Monday, December 26, 2011

12 Days of Christmas

The Valley CrossFit Hummer!

Mele Kalikimaka folks!  I hope everyone had a great Christmas!

Yesterday, I went over to FGB Hawaii Kai to do the 12 Days of Christmas WOD!  Big mahalo to Jack and Danyelle for opening their home gym on Christmas!!!!!  It was really great to workout with friends and meet new people!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Travel Packing -- CrossFit Style

Traveling CrossFit-style.

I am going home to Hawaii for the holidays today!!!  So excited!!!!  I had a few requests for a "what to pack," CrossFit-style post.  Also, as I was packing I realized that more than half the items I put in my suitcase were for CrossFit purposes so here's the post!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

TGU, New Coach, and Bets

Brandon doing a 104.5lb turkish get-up with me!!!

Last week at the gym was quite eventful!  Brandon did his first human turkish get-up with me, I met our new coach Pat Barber, PRed my consecutive strict muscle up count to 8, and lost a couple WOD bets.  For those who haven't heard yet, Pat is back from New Zealand and he will be running Norcal CrossFit Saratoga with his fiance, Taz!!  

Now for the meat of the post: bets, bets, bets.  I noticed I am more driven by mini, day-to-day competitions with close friends than by large competitions.  So working out next to a close friend gives me that extra push.  To spice things up a bit, I made two different bets with Colin and Sally last Tuesday.  Both bets were based on WOD performance that day with the prize being savory (clean) food.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Yoga and CrossFit

Yoga and CrossFit.  Not sure if I can do that now.

Before CrossFit, I was reallyyyyyyyyyy into yoga, specifically Ashtanga yoga.  I used to randomly pick a pose from 608 Yoga Poses and attempt to do it after class each day.  I used to go 6 times a week!  Over the past months, my fitness interests changed.  As I attended more CrossFit classes, I skipped more yoga classes, until my yoga attendance hit zero.  After ditching yoga for a few months, I noticed a dramatic decrease in my flexibility and increased healing time for body aches and pains, specifically in my lower back.

When one of our trainers told me I might have shoulder flexibility issues in my front squat, my immediate reaction was oh HELL NO.  After class, my mind was busy processing a whirlwind of thoughts.  What benefits did yoga have on me when I practiced it?  Were there any movements I could perform better before, than now?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Muscle Beach

Ripped dude rocking the rings.

Every time I go down to LA, I try to hit up Muscle Beach in Santa Monica... even before CrossFit.  Except now I can do more than play on the swings!  This is probably one of my favorite places to hang out in southern California.  I like the atmosphere and I enjoy people watching, meeting people, and testing my physical capabilities here.  Rings + beach + nice weather + real sand, what more can I ask for?!

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Squatssss <33333.  On my way to 2x body weight, baby.

After the 20-rep back squats, Mickey and I decided to switch over to 5x5 for six weeks.  Conveniently, the six-week mark was right around Thanksgiving, which made it a perfect time for de-loading.  The 5x5 strength program is very simple: For movement X, do 5 sets of 5, three times a week.  Your starting weight should be your current 5-rep max.  If you make the set, add weight.  One of the reasons why I wanted to try 5x5 is because the program is known cause large increase in muscle mass (therefore increased body weight), in addition to strength.  Hehehehe.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Day

Representing CrossFit NorCal at Silicon Valley Turkey Trot!

This year I got to spend Thanksgiving with the CrossFit ohana and Eugene's family.  In the morning, I went down to San Jose to participate in the annual 5k/10k Turkey Trot with a bunch of members from the gym.  Afterwards, I went home to prepare a traditional, gluten-free (hehe), Thanksgiving dinner.  My family does not celebrate Thanksgiving so it was nice to learn how to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner from scratch!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

5x5 Deload Week Fun

Final muscle up count yesterday.

I just finished the 5x5 strength program (blog post to come soon) last week and now I am suppose to take a week off from heavy lifting so I can start Wendler's 5/3/1 next Monday.  The timing worked out perfectly since it's Thanksgiving week and my lifts started to stall.  Because I took such a long time off from all Olympic lifts and muscle-ups (hand injury), I decided to use this week to work Oly lift technique, specifically exploding with the hips... and apparently max strict muscle-ups while I'm at the gym!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Potluck at KI Athletics

KI Athletics' Thanksgiving Paleo Potluck!

Last Friday was KI Athletics' first annual Thanksgiving Potluck and Canned Foods Drive.  I was super excited since it's been awhile since we had one of these events and because I love Thanksgiving food!  I had a great time catching up with people and meeting other members.  There was really good turnout from both gyms and tons of delicious food, even for people who came late!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Sausage Stuffing

Paleo Thanksgiving Stuffing!

Stuffing has always been one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes.  However, the dish is basically all bread seasoned with herbs and hence totally not Paleo and full of gluten.  In spirit of the Thanksgiving Potluck at CrossFit Santa Clara today, and my determination to convince my boyfriend's parents that low carb dishes can be delicious, I have been experimenting with making Paleo-friendly Thanksgiving stuffing.  I think I found the perfect recipe, thanks to Mickey and Alex for sampling in exchange for feedback... and it does not include chili peppers!

Check out my latest Thanksgiving dish creation: Roasted Parsnip and Pear Soup and Scalloped Root Vegetables!

Monday, November 14, 2011

CrossFit Los Angeles / CrossFit LA

CrossFit LA!

While in LA last weekend, I made some time early Saturday morning to get a WOD in at CrossFit Los Angeles in Santa Monica, CA.  I chose to come here since CFLA is the closest CrossFit gym to Westwood, Shirley and Alyssa from Sweet Cheeks workout here, and because I wanted to check out a box that participated in the CrossFit Games this year.  At the games, I sat across from CFLA folks in matching baby blue jerseys.  I remember all of them cheering at the top of their lungs, especially during the team rope climb WOD.  Conveniently, CFLA is also the closest CrossFit gym to Westwood, where I stayed.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Valley CrossFit - Round 2!

9am crew at VCF!

Last weekend I took a trip down to LA to visit Eugene.  While in town, I made time to get a WOD in at Valley CrossFit since I had such a blast last time!  My expectations were exceeded!  They are still one of my favorite boxes to visit ever.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dressing-less Salad

Two recipes in one.  Beefy Lettuce Tacos for lunch and Beefy Eggs for breakfast!

I love to go to the Farmer's Market on Sunday's to buy Thai chili peppers and to load up on food for the week.  I also go to sample all the fruit in season from different farms.  Last Sunday a farm brought in a large variety of apples.  The apples were so good!!!  I really wanted to get some, but I did not want to end up eating like five apples a day so I quickly started brainstorming what recipes I could make with apples.  Luckily, I ran into Sally who gave me the idea to make an apple salad with arugula.

While shopping for arugula, I noticed that the farm had all different kinds of spinach for sale.  One of the owners was nice enough to explain the differences between all the spinach.  The one I liked the most was this purple spinach called Orach because it had this natural salty flavor.  Viola, I knew what I was going to make for dinner: a dressing-less salad with ingredients so full of flavor that they can be eaten plain... and all the ingredients would be from the Farmer's market!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Smoked Paprika Pecans

Smoked Paprika Pecans.

My favorite nuts-to-go packets to get are Oren's Kitchen Smoked Paprika Pecans at Whole Foods.  However, since they stopped selling them... or maybe I just can't find them anymore, I decided to try to make them on my own using the same ingredients except instead of olive oil, I used macadamia nut oil.  I don't have any olive oil.  After a few attempts, playing with the way I added salt, mixing the spices, and using paprika vs. smoked paprika, I finally found a recipe that taste almost exactly identical to Oren's.. but a little spicier and fresh! 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Sled Pulls and Prowler Pushes

Prowler push sprint!

Ever since I injured my hand a few weeks ago (and since I started being more patient with the healing process), I have been doing a ton of leg work.  With the injury, I have a hard time securing the grip and doing any backward motions with my hand.  I cannot do any shoulder-to-overhead movements, jerks, KBS, wall balls, front squats, overhead squats, muscle-ups, cleans, and snatches.  :(.  So you know what that means?!  Until it heals, leg work all morning, every day baby.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Day in Jes' Belly

 Carb, Fat, Protein breakdown sample.

I had a few request for a picture blog post on what I eat on a normal day, similar to what I did for binge day.  I have been on the Paleo (no grains, refined sugar, soy, legumes, gluten, and dairy) diet for three months.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Anniversary Dinner at Manresa Restaurant

Three-year anniversary dinner at Manresa!

Yesterday, Eugene and I celebrated our three year anniversary at Manresa Restaurant in Los Gatos, CA.  We decided to splurge a little bit to experience dining at a two Michelin star restaurant and molecular gastronomy at its best.  For those of you in the Bay Area with a special occasion to celebrate, we highly recommend Manresa!  All their ingredients are seasonal and local.  Everything was top notch, from food quality to service to decor!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

OktoberFit at CrossFit Silicon Valley

OktoberFit at CrossFit Silicon Valley!

Last Saturday, CrossFit Silicon Valley held OktoberFit, their grand opening inaugural throwdown for boxes nearby.  Everyone was invited!  Watching is free, but it costed $10 for all-you-can-consume beer and food.  Teams of three, with at least one female competed in four WODs in four hours, as RX or scaled.  The top five RX teams went on to the final showdown.  The event was sweet and very well coordinated.  It had sponsorers, photographers, a DJ, live entertainment, and of course, tons of beer and food!  KI Athletics had around 10 teams participate!!  There were prizes for the top three Rx teams, and also for the best dressed team.  Where else can you watch beer cans and super heroes WOD?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mariner's Ridge Hike

Skye and the rarely visible, Molokai!!  Taken from the Mariner's Ridge Hike on a super clear day.

The most dear trail to my family and I is the Mariner's Ridge (Kaluanui) trail to the top of the Ko'olau Mountains in Hawaii Kai, Oahu.  The trail is about 3 miles round trip (~1.5 hours with pictures) with tons of photo opportunities!  At the top, there is an amazing view of windward Oahu and Kaneohe Bay, in addition to you know, Koko Crater, Koko Head, Hanauma Bay, Diamond Head, east Oahu, and the beautiful mountain range of course.  The hike is pretty easy, as it can be done in slippers.  We also like it because it has a lot variation from rock climbing to hiking to different mountains!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Jes' CrossFit Beginnings

Skinny Fat (January 2008) vs. Fit (September 2011) vs. Twig (May 2010).

Lately, I have been frequently asked about my CrossFit beginnings.  How did I get started, did I have any fitness background beforehand, how often did I go, do I have before and after pictures, etc.  So this post will be about how I started CrossFit and why I stuck to it.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Beefy Lettuce Tacos and Eggs

Two recipes in one.  Beefy Lettuce Tacos for lunch and Beefy Eggs for breakfast!

Lately I have been really busy at work and with moving.  I workout, go to work, sleep, and repeat the cycle.  I choose not to cook anything that would take more than 30 minutes since I rather use that time to sleep.  But I still want to eat Paleo and have some food variety throughout the day.  There is only so much takeout Mexican food I can eat before totally getting sick of it.  The other problem with eating out is they don't give you enough meat and the meat quality is probably not the best.
One day when I was driving home from work, I was brainstorming quick recipe ideas I can make with some of the pre-chopped food at Whole Foods.  Since most of my cooking time is spent prepping, I might as well try to minimize that.
So for the busy, the lazy, the picky, or all, this recipe is for you.  It takes 30 minutes to make, absolute max.  The base is minced seasoned ground beef that can be used for at least two of your meals during the day, depending on your appetite.  Beefy eggs in the AM, and lettuce tacos for lunch!  The two dishes have a great balance of protein, fats, and carbs, while maintaining variety.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

20-Rep Back Squat

20-rep back squat!

Recently, I started to come in early to do supplement work, specifically to do some back squats!  I am really trying to increase my numbers, and I figured focusing on the squat would be a good start.  

The 20-Rep Back Squat program is "the brutal path to massive gains."  The idea is to perform 20 unbroken back squats in a single go.  One way to select the starting weight is to use one's current 10RM or 70-80% of one's 1RM.  For every successful set, add 5 to 10#.  Or if it's too way too easy, add 20# (Mickey!).  You should be able to get at least 10 reps in, or you went up too much.  Do this 1-2 times/week for 6-8 weeks.  Most people can reasonably expect to squat their 5RM for 20 by the end.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Koko Head Crater Hike

My dad at the top of the Koko Head Crater trail... in VFFs!

This post is dedicated to my dad, as this post is just as much about him as it is about the hike.  His favorite metabolic conditioning exercise is to sprint up and down the Koko Crater (Koko Head Crater) hike for time (yea, CrossFit!).
The Koko Head Crater trail is an old, abandoned World War II inclined railway of approximately 1000 steps, maybe more, one-way.  The railroad was once used by the military to transport supplies to a lookout shelter at the top.  Hikers use the old wooden railroad ties as steps.  The hike starts off relatively flat with the steps.  About 1/3 of the way there is an old railway track bridge hikers have to cross to continue.  Many people fear this bridge, especially when going down.  After crossing the bridge, the hike quickly gets steep, and remains steep until you reach the top.  A few of the many spectacular views off of the trail consist of: Hanauma Bay, Koko Head, Hawaii Kai, Diamond Head, and the Waikiki skyline.  Also, Koko Crater is Hawaii's tallest tuff ring (~1200 ft), created from the last active volcano that occurred on Oahu approximately 10,000 years ago.
Now for the locals, if you hiked this trail, you probably saw, met, or heard about my father.  My dad is that "crazy-fast, inspirational," "Daisy's Dad/old guy/old man/grandfather/grandpa," with the cute "dogs/Daisy/Goldens/3 dogs/2 dogs", and the "grand son/daughter" lagging behind (referring to my brother and I), people on the trail always talk about.  Also in that order, haha.  Daisy has also been compared to a "mountain goat" and "lion."  My dad and our dogs made some publicity over the years.  They were featured in the local news, newspapers, websites, and probably in your photos, too.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cauliflower Fried Rice with Chicken

Cauliflower Chicken Fried "Rice"

My Paleo twist on the Chinese-style fried rice!  A fast and simple recipe to make use of leftover veggies and meat.  Eat it as a meal, or as a side.  This dish is full of flavor either way!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Foundation CrossFit

6am party crew at Foundation CrossFit!

While in Seattle to spend quality time with my family before my brother, David starts college, I figured it would be appropriate to visit Foundation CrossFit, the nearest CrossFit box to Seattle University in Capitol Hill!  I joined the 6am party on Monday, my last day in Seattle.  This was my first 6am class ever (my options were 6am or no CrossFit for the day)!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fight Gone Bad 6 at King CrossFit!

Fight Gone Bad 6 at King CrossFit!

I did not plan on participating in Fight Gone Bad 6 last Saturday because of my impromptu trip to Seattle (though I did originally registered to do it at CFSC/MV).  When my parents told me my arrival time in Seattle conflicted with my brother's scheduled move-in time, I considered otherwise.  I have already been to Seattle and done all the touristy things.  My flight got in quite early.  I asked my friend to pick me up, but he's notorious for waking up late.  Since my parents were not able to pick me up from the airport and since I wanted to give Devon some extra sleep time, I decided to do FGB at the nearest CrossFit box to the airport!

Right upon arrival at the Seattle-Tacoma airport, I caught a cab to King CrossFit in Renton, WA.  I made it just in time for the 9am FGB heat!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Good luck, David!

Best of luck to my brother David who just started college at Seattle University!

I was in Seattle this weekend to join my parents in sending my brother, David off to college!  He will be majoring in Computer Science, class of 2015.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fitness Gone Bad - Back to the Roots!

Jack, Danyelle and I at their home gym!

I did my first CrossFit class at Fitness Gone Bad around New Year 2011, as a part of the Lululemon Athletica 31-days of Fitness Challenge in Hawaii.  So you know, of course I had to visit them when I was in town again!  Back to the roots!  Super exciting!!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

CrossFit 808

9am Labor Day Crew at CrossFit 808!

Next up was Elyse Umeda's gym, CrossFit 808, in Kalihi.  I was super excited to come here since Elyse is one of my favorite CrossFit all-stars!   I emailed Elyse my intention to visit and signed up for the 9am class on Labor Day.  

When I arrived, I was immediately greeted by Elyse and a few members who were hanging out outside.  As I walked into CF808, it reminded me of the Nasty Girls video because it kind of looks like "the original" CrossFit.  One of the reasons why I started CrossFit was because of that video.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hardass Fitness / CrossFit Hawaii

31 Heroes crew at Hardass Fitness / CrossFit Hawaii!

I believe all the boxes on Oahu participated in the 31 Heroes WOD on Saturday, September 3rd to honor the Navy SEALs killed in action on August 6th, 2011.  I registered on the website to participate at Hardass Fitness / CrossFit Hawaii.  The WOD was very dear to this box as some of the members knew the service men who died.  We even made the local news, KHON2: here and here, and Hawaii VA Loans: here.

The 31 Heroes WOD class was scheduled at 10am.  There was also a small regular CrossFit class at 9am, but most people showed up for the 31 Heroes WOD.  Afterwards, there was a party!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

CrossFit Ewa Beach

9am crew at CrossFit Ewa Beach!

Next on the list of CrossFit boxes on Oahu to checkout was CrossFit Ewa Beach in Kapolei, HI.  I really wanted to check it out since it is currently the only CrossFit box on the south-western part of Oahu.  Kapolei is intended to be the "second city," or the second urban city next to Honolulu.  It took me almost 1.5 hours to get here from Hawaii Kai (35 mi drive)!  Oahu traffic has gotten significantly worse since I lived here!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

CrossFit Oahu

Skye in CFO gear.  Apparently my dad thought it would be funny to dress the dog up in my clothes.

This is my first time home since starting CrossFit in January 2011.  One of the things I wanted to do while home was check out all the CrossFit gyms on Oahu.  My first stop was CrossFit Oahu in Honolulu.  This box has been around for a long time.  They were around the 50th CrossFit gym to affiliate.  I believe they are also currently the largest CrossFit gym on Oahu (by 500 sqft), and possibly in the state of Hawaii, too.  

I came in a little early to do my 20-rep back squat routine (thank you!) and then stuck around for the 2pm class last Thursday with Courtney Johnson, a CrossFit Level 2 Trainer and Dietitian.  It was a small class: 4 people, probably because it is the hottest time of day to workout on the island!  I heard evening and morning classes can have 20+ people, but the gym is big enough to handle that and they have a lot of equipment.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Binge Day at Home!

Babies and I at Bellows!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I purposely timed the Paleo challenge to end before I head home to Hawaii for Labor Day weekend.  I haven't been home in 9 months and I could not be more excited to eat some local favorites!  I ate clean until last Saturday, when I planned on satisfying all my cravings.  I had a list of places I wanted to hit up and the plan was to eat everything delicious nonstop, meal after meal.  The only person I knew local, who would be up for this challenge is my cousin, Mimi.  She's this tiny Asian girl who has the appetite of a whale.  We ate nonstop from 2pm to 7pm on Saturday afternoon.  It was glorious.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Strict Paleo for Half a Month

Proper Fuel

I have been told many, many times by Jason and by my CrossFit friends to try the Paleo Diet for two weeks straight.  I have done all the Googling and all the research to agree that it works.  For the most part, I tried (probably not hard enough) to eat clean (avoid refined sugar, grains, and processed food).  However, when it comes to food being readily available right in front me, I lose all control.

Around the beginning of August, I got sloppier about what I chose to put into my body.  While doing CrossFit during the second week of August, I noticed that I my performance was sub-optimal.  I scored 50-reps less total on Fight Gone Bad, had a very hard time snatching a comfortable weight, did some of the worst cleans I've ever done in CrossFit, and did not PR on anything (meh not sure if it's related, PRs happen less now).  I talked to one of my trainers Rick about it and we went through a checklist.  I was getting a decent amount of sleep (~8 hours/night), relatively not stressed, coming into the gym six times a week, but I have been eating terribly.  This was probably the first time I noticed a huge change in my performance and therefore I decided to try, at max effort, a strict paleo diet for at least 2 weeks.  It is a good time for me to do the challenge since I visit home on September 1st.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How to Eat Clean When Surrounded by Free Food and Curbing Temptations

Truffle Salt, my free food remedy.

Sticking to a clean diet has been a huge challenge for me, especially because I am surrounded by free food almost all day, everyday.  I am a Software Engineer in Silicon Valley.  I have a hard time controlling myself, especially since food is so convenient.  For example, if there are jalapeno poppers laying out, all cooked, warm, and smelling delicious, I will start by eating one (hey, it's just one), then two (it's just one more), and then before I know it, I have devoured at least 20 of them.

I was in denial for awhile.  I claimed that I eat "mostly Paleo," except on binge day, once a week.  However, I would "cheat" every few days with a small piece of white chocolate.  Few days turned into a couple of days, and then turned into every other meal.  Those white chocolate pieces were getting larger and then I was adding ice cream, fried food, rice, and occasionally pasta.  All those "cheat" meals added up and soon enough, I had performance issues at the gym.

So how does one stay Paleo for more than a couple days straight?  What about minimizing fructose temptations?  This is what worked for me.