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CrossFit Games: The Clean Speed Ladder

It’s CrossFit Games weekend and I can’t get enough of it. The yearly sports event, now in it’s 7th year, is the main arena for CrossFit Athletes to showcase their talent, competing against one another in an plethora of challenges to win the ultimate title of “Fittest on Earth”. 

This year, there were 12 events to conquer but my favourite out of all of them I’ve seen so far has to be the Clean Speed Ladder which requires athletes to complete a series of cleans, each heavier than the previous one, as quickly as possible to advance to the next round.

It’s a simple enough format and it’s always a thrill to see my favourites lift some heavy ass weight. The beauty of this event was watching the sheer determination of each athlete and how much the CrossFit community had an impact on each one of them as they tried their hardest to conquer weights well above what some of them might consider their one rep max. It had me a little emotional to say the least. 

With a day left and two events to come I cannot wait to see what else is in store. I’ve personally expressed who I’m looking forward to seeing on the Podium on twitter but tell me, who do you think will win this year’s CrossFit Games? Hit the comments button above the post and give me your predictions!

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TIME tells the truth about FAT

Time-Saturated-fat-Butter-cover-smLast week I picked up what had to be my first copy of TIME magazine ever all thanks to Bryan Welsh’s latest report. I grew up in a house which never really believed in the whole “Fat Is The Enemy” phenomenon but I briefly had a short fling with Low Fat milk. I know, I know, what was I thinking!

I’m glad the myth is finally being debunked! I won’t go into much detail about the article but definitely go check out the much talked about piece here and tell me what you think in the comments.

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Tried & Tested: Thai Chicken on Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

So I’ve been out of action for almost a month because of work and my stress levels have been off the charts. Dave and I have only managed a 4K walk and a CrossFit class or two and it’s become evident how much my body copes better with stress when I exercise regularly. I highly doubt work is gonna let up the next month or so but I’m going to try my very best to make this all work out.

On a happier note, we’ve been working hard at keeping our diet in check and trying out some recipes from a few of our favourite Paleo blogs! This week we tried PaleOMG’s Thai Chicken recipe but we spiced things up just a lil!

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The original recipe calls for a baked sweet potato but we were having one of those “I could go for some cheese fries” type days. We didn’t want to give in to temptation so we had it over Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries instead and it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made!

Have a favourite food blog? Hit the comment button and tell me all about them!

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Tried & Tested: Bulletproof Coffee

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If you’re into CrossFit and listen to the Barbell Shrugged podcast as much as I do, then you might have heard about Bulletproof Coffee. Originally created by Dave Asprey, Bulletproof Coffee is basically coffee with butter and coconut oil. (Dave’s original recipe calls for MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) oil, which is a combination of palm & coconut oil.)

Bulletproof Coffee is seen as an ideal way to start your day, especially for those on low-carb high-fat diets.  This is because you get a good dose of healthy fats straight away (invaluable when your body is using fat as it’s fuel source), plus who doesn’t love a nice caffeine hit early in the morning?!

The hubs has been playing around with variations to the original recipe to spice things up but I think my favourite combo has to be this recipe below:

1 cup of Coffee (we fill our Aeropress up to the top)

30 grams of Grass-fed Butter

30 grams of Coconut Oil

Blend ingredients together until it’s well combined, what you get is a wonderfully delicious Bulletproof Coffee! Have another great Bulletproof Coffee recipe to share? Leave us a comment! We’re up for giving new recipes a try!

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Learning to love what I hate: Running

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I got a pair of Nike’s awhile ago to encourage myself to run a little bit more but this of course didn’t work out for me. I still wasn’t learning to love what I hated the most, running. Oh how things have changed in 10 years. 

I never really had an issue with running in high school. If sprint drills were part of the program for PE that day, I’d have jumped at it. It’s really any form of long distance running that I have an issue with. Knowing that a 200 metre sprint could end in a matter of seconds made it more appealing than running at a steady pace for 5 kilometres. Add to that the added weight I’ve put on since then, and the knee surgery, my body pretty much views running as its enemy. 

I have however come to grips with the fact that running is an essential part of CrossFit and have to admit my Helen time could use a bit of work. To combat this, I’ve given myself a challenge and signed up for my first 5 kilometre run/race in August (I’ve asked the husband to join me too), all in the name of charity.

We’ve been regularly going for 2 kilometre runs post CrossFit the past couple of weeks to get us started but I must admit, the idea of finishing 5 kilometres feels like a task I might not be able to conquer, especially since the race is in 76 days time (August 3rd). I’m determined to give it a proper shot though so let’s see how it goes. 

Runners, what tips do you have to help me conquer the race/run in one piece?

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The Importance Of Keeping Hyrated

Hydration is a big part of performance and is often times something many of us neglect. According to The Box Magazine, to calculate how much water you’re supposed to consume in a day, you’ll need to make the following calculation:

Your bodyweight (in pounds) x 0.5 = the number of ounces of water you should be drinking per day

For me this basically equates to about 4 litres of water a day. 4 litres is by no means a small number and is currently about twice the amount I normally consume. I am however determined to give the number a shot.

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With the aid of the Water Log currently available on my Fitbit app, I can keep track of how much I’ve consumed. I mentioned this to a good friend who brought up a good point, “you’ll still need to make sure you spread out the amount you’re supposed to consume throughout the day to keep your body optimally hydrated”. People tend to assume you can just chug your daily intake in a short space of time but this could lead to bloating.

I’ve seen great suggestions on Tumblr that help with this but my favourite has to be writing a timeline on your water  bottle so you’re drinking equal amounts throughout the day.

This should all hopefully help me achieve my daily water goal. I’ll keep you guys updated on this little “Hydration Project” but in the mean time, let me know if you have other tips!

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The Battle Of The Fitness Apps

Since purchasing my Fitbit Flex, I’ve become quite the Fitness app nut. From Food Tracking apps to Fitness Motivation apps, I’ve pretty much tried it all. So which are the best apps to help track your fitness goals you ask? Well here are my favourites.

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Fitbit (Free)

It should come as no surprise that the Fitbit app is one of my favourites. The app syncs automatically with my Flex through Bluetooth and helps track my daily steps, calories burnt and my sleep activities. Fitbit then evaluates my historical data and gives me a weekly progress report.

You’re given 4 options to pick as the goal you’d like to achieve; Daily Steps, Daily Distance Walked, Daily Calories Burnt or Daily Active Minutes. Fitbit also provides little reminders to encourage you to complete your goal and works with apps like MyFitnessPal to track calorie consumption, aiding you with your weight loss objectives.

The Downside

Although you can add your completed activities, their database is pretty limited. To key in a Crossfit session, I log it as Calisthenics and Weight Lifting (I had to do a bit of research on the Fitbit forums to get to this).You do have to take the amount of calories burnt with a grain of salt but it’s still a fantastic way to track your fitness progress.

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MyFitnessPal (Free)

Although Fitbit has a food database, I’ve been a long time user of the MyFitnessPal app so it was definitely a bonus that both apps sync together easily.

The calorie counter and diet tracker app has pretty much one of the largest food databases around (you can even track food unique to the Asian region) and allows you to track not only the amount of calories consumed but the amount of Carbs, Fat, Protein, Sodium and Sugar each food item contains. You can even track the amount of Water you consume daily.

Once you’re done logging your food for the day, the app calculates your projected weight loss for the week.

The Downside

You can track your activities through the MyFitnessPal app but the database of available activities isn’t as extensive as the Fitbit’s.

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Pact (Free)

Pact (originally called GymPact) is a Fitness Motivation app which uses cash stakes to help you achieve your fitness goals. You’re basically given 3 pacts to choose to commit to: the Gym Pact, the Food Log Pact and the Vegie Pact. I’ve personally picked both the Gym and the Food Log Pact, syncing my Pact app with both MyFitnessPal and Fitbit.

If you fulfill your Pact for the week, you’re rewarded (according to the Pact website) ‘between $0.30 to $5 per week, depending on the number of activities committed’. Should you fail to fulfill your Pact, you could be charged $5 or more (depending on how much you assign to be charged per day).

This is however flexible. You’re allowed to schedule a break should you not be able to work on your pact for the week (especially handy when you decide to take a break during the holidays).

Having that monetary incentive helps keep me in check with my fitness goals and even makes me feel like a working athlete (albeit a poorly paid one).

The Downside

If you forget to check-in at your gym or log the food you’ve consumed, you’re pretty much at risk of losing money and the amount you lose does far outweigh the amount you earn, but as they say ‘it’s better than nothing’.

Give these fitness apps a shot if you’re interested and let me know which ones you swear by!

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How to motivate yourself – The Fitbit Flex

It’s been a few months since my first CrossFit Anniversary and I’ve seen huge gains in my fitness. My strength numbers (for some of my better lifts) had now reached the 100s and I could now run a 2k without stopping but my desire to be a better athlete was waning.

I needed to find a way to motivate myself again so I purchased a Fitbit Flex. For those of you unfamiliar with the Flex, it’s a Wireless Activity and Sleep Wristband that tracks your steps, the amount of calories you burn and the quality of your sleep.

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Despite the fact that the Flex can sometimes be inaccurate with its calculations, the little reminders it gives me to complete my daily 10,000 step goal or hit my calorie burn target, encourage me to make more of an effort to keep moving and do more than I normally would on a daily basis.

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With the added gamification element which rewards you with badges for conquering different milestones, it’s been making fitness fun again. I even got Dave one so we could have ourselves a mini competition.

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What do you guys do to keep yourselves motivated to reach your fitness goals?

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How CrossFit Changed My Life

6.1.2013 The day my life changed. 

Despite being an athlete in secondary school, playing both netball and basketball, I’ve spent most of my life on the hefty side. Food has always been an issue for me, even to this very day. As my husband, Dave, now says after living with my parents for over a year, “It’s hard to say ‘NO’ to a filipino mother when she offers you food”. Telling my mother I didn’t want to eat her food is as good as telling her I didn’t love her, so I ate.

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(Yup, sounds like my mother)

Living away from home, and on my own, while studying in Melbourne was probably the only time I’d successfully kept my weight and diet in check. I’d signed up for a gym membership, spent most of my days with a Personal Trainer and ate better. I was finally comfortable in my own skin for once in my life but all good things must come to an end.

I moved back home after graduating and was back to eating to please my mother, and barely exercising in hot and humid Singapore. I also started working at an extremely stressful job and looked to food for comfort. Then one night, I slipped and fell in the shower. I dislocated my knee cap and had to have surgery to screw it back together. Things just spiralled downwards from there.

Without proper rehab, it took my knee longer to recover and simple activities like getting off a chair required someone else’s help. I’d basically given up and spent most of days burying myself in work and eating to suppress my feelings. By the end of 2012, I was the heaviest I’d been in my entire life.

CrossFit was never really something I saw myself being able to do. Like most individuals, I’d mostly only seen videos of extremely fit CrossFit athletes lifting heavy weight, looking like total badasses. It intimidated me but Dave wanted to give it a go and he was determined to have me come along for a class.

I promised I’d give CrossFit a shot once 2013 came so we spent December 2012 trying to get more active and trying our best to eat right. By the first week of January, we’d conquered a 5k (walked it of course) but I was still hesitant to give CrossFit a shot. I tried to delay it as much as I could but Dave was insistent we at least give the Intro class a shot so we signed up for one at CrossFit Unit and went in on 6.1.2013.

Coach Mel spent most of our Intro class teaching me basic movements my body had basically forgotten how to do. I couldn’t squat to save my life and was winded after a few sit ups, Coach Mel even had to teach me how to get off the floor. Dave nearly threw up. We got home and passed out only to wake up aching all over. Muscles I didn’t know existed were hurting, but I felt alive for the first time in my entire life.

It’s been over a year since that day and I’ve never looked back. There are still tons of movements I’m unable to do, but the effect CrossFit has had on my everyday life has been phenomenal. I went from someone who couldn’t go up a flight of stairs to someone who regularly does burpees, from having trouble walking to running 2km after a WOD.  I’ve gained insight into diet & nutrition over the past year, working with both Zone & Paleo, giving me confidence over choosing what I fuel my body with. 

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(Dave and I in our dirty white t-shirts post Tyre Flips with the some of our closest friends.)

Without trying to sound like a complete addict, CrossFit has completely changed my life.  I am healthier, stronger, and happier than I’ve ever been and have made many great friends in our community.  I cannot envisage my life without CrossFit and look forward to seeing the athlete I become.