Scaling options for the elderly

This year is my 47th. My husband and I are probably the two oldest members of our amazing Crossfit ‘Box’, but I want to tell you why we don’t give a crap.

paleo crossfit

We both struggle with injuries and ailments, and my own thyroid is apparently on a kamikaze mission to destroy my gym performance, but I am a stubborn bugger, so I have made a point NEVER to miss a session of Crossfit. Like, ever.

There are days when we workout side by side with the people we used to be; the twenty-somethings with all the time in the world and the energy to match, but oddly this is not off-putting. The beauty of Crossfit is that we’re all in it together. The ‘elders’ of the gym are supported and encouraged by the youngsters, without a single ‘are you alright dear?

paleo crossfit

 

If you’re reading this and you’re in the ‘Masters’ category (a delightfully polite way of describing geriatric Crossfitters), then you will understand what I mean when I say that I NEVER want to accept a scaling option. In my head I am still the same girl who tried out for the England netball team and turned the boys’ heads in my red dress. In my mirror, sadly, I am not. But this does not stop me wanting to be the best I can be. My strength continues to improve and my WOD times are respectable. I keep on keeping on.

Since my first records began in 2012, I have improved my performance as follows:-

Deadlift – from 70kg to 115 kg (1 rep max)

Back squat – from 40kg to 70kg (5 rep max)

Push Press – from 25kg to 50kg (1 rep max)

I can ‘double under’ (now a verb apparently) and the elusive pull-up is getting closer. More importantly, the stubborn little fecker in me says ‘no’ to picking up the lighter kettlebell, so I can (pretty much) RX most of the WODs, which gives me great personal satisfaction, even if I take a little longer than some to get up when I’m finished.

crossfit paleo

I have been Paleo for almost 2 years now, and this has certainly had a positive impact on my performance. Sadly, the thyroid has negated some of this benefit, but I remain optimistic of a re-appearance of my much-missed Mojo at some point before I die.

But actually, the single most valuable thing about Crossfit has been the friends I have made. The remarkable men and women with whom I share this journey will be the subject of another post, but suffice to say that they make the struggle a right good giggle.

If you’ve ever thought about Crossfit but are intimidated by the poster-boys or the YouTube video of heavily pregnant powerlifters, don’t be. The Crossfit environment is packed with athletes from all parts of the age spectrum, enjoying the way their bodies respond to the rigorous torture they are inflicting upon it….no, more than that, addicted to it, and keen, like me to act as ambassadors for those who want to get involved. 

So make a New Year’s promise to yourself and find a Box near you. You’ll never look back.

paleo crossfit

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Teen Crossfit body changes

George has been growing rapidly.

He took up Crossfit last year at the age of 12, just as his body began to take on the kind of life-changing transformation which comes with puberty. It has been THE best thing that could have happened during this period. Some time after that he decided to adjust his diet  to become semi-Paleo.

paleo crossfit

The combination of these two changes has brought him:-

  • self confidence
  • fitness
  • camaraderie
  • a role model in the form of his fitness coach
  • an outlet for his hormones and his energy
  • a sense of joining manhood as he challenges his body to increasingly difficult but rewarding things
  • a marked improvement on the rugby pitch

Instead of succumbing to the spreading middle which so many early teenagers end up with after the endless hours of X-Box coma, he has blossomed. His shoulders are broadening, his strength is increasing and his abs are tight. I could not be prouder.

paleo crossfit

Thanks indeed to the wonderful coach at Crossfit HG3 who dedicates so much time to these boys. I would highly recommend this as a form of exercise for any teen, any time.

These pictures were taken just over a year apart – June 2012 and August 2013. What a difference a year makes.

Banana and Walnut Heaven

Firstly, it’s worth mentioning that I have harboured a lifelong hatred for bananas. And I am talking deep, in-bred disgust for the heinous stinky things. But I LOVE this recipe, so it can’t be bad!!

I made mine in these tiny little mini loaf tins that I bought, mainly because they are cute and I wanted to dirty them up, but you could use a large loaf tin.

paleo crossfit

You will need:
1 1/4 cups ground almonds
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup cornflour (or arrowroot if you have it)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp flax seed flour
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
4 tbsp melted butter
3 ripe bananas
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Line your loaf tin with baking parchment & pre-heat oven to about 170 degrees.
Mash up the bananas in a large bowl until good and mushy.
Add the other wet ingredients and give it a good whipping to mix thoroughly.
In another bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (except the nuts) to ensure each is properly distributed throughout.
Add the dry to the wet and mix well.

paleo crossfit
Finally, stir in the chopped nuts and add the mix to your loaf tin(s). I filled 3 mini tins.
I cooked mine for about 25 minutes, but for a larger tin I’d extend this to about 50 minutes. Keep checking them and take them out when you think they are ready, with a nice firm top and a clean skewer test.
Then smear liberally with organic butter and keep the kids away…

paleo crossfit

Acutorture

There are few words to describe my first experience of Acupuncture, but amongst them are:-paleo crossfit

Fudge

Ship

Bollards

Ouch

I was reliably informed by the charming elderly Japanese lady who tortured me that the ‘normal’ kind of acupuncture would not help me with my problem (very painful joints in my foot), but that she could ‘unblock’ me (nothing to do with my bowels as far as I know. No real idea what she was unblocking to be honest…presumably my chakras or summat) with a different kind of therapy.

I agreed in that naive kind of ‘this should be a lovely relaxing hour on a bed’ way, and as I settled on to the bench at the point of no return she remembered to tell me that it was going to hurt like buggery (my words, not hers).

She proceeded to ‘bleed’ me repeatedly by stabbing me, rather like an angry child with a voodoo dolly of the school bully. In her innocent looking hand she held a fat pin, not unlike those that a diabetic might use for blood tests, until the skin gave a little ‘pop’ and the red stuff was drawn. Over and over again up and down my legs, toes, around my ankle 20130211-171331.jpgbones and on the soles of my feet. This latter manoeuvre was so despicable that she asked me to cough every time she stabbed me, to fool me in to thinking that I was not in agony. It was particularly pleasurable in the areas where there are no fleshy or fatty deposits, which to be honest, on my feet is pretty much all of it. Just skin, bone and a serial stabber.

No pretence here, no twinkly music or the sounds of a Caribbean shore 20130211-171343.jpgto drift off to, just a butt-clenching white knuckle ride of terror and the smoke from what now appeared more and more like an opium den.

I was charged £100 for this tremendous experience, and sent off with a polite smile and the request to come back for at least 4 or 5 more sessions. Whaaaaa?!!

My first phone call was to the British Association of Acupuncturists to check that she was registered. She was.

My foot, of course, is predictably no better. Even if we look beyond the bruising and the join-the-dots abuse to my surface flesh, pains still lurk within.

Assuming I live through 4 more sessions, can someone please tell me whether this is going to fix me?

 

Sweet Treats #backonthepaleowagon

almond butter nibbles 2Having fallen spectacularly off the Paleo wagon around  mid December (Advocaat mating season – ignore at your peril), yesterday seemed like a good moment to fasten the wheels back on and try to wean myself off the sugar.

Not feeling brave enough to go entirely cold turkey (pardon the Christmas pun), I looked to my trusty cupboard full of nuts (no jokes please) in an attempt to inspire myself.

Eventually I came up with these. Super quick, super simple and apparently almost all gone. No actual cooking required.

I shall call them ‘Almond Butter Bites’. *Hallelujah*

Here’s how to manufacture some for yourself.

You will need:-

One whole small jar (about 200g) of almond or other nut butter

A tablespoon of your flour of choice. I used flaxseed flour (‘cos I had some and I was desperate to use it) but I reckon ground almond would taste just as yummy, if not even better

1/2 to one teaspoon of vanilla essence (to your taste)

A bar (approx 100-150g) of darkest dark chocolate. I used 90% cocoa solids Lindtt Excellence (mmmmmmmmmmmmm)

A pinch of sea salt

paleo crossfit

To make the little balls of salty goodness:-

Put the almond butter, vanilla, salt and the flaxseed flour into a bowl and mix well together.

Break up the chocolate and melt over a pan of boiling water until completely smooth.

Roll the dry mixture (should be quite a dry dough) into balls – any size you like, depending on how cavernous a mouth you have (I made about 20-odd from this mix) and place them into little paper cases or onto a sheet of baking paper.

When your chocolate is melted, drop the balls one by one into it, turn them to coat with slick, velvety blackness, and then scoop straight out and plop them into their paper cases.

Leave for a few minutes (fridge is fine) until the chocolate is set hard, then hide them from your husband immediately.

I am now firmly reinstalled atop my Paleo wagon. Bring on the 2013 body fat challenge!!

Confession time…

In April I started ‘eating clean’  (such a wonderful phrase that suggests I used to eat dirt!). By that I mean I started eating a Paleo Diet. No Bread, Rice, Sugar etc, and it has been going pretty well having manged to shed more than two stone so far, but about 2 weeks ago it all seemed to have gone a bit pear-shaped!

I tend to weigh myself far too often, curious about how much my weight fluctuates during a week/day… Did you know for example that I lose an average of 3lb overnight? I must be a very restless sleeper cos I’m sure I dont lose that much during an average WOD!.

Anyway, I have been losing typically 1lb a week fairly consistently and was very happy with that as eventually I will get to where I want to be, and I am clearly putting on muscle from my Cross fit sessions. However, about 2 weeks ago, I suddenly put on 4lb! WTF I thought, how the shitting hell has that happened? Who the fuck has spiked my food? Four weeks effort down the tubes!

I was to say the least slightly apoplectic (always wanted to use that word) and ready to throw in the towel. May be I just needed a big poo? I really couldn’t understand what had gone wrong or what had changed – at least that was my story at the time …

I can now confess that I knew exactly what had gone wrong. In a single week I had fallen off the Paleo track twice.

The first time was staying in a hotel in Bromley. I was eating in my room and ordered steak and salad and was very clear that I didn’t want chips – It duly arrived without chips, but with a fucking huge bread roll!

There was no mention of the roll in the description so maybe the chef had thought he was doing me a favour, or was secretly trying to de-rail my Paleo efforts. Whatever, I wasn’t tempted. I ate the steak and salad, and left the role on the tray where it stayed, just in the corner of my eye…

I should have put it outside the room but I didn’t.

Over the next two hours it stared at me. I’m sure at one point it spoke to me.

“eat me, you know you want to”

“I don’t” (yes, I am now talking to a bread roll)

“Eat me, no one will know”

“I don’t want to eat you”

“Is it because you can’t”

“No, I just don’t want to eat you”

“Are you scared of what might happen”

“No, of course not… but I am curious…”

The rest is a blur, but I was suddenly surrounded by crumbs and empty butter wrappers with a butter stained knife in my hands. ” Oh shit, WTF have I done?”

Of course, all I had done was eaten a (very large) bread roll, but I was expecting my stomach to expand uncontrollably and then explode, rather like the scene from Alien. It didn’t, although I did feel uncomfortable and burp a lot (and I mean a lot) probably more to do with the speed at which I had consumed the offending roll, rather than its effect on my stomach.

This event was swiftly followed by another conversation two days later, but this time with a large sausage roll meant for George after he had finished playing Rugby (there were two, so he didn’t go without). Similar outcome, but this time sat in my car surrounded by pastry crumbs…

The net result of these two events? – I assume the inflammation we read so much about from gluten and the additional weight gain. Proof or coincidence I don’t know, but me and gluten are now no longer speaking to each other!

There is a line…

Along the Paleo journey I have been introduced to some interesting new (and healthy) food options, all of which I have been assured are “good for you”, and most of which are nice. But there have been the occasional “you want me to eat/drink what?” moments

On the good side…

I must give a big shout to my still favourite snack from The Naked Ape (http://www.thenakedape.co.uk). these are absolutely fantastic and have saved me on numerous occasions from having to eat crap – I always keep a couple in my case for emergencies. They wont fill you up, but they will keep you going for a few hours when your surrounded by sandwich shops!

I am also (probably not completely a good thing) becoming addicted to very dark chocolate – at least 80% cocoa, and have been amazed by how much difference there is in flavour depending on the origin – I think I am well on my way to becoming a chocolate snob/bore

Coconut – who knew? Me and Mrs Trog are on three a week (shared) and had a mild panic this week when Morrison’s didn’t have any on display. We were saved from having to write a ‘strongly worded letter’ by a very helpful man who got us three from ‘out the back’. (I always offer to open them so I can have the milk…)

My latest discovery in the ‘good things’ list is the ‘bulletproof coffee’. I did hear about these some time ago, but I dismissed them as somewhat fanatical in nature – they really do sound horrible when you read how to make one, and you will wonder why spoil a good cup of coffee? However, I was very wrong – they are delicious and easy to make, and can easily get you through a morning if you have no time for a decent breakfast!

On the bad side…

There is however, and should be, a line that no man be asked to cross. It is a good rule in life that nothing green should be drunk. Take Crème de Menthe for example – do you know anyone that has survived a Crème de Menthe hangover? – exactly, always fatal. So when I returned from holiday to see instructor Pete drinking a green liquid, I had to demand WTF is that? I was offered a taste… I tried it… it tasted like green stuff. I have green stuff growing on the flat roof of my kitchen. I can see it from the bathroom and have often wondered what it is and how I could get rid of it. I have NEVER wondered what it would taste like scraped off and blended into a green drink!… but now I know… it tastes like shit.

Now I am sure you can send off for a DVD on just how good for you this green stuff is, and I am sure they will say it is soooooo good that it is more than worth the £40 it is going to set you back. However, I think we are drifting too far away from the caveman here and into Neanderthal territory

I will not be partaking of the green stuff… EVER… unless of course the DVD says it makes your penis bigger, in which case £40 is a bargain!