I’m back & moving mountains!

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I’ve been a bad “blogger” for the past month. That being said- I don’t do this to “be a blogger,” just to give some insight from my experiences and to vent and to encourage. This is something that is meant to be fun & beneficial and recently, my life has been CRAZY and I haven’t made time to write, and that’s okay.

That being said- it’s time to catch up! I don’t even know where to begin. I could talk about “taking chances,” since my fiance and I just relocated to Birmingham (on a whim!) Or I could talk about God’s plan, because you WOULDN’T BELIEVE how things have fallen together since the move, or I could talk about how I’m working out at CrossFit Trussville now which is awesome because I wouldn’t be where I am now without my Coach Andrew’s guidance and now I get to work with him IN PERSON! These are all great things that need to be spoken to, but I think I’ll talk about persevering with faith & moving mountains, because guess what…

I’M GOING TO UTAH!!

I know that doesn’t mean anything to you yet, so let me rewind…

When I was drafted, I was given the news that I might be a “developmental” athlete my first year. This basically means that I would’ve been red-shirted, benched & prepped for the next year. I was okay with this, because I was honored to be drafted to the Fire regardless, but I wanted so badly to be able to compete. Our head coach Paul told me that active athletes will be flown out to Utah (where we compete) August 11th-September and that I would know soon if I would be there for the month or not. I’ve trained for long hours, at inconvenient times, missed out on some of the fun with friends and broken down into tears a time or two, but last week while I was at training for my new job with Kill Cliff, I got the text “Can you make it to Utah for the season?” and I about lost it.

Now it’s important for me to not go off on a tangent about my excitement, because you’ll miss the point. My life verse is Matthew 17:20, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain ‘move from here to there’ and it will move, nothing will be impossible for you.” This is my verse for everything in life, because no matter how big or small, we are constantly asked to move mountains to achieve our dreams and we can ONLY do this if we have faith in our role in Christ’s Kingdom. I knew that God would allow me to use this platform to further glorify Him, so I chose to move mountains. It’s a cute verse, people call it the “mustard seed verse” and there are cute necklaces for it and that’s all wonderful- but I think we overlook the magnitude of it. God is telling us that we can MOVE MOUNTAINS through Him. So why don’t we? Why do we give up on our dreams when they get hard instead of giving them to Him and asking Him to help us move that mountain? Food for thought.

I still have tons of work to do. There will be more mountains to move before our first match on August 18th. It’s not going to be easy, but it will be worth it, and I hope you’ll take this journey with me.

If you’re interested in watching us on the Grid this year, here’s a few ways you can:

1) NBC Comcast
2) Root TV
3) Digital: Amazon and/or Apple Subscriptions
4) 1 World Sports
6) Live Stream: the league states that all matches will be live streamed or nearly live streamed. 

And if you happen to be in Utah, you can buy tickets here: Smithtix.com

That’s all for my first post back, but remember- YOU CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS! Now go do it.

Until next time, in Christ-
Taylor Michelle

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Dressing Room Insecurities

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Learning to love the body you’re in is hard. Even when you work hard day-in & day-out to train, eat right, provide your body with the nutrients it needs. Even then, it’s hard to look in the mirror and really love what you see.

But I’ve done it, for the most part. I’ve gotten past the point of “oh my gosh my arms are too big, why doesn’t my waist curve in more,” and moved on to “look at the definition in my arms! Look at my obliques in that picture!” Used to, when people would ask me to flex, I would blush and shake my head- now, I figure if they want to see my muscles I might as well let them! I lost what little breasts I had when I got really strict into working out, and I’ve now gone from self-consciously covering my small chest, to going braless and embracing it (and it’s awesome.)

It’s not that easy, every day, though.

Like when I find the CUTEST pair of jeans and I go to try them on and they won’t make it past my massive calves.

Or when I’m trying on my favorite top from the year prior, and I have to call my fiancee into the room to help me take it off because it’s gotten stuck on my lats and I can’t get it over my head.

Or when I’m wedding dress shopping and a dress gets stuck because I decided to put it on over my head rather than step into it and my shoulders are too broad… and I laugh it off, but inside I cringe.

Or yesterday, when I’m alone in a dressing room, and I decide I’m going to purchase a romper even though it’s a little tight across my shoulders, and then I go to take it off and break into a panic because I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get it off.

Yeah, it’s not always fun…it’s not always “look at my muscles!” Sometimes, people you love say hateful things… “you’re not going to end up looking like *insert famous CrossFit athlete here* are you?” or the ever-popular, “you used to be so tiny!” And sometimes you almost hulk-rip out of an outfit in the dressing room because the outfit you almost bought turned out to be a little tighter than you thought it was.

But other times, other times it’s awesome. When you hit that PR you’ve been working towards and you realize that you just practically threw someone who is 15 lbs heavier than you from the ground to over your head. Or when you finally find a bathing suit line like #aerieREAL that accentuates your muscles and fits your small breasts and makes you look hot & feminine. Or, better yet, when you receive messages from people you barely know telling you that your life is an inspiration to them, that because of the changes you’ve made, they believe they can change, too.

I struggle with self-image, we all do. I want to look a certain way now, and sometimes I get frustrated with the process. But it’s important to remember that God has made everything beautiful in its time (Ecc. 3:11.) God is funny like that, sometimes He is so intentional in His vagueness, it’s as if he’s saying “you know I will handle it, be patient, darling.” So I remember this, I keep working hard towards my goals and keeping my sights on Him, after all, we are His masterpiece (Eph. 2:10.)

You are beautiful, you are loved, you are called Hephzibah.

Until next time, in Christ,
Taylor Michelle

Resting & “Mashed Potatoes”

Last week was my first “rest week” in a long time. Here’s some pictures from our trip (with my fiance’s side of the family.)

I learned a lot, just like I do every time I take extended periods of rest. I had a lot of fun and I gained a little weight and it was just what I needed.

The first three days were definitely the hardest. I’m talking, “oh my gosh, I feel huge please get me to the gym” kind of hard. Match the full rest week with the fact that I was on vacation (and eating like it) and running around in a bathing suit for 90% of the day, and you have a cocktail for insecurities. Yep, that’s right, I have insecurities… especially in a bathing suit on the beach next to my super hot fiance (seriously, he’s really good looking.)

Fast forward to rest day 3: We decided to get a quick workout, running & push ups and squats. I died a little in the Florida heat and humidity & so did he, but we made it through and felt a little better. After this, though, I realized how much I was enjoying my rest week… whoops!

The next 3 days consisted of a lot of resting, paddle boarding, bike riding, beach walking, and yes- bad eating. I enjoyed every second of my rest day, and for the first time in about a month my low back wasn’t SCREAMING at me. I was able to enjoy ROMWOD without pain and I was able to stretch and enjoy family time and sleep in (a little bit) and spend all day at the beach and it was glorious.

Fast forward again to my first day back, Monday: Coach Andrew made it obvious that we aren’t messing around with training from here on out! A two-a-day on my first day back filled with rowing & muscle ups & lifting… oh my! I survived, and the next day I hit a PR on my snatch at 155#. So far, getting back into training has been challenging but I can already tell the wonders that the rest week did for my body.

All of this to say- don’t forget that part of taking care of your body is allowing it to rest. Healthy eating and working out and taking your supplements is good, but if you don’t give our body recovery time, you’ll end up injured or hitting a plateau. I’m walking proof of what taking a break can do- PR’s and improved times & all!

Now, a new obsession of mine… MASHED CAULIFLOWER!
I’ve posted on Facebook about this recipe a couple times & I’ve had requests for it, so here it is:
20 oz. Cauliflower florets (you can buy them pre-cut or cut them yourself
1 clove minced garlic
1 tbsp low fat cream cheese
Salt/pepper to taste

Steam cauliflower (can microwave in bag if you buy the right kind)
Put 1/2 in food processor, puree it
Add in garlic, low fat cream cheese, salt & pepper
Add in additional cauliflower
Puree all together

I put it in 1 cup servings, it makes about 3! Seriously, this stuff is filling & tasty & healthy, what more could you ask for!? Give it a try and let me know what you think 🙂

I got the cauliflower florets from Trader Joe’s, it was my first experience there and I’ve officially drank the Kool-Aid. That’s another topic for a whole post of its own, though 🙂

In Christ, until next time!
Taylor Michelle
Matthew 17:20

Conditioning the mind to trust Christ

Good afternoon!

Tay
Here’s a fun shot from our quick engagement shoot with my mom!

This weekend was a hard one. I normally get to enjoy the outdoors, workout, hang out with my pups and breathe over the weekend. With the new responsibilities I’ve taken on, though, and a vacation right around the corner- that’s getting harder & harder to do. I fill my weekends with extra hours to make extra money and gain extra experience. I worked several demos this weekend, and on top of training, I didn’t have much “me” time or “we” time with my fiance & my God. I say it’s okay to miss one church service on a Sunday because I’ve gotta somehow get in training, work AND meal prep. I crash on the couch with my dogs & fiance when it’s all over because that’s the only way I am capable of “spending time” with them after all of that.

All of this leads to something we call stress. The worst part about stress is the effect it has on your mind and body, especially as an athlete. I’m really good at playing it cool, enjoying the ride and pushing through it all, towards the light at the end of the tunnel. That being said- when I start to feel far from Christ & overwhelmed, my temper gets short, my attitude gets strong and my relationships, body & training suffer.

Verses like Philippians 4:6,7 and John 14:27 need to stay tucked close to my heart at these times, and I always seem to be reminded of them when I need them most:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

They are easy to say, encouraging to read, but in the middle of a WOD while the weight is heavy and my heart is leaping into my throat and I can’t hit a darn triple-touch to save my life, these words don’t lift my spirit quite as much. When my fiance is asking the same question for the umpteenth time and I am sick and tired of repeating myself and I feel like nobody ever listens to me, I don’t feel very peaceful and when I don’t see eye-to-eye with someone, I have a hard time of listening and giving kindness & forgiveness. I say harsh words, I snap, and I’m not proud of it.

I’m human. I have to repent, have to offer love and ask for forgiveness. I have to repair relationships just like I have to repair my body after a long day of training.I’m learning, I’m growing- I’m only 23, I’ve got a long way to go.

On that note- how am I surviving all of this? We’ve talked probiotics, protein, BCAAs (I think?) and ZMA (STILL MY FAVORITE!) but what else?

Recently, I have developed some back issues. I say “recently” lightly because I think what’s really happened is that I’ve ignored the issues, fought through them, but as a result of stress & ignoring the issue, it’s gotten bad enough to seek help. Cue Airrosti. Namely, Dr. Edecker. In the midst of my back issues, shoulder issues, hip issues- Dr. Edecker and Angela have worked with me via trigger point & PT to get me functional again, and it’s working! I’m telling you, these people are miracle workers, and if you’re struggling to recover or repair injured muscle tissue, these are your people! Airrosti is trusted by Crossfit affiliates and athletes as a safe first-step alternative to your typical resources (Chiro, sports therapy or God-forbid, surgeons) and they can usually get you back to 100%, while still allowing you to work out. Seriously, check them out!

I also am about to enter another Creatine cycle, and hopefully that will help with my crazy soreness. Even though the ZMA have helped with my REM cycle & my BCAAs help with energy, my recovery time is still less-than-ideal, so I’m trying going to go back on a creatine cycle and pray that it helps. I use a buffered creatine complex (CREADE,) so no bloating, increased muscle growth & recovery are the intended results! I’m going to continue to drink tons of water and start my next creatine cycle this week. Stay tuned for feedback!

Anyways, that’s enough for today. Feel free to contact me with questions/feedback!

In Christ,
Taylor Michelle

 

More tips & tricks…!

Hello!

Photo credit: Darla Nunley. 

A little throwback to the second workout of the Open this year. It’s crazy how much my body has changed in just a few months… A great reminder of how far hard work can get you and how much you are capable of accomplishing! Thankful for an awesome coach (Andrew Rape) to help get me there!

Anyways-I’ve been SO EXCITED to post this blog, because last week Carson from RXClubhouse introduced me to something that’s kind of changed my life…

I don’t sleep well. I work out later at night than I should (it’s best to be done by 5:30pm) but I work out that late so that I can get work done during the day and workout with some of my favorite people when they get off work, since my schedule is weird. Because of this and how long my workouts are, I normally don’t get home until 8:30 or 9pm, getting in bed by 10. At this point, I have a hard time “turning it off.” I know I’m not alone in this!

Now for my confession: I’ve been downing Zquil to make myself sleep through the night. It worked! I slept like a baby, but I woke up the next morning (every morning) struggling to roll out of bed, and didn’t fully wake up until I was already through my first class or two. So fuzzy. This is no bueno, and I knew it, and I’m sure there are more reasons why Zquil is bad for you, but the fuzziness the next morning was enough for me to start looking for a better answer. The problem is, when you coach at 5am you can’t really afford to continuously wake up throughout the night so I needed something fast.

Fast forward to this week: Carson at RXClubhouse introduced me to ZMA and I’m not kidding when I say they have changed my life. ZMA is Zinc Monomethionine Aspartate, Magnesium Aspartate and Vitamin B6. This meant little to me until I looked further into it, and basically, it’s used to improve recovery and help achieve a deeper level of REM sleep. Based on reviews of the combination, I couldn’t decide if I believed the hype, but I knew it was worth a shot. I expected (since it’s natural) that it would take a while to kick in, but to my surprise, it made a difference the first night I took it! As far as recovery goes… I haven’t noticed much of a difference, but my training has also increased in intensity so I’m going to give that time. Regarding sleep, I have slept the whole night through (in spite of my allergies making me crazy) every night. THIS IS HUGE. More sleep=more recovery=more progress. Moral of the story- ZMA is relatively cheap, we sell it at our box through RXClubhouse, and it will significantly improve your quality of life. Seriously, it’s that good. It’s a win/win/win! If you don’t go to Bullet Proof, find some online through the RXClubhouse website!

Now to a less “healthy,” more yummy note: JAVAPRO. We just got them in stock, and anything that combines coffee and protein (two of my favorite things) is something I have to give a shot. We have ready-to-drink (RTD) versions in our fridge unit at the box, but it also comes in a powder form. It was developed by Isopure and consists of whey protein, real coffee, and lots of vitamins. At 110 cal, 2F, 4C, 20P and only 1g of sugar, this drink tastes even better than it sounds. If I hadn’t just gotten a new jar of FINAFLEX protein in… I would probably be ordering this one!

On that note- make sure you try mixing your protein with iced coffee, if you’re a coffee drinker like me. Same effect as JAVAPRO- and almost as good!

Now for training… have you ever used resistance bands for shoulder warm up/recovery? My friend & teammate Justin Adams had me warming up for muscle up work with resistance band work, and I used them for recovery on Wednesday morning before tackling that nasty Event 2 from Regionals (have you checked it out yet!? It’s crazy!) and I swear that prep saved my shoulders. Don’t get me wrong- I was still feelin’ it for a couple days after that workout- but I’m convinced it would be much worse if I hadn’t prepped so well. You can get resistance bands for about $20 on Amazon, and you can find some workouts here!

My training has been rough, it’s been mentally & physically challenging, but I know it’s slowly making me a better athlete & person. I keep my key verse (Matthew 17:20) in mind when the going gets tough and I try my best to continue moving forward, keeping faith & moving mountains! I signed up for two upcoming competitions (since I’m not yet a Regionals athlete…yet!) The Garage Gym Throwdown & Battle on the Bay. We are competing in the Garage Gym Throwdown as a team and it’s been a long time since I’ve gotten to compete on a team so I can’t wait! For Battle on the Bay, I’m competing as an individual in the RX division. They send 3 workouts prior to the competition to rank the competitors and there’s been mention about rowing and a track… I can’t believe I’m saying this, but fingers crossed for running! If you’re in the Central Texas region, you should check both of these competitions out and come compete or volunteer and support!

Last but not least- we’re having a FRIENDS & FAMILY Community WOD on Saturday, May 21st at 9am at Crossfit Bullet Proof brought to you by BULLETPROOF COFFEE! It’s a great time to come check out our box, bring a friend who’s been wanting to try out Crossfit and enjoy some yummy & extremely good-for-you coffee. Either way, you won’t want to miss it! We will be cooling down with some ROMWOD, getting #swoleandflexy, as a great preview to our upcoming mobility room!

PS-If you missed my post last week talking about fun things like PROBIOTICS, protein and fish oils, check it out here!

Otherwise- until next time…

In Christ,
Taylor Owens

Let’s talk health

Good evening!!

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After a fun weekend in Austin with my fiance and CrossFit family, it’s time to get serious about health! I have lots of stuff going on right now, with coaching & training & my part-time gigs, it’s been a struggle to stay healthy & on top of my training! With my new GRID training, I’m realizing what this is going to take… and LOVING every minute of it. Lots of hard work ahead, so I’ve been doing my research on how to stay healthy & I want to share it with you!

As I’ve said before- I’m not a nutritionist, or a dietician. I don’t have all of the answers to your health woes, but I do have suggestions for how to get “back on track” or at least how to stay healthier. All of my suggestions are based off of the knowledge of friends, colleagues and industry leaders that I am extremely blessed to be able to learn from! Please, click on the articles I link to for FULL explanations. I’m a resource but I am NOT going into full detail on all of these topics- the articles do!

First off- anyone who is friends with me on Facebook knows that I have been STRUGGLING with my allergies lately. Almost debilitating. A Facebook friend of mine who works for SFH and is extremely forthcoming with advice & opinions responded to my plea for help telling me that I need to invest in Probiotics. So, I did some research, and here’s what I’ve learned so far:

PROBIOTICS!
First off, what are probiotics? They are healthy bacteria that live in the gut and in fermented, raw and living foods. They are essential for “gut health,” so they are  go-to for people who suffer from IBS and other digestive issues. But what I didn’t know is that they are also important for endurance athletes. According to this article on Active.com, probiotics are essential for endurance athletes because they improve recovery by increasing antioxidant absorption, support immune function by promoting higher levels of interferon (natural virus fighter,) which is decreased in fatigued athletes, and healthy bacteria improves digestion by increasing the bioavailability and absorption of proteins and fats. Basically, what this all means, is that with probiotics you will recover faster, get sick less AND absorb all of that healthy food you’re eating better! This means that your hard work & discipline with your diet will pay off. And we all want that, right? More knowledge here from the Food Doctor.

FISH OILS!
Specifically, high-quality fish oils. This article on Ascenta Health says that Fish Oils are important, specifically for athletes, because they increase protein synthesis, improve the anabolic effect of exercise, increase muscle strength & performance, reduce exercise-induced muscle damage and DOMS, support your immune system, strengthen bones, and a whole lot of other awesome benefits. Basically- this is the REAL ‘miracle drug’ that everyone has been looking for- and it’s available EVERYWHERE! Check out this article by Coach Calvin at Invictus for details on the amount you should be taking. I’m a big fan of Barleans fish oils, which you can get in our RXClubhouse kiosk!

PROTEIN!
The market is over-saturated. It’s important that you supplement your diet with protein, but it’s also important to know what you’re putting in your body. Look at the ingredients, study them, and if all else fails, ask a trusted coach. SFH is a great, natural, trusted brand that we also carry in our kiosk- a lot of our coaches swear by their RECOVERY protein! Our MHP Paleo Protein is great for our paleo athletes, and it has a great price point, and FINAFLEX just released a protein blend in a frosted churro flavor that I like to enjoy with my coffee in the morning 🙂

I could go on & on, but I’ll save the rest for another day…

Until next time, in Christ,
Taylor Michelle

If you want it, work for it

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I walked into the box the other morning and saw my goal written on the board- “2016 PRO DAYS” is all it said, I laughed out loud to myself in that empty, damp gym at 4:45am, because I have accomplished so much more than that. I just got off the phone with my San Fran Fire coach, Payam, solidifying for me that I did it… I set a goal, and I achieved it.

9 months ago, I sat in the hallway at my office on the phone with Andrew Rape discussing my goals and the possibility of him becoming my coach. “Well, I want to be a Regionals Athlete-but doesn’t everybody? What I really want is to get drafted into the GRID,” I told him, confidence in my voice, completely unprepared for what this meant for my life. He responded with something along the lines of, “great, I’m glad to hear you say that. Grid is awesome and we can develop your strengths and the league is full of great people.” I don’t think even he knew that on April 19, 2016- only months after beginning training with him- after a lots of tears, training, days off because my body is giving up on me and pushing through when I think I don’t have anything left- neither of us knew that I would have made it this far. DRAFTED mere months after beginning to really work towards this goal of ours.

So how did I get here? Isn’t that the question? Well, to give you an idea, here’s what a “normal day” looks like for me (scroll down if you don’t want to read it all… it’s a lot longer than I anticipated):

  • 4:15AM- Alarm clock rings. Get up, use the light on your phone to navigate, try not to wake the fiancé. Brush teeth, splash water on face, get dressed.
  • 4:30AM– SHOOT I’m running late. Make protein shake, pack breakfast & a snack, grab water & creatine, out the door before the dogs hear.
  • 4:45AM– pull up to the gym. Fight the gym door because it sticks. Set off the alarm. Cancel the alarm. Hope the cops don’t show up. Write today’s WOD on the board. Finish protein shake. Open doors, welcome in the morning class!
  • 5:00-6:00AM– coach
  • 6:00-6:30AM– If none of the athletes need to stay and work on additional skills, I try to get in my first piece of training, usually aerobic, something to “get sweaty” like awful row intervals or sprints
  • 6:30-7:30AM– coach
  • 7:30-8:00AM– try to complete or start my AM training and also eat breakfast (boiled eggs, usually)
  • 8:00-10:00AM– coach
  • 10:15AM– get home, eat again, let out the dogs, run with the dogs, pet the cat, sit down for a few, post the WOD to the Facebook page, mentally prepare myself for complaints about the WOD, chug an iced coffee
  • 11:00AM– leave to go to my office job
  • 11:30AM-4:30PM– work at the office. Desk work… lead generation and contact mapping, staring at a computer screen and grinding work out (sometimes accompanied by the Barbell Shrugged Podcast in my earphones)
  • 5:00PM– HOME! Time to rest, lay down with the dogs & my fiance, until…
  • 5:30PM– time to head to the gym!
  • 5:45-8:00PM– train. This is my PM training so it’s long and it’s challenging and I’m a social butterfly so there’s always plenty of interruptions and times when I want to help coach. This is almost always: lift, gymnastics + lift, something deadly & fatiguing, something else deadly & fatiguing (you got that right- 4ish WODs) luckily, my friend Staci has started working out with me, so I’m not alone anymore.
  • 8:15PM– get home, play with the dogs & cat, scarf down my remaining macros, watch Law & Order SVU, make sure I have food for tomorrow, snuggle with fiancé
  • 9:45/10:00PM– drink some ZQuil, go to bed… prepare to do it all over again

This is my life, almost every day of the week. My weekends are filled with training and coaching and some functional fitness, preferably outdoors. It’s not glamorous- it’s hard work, but it’s the life I LOVE. I don’t have much time to myself, I’m normally surrounded by athletes or coworkers or my fiance and my dogs. Some days I get to work from home, Fridays I only coach one class and I have some time to relax-but a lot of the time I fill those “empty” days with additional brand ambassador work because my fiancé and I are trying to save money for our life together. It’s crazy, it’s super busy and it can be stressful at times- but I fill my time with things that I love. I miss out on “nights out” and concerts and usually the big festivals in Austin, but I spend time with my family at the box and I love every second of it (even when I yell ‘I HATE THIS STUFF’ mid-WOD, I really love it.)

Chances are, I might be a “developmental” athlete this year, which basically means that I will be held on the roster to develop my skills so that I’ll be ready for next year- but you better believe I’ll work my butt off and if there’s anything I can do about it, I’ll be active. Otherwise, I’ll still have the opportunity to train alongside a team of more-than-phenomenal athletes working towards the same goal, getting better every day and striving for perfection… how cool is that?

All of this to say that if you want something, you better work for it. I’m not going to tell you it will be easy or that it’s something that will come naturally- it won’t, but if you really want it, you will make it work. Don’t tell me you don’t have the time. Don’t make excuses. You want it or you don’t- it’s your choice to make. But I believe in you, I know you can do this, now you just have to.

mu

In Christ & health,
Taylor Michelle
Matthew 17:20