20 things everyone new to Crossfit should know

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Lots of us know how daunting it can be to turn up to these doors for the first time.  With the sound of banging metal, grunting men (and women for that matter), lots of high fiving and banging music – it isn’t exactly like your normal gym but don’t be afraid… here’s mybigfitdiarys 20 things everyone new to Crossfit should know.   

  1. Lets get the hard stuff out of the way first… It will hurt (but make sure it’s the good pain not the bad, in which case you should stop!)
  2. Be prepared to sweat – a lot!
  3. You will bruise, blister and slash (DUs) – think of them as your war wounds
  4. When you start you will probably PB all the time – but don’t fear when you stop, it just means you are getting better
  5. Don’t be afraid to scale – we all have to start somewhere
  6. Don’t take the whiteboard too seriously – it’s you vs you and no one else
  7. Don’t cheat your reps – you’re only cheating yourself
  8. Learn the lingo – AMRAP, EMOM, RX, METCON – and if you don’t know something, ASK
  9. Nutrition is the most important part of your workout 
  10. People will tell you how Crossfit is bad for you, ‘it could kill you you know’.  Just make sure you find the right box and the right coach.  At the end of the day, make sure you know what feels right, do your own research and never let anyone push you to complete something you’re not comfortable with. 
  11. Always warm up
  12. Always cool down
  13. Don’t neglect the exercises/wods you dislike – you will learn to love them
  14. Your boyfriend/girlfriend/friends will begin to hate you – despite how good you think it is, no-one wants to hear your talk about WODs, AMRAPS and Paleo 24/7
  15. Your washing will increase – and it will all be fitness gear
  16. Your bank balance will decrease – everyone knows you need to match your nanos to your outfit, right?
  17. You will make some great friends – don’t be scared to talk to other members, remember: it’s not like your regular globo gym
  18. Always ask your coach for advice – they love to talk about all things Crossfit & nutrition so don’t be afraid to ask
  19. Don’t forget to rest and recover.
  20. Have fun!!!

If I’ve missed anything out that you think is of vital importance – let me know in the comments below!

Turn that button Green – Top 5 Instagram Accounts

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If you ever need motivation to get your butt to the gym, these are the girls to follow!

@average2athlete

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I’m not as much of an instagram stalker as I used to be but when I do, I immediately click over to Kayte & Julia at Average 2 Athlete.  They are my ultimate girl crushes.  On one side you have Julia, a badass Crossfitter & trainer, & on the other side you have Kayte a hard working PT & Mum to be.  Are you sold yet?

@catmeffan

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I actually have the pleasure of knowing this lovely lady through a friend of mine.  She lives and breathes health and fitness more than anyone I know and takes a mean piccy to boot!  Cat is also a blogger over at Imperfect Matter where she can be found posing in the latest fit fashion.

@hemsleyhemsley

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The Helmsley sisters are champions of real food and are doing their bit to bring clean eating to the masses.  They write for Vogue, the Guardian & Sous style and have a fabulous book out ‘The Art of Eating Well’ – that’s one for the Christmas list.

@fitgirlcode

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These ladies post it all – fashion, fitness food and fun!  I love to check in on what they’re wearing, what they’re eating and how their abs are holding up!  

@reviejane

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Another stunning Crossfitter from across the pond – not only is this girl owner of Crossfit babes Miami & an ambassador for the coveted Lululemon, she’s also an awesome triathlete.  She posts inspirational videos of herself training hard… every damn day. 

 

I hope you’ve managed to find some inspiration from this badass bunch and enjoy following them as much as I do.  

Remember to follow me on IG: @mybigfitdiary_ & Twitter: @mybigfitdiary for further updates.

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

 

pumpkin pie

Call me stupid, but until I became a fully fledged member of the fitfam I didn’t know quite how versatile pumpkin was.  Yes, I’d heard of good ole Pumpkin pie but that was the extent of my knowledge…

(I know, what had I been doing all my life – I mean PSL!)

Now, if you’re reading this from the UK, you’ll probably get where I’m coming from but in the US, pumpkin is no joke.  

Our friends across the Atlantic have pumpkin spiced oatmeal, pumpkin spiced Oreos, pumpkin spiced Pop Tarts, pumpkin spiced candy, pumpkin spiced Pringles, pumpkin spiced dog treats, pumpkin pumpkin pumpkin… the list goes – most of which is definitely not paleo.

My number one pumpkin treat has to be pumpkin pie – generally, I’m not a fan of all things pastry but this paleo version is different.  Adapted from Libbys Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe and made from just a handful of ingredients it couldn’t be easier…

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1.5 cup Ground Almonds
  • 3 tbsp Coconut Flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil softened
  • 1 egg

For the filling:

  • 1 tin pumpkin (425g puree) – I used this
  • 2 eggs – lightly beaten
  • 1-2 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup almond milk

Method:

  1. Pour ground almonds, coconut flour & a pinch of salt into a large bowl.  
  2. Add softened coconut oil and rub mixture between fingers until combined.
  3. Add your egg, mix and knead into a ball.
  4. Lightly grease your pie dish with more coconut oil
  5. You don’t need to roll out the crust, simply press the mixture down into your pie dish making sure to go up the sides. 
  6. Blind bake in the oven for 10-15mins, then allow to cool
  7. While the crust is cooling, add all filling ingredients into a bowl and mix well
  8. Add this to your cooled crust 
  9. Bake for 40-45mins
  10. Leave to set for 2 hours before serving

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Whats your favourite pumpkin flavoured food?

Let me know if you make my recipe and don’t forget to follow me on Instragram @mybigfitdiary_ & Twitter @mybigfitdiary

Go nuts for coconuts – Coconut oil

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For as long as I can remember we have been told that saturated fat is bad for us as it leads to high cholesterol, heart disease & obesity – the list goes on and so does the scare mongering.

However, new research has come to light that suggests saturated fats might not be as bad for us as once thought.

Now, before I continue this doesn’t mean you should go out and eat all the pies,

it simply means that you should pick and choose which saturated fats you consume as they are not all created equal – some can actually be good for us.

The difference being – some saturated fats occur naturally whilst others are manipulated through a man-made process called hydrogenation, which produces trans fats often found in biscuits and cakes.

Personally, I think if there is one thing that every woman (or man for that matter) should have in their pantry, it’s coconut oil.

Yes, it’s high in saturated fat (almost 90% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are saturated) and yes it was once believed to be unhealthy because of this, but it is now being reconsidered and is often a staple of a clean diet.

In fact, Pacific islands where coconut oil is often used show little to no signs of cardiovascular disease.

Coconut oil is also found to; improve heart health, increase metabolism & help to support the immune system.

I currently have 2 tubs on the go; a beast of a tub in the kitchen and a smaller tub in the bathroom.

It’s seriously affordable, especially in terms of skin care, a tub can cost as little of £6 which compared to the cost of some skin products is definitely value for money; not to mention that fact its hypoallergenic.

My top 10 uses are:

  1. Cooking (use as a replacement for vegetable & olive oils)
  2. Baking
  3. Moisturiser (straight on your skin or add it to your bath)
  4. Make Up remover
  5. Hair mask (comb through your hair and leave overnight, washing off in the morning)
  6. Supplement for daily energy (mix into green tea or coffee)
  7. Lip conditioner 
  8. Cuticle oil
  9. Deodrant
  10. Toothpaste (mix with baking soda and essential oil)

In the next couple of weeks I’m going to produce a video containing some of my top uses and how to make them – if you can’t wait for that I’ll be back on Friday for some Foodspiration!

Please note:  I’m not a nutritionist and all of the above is a result of my own research online, so please research further if you’re so inclined to. 

Pumpkin Spice Recipe

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Howdy readers,

Long time no speak, hope you’ve not missed me too much (I’ve missed you!).  Things have just got on top of me lately and I didn’t think it fair that I was here one minute and gone the next – I’m an all or nothing kind of girl.

Anyhow, I’m currently working on a new look for the blog and couldn’t be more excited to be back writing, training and creating in the kitchen.  I’m going to be posting on Tuesdays and Fridays as of next week so you know when to find me – I’ll also be posting on my instagram daily and am even hoping to start bringing you some videos.

I have to say, I’ve picked the best time to make my return to the blogosphere – it’s Pumpkin season – and boy have I got some great pumpkin recipes for you – there’s pumpkin pie, coffee, smoothies, cake and endless other ideas I’m in the process of creating for you… but first you have to have a great pumpkin spice and it couldn’t be easier – as long as you have a good stock of spices, all you need to do is mix - 

  • 2 TBSP Cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP Ginger
  • 1 TSP Nutmeg
  • 1 TSP All Spice

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 (You can multiply this as much as you like depending on how much you’d like)

I then made a paper funnel and poured this into an old spice jar, alternatively, you can buy spice jars here

…and there you have it, you’re now well on your way to create some spicy Autumnal recipes.

 

 

Hope you have a spooky Halloween guys and don’t forget to check me out on Instagram @mybigfitdiary_ & Twitter @mybigfitdiary 

Spinach & Avocado Smoothie

Hi, I’m Alison and I’m an Avocado addict!

It’s serious guys – I’m hooked and you should all be too.

Avocados are not only rich, creamy and buttery they are also ultra-healthy.

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ollesvensson / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

 

 Also known as the alligator pear, avocados are the fruit of the Persea Americana, which, native to Mexico and Central America, is a large evergreen tree commonly seen at 35-40 feet tall, and although this technically classifies them as a fruit they are more often than not used as a vegetable.

…and yes, we know, avocados are fattening, but don’t let that put you off –they are full of amazing nutrients such as vitamin B6, C, E & K, dietary fibre, folic acid, iron and potassium – which ultimately makes them the best kind of fattening!

I’m still shocked at how often I eat Avocado these days as I remember at the tender age of 13 giving this fruit a try (yes, I was an adventurous child) and absolutely despising it. To make matters worse, rather than waste the fruit, I mashed it up and made it into a face mask which only went and brought me out in a bright red rash. So that was that, avocados and I just didn’t get on…

Or so I thought – fast forward 14 years and they are a staple of my diet. I find it crazy how much our taste buds mature (although I’ve not yet had the guts to retest it as a facemask!?!?).

So what can we do with avocados beside mash them on our face…?

We can mash them with eggs for a start; or try guacamole, adding them to various salads, in cakes, on top of cakes (frosting), in chocolate pudding, eaten solo and even in smoothies.  

I know ‘avocado smoothie’ sounds odd and to be honest I wasn’t entirely sold on the idea – but its that good I just had to share a recipe with you.

So first things first – picking your avocado…

Go for an avocado free of blemishes, which should give when gently squeezed (but not too easily)

Preparing your avocado…

Run a small blade around the fruit from top to bottom and twist to separate. To remove the stone stick the length of a sharp knife into it and twist it out (but be careful)

And finally making your smoothie…

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Ingredients

• 1 Frozen Banana
• ½ avocado
• 1 large handful spinach
• 1 tbsp chia seeds
• 1 tbsp honey (or any other sweetner)
• 1 cup Almond Milk

Method

• Throw all your ingredients into your blender, pulse for a minute and turn on full power until completely blended.
• Pour into your favourite glass or jar and serve – et voila!

What’s your favourite avocado recipe?  Let me know in the comments below

Love Ali x x

what I ate Wednesday #2

I know I’m your typical blogger – absolutely awful at sticking to a blog schedule – but I do love a good WIAW – they help hold me accountable for every morsel of food I put in my mouth. 

I hope you love these posts too and they you some ideas for quick everyday meals.

So today I woke up at 5:15 to go to Crossfit (I know I’m mental right?!?) – I can never eat at that time so would usually grab a coffee with some MCT oil and drink it on my way out the door but today I was running late – I was so sleepy I even walked for 10 minutes with my earphones in and no music playing.

The workout today was a sweaty one – I even stripped to my sports bra for the first time EVER it was that hot – sorry to all who had to witness this!  So we did –

10 rounds x 1 minute

3 Deadlifts (RX 95kg)
Shuttle runs 5/15/20
Burpees for remaining time

Rest 1 min

Your score would be the number of burpees. 

After Crossfit I rushed home to quickly shower and walk the dog, I’m out of protein at the moment but had boiled some eggs late last night so quickly peeled and ate one of these. 

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I know this isn’t a great post workout meal but as long as I can get something in my body within 30-45 of training I’m happy!!

I took a further 2 eggs to work with me with the view of getting avocado on my way but again I was running late (yes – it’s a problem) so I grabbed a banana in the work canteen – cautiously edging round the oats - to eat with almond butter and my eggs (weird but strangely satisfying).  I try to think of my meals at carbs/fats/proteins so I guess this meal ticked the box.

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For lunch I had a simple tuna salad at my desk

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I then ate scoffed a Nakd bar which are my absolute favourites. 

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This was supposed to be my 4pm energy hit (damn how I need to whole30 again) so I then had the task of avoiding food until dinner time – anyone who knows me knows this is one mean feat!

This evening I had the arduous task of cleaning my make-up brushes and removing my acrylic nails – you girls know what I’m saying – so I coerced my husband into putting together a healthy evening salad of warm chorizo, red onion & grilled haloumi…

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Good job babe (my terrible picture doesn’t do it justice)

For a late snack I had a large square of dark chocolate; dark chocolate is so good for you as it’s full of antioxidants, just make sure it’s over 70% – mine was 85% Yum!

I’m proud of myself not snacking too much today - are any of my readers snackers?  If so, let me know your healthiest snacks in the comments below.

Ali x x 

 

 

Crossfit wants and needs

Being relatively new to Crossfit and hating to be underprepared, it wasn’t long before I started splashing the cash on some new ‘box bag’ essentials. 

Some things can be bought pretty cheaply and others are 100% worth saving for…

So, I thought it would be a good idea to provide any budding Crossfitters who may read my blog, with a list of items you will need (and some you will simply lust after) 

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A speed rope – when I first started I had a normal cheap ‘skipping’ rope I picked up at a local store but it wasn’t until I purchased a decent speed rope that I really saw my double unders improve.  You don’t have to spend a fortune on one either, I picked mine up from Amazon for less than £5.

Top Tip: Never leave it at the gym!

 

wraps

 Wrist wraps – from the moment overhead lifts were programmed during my classes I used wrist wraps.  At first I felt silly as I wasn’t necessarily lifting a massive amount of weight but if you have weak wrists like me (and a lot of other female crossfitters I know) I would highly recommend getting a pair… and again you can pick these up really cheaply on Amazon. 

nano

 Training shoesReebok Nano’s are the dream but again if you can’t afford them (there is a theme here) or you are waiting to see whether you want to make Crossfit a regular thing you can pick up some decent trainers for a decent price.  I have the Adidas Adipure which I would highly recommend, they are really lightweight and can be worn during a variety of exercises/workouts.  I wouldn’t  suggest using your running or regular trainers for your workouts as they have extra cushioning which can affect your balance and in turn mess up your knees.  I use mine in all my Crossfit workouts but if you get obsessed with Crossfit (like I am becoming) you might want to buy my next item…

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Oly lifting shoes – Since starting this blog post - (it’s been sat on my desktop waiting to be completed for a while now – I can be very lazy) – I went and purchased my very first pair of lifters.  They will give you better stability during lifts and make you look badass (or possibly all the gear no idea), plus these ones were actually on sale so who could refuse.

If you haven’t got these or are unsure about spending the money you can use an old (or new) pair of Chucks.  These are ideal as they have a thin, hard, flat sole helping you stay on your heels during the lift as well as being well balanced.  They are also great for box jumps, wall balls etc, the only thing you wouldn’t wear them for is those pesky long runs that are sometimes programmed to keep us on our toes.

foam roller

 

Foam roller – To be honest I did have this before but never realised it’s importance.  When you are training hard almost every day it’s imperative to take the time to stretch and work on mobility; whether it be static, dynamic or myofacial, we must treat it as part of the workout.  Most decent gyms will have these for you to use but I like to multitask and do my stretches sat in front of the TV.

 

 

A PB Card or journal - We have these at the gym which are perfect for keeping up to date with PBs or workout times.  Remember:  it’s you vs you – you are the competition!!!!

My final few needs wants are definitely for the girls -

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Bootay shorts (and a bit of my idol Julie Foucher) – Give it a few months and you will take any opportunity to get that ass out – Just be careful who is stood behind you!

 

 

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Headband - This is a no brainer, I hate seeing girls working out with their hair down (I mean COME ON!!) or with their fringe in their eyes.  Focus on the lifting – not what your hair looks like!

 

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Ring Cozy – This is my personal favourite and I would be lost without it.  If you have a special ring on a certain finger you will definitely be getting fed up with taking it off and on, not to mention the sore dry skin this can cause.  With a ring cozy you can leave your ring on, cover it up and even have a little peak now and again – just in case you forget what it looks like!

 

…and there you have it!  

Now I know there are definitely things I’ve missed off, so please comment and let me know, What are your Crossfit / workout essentials?  

Clean Eating Pesto

Today’s recipe comes to you in a bid to keep my meals fresh and exciting.  Eating clean can make it super easy to become bored with the same meals, which in turn can see us falling hard off the wagon; how many times can you eat the same chicken and veg meals over and over again.  

I admit it, when I first started on this journey I would batch cook all my meals for that week and it was more than a tad depressing.  Admittedly, getting creative in the kitchen can take more time which I know is a luxury not all of us can afford, but don’t fear, it can still be easy.  

Through Foodie Fridays (Yes I know I’m late) I try to inspire you to mix up your healthy meals using super easy methods and recipes.   

So with that said this week’s recipe has the ability to be used as a sauce or condiment alike, adding dimension to those clean (boring?) meals.

Here you have my super easy Clean Eating Pesto.

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Now this recipe is Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Paleo Friendly and before you start stressing over the fat content, remember it’s all healthy fats which are essential to a good diet & can in fact help you lose weight PLUS I have removed one ingredient and switched it for one of my pantry essentials making it suitable for a dairy free & vegan diet.

MY CLEAN EATING PESTO:

  • 2 Cups Basil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ cup oil
  • Salt
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • ½ Lemon – juiced

1.  Put all the ingredients minus the oil into a blender and blend

2. Turn your blender to 1 and slowly add your oil (I used extra virgin)

Simple as that.  Store in the fridge in your favourite jar.

You can use it on your Zoodles, in salad, on steak etc etc.

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Happy weekend fitfam! x

Food Friday – Homemade Dried Mango

Addictions can be sooooo expensive… and no, I’m not talking drink and drugs, I’m talking dried fruit.

Even more expensive if, like me, you seek out the good stuff – with no added c**p!

When I was younger I was obsessed with dried banana, I thought I was such a healthy child and it wasn’t until now in my late 20’s that I discovered the healthy snack was majorly  unhealthy – what a bummer!  Completely filled with chemicals and added sugar.

I actually grabbed a packet of dried mango off my friend the other week to discover it was only 60% mango !!!SIXTY PERCENT!!! so what else was in it I hear you ask – SUGAR – full on added sugar… as if fruit weren’t sugary enough.

Rant over.  

My obsession has now developed into dried fruit of the mango variety – now mango isn’t the cheapest of fruits but making your own does work out cheaper (especially if you live in America where I hear it’s ridiculously expensive to buy), and who knew how easy it is.  Even without a dehydrator.

All you need is:

  • 2 mangoes
  • 1 wire cooling rack
  • And an oven (well durr)

1. Preheat the oven to it’s lowest temperature (between 50-75°C)

2. Peel the mangoes

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3. Thinly slice taking care to avoid the stone (see tips below)

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4. Place onto your wire cooling rack and pop in the oven for 2-3 hours turning halfway

5. Let cool and store in an tight container to be enjoyed at your leisure – remember these don’t contain any preservatives so the shelf-life won’t be great (that’s if they make it to the container in the first place – they are delicious)

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Top Tips: Don’t slice your mango too thin otherwise they will turn into crisps.  Likewise don’t slice them too thick as they will take too long.  If you keep an eye on them you can take some smaller pieces out at an earlier time.

Happy Fri-YAY fitfam!

x x