My 2015 Motto

Midnight passed, 2015 started, and less than an hour into the new year¬†I realized I didn’t make any resolutions. And you know what? I’m happy about it! This year feels like a no resolution kind of year.

In 2014, I learned what lifestyle makes me feel healthiest. No matter how far I stray, I envision myself returning to the Paleo template because it is utterly sustainable and addresses all aspects of health. I also grew empowered by my enrollment in NTP training. There is something magical about identifying an interest and finally taking action to pursue it.

This all culminates to form my non-resolution of 2015 – a motto to live by this year and beyond:

Do what excites you, and let your path reveal itself along the way.

Mediterranean Paleo book signing in Manhattan Beach

Closing out 2014 in style

I can’t believe it’s been almost three months since I’ve written. Time sure can fly by!¬†I’m peaking at all my pictures from the past few months, and I can’t believe how much I’ve done.

In October, I ran the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco, CA. San Francisco is one of my favorites cities, so I enjoyed spending the weekend there, and I love the Tiffany’s finisher necklace. The race itself was a struggle. I’ve definitely fallen out of love with running and don’t plan on completing any races in 2015.

Finisher photo with the Firemen

Finisher photo with the Firemen

I attended several music events including Hard Day of the Dead (Saturday), Gorgon City, and Rave of Thrones. All the shows were awesome. The Deadmau5/Prydz set at Day of the Dead was one I’ll always remember for several reasons.

Sunglasses at Night at Day of the Dead

Sunglasses at Night at Day of the Dead

I met two¬†of my favorite Paleo bloggers in the matter of a couple of weeks. Los Angeles isn’t much of a hot spot for Paleo bloggers to visit. It’s probably because we have a reputation for being flakey, but I’m not! I jumped on the chance to meet Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo and Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites (along with¬†Caitlin Weeks of Grass Fed Girl and her husband Nabil). I really enjoyed the Mediterranean Paleo book signing because¬†they gave a presentation and it was very empowering being in a room full of like-minded people.

Meeting Michelle Tam & her husband Henry at Whole Foods Pasadena

Meeting Michelle Tam & her husband Henry at Whole Foods Pasadena

Mediterranean Paleo book signing in Manhattan Beach

Mediterranean Paleo book signing in Manhattan Beach

My NTP training is in full swing, and it’s what’s keeping me the most busy these days. In mid-December we had our first of 3 in-person workshop weekends. It was amazing meeting all my classmates and learning functional evaluation skills.¬†Maybe I will see individual clients someday.

Last but not least – I went to Utah and experienced my first ever white Christmas!

Utah

At the Olympic Park in Park City, UT

The NTP program – I’m a student again!

Saying I’m interested in nutrition is¬†an understatement. I might be borderline obsessed – but not¬†in the calorie counting, daily weigh-in kind of way (at least not any more). I’m obsessed because I realize there is so much knowledge out there, and I want to get as much of it as I can into my brain. I’ve informally dedicated¬†several hours a week to researching and learning about healthy nutrition and lifestyle for over 9 months now. A few months ago I reached a crossroads where I was felt¬†stagnant. My instincts told me¬†getting some formal nutrition education was the right thing to do to get me out of the funk. I am¬†already putting in the time – I should have a certification to show for it!

I want to funnel my¬†passion into improving my blog and helping others. I want to teach people that it’s not all about a clothing size or number on the scale. You can look good by accident when you pursue¬†true, optimal health. To be honest, its taken me 2 years to even begin to grasp these lessons myself, but I am determined to spread them as far as I can. I’m excited to announce that I’m 4 weeks into my studies to become a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner¬†through the Nutritional Therapy Association!

What is an NTP you ask? A certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, or NTP, uses several tools including a Nutritional Assessment Questionnaire, Food Journal, Functional Evaluation to look for root causes of dysfunction. NTPs then recommend traditional food preparation and cooking techniques, whole foods, and supplements (if appropriate) to help bring the body back into balance.

I decided on the NTP program for a few¬†reasons. First, I agreed with the underlying philosophy. This is not a program based on the Paleo way of living. Rather it promotes bioindividuality – the idea that there is no one way of eating that works for everyone. That said, the program does still jive close enough to Paleo for it to work with my current personal approach, while also giving me the flexibility to evolve and support a wide audience¬†of potential clients. It just wouldn’t make sense for me to enroll in¬†a program aligned to one nutritional¬†approach, especially if I didn’t follow that approach myself. Second was¬†cost. I know¬†my budget limits and the NTP program works within them while still¬†providing great value and high quality training.

I honestly don’t¬†have defined¬†plans once I complete the program, but I know I won’t be quitting my day job anytime soon! Right now I’m just focusing on enjoying the learning process again, and I’m excited to share my journey with you.

21 Day Sugar Detox – an experiment in listening to your body

Google for information on any health topic and you’ll probably find the following¬†piece of advice:

“Listen to your body.”

What does that mean? I’ll be honest with you – I don’t really know. But I’ve been working on trying to figure it out.¬†When you start learning about Paleo and the benefits of real food you can’t help but get the sense that everyone must be riddled with food sensitivities and allergies. So after my¬†Whole30, the nutrition nerd in me was really excited for the food reintroduction process. Not because I was craving a scoop of ice cream or a pile of corn chips (though I was), but because I thought: “This is it! I will finally see if I have any food sensitivities! I will have the answers!” Well, guess what happened when I reintroduced dairy, rice, corn, and legumes? Nothing. At least not that I could tell.

Fast forward to present time. The Whole30 was still great for me, because it allowed me to finally kick¬†gluten to the curb. Again not for sensitivity reasons but because I tend to overeat all the things that contain it (baked goods, I’m looking at you). However, if I honestly look at the past 8 months, I was not doing a great job following the Paleo way of eating I was striving for. Instead of aiming for 100% and getting to 80% I was barely shooting for 50%. When I ate out, I didn’t even try to follow the template other than avoiding gluten. But I always still¬†felt like the Paleo template was what I wanted to achieve.

During this year I’ve also stopped using the scale for my mental health, as I tend to obsess over it easily even though¬†I think it’s one of least valuable ways to measure ourselves. However, a month ago I sensed¬†I’d gotten too far off the rails. I felt heavy, large, bulky, and overall just blah. A step on the scale confirmed it. I realized my body was telling me something! And I decided to listen!

I had a feeling that the real culprit was sugar and carbs, and I wanted to return to the Paleo way of eating that I love conceptually but was not trying very hard to achieve in practice. I settled on doing a 21 Day Sugar Detox because it best addressed my problem areas. My experience was great! Some of the benefits I have experienced:

  • Higher¬†quality sleep
  • Regulated appetite – I regained the metabolic flexibility to skip a meal or go a long time between meals
  • No more sugar cravings
  • Appreciation for less-sweet treats
  • 8lb weight loss

Most important of all – I¬†now¬†know conclusively that I don’t feel my best eating grains and beans. I may not have an obvious adverse¬†reaction to these foods, but now I know¬†I feel bloated and icky when I eat them. I’ve always felt this way so I assumed it was normal. Now I’ll have the fortitude to listen to my body and avoid grains and beans more often. The call of my taste buds isn’t¬†worth the feeling after.¬†Knowledge is power!

 

My first weightlifting meet

Running was my gateway into fitness, and it kept be motivated for a solid couple of years as I lost weight and saw my finish times improve over the course of 12 different races.¬†I’ve since maintained a healthy body weight for a year and a half, and have been CrossFitting for a little over a year. Over the past few months I experienced a shift. The¬†10K I use to see a an enjoyable hour to myself suddenly felt like a tedious chore that I didn’t want to do under any circumstances. Then it dawned on me – I have officially grown bored of running.

Although I’m nowhere near top of class in CrossFit and I still scale every workout, I love how CrossFit is based on skills. In the fun and newness of my first few months of CrossFit I thought “hey, I should really try to get good at this stuff! maybe I can compete!” but I quickly realized that some of the movements, mainly the gymnastics, are just too foreign to me. I entered CrossFit July 2013 with 24 years of virtually zero athleticism up to that point. Do I think I can get an unassisted pull up some day? Definitely. What about a muscle up? Maybe. But I see it taking a few more years of consistent practice.

I digress. So what do I do to motivate myself¬† if I don’t want to run anymore and CrossFit is out of the question? Weightlifting. A few months back my fabulous gym Alliance Culver City¬†posted a “Who’s interested?” sign up for a weightlifting meet. It was so obvious to me at that moment. Who was interested? ME. I even signed up for a USAW membership the same day.

Weightlifting has consistently been my favorite portion of each class, and I love WODs that include weightlifting movements. Why? Well, unlike gymnastics weightlifting seems like it’s in my realm of ability. It’s something I can work on and get better at right now.

1st weightlifting meet

Last weekend¬†was the inaugural¬†weightlifting meet at Alliance. The day was focused on learning and practicing what a meet is like. Most the participants were first timers. I had such a great time, learned a ton, and walked away with a medal! For those of you who don’t know, during a meet you get 3 attempts to snatch, and 3 attempts to clean & jerk. Your score is the sum of your heaviest successful¬†lift of each. This is how I did:

Snatch

  1. 28kg – success
  2. 29kg – fail
  3. 29kg – success

Clean & Jerk

  1. 34kg – fail on a technicality (lowered the bar before instructed by the judge)
  2. 36kg – success
  3. 37kg – fail (press out on jerk)

Total – 65kg (143.3lb)

My favorite part about the meet was the rush of being the only one on the platform in front of spectators and judges. I was forced not to let failed lifts bother me, even though in class I often let them get the best of me. Overall I had a great time, and I definitely plan to compete again. My first immediate goal is to get my total to equal my body weight!

L.A. Reign Inaugural Home Match

When I first heard about the National Pro Grid League (NPGL), I though it was a great idea! I love the CrossFit Games and all that goes along with it, but there are hundreds of people who train like it’s a full-time job and never have the chance to make it on the big stage in Carson.. Now those people can have a chance to get compensated for all their work by getting drafted in a brand new¬†professional sports league. This is not a CrossFit sports league, it’s a league of its own!

Match Recap

Yesterday I attend the first¬†home match of the L.A. Reign and had an awesome time. The races¬†for all matches of¬†the inaugural NPGL season¬†have already been¬†announced in advance. Yesterday, the L.A. Reign competed against the Phoenix Rise in the McKinley Match¬†consisting of ¬†11 different races. NPGL promises to be spectator friendly, but I was skeptical considering it’s¬†brand new sport and people are not familiar with the rules. Not to worry! A program listing the elements (ie skills or movements) and rules of each race, and a¬†team roster was provided at the door and definitely came in handy throughout the match. Demos of each element in the race were also shown prior to every race.

NPGL allows for player substitutions, so specializing in specific skills is encouraged. It was interesting to see how teams implemented this strategy, and it was easy to see which athletes were strong in gymnastics vs. weightlifting, etc.

Two crazy moments stood out yesterday:

  • In Race 8, Noah Olsen strung together several of the “backwards roll to support” moves in order to get Reign the victory. What a crazy element!
  • The Reign went in to the last race only two points ahead of Phoenix, and just barely lost Race 11. However, the Reign challenged a call on the deficit handstand push ups and won the challenge. The teams had to redo the last 4 elements of Race 11. Unfortunately, the Reign still ended up losing Race 11 a second time by the same close margin, and lost the overall match by one point.
Race 2

A scene from McKinley Race 2, a front squat “mirror.” The barbell could not touch the ground.

Overall Impressions

NPGL definitely delivered on its promise to be spectator friendly and entertaining. The whole match lasted two hours and was easy to follow. Being in an intimate basketball arena allowed for¬†some fun crowd involvement activities like a Flex Cam (a refreshing change from the typical Kiss Cam…), free shirts, and an awesome gymnastics/break dancing routine performed on the pull up rig during half time. There was even an athlete meet and greet at the end!

Tommy Hackenbruck

With Tommy Hackenbruck at the athlete meet and greet.

If you have a chance to check out a NPGL¬†match in your area, do it! It’s a great opportunity to be a part of a brand new sport¬†and get¬†inspired¬†by all the amazing feats our human bodies can accomplish. All¬†matches are also streamed live online on the NPGL¬†website.

HARD Summer 2014

Ever since HARD Summer 2009 got shut down early, I’ve been unnecessarily hesitant¬†to check out another HARD festival. That, and the lineups don’t usually appeal to me. However, when I saw this year’s Day 2 lineup included Rudimental, Disclosure, and Tiesto I had to be there!

Getting ready for the festival, I knew I needed a cute up-do because it was going to be hot, but I’m pretty challenged when it comes to hair styling. Cue the hair bow! This style was extremely easy to do – I used this YouTube tutorial to figure¬†it out. Since the rules¬†said no kandi (of course they ended up allowing it in…), I rocked some¬†Flash Tattoos as jewelry. I rounded out the look with a fun crop top I found at a random boutique a few years ago, and I ended up getting a ton of compliments on it.

Outfit selfie

Outfit selfie

My friends Chris and Rose picked me up, and we got to the festival pretty quickly. I liked the location being fairly close to Los Angeles, versus having the schlep myself all the way to San Bernardino or Vegas. Entry was also super easy. Unfortunately, we arrived too late to see Rudimental. We had several hours to kill before my next must see, Disclosure, so we explored the grounds. I liked the park venue with all the trees, but it was super dusty and hot at times. Once the sun set, the temperature was perfect.

IMAG1364

My friend Rose & I at the Pink Stage

All the stages were very simple and production was minimal, which is what I expected from HARD since they try to emphasize a concert vibe over a rave vibe. We really enjoyed the Pink Stage, which was focused around straight house music. Gorgon City was my new discovery for the weekend thanks to the Pink Stage. Disclosure was awesome too! Once Tiesto came on, I actually ended up going back to the Pink Stage. I think my music taste is evolving to focus more on chill music and less on mainstream EDM.

What was the best part about the evening? I was home and in bed by midnight! I really don’t like staying out late¬†anymore¬†as I find it hard to rally my energy, so the daytime nature of this event was perfect. Overall it was a good time, and I’d definitely consider going again next year.