Easy Workout Snack – Sweet Potato Puree

Most people know that my go-to food option before or during a workout or competition is…baby food! Yes, really. Sweet potato baby foods are easy to eat and digest, high in carbs, low in fat, and taste quite good. While baby food pouches aren’t expensive, it’s just as easy to make your own “workout baby foods” at home. It’s SUPER simple:

DSC_0001_03

1. Roast some sweet potatoes until they’re very soft.

2. Scrape flesh from skin and place in a food processor with about 2 tablespoons or so of water.

3. Puree. Add water if needed for a smoothier consistency.

4. DONE.

Seriously, it’s that easy!

Now plain sweet potatoes are pretty delicious, but they can be a little boring so feel free to add in some additional goodies. My favorites are:

pureegraphic

  • applesauce: add about 1/4-1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce for some extra carbs and flavor
  • honey: add in 2 teaspoons or more of honey for sweetness and fast digesting sugars (super helpful during competition)
  • cinnamon: I usually add about 2 teaspoons of cinnamon simply because it’s delicious
  • protein powder: add in 1-2 scoops of your favorite protein powder (vanilla flavors work well here)

Told you, simple. And you don’t have to deal with people asking you about your child (that doesn’t exist), explaining that they’re snacks for YOU, and getting odd looks while you’re buying a boatload of baby foods.

X2 Performance Pre-Workout Review

Disclaimer: I was compensated and received free product for my review of X2 Performance. As always, all opinions, thoughts, etc. are my own.

 

I’m not a big pre-workout person. There, I said it. My usual “pre-workout” routine usually involves chugging some creatine + water and coffee while I lift in the mornings. I actually like the concept of a pre-workout, especially since 2 days a week I’m up and at the gym by the grand hour of…5:30ish in the morning. But truthfully, I’ve never found anything that a.) didn’t make me feel like I was a hummingbird on speed b.) didn’t have TONS of sugar in it and c.) that didn’t give me jitters and a crash.  I don’t want to feel like my heart is going to beat out my chest, I just want a little extra energy and “pep” to feel better when the barbell is feeling heavy. And X2 Performance does just that. I’ve talked a little bit about what it is before but briefly, X2 Performance is a pre-workout supplement focused on increasing your energy and endurance by working with your body to help generate and regenerate your natural energy sources (particularly ATP).

http://photos-a.ak.instagram.com/hphotos-ak-frc/917039_522944614493432_1097816674_n.jpg

I’ve tried out X2 in a few different settings: heavy yoke max out day, competition, and also before deadlift max out day. During heavy, maximal effort activities, I felt really good – strong, focused, energetic but not jittery. During competition, it helped me perk up before events (like car/tire deadlift) and give me energy throughout the entire event. It also has definitely helped my recovery. For example, I took some X2 on my drive to the gym yesterday morning since I know I had to max out my deadlift from the floor yesterday . My warm up sets felt HEAVY, I hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep or eaten a lot the day before and wasn’t expecting much. But by the time I started getting to my work sets, the X2 had kicked in, and I felt strong. Not jittery, not bouncing off the walls, just strong and energetic. I got a 20# PR of 270# (which is a big deal for someone who is all limbs and has had a stalled deadlift for several, several months) and fully expected to wake up with that distinct hit-by-a-truck feeling since heavy deadlifts tend to wreck me. Instead, I felt good – a little sore, a little fatigued but leaps and bounds better than last time I pulled a heavy single. While, obviously, that can’t ALL be attributed to X2 (things like doing a lot of deadlift volume, improving my form, etc. definitely contribute), there was a noticeable difference.

http://distilleryimage6.ak.instagram.com/42dca3cec55f11e3914d0002c9c86e66_8.jpg

Since I’m a list person, here is a list of some pros and cons:

PROS:

  • Improved energy and performance from my experience
  • I like the taste – it’s very sour, almost like liquid pixie stix
  • I like that it is only 2oz – chugging a thing of liquid before working out is not so desirable
  • Easily portable since it’s already mixed
  • Highly researched – important for super science nerds like myself

CONS:

  • Price – it’s expensive, plain and simple.  If price is an issue, I would buy a small box and use it only for competitions or max out days (my current plan actually)

One thing that I really like is that is it works for my sport. There are a lot of pre-workouts focused on increasing endurance or maximize “pump” and other things that don’t really add a lot to the kind of training and competing that I engage in but X2 DOES. It increases my muscular endurance on timed events, which are usually 60-75 seconds, and also helps me during all-out max effort heavy lifting. Strong(wo)man is a pretty niche and fringe sport so knowing that there is something out there that actually works is pretty awesome.

Overall, if you’re looking for something a little different, I think it is definitely worth your time to give X2 Performance a shot! If you DO want to try it out, you can get a sample pack for free (just pay shipping & handling which is $5.95 – a steal!) using this link.

Embracing Your Own Standards

I’m a little late on writing about this and at this time, I’m sure a hefty dose of people have seen the article “Be a Box Babe, Not a Barbie: The Top 9 Crossfit Female Faux Pas”. If you haven’t, go ahead and read it. Just be prepared to get a little ragey.

 http://distilleryimage9.ak.instagram.com/ace8d396be4d11e3962e0e29dfb0a995_8.jpg

So at first glance, this comes off as a typical “oh look, another bitter internet dude telling women how to look” but then you realize…it’s written by a woman. Who is a coach at a Crossfit gym. At this point, you just go “what the…”. I’m not one to chime in on loooong discussions on Facebook or other social media but I just could not help myself with this one. The TL;DR of most comments surrounding this article involves women being really pissed about it, other women defending the author saying it was just supposed to be funny, quite a few men thinking it was ridiculous, and a handful of men agreeing with the article. Overwhelming, the article failed. Quite a few rebuttals were written, my favorite of which is THIS. There were a few people who attacked the author, but truthfully, I don’t see the point in doing that (note that the “you” addressed in this post is NOT directed at the author). What she wrote is nothing new or innovative – it’s alllll the same stuff that women have been hearing for a long time. It’s stereotypical, judgemental, and catty.  My overall feelings on the article? It does absolutely nothing to help women. Period.

But I’m not here to write a point by point rebuttal on why this article is one epic facepalm. In fact, I think that there is some silver lining to something like that article being published on a large, very public platform – it gave women a chance to come together and say “hey, not cool”. And THAT is really important.

While the notion of fitting into some standard of beauty is nothing new, it becomes problematic when it turns into a mean girls club. Saying “you can’t lift with us!” because of what someone is or isn’t wearing is just plain ridiculous. In an arena where a large portion of coaches, athletes, and passionate individuals work really hard to help women empower themselves through picking up a barbell, it seems downright counterproductive to tell someone to be a “box babe, not a box barbie”.

http://distilleryimage1.ak.instagram.com/8409a524bf4511e39634123a469159b5_8.jpg

I don’t care WHAT you’re wearing – if you’re approaching training with a barbell for the first time, I’m going to be more focused on encouraging you than critiquing your outfit. I’ve been in a few conversations that start with asking what the heck a bunch of us are doing (the gym I go to has a “barbell” program focused on strength and power, in addition to Crossfit classes), what it’s like, and after I wax on poetically about my love for squats (for waaaay too long, sorry  y’all), there is often something said like “I totally want to do it! But I’m kinda of terrified”.  At that point, I’m focused on convincing the other person to talk to the coach about it and that it really is a lot of fun, there is no need to be intimidated, that everyone in the group is really supportive and encouraging, and that they’re going to get some high quality coaching and get better. Those conversations wouldn’t happen if I just had an attitude of being better than everyone else, or some bizarre notion that I’m more “serious” than the next person because my hair isn’t done. That would completely defeat the purpose – I want people, especially ladies, to come hang out and get strong and squat. It also undermines the work my coach does to build a quality program and encourage people to join it.  Why would I want to turn someone away by being judgey?

If you’re focused on encouraging women to pick up a barbell or embrace strength or forget what the media tells them to look like, being catty isn’t the way to do it. The judgmental attitude presented in that article is exactly what SHOULD NOT happen. It makes me sad when I hear women saying things like “I’d like to try Crossfit/weightlifting/etc. but I’m not good enough” or they’re terrified of the judgement they would receive for not having a 6-pack and wearing short shorts. And guess what? They’re not usually afraid of getting this judgement from men – they’re afraid of getting that judgement from other women. How messed up is that?! By endorsing the sentiment of, “you’re only serious about your fitness if you conform to these standards”, you’re also endorsing putting women in another box – it’s a slightly more muscular box, but it’s a box nonetheless. Trading conventional standards of beauty for Crossfit/fitspo/whatever standards of beauty is like trading a pink box for a blue box – it’s the same thing but it just looks a little different on the outside. Would you ever tell a 7 year old girl that she can only be strong and serious if she looks a certain way? Why then is it okay to say those things to other women? When did women in strength sports become a cool kid contest and when did we all stop encouraging women to find and embrace their own standards?

http://photos-g.ak.instagram.com/hphotos-ak-ash/929287_287101678119958_132493855_n.jpg

[oh look, I'm squatting with my hair down and curled, wearing a cut off shirt, and probably some mascara too]

The notion that a woman can’t be a serious athlete if she wears makeup, has her hair done, or heaven forbid, has a matching outfit is just about the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.. There is this idea that as women, we need to make sure that we try hard without looking like we try too hard. We need to look girly, feminine, be muscular, but not all big and bulky (which is just ridiculous #bigandbulkylife4ever), we should be aesthetically pleasing, but not wear too much makeup or do our hair, be a bit provocative, but don’t be dress too scandalously. No one needs to justify what they’re wearing to anyone, period. I don’t have to justify my cut-off shirts and spandex shorts to someone so they can validate my worth as an athlete. My clothes, my hair, and the presence or lack of makeup on my face has NOTHING to do with me being an athlete – it doesn’t make my squat go down, it doesn’t impact my ability move weight, and it certainly doesn’t imply that I’m not strong or not serious about getting strong. Moreover,  it has even less to do with anyone else.  I’ve got goals and standards for myself, and they don’t involve making sure my outfit and eyeshadow is acceptable to anyone else.  So, if you’re concerned about how many coats of mascara I’m wearing while you’re at the gym, you’re doing it wrong. Moreover, if you’re going to stand there and be catty about it, you’re definitely doing it wrong.

If your goal is to encourage women to embrace strength, say “eff it” to standard beauty conventions, and empower them – you should be leading by example and building them up rather than critiquing their hairstyle.  Show them that they should embrace their own standards – not the medias, not a “crossfit babe’s”, or anyone else’s notion of what it means to be strong.