• CrossFit 781

    December 6, 2011

    CrossFit was so fun! And challenging! And awesome! I’m almost positive I’m going to join. It’s exactly the kick in the butt I need!

    Yesterday afternoon, I went to CrossFit 781 to check it out and do an intro consultation with one of the coaches. I knew CrossFit wasn’t a typical gym, but I didn’t expect it to be located in a loading dock in an industrial park. Pretty cool, right?

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    Inside was a huge space with kettlebells, plyometric boxes, rowers, jump ropes, barbells, plates, and so much more.

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    And on the wall was Monday’s workout, which included the infamous WOD (Workout of the Day). Here’s yesterday’s workout:


    Front Squat 5-5-5-5-5



    Back Squats (95#, 65#)

    Knees to Elbows

    Ring Dips

    But, that’s not the workout that I did.

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    My workout was more of an intro session, but, man, it was tough! There were actually a few times that I got lightheaded and needed to rest for a few seconds, but it was still awesome. I absolutely love workouts that challenge my body like that.

    My workout was two circuits (below) called AMRAP, which stands for As Many Reps (or Rounds) As Possible. The goal is to do as many cycles as possible in a set amount of time. For instance, the first AMRAP was 7 minutes long, so I did a continuous circuit of 6 burpees + 6 push-ups + 6 box jumps as many times as possible.

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    After each circuit, I used a piece of chalk to mark the completed cycle. Often times, people get so tired, it’s tough to keep track, so chalk and markers (for the wall) are used. I did 5 rounds of each AMRAP and thought I was going to die.

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    The craziest thing about this workout is that it was only 13 minutes. Thirteen minutes! That’s it. Of course, it was a serious workout for 13 minutes, but, holy crap, I can’t believe how hard it was! Needless to say, I’m ready for more. The CrossFit Kool-Aid has been tasted.


    After Crossfit, I headed home for dinner. Mal cooked Penne Alla Bolognese with the help of his trusty, scavenging side-kick.

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    The recipe for Penne Alla Bolognese was in the November issue of Shape magazine. It’s a slimmed-down and more nutritious version created by Michael Stebner of True Food Kitchen.

    Penne Alla Bolognese

    Serves 6
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour

    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    3/4 cup diced onion
    1/2 cup diced shiitake mushrooms
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1/2 cup diced carrots
    3/4 pound lean ground turkey breast
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
    1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
    1 28-ounce can diced San Marzano tomatoes, preferably organic
    1 pound whole-wheat penne pasta
    1 tablespoons shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
    2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves

    1. In a large, heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion, mushrooms, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until vegetables are lightly browned. Add carrots and continue cooking for 3 minutes more, stirring every minute or so.
    2. Add turkey and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring constantly to break up the meat. Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, thyme, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    3. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente; drain and divide among six shallow bowls. Remove saucepan from ehat and stir in 3 tablespoons cheese. Top each bowl of pasta with 1 cup sauce; sprinkle with remaining cheese and parsley.

    I pretty much followed the recipe exactly, but I omitted the fresh parsley (because I’m cheap and didn’t want to spend the money on it) and used dried thyme instead of fresh (because I’m cheap and didn’t want to spend the money on it), but neither change seemed to affect the recipe since both Mal and I thought it turned out really well. We also used whole wheat angel hair pasta instead of penne.

    Even though it was a meat dish, it seemed pretty light with all of the veggies and ground turkey instead of typically more fatty/greasy beef. This recipe is a keeper!

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    After dinner, I enjoyed a glass of Chocolate Peppermint soymilk. Mmm! Perfect sweet treat.

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    I attempted steel cut oatmeal again this morning. This time I used the overnight soaking method followed by cooking on the stovetop over low heat for 15 minutes.

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    This method actually worked better than the microwave method—definitely mess-wise (no explosions to clean up), but also with regard to the quality of the oatmeal. The oats were much more chewy and voluminous. My half cup serving turned into a massive 1-1.5 cup serving!

    I added canned pumpkin, ground flaxseed meal, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and a big scoop of Teddie peanut butter to the mix. I also drank my usual glass of iced coffee with soy milk and a splash of eggnog. So delicious and totally worth the effort.

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    Real Simple Pop-Up Shop

    I’m so bummed that I’m going to miss this event, but I thought the New Yorkers (or anyone visiting the Big Apple this holiday season) might want to hear about it. It looks so fun!


    The Real Simple Holiday Pop-Up Shop will be held December 8-13 at Bryant Park. It’s six days of holiday shopping, live events, special offers, and giveaways. Additionally, Real Simple editors will be on-hand to address readers’ most pressing “holiday challenges” related to gift-giving, fashion, decorating, and menu-planning. For a complete schedule of events, including celebrity appearances (Todd English, Mario Batali, Carson Kressley, Gail Simmons!) and editor demos, visit www.realsimple.com/popupshop.

    If anyone goes to the Pop-Up Shop, please let me know how it was! I love the holidays in NYC!

    Halo Headphones Giveaway

    Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway! Here’s your winner:


    I would LOVE these headphones because they would encourage me to go outside and run again! Maybe I could even get my puggle to run with me :)

    Congrats, Kristen! Please email me at tina@carrotsncake.com with your full name and address to claim your prize.

    Question of the Day

    What’s the toughest workout you’ve ever done?

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    { 34 comments… read them below or add one }

    Katie @ Peace Love and Oats December 6, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Haha sounds like the 20 min Jillian Michaels video I did this morning: short but painful!!!


    Laura December 6, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    My brother started doing CrossFit a year or so ago and LOVES it! Having something different to look forward to really keeps him motivated.

    For me, I love and am super challenged by spinning!


    Candice @ Sailing on Paper December 6, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    I actually tried a new workout today, too! It was challenging but it’s really nice to try something new and test your strength. I’m totally interested in Cross Fit, now! I’m kinda new to the whole fitness thing but I once I’m in better shape I would love to take a class.


    katie @ KatieDid December 6, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    LOVED reading about crossfit, I’m seriously considering joining after the new year as I found one right near my house. I’ve been doing bodyrock home workouts lately and they are short and SO difficult. Very very similar to crossfit stuff- mostly body weight high intensity. I’m amazed at the workout I can get in at home in such a short time. That’s awesome that it challenged you so much, love those kind of workouts!


    Andi December 6, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    @katie @ KatieDid: I’ve just started doing BodyRock after stalking the site for months–they are very similar to CrossFit workouts for sure. It really is amazing both how difficult they are and also how effective…and also addictive!


    Sarah S. December 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    I started doing the Turbo Fire DVDs about a month ago and they are very hard. Intense, shorter workouts that get your heart way up. My cousin is a trainer for Crossfit and she just sent me a few workouts to try out so I’m looking forward to that as well.


    Kara December 6, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    YAY! I’m so glad you’re getting into CF! It’s been my obsession for the past year and I’m loving the progress. I even PR’d a half marathon without any training runs longer 3 miles thanks to metcons and strength 4x/week! Another fantastic aspect of CF is the Paleo diet. It has helped me SO MUCH with tummy troubles, and I’m guessing it will help you immensely too. I hope you stick with it and enjoy it as much as I do! And if you’re ever in the Philly area, please stop by CrossFit Delaware Valley and WOD with me. 🙂


    Mary @ Bites and Bliss December 6, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    My brother introduced me to the idea of CrossFit after we were both out of the marathon due to injuries. It looks INSANE!! I’m tempted to get into it, though..but it’s way too expensive.


    Maria December 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Congrats on your first CrossFit workout! I’ve been doing CrossFit for quite some time now and its amazing how short the workouts can be, yet still really effective. I definitely say they aren’t for the faint of heart though, as I still sometimes get nervous when I know I’m going in for a tough one. The toughest for me is Fight Gone Bad and Fran (thrusters and pull ups, 15-9-6). Crazy hard!


    ilovefetacheese December 6, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    @Maria: I totally agree! Fran kicked my butt. But now I’m hooked to Xfit


    Diana December 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Ha! I saw that Penne Alla Bolognese in Shape while sitting in a plane… we made it right when we got home. I too, was too cheap to go buy fresh thyme, but we did have fresh parsley, it was pretty good!


    Brie @ Brie Fit December 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I love CrossFit!

    This is the hardest WOD I’ve done, Heavy Mental, the day after Thanksgiving. Oof. http://www.brie-fit.com/2011/11/heavy-mental/


    Couch December 6, 2011 at 2:02 pm
    Angela @ The Chicken Scoop December 6, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    I sooo want to do Cross Fit and my gym at home has it but now I’m at school and can’t go 🙁 Glad you liked it!!

    I don’t know if I’ve ever had a toughest workout. Hm, maybe indoor soccer? Bob Haper’s Inside Out method kicked my butt too. Nothing memorable comes to mind though!


    Stephanie December 6, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    I have been doing Crossfit since July and have loved it ever since. I have found it so much more effective for my body composition than when I had a trainer through LA Fitness doing weight lifting. It is so fun too! It is always challenging and competitive. But the other Crossfitters in the gym are all so encouraging and motivating as well. I actually think Crossfit helped me with my new marathon PR that I got in November during the Seattle Marathon 3:59:28. I ran just 3 times a week and did Crossfit twice a week. The Crossfit Kool-Aid tastes good, welcome to the dark side :).


    Cristin December 6, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Can you explain what exactly cross fit is? It sounds really interesting!


    Tina December 6, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Just click on the CrossFit link in my post. There’s a great explanation with a video there! 🙂


    erica December 6, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    i just started personal training at a place that does crossfit style workouts. i’m super out of shape so they’re just trying to get me strong enough to handle the regular classes. i think my sessions are pretty brutal i can’t even imagine doing those classes…yet 🙂

    i love murphy’s expressions!


    Sarah @ thedirtroaddreamer December 6, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    I’m glad you enjoyed Crossfit. I was a little skeptical about drinking that kool-aid as well, but now I can’t imagine not doing those workouts. Everyday is new and challenging!


    Anna December 6, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Oh thanks for your review of Crossfit! I have heard it mentioned so much but didn’t really know what it involved. What an awesome switch up to the gym!


    Julia H. @ The Petite Spiel December 6, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    13 minutes?! Must have felt like forever, though! My uncle had me do a military workout with him over the summer…I literally had trouble walking for about 4 days (and I’m a pretty fit person!). Must have been the 200 lunges and all those burpees. Damn.


    Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin December 6, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    I’ve heard so many great things about Crossfit! It’s amazing how you can get in such a great workout in such a short time. I really want to try it! It’s not my usual style of exercise (I prefer just doing steady state cardio with weights a few times a week), but I think it would be a fun way to get out of my comfort zone.

    The hardest workout I’ve ever done? Right now all that comes to mind is the spin class I went to this morning. It KILLED me!


    Camilla @ TGIPaleo December 6, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Do glad you liked XF…it’ll make you feel great and strong like nothing else!


    Liza December 6, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    I found a super easy way to cook steel cut oats which I love.

    Pour 1 cup of steel cut oats in a slow cooker.
    Add 4-5 cups of water, depending on how thick you like the steel cut oats
    Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 5 hours.
    I usually make a batch on Sunday and have 5 servings. Add some almond milk and some raisins and you have an awesome breakfast!


    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers December 6, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Your Penne Alla Bolognese sounds just wonderful. I haven’t had a pasta dish in a long time. Time to get the pasta goodies out!! Thanks for the recipe!


    Alyson @ Nourished Fitness December 6, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Really like a lot about CrossFit but just wish it wasn’t see expensive and that they weren’t so preachy about the Paleo diet. Don’t let them brainwash you too! 😉


    Tina December 6, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    It’s a good thing I don’t do diets! 🙂


    Kelli Preston December 6, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    I have been itching to try crossfit, but wasn’t entirely sure what it entails, so thank you for this post. More importantly, the youtube dog video that you posted had me laughing so hard I was drooling. I usually dismiss those videos and I am so glad I took the 1 minute to gander at it. Thanks for that!


    meghan @ Struggle Muffins December 7, 2011 at 7:33 am

    CrossFit is awesome! And awesomely hard. But I love the endorphin rush that happens when you push yourself to the edge. Fun stuff 🙂


    Ciera @ Rose and Thistle December 7, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I’ve just joined a CrossFit gym and had my 2nd of 3 intro sessions that are compulsory there – pretty much can’t move! I thought I was in reasonable shape before but it certainly kicked my a**! I feel like it’s one of those things that you have to stick at for a bit but I love how it gives lots of diversity and pushes you.


    Colleen December 8, 2011 at 10:45 am

    I had a friend that got SUPER buff doing crossfit a few years ago. I looked into it and at the time there weren’t any active groups near my house. Interesting to read the poo-poo comments people mentioned, and wouldnt you know when I went to the gym after work yesterday I TOTALLY saw 3 guys running back and forth from the treadmills to the free weights to the elliptical then the chin up bar. HAR! I would imagine crossfit works a lot better in a gym dedicated to it exclusively!


    Brittany December 8, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    I love that you have finally tried CrossFit! It is my workout of choice! GO Tina! It only gets better!!


    Hillary {Nutrition Nut on the Run} September 26, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    This was fun to read about your first CrossFit experience, amazing how so much has changed since 🙂


    Chad October 28, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    I know this is an old article, but that’s so cool that you were able to document your first ever CrossFit experience. Years later, I’m sure it’s fun to look back and reflect. I actually just blogged about my first time. While it was years ago, I vividly remember it. Or should I say “her.” Barbara…for time. 🙂 http://www.chad-fit.com/my-first-time-her-name-was-barbara/


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