It Tried to Rain on Our Parade

It’s Florida in the summertime and while we have been most fortunate in the past with our outdoor events there was no stopping the rain on Saturday.  You have to accept the fact that some things are completely out of your control; the weather is one of them.  Prepare for the unexpected — when Murphy and his gang showed up we were ready.

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Our annual Battle of the Boxes competition is typically held in the summer and this past Saturday we hosted our largest event ever with over 59 teams of 4 competing.  We did have a little luck on our side as the weather permitted the initial set up in the morning; the outdoor vendors and athletes arrived and set up camp.  But shortly after the first 3, 2,1. . . GO! the skies opened up and they didn’t let up for the next 5 hours.  Not only did it rain it was a torrential downpour.

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The vendors got the worst of it having to protect their merchandise and displays against the weather; the winds blew so hard tents and canopies were picked up and carried down the street.  A few abandoned ship (pun intended). This was exemplary of ‘only the strong survive’; we had a total of at least 6 that could be not salvaged.  The hardiest of the vendors with the true CF mentality weathered the storm with only a few packing up early and heading home.  The rest merely secured their tents, dumped the rain from the tops and held strong.

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Meanwhile inside the box the wods continued with very few hiccups.  As I was moving around checking on vendors and then on athletes and spectators one thing was glaringly obvious — everyone was still smiling, cheering on their athletes and having a blast even as all the spectators were huddled on one side of the box.  It was a torrential downpour but that didn’t ruin the ‘parade’ one bit.

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Even with 10,000 square feet when you have 236 athletes competing and several spectators it’s a crowded box.  Twice we had to completely shift the crowds in order to set up for the next wod.  With our awesome staff in control that was easily accomplished.   As the rain continued to pour in the doors had to be shut at times to minimize flooding in the box.  That meant it was hotter and more humid; still not complaints from athletes and spectators.

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There were many game day decisions to be made and I must compliment our team on making them and making them quickly.  When our handstand wall was flooded, 2 volunteers rushed out to purchase towels and we immediately moved it to the dry wall.  Outdoor prowler pushes became indoor rowing (pun again intended).

Our main parking field which was grass turned into a swamp, the cars kept coming and coming so our parking director had to shift them to the sides of a vacant “private” road.  Mid competition, the gate got blocked which we rallied, found the owner and moved the offending cars.  That didn’t stop the absent owner from threatening to tow the cars.  Good luck, there were at least 80 of them. They finally quieted down after a bit of diplomacy on my husbands part.

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Finally around 1 pm the sun decided to shine or more accurately the rain stopped.  Vendors dried out their tents, spectators got to walk around outside and the athletes continued to PR despite all the rain.

We pride ourselves in being organized, giving the athletes and spectators a top notch and fair competition without running excessively behind; I wondered if that was possible at the beginning of the day.  With the weather conditions, parking situation and a 20 minute time out for EMS we finished the day only 50 minutes behind schedule.  I consider that incredible.

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In true CrossFit spirit the athletes, vendors and spectators did not let the rain ruin the day.  The athletes PR’d, the spectators were wowed and vendors garnered new customers and made sales.  Despite the rain the parade marched on with an overall successful event.  While there are only so many spots on the podium it was still a winning day for everyone involved.

Stressful Week – No Time to Workout?

Two words:  MAKE time.

We all have weeks and periods in our life that are all encompassing and not everything can get done.  The last thing you want to cut is your workout.  Why?  Because that’s what will enable you to be your best and thrive in lieu of the added stressors. We are preparing for our boxes biggest event ever 2 days hence. With all the extras on our plates we had to prioritize our workouts.

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Why and how? Well, it’s been quite a hectic and task filled few weeks with down to the wire preparation for pulling off a large event like this. We’ve 23 more teams than we had in our second year and 3 times as many in our first year.  That’s a lot of additional work on top of regular box operations not to mention a bit of added stress.  We had to have an outlet for that stress and working out is where that happens.

First off I have an incredible staff/team that has made it all possible. And our members have also jumped our board helping out by moving heavy equipment around as warm ups and cool downs before and after the classes.  What’s kept all of us working in harmony and getting things done and done well is that fact that each of us has made the time to get our workouts in.

Personally, I’m a morning girl and like to hit my wod around 9:00 am. With only 2 days until the competition I have plenty to do, I was sorely tempted to save some time and skip the workout. But I didn’t think that would be very beneficial.

The workout took me about an hour and 20 minutes including a little post wod stretching but I knew after my 4th set of heavy rack pulls (4 x 12 #Jacked Street) that skipping it was the worst thing I could have done. With the sweat pouring, my heart rate elevated and the high that comes from pulling 180# 12 times I knew then and there it was going to be a great day! And the rest of the workout made it even better.  It cleared my head and left me with a “bring it on” mentality.

I’m very proud of our great team here at CF Jaguar and I’d like to introduce the key players in making this competition possible.  Along with their workout philosophies for the week.

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Kim: our box manager/coach/right hand girl and she manages to keep all roles running smoothly.  We suit well and her role in our box is a large one her passion for what she does along with excellent coaching abilities lends greatly to our retention.  And her exemplary workout discipline solidifies this;  no matter that she sprained an ankle catching a snatch one week out from the competition she’s still getting her workouts in with some strict pull ups and other upper body work.

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Shaina: coach/event coordinator –this is her third run at heading up our box comp and she has her systems down. I swear she stays up at night dreaming of improved schematics, spreadsheets and efficiency logistics.  And during the day between a full time corporate job, part time CF Jag coach and event coordinator yet she always manages to get in a thorough workout.  It’s part of what makes her so good at everything she does.

Melissa: coach/admin full time has had her putting in plenty of extra hours these last couple of weeks; and did that interrupt her training to take back her world power lifting record at the Boss of Bosses 2 meet August 30 th? No it didn’t she even pr’d her back squat this week at 239#.   Mind you, Mighty Mite only competes at 97 pounds.

It’s this drive and determination to skip the excuses and make the time to workout even when life is overly busy that keeps us sane and able to get done what we need to do and do it to the best of our abilities. So the next time your life gets overwhelming. . . workout!

 

Peaches n’ Cream

Well, it saddens me but peach season is almost at an end.  I’ve had my fill of the delicious stone fruit this year and had to indulge at least once in my version of peaches n’ cream on the rocks. . .

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Nothing beats peach ice cream on a hot and steamy July evening in the humid South or anywhere for that matter.  As with anything we eat it should all start with quality ingredients.

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Quality raw cream is the first ingredient and well worth your efforts to procure it.  If nature had intended cream to be pasteurized it would have given the cow the capacity to do so.  Cream, as milk, is a living food and boiling it at high temperatures renders it dead, lacking in enzymes, vitamins and minerals and it destroys the fragile proteins turning them into something our body doesn’t know what to do with.  Go raw or go without.

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I love my White Mountain ice cream bucket and am a diehard believer in it and the ice/rock salt combo.  However many of my friends use the freezer tub variety and the quality of their ice cream is certainly not comprised.  It is less messy and overall easier.  So either one will yield quality ice cream you can feel good about eating yourself and giving to your family.

I’m a plain vanilla girl generally and the Jag is all about chocolate.  We usually alternate but in certain seasons there’s a few different twists and I especially love to add in some of my fresh Georgia Pearson Farm peaches when available.

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They are the ultimate in sweet and juicy peaches.  I used 2 in this batch since they are of a good size leaving the peel on and dicing into bite sized pieces.  They were added in after the ice cream was done.  It’s still soft when it comes out, I stirred in the peaches and patiently waited a couple of hours while it firmed up in the freezer.

Recipe & Ingredients

1 quart raw gf cream
6 pastured egg yolks
1/2 cup Grade B organic maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla
2-3 fresh peaches, unpeeled and diced (Georgia is my preference)

Preparation

Place the egg yolks into a deep stainless steel or glass bowl and beat at medium speed of an electric mixer until thick, lemon colored and ribbon like.  Add in the vanilla and maple syrup blending until well combined.  Stir in the cream and place into the ice cream tub.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Whether using a freezer tub or wooden bucket please follow manufacturer’s instructions.  Our White Mountain calls for a 5/1 ice/salt combo.  Water is then placed into the bucket and we crank the motor for 20 minutes.  It yields a soft serve ice cream to which I gently stirred in the diced peaches and placed in a container in the freezer to allowing it to harden more.

If you prefer the softer ice cream, simply eat immediately!

Serves 6

Your Wodding should Reflect your Goals

What’s your WOD today?  For those of you unfamiliar with the CrossFit terminology that stands for “workout of the day” or in other terms your training.  On any given day we may have several different workouts being performed in our box.  Does that divide the community or make it any less so?  No.  Not at all, it shows that our members are training to reflect their goals.

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The majority of our members are training for overall improved fitness or GPP (general physical preparedness); that means they are looking to get healthier, fitter, improve body composition and become more athletically functional to be able to handle whatever life brings their way along with recreational sport and daily activities.  Pretty damn good goals.

They generally participate in our daily wod.  Which is different everyday, programmed in cycles and well thought out by a team of our coaches.  While CF is to a degree “randomly varied” programming still requires a planned out thought process and we cycle through bias’ of strength, power, endurance, gymnastics etc focuses in order to better carry out the GPP programming.

A typical day may look like this. . .

A thorough warm up is always included, today’s version — 400 m run/row; 10 air squats, 20 pass thrus, 10 goblet squats, 20 wind mills, 10 ft duck walk (forw/bk)

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Generally followed by a strength portion, sometimes skill.  Today is an Oly movement:  a mini complex of 1 Power snatch + 1 hang power snatch building to your heaviest set in 15 minutes.

Most everyone’s favorite portion of the workout is the conditioning portion better known in CF land as the ‘met con’ short for metabolic conditioning.  The grandaddy of all “cardio”.  Today’s is 5 ohs at 135#/95# for RX (scalesd as needed by abilities and to maintain proper form), 10 burpees and sprint 25 m E2MOM for 12 minutes or 6 rounds which means every 2 minutes on the minute.  If it takes you 1 min 15 seconds to complete you have 45 seconds to rest.

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We have some members that wish to perform in local CF competitions and we have a specialized competition programming designed by one our coaches in which certain baseline standards must be met in order to participate.  To keep the community feel they usually do a portion of the daily wod with the class.  The strength or skill portion may be a little longer or more advanced  and there are added components for trunk work, additional skills and other aspects of competition.

How’s it working?  Very well, our Jaguar athletes have been kicking butt at several local competitions.

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We have a few members/coaches that are working on specific sport goals; Coach Melissa is training to take back her her World Record Powerlifting total in the 97# weight class on August 29 in California.  She follows an individualized training routine and right now ‘met cons’ aren’t exactly in her vocabulary.

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What do I follow?  Well, I am diehard fan of strength, power and speed.  I went on one date with CF Football  back in 2012 after following GPP for 3 1/2 years and never looked back.  After over 1 1/2 years of  CFFB I switched to their Field Strong programming for another 1+ year and recently jumped on their Jacked Street programming.  And we’ve got our little group of followers on that program.

It’s still primarily about strength power and speed.  That suits my current goal of maintaining and building muscle mass while remaining functional and being as fast and agile as I can at my age/abilities.   Plus if you’re diet is on target you can still look good in less.

Whatever your goal, your training needs to reflect it!

 

Chicken Nuggets

Chicken nuggets?  Hmmm, I said recently during the Q & A of our nutritional seminar when a mom asked me “but my kids have to have their chicken nuggets, how can I make them healthier?”  It was a valid and good question.  While I don’t children of the two legged variety I have learned it’s not as simple as telling them to eat what I make or starve.

Especially when they’re a little older and we’re looking at changing learned nutritional habits — much more difficult than starting at birth.  It got me thinking.

It’s a  real situation in today’s world where most mothers hold 2 jobs — one outside the home and one inside.  They honestly do not have as much time to prepare their children’s meals and sometimes convenience wins.  I promised to come up with a healthier alternative for her.

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My big kid (the Jag) was thrilled to learn that even though he was the test subject he was having chicken nuggets for dinner.  While I’ve tagged this under the 3. 2. 1. Go meals you will need to prep ahead of time in order to make these quickly on a weeknight.

After spending about and hour and a half in the kitchen, cooking and cleaning up I realized this would not be something you’d want to do on a busy Tuesday night after an 8+ hour work day, workout and homework or other kid chores waiting.  So, we’re going to relegate this to the weekend with a better solution for the weeknights. . .

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I am a messy cook; I cannot keep my kitchen overly tidy while I cook.  Start off with the best quality chicken you are able to purchase.  It’s not a dealbreaker if you cannot afford pastured chicken; the fact that you are making these homemade for your children as opposed to Chick fil A speaks volumes and is a huge step in the right direction.  You may even find you save money by cooking more at home.

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Cut your chicken into the size nuggets you prefer.  We’re going to make ahead a large batch of them on a weekend (or free day) up to the point where you’ve coated them.  Then you can place the desired amount in Ziploc storage bags and freeze.  On a busy weeknight you simply have to take them out and bake.  When cooking frozen allow extra time or thaw first.

My fingers were coated with the ‘breading’ so I’ve no pictures of the steps in between.  I’ve got to look into a food photography class lol

These were a big hit with my ‘kid’ and I’m sure they will be with yours also.  They will taste differently than the fast food variety and it may take a time or two for your children to adjust.  Stick with it and you should find after a few meals they will fall in love with them!

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The secret’s in the sauce; make all 3 or just one!

The sauces will last for 2 – 3 weeks in the refrigerator so those can be made ahead on the weekend also.

Recipe & Ingredients

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 cup almond meal
1 cup coconut flour
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
coconut oil, lard or other healthy fat for greasing baking sheet

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Grease a large baking sheet.  Take your chicken pieces and pound lightly with a meat mallet or roll between two pieces of wax paper with a rolling pin to flatten slightly.

Mix the flours and spices together well.    Dip the pieces in the beaten egg then coat evenly with the flour mixture.  Place on the greased baking sheet.

Cook for about 12 minutes; turning once at the 6 minute mark.  Serve with your choice of dipping sauces:  honey mustard, barbecue and ranch of some of my favorites.

Honey Mustard Dressing

The sweetness of the raw honey combined with the tang of the mustard is a favorite for both dressing your greens and as a dipping sauce for chicken, fish and other culinary creations.  As always homemade is best and can easily be whipped up in just a few minutes saving you the unhealthy ingredients in commercial varieties.

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1 cup homemade mayonnaise
2 tablespoons raw honey (or to taste)
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Mix together and serve, that’s all there is to it!