The Novice Foodie

Just eating real foods, lifting heavy things and learning about it along the way


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something that scares you

When I first heard about the Warrior Dash, I laughed and said “no way.”
Months later, I found myself drenched in mud at the finish line of the Carrolton, OH Warrior Dash in September 2010 thinking that it really had been “the craziest fricken day” of my life.

In winter of 2011, when I first heard about Crossfit, I also wasn’t sure if it was for me. But I was growing tired of swimming, running and my weight room routine, and by February I had decided to give it a try.

At first I only went once a week in addition to my old routines, and I was usually sore that entire week between workouts. By April I was completely hooked. Today (2/17/13) is my first year anniversary of Crossfitting and now I WOD almost every day and can’t get enough of it (still sometimes with the soreness, but to a somewhat lesser degree).

Competitions on competitions on competitions

It has been said: “If your workout doesn’t scare you, it isn’t hard enough.” Crossfit workouts are different every day, making it pretty hard to get complacent. A year later and they still get me nervous sometimes.

What I like most about Crossfit is that there’s a never-ending list of goals you can push yourself toward on so many levels. Mostly, I want to do well in the metcon- get a good score while maintaining good form. Usually for me that means scaling back the weight. There’s so many movements that I currently scale and modify that I want to work up to and complete Rx.  Beyond that are  lifting PRs. There are so many opportunities to reach a goal as opposed to a more singular sport like swimming or running for a certain time (both of which I have much experience with…it took me about 3 years to break a minute in the 100 freestyle, talk about frustrating,) or a team sport where personal goals are often dependent on teammates and are more difficult to define and measure. But beating your best time applies to Crossfit too– repeating workouts is a great way to check your progress, and every workout is you against the clock.

365 days ago, I stepped into Crossfit SEO in Athens, Ohio, wearing my Asics and not knowing what a power clean was. Today, I’ve just registered for the Open and have begun my second Paleo challenge. What I’m trying to say is don’t ever let intimidation prevent you from trying something new. Most of the time, the attempt turns out to be more rewarding than not. And maybe you’ll even find your new favorite hobby.

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Adaption and conquering the treadmill

It was only recently that I overcame my fear of the treadmill. I was convinced that my clumsiness would send me flying off the back end of that never-ending path. My first run never broke a speed of 5 and had my shirt attached to the little safety stop clip–which I later learned no one actually wears.

Months later, I am a huge fan of the treadmill for the sheer control. I know how far I’ve gone, how long it took me to get there, and how many calories I burned. I can even control how many hills I climb.

However, I never use any program options. I only ever press the “manual” option and come up with workouts myself. While I initially spent my 30 minutes completing a flat run, once I got a handle on the machine I began to experiment.

  • Intervals–Warm up for five minutes, run hard for two. Walk for one. Run for three. Walk for one. Run for four. And so on. Speed play will help to keep your heart rate elevated and also helps the time pass.
  • Goals— Set challenges for yourself. I try to run 3 miles in my 30 minute run. And for the middle mile, I try to make my best mile time (8 minutes).
  • Hills— Don’t forget about the incline setting. I realized today that the calories per hour on a slow speed but high incline is equal to a flat run at faster speeds. Vary your incline to simulate the outdoors and walk or run up hills.

After years of swimming, my transition to gym workouts left the sets and workouts behind. It only recently occurred to me that a swimming workouts can be modified and applied to running workouts, to an extent. Take what you already know and adapt it to new exercises. For example, 4 x 50’s mixed sprint can translate to running laps just as easily as swimming them.

Of course, program options can do all of the work for you.


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What everyone should know about exercise

The extent of common knowledge and what people actually know often surprises me.

I guess techniques and types of exercises have been drilled into my head for so long that it might seem like common knowledge, and I assumed everyone knew what I consider to be the basics of exercise. But, as I recently learned, that is not quite the case. Not that I consider myself an expert by any means, but I want to share what I do know to as many people as I can.

Here are a few things I think everyone should know about exercise:

  • Using a stability ball in your abdominal workout helps to alleviate lower-back pain and target your core muscles. As I’ve mentioned before, any time you add balance to an exercise it is intensifies that exercise by engaging your core.
  • Any time you do ab work, you should complement it with a lower-back exercise. Just like when you work on your triceps, you should do the bicep machine as well to balance your workout and avoid straining your muscles. (These machines are usually located nearby in gyms for this reason.)
  • Cardio/Aerobic routines should last about 30 minutes to have an effect. Whether you run, walk, elliptical, dance, swim or climb, any activity that gets your heart-rate up will speed up metabolism and help you lose weight. It also improves your overall health by working your cardio-vascular system and strengthening your heart, lungs and increasing bone density. Most recommend at least 3 days of cardio (any activity where heart rate is elevated) for at least 30 minutes a week for a healthy lifestyle. (The American College of Sports Medicine recommends anywhere from 3-5 days of 30-60 minutes worth)
  • Alternate exercises from upper body to lower body during your workout. Switching from one area of the body to another is considered to be more effective than spending one day on all arms and one day on all legs. This is because going from an arm exercise to a leg exercise increases blood flow from one area of the body to the other.
  • Warm up with cardio before strength training to prepare your muscles for a work out. A New York Times Article offers some suggestions:
  • “Most experts advise starting your warm-up jog at about 40 percent of your maximum heart rate (a very easy pace) and progressing to about 60 percent. The aerobic warm-up should take only 5 to 10 minutes, with a 5-minute recovery. (Sprinters require longer warm-ups, because the loads exerted on their muscles are so extreme.)”
  • STRETCH. Do so after a workout to increase flexibility, improve range of motion in your joints to prevent injury, and improve circulation. (The above article also mentions something about dynamic stretching, something I have not heard phrased this way but will look into!)
  • Don’t focus solely on target areas. Full body workouts and exercises are more important than working only one area of the body. Many exercises have secondary benefits to other muscles of the body and are more effective for weight loss and health than singling out one muscle. You should aim to strengthen your whole body, not just your “problem area.”