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‘Clean Up, Power Up’ – My experiences cleaning up my eating. (11/27/2017)

‘Clean Up, Power Up’
Recent experiences with cleaning up my eating.

by, Coach Jen Wirth

I’d been on a sugar roller coaster for months. I knew I needed to get off, but man I was dreading the process. Right around the time I started getting realistic about stopping the insanity and tamping down on my daily sucrose overdose, Jenny Providence, of City Acupuncture (and wife of Wildcat Owner Noah Providence) started running one of the most comprehensive and informative nutrition classes (in my opinion) available (to lay people) anywhere, right here at Wildcat CrossFit. I knew I needed help, so I jumped in to check it out.

Eight weeks later, I’ve all but stopped consuming soda, candy bars, ‘freshly baked’ pies, and even alcohol. The whole while I’ve never felt deprived or stressed out because I wasn’t sure what I could eat. I’ve never felt ‘hangry.’ And I’ve rarely felt hungry at all. It’s been by far the most effective, gentle and gradual way I have ever shifted my eating habits…and because of this I think the changes I’ve made will be sustainable without external support for quite some time.

I used to eat most of the Cheese-its
out of the Wildcat vending machine.
Not for the last month though,
and that’s quite something.

I’ve been a very healthy eater before, maintaining a low carb diet that was heavy on vegetables periodically for years at a time. This year my diet got way out of wack. Several months ago I sustained a major injury and, as a result, I experienced a serious amount of chronic pain and discomfort during the months-long healing process.

Here’s that story in a nutshell: While I was making coffee one morning, the kettle slipped out of my hand and hot water splashed across my tummy. A nice swath of my stomach felt like it was on fire for a good two or three weeks. And then there was the itching that accompanies the healing of a burn. I’d wake up at night, scratching my healing skin back open. I had to sleep sitting up for months, and usually just for a couple hours at a time.

“I was on a sugar rush roller coaster to the point where it was a normal thing for me. I was dreading, absolutely dreading, weaning myself off sugar.”

The fog of pain, sleep loss, and continuous discomfort I was living through for those couple of months made me focus most of my waking hours on bare survival. When that’s your reality, it’s hard to make sure you’re eating your vegetables, at least it is for me. As it was the only comfort available, comfort food became a big part of my life. And after my burn healed … nothing changed in that department.

A couple months ago, I was still really struggling with these same bad eating habits I’d picked back up after my injury. I was eating sugary foods, ice cream, pie, candy bars, and drinking soda, with reckless abandon. I knew the way I was eating was unsustainable long term. High blood sugar levels on a regular basis lead to the formation of blood clots and increase your chances of heart attacks and strokes. Not to mention Type 2 Diabetes and just generally feeling like crapola. I knew that I had to make a change, but I was dreading, absolutely dreading, the symptoms of sugar withdrawal.

I’d detoxed myself off sugar before, and I wasn’t looking forward to doing it again. My sugar detox symptoms typically include headaches, crabbiness, moodiness, tiredness, and I can get pretty grumpy and blue. Usually it has taken a week or two before the cravings go away and I start feeling like a happy human being on the inside again.

To complicate matters, I’m also a survivor of 30 years of obsessive dieting that included both food and caloric restriction. I finally stopped this behavior several years ago (thanks in large part to CrossFit:). Because of my history with food and eating, it is difficult for me to radically change my eating patterns quickly without stress.

I highly recommend you let Jenny
tell you a story or two about the comparative
digestive pathways of sugars and fats.
It will change the way you look at your plate.

Even though it’s very healthy for most people to do eating programs like ‘The Whole 30.’ For me, limiting the number of foods I am ‘allowed’ to eat for a certain ‘time period’ really pushes my buttons and stresses me out. I don’t like doing it, and I know from experience that don’t usually stick with ‘eating clean’ for long after those 30 days are over. This time, if I was going to go to the trouble of starting to eat right, I wanted to be able to keep eating right.

I needed to get my diet back in check, and I wasn’t sure I could do it alone. Jenny’s class provided alternative healthy recipes and support. And thank goodness for that, it turns out I needed it.

Jenny’s nutrition class, which was framed as the ‘Clean Up – Power Up 6 Week Challenge’ helped me shift my eating off of sugars and grain-based carbs in the most gradual and gently way I’d ever experienced. Shifting my eating gradually, the way our small group of participants did during the 6 Week Challenge, was very effective for me.

Week 1: We increased our ‘good’ fat intake and eliminated ‘bad’ fats, such as vegetable oil, corn oil, safflower oil, and cottonseed oil. Instead of these, we focused on eating more butter, avocados, coconut oil, and animal fats. We also focused on getting more sleep and eliminating alcohol for the duration of the challenge.

It turns out that when you understand how a certain food will impact your body, it’s easier to turn down most of the bad choices.

Week 2: We eliminated processed sugars and carbohydrates. Guess what? You can still eat sweet things if you do this! You just eat sweet things that also contain fiber…like fresh fruit and berries…or sweet potatoes (soooooo sweet!) and you can add butter too … and salt … and it’s got that salty, sweet, creamy delicious texture as it warmly rolls across your tongue and down your throat.. mmm mmm mmm! Highly recommend.

I really appreciated Jenny’s encouragement and her comprehensive, yet understandable, explanations of what roles different organs and hormones play in the digestive process. It turns out that when you understand how a certain food will impact your body, it’s easier to turn down most of the bad choices. Also, Jenny explained why choosing low sugar/grain foods is one of the the most important factors in determining whether or not your body will be able to easily burn body fat as an energy source. If you’re wondering why you have trouble losing weight no matter how few calories you eat, I highly recommend you let Jenny tell you a story or two about the comparative digestive pathways of sugars and fats. It will change the way you look at your plate.

Lasting effects, trending towards a healthier plate.

Because most of us have built up a tolerance to junky modern foods high in carbs (sugars) and sugars, it takes time to get your body used to performing the way it’s designed to perform. In order to make it do so, you kind of have to lay off of the junky modern food (and beverages) for awhile…for me three weeks was just long enough for me to start really feeling a difference, and that was about 4 weeks ago.

I’ve made a few non-ideal food choices since the Clean Up Power Up challenge ended: sips of soda, a donut hole or two; but I am in no way as dependent on a regular sugar fix as I had been prior to the challenge. I was able to minimize wheat and other grains in my diet, as well as sugar, soda, and most processed foods. I used to eat most of the Cheese-its out of the Wildcat vending machine. Not for the last month though, and that’s quite something.

I haven’t been able to start incorporating
[intermittent fasting] yet, but as far
as I’ve been able to take this challenge,
it has really changed the way I feel for the better.

As the class progressed (a total of 6 Saturdays), the challenges got a little harder for me to do. It turns out, part of eating well is spending a decent amount of time each day not eating.

Intermittent fasting, or limiting the number of hours per day you eat to 8 or 10 and increasing the amount of time between dinner and breakfast up to 16 hours was one of Jenny’s final challenges to us. I haven’t been able to start incorporating this practice yet, but as far as I’ve been able to take this challenge, it has really changed the way I feel for the better.

My general stress level is lower than it was before. My life is pretty much rolling along the same as it was, yet I feel much less stressed out than I did before starting this challenge.

Even though I wasn’t able to complete all of the nutrition challenges, during the ‘Clean Up, Power Up – 6 Week Challenge,’ I’m happy with what I accomplished. Also, I know Jenny will be offering another nutrition challenge at Wildcat CrossFit starting in early 2018, so I can get a tune-up then and see if I can take my nutrition to an even higher level.  I also know that (for me) the best way to have great nutrition for life is to ease into new behaviors. Continuously striving to do a little bit better, and keeping with the general trend of making healthier eating choices more often, that’s what works for me.

It feels good to feel good. If you’re interested in changing your eating habits for the better, and you don’t want to make a whole bunch of changes all at once, I definitely recommend taking advantage of Jenny Providence’s nutrition expertise the next time she offers a nutrition class at Wildcat CrossFit. The information she shares is powerful, and experiencing gradual, noticeable change in the way your body feels as you start to feed it differently. I can tell you, from experience, that experience is very cool.

“Just call me the PR queen” – Yvonne’s Adventures in CrossFit, Newbie Blog Nov 6-10, 2017 (11/17/2017)

Newbie Blog: Yvonne’s Adventures in CrossFit –
November 6-10, 2017 “Just call me the PR queen.”

by, Yvonne Moreno

Monday November 6, 2017

Holy Front Squats Batman!!!

After being off for a week, I came back to an awesome WOD.  I was super excited to see that we were working on squats today. I PR’d my back squats a couple of weeks ago and I was wanting to get another PR today.

Today’s WOD consisted of the following;

5 Rounds (resting completely between each round) of:
2X Front Squats at 85% of heavy (10 minutes before start to determine heavy)
10X Lunge + T Spine Rotation

Then finishing off with;

6 Minute Grind:

5X Renegade Rows
5X Kneeling DB Press
5X Toes to bar or leg raises

“I know I have more in me and
I can’t wait to see what this body can do.”

Just call me the PR queen because my PR today I got a 115 pound Front Squat!  Now I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but when I started CrossFit in June, I would use the ladies bar with no weights and was super done by the end of the WOD.  I know I have more in me and I can’t wait to see what this body can do.  Yes, I am overweight, and my journey is long, but if I keep winning at every step, it’s going to be one hell of a journey!

Tuesday November 7, 2017

Another day, another squat WOD!!

Again with the squats! Interestingly, today’s exercise was one that I’ve never done before. It’s the Squat Clean. I must admit that I peeked online last night so I knew what was coming. I did what I always do when I see something I’ve never seen before, I went on YouTube to check out a video. 

Drew took us through this particular squat in stages, which helped because my squats rock but my cleans, not so much. Today’s WOD was the following;

10 Minute Squat Clean Practice

Every 2 minutes for 10 rounds:

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 Squat Cleans
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Chest to Bar Pull Ups (or in my case ring rows)

I know it looks confusing, but it’s basically 1 Squat Clean and then 10 Ring Rows… in the first two minutes, 2 Squat Cleans and 9 Ring Rows the next two minutes, and so on and so forth. It easy at first, because the hard part of these two movements is the Squat Clean. Towards the end, however, I was dying. The very last round I could barely do the one Ring Row. 

I liked that I tried something I hadn’t tried before. I remember this movement from Foundations. Now that I’ve hit some PRs, it’s very satisfying personally. They are small PRs, but for me it means a lot. I am getting stronger. I would have never been able to deadlift 115 pounds when I walked in here back in June. I’ve come a long way and still have longer to go. Stay with me as the fun continues.

Friday, November 10, 2017

I had an interesting thing happen to me today and I wasn’t going to dwell on it, but nonetheless I am dwelling just a little.  This morning I had my annual work health assessment blood draw which is administered by a registered nurse.  So I go in the room and smiled and said my good mornings and sat down.  The nurse looked at me and before returning the sentiment or even before verifying that it was me by asking my name, she looked me strait in the eyes and ask, “Have you thought about having the gastric bypass surgery?”

Ok so for those who know me well, even for those who don’t but have been around me enough, I am not a little wall flower, shy girl, NOPE not me. Yet her question rendered me speechless. 

“Now that I’ve hit some PRs, it’s very satisfying personally. They are small PRs,
but for me it means a lot.
I am getting stronger.
I would never have been able to deadlift 115#
when I walked in here back in June.”

I’ve been a big girl all my life. As a child, and in my teen years, being bullied because of my weight was a regular occurrence.  As a matter of fact, if kids weren’t making fun of me, I wondered why. What were they up to? However, I’m a grown ass adult now. And I have never had another grown ass adult be so rude to me before. 

I mean, yes, I am fat. However, I would think that a nurse would be trained to ask sensitive questions like those. I mean, if she’d said, “Good Morning and your name is?…” and then asked me, it would have been fine. But she didn’t. 

She saw me the way the rest of the world sees overweight people. She saw someone that is clearly in need of help. I don’t know if she intended to be rude, or if she makes a commission with a local surgeon and just saw her opportunity, but it shook me up nonetheless.

This experience was an eye opener. Here I thought I was making progress. No worries though. I will work harder. I am actually hoping and praying that when she comes in next year the results of my hard work will be obvious, and I can show her that hard work is far better than what a surgery can ever produce. There, I’ve stood on my soapbox now it’s time to jump over it!!

Today’s WOD consisted of working with my old friend, the rower.  I used to love the rower because it got me out of running. Until the day I just ran instead of rowing, and I haven’t looked back since.

On today’s menu;

4 rounds of 3 minutes each
10 calorie row/ski/assault bike
10 deadlifts

6 minute grind:

10 V ups
15 second left side plank
10 Supermans
15 Second right side plank

I wasn’t on my game tonight. I was still reacting to my earlier encounter with the medical professional from hell. Yet I was here and I gave it my all. That’s something that you have to remember, there will always be someone trying to tear you down, whether it be in fitness or in personal life situations. Under no circumstances has anyone walked in your shoes. So, keep your chest up, look forward, keep the bar close to your body, and lift.

Thanks for coming on this journey with me.

More Adventures in CrossFit with Yvonne! – Wildcat CrossFit Newbie Blog : Oct 23rd – Oct 27th (11/14/2017)

 More Adventures in CrossFit with Yvonne!
Wildcat CrossFit Newbie Blog : Oct 23rd – Oct 27th

by, Yvonne Moreno

Monday October23, 2017

Last week was awesome and so here I am again.  I’m ready to start a new week with a new purpose and that’s to do my absolute best.  So I come in thinking that today I was going to “crush it” as Drew likes to say.

The almighty board says that today we are working on a EMOM (every minute on the minute) WOD along with pistol practice.  I didn’t think it was going to be as hard as it was.  The following was today’s WOD:

10 minute Pistol Practice

EMOM (until 50 reps of Thrusters):

5x Pushups
10x Double Unders
Max reps of Thrusters

Ok, so I started off doing overhead hanging cleans instead of Thrusters; we practiced these earlier, and I guess I got a little confused.  Ryan quickly corrected me, but like anything when you start off wrong, it seems like it’s not going to end right.

To be honest, this was probably the hardest workout I’ve had to do in a long time.  A combination of issues happened to me today.  First, I started off with the wrong move, then I should have gone lower on the weight. I wasn’t feeling well as I am fighting a nasty cold and lastly and, more importantly, I was the last one to complete the EMOM.  I hate being the center of attention, it makes me nervous and what happened?  Everyone finished way before me.  I ended up finishing up at 11 minutes and 57 seconds.

I was tired, shaking and upset.  I was upset because it was one of those days that I knew I needed to scale it back, but my ego got the best of me.  There’s that word again, EGO.  I was feeling so good about my progress that I pushed it, and then I went home feeling miserable and embarrassed.

I thought about it though, and I realized that I’m as human as everyone else.  A couple of weeks ago this guy who always comes in and is in excellent shape fell off the assault bike out of exhaustion. He over did it. It happens. This guy who’s goal is to get back into the military and is a superb athlete was just plain tired and probably shouldn’t have been working so hard.  Today was a bad day and I and I over did it.  It will pass and tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday October 24, 2017

So a couple of weeks ago, when we had a WOD that consisted of running, and more running, with a side of running, Drew mentioned that he would maybe publish a WOD online and then list a different one on the board.  Well kids, today was the day.  I don’t usually check the workout online ahead of time, however my friend, Anneth, noticed immediately that the WOD wasn’t what had been published. I just smiled and shook my head.  Trickster McTrickerson, aka Drew, just smiled when I reminded him that I was there when he thought up this maniacal plan.

On the board today was the following:

1 mile run (3 minute rest)
800 Meter run (rest)
400 Meter run (rest)
200 Meter Run (rest)
100 Meter Run
30 minute cap

What was published online was:

15 Minute AMRAP
10x Push Press
10x Front Rack Lunges
200 Meter Run

Let me tell you, we had a LOT more people at this running WOD than we’ve had on the last couple running WODs, so apparently Drew’s plan worked!  I did take him aside and asked him if he thought it was better if I rowed instead of the running, because I can’t run a full mile unbroken.

Drew told me he’d rather I run, but he said to take 30 seconds breaks when I couldn’t run anymore.  He said you can walk the 30 seconds or rest but you have to run, and so I ran.  I ran until I couldn’t, and took my 30 second breaks walking at a rapid speed.

Let me tell you that when I came in at 29:01 minutes, I was tired!  I ALSO made it under the 30 minute mark!  I was super proud of myself and so was Drew for that matter!!  The latter made me smile, because for a super badass, Drew can be a softy sometimes!!!

Thursday October 26, 2017

Happy Birthday Drew!!  My son and I decided that we would make some cupcakes for Coach Drew since we missed his birthday yesterday.  After our little birthday fun, I braved the walk to check out what he had us doing today.  It’s another chic!

Today’s workout was ‘Kelly,’ one of the ‘Girls,’ that group of the CrossFit workouts that helps you measure your progress.  I’ve never done ‘Kelly’ before, so I was excited to see what I would score on this one.  ‘Kelly’ consists of the following;

5 rounds for time:

400 meter run
30 box jumps
30 wall balls

“By the 3rd round I was feeling really tired, but I didn’t want to give up.”

I’ve been taking Drew’s advice when it comes to the running, and taking my time to make sure that my endurance stays level. Because of this, I’m getting a little faster at these timed WODs.

My box jumps are still at the step up level.  I’ve tried to do the jump, but I’m just not strong enough to make that jump.  I’m working on it though.

I decided to break up my wall balls into sets of 10 because those can get really hard.  By the 3rd round I was feeling really tired, but I didn’t want to give up.  I ended up finishing at 37:02.  Last as always, but as least I finished.  That’s my new motto, “at least I finished.”

“My legs were shaking, and I could feel my hamstrings protesting.  Another PR in the books!”

Friday October 27, 2017

Happy Friday Folks!  After yesterday’s ‘Kelly’ I was hoping to take it easy today, but that went out the window when I saw we are working on Deadlifts today.  I was super excited because I wanted to PR … today!

This was one of those slow WODs, which I like. I allows me to add weight to the bar slowly and reach my potential at my own pace.  Today’s WOD consisted of the following;

Deadlift sets:


Completing each set at the heaviest weight possible

Rest as needed between sets

I started at 65lbs for the first set of five.  I added 10 pounds at each round.  My last PR was 115 pounds, which I reached on my first set of 3.  In the end, I wound up with a new PR of 155 pounds.  My legs were shaking, and I could feel my hamstrings protesting.  Another PR in the books!  Another very productive week in the books.  I’m feeling better and better as the days go by!!!






Adventures in CrossFit, with Newbie Blogger Yvonne, October 16-19, 2017 (11/2/2017)

Adventures in CrossFit with Yvonne!

by, Yvonne Moreno

Monday October 16, 2017

Today folks I made CINDY my B!tch!!! Sorry for being so vulgar, but I was just so excited when I came in the gym to see her name on the board for today’s workout. Just a little reminder for those of you that don’t know what the heck I’m talking about: In Crossfit they use a certain group of WOD’s to measure your progress. Some of them are named after women and don’t ask me why. I have my own opinion about why this is, but I will not submit you to it.

Here is what was written on the board:

20 Minute AMRAP

5X Pull Ups
10X Push Ups
15X Squats

Core 4 Rounds

10X 1 Arm KB Swings
8X Russian Twist/Side
6X Strict Toes to Bar or Leg Raises

Last time I did Cindy was in July or August and I managed 10 complete rounds. Folks, today I completed 15 complete rounds, plus 5 pull ups, and 10 push ups. This, for me, is a significant increase in my strength and durability. These moves are simple moves, nothing special, but you put a time cap and ask someone to so as many and they can in that time, it gets pretty difficult. I was so proud of myself and I was beaming as I walked out the door. I mean my smile could not get any wider.

Tuesday October 17, 2017

I was still riding that high from yesterday’s WOD until I read the board today! On today’s menu we had burpees with a side of running.

I swear that I think Drew is trying to kill me! I laugh and bitch and moan, but I’m still here!!

Today’s WOD consisted of the two things that I think are my least favorite: Burpees and Running! We also worked on handstands, which I think will take me a long time to even get off the ground, but I work at it just like everything else.

“I was so proud of myself and I was beaming as I walked out the door. I mean my smile could not get any wider.”

10 minutes of Skill work on:


6 Rounds:
15X Burpees
200m Sprint

Needless to say, I was tired. Yet I completed it in about 19 minutes. I don’t know if I’m expressing myself right when I say that I am getting more durable. Is that correct? I mean I am not running the whole time as it’s a lot of sprinting, but I’m moving fast and I run as much as I can. I’m completing these running WODs in last place every time, but the key word is that I’m completing them! I’m feeling better about myself each and every time I walk into the door. Try it, I dare you.

Thursday October 19, 2017

Today was another one of those days that makes all of these worth it. I’m telling you that this week was one of those weeks that proved to me that I am getting better, stronger and healthier.

Check this out…

8 Rounds:
3X Back Squat
All reps at a 3,2,1 tempo (3 seconds down, 2 seconds pause, 1 second at top)

Now let me tell you that I’ve had issues with the Back Squat before. It used to be super painful to place the bar on my back. I definitely was doing something wrong and I talked to Jen about it. She corrected my form as I was placing the bar to high up on my neck and my arms weren’t hold it right. She also showed me a couple of things I can do to stretch and strengthen my back and shoulders.

“I’m feeling better about myself each and every time
I walk into the door. Try it, I dare you.”

The highest weight I’ve ever done on a Back Squat was 75 pounds and on that it was one and I was done. Today I started at 75lbs for my first two rounds and that was easy. I added a little more weight and took it to 85lbs for the next three rounds. I added a little more weight and completed one round at 95 lbs. This was hard but I said to myself, “What’s another 5 pounds?”
I added my two baby plates to take me to 100 lbs. I did my first round and I couldn’t believe it. It was hard and very heavy, but I did it and then I did it again!!! My back squat PR is now at 100lbs. Can you believe that? I still can’t, and it brought tears to my eyes later on as I was driving home.

Here’s where I get sentimental and you can stop reading if it gets too sappy, I won’t mind. This week was major for me because I judge my progress not by the scale, but by my ability to do things that I wasn’t able to do before.

My back squat PR is now at 100lbs.
Can you believe that?
I still can’t, and it brought tears to my eyes
later on as I was driving home.

I come in every time with a clean slate and take full advantage of what the coaches are trying to teach me. I don’t know many things in life, but I do know when people care and whether their approach is hard and unassuming or friendly and super encouraging, I know that they care.
The hard ass coach only wants to make sure that I do things correctly so I can take full advantage of the WOD and sometimes some words of encouragements come out and I secretly love that they do, because I know he hasn’t forgotten that I’m in that class.
The easy going and more talkative coaches see me and know that I am trying the best I can and are always there to make sure I’m working hard and cheer me on.  I know all the coaches care because they take time to correct me, encourage me, to ask questions and to listen.  Never in my life have I had this kind of encouragement in my health and well being; not by any doctor, not by any coach.  It was a powerful week for me.

Until next time…

Halloween Schedule (10/31/2017)

No 6pm classes today.

Update: Where is Coach Taylor and What Has She Been Up To Lately? (10/23/2017)

Update: Where is Coach Taylor and What Has She Been Up To Lately?

by, Coach Jen

Since leaving Tucson at the end of July, former Wildcat Coach Taylor Hill has definitely been missed. Not a week goes by where a Wildcat athlete doesn’t ask me, “Hey, where’s Coach Taylor been?”

When she left Tucson at the end of July, Taylor’s plan was to finish school up in the Phoenix area to save money and be closer to family. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I was able to check in with Coach Taylor this week to see how things are going with her these days.

Currently, Taylor is still working to finish her Bachelors’ degree at the U of A, by taking community college classes that apply towards her degree. She is scheduled to graduate in May ’18 from the U of A, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Sports Management. “I’m still not sure what I’ll do when I graduate. Still working on figuring all that out!” Taylor said.

Taylor is currently working out and she’s still Coach Taylor, coaching at Tusk CrossFit, In Phoenix. “Coaching at [Tusk CrossFit]  has been great! I love my box and the community has been amazing,” she said.

Speaking of CrossFit, Taylor has also competed – and placed- in a few big competitions since leaving Wildcat. She competed for the first time as an Individual at the Legion of Beasts Games, a 3-day competition from Sept 2-4, at Scottsdale’s Westworld Arena. No surprise to any Wildcats, Taylor took Second Place! Right on!

Competing as an individual was very different and I loved every bit of it. It was fun to see how all of the work in training has paid off,” Taylor reflected. “A lot of times we don’t see that progress day to day, but all of those days and those little things add up! It was cool to compete in such a big arena too!”

A few weeks later, on September 23rd, Taylor and competition partner, Steven Cesare took 4th Place in the Lanista Primus Competition at Old Pueblo CrossFit, here in Tucson.

When she’s not studying, coaching, working out, or sleeping, Taylor says she likes to spend her time hanging out with friends and babysitting her 2-year old niece. “Living closer to family definitely makes it easier,” Taylor said.

I asked Taylor if she has any advice for Wildcat athletes. She replied, “I would say, spend time working on those weaknesses and don’t avoid movements you don’t like or that are difficult for you! That has been so key for me these last few months. If you see a workout that you don’t wanna do, that probably means you should most definitely do it.”


‘The Big 3’ – Wildcat’s New Powerlifting Class – Is Awesome. (10/22/2017)

‘The Big 3’ – Powerlifting Wildcat Style

As you may already know, we pride ourselves on the variety of specialty classes we offer at Wildcat CrossFit. Recently, thanks to the enthusiasm of Wildcat Athlete, Marion Matos, we decided to add a new class focused totally on Powerlifting. Since ‘The Big 3’ started, the class and Coach Marion, have taken Friday evenings by storm! Every athlete who tries this class walks down the ramp raving about it when it is over.

[Quick note: The photos that accompany this article are from a different evening of ‘The Big 3,’ a night when the class was working on Deadlifts, not Bench Press.]

Recently, we had Wildcat Athlete Jessica Stewart attend a session of ‘The Big 3’ and share her experiences. This is what she had to say:

Jessica Stewart: Well….first off ‘The Big 3’ is amazing! I am moving my schedule around so I can make it to this class more often.

Question: Wow, that’s awesome! Who would you recommend this class to?

J.S.: I recommend this class to anyone, especially beginners. Because different muscle groups are isolated, targeted and worked, you get to really feel where your different muscles are. You also really learn to engage your core, this is key for beginners.

Coach Marion also explains why you’re practicing certain movements and is very hands on. She shows you exactly what she wants to see and corrects your form if you are doing a something improperly. Marion really pays attention and makes sure you’re not going to get hurt. And you can tell she cares that you’re truly getting the most out of the knowledge she is providing.

Q: That’s great! Let’s back up though, what’s covered in ‘The Big 3’ class?

J.S.: The class, “The Big 3,” itself focuses on the three main Powerlifts: Bench Press, Deadlifts, and Squats.

The day I attended, Marion was teaching Bench Press. I was excited because I learned to lift in high school (my dad was the football coach and he used to program weight training class), but I hadn’t really done any Powerlifting since then.

I had forgotten a lot, but as The Big 3 class went by, it started to come back.

Q: Tell us something about the Bench Press…

J.S.: In the Powerlifting world, setting up for the Bench Press is a two step process. You start by getting your body in the proper position. This includes making sure your shoulders are activated and your legs are sturdy; glutes tightened; core tightened. Next, you make sure your grip on the bar is where you like it and make sure your hands are evenly spaced.

Marion helped me make a great adjustment to my grip. I started off placing my hands a few fingers outside the groove of the bar. Marion corrected me a few times, telling me my grip was uneven. I decided to narrow my grip so that my fingers were on the bar groove itself. This felt more natural to me, and I didn’t have to worry about my hand position anymore. Totally cool.

Q: What other exercises did you do during ‘The Big 3’ to help improve your Bench Press?

J.S.: Marion had us working our all of the accessory muscles that are helpful during the Bench Press. These included Banded Tricep Pull-downs, as well as Dumbbell Pull-overs..
Marion had me alternate these two movements so I wouldn’t quickly fatigue my muscles. It worked and I kept going for much longer than I thought I could! My muscles felt super duper weak by the end of this class!

Cool fact about the Dumbbell Pull-over: It’s a movement that Arnold Schwarzenegger has boasted about. Arnold found this movement benfical to many different muscle groups; from the bottom of your pecs, to the abs, lats and triceps. And wouldn’t you know it, when I did the the exercise, I felt it in all of those places too!?

I laid my shoulders on a bench, lifted my hips up squeezing those booty cheeks and made my abs super tight. That helped stablize my body; especially when working on my breathing, which needed some work. Marion handed me a dumbbell, a good heavy one. Marion had me pull the dumbbell back behind me, extending towards the ground; I felt that stretch in my lats and triceps. When bringing the weight up from behind me, I isolated my chest and pressed the weight as hard as I could towards my rib cage.

How did you feel when the class was over?

J.S.: First of all, Wow. I haven’t felt my body get a “pump” in such a long time. Seriously, it’s been years! For those who don’t know, the “pump” is a tight feeling you get when blood that is carrying oxygen & nutrients is circulating in the muscles being worked; very important for muscle growth. Your muscles can get up to 4x bigger than normal due to the influx of blood flow. It is a crazy feeling! Marion said she actually saw the pump happening in my chest while I was doing the movements.

Q: Crazy. Is there anything else you got out of the class that you want other athletes to know about?
J.S.: Well, after a while all that focus on tightening and engaging specific muscles, and carefully controllin g your breathing, you begin to mentally prepare yourself for one movement or rep at a time. And this is a really cool feeling, you know? You will get there, you will achieve your goal. It just takes time and concentration.

Needless to say, I am in love with this class. Come check it out for yourself!

Adventures in CrossFit with Yvonne, Oct 2 – 6, 2017 (10/20/2017)

Adventures in CrossFit, Wildcat CrossFit Newbie Blog

by, Yvonne Moreno

Monday October 2, 2017

Today we worked on wall balls, running, and burpees. I have yet to master any of these exercises, so it was kind of a difficult one for me. Luckily, I’ve got determination, because if not I would have turned around and walked right out the gym door! LOL

20 Minute AMRAP

Whenever I see a long AMRAP, I know that it’s going to be exhausting. Today’s AMRAP was exactly that as it consisted of the following:

5 Burpee Pull Ups (that’s right a burpee and then a pull up :\)
200 meter run w/ball
10 wall balls

Oh my goodness, guys. I was wiped after this one. Anytime you add a run to an AMRAP, holy hell it takes the most out of me! But you know what I love about it and what keeps me coming back? It’s the freakin’ support that I get from EVERYONE. I mean, people see me barely moving on those 200 meter runs and they give me encouragement as they are running. It’s the “you got this” and the “almost there” that keep me going. I got home, crashed, and took a little nap!

Tuesday October 3, 2017

Today we ran…yup that’s all we did, we just RAN!!!!

So I think that when Drew was deciding what to do for this lovely Tuesday he decided that Yvonne just needed to run because she doesn’t like to run!!! Oh my God dude there was so much running today!

5 Rounds
400 meter run
1 minute rest
100 meter sprint
2 minute rest

And then…

6 minute Accessory
5x single leg DL per side
5x single arm KB swings per side
5 Half kneeling KB press per side

I was done by the end of the first round!! I didn’t finish the entire thing because we had a 30 minute cap, however I did get within one round of finishing, so I think that’s acceptable. At least Drew said that it was, and anytime Drew tells me that I did good, I believe him wholeheartly, because he’s a bad ass!!!

But you know what I love about it and what keeps me coming back? It’s the freakin’ support that I get from EVERYONE.

Here’s the thing about me and not giving up: All these coaches haven’t given up on me yet. No one in this gym has, as a matter of fact. My body is not conditioned for all this crazy exercise, but it’s getting there with the help of everyone I encounter on a daily basis. I went home super tired, but feeling proud of my progress!!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

And the torture continues…because why should today be any different from Monday & Tuesday!

Today’s WOD was:

400 Meter Farmers Carry (I used 2 20 pound DB)
15 Power Cleans
15 Pull-ups

Yes, folks this was my worst nightmare. The running from a couple of days ago was just exhausting but if you would ask me what my least favorite exercises are, I would rattle off, “Farmers Carry!!” straight off the bat.

After the first 400 meters, I came in for the Power Cleans and I couldn’t grip the bar. And I had to do 15 of those. I was in so much pain, but not the ouch I’m hurt pain. It was a “this burns and I’m getting stronger” pain, but it was pain nonetheless! It’s funny, because at one point I walked with the new girl Amanda, and she was telling me about how she grew up on the farm and she should be used to doing Farmers Carries, but you never get used to it. Good Time today folks!

Friday October 6, 2017

Here we are at the end of a hard week. Every day was hard, but I survived and now here we are and when I look at the board, all I see are push presses. After this last week I don’t think my arms can handle it. But like Nick explained, these will be easy well controlled slow and with plenty of time. He was right. The time allowed us to get control of these and make sure our form was right. Today we worked on 8 rounds of 3 Push Presses followed by 2 clapping push ups.

Like I said before the time allowed us to make sure that our form was correct. I increased the weight slowly and got up to 75 pounds which is my PR. Nick took the time to correct some issues which felt better on my arms. We finished off with a 12 minute grind of 10 alternating Z press, 10 KB Plank Pull Thrus and 10 V-ups.

It was a good week to test my overall physical health. I can absolutely tell you that 2 months ago I would have been rowing and not running. I wouldn’t have shown up for the ‘All Running All the Time’ WOD and my DB for the farmers carry would have been 10s instead of 20s.

I’ve come a long way, but there’s still whole lot of road still left to travel. After this week I think I made some coaches proud of me. My success is totally their success. Thanks guys for another great week at Wildcat CrossFit.

Yvonne’s Adventures in CrossFit, Sept 25 – 29, 2017 (10/16/2017)

Yvonne’s Adventures in CrossFit, Sept 25 – 29, 2017

by, Yvonne Moreno

Monday September 25, 2017

On this beautiful Monday afternoon, I found myself wondering why in the heck didn’t I stay home today. The answer came to me with a quickness. Because I love this place!! There you have it. It all came down to this, I love coming here and busting my ass. Because in the end it’s all worth it.

Today though I wasn’t too sure. I came in early and saw part of the previous hour’s WOD. Holy Hell what is going on here! I saw Coach Ryan participating and he was red faced and working really hard! LOL, don’t tell him I said that. So listen to what was on the board:

8 Rounds:
3x Front Squat (increasing of course)
2x Box Jump

12 minute Grind:
5x Renegade Rows
Floor Length DUMBELL bear crawl (yikes)
5x L Press (you sit on the floor legs out in front of you and press DB up)
Floor Length DUMBELL bear crawl (yikes)

Ok, here’s the thing, I can do bear crawls, the ugliest you’ll ever witness at a CrossFit gym, but nonetheless it’s a bear crawl, but today I had to add dumbbells!! Holy mother of hell!! Man though, today I saw people who have these amazing strong bodies struggling, and it put things into perspective for me.

“EVERYONE struggles, not just me.”

You walk into a CrossFit gym and see all these people in great shape and developing and shaping their bodies. Well, these workouts are not easy for them either. EVERYONE struggles, not just me. I love knowing that. It makes me want to be in this box with these awesome athletes even more then before!!

Tuesday September 26, 2017

So you know how the saying goes, “you learn from your mistakes”? Well, today I learned from my mistakes. I decided that today, since I had time in the early morning, I’d come in and workout with Laurie. Now, let me add this before I start my whining: If I could, I would workout early in the morning every day. I just think that for me, since I’m a morning person it would workout better, but I can’t so I’m usually an afternooner.

Having said that, I worked out Monday evening and then came right back 12 hours later and worked out in the morning. OMG I am in so much pain because today after all those squats last night and crawling on the floor I had to do Deadlifts and Burpees!!! Yes you read right Deadlifts and Burpees!!!

“Sore doesn’t even do what I’m feeling justice, but lets not talk about that right now…”

The positive thing about today is that Laurie introduced me to an alternative to a Burpee that really works for me. Before I would go down to the floor, attempt a push up, walk my hands back up, stand and jump and I really didn’t feel like that worked for me. Laurie taught me a new way that I love and feel working a lot better. I grab a bench, lean forward, put my hands on the bench, walk my legs back in a inclined position. And then I jump forward towards the bench, then stand and jump. This, by the way, looks better then what I used to do, too. Thanks Laurie!!!

Thursday September 28, 2017

Sore doesn’t even do what I’m feeling justice, but lets not talk about that right now because I have some good news today.

I don’t usually weigh myself because I just don’t think that the scale really proves your progress. For me, the gauge of my progress has been my ability to do activities that I hadn’t been able to do before, like run or jump rope.  However, today we had to weight ourselves at work for a wellness competition that I had reluctantly joined some time ago. Check out these results:

Today I am 26 pounds down from when I started this lifetime commitment to myself.  That 26 pounds that I will never see again!!!

Ok enough with the sappiness, did I mention that I am SORE!?!?! Today’s board revealed that this workout wasn’t gonna be any easier. Check it out:

A. 10 minute Pistol Practice

B. 21-15-9 with a 15 minute cap:
Burpees (I got to practice my new way)
Pull Ups/Ring Rows

I came in at 9:10 minutes. Not bad. I think that hardest part about this WOD was the pistols. I don’t have the best knees, but Ryan showed us some pretty good alternatives using the ropes, the rings and the pillars. I ending up using the pillar and the rope to hold myself up and found that it was easier and I could get lower then before. We finished up with some awesome stretching because, did I mention that I was SORE. I told Ryan as much when he asked. Apparently I wasn’t the only one!

By the way, Welcome to Wildcat CrossFit, Amanda!!!

Friday September 29, 2017

A great end to a great month…until I saw that we would be running a lot today! LOL!!!

Listen I want to explain myself. When I walked into this place I couldn’t run five feet to save my life. I worked at it. Now I can run 100 meters, take a short break and run another 100 meters!

So when the WOD calls for 400 meters, I only run the 200. First of all, I know I can, and I’d rather run 200 meters, than run-walk. So I’m sorry if you only see me running 200 meters instead of 400 meters. Believe me when I tell you that one day I will run to the end of that street with you, I promise!

Today’s WOD

5 Rounds:

10x Handstand Push Up (or in my case inverted push up by help of a workout bench, legs on the bench, arms down on the floor)
15x Air Squats
400 Meter Run (or in my case 200 meter run)

This one wasn’t hard, but it was exhausting. I was tired and I think I hurt my knee during the warm up so I was tired and in pain. 🙁 I wasn’t as sore from the week anymore, but I was tired.

It was a great week full of great things. And there are more awesome things to come, so stay tuned!

Yvonne’s CrossFit Journal – Special Edition – Two Weeks of Workouts! (9/11/2017)

Yvonne’s CrossFit Journal – Special Edition – Two Weeks of Workouts!

Week A: August 28 – September 1, 2017

Monday August 28, 2017

Hey kids, it’s time for another week of my adventures. Today we start the week on a good note because I got to bring my son to the gym with me. He told me that he likes to see his mama work out. He actually loves coming to the gym with me! I think he’s secretly in love with Jen! LOL!!

 I told Lauryn that I couldn’t do pull ups and, being the hard ass that she is, she insisted that I get on a box and try a jumping Pull-up.

Today we started with a quick warm up and got into the workout immediately. We got into the AMRAP with a quick set up to make sure we knew what every movement consisted of. The set included 5 handstand push up or regular push ups, 10 box jumps, 5 ring dips, 10 lunges (per side), 5 pull ups or jumping pull ups and 10 air squats. I was ok with everything except the pull ups. I told Lauryn that I couldn’t do pull ups and being the hard ass that she is, she insisted that I get on a box and try a jumping pull up.

This is what I love about coming to this gym. My very comfortable limits are pushed daily. My success in here is due to the fact that no one is letting me get comfortable. I’ve never even stood on a box higher then the little baby foot high boxes and today I stood up on a big girl box and reached up and touched that dreaded bar. I put my hands around that bar and jumped up to get my head above that bar and I wasn’t scared! Thanks for pushing me Lauryn!!

Needless to say, I crushed that AMRAP. My son joined me for the 400 meter Farmers Carry and we talked about his day and he kept asking me why I was walking with the “heavy things.” All I could I tell him was that I wanted to get healthy so I can watch him grow up to be the great man I know he will be. The perfect end to an awesome day!

Wednesday August 30, 2017

Rounding off the awesome Monday is today’s even more awesome Wednesday.

Today’s WOD is called “Death by Triplet.” Yes that’s right, the word Death is in the title. Oh my God I’m gonna die!!! LOL The set was 1 burpee, 5 double unders (jump rope) and 1 thruster. Here’s the kicker, you do these in a minute then at the start of the second minute you start and add a burpee, 5 double unders, and a thruster. You do this at every minute adding to each set, until the minute you can’t complete the set. I lasted 4 minutes, but those were the toughest 4 minutes ever!

So here’s today’s high. Noah and Zach were coaching. Zach is new and is learning the ropes of coaching. Noah hadn’t seen me jump rope yet. As you can probably recall, Jumping Rope was one of last week’s big deals.

When we were practicing before the start of the set he saw me jumping rope and was so excited for me that my light was beaming brighter then the sun! Zach asked why I was celebrating and I told him that when I started CrossFit two months ago I couldn’t jump high enough off the ground to get the rope under me and now I can get about 20 jumps without stopping. It’s the little things!!

We finished the workout off with a mini 10 minute grind of 5 single arm KB swings, 5 overhead stationary lunges, 5 single arm renegade rows. It was another great day at the gym and another great day on my fitness journey.

Thursday August 31, 2017

Last day of the month folks and here we are at it again! I came in early today and had time to chat with Jen about my progress. We talked about my goals and I didn’t have one. I mean I’m still riding high on my jump rope ability, but Jen’s right I need to start on my next goal. Jen suggested I work on my deadlifts. My max deadlift so far is 95lbs. So this will be my next goal!! Hold me accountable folks.

Today’s set was a 15 minute AMRAP of 10 hang power cleans, 10 box jump overs, 10 American KB Swings and 10 burpee broad jumps. Today’s high: Thinking that a light kettlebell would be ok to use and having Lauryn push me out of my comfort zone and made me use a heaver one … and finding out that I am stronger then I thought I was!

Friday September 1, 2017

So I came in today to a WOD which would push me to work on my next goal. I was just talking to Jen about Deadlifts yesterday and lo and behold: today’s focus is Deadlifts!!

The WOD today was a 21, 15, 9, 15, 21 set, which is horrible! I mean who would want to do this to us on a Friday? LOL!!

Considering the fact that today we have to do a total of 81 deadlifts, I decided that 95lbs would suffice.

I tried to go heavier then my 95lb max, and tapped out at 105 lbs. I did a couple of reps at this weight, but considering the fact that today we have to do a total of 81 deadlifts, I decided that 95lbs would suffice. Oh I almost forgot that in between these sets you have to take off and run for 400 meters. I scaled that down to 200 meters, because I can run that far.
Let me tell you that I was dying at the end of this WOD. However I joined the Yoga class because as I like to say, “on Friday’s we do Yoga!”

The deep stretch and awesome conversation is just what I needed to end another great week. Oh, and by the way, I’m down another pant size!! Boom!!!!

BONUS BLOG! Another Whole Week of Workouts:

Week B: September 5 – 8, 2017

Tuesday September 5, 2017

Death by Back Squats!

Today I learned a little bit more about my abilities in the squat category. My air squats are awesome, but all other squats need a lot of help!

Today’s WOD was a real eye opener for me. It consisted of 5 rounds of 5 back squats (increasing in weight) and 3 iron mikes (jumping lunges).

I told Jen that the Back Squats were hurting my back. She checked my form and saw that I was carrying the bar right behind my neck instead of lower down on the backs of my shoulders. The right way to hold the bar for a Back Squat is to make sure that your elbows are pushing back and up, holding the bar across the upper back.

Here’s where my mobility got in the way: My elbows weren’t cooperating. Jen showed me an exercise to help me with this issue. She put a band over the pull up bar and pulled one loop through the other. Then she grabbed the band with both hands and backed away from the Pull-up bar. Facing the Pull-up bar she extended her arms forward and then pulled her elbows back so that her hands pulled the band towards her shoulders/collar bone, squeezing her shoulder blades together.

Jen explained that if I work with a resistance band this way it might help me increase my mobility. Believe it or not, this helped my form a whole lot because it made me more conscious of my movement. As I was completing my rounds I become determined to stop trying to muddle through and start making sure that I am working on my form. I’d rather take the extra time on the form and befit from the movement.

Today was one of those days that forced me to stop and reflect on my goal. My goal is to make sure that I am getting the most from every workout. Sometimes we are in such a rush to get through, we lose the benefits of the movements. Take a step back and work on your form folks, believe me you will feel it and when you feel it, it means it’s working!!

Wednesday September 6, 2017

So with yesterday’s revelation I decided that today I was going to use Open Gym to work on my barbell moves. So I set up my rack and my barbell and weights in the back gym. I started off with a quick run to loosen up and then got started.

I set up to work on Deadlifts, Back Squats and Front Squats. My Deadlifts need work too, so this is as good a time as any to get that work in. I started with the Deadlifts and got up to my all time high of 120 lbs. I could have probably gone heavier, but after doing 5 sets of 5 I wanted to work on Squats and didn’t want to exhaust myself on Deadlifts.

I practiced my Back Squats with 65 pounds. My goal is to make sure I get these right before I start adding more weight. I did another 5 x 5 set on each Back Squats and Front Squats. I put in a solid 40 minutes of work, took another 200 meter run, and I was done!!

Open Gym but it was super beneficial because I was on my own at my own pace and I made sure I was using correct form.

Thursday September 7, 2017

Today was another lesson on thinking I can’t do something and finding out that I can.

The WOD today started off with 5 rounds of 5 Curtis P’s, 7 pull ups or ring rows, and a 200 meter run. The Curtis P is when you Power Clean the bar, lunge on each side and Push Press. Again, I think that I’ve got the Power Clean down with little tweaks here and there. However, I can’t get all the way down on the lunges, so I do what I call a ‘Baby Lunge’, I still feel it. I’m hoping that with time that mobility will come.

We finished off with weakness work on muscle ups and Pull-up work. Here is where I learned my lesson. Drew and Lauryn demonstrated the move we needed to work on. The move starts with hanging from the rings with your feet on the ground and body bent back paralleled to the ground, legs tuck under your butt; pulling yourself up to standing, crouching forward keeping your arms tucked tight to your side and pushing up.

So I saw this and thought there is no way I would be able to do this. I tried and got to the bottom position, but I couldn’t pull myself up because essentially you’re pulling your own body weight. Coach Drew saw me and suggested I start from further back so as to help with my weight distribution.

I tried it and I DID IT! Man that was so satisfying! Here again was a example of me not thinking I could do something because of my weight and a coach pushing me (this time it was Drew). So I have to say, Drew that you’re the man! You pushed me and I thank you for that! You’re my favorite this week!

Friday September 8, 2017

Today I was so tired by the end of the workout that I called Drew, Ryan and Lauryn, Jen! I’m so sorry guys, but I came in thinking that this WOD was going to be a piece of chocolate cake. Boy was I wrong!!!

Nick was coaching two of us today and I must say that I like it when it’s a small class. We warmed up with some lunges and a few other back and forth moves to get the blood pumping. Today’s EMOM (every minute on the minute) was a 15 minute scale to fit one minute exercise. Basically, you have one minute to complete the round however you want to complete it, as soon as possible because you get to rest for the time not used.

On the board, the set consisted of 5 pull ups or in my case ring rows, 10 push ups and 15 air squats. Because you have to allow some time for rest between sets you can scale it to have at least 10 seconds of rest and, believe me, you need every second of rest you can get! I ended up scaling it back to 8 push ups and 10 squats and this barely gave me those ten seconds.

Oh wait there’s more…

After the 15 minute session we rested for two minutes and then started what I am now calling The Burpee Torture or TBT for short! After a very short 2 minute rest we started a 5 MINUTE MAX BURPEE set.

Yes I said that correctly, 5 minutes of continuous burpees!!! OH MY GAWD!! I WAS DYING, but guess what? I did it and yes, it was hard and yes I was tired but I took my time and kept moving and just got it down.

No one is going to stop me from getting my health on, even Drew, who I am convinced sits in a dark room every night tapping his fingers thinking of new ways to kill me when he puts the WOD’s together.

We finished up with a Tabata (a session of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest) of V ups or in my case leg raises. I don’t know who I was much less who anyone else was when I walked out of the gym which is why I called Drew, Ryan and Lauryn, Jen!!!



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