A place for creativity in relationships, the kitchen, the gym, the home, the garden and, ultimately, in life.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tabata This

That's me vs. wall ball in Fight Gone Bad '09
Today was Tabata Thursday at CrossFit Central, which means four minutes of hell on repeat for the uninitiated. I really love/hate Tabata. Tabata is an interval training regimen created by Dr. Izumi Tabata based on research that is way more complicated than I can summarize for you. Dr. Tabata demonstrated that athletes who used a four minute protocol of 20 seconds hard work, 10 seconds rest on repeat for 8 rounds showed dramatic gains in their anaerobic capacity and VO2Max (ability to consume oxygen). Read more about the protocol and what you can do with it here. Almost 15 years later, CrossFitters and other performance athletes are doing pretty much "Tabata Anything." This can be sprints, pullups, squats, pushups, thrusters, sandbag carries, anything! And if four minutes of work sounds easy to you, try it. Just try it for two minutes.

Today we did 3 sets of Tabata work: 8 rounds of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off for each exercise. Pull-ups, lunges, wall ball. Oh my god, the wall ball after the lunges nearly killed me. I literally fell on the floor when time was finally called. I was toasted.

Next time I Tabata something, I'm going to play this song on repeat to keep me motivated.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mutton Busting

This past weekend in New Braunfels at the Comal County Fair, we inadvertently discovered an American pastime heretofore unexplored by us city folk: mutton busting. Not familiar with this spectacle of prepubescent athleticism? Watch this:


Yes, my friends, those are small children riding sheep and being thrown dramatically to the dirt in an arena full of grown-ups laughing. And it is as awesome as it sounds. I can't promise that no children were harmed in the filming of the above footage, but each child we watched get tossed to the ground stood up proudly afterwards and waved to the crowd.

Just because it's so damn cute, here are some other mutton bustin' gems. You're welcome.



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Date with Fran and Other Crossfit Adventures

For about two years I've kept a log of almost all my workouts, so I can flip back through them and get ideas for new workouts as well as track my progress. I managed this for two entire years, and all of a sudden I can't seem to put pen to paper to keep the log going. So here's the quick and dirty on the past week or two of kick-ass crossfit action.

Last Friday I had the pleasure and pain combo of visiting Coach Crystal Nelson's 8am class at CrossFit Central for my date with Fran. For the uninitiated, Fran is a classic killer WOD comprised of two simple, brutal movements: thrusters and pull-ups. I have a love/hate relationship with both, which means I have a healthy resistance to the lady Fran. But I wasn't about to let on in my class. The prescribed weight for men is 95#, and 65# for women. Being my first time, I went with a respectable 55# and the small blue band for pull-ups (I'm thisclose to getting unassisted kipping pull-ups, but that's another story).

Whoa. Now I know what everyone has been talking about. This was a short but aggressive little workout, and I clocked in at 8:47 with a new rip in my right palm. It was worth it. Here's the deets:

WOD: Fran

Now watch this woman rip it up and see if that inspires you to take the stairs instead of the elevator today.

In other crossfit news, I also managed to do 150 box jumps yesterday, sprinkled with a few dozen handstand pushups (modified by placing my knees on the box, hands on the ground, torso vertical). And this morning was my farewell Therapy Bootcamp WOD to dedicated gal-pal Sarah, who is departing for greener pastures next week. The ladies happily tackled partner wheelbarrow carries, donkey kicks and a short-but-sweet WOD of box jumps, tricep dips, lunges & situps (21-15-9, just like dear old Fran). It was a fun, sweaty way to say goodbye to a dear friend, and we now have an open spot on our team if anyone wants to meet up Tuesday mornings at 7am for a little crossfit fun!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Recipe Half-Win

While I'm sure The Boyfriend would tell you that he loves everything I cook, there are times when I'm better able to please my palate than his. Last night would be a case in point, although he was very gracious about it (well, mostly).  Despite his initial reaction to my concoction, I found it to be a delicious and easy way to use up extra zucchini (Thanks Mel!) that might otherwise shrivel in my fridge for want of a good recipe. See, I want to love zucchini the way I love most vegetables, but I just can't always bring myself to throw it into a dish without wrinkling my nose at it first. I needed a solution, and a healthy one at that, so I browsed around and found some delectable and heavy recipes for zucchini fritters. Mmm, I thought, I can definitely fry me some zucchini drowned in batter! But the health-conscious part of my brain intervened and helped me create a very reasonable facsimile full of good stuff for the body and soul. It may not have done the trick for my vegetable-averse man, but it worked like magic for me. I'll celebrate this one as a half-win, and maybe it will satisfy at least one person in your household as well. You can't win 'em all, right?

Zucchini Coconut Fritters

2 zucchini
2 eggs
4 tbsp coconut flour 
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp paprika
salt & pepper to taste
coconut oil for pan-frying

1. Shred zucchini using a cheese grater or mandoline, then squeeze out the water with your hands. Get messy.
2. Heat 1-2 tbsp coconut oil in frying pan over medium heat, just enough to coat the bottom.
3. In a mixing bowl, scramble the eggs, then add the zucchini and all other ingredients, stirring together.
4. In small dollops, drop spoonfuls of the mixture in the heated pan, pressing lightly to form a disc.
5. Just like a pancake, let one side cook to a light brown, then flip and brown the other side.

I served these warm and with a sprinkle of fresh tomato, but they'd probably be delicious dressed up with (non-paleo) creme fraiche or a pico de gallo. They went great with my sauteed bell peppers and sausage. Good luck and remember to celebrate even the recipes that are only successful for you!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rainy Days and (Almost) Mondays

It's a day for curling up with a book in your pajamas, sipping hot cocoa and not getting out of bed for this pseudo-Monday. Alas, I'm fully dressed, in front of a computer under fluorescent lights and not likely to see my pj's or bed for quite a while.

I always think of this song on days like today, and imagine myself staring dreamily out a window while the rain pours down, with a paradoxical melancholic contentment. Somehow it makes me feel better.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Remember to Smile

Having not been the best of weeks, I've been remiss in writing. This is unfortunate in part because writing this blog is intended to be therapeutic, and what use is therapy if you can't turn to it in times of stress?  As an antidote to wallowing I've taken to reminding myself of all the things I'm grateful for, all the reasons I have (and there are many) to wake up and smile. Here are a few of the things I've been thinking of today, in no particular order:

1) Coming home to an unexpected dinner cooked by my man of steak, asparagus and portabella mushrooms, washed down with a lovely glass of wine from my favorite wine region, Santa Ynez.

2) Having a wonderful group of gals who are willing to get up early and meet me in the humid, mosquito-infested park to tackle my dreamed-up workouts, accompanied with laughter and a little sweat. This week they learned deadlift with dumbbells and dumbbell swings, and took on the new challenges with big smiles. I love these ladies, which leads me to...

3) One of these darling ladies, my coworker, neighbor, friend forged by fire, will be leaving us in a few weeks to pursue big dreams in a faraway land. This leaves me feeling bittersweet, joyful, tearful and ultimately, inspired, and for that I am grateful to her and wish her so much happiness.

4) My family.

5) Girls' trip to Port A in two weeks! Last trip with the ladies, a few years back, ended at the local dance club with mostly-naked men, booty dancing and too many drinks. I'm thinking this time around we might settle for a movie night and girl talk and ahhhhhhhh, relaxing.

6) The Jerky-off (I know, I can't help it) that we're hosting with Miss Melicious tomorrow, to help her sift through the mountain of specialty, good-for-you, good-for-the-planet beef jerky. Just saying the name makes me smile, and I dare you to try to say that with a straight face to someone. Go ahead, "We're having a Jerky-off, how about you?" I'll let you know how it goes, and until then, take a minute to remember something that makes you smile today.