Sunday, April 13, 2014

Boring Consistency Leading to My FIRST Dead Hang Pull Up

Soccer snacks, kicking it
Good people! What. Is. UP?! Over the last two weeks, the weather broke into deliriously uplifting springtime temperatures. I heard the collective sigh of my fellow midAtlantic parents, "Ahhhhhhhhhh!!" as the children regained school and activity routines.

Among our routines that kicked back off was spring soccer season. I love my 7 year old daughter's coach because he goes through the effort every season to ask parents to bring healthy snacks. While he does not get overly specific on what is not healthy, he encourages fruit and water as a starting point. YEAH! On average, his requests result in considerably less junky halftime and post-game snacks for our team. We brought last Saturday's snacks - grapes and sliced oranges. True story. I saw it on Pinterest.

The carpet was old anyway. NBD.

And oh, yes. Our basement kind of mini-flooded, just enough to dampen most of the carpet. Weeks of snow dumping followed by a week of almost continuous rain will do that when your sump pump suddenly quits for about 2 hours. Part of the thrills of living in a vintage home, and by vintage I mean: built in the late 1980s.

I found myself exceedingly grateful to be physically strong those few days we spent grunting and sweating 50 lb. rolls of carpet up our stairs. FUNCTIONAL. FITNESS. BABY. SCHWING!

I've been doing a bit of spring organizing, too. My baking supplies cabinet was totally overrun by various bags of open alternative flours. Let me ask you if this sounds familiar:

    Flour THIS!
  • Almond flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Cashew flour
  • Hazlenut flour
  • Buckwheat flour
  • Rice flour
  • Teff flour
  • All purpose gluten free flour
  • Nuts
  • Chocolate chips
  • Shredded unsweetened coconut

They were in complete rebellion. I finally picked up some inexpensive, tall sealable containers and mini chip clips and managed to contain most of them.

This is me, doing a
simple track stretch in an
empty speech therapist
reception area.
Other than little items like basement flooding and flour organizing, I have been boringly consistent.

What do I mean by "boringly consistent"? I mean, managing to take care of myself, even around my responsibilities.

Going to CrossFit. Refueling my body responsibly. Mobilizing. Sleeping. Going to hot yoga.

Keeping those little subroutines running in my software makes all the other big tasks in our lives - like lining up my 4 year old daughter's Individiualized Education Program (IEP) and getting her to preschool, speech therapy, and occupational therapy sessions - much more manageable. Put on your oxygen mask so you can put on your kiddos' oxygen masks.

Boringly consisten oven-baked
eggs with baby kale.

I have been in the Eat to Perform 90 day challenge since January, in part to regain ground lost during the holiday season and being snowed in for, oh, 234 weeks in a row. (True story.) You may recall that last fall I had a really good experience combining paleo parameters of the Whole Life Challenge with the carb timing parameters of Eat to Perform.

Boringly consistent post CrossFit
breakfast: leftover
chicken breast and leftover soft
baked sweet potato.
This time, for the official Eat to Perform online challenge, I had no Whole Life Challenge parameters, so I had a lot more leeway to dabble with grey area foods. I also discovered that those grey area foods - I'm talking about deli meat, premade rice pudding, etc. - while fulfilling my macros, were holding me back in terms of feeling my best. SHOCKER, RIGHT?! I also was not feeling magical on the numbers initially generated by the Eat to Perform intake calculator (whereas last fall when dabbling with the ETP timing principles only I naturally ate less in general).

Luckily, the ETP staff are super gracious and responsive. I used the ETP forum to ask specific questions about my intake levels related to my body fat, weight, age, gender, etc., and I received in turn customized advice.

Boringly consistent soft baked
sweet potato and leftover kebab beef.
Post-workout breakfast.
Also a speech therapist
parking lot breakfast.
I also decided to relegate grey area foods to more of an "emergency status" and return to the boringly consistent (there is that phrase again) active athlete's paleo template.

What does that look like? It means whole food meats, eggs, and fish. It means eating pumpkin and sweet potatoes and occasional white rice. It means more vegetables than you ever thought you could hold.

It means making tons and tons of food at a time so that when you are doing hairpin turnaround between early morning CrossFit and driving your 4 year old to speech therapy and school, you have those already made options ready to eat in the car while you wait for the speech therapy session to finish.

Boringly consistent emergency
speech therapist
parking lot breakfast.
No junk deli meat
and canned pumpkin. means that if the best post-workout option you have that morning is no junk ham and canned pumpkin, instead of getting all perfectionistic and beating yourself up about making a meal on a whole pack of deli meat, you go to town getting in your breakfast and move on with your day. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good, people.

In general, I am back in the happy momentum I enjoyed last fall at the end of the Whole Life Challenge. Paleo foods in sufficient quantity (including carbs) to sustain muscle mass and activity levels. Starchy carbs around workouts. Meat, eggs, and veggies any time else.

Boringly consistent spaghetti squash
and sausage scramble.
In addition to my Eat to Perform/paleo template, with some focused guidance, I have added some homework around my regular CrossFit workouts. I continue with my beloved hot yoga. To chip away at my mile time, I've been running single 800m sprints often as part of my pre-CrossFit-workout warmup. I've been doing pullup negatives and progressions like crazy, almost daily. Small, regular sets of plank, pushup, and squat drills.

Boringly consistent prebed snack
of salmon, beets, sweet potatoes.
I have definitely noticed an improvement in my body composition and performance. While leaning out more has happened and I've noticed increased muscle definition, I've also become much faster at climbing the 20' rope at CrossFit. My 800m run time has gone from 4:20 down to about 3:45 -- so I have hope that soon my mile time will be under 8 minutes.

And finally: on Friday, I did my first ever pullup. It was a dead hang, too. It's hard to describe how immensely gratifying that feeling was. If any of you reading ever had to suffer the indignities of the presidential fitness test, then you know exactly what I mean. As an athletically inept overweight kid, I never stood a chance of doing a pull up. Gaining a pullup was an affirmation of what I've long hoped: your past does not dictate your future. In fact, in all likelihood, you can steer your destiny more than you might have ever believed.
Boringly consistent chicken
and spaghetti squash dinner.

I wore a tank top from my brother's
NYC CrossFit box doing the pullup.
I may never wear another top to CrossFit;
it is my official lucky tank. ;)
Thanks, Bro!

Boringly consistent sauerkraut,
chicken, chard, carrots.

Boringly consistent
Mediterranean scramble.


  1. Way to go! Would you share your baked kale and eggs recipe and your ETP/Paleo food template??? Pretty Please :)

  2. ETP rocks!! Are you on the boards there? I am a mod there. I am wondering if I know you via the boards? Although I have been following your blog for years and as of late haven't had time to read blogs in the past year.

  3. OK, just saw that you do participate on the boards....I was half reading through the post and caught ETP in it. Anyway, glad to have you aboard and glad you are doing well on it. I love it!!


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