Posts Tagged by crossfit games

Amanda Allen – Proving Fitness and Well-Being Can Begin At Any Age

What things come to mind when you think of the fittest people in the world?  I would bet that a 43 woman would not be in that list and that’s because you haven’t met Amanda Allen.  Amanda has won the CrossFit Games Masters Division (40-44) for two consecutive years and is here to prove that fitness and well-being can begin at any age.

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Amanda’s story isn’t that of a typical athlete.  After years of struggling with alcohol addiction and depression, she decided it was time to make a change at the age of 34. Amanda dove head first into a new adventure and became a World title triathlete.  From there, she took on the sport of Kneeling Canoeing which had recently become an Olympic event.  She devoted herself to the sport with the hopes of making the Olympic Team and turned CrossFit while training as a way to increase her strength.  She did not make the cut, but the story doesn’t end there.  At the age of 41 with only six months of training under her belt, Amanda qualified for the CrossFit Games and placed 19th among the fittest women in the world, some of which were half her age.  AMAZING.

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Photo Source: Amanda Allen

Amanda has continued to get stronger and better at the sport.  Not only has she won the Women’s 40-44 Masters Division at the CrossFit Games in 2013 and 2014, she signed with the National Professional Grid League team the Philly Founders, which has brought her to the States from Australia for an extended stay.  Since the coach of the Founders is also the Owner and Head Coach at my gym, CrossFit Milford, we have been lucky enough to have had her training here for the past few months.  

Photo Source: Amanda Allen

Photo Source: Amanda Allen

Amanda was awesome enough to sit down with some of the female athletes at CFM to talk about training, nutrition, and overall mental health one Saturday afternoon and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hear what she had to say.  She shared her journey to the CrossFit games, training techniques and nutrition regimens.  She talked about the “controlling the controllables” which are basically nutrition, hydration, sleep, recovery and perception.  We learned how to best fuel for workouts, new recovery techniques such as floating, how tracking your menstrual cycle can help improve performance and a ton of other useful information specific to women athletes.

While all of this information was wonderful and what I had expected out of the seminar, I found that what resonated with me the most was Amanda’s outlook on self empowerment and positivity.  We have 100% control over our mindset and how we choose to live our lives, so why not choose a positive outlook.  She reinforced that being selfish isn’t a bad thing and that in order to become successful and truly happy we need to empower ourselves.  We should strive to find inspiration everyday and in turn inspire others.  She has even begun her own “Positivity Project” by writing down 3 positive aspects of her life every morning to get her in the right mindset everyday.  

None of this would have been possible without CrossFit.  Amanda says that it is the most empowering thing she has ever done and sees how it changes lives around the world.  I know it has changed mine.  It has helped Amanda become mentally, emotionally, spiritually and overall physically stronger everyday, and I couldn’t agree more!  

Photo Source: Amanda Allen

Photo Source: Amanda Allen

What a privilege to chat with a professional athlete and feed off of her energy for an afternoon.  While much of her nutrition and competitive training advice was a bit extreme for my goals, her advice on self empowerment and positivity is something that I can start working on right away that will make a HUGE difference in my life.  I am making an effort to fill my life with positive people and to cut out all of the negative shit.  Coming to the realization that being selfish isn’t a bad thing can be difficult to embrace and for others to understand, but you can’t be there for others if you don’t take care of yourself first.  Setting priorities and goals are what got Amanda to the top of her game and if I can harness a fraction of that determination, who knows where I can go!         

To learn more about Amanda Allen, visit her website and her Facebook page.  She also has two books that are on my must read list for the near future: Eat, Perform, Win and The Time of My Life.  But right now, you should check out this great video of Amanda in action as she trains for the 2013 CrossFit Games…

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My Two Year WODiversary!

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I have never ever ever in my life kept up with a steady fitness routine for longer than maybe 6 months.  Even with all the races I have run and continue to put on my schedule for the next few months, I haven’t kept up with my training like I should’ve.  But CrossFit…well CrossFit has kept my interest.  And it has not only kept my interest, but I fall in love with it more and more everyday.  It’s challenging, it’s fun, it’s rewarding and the friendships I have formed from it are just the best.  What is not to love?!

While I’m not exactly where I would’ve hoped to be two years into this journey, the improvements to my fitness, strength and confidence are unparalleled.  Here are some of those improvements compared to the first time I attempted a certain movement and then from a year ago.

  • Dead Lift: 63# >> 220# >> 225#
  • Back Squat: 53# >> 145# >> 155#
  • Front Squat: 58# >> 128# >> 145#
  • Overhead Squat: 43# >> 73# >> 85#
  • Squat Clean: 45# >> 73# >> 98#
  • Power Clean: 63# >> 103# >> 128#
  • Power Snatch: 53# >> 73# >> 78#
  • Thruster: 33# >> 75# >> 93#
  • Close Grip Bench: 48# >> 90# >> 95#
  • Shoulder to Overhead: 33# >> 85# >> 110# (split jerk)

Never in my life did I think I could lift over 100 pounds over my head…that’s insane to me! And the funny thing is, the clean & jerk is now my favorite movement.  I could do them all day!

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I still need to improve on the gymnastic movements like handstands and pull ups.  Hell, I still need to get an actual pull up!  Oh and double unders…I am ready to master those things.  But while those are not my strong suit, I have improved my box jumps and burpee efficiency by leaps and bounds.  

Other highlights in my CrossFit life this past year have included participating in Barbells for Boobs and raising money for breast cancer early detection screenings.  I can’t wait to do this again this year and I’m hoping to complete it in under 5 minutes this time!

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Also, attending the both the CrossFit Games Northeast Regional Competition and the actual CrossFit Games were probably the most inspirational and motivating ways to keep me moving forward with my training.  To see those dedicated athletes complete movements that I’m familiar with is simply amazing.

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My goals for the next year are to…

  • Get a pull up…I’d be happy with just a kipping pull up!
  • Master double unders
  • Get over 100 pounds in all of the movements above
  • Complete Grace in under 5 minutes
  • Get comfortable upside-down (aka doing handstands)
  • Get over my fear of box jumps!  

Totally doable!!  

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Coming up in just 7 weeks I will be competing in my first CrossFit competition…yikes!!  It’s the Disney Fit Challenge at Walt Disney World (of course it is at Disney!) and I’m going down with my lifting partner and life twin, Kat.  I’m beyond nervous excited!

So here’s to another year of lifting heavy things, getting faster, getting stronger, and just feeling RAD.  Big thanks to my coaches at CrossFit Milford, especially Jay, Colin, Ryan, Gina, Cesar, Dan and Amanda for always pushing me to be better and always believing that I can do the impossible.

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My 6 Favorite Things From The 2014 CrossFit Games

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The CrossFit Games are like no other sporting event I’ve ever experienced.  I’ve been to some major events, like the Stanley Cup Finals and the Indianapolis 500, but this was something else entirely.  The community, the camaraderie, the athleticism…unparalleled!  I could go on and on about it, but instead I thought I’d share some of my favorite things about the games.

1. My First View of the Stadium

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Walking into the soccer stadium for the first time was AMAZING!  I had seen it on TV in prior years, but being there and seeing the actual scale of the games gave me chills.  Also, the final heat of the Big Bob 100 started right when we walked in and it was crazy to see those teams move that sled.  I knew right away this was going to be an amazing weekend!

2. Vendor Village

You don’t find many CrossFit products in mainstream athletic stores like Dick’s and Sports Authority, so buying gear online becomes the norm.  Well not here…there were a TON of booths full of apparel, accessories and the newest in fitness equipment.  You could try things out, try things on and chat with the companies directly.  Here are 2 shirts that I got…LOVE the Kettlebell Monster one from one of my favorite apparel shops, SoRock.  I had picked up a few fun things at Regionals and was happy to see them there again!

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Some of the vendors has also set up mini-challenges at their booth which attracted a lot of attention.  Human X (the company that sponsored the contest I won) had a great rig set up with a few barbells for people to test their strength.  It was really fun to watch!

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3. The GIANT Reebok store

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The highlight of the Vendor Village was the GIANT Reebok.  There was so much great CrossFit gear…I just wanted to buy everything!  However since the Games actually started with the Masters competition 3 days prior, a lot of sizes were gone and mainly only XS and S was left.  Yeah this girl isn’t fitting into either of those sizes!

While there I got to try on the new Nano 4.0s and instantly fell in love!  I didn’t think anything out beat my 2.0s but these seemed magical!  I didn’t love any of the colors they had, so I going to splurge and make a custom pair….totally worth it.  I also tried on a pair of the Lifter 2.0s since I’ve been really wanting a pair of lifting shoes.  Again I didn’t like the colors they had available there, but it did lead to this purchase as soon as I got home šŸ™‚

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4. The Air Conditioned Beer Tent

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I don’t really think this needs explanation.  There was beer AND air conditioning (yes it was pretty warm at the Games) which made it an awesome place!  You can see a lot of other people agreed.

5. Seeing My CrossFit Idols

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Front and center in that photo are Rich Froning and Jason Khalipa…two legends in the sport of CrossFit and I got to see them in action.  Super cool!  I was especially excited to see Jason Khalipa because not only is he an amazing athlete, but he is a stellar businessman and just an all around humble and nice guy.  He is someone I look up to in many areas of life.

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And let’s not forget the kickass ladies!  Seeing women in the team competition deadlift over 350 pounds was stunning.  Then to see some of my idols like Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, Julie Foucher and Annie Thorisdottir not only do things I could never dream of doing, but also have all 3 land on the podium was probably the most inspiring thing of the weekend.  We ladies can kick some serious ass and they somehow manage to still look good doing it!

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6. Watching the Final WOD…My Favorite WOD   

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To get into the tennis stadium to see the final WODs of the day, you needed a fancy gold band.  Well on our last day, those amazing folks at Human X were nice enough to give B and I two of theirs.  WOW.   

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The final WOD was Grace…my favorite WOD, so this was even more exciting!  Grace is 30 clean & jerks for time at 135# for men and 95# for women.  This is my favorite WOD because those are my two favorite movements.  I first met Grace at the Barbells for Boobs charity event last year and let’s just say these athletes put my performance to shame.  Plus, not only did they do Grace, but they did DOUBLE Grace!  Most athletes completed that in less time than it took me to do the normal version…super human I tell ya!

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If that wasn’t exciting enough, we also got to see Rich Froning dominate the last 2 events and take the title of Fittest Man on Earth for the 4th year in a row,and Camille Leblanc-Bazinet finally won her first Games after years of competition.  Want to see it for yourself?  Check it out:


And those are my favorite things.  There was so much to see and experience that weekend that it’s still kind of hard to wrap my brain around the fact that I was actually there.  Now the questions is, do I start saving now so I can go again next year???

Were you at the CrossFit Games or did you watch it?  What were your favorite things?

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Getting to the Games

What a surreal week I had last week!  It’s still kind of unbelievable that I was the big grand prize winner of the Get to the Games contest from HumanX Gear.  I mean…those things just don’t happen…but it really did!!

Last Tuesday I put on my big girl pants and got on that non-stop flight to Los Angeles. Thanks to some extra leg room and free wi-fi on our JetBlue flight, it actually went by fairly quickly.  I’m sure being exhausted from the 3:30 am wake up call and the 1 mg of Ativan also played a part in that as well šŸ˜‰

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Our first stop in L.A., Disneyland of course!  If I was going to make the trip all the way to the west coast, I wasn’t going to pass up a visit to The Happiest Place on Earth.  We spent 3 fun filled days touring the parks and eating our faces off.  I really fell in love with Disneyland this time around…more about that to come on Running at Disney in the next few weeks!

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Friday it was time to Get to the Games!!  We didn’t have a car while at Disneyland because 1. everything is in walking distance and 2. they charge hotel guests $17/day to park…crazy!  We lucked out that the rental car location was about 200 meters across the street from our hotel room…couldn’t have worked out any better.  

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Leaving the Disneyland bubble and driving around L.A. was both interesting and overwhelming.  I’m not a nervous driver, but when we got on the 405 I was SO happy B was driving.  Seven lanes of traffic is too chaotic for me!

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The drive from Anaheim to San Pedro where our hotel was took about 40 minutes. Heading into San Pedro we drove through the Port of Los Angeles, which is the busiest shipping container port in the United States.  The photos do not do justice to the size and scale of this port.  I was completely awestruck and continued to be all weekend everytime we drove by.  This was one of the few things I was impressed by in L.A., but more on that later.

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We arrived at the DoubleTree San Pedro and were happy to find that our room was ready. Yay for early check-ins!  We were given some yummy warm cookies and headed up to our room that overlooked the gorgeous marina…oh and the GIANT port in the background. Can you tell I am still shocked by the size of that port??  Seriously…that shit was crazy huge! 

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I also received an awesome gift basket from HumanX that included t-shirts, snacks and of course our CrossFit Games wristbands!!

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We quickly unpacked and headed up to the StubHub! Center in Carson for our first day at the Games.  Oh the awesomeness that we were about to see…and the miles we were about to walk…

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More to come on the Games, the Vendor Village and some thoughts on L.A. in general from this East Coast girl šŸ™‚  Stay tuned!

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I’m Going to the CrossFit Games!!

Can you believe it?!?  I’m going to the CrossFit Games!!  

Last week I was notified that I was the Grand Prize winner of the “Get to the Games Sweepstakes” from HumanX and WOD Talk.  Seriously…I AM THE GRAND PRIZE WINNER!!!  I have to admit that I’m still in a state of shock about all of this and the past week has been a whirlwind, but I am just beyond excited about this opportunity!!

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So here is what I won: a Trip for 2 to the 2014 CrossFit games, including airfare, hotel, rental car, 3-day tickets to the Games, a prize pack of HumanX gear, a WOD Talk annual subscription, and other great prizes from our incredible Sweepstakes partners: RX BarPrimo ChalkPrimal Life Organics, Pure Pharma, KT TapeNatural Force, and King Kong Apparel.  Is this real life???

This goes to show that anything is possible.  Little old me entered a contest that I saw on Facebook and now I’m headed out to California to watch the most elite athletes compete in my favorite sport.  Wow.

Since we will be in the Los Angeles area, it seemed like an obvious decision to extend our trip a few days and visit Disneyland, which is also a dream come true!  After my whirlwind trip out there last year, I honestly didn’t think I would ever have the means to return and now I can!  

Make sure to follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to see all the goings on from the CrossFit Games and my adventures in Disneyland.  Big thanks go out to HumanX and WOD Talk for this opportunity!  

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