The ‘Girls’ Part 3 – Bench is Back!

Time really does fly; here we are four months post surgery and I am happy to report that not only are the girls as perky as ever but my bench press along with dips, pull ups and the ultimate test– depth push ups with explosive rebound up are back to full speed!

I’d like to share a few tips for women getting back into their workouts post breast augmentation.  A few of them also relate to other surgeries and injuries.

  • Don’t rush it.  This one requires patience and has taken me decades to heed but you will save yourself time and anguish in the long run.  Coming back too soon you are risking re injury and slowing down the actual healing process.  Patience grasshopper
  • Listen to your doctor (for the most part).  I had a really good surgeon; in fact he performed the second first set over 21 years ago.  He also took into consideration my fitness training and experience. He was spot on when he said to wait about 2 weeks before digging into any cardiovascular activity although “walk if you want, no arm swinging.”  If I deviated I got a warning sign. Pay attention to what your body is telling you; it is far wiser than we ever give it credit for. “6 weeks before upper body work” he said.  Hate to admit it again he was right.  He even has a ‘rule’ on his patient release form about “never doing a push up or direct chest work again.” I had made a notation when signing the paper excluding it and when the nurse brought it to his attention he replied “oh no, she’s fine, she’s been doing push ups and benching for over 21 years and they held up well.” Nice of him to see my viewpoint.  Where I didn’t listen was the excessive use of pre surgery anti nausea meds and post surgery antibiotics.  Fodder for another psot
  • Live to train another day.  I had the days marked off on my calendar until the 6 weeks had passed and a follow up scheduled that very day.  It was music to my ears when he said “yes you can do push ups, yes you can bench.” I could barely contain my excitement on the way out of the office. Back to the box I flew and to the weights I went.  Whoa. Shit felt really different. As I tested simple moves like a pass through, inclined push up, bodyweight pull overs it was scary.  Funny little pulls and pains that I didn’t want to ignore.  Body wasn’t ready yet so I backed off going as light as I needed to and waited a little longer until the exercise felt right. Exercises such as db or bb bench presses felt better and I was able to perform and use heavier weights.  Weeks 6 – 12 were a gradual progression back to where I was.
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  • Believe in the comeback.  I’ve been so fortunate with my health with only minor injuries over the years that what seemed like it would never be the same now is.  At almost 4 months I am at 90% and rising.  The last two exercises (as I predicted) to come back were dips and pull ups.  With dips coming back first.  I finally did 3 strict pull ups yesterday without assistance.  I can typically do 10-12 so it’s just a matter of time to regain the strength now that the movement is back.
  • Be Grateful.  This was elective surgery. While we certainly did not want to go around with a deflated girl the initial decision was not born out of necessity. Many people have grave horrific injuries to get over.  This was all my choosing and a small price to pay for perkier and bigger girls.
  • Any regrets?  None whatsoever.  I have not had any since originally deciding to have them done in 1983.  At age 55 I briefly considered leaving them but I am too fit, too active and still want to look well.  It was unfortunate but they had to be taken out or redone to avoid long term complications.  I opted for the redo and that was definitely the right decision.  With the improvements in materials I’m hoping for at least 30 years out of this pair.  I’ll have the perkiest girls of any 85 yo in the gym!  Long live the girls!

Grilled Tuna Steaks

It doesn’t matter in Florida if it’s January we can still grill outdoors.  If you live north of the Mason Dixon line you can either bundle up embracing the elements or opt to sear indoors in a hot cast iron skillet.  Either way works beautifully for this versatile piece of sea flesh.

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Recipe & Ingredients

2, 1 pound sushi quality ahi tuna steaks
1/4 cup gf teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.  Place tuna steaks in a Ziploc bag and pour the marinade mixture into the bag.  Seal well and let stand for 30 minutes.

If grilling:  remove from bag discarding marinade; place tuna steaks on the grill over direct high heat and cook 2-3 minutes per side.  DO NOT cover.  This is the one exception to Weber’s cardinal rule of “keeping a lid on it”.  It will dry out the tuna, so leave the lid open. The steaks should be seared on the outside and raw on the inside.

If using cast iron skillet:  heat 1 tablespoon of fat that has a high smoke point (clarified butter and beef tallow work well) in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Turn on your vent fan.  Sear tuna approximately 2 minutes per side depending on thickness of steaks and remove promptly.

Guest Blogger – Lisa Kimball: “Training with Paula Lean”

Florida Winter Weather and Bench Presses

We are FLORIDIANS PEOPLE. So when the temperature hits 50 degrees …THIS is freezing to us.

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But we buckle up and we layer and we get out and train anyway. WHY?  Because we have something we’re training for.

Paula recently asked several of the members at the box what they were training for and of course she got a myriad of reasons. Mine? To make my butt great again and to get back to the body I had 3 years ago…

In order to reach those goals I have to get out and train, EVEN when it’s a mere 50 degrees and my body seems to be frozen.

It just so happened that this Tuesday I didn’t have my car to get to the box, so in order to make that happen, I had to ride my bike… yes, in 50 degree, windy weather. The good news is that I live 1.6 miles away,  so that was doable.

I didn’t make it in time for the 8 am class. I just happened to walk in when Paula was getting ready to start her work out, and she invited me to join her.  I got the opportunity to train with Paula, one on one. Even better, it was bench day and I was excited!

I love bench day.

Photo Sep 04, 8 57 16 AMHere’s what I learned:

Dig deep.

I have been a member of Crossfit Jaguar for 4 years. I already know it takes dedication and commitment to see changes.  If you want to see more change, or you have have gotten off of your game for a while, you’re going to have to make sacrifices.  And some days, you are going to need to dig deep.

It’s going to be worth it in the end after all, right? Right?

I love Paula’s attitude. She reminded me that I need to really push myself, even though I already know that as a crossfitter.  I find that I can get caught up in my routine and in my own head…

I needed this reminder.

I proved that, (mostly to myself), when I entered my first Crossfit competition last year. The Crossfit Jaguar, Jaguar Games. This is a members only competition and the perfect opportunity to get my feet wet in competing and see if I had what it takes.

Although I had been doing crossfit for over 3 years at the time, I entered in the novice division because I still have work to do when it comes to strict pull-ups and other lifts required to compete Rx. I told myself that this was my opportunity to kick things up a notch mentally.

Team photo: Biscuits & Gravy

Team photo:
Biscuits & Gravy

 I went into the competition with the mindset that my partner and I were going to win. I didn’t see much of a point otherwise. I had never done that many WODS in one day, I had never competed, I had never really trained with my partner. But I knew we could place, and I really wanted center podium.  I never stopped thinking any other way leading up to the day of the Games. I’m glad I kept the faith in myself and my partner.

I remember someone saying that in order to do something that you know is new, seems out of reach or a step beyond your comfort zone, that you must envision yourself on the other side, imagine yourself succeeding, and you will.

We took home 1st place.

Jaguar Games - Lisa and Kara take First Place in Novice Division. [2015]

Jaguar Games – Lisa and Kara take First Place in Novice Division. [2015]

Thank you, Karra, for believing in me, and in Team Biscuits and Gravy.

Let’s do that again.

I better get to work on those pull-ups…

What else did I learn?

Don’t rush.

When Paula and I did bench that blustery Tuesday, I was rushed in my head, because I was running late that day.  Paula  got me to slow down, take my rest and really push through a lift that I didn’t (and she didn’t for a hot minute) think I was going to make.  I surprised her (and our friend Alex who was spotting me) and made it! Why? Because I slowed down and I took the time to rest, reset and push through.

IMG_4765Find your Grit Factor- Mental Toughness is key

You know what else? I realized that it wasn’t JUST rest, slowing down and pushing through that got me to PR that day, it was my state of mind. Just like I got on my bike, and rode to the box that morning, because I had made a new commitment the week prior (when I started the 2016 Look Better Naked Challenge). 



I didn’t come this far in my journey to just come THIS FAR.

I want to see the reward. I want to look back and say “That was totally worth it.”

In order to realize those gains and to see the reward, I am going to have to show up, slow down and trust the process. When shit gets tough, I am going to have to find that GRIT, and when I do, you better watch out.

All in all, I loved working out with Paula one-on-one. She made my day, and really got me thinking about what I am training for.

Nice butt. Yeah. Better body? Yep.

Finding my GRIT FACTOR?  

MOST definitely.❤️


— Lisa

Fried Green Tomatoes

A 1991 comedy-drama flick set at the Whistle stop cafe in Depression era Alabama may have brought this dish to the forefront but my memories of fried green tomatoes go way back to my grandmother’s kitchen and were a seasonal favorite that I really looked forward to.

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She’d go out to the garden, pick a few, slice up and drench with buttermilk then coat with a breading of flour and cornmeal and fry them up till golden brown. The slight tang from the buttermilk and the green tomato has a flavor that is completely unique.  I nearly squealed in delight when our local farmer Dave from Urban Oasis offered to go pick me some right out of the garden if I was frying them up green.

I was not disappointed — these were so delicious, my “best batch ever” said the Jag.  As always use the best, freshest local ingredients you can find

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Cut the unpeeled tomatoes into 1/3″ slices. Divide the flour by placing 1/4 cup in a small shallow bowl. Combine 1 slightly beaten egg with the buttermilk in a small deep bowl.  Mix the remaining 1/4 cup of the flour with the cornmeal, sea salt and pepper.  I like to put the flour cornmeal mixture in a bag so I can shake them up to coat well.

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Now we have a little assembly line going:  coat the tomato slices with flour, dip in the egg buttermilk mixture and then the flour cornmeal mixture.  I like to prep them all and place on a plate so I am not distracted while frying.

In a large cast iron skillet heat the fat over medium – medium high heat or approximately 375 degrees.  Carefully place the tomato slices in the hot fat and cook for approximately 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove and place on paper towels to drain.  Serve immediately.*
*although they are good cold.  I used to have them for breakfast the next morning.

Recipe & Ingredients

4 medium size green tomatoes
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk (raw is best if you can find)
1/2 cup King Arthur gluten free flour
1 cup Anson Mills organic cornmeal
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
healthy fat for frying such as lard, tallow or bacon grease


I’m sure everyone tuned in to watch the presidential debate last night – but I’m not asking you who you’re voting for.  Nope not going there.   But I do want to know. . .  what are you training for?  You need a purpose and that will dictate your training.

We took just such a poll today at CF Jaguar and we got a variety of interesting answers. . .

Jon & Kindra

Photo Jan 15, 7 32 06 AM

Me:  Jon, what are you training for?
Kindra:  “A wedding”
Me:  Awesome and Jon what are you training for?
Jon:  “A wedding”
Me:  Jon, anything else?  You’re your own man aren’t you?
Jon:  “Not anymore” (laughs)
Me:  Congrats you two!


Photo Jan 15, 7 58 19 AM

Me:  What are you training for Michelle?
Michelle:  “My selfish reason is to be incredibly fit because at almost age 55 I have a baby.  I want to wear a 2 piece, I don’t want to get old and I love CrossFit”


Photo Jan 15, 8 00 07 AM

Me:  Joe, what are you training for?
Joe:  “You know I don’t play those games”
Me:  Come on Joe, you have to be training for something.  You’re an LEO – to stay fit on the job?
Joe:  “I’m training for the redhead”
Me:  Ok!

The Redhead (aka Lisa)

Photo Jan 15, 8 00 44 AM

Me:  what are you training for Red?
Lisa:  “Functional fitness and a nice butt”
Me:  Good reasons
Lisa:  “Oh yea, remember that sexy picture you took of me post challenge holding a laundry basket”?
Me:  Yes
Lisa:  “I want to look like that again”


The Boys from Meathead Corner:  Alex, JC & Brian

Photo Jan 15, 8 10 11 AM

Me:  And what are you guys training for?
Alex:  “A 1200# powerlifting total
Me:  You have to be training for something?
JC:  “No seriously idk”
Me:  Food for thought – think on it
Brian:  “To be able to take my shirt off in public
Me:  You’re there, next.


Photo Jan 15, 8 09 30 AM

Me:  Chris, what are you training for?
Chris:  “Paula, you know I sustained an ankle injury at UPS”
Me:  Yes Chris I am aware of that yet I see you in the gym and it’s easy to see you have a purpose and a plan so what are you training for?
Chris:  “I’m taking the downtime and working on my upper body strength.  I have a progressive program to get my strict pull up back and a strict hspu.
Me:  turning an injury into an opportunity

And there you have it a random sampling from this morning’s class.  WAYTF? Feel free to share yours in the comments section.

Twice Baked Taters

I don’t know about you but when the cold weather sets in I’m definitely a meat and potatoes kind of girl.

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A juicy bone in ribeye fresh off the grill pairs up beautifully with these twice baked potatoes.

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What’s a twice baked potato?  Well, it’s a baked potato from which the insides are scooped out, mashed with butter and other delights, shells refilled and baked a second time.  Never had one?  Yum, they are delicious and can be made ahead for company and baked for a short time right before eating — guaranteed to wow.

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After baking carefully scoop out the flesh using a melon ball scooper

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Place the potato balls in a large mixing bowl.

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Mash the butter, sour cream, sea salt and pepper; moisten with just enough milk and then stir in the grated cheese

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Refill the shells and top with extra butter and cheese.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until heated through and finish up under the broiler for 2-3 minutes or until slightly golden and bubbly

Recipe & Ingredients

6 medium size russet potatoes
6-8 tablespoons raw grass fed butter
1/3 -1/2 cup organic sour cream
1/3 -1/2 cup raw cheddar cheese, grated
enough raw milk to moisten
sea salt & freshly ground black peppe to taste
a little extra butter and cheese for topping


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Place the potatoes in a pyrex pan and bake for 1 hour 15 min to 1 hour and a half or until tender.  Allow to cool until you can handle.

After about 20-30 minutes I use a clean dishtowel or cloth to hold while I prepare.  Cut the top off one side of the potato carefully with a sharp knife taking care not to rip the peel.  Using a melon ball scooper carefully remove as much potato as possible leaving the shell completely intact.

Place the potato balls into a large mixing bowl.  Add the butter, sour cream, sea salt and pepper and mix until well blended with a potato masher.  Add enough milk to get to a slightly firmer consistency than mashed potatoes.  Stir in the grated cheese and refill the shells.

With the blunt edge of a butter knife or spoon handle make a little slit in the top of each potato and fill with about 1/2 teaspoon of butter.  Place a little grated cheese on the top of each potato.  You can store these in the refrigerator at this point for up to 24 hours.

Preheat or reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake potatoes for approximately 20 minutes or until heated through. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until just slightly browned and bubbly, watching carefully.