The first step is…

making smart decisions. Like putting the ice cream down. Or watching your ice cream fall off the plate and on to the floor and make the conscious decision not to scoop any more.

Whatever your first step is in getting back on the right track is, make sure you make it count.  Everyone slips up, and you have to live a little, but never too late to get back with it.

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After my haphazard incident with the ice cream I took it as a sign from God to check in with myself and finally hold myself accountable for the excess calories and days of missed workouts. I stepped on the scale and was a little devastated. I had worked my booty off and maintained my weight loss for almost a year, but this holiday season I let myself get out of hand and some weight crept back on. The average person gains 1-5 pounds during the holiday season, and while I’m not ready to admit to the world my number, I will say this– I did not fall within the average person range. Despite the ugly numbers I feel sluggish, less energized, and just not good.

I want to get back to feeling confident, happy, and energized so I’m kicking off my year with back to basics clean eating and working out.Today was my first crossift session in weeks. While it was heart warming to have the whole class cheering me on because I was the last one to finish (hence the name of this blog) it did make me upset that I was back down to the bottom when I had made so much progress. (ie, not always being last ect). It really makes a difference in your performance when you are living a healthy lifestyle.

I have found through my own experiences that I do much better when I have goals. My first goal is lose 30 pounds by my birthday (April 29). My second goal is to finish all 3 Spartan races this year.

I do best when I have people to hold me accountable so feel free to cheer me on, jeer at me, join me, share recipes/tips with me, laugh with me, cry with me, or whatever your heart desires. Or feel free to do nothing.

Stay tuned for my daily victories and struggles.

ROC RACE

Hey Guys! I’m running in this ROC Race–Ridiculous Obstacle Course–in August..because I am now addicted to obstacle course races. (Thank you, Spartan,). Here is my fundraising page for this great cause for Challenged Athletes! the CAF provides opportunities and support to people with physical disabilities so they can pursue active lifestyles.

Any bit helps, so thank you in advance!

And if you wanna see what the ROC is all about, watch below!

Bye, Bye Bready

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It’s not goodbye—it’s see-ya later.

Some people have a sweet tooth…but my guilty pleasure is bread, and pasta, and you know those carbs that are “bad” for you (but good for the soul.) Call me crazy, (or Italian) but seriously,I’d rather have an extra roll with dinner than a piece of cake or cookie anyday. (Not that I don’t like cake or cookies too.)

I know I know, sounds scary if your a carb-lover like me,  but on Monday I decided to give myself a new challenge…no bread or alcohol for 30 days. I needed to give myself and my body that it boost it needs. Last August-OCT I did the Whole Life Challenge and began my Cross-fit journey( and lost a good amount of weight doing it) On the Whole Life Challenge I had a pretty restricted diet–no bread/grains, no dairy, no sugar, nothing artificial ect). After the challenge I continued Cross-fit but did not keep up with the diet.

I have not gained any weight back, which has been great, but I have not lost anymore either. So with my cousins wedding on September 27, and the Spartan Super on September 6  (Yes, I signed up for the next one, I am so stoked and terrified) I have two really big, impending deadlines and lots of motivation to get in better shape.

I will be following a loose Paleo diet as well, with some exceptions, and keep workout out and let you know my results. In the meantime, get ready for some tears, updates, and recipes if you want to see how/what I am eating!

I don’t believe “giving something up” is a sustainable lifestyle, which is why I chose 30 days, because I believe in moderation or the idea of eating 80/20 (80 percent clean, 20 percent on indulgences) but I am always up for a challenge!

4 days down….

What it’s really like waking up for 6 am CrossFit.

People ask me all the time how I wake up ever morning during the week to go to CrossFit–(ok I snooze until at least 5:15.) I respond usually with I’m used to it or it doesn’t brother me. BECAUSE I AM A CHAMPION.(just kidding…) Or I explain I usually lay out my gym clothes before I go to sleep. Or admittedly sometimes I even wear them to bed so I am ready to go. The trick is also making sure you get enough sleep. I have no problem being a grandma and being in bed by 9:30 if it means I get enough sleep.

But no matter what preparations I take,the moment my alarm sounds at exactly 4:50, it is a complete battle get out of bed. I could have slept for 10 hours or 4, but the feelings and thoughts that take over me are the same every time. Something like immediate panic. “Oh no, is it really time to get up? I’m not ready yet. My bed is so comfortable. Seriously, I have never been so comfortable. Maybe I’ll just go after work today. I am a little sore, maybe it should be a rest day. What’s the WOD again? Pull ups? I should probably sit this one out…”

The winter is especially brutal. Freezing temperatures, no sun. I thought for sure when summer came it would be easier. (I was wrong,)

I hit snooze a few times until its around 5:15-520. I know I have to make it out of my house on time by 5:40 to make it to class on time, or else I wouldn’t show up late. That’s when I need to make a decision. At this point, 9/10 times I can convince myself to get up. “You can do it, you’ll have plenty of time to sleep later, you can take a nap after work, you’ll have the whole day” Sometimes it’s even “the workout sounds fun” “I can’t miss this one” It’s prowler pushes! (Yup, I’m one of the few that enjoy these) “I need to get it over with.” And yes sometimes it comes down to me making myself false promises of future sleep just to get up. (I hope this is normal..)

Most of the time I am on time with plenty of time to roll out with a foam roller (or pretend to roll out while I am still sleeping) but sometimes I just make it. For example last week I was so late I pulled into my spot too quickly and ran over a cone. (Which nobody will let me live down yet) Pictured below.

Despite the morning struggle, once I arrive I can honestly say I have never once regretted going to a 6 am class (or any crossfit class for that matter), and always feel better after a workout. I have more energy during the day and it is always a good time. I love the people and coaches and wouldn’t change it.

It’s just some mornings are harder than others.

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Spartan Update

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Mission: complete.

This weekend  I competed and survived my first Spartan Race. I did the Spartan Sprint at Mohegan Sun with some members from my CF box and together we worked as a team to take on the challenge. It was 4 and a half miles of strategically designed torture, but surprisingly I had a blast.

I woke up at 6 am, hopped in the car with my friend Jess and my mother and we headed up to the casino, a place I had never dreaded before. I was nervous, but not as nervous as when we pulled up to the entrance and saw runners already going up hills and climbing over walls. At this point, I was ready to jump out of the car.

I registered and met up with my team, and checkout the last obstacles at the finish line. Panic set in. I had a million doubts racing through my head, including “Why am I here? I am not ready, I can’t do this? “What was I thinking?” ect. I only got more  nervous as our start time approached and seriously considered backing out. The warning signs on my race packet were no consolation. “You may die, or catastrophic injury may occur during this race” Catastrophic injury? What am I doing here.

One of my fears before the race began was holding back my teammates. I had already made an deal in my head that I would finish this race on my own and not slow down or hold anyone back. However, my teammates had other plans. As the race began, they helped me climb that first wall, and we stuck together the entire time. Nobody was left behind, it was amazing teamwork.

I was tested not only physically but mentally and really surprised myself. There were only a few obstacles I could not do (and my team gracefully did my 30 penalty burpees with me). The greatest moment or me was climbing over the 20ft (I could be wrong about the height but it was close to that) net. I was never more scared and when I got to the top and looked I literally stopped breathing. I thought for sure I’d fall and be seriously injured. “There goes my neck” I thought. But with the support from my teammates cheering me on I snapped out of my panic attack and climbed over and down. I can’t describe the feeling that came over me when I made it down, it was pure victory. (If you want to see what I’m talking about reference 1:24 below 1:32 was just about where my panic attack ensued.)

I laughed, cried, doubted myself, and totally beasted it. I was so happy in the end and crossing the finish line (even though I stepped on the flaming log instead of gliding over it gracefully) was truly one of my proudest moments. I am bruised from head to toe, the most sore I’ve been in my entire life, but it was totally worth it.

 

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If you want to see exactly with the course looked like..check out more videos below! 

or the shorter one..

 

Countdown to Spartan

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So, in exactly 3 days I will be competing in my first Spartan Race. (A Spartan Sprint).  For those unsure what a Spartan sprint it s it a 5+ mile long race wit 15+ obstacles.Or check out this video. (Yeah, what am I getting myself into right?)While I’ve been doing Crossfit for almost a year, (My year anniversary will be in August) I have a bit of confession to make. I have not put forth my best effort in training for this particular race. This is due to my completely rash and last minute decision to do it.

I have never been a runner. I’ve always hated it.  I mean, how many overweight kids do you know that particularly enjoy running? However, I’ve grown up in household of runners. My dad is a lifelong runner, and has ran in countless races and marathons over his lifetime. He religiously ran everyday for as long as I could remember, no matter what, until recently when he had to stop due to the terrible conditions in his knees (which are completely worn down from running). My brother is a runner, as well as my sister who has completed a half marathon, while pregnant. (Now that’s impressive, am I right?) Correction: full marathon! Even crazier.

I, on the other hand, have always been the oddball. I started training for a 5k race last year when I was inspired my favorite actor and celebrity, Sean Astin. . He has a great cause #Run3rd in which he runs various races for causes. learn more about it here–>. I thought to myself, if  the same man who was Mikey from the Goonies, Rudy Ruettiger, and Samwise Gamgee could run races, so could I. I started by tweeting at him, and to my surprise, he actually answered me! After that I had to do it. I downloaded the couch to 5k app and started training. But due to my college lifestyle, I quickly lost motivation and after a few months I never followed through.

However, after I joined Crossfit with my sister, she re-inspired me. She told me to just sign up for a 5k and do it with her. I never believed I actually could do it and finish. In November, I completed my first race. It took me nearly 50 long minutes, but I did it. I kept signing up for races and have shaved my race time down by 20 minutes. On Thanksgiving, my dad, my brother, my sister, and I all completed a 5 mile run together which has always been a dream of mine I never thought possible. My brother-in-law is also a runner and loves to do Spartan races. The way he describes crawling under barbed wire, and climbing over walls sounded nothing but terrifying to me.

When my Crossfit gym announced some members were doing it as a team it sounded more appealing. I have a long list of races that I want to try, and Spartan is definitely on it. I talked to some coaches at the gym and asked them if they realistically thought I could do it, and once again I was sold.(They have much more confidence in me than I do most of the time.)

I am not aiming for any records or think I will be the fasted runner over the obstacles, (judging by how frustrated I’ve been at the playground practicing on monkey bars)but I do want to see what I am made of. My goal for this initial race is just to see if I can finish it.  I’ve come this far and am not stopping yet. Cross your fingers, and say a little prayer for me.

Happy Birthday ____(Insert every name here_!)

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(My niece Clara on her 1st birthday & 1st time eating sweets)

Another obstacle I find myself eternally battling is surviving family functions while trying to continue clean eating. I always say being Italian is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing of course to have a close knit, loving, large and supporting family. The curse, is our perpetual love and devotion to food. I say devotion in the true literal sense of the word. My family loves food. I mean, really loves food. We eat when we are happy, and we eat when we are sad and every emotion in between. Our favorite thing to do is celebrate birthdays. And with such a large family, there are plenty of birthdays every month, and we celebrate each and every one, no matter how young or old. And when it’s not someone’s birthday, we make it one because the kids are so used to singing the Happy Birthday Song now they get upset if we don’t. For example, on Christmas, we sing to baby Jesus. (You get the idea.)

And with every celebration comes a plethora of junk food, either a foodie’s dream come true  or  for those of us on diet, your worst nightmare. When every where you look there are cupcakes and cookies calling your name, and homemade vodka sauce and fresh Italian bread, you may become to feel overwhelmed.

But I like to look at the glass half full.So I’ve developed a plan of action to enjoy the best of both worlds. You can’t dodge the parties, but you can arm yourself and face them head on. So here’s how I find my happy medium.

1. On the days you know you are attending the party, get up early and workout! Go for a run, a walk, do p90x, Crossfit, the gym, whatever floats your boat. Just get up and get moving, no excuses!

2. Do not, I repeat, do not go in there hungry. If you are hungry before you even get there, then chances are you will end up starving and ravenous.  Make sure you drink plenty of water, and have a nice healthy meal prior to arrival. This is key. That way you are full and not as likely to pile up the junk food.

3.Indulge, yes, you read that correctly, Indulge. Scope the party, and find the one thing that looks the most appealing to you or that one cookie you have to try, and do it! Just limit yourself and stick to that. up

4. Keep busy! Talk to friends and family, catch up on their lives. Run around with the kids and help the host or hostess clean up. The busier you are the less time you have to keep eying the snack table, and while actively burning calories.

5. Have fun, and remember if you do overindulge, just pick yourself up and dust it off. It happens, and life is too short not to sometimes

 

Yesteday I met fran..

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So yesterday was a big Crossfit milestone for me. I completed my first ever Fran (scaled). Now if you’re not a Crossfiter, than you probably are wondering what that means and why it’s significant. When I first joined Crossfit, not only did I learn new movements and exercises, I also learned a whole new language.  Fran refers to one of the “girl” workouts. (Literally, workouts named after girls)  I should mention that these workouts are not named after anybody specific, they are just names given to specific workouts. In the own words of the founder of Crossfit, Inc Greg Glassman, ”  I thought that anything that left you flat on your back, looking up at the sky asking ‘what just happened to me?’ deserved a females name.” – See more at: http://blog.codyapp.com/crossfit-wod-meanings-girls-heros/#sthash.DcLfEdUG.dpuf. (Nice, huh?)

Now, back to Fran.Fran is a benchmark workout that is designed to measure your progress. The workout itself sounds simple-90 reps, 21-15-9 of thrusters and pull-ups (21 thrusters, 21 pull-ups, 15-15, ect) as fast as you possibly could. Sounds easy right? Sorry, did I say easy? I meant ‘deadly.

I always heard people talking about it, and in  very formidable tones. When I saw it posted for the WOD I figured it was finally my time to test it out and see if it was as bad as the hype. It was. I was able to complete it using a barbell and banded pull-ups in 7:20. I was pretty thrilled with this time considering how slow I am at pull-up’s,  My goal by the end of the summer is to be able to do at least one strict pull-up. Everyone say a prayer for me.

 

 

“National_(Insert your favorite treat here) Day!”

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Is it me, or does it seem like far too often I could be having an ordinary day, in my own ignorant bliss, patting my back for the salad I just ate for lunch, when suddenly I log on Facebook and am greeted by the devil, or posts like “Celebrate National Donut day!, It seems like everyday is some sort of holiday dedicated to all the foods I am actively trying to avoid, or forget their existence.

For example, Monday was allegedly, “National Cannoli Day” according to my timeline. What? Since when did we need special days or reasons to celebrate cannoli’s. I find myself rationing in my head, “Well, how can I not, it is National Cannoli day right?” Like what does that mean anyway, and what evil person decided to torture me with these patriotic duties.

The worst part is, these sacred goods, are often discounted, or even free on these days of obligation. It’s one thing to say no to a donut, but its a completely different level of willpower when saying no to a free donut, or cannoli. Why cant grocery stores ever be like “National fruit and veggies day” Come get your free supply! Or “National grilled chicken salad day” Well, I guess that wouldn’t be as fun.

I am not the Grinch of food holidays, nor am I against those who celebrate, and believe me nobody was happier than me to partake in “National Margarita Day” but we can’t let these little diversions alter our focus. A harmless donut on national donut day, may turn into a slippery slope of bad food making decisions. I know I often used to think(Okay, sometimes still think), “Well I already ate this donut, so might as well just go a-wall and eat as much of everything else bad for me that I can.” 

This act of definiance, the middle finger to our diet is then followed in progression  by food guilt.  I then think about all the changes I need to make and then come the battle cries to ‘Start again tomorrow!  “or…. how about Monday.” The trick is to break that habit and just make the next decision a good one.Nobody is perfect and there are always temptations around us. It is okay to indulge in these temptations, if we just get right back on track. Don’t wait until tomorrow, just make the next choice count!

 

Forever Last in Gym Class

Call me the little engine that could of Crossfit, or the underdog, or lost and misguided, but no matter what you call me I am proud to call myself a Crosffiter. I have drank the “Kool-Aid” if you will, and boy do I love Kool Aid. Being overweight my whole life, I have constantly tried different methods for losing weight. I’d go through yo-yo periods of weight loss and gain. When college came, I had almost admitted defeat and accepted my pleasantly plump physique.

After I graduated college in may I was at my heaviest-230 pounds. I thought about doing the old gym and diet routine I had tried and failed throughout the years but my sister presented me with an idea that changed my life. We were sitting down one day and she asked if I’d consider doing Crossfit with her.

Cross-what? I was completely turned off already. Still she persisted so I looked at videos online to see what it was all about. Then I had almost completely shut the door. Seeing fit, in shape looking people, lifting heavy weights and doing crazy, impossible looking movements did not exactly motivate me. All I could think was “I can’t do that”Not giving up my sister forced me to go for a consult at the gym, or as I’d later come to find out it was called a box, just to see for ourselves. I met the owner, Kevin, and he would be an amazing car salesman because after a short meeting I was sold.

He convinced me that anybody could do Crossfit, and movements could always be scaled to individual ability. Though skeptical I fit into the “anybody” category still, I decided to give it a whirl. I began foundations class with my sister, a beginners class to prepare you for the real thing. After my first foundations class I thought many things: This is an intro class? I am severely out of shape, I don’t think I’ve ever felt worse pain in my life, and lastly I think I can do this.

I may be the girl tripping over the box during box jumps, or the last one to finish a 400 meter run, or the one whos crab walk looks like they are missing a leg, but I show up and finish my workout just like everyone else. I have never felt so welcomed or comfortable in a gym before. The coaches and trainers all work with me and push me to my limits and to always do my best. The people in my class cheer me on and always greet me with a smile. In October, after only being at the gym a few months, I found myself being titled Member of the Month, an accomplishment I am truly proud of no matter how cheesy it sounds.

That was August of last year and I’m still staying strong, meanwhile getting stronger. I completely fell in love and for the first time in my life have enjoyed exercise and found something I can stick with. I am now 40 pounds lighter, stronger, and inspired. In the time I’ve been Crossfiting, I’ve completed a 50,000 meter Rowathon, completed the Whole Life Challenge, ran in 5 5k races, one 5 mile race, gave up carbs, said no to cheese, and many other things I never thought possible. However my fitness goals are far from completed and my fitness journey is just beginning. If you ever thought you couldn’t do it, or if you were like me, and always last in gym, class, or if you genuinely enjoy a good laugh then feel free to follow my blog and see where it takes me.

I am still the girl who is forever last in gym class, but at least this time in the Crossfit world being last means everyone cheering for you the loudest.