What I ate Wednesday – My Eats!

Hi all,

Hope you are having a great Wednesday and that you are having nicer weather than we are here in Glasgow, Scotland! Grey and raining… not great! But we did have a few days of lovely sunshine so I’m not going to complain, only hope instead that the sun comes back soon!

It occurred to me last week that it has been ages since I have done a traditional ‘What I ate Wednesday’ post – so decided to rectify that and share with you all today.

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Here are my eats from yesterday (Tuesday 29th April) – my thanks to Jenn over @PeasandCrayons for the link up!

Breakfast – Zucchini Patties, Hard Boiled Eggs and RollMop (pickled) Herring – topped with Furikake

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Exactly what I needed and wanted after CrossFit  – such a tasty combo!

Let me also introduce you to Furikake! It’s a blend of black and white sesame seeds with nori seaweed and red shiso leaves – a common Japanese seasoning. It is also delicious and jazzes up anything and everything – David and I are addicted! From sweet potatoes to eggs, it adds the most amazing umami flavour!

(We found ours in our local Whole Foods – you may be lucky to find some in your local supermarket or Asian store – just make sure the ingredients are clean, some have hidden nasties!)

Mid Morning Snack

Oh russet apple and tahini, how I love thee – yep still not tired of this combo! Paired with a cup of English Breakfast tea.

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Lunch – Chicken with veggies and a side of baba ghanoush

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Chicken and veggies, yum and need no explaining really! Baba ghanoush is an aubergine dip that David and I became addicted to when we went to the Middle East – it’s so smoky and delicious. We have even found a local company that make it exactly as it should be done, all with fresh, simple ingredients.

Mid Afternoon Snack

I say mid afternoon, more 6pm! Time for a nice relaxing bath = a nice relaxing gin and tonic! I also had some dried prunes to nibble on.

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Dinner – Broccoli, Pea and Spring Onion (Salad Onion) Frittata

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Fresh, delicious and nutritious, the perfect meal! We grated a little manchego cheese on top and served it with spinach and olives.

Want my recipe? Check out my post HERE on my simple, easy frittata!

Pre Bed – Peppermint tea and a small bowl of melon

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Nothing more soothing than a peppermint tea before bed. Combine that with some fresh, juicy melon and I was very happy!

And that was my eats for the day! Why not head over to Peas and Crayons to see what other bloggers have been enjoying?  

CrossFit – Test Yourself!

Hi all,

Well after my post yesterday on Breakfast I am glad not to be writing about food today… it just made me crave breakfast foods – all.day. Not that it’s a bad thing mind you!

Instead I ‘settled’ for a dinner of pork chop with homemade apple sauce and sautéed kale. Oh my goodness – so simple but so good. I love pork!

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Anyway, enough on food (more tomorrow!) and back on to working out! Time for my 2 in 1 CrossFit post!

Monday Morning (28th)

Stiff as a brick, we began with a block run warm up – so strange to do this in the daylight now, I dont like it (closet vampire I think!).

We had a lot of work to do today so we moved straight on to warming up for the first part of the WOD, hang snatches. We did this by practicing and breaking down the movement using a PVC pipe. I do like doing this, not only to get our muscles warmed up to the movement but also because sometimes something just ‘clicks’ and you understand the move better.

This happened for me. I had been watching some videos on snatches and I think I have finally grasped the concept of how to do the ‘shrug and thrust’. Still working on the concept of ‘going down’ while the bar is travelling up but i’m getting there. The main, huge part for me was feeling that thrust and drive that will enable me to get the bar up fast and secure – it all does seem to fall into place once you ‘get it’. (Check out my previous CrossFit post for a video on hang snatches).

I only got the weight up to 10kg but gaining a grasp of that technique for me is priceless. The weight will come.

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(I totally sing this every time squats are mentioned now… some people think they sing ‘shots’…heck no!)

We then moved on 3 rounds of 5 RM back squats. Only having 3 rounds meant you had to start heavy if you wanted a new 5RM and I did it! 35kg nailed AND I felt so much more secure, in control and happy with my technique. Pretty good considering 35kg is my 1RM!

The final WOD was as follows

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 Hang power clean to thruster

Pull up (jumping pull ups scaled)

(10 minute time cap)

Coach wanted me to go for 25kg. I tried but couldn’t even clean it. I didn’t have much time on my hands so I brought it down to 15kg. I could and should have tried 20kg but we didn’t have the time. Also it was only a few weeks back I managed 15kg during a thruster WOD and I had to do this plus clean each time? I think I made the right choice. We were to count reps so I got 51 in total (up to 9 pull ups) and I was pleased with that. It may not have been a high weight but I went at high intensity.

Tuesday Morning (29th)

Today began with a block run and then a 3 minute AMRAP of 5 push ups, 7 ab mat sit ups and 9 air squats. We were certainly warm by that point! (And a bit sore, damn you ab mat sit ups!).

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Like yesterday, we did some practice work on our first move (hang power clean) with an empty bar bell to get our bodies ready for what was ahead. The hang power clean is another one of my difficulties but I know the more I practice the better I will get. In fact David gave me some pointers when I got home that I am looking forward to trying out soon – I think my problem is I high pull my arms too high without going underneath the bar, therefore meaning I am struggling to whip my elbows round to ‘clean’. I managed a 1RM of 20kg – it seems to be my clean plateau that I can’t get past. Hopefully trying David’s pointers out next time will help me go beyond this.

The next part of the WOD was deadlifts. When I read that on the board I was like ‘whhhhaaaatttt????’  – I didn’t expect them so soon after the crazy, insane, deadly WOD on Friday!

So we had 3 rounds to achieve a new 5RM – they had to be touch and go, i.e. couldn’t drop the bar. I knew I had done 45 reps on Friday at 50kg so could do that! Many on Friday were actually touch and go for me. I managed to get a new 5RM of 55kg! So pleased!

The final WOD was a doozie – one of those that look simple and easy but are silent killers!

EMOM for 10 minutes

10 push ups

10 air squats

Then in the remaining time max rep push jerk.

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The mistake I made was my weight on the bar. I went for 20kg but it was too heavy. After the arm based lifting we had just done and with the fatigue on my arms from the push ups I struggled to even clean the bar. So I pretty much wasted any free time I had at the end of the push ups and air squats trying to clean the bar – I did manage one push jerk though! Just wish I had stuck with 15kg. Lesson learned but hey, you gotta test yourself every now and again otherwise how do you know you can’t do more?!

Hope you have a fab day!

Spill it Sunday…on Monday! BREAKFAST!

Hi all!

Welcome to another Monday! Hope you have lots of fun things in store for the week ahead!

Today has to be the best Spill it Sunday (on Monday) topic ever and I am sooo looking forward to chatting about it with you all… drum roll please… BREAKFAST!

Linking up with the gorgeous Arman over @thebigmansworld, let’s get the breakfast party started!

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First of all, the Spill it Sunday obligatory selfie – me this weekend exploring and playing hopscotch! You are never too old!

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And now for the questions!

1.What is your classic go to breakfast of choice?

20140405_083051eggs, kale and almond b

– I think if I had to have a ‘classic’ breakfast of choice then it would have to involve a combination of eggs, meat, a healthy fat and a carbohydrate. For example I love scrambled eggs with banana and nut butter or sunnyside up eggs with sausage and root veggies.

Oh but any breakfast, any day of the week and anywhere, has to involve coffee – hot, strong, black coffee!

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2. Favourite sweet style breakfast?

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– Hmm, I think my favourite sweet style breakfast would be pumpkin pancakes or Amanda’s Banana Greek Yoghurt pancakes (subbing banana for pumpkin). But dont worry banana, I use your wonderful taste as a topping instead! We enjoyed this (below) for our breakfast on Sunday – this is a picture of Davids plate, he likes to put all his toppings on in one go – mine was very similar, I just like to top and eat one pancake at a time, very odd I know!

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I do love a banana scramble too though, with almond butter!

3. Favourite savoury style breakfast?

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– Fish! I love a fishy breakfast, especially Kippers with sweet potato hash and a sunnyside up egg. Oh it leads to one happy Jen!

I also love rollmops at breakfast, smoked salmon and smoked mackerel. Oh smoked salmon and poached eggs, is there much finer a start to the day!?

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4. Share a breakfast recipe you are a fan of- It can be your own or another bloggers!

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– I do find my zucchini patties to be a super handy breakfast option. Make them the night before, heat them up and serve with fish, eggs, cottage cheese, nut butter, meat – the list is endless. Or you can have them cold and use them as ‘buns’ to make a grab and go breakfast. Equally as good incorporated into a lunch or dinner – wonder patties!

Juli over @PaleOMG has such a good recipe for 3 ingredient protein pancakes too that I rate highly.

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5.Strangest breakfast you’ve ever eaten?

– Hmm, a strange breakfast? Nope dont think I have ever had one of those! I think it’s because I would class anything as a breakfast, lunch or dinner option, sweet or savoury. Steak and sweet potatoes – yep that’s a breakfast, sushi – yep, butternut squash, kale and cranberries with chicken – yep breakfast too! Even leftover chilli can be mixed with some scrambled eggs and made into the most delish breakfast!

6. Do you have a typical breakfast routine?

– Oh yes, David and I have a good breakfast menu for the week that we are really happy with. As we do CrossFit in the mornings, we need a good re-fuel. The days we don’t do CrossFit, well, they need to simply set us up for the day ahead! It tends to go as follows

Monday – Banana Scramble with almond butter

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Tuesday – Zucchini Patties with hard boiled eggs and fish

Wednesday – I tend to have scrambled eggs, banana and almond butter, David (at the moment) tends to go for protein pancakes (see above) with banana, blueberries and greek yoghurt.

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Thursday – Brussels Sprout, Pancetta and cranberry omelette

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Friday – Banana Oats (I can tolerate oatmeal max once a week) 

Saturday – eggs, sausage and root veggies

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Sunday – changes every week but it is usually something that takes a bit longer to make like smoked fish and sweet potato hash.

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And breakfast always involves catching up with the news – both week days and at the weekends. Monday – Saturday – breakfast TV. Sunday – Sunday newspapers.

So there we have it – breakfast, the meal of the gods! And it really is, nothing else can prepare you for the day ahead (both mind and body) better than a nutritional breakfast!

What is your favourite breakfast? Is there one breakfast item you couldn’t live without? I think mine would be eggs!

CrossFit – Aint Nobody got time for that!

Hi all,

Yay it’s finally Friday! Ok so this week has gone a bit faster than normal with having Monday off but still always pleased for the weekend to arrive – especially seen as David and I are off on a ‘seeing a bit more of what is on our doorstep’ day on Saturday – see my Thinking Out Loud post yesterday for more info!

But for now, it’s time for my 2 in 1 CrossFit recap!

Thursday Morning (24th)

We began with a double block run, always a favourite…not! And then came in to do some more squat style stretches and movements.

After that came some squat clean tekkers, first using the Burgener warm up and then applying that to the squat clean movement. Here is a video for those who are new to these moves and would like to actually know what a squat clean is!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIUufMHQA4A

Then we had 15 minutes to work up to our max squat clean. I am still working on technique with this one, I tell you the concept of going down and under a barbell while it is travelling up is a strange experience and quite a feat to master. I know the principal steps and understand them, it’s just the speed I need to work on and I am getting there – definite improvements. I managed 17.5kg in the end. Yes I have done 21kg before but the technique just wasn’t there. At least I know that every rep done at this weight was done with speed and precision – and I definitely prefer that, weight will come.

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The main WOD

In front of a 12 minute clock

1 minute box jumps

1 minute sumo deadlift high pull

2 minute box jump

2 minute sumo deadlift high pull

3 minute box jump

3 minute sumo deadlift high pull

I went with a weight of 15kg on my ball and a 19 inch box.

Well if you read my post yesterday you will know that I froze when it came to the box jumps. I just couldn’t do it – my mind just wouldn’t let me. Blame fatigue, my crash a few weeks earlier, the fact that my side still hurts but whatever the reason, my mind just wasn’t there. I used the first minute of box jumps to try and with no luck, moved on to step ups – would rather go to the max with them rather than stand around trying to find the courage to jump.

Barney Stinson Quote Meme(source)

Good to do sumo’s again in a WOD though!

Friday Morning (25th)

Today’s WOD was insane. Our warm up consisted of 200m sprints and jumping jacks – we were super puffed out by the end! Then we moved on to some hamstring stretches which were fab actually, just what I needed to limber up.

deadlifts

The strength WOD was 15 minutes to gain a new 1RM deadlift. Again I wanted to focus on technique, as my back tends to round just as I am away to put the bar on the ground. I worked with high weights, slowly upping them and trying to make sure the technique followed through. I finished the 15 minutes equalling my PB of 60kg. Coach was not going to stand for this! He ordered me to put another 5kg on the bar and go for 65kg – and I did it! Yay – new dead lift PB.

bear deadlifts(A bear, my CrossFit animal! Grrr!)

We had to take 80% of this new deadlift PB (50kg for me) for the next part of the WOD…

For time

400m run

21 deadlifts

800m run

15 deadlifts

1200m run

9 deadlifts

Even thinking about it now makes me want to cry!

The deadlifts were heavy but for me they were the ‘relief’ of the WOD. The running was killer and every second was so tough, mentally and physically. But I kept running, didn’t stop, kept focused, stayed positive (or tried to) and even sang songs in my head to keep the running beat – crazy I know but it worked!

I finished in 24.40 and I am super happy about this!

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Ok so it was the WOD from hell and I hated every minute of it. But will I be back for more on Monday? You bet I will!

Have a fab weekend folks!

Thinking Out Loud!

Hi all,

Hope you are well this Thursday and everything is going fab this week!

Thinking-Out-Loud

Time for some ‘Thinking out Loud’ randomness – linking up with the lovely Amanda over @runningwithspoons.

  1. Box Jumps

box jumps

–          Today at CrossFit, we had box jumps on the WOD. This is the first time they have appeared since I fell a couple of weeks back and hurt my side (which I still can’t lie on).What did I do? I froze. I was really hoping this wouldn’t happen and that I would ping back up and down the box, showing it who’s boss but I just couldn’t do it and went with step ups instead! I hate when my mind gets the better of me! Hoping to do some practice with David though to get my confidence back up, I will not be defeated!

  1. Bacon Pancake Sandwiches

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–          Ok now on to something now which is making me smile… a lot! Michelle over at nomnompaleo.com has released a new recipe. Yep it is a monster treat but what a treat it is combining some of my favourite things – bacon, banana/coconutty pancakes and maple syrup = yummers!  Thinking a definite for Sunday brunch very soon!

  1. Camera Tech

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–          David, the camera wiz extraordinaire, is being a star and giving me lessons on how to use his camera. The basics for now but hopefully enough to take my food pics from ok to awesome! I really enjoy learning from David, he is such a good teacher and it is something I have wanted to develop on for a long time. Major bonus having a hobbyist photographer for a husband, he has all the kit!

  1. Revenge

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–          Oh this TV show… I have never known anything to have more plot twists and turns than this one – you can have several in each episode! We watched season 1 a while ago and noticed that season 2 was now on our streaming service – we ploughed through them like nothing else! And now on to season 3 that we recorded off the television. I just don’t know where it is going to go, every time I have an idea, it is squished by the end of the episode with another plot turner. Hooked doesn’t even cover it!

  1. Cod Liver Oil

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–          I have stopped taking a multi vitamin, realising that what I eat gives me more than my recommended daily dose of most vitamins and minerals! I have however, started taking a high strength Cod Liver Oil tablet – and so has David. We did some research and realised that additional fish oils would be beneficial to our bodies – focussing on its benefits on joint and bone health – essential for what we do at CrossFit. It’s early days but I have heard wonderful things about its benefits so fingers crossed.

  1. Doing more on your doorstep

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–          We are all guilty of this, we travel to far flung areas across the globe but how often do we actually spend exploring some of the wonders on our doorstep? David and I are adamant to see the most of our local treasures so this Saturday we are off to New Lanark (world heritage site), an 18th century restored Cotton Mill. Check this website out for more pics and info but it looks really interesting!

–          http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/index/heritage/worldheritage/world-heritage-sites-in-scotland/new-lanark.htm

  1. Eat the Yolks!

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–          My read at the moment is Eat the Yolks by Liz Wolfe – one half of the Balanced Bites podcast team. In it she dispels the food myths and lies that we have been fed for decades and tells the truth! So refreshing! And written in Liz’s fun and entertaining way, just like she is on the podcast. Sometimes her writing is like a friend writing you a letter, it’s that conversational.

So that is it this week for ‘Thinking out Loud ‘  – oh and in response to my water post yesterday, I am working in Starbucks, not with a coffee this time, but a sparkling water instead – and loving it!

3 Reasons To Drink Water!

Hi all,

Water. We know we all need it. We probably all know we should be drinking more of it! But why? I went on the hunt to find out!

3 Reasons To Drink Water

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  1. Hydration

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–          Yep, makes sense as the first one, we are made up of mostly water after all! We lose water through sweat, digestion, breathing, going to the toilet etc so we need to keep those fluids up on a frequent basis. Not just after we have a heavy work out session! Signs that your body may require more water include – headaches (in fact it is one of the main common causes), tiredness, loss of concentration and constipation. The average recommendation for daily water consumption is 2.5 litres – more if you are exercising, recovering from illness or in a hot environment.

  1. Water and Exercise

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–          There are many reasons as to why we should drink water when exercising – the creation of sweat during exercise being the main one. But did you know there are optimal times for drinking water when combined with exercise? Your body performs best when you drink water little and often throughout the day – always being topped up but never over hydrated. In order for your body to use that hydration, water should be drunk no later than 15 minutes before exercise as it needs this time to digest it. Then up to 20 minutes after exercise, for your body to process what it needs after the exercise.

–          Keeping hydrated is key when combined with exercise for building muscle and making those muscles work well for you – dehydration = muscle fatigue. Hydration  = energy!

–          Water also keeps your joints lubricated, allowing for more movement.

  1. Keeping your body strong

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–          Water can help you keep strong, yes like above in relation to muscles but also strong in terms of other health factors. Kidney function is a big one – water cleanses our body and flushes out nasty toxins. If you don’t drink enough water, your kidneys will store what little it has and can lead to infection.

–          Hair, skin and nails – want to stay looking youthful and radiant? Keep drinking!

–          Regularity. No one likes that feeling of being ‘clogged up’ and it can be a big sign of dehydration as your body pulls water from your colon to support other areas. Keep topping yourself up with water and it can keep your system on check.

–          Immunity – Keeping hydrated wards off and help fights the cold, flu and other diseases. Combine your water with lemon and you are on to a nutrient powerhouse that can help you fight a variety of illness, from the common cold through to stress, asthma and arthritis.

So we all know why – but how can we make sure we get enough water?

Here are some tips on how to get more water in

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–          Have a glass of water by your bed at night. Drink whenever you go up to go to the toilet and whatever is left in the morning, finish while waking up.

–          Carry a water bottle with you all day. Having water at hand means you are more likely to drink it.

–          Make sure you have a glass of water with every meal.

–          Eat more water rich foods like cucumber or melon.

–          Drink sparkling water – whenever I feel like I don’t want ‘another’ glass of water, I have a glass of sparkling and always end up gulping it down! Add in some fruit juice and you have the perfect non alcoholic summer tipple!

–          Swap one of your drinks during the day for a glass of water – i.e. your afternoon coffee.

–          Get a water buddy – why not pair up with a friend at work to try and drink more water. Having someone to encourage you always helps.

Do you drink enough throughout the day? Any tips for drinking more water?

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Sources

http://www.rsc.org/get-involved/hot-topics/drinking-water/why-need-water.asp

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water?page=2

http://www1.lsbu.ac.uk/water/health.html#rol

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/10-ways-drink-more-water

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4287/10-Reasons-Why-You-Should-Drink-More-Water.html

http://www.mangosteen-natural-remedies.com/benefits-of-drinking-water.html#.U1e5HFVdWSo

 

 

 

CrossFit – Squats, Swings and BURPEES!

Hi all,

How is everyone’s day so far? Always a bit of a thought to get back to normal after a holiday weekend but hopefully the memories of fab times will keep you smiling!

David and I celebrated our Glasgowversary (our one year anniversary of living in Glasgow) in style yesterday – lunch at our favourite restaurant and then we had an amazing cocktail at a newly opened bar just around the corner from where we live. Inside is beautiful, renovated back to what it would have looked like in the 1930’s, including the original signage which they discovered during the renovation. We will definitely be back here, in fact I think we may have found ‘our bar’. Relaxing, fun and with the types of drinks we like – the Kelvingrove Cafe, you are a hidden gem!

Me below in the bar with our cocktails… my cocktail was called Kingdom Heart and it consisted of – Tapitao tequila, grapefruit solution, Cocchi Americano, yellow chatreuse – shaken, straight up with a cherry. Incredible!

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David enjoying his drink – and changing his mind on Campari!

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Anyway – on to today’s post – recap of this morning’s CrossFit!

We began with a block run and then some squat stretches. I swear the first block run of the week is always a drainer, even though we were active all weekend. Or maybe it’s because we chat the entire time while doing it which gets us more out of breath…!

From there we did an nasty little tabata which pushed our abs to the max – 16 rounds of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, planks and hollow rocks. Feel the burn!

We then paired off to do the strength WOD – 6 rounds of 6 rep back squats at 70% of our 1RM.

My 1RM is 35kg so I went with a weight of 25kg. Not too keen on back squats but was actually glad to do them today, total progress moment. I felt more in control, more confident, more in tune with my technique and the pressure. It felt good! Coach Matt (Coach TC having a well deserved morning off!) gave David and I some good advice about using our butt and hips about ¾ of the way back up to almost ‘thrust’ the bar upwards. Something we presumed we were doing but when we focussed on using that technique, soon realised we weren’t! What a difference and something I will use from now on.

Then on to the final WOD – I don’t think I need to explain to anyone the feeling I had when I read this, because I all know you will have the same feeling!

For time

10 – 15 – 20 – 25 – 30

Kettle Bell Swings

Burpees

Damn you burpees! Yep, 100 KB swings, 100 burpees in total. There was nothing to do but to go for it and kick burpees butt!

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I went for a 10kg kettle bell and was pleased I picked this weight. I was going to go for an 8kg bell but decided to stick with the higher weight, keeping that all important intensity high. I finished in 14 minutes, 17 seconds and was pleased with my time, I don’t think I could have gone any faster!

Here is the zombie crew afterwards, shattered but we all killed it to the max and felt super pumped!

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Happy Easter!

Happy Easter Everyone!

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Hope you all had a wonderful time this weekend with friends and family celebrating all things Easter – maybe with a little bit of chocolate too 🙂

Today is a holiday in the UK and David is off work, so I have decided to take the day off too so we can spend another fun day together. It also happens to be another celebratory day for David and I, our 1 year anniversary of living in Glasgow – or Glasgowversary if you will!

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We have had the happiest year of our lives here in Glasgow and cannot wait for what the next year holds – more excitement, more fun, more smiles and lots of love. So today we will celebrate by going to lunch at one of our favourite restaurants with maybe a cocktail afterwards to toast the day!

Whatever you are up to today, whether that be work or spending more time at home, I hope you have a great day! 

See you all tomorrow!

Jen

x

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CrossFit – Evil Karen!

Goooooood Friday to you all!

(See what I did there, ‘Good Friday’, hehe, get it?! Ok maybe not so funny!)

Today is a wee recap of yesterdays CrossFit, which was anything but ‘wee’!!!

Thursday Morning (17th)

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Karen. Karen. Karen…

I kept on looking at the board, hoping that word would disappear. But no.

What WOD is Karen some of you may ask? Karen is the worst of them all in my books. 150 WALL BALLS… but just when you thought it couldn’t get worse; Coach had decided to modify the WOD – Karen on steroids! Will come back to this shortly.

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We began with a block run as a warm up and then came inside to do some more short exercises to get everything limber. This included doing a new yoga pose for some of us, the downward dog. I have done this before but not fully stretching out (half hearted yoga at home!) so when doing it properly and for a significant period, you can really feel a great stretch in the calves and hamstrings. One to carry on at home I think.

Then we moved on to the strength WOD – 6 rounds of 6 rep deadlifts at 70% of your 1RM.

I went with a weight of 42.5kg and each 6 reps EMOM. I like deadlifting and I know that the more I do of them the better my technique is getting – as ever practice equals perfect. I didn’t want the deadlifts to end as that meant one thing…

KAREN – on steroids!!!!

150 Wall Balls for time

5 burpee penalty

–          Every time the ball is dropped

–          Every time you rest more than 5 seconds

–          Every time the ball misses the target.

= not a very happy Jen.

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However…

The penalties made you think more tactically about your WOD. Focus more on your target, keep control of that ball and keep your head in the game. My biggest asset came in the form of changing my tactics when it came to resting. Previously I would go all guns blazing, do about 15 in a row and then stop for 20 seconds (or more) to recover. This time I worked with what my body was telling me. I began with the first 50, taking that 5 second rest I was allowed after each 10 reps. Then I went on to taking the 5 second rest after every 5 reps. It actually worked brilliantly and kept me going – forcing that rest every 5 reps, whether I needed it or not, kept the energy going.

wall ball face(source)

I had 3 burpee penalties, all for missing the target. But the burpees actually gave my neck a rest from staring at the target and again, seemed like a bit of an asset! Crazy talk I know…!

I completed the WOD, with a 5kg ball in 13 minutes 6 seconds and was over the moon with that time. Actually I dont think I have ever done a wall ball WOD where I haven’t even dropped the ball before so it just shows you what a bit of tactical thinking can do.

20140417_074052_1(My ‘evil’ orange ball)

The WOD killed and I still detest wall balls with a passion, but I have changed my mindset on this discipline slightly. I will think tactically from now on and maybe wall balls and I could be amicable acquaintances rather than enemies. But please dont go telling Coach that his addition of adding penalties to WOD’s actually worked at making us better, he might do it more often! 😉

Have a great Easter weekend folks!

Sleep!

Hi all,

Hope you are well and enjoying the countdown to the Easter weekend! Hope you have something nice planned – family time or even just a big candy/ chocolate fest?!

Sleep.

We all need it; we all thrive from it but sometimes it just doesn’t work out the way we would hope. Insomnia, bad dreams (in my instance), light sleeper, too deep a sleeper, snorer or simply just a lack of sleep, it affects us all.

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I have had quite a history with bad dreams, ones that keep my brain in overdrive all night then leave me the next day tired and feeling like I need to sleep all over again. So I decided to do some research into what induces good sleep and thought I would share my findings with you all.

I must add that these are just various points I picked up and may not be suitable/ appropriate for all. A bit of trial and error is required to see what works best for you!

Routine

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I thought I would start with the one aspect that David and I have found works best for us – having a good solid night time routine. We begin by making a cup of herbal tea (small) along with a small snack about 45 minutes before we want to go to sleep. We switch off all media, including the TV, and either sit and read or chat. Then we get bits prepared for the morning, clean our teeth, get changed etc and snuggle down to sleep. This allows our body to ‘prepare’ for sleep. Due to the routine, it knows its coming and by the time we get into our beds, it knows that it is time for sleep. We try to make this the same time every day, allowing us to gain at least 8 hours sleep. Of course it may differ on weekends etc but we try to follow it as best we can, with great results. We also keep our bed for sleeping in, no reading/ watching TV – so our bodies know this room means sleep.

Blackout

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A lot of my research stressed upon sleeping in a pitch dark room. Now we live in the centre of a city, street lighting is rife! David also hates sleeping in the pitch dark (without his glasses he is pretty much blind so uses light to his advantage). Therefore my only option to try was using an eye mask. Once I got used to it, it did help slightly – mostly to get to sleep, I had always pulled it off by the morning. I will however use it in the future if I am suffering from insomnia as I definitely noticed a difference in how quickly I was able to sleep when in darkness.

Temperature

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The ideal temperature for sleeping is 18C or 65F. David and I have a thermometer in our room and the lowest it ever got was 20C. So when making our tea in the evening, we now open the window in our bedroom to cool down the room. This certainly did have results, especially for David who is often very hot before he goes to bed.  Also having the room filled with fresh air before we go to bed has certainly been a bonus – it has meant that we rarely wake during the night now due to a dry throat needing water.

Drinks pre bed

effects-of-caffeine-on-sleep(source)

Now we all know to avoid caffeine before bed, but did you know it takes 8 hours for your body to fully process caffeine? Now minus 8 hours from before you go to bed, that’s the latest you should be drinking caffeine. Scary huh! I was partial to a pre dinner/ afternoon coffee but not any more, and have felt the benefit (stick to herbal teas and decaffeinated teas and coffees).

And we all know this one, drinking alcohol before bed is a no no and can lead to disrupted sleep. Yay – good excuse for an afternoon cocktail, however maybe tricky when most (including David and I) sometimes crave that evening glass of wine or a nice whiskey. I try to stick to drinking alcohol at the weekends so that I can sleep in if need be – but you know what, I don’t think I am ever going to be able to fully commit to this one!

Also monitor how much you drink before bed. My peppermint tea is in a tiny mug and only half full – otherwise I will be up all night!

Bedding and Clothes

This is definitely one you have to work out what works best for you, but is worth testing. In our case, we work best in crisp cotton sheets, pulled tight. I need a hard pillow, David medium softness. We both prefer tight bed clothes so we don’t get all tangled up when we move at night.

Also try flipping your mattress – often there are some bumps we dont realise are keeping us awake!

And finally – switch off and calm down!

sleep media(source)

Again, I dont need to tell you that our media devices are affecting our sleep. Try to put down that ipad/ ipod/ phone/ computer/ switch off the TV at least an hour before bed and you will probably notice a difference. If this really isn’t an option then try downloading an app such as Easy Eyes which tones down the light on your device, making less strain on your eyes. David highly rates this – I instead force myself to put the phone/ipod down!

Stress Worry Woman with Text on White(source)

Switching off doesn’t necessarily only mean on media – it also relates to your own head! I am my own enemy when it comes to this, I am constantly thinking about everything! Try to wind down – make a list for the next day if you are worried about forgetting things, do those dishes if they are on your mind – just address the issues if you have to, then calm down. Sometimes I find that some warm almond milk and a chat with my David about what is on my mind clears everything up and allows my body to rest and prepare for bed. If that doesn’t work, try closing your eyes and visualising something calm – like walking down a beach on a hot summers day or walking through a forest. Never mind counting sheep…!

These are just a few factors that have really helped me get a better sleep. Why not try a few options out and see if you can improve your sleep time. Your body, after all, needs it!