Gettin’ Fit with CrossFit

Have you guys heard about Crossfit? I posted about it in my last blog and prior to this weekend, I thought it was a place where only the super athletic went to lift humvees, jump on giant boxes and discuss the newest trends in eating like a cave man. (Remember when I tried the Paleo diet? That didn’t work out so well for me, but then again, neither did anything and know we now it was my craycray hormones. Yay for lab tests!) However, FitBloggin’ did me a solid in that I finally mustered up the courage to try crossfit as I knew I’d be surrounded by crossfit pals like Steve, Alan, Martinus, Erin and Dre. I’m not gonna lie, I was slightly terrified about joining the crossfit cult, but I made it through my hazing and I may now officially be a crossfitter.

Nervous and excited for my first crossfit! Photo by Dre at MissionMeltdown.com

Nervous and excited for my first crossfit! Photo by Dre at MissionMeltdown.com

What happened in CrossFit surprised me, because we only did about 15 minutes of actual exercise with the warm up and actual workout. I know, weird, right?! We started off learning a little bit about how crossfit works from friendly Reebok Crossfit coaches. Crossfit is defined as constantly varied functional movement performed at a high intensity, which means that every time you see the acronym WOD it means workout of the day, and it will always be different. We started warming up with jumping jacks, and then we learned the various types of moves we’d be doing – sit ups, push ups and AIR SQUATS. Now, I can drop it like a squat with the best of ’em, ‘cuz having a big old ghetto booty works well for squat-pros like me. However, I had never done an air squat, and that’s basically where instead of squatting down half way, you kind of drop your butt cheeks all the way to the floor and squat way, way down, using your arms to propel you. HOLY QUADS. I must never work my quads because everytime I sat on the toilet after the class (TMI, but that’s how I roll), I wanted to immediately stand back up. Burning, burning quads! Thank you air squats for awakening muscles that have been sleeping for years.

Steve demonstrating a perfect air squat with Alyssa following behind. Photo thanks to Dre at MissionMeltdown.com

Steve demonstrating a perfect air squat with Alyssa following behind. Photo thanks to Dre at MissionMeltdown.com

After we learned the moves, we were ready for our WOD – just four minutes of 9 push ups, 7 sit ups and 5 squats. You basically go as fast as you can while focusing on form. I was feeling pretty good because despite my lack of weight loss, I can definitely feel that I’m more physically fit. I think I made it through about five full sets by the time our coach blew the whistle, and by then I had worked up a pretty killer sweat. I stood up, knees shaking, ready for the next part of the workout… and then the coach announced we were done. Whaaaat? The workout was high intensity which was great, but I’m not so sure a 4-minute workout is going to cut it for me. According to my polar I burned about 76 calories, which is great for four minutes, but not great considering my usual boxing or bootcamp torches between 450 to 600 on a good day. I’m trying to keep in mind that this was just an example class so it’s probably unlikely to always be only a four minute workout, but at the same time, cool – crossfit might be great for busier days when you don’t have a full hour to devote to working out.  I know Alan and I were both like “Four minutes?! I wanted more!” Change is possible, folks — the girl who dreaded parking at the edge of the grocery store lot is asking for more cardio. Amazing!

My four minute taste was enough to get me intrigued, so in a few weeks, I’m going to check out Golden State Crossfit with my local fitbloggin’ friend Paula. She lives only 15 minutes away from me! Until then, tell me — what have you heard about crossfit? Would you try it? If you have tried it, do you like it?

 

 

Belly Dancing – In which a large bottom and hips are awesome.

Sometimes in life, there’s those rare instances where you end up pleasantly surprised that something you’ve always thought to be bad is… good. Despite being obese, I have a very curvy, womanly body – one that embarrassed me in high school when my full hips lead my band teacher to loudly declare in class that I had “child birthing hips”. I’ve got junk in my trunk, and that’s fine, because in instances like tonight, I know how to use it! (I was also secretly psyched to be fat when I got my first Weight Watchers Points Plus Daily Target. More weight to lose = more points = more to eat. Appetite… I haz it.)

Julie and I strike a pose in Belly Dancing class!

I go to CSUN, and they built an amazing student recreation center this year. There’s a huge rock climbing wall, hundreds of machines, and lots of classes. And did I mention it’s included in my tuition? I finally took advantage of this service and started working out there this week, and today, I took a belly dancing class with my pal Julie! Julie is somebody I hit it off with instantly – and you would, too. She’s charming, ferociously intelligent and a great belly dancer!

The class was deceptively hard, because it’s all based on hip, glute and arm movements. My rump, which normally seems a disadvantage in fitness classes due to its heft – was an ASSet in belly dancing – I can’t even really explain it, but somehow its size seemed to help me with undulating moves like the snake shimmy and figure eight hip rotations. I was excited to have discovered a new, fun type of fitness – one that didn’t really FEEL like exercise, but got me sweating, laughing, and most importantly – smiling- thus helping me shake off the stress of the day.

It was good. 🙂

This week I’ll update you on a big change in my weight loss plan – I met with the wonderful CSUN nutritionist today, and she gave me some great insights into what’s going on with me and Weight Watchers. We also have a giveaway coming up for an EatSmart Food Scale! But most importantly – please head over to my friend Kenlie’s blog, All the Weigh, to read my guest post on her blog about low-fat cupcakes! Kenlie’s lost over 100 pounds, and is one of the people who inspired me to start blogging about my journey.

I hope you’re having a great day!

All Squashed Up

I like squash. Zucchini, yellow squash, butternut, acorn – it’s all pretty tasty in my book. However, there was one elusive squash that I had seen fabled across the internet in food blogs- but this sunny yellow gourd was beyond the reach of my standard suburban Ralph’s grocery store.

This squash is heavy! Don't drop it - you may just Squash your foot. Har, Har!

A new “Sprouts Market” opened up near me, and on Sunday afternoon, I walked out with a slab of bacon muenster (it’s for my dad – no, really!), a probiotic juice drink (will blog about that later), a hothouse cucumber, three tomatoes, six cartons of Wallaby yogurt (my new favorite) and a giant, yellow Spaghetti Squash! I was so excited to have found one and decided to make my version of Pasta Carbonara.

Get rid of the seeds and goopy guts.

First, I cut it in half with a giant butcher knife after Matt made his tell-tale big eyed “You’re doing something dumb look” and warned me to be “Careful!” as I attempted to hack it with my favorite’s chef’s knife. Then, because I’m lazy, I looked up how to cook it on the internet and we decided to microwave it instead of bake it. If you want to know how to do something fast, find a lazy person to do it for you!

Like Magic!

I nuked it for seven minutes on each side, cut side down. Once I took it out and let it cool for a few minutes, it was time for the shredding to commence. I took the fork tines to the soft, tender insides … and WOW!!!! It’s really like spaghetti! The strands easily lifted out of the shell of the squash, and it had a nice, fresh taste.

Can you tell I'm excited?

I had precooked three slices of bacon, a small onion, two garlic cloves and 2 cups of peas. I added the squash and gently sauteed for three minutes before serving with some grated parmesean. All I can say is YUM – this squash will be making regular appearances in our home. It doesn’t taste exactly like spaghetti, but it has a nice meaty, crunchy texture that is just bland enough to blend in nicely with other savory flavors. I’m going to try it next as mock chowmein noodles in an asian dish. Have you ever tried a spaghetti squash? Will you now?

Delicious!

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