 

Healthy Almond Butter Fudge Trifle {Paleo Friendly}

 Well that was an unexpected, but necessary hiatus.

While I would love “Blogger” to be my actual job title, it most definitely is not. Rather, I am a corporate zombie by day like many other. As an Operations/Accounting/Human Resources Manager for a commercial real estate brokerage firm, year end can be a pretty busy time. The last few weeks have been absolutely overwhelming and unfortunately I had no other choice but to remove something from my plate to avoid having a complete mental breakdown. I love my blog and my readers-I really do-but I love my sanity more. ;)

Amongst the policy revisions, hiring/firing, reconciliations, and other incredibly tedious and uninteresting things, last week also marked the start of my final year of school. Sometimes I wonder what the hell I was thinking when I decided to go back to school a couple years ago, but it is quite nice to know that the end is near. Finally! Nevertheless, the first week of class required reading a mere 450 page book and a statistics project. Hence, my absence.

Luckily, things at work should subside in the coming weeks and I will soon become reacquainted to having class and homework again. In the mean time, please excuse my irregular posting schedule.

That said, I have a ridiculously amazing and mouth watering recipe that I’ve been dying to share with all of you! I made this delightful treat on New Year’s Eve and it was a big hit. Don’t let the layers overwhelm you, it is a fairly simply process.

Healthy Almond Butter Fudge Trifle {Paleo Friendly}Healthy Almond Butter Fudge Trifle

Healthy Almond Butter Fudge Trifle {Paleo Friendly}
Serves 4
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. Sweet Potato Brownies by PaleOMG
  2. •1 Sweet Potato
  3. •3 Eggs, whisked
  4. •¼ cup Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil, melted
  5. •⅓ cup raw Honey
  6. •¼ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  7. •3 tablespoons Coconut Flour
  8. •2 tablespoons unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  9. •¼ teaspoon Baking Powder
  10. •¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
  11. •pinch of Salt
  12. •½ cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
  13. Paleo Chocolate Pudding by Everyday Maven
  14. 1 13.5-ounce can Coconut Milk, full fat
  15. ⅓ cup Coconut Palm Sugar
  16. ¼ cup unsweetened Cocoa Powder, sifted
  17. ⅛ teaspoon Sea Salt
  18. 3 Egg yolks
  19. 2 tablespoons Arrowroot Starch mixed with 2 tablespoons ice cold Water
  20. ⅓ cup Enjoy Life Mini Chips
  21. 1 tablespoon pure Vanilla Extract
  22. *You can also purchase healthier versions of pre-made chocolate pudding, such as Zen Chocolate Almond Pudding. If you go this route, you will need approximately 1 pudding cup per serving.
  23. Almond Butter Crème
  24. 1 cup smooth Almond Butter
  25. ½ cup unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  26. 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil, melted
  27. 1 tablespoon raw Honey
  28. pinch of Salt
  29. Whipped Cream
  30. 1 pint Organic Heavy Whipping Cream (Paleo substitute: 1 13.5-ounce can Coconut Milk, full fat)
  31. 1 teaspoon Almond Extract
  32. 1 tablespoon Coconut Palm Sugar
  33. Topping
  34. 2-4 Justin's Almond Butter Cups, chopped (or similar, I used mini Peanut Butter Cups from Sprouts)
  35. 4-6 Mason Jars
Instructions
  1. Make Paleo Sweet Potato Brownies according to PaleOMG recipe.
  2. Make Paleo Chocolate Almond Pudding according to Everyday Maven recipe.
  3. Place all ingredients for the Almond Butter Crème in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  4. In a large bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks are just about to form. Beat in Vanilla and Coconut Palm Sugar until peaks form. Make sure not to over-beat, cream will then become lumpy and butter-like.
  5. Cube brownies and place several squares in the bottom of each mason jar.
  6. Place 1/4 cup Paleo Chocolate Almond Pudding in jar for the second layer.
  7. Spoon approximately 2 tablespoons of Almond Butter Crème in jar for the third layer.
  8. Spoon approximately 2 tablespoons of Whipped Cream in jar for the fourth layer.
  9. Repeat steps 5 through 8.
  10. Sprinkle with chopped Peanut Butter Cups, and ENJOY!
Beauty and the Box | Exploring CrossFit, Health and Real Food One Blog Post At A Time http://beauty-and-the-box.com/

What is your favorite nut butter?

Milk or Dark Chocolate?

CrossFit Hand Rips Got You Down? Try JerkFit’s WODies & Nubs

If there is one thing CrossFitters dread more than anything it’s hand rips. They hurt, they bleed and they take too long to heal – they suck.

Unfortunately, having your callouses unexpectedly ripped off the palms of your hands is something that all CrossFitters experience, especially in the beginning when you still have supple, virgin-like palms. It takes time to build up callouses and even more time to learn the perfect amount of smoothness that is required to avoid tears. In the first few months of starting CrossFit, I ripped my hands pretty regularly. I quickly became very skilled at washing my hair with one hand and even more skilled at caring for my open wounds. Aside from the relentless stinging pain, I think I almost enjoyed it. As a newbie, it made me feel like a legitimate CrossFitter with wod wounds and all.

Fast forward a year later and I absolutely disdain hand rips and do everything in power to prevent them. Over the last twelve months, I’ve tried countless gymnastic grips, tape methods and hand care kits. Sadly, all the grips I tried created too much of a barrier between my hands and the bar. I couldn’t maintain my grip and ultimately gave up on these types of products. I’ve since become a master at shaving my callouses off with a dull razor and/or using a coarse nail file or ped egg to file them down. It’s not fun or pretty, but it works for the most part.

Unfortunately, there’s some horrendous wods out there like Angie, Fran and Murph that prescribe hundreds (literally) of pull-ups. Doing kipping or butterfly pull-ups is a sure fire way to do major damage to your hands. Personally, there’s no hand care routine in the world that could save me from ripping when doing ten sets of ten kipping pull-ups.

Enduring a burning open wound is bad in and of itself, but to make matter worse, rips also leave you out of commission for a few days. There’s very little you can do without two fully functioning hands, so unless you want to take several involuntary rest days, some kind of protective barrier is necessary.

Like I mentioned, I had given up on buying and then discarding grips, so needless to say when JerkFit presented me with the opportunity to try their WODies, I was a bit reluctant to believe there was a worthwhile product out there that would protect my hands without hindering my grip. When I received my perfectly packaged WODies, I was still skeptical despite the delightful little draw string bag. I followed the directions by cutting snug slits for my fingers to create a custom fit. The only thing left to do was chalk them up for extra grip and viola! I was ready to take these babies for a test drive. 

www.JerkFit.com

www.JerkFit.com

My first wod wearing WODies was a success. Not only was I able to maintain my grip, but I found the added wrist support to be really helpful. The second, third and fourth time I wore them, I was even more impressed! It seems like the more I wear them, the better they seem to get.

This is not your standard gymnastics grip or sub par alternative; this is a product designed specifically to prevent hand tears while adding vital wrist support. Unlike other products, WODies are hand-made with high-quality, hypo-allergenic latex-free woven elastic. These patented powerful palm protectors, as they like to call them, are only slightly padded, which allows you to maintain a tight grip on the bar. They are comfortable, washable and come in a variety of colors, but one of the greatest things about WODies is that you can adjust them for a perfect fit.

JerkFit didn’t stop at creating just one ingenious product, they created two. If you haven’t heard of Nubs, you are about to thank your lucky stars. Nubs were created to protect the thumbs when using hook-grip. If you use hook-grip, you know exactly what I’m talking about and if you don’t, then you should consider starting. Nubs fit snugly on your thumbs to reduce friction, absorb sweat and ultimately lock in your grip. They are a superb invention of ingenuity and practicality or simply put, they are amazing.

www.JerkFit.com

www.JerkFit.com

Whether you’re a newbie or firebreather, both of these products should be a staple in your gym bag. In fact, you should just head over to JerkFit now and grab their Combo Kit, which includes a pair WODies, Nubs and the official WODies Sack.

Are you prone to hand rips?

Do you use grips, tape or some other protective barrier?

What is your preferred method of hand care?

*I was provided with product by JerkFit in exchange for my review. All opinions in this post are 100% my own, and always will be.

New Year, New Goals

It’s that time of year again – New Year’s Resolution time! You know the routine, everyone gets all gung-ho about making a long list of goals as a way to make 2015 a meaningful and rewarding year. However, while most of us are great at setting resolutions, we are usually not as great at keeping them.
 
Still, this is the perfect time to reflect on the past and look forward to the coming year. The start of a new year means a champagne toast and kiss at the stroke of midnight, but it also means a fresh start. It’s a symbol of revival and rebirth; it’s a catalyst to a happier, healthier you.

HipandHealthy.com

HipandHealthy.com

There is no aspiration too big, but a goal without a plan is just a wish. Goal setting isn’t about falling victim to the hype of setting New Years Resolutions only to let them fade away mid-February. Writing a long list of everything you want to do, not want to do, places you want to go, and what you want to be when you grow up is not the way t o go about it.
 
Goal setting is about setting both short and long terms goals that are measurable and practical. In other words, remember that being realistic about the positive changes you want to make will give you a greater chance of keeping them throughout the year.  
 
For instance, if one of your goals is to be able to do a muscle-up in 2015 then you should also make a plan as to how you will go about learning the proper technique and progressions, and when you plan on working on said movements and how often. Lastly, you need to set a date to accomplish the goal by. It’s likely that if you leave it as “sometime in 2015,” you’ll likely procrastinate and then get discouraged.
 
I am a firm believer in goal setting. In fact, I set a whole slew of fitness related goals at the beginning of 2014 and am about to do the same for 2015. First, let’s see how I did on my 2014 goals.
 
Of the twenty four goals I set, I completed all but seven. That means I completed 71% of them. I’m more of a 90%-100% kind of girl, but in my defense I set these goals when I first started CrossFit and before really understanding what it means to increase my back squat 1 RM by 45%.
 
MY 2014 GOALS: 
 
Run 5K  >>> Ran the Color Run Denver in August ’14. You can read about it here.
 
Row 1,000m >>> Completed under 5 minutes Hike a 14er
 
Complete Murph Rx >>>> Completed in May ’14 in 52:04 minutes. You can read about it here.
 
15 Kipping Pull-Ups (unbroken) >>> Completed
 
10 Chest to Bar Pull-Ups (unbroken)
 
10 Toes to Bar (unbroken) >>> Completed November ’14
 
10 Ring Dips (unbroken)
 
5 strict HSPU (on wall) >>> Completed
 
Rope Climb (x2) >>> Completed November ’14. You can read about it here. In December, I completed 3 consecutive rope climbs.
 
100 Double-Unders (unbroken) >>> 73 is my max, so close
 
1 Muscle-Up (it doesn’t even have to be pretty)
 
Deadlift 1.5x my bodyweight (est. 172.5lbs) >>> Completed 190 lbs. in August ’14
 
Deadlift 2.0x my bodyweight (est. 230lbs)
 
Increase Push Press 1 RM by 25% (est. 88lbs) >>> Completed 95 lbs. in September ’14
 
Increase Push Press 1 RM by 45% (est. 102lbs) >>> Completed 105 lbs. in December ’14
 
Increase Back Squat 1 RM by 25% (est. 167lbs) >>> Completed 165 lbs. in December ’14
 
Increase Back Squat 1 RM by 45% (est. 193lbs)
 
Increase Overhead Squat 1 RM by 55% (est. 54lbs) >>> Completed 65 lbs. in May ’14
 
Increase Overhead Squat 1 RM by 85% (est. 65lbs) >>> Completed 95 lbs. in December ’14
 
Increase Squat Clean 1 RM by 20% (est. 78lbs) >>> Completed 85 lbs. in June ’14
 
Increase Squat Clean 1 RM by 40% (est. 91lbs) >>> Completed 120 lbs. in November ’14
 
Increase Thrusters 1 RM by 20% (est. 88lbs) >>> Completed 85 lbs. in April ’14
 
Increase Thrusters 1 RM by 40% (est. 98lbs) >>> Completed 100 lbs. in October ’14
 
Now, let’s move onto 2015! Shall we?
 
MY 2015 GOALS:
 
Row 2,000m
 
Hike a 14er
 
Compete in my 2nd CrossFit competition
 
5-7 Butterfly Pull-Ups (unbroken)
 
5-7 Chest to Bar Pull-Ups (unbroken)
 
5-7 Ring Dips (unbroken)
 
10-15 Steps Handstand Walk 
 
100 Double-Unders (unbroken)
 
1 Muscle-Up (it doesn’t even have to be pretty)
 
Increase Deadlift by 15% (Approximately 218 lbs.)
 
Increase Back Squat by 12% (Approximately 183 lbs.)
 
Increase Power Clean by 15% (Approximately 138 lbs.)
 
Increase Snatch by 15% (Approximately 95 lbs.)
 
Increase Overhead Squat by 20% (Approximately 114 lbs.)
 
Increase Clean & Jerk by 15% (Approximately 132 lbs.)
 
For the first 6-9 months of CrossFit, it was fairly easy to set new personal records (PRs). As I became familiar with the movements and proper technique, I was able to increase the weight of my lifts pretty regularly. I am now at the point where hitting new PRs is not so easy, so I set my goals based on my current 1 rep maxes with an increase of 12-20% on each lift. My complete list of 2015 goals will be posted here.
 
Whatever your ambitions are for 2015, try not to limit yourself to overwhelming, all or nothing, life changing resolutions. Set goals that are challenging and will push you out of your comfort zone, but remember your strengths and weakness and allow yourself to be realistic about what you’re capable of. 
 
Whether you want to start working out more, clean up your diet, pay down credit cards, stop cursing, start reading or find a new job, you have to plan accordingly and identify precisely how you are going to go about attaining your goals.  Above all else, be honest with yourself and create a plan that will keep you committed and motivated throughout the year.

“A year from now you will wish you had started today.” ~Karen Lamb

Do you set New Years Resolutions?

What was your greatest achievement of 2014?

What are some of your goals for 2015?

Christmas Comes But Once A Year

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! My family and I certainly had another joyous holiday filled with good food and lots of laughter.
 
We started it off right by going ice skating Monday night. We skated beneath twinkling string lights with Christmas tunes playing in the background and the smell of hot cocoa in the air – it couldn’t have been any more festive. My youngest fell half a million times, but was determined to keep going. He never complained, whined or got frustrated. He just kept picking himself up and pushing on. Such a tenacious little thing. This is the first time I’ve taken them ice skating, but it most certainly will not be the last.
ice skating 2014
Tuesday night we went to a fabulous dinner and show with my in-laws. After devouring the most amazing ribs at a local smokehouse, we sat front row to see the play How the Grinch Stole Christmas. This is a new tradition that I absolutely love and the boys seem to as well.
 
We celebrate every Christmas Eve with my in-laws, which always means lots of bubbly and big belly laughs. I’m pretty sure I ate my weight in Christmas cookies, but I have no guilt – it’s Christmas after all. In my defense, some of what I ate was Paleo because my hubby and I brought some diet-friendly appetizers to share. He made Paleo Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms from Nourished Paleo and I made mini Apple Pie Tartlets from PaleOMG. The tartlets were so yummy, but if you plan on making them I would suggest using muffin liners in the tray. My first batch didn’t turn out because they crumbled into pieces when I tried taking them out of the muffin tray.
Paleo Apple Pie Tartlets by PaleOMG
Santa came that night and didn’t disappoint. Apparently, we were all good little boys and girls because there was no coal or reindeer poop. My youngest is adamant about starting snowboarding this season and so we hooked him up with all the gear and Santa brought him a new electric scooter. My oldest got a new North Face coat and desk for his room, among other things. They are spoiled rotten, per the usual. As was I, thanks babe for the new CrossFit shoes. #happywifehappylife
xmas 2014On Christmas day, we visited more family and I ate more cookies. Needless to say, I feel like a cleanse would do wonders for me right about now.
xmas 2014 I
I’m sad that another Christmas has come and gone, but I couldn’t be anymore excited about what is ahead. 2015 is going to be a great year! First up in January, Beauty and the Box is going to celebrate it’s 1st Birthday! Then, I have a quick trip to Las Vegas, and believe it or not, the CrossFit Open will come shortly thereafter. In late February, my husband and I are going to start looking to buy a new house, which we plan to gut and remodel. So, there might just be a few DIY home remodeling and decorating posts coming your way. All  exciting things that I can’t wait to share!

How did you celebrate Christmas?

What is your favorite family tradition?

What are you most excited for in 2015?