July 16, 2011

Blackbox Women's Challenge II

Remember how I posted about Blackbox Strength & Conditioning and my friend Jordan...oh...about 6 weeks ago? I believe it might only be a couple posts down, so there's really no reason for me to link to the previous posting, as if I blogged regularly and it were pages back or something.

I've been busy these last 6 weeks.  Busy working my rear off three days a week with about 10 other women.  I've looked forward to it almost every time.  It's been a sweet opportunity to get to know other ladies and I love the dynamics of the women's only class.

Well Jordan's up to it again. From the BlackBox site:

Spread the word! We will be starting our Women’s Only Summer Challenge Part 2 on Wednesday July 20th! Our first session was a huge success! We’ve had gains in strength, decreases in body fat, increases in energy and performance, great community, and so much fun! All of this happened, because these women had a goal in mind, found a coach, and got ‘er done! Our Women’s Only Summer sessions are 6 week programs. We focus on nutrition, lifestyle choices, posture, exercise, stress management and so much more! AND WE PROVIDE CHILDCARE!!!

The Women's Challenge Session II is starting next Wednesday, July 20th. And I wanted to invite you to join us!  This will be a 6 week session.  We'll meet M/W/F mornings from 9-10 a.m. And this session is even cheaper than the first session, if you tell Jordan that you read this post!  You'll get a 25% DISCOUNT!  Regularly: $200...email Jordan and tell her that Kirby sent you and it will be $150.

In case you haven't done the math, it ends up being about $8 per workout for an hour of childcare and an intense training session.  I don't know that it can get much better than that.  Oh, wait.  In can.  My kids LOVE going. They adore the childcare workers. They often run around outside on some fun adventure to catch tadpoles or jump off "cliffs" (in supervised environments, of course!) and best of all, when we leave they are worn out! And that's a good thing since I, too, am worn out.

Are you interested? Email: Jordan@BlackBoxStrength.com

Are you skeptical? Keep reading.  I have a real-life, touching testimonial for you to read.

Do I sound like an infomercial yet?

One of my friends, who will remain nameless, completed the first Women's Challenge.  I asked her to write a blurb for all of you skeptics to communicate her experience.  I have noticeably seen results in this girl.   She's gained strength and confidence over the last six weeks.  And I've seen such a difference in her spirit and countenance.  Seriously.   Jordan has given her a gift.  And this friend of mine, who just six short weeks ago said that she couldn't even run to the end of her street, would say that the Women's Challenge was worth every penny.  And more.

Here is her hilarious (and mostly true) account:


Ok – here it goes: My Blackbox“I didn’t think I could do it, but did it” testimonial/success story:

To understand fully what a blessing Blackbox Strength has been to me, we need to first back up a bit. I have been unhappy and dissatisfied with my body for as long as I can remember. Middle school athletics was just scarring. I finished 102 of 103 in a cross country meet (the girl behind me had a knee brace) and decided running was a cruel form of punishment.

In high school I peaked growing up and started growing out. The freshman fifteen happened like a looming curse from which there was no escape. Fast forward to December 2010 and I weighed in at 169 – the heaviest I’ve been in my life. I was squeezing into size 12 jeans and got incredibly frustrated with how I had let myself go…and go…and go.

So my roommate and I sat down and complained for an hour or two and then made a whole bunch of resolutions. We’re only going to eat 1200 calories a day and work out every morning and not even THINK about eating anything that tastes good because surely that means it’s awful. Willpower. We were going to loose 30 pounds with willpower. Well, willpower isn’t one of my strengths. I’d discipline myself for a week and then binge on all the foods I had deprived myself of over the past seven days. Insane!

I went through a bible study in the spring that had a chapter on ‘food sins.’ I had never starved myself or thrown up so certainly I was in the clear. Wrong. I met with my mentor Kirby and decided this was probably something we should address. Little did I know Kirby’s a health nut athlete who would probably be an Olympian right now is she wasn’t a mom. Yes, that’s a little exaggerated, but seriously – who runs FOR FUN? This is so foreign to me. When people asked me if I was a runner, my staple response was “Yeah, from my front door to the ice cream truck.”

So, Kirby sends me this email about this Women's Challenge at BlackBox – and I was hit with a double whammy of weaknesses. 1) buying things impulsively and 2) being overly idealistic and not following through. So, of course I signed up.

Day 1 –OK, I think, this a good-sized class…not too many where I get lost, but not too few where the instructor can tell how much I suck. This could be ok…

Morning after Day 1 – Oh, how I hate life. My body is so upset with me it outright refuses to get out of bed regardless of my brain pointing her finger and counting to three. Everything hurts. Even muscles that I didn’t know existed were screaming at me.

Day 2Jordan says we’re gonna talk about the nutrition side of things. WHAT?!? This was not in the email. We’re supposed to do something called paleo – basically no sugars, grains or dairy, for 30 days. I had done shorter ‘cleanses’ in the past, but never this long and never to this extreme. My love for those foods rivaled that of Paula Dean. It seemed impossible – what was left in the world to eat? I don’t even cook!

Week 2 – after being hungry the first few days and realizing I COULD find things to eat if I worked at it, I wrote down a few recipes and went to the store. I would come home from work, find a ‘paleo’ recipe that looked promising and give it a shot. I was cooking! (something I had long since wanted to do but never found the time for)

Week 3 - I weighed myself after being on paleo for 8 days and had lost 9 pounds! Even I was skeptical, but then I noticed my muffin top over my pants was getting noticeably smaller, and I didn’t have to suck in to make clothes look the way they used to on me. Yipee!

Week 4 – I weighed in and hadn’t lost any weight. I was a little discouraged, but Jordan was great to remind me that 1) muscle weighs more than fat and I WAS building muscle and 2) being healthy and fit has very little to do with a pound number and a lot more to do with what that ‘number’ is composed of (fat or muscle?).

Week 5 – I am seeing NOTICEABLE progress. My squats are getting lower, and I’m able to lift more weights. The progress definitely helped my attitude and, dare I say it, I started looking forward to class!

Week 6 – I missed a few crossfit classes from being out of town, so I decide to go running to do something active. I jump on the treadmill and put on a lecrae song with a nice beat. Next thing I know the song’s over and I’m still running. Frantically I find another song and keep going. Is this real? Am I dreaming? There’s no way I am actually running AND my heart isn’t trying to break through my chest. I ran a mile. ONE MILE! The last time I ran a mile it ended with me throwing up on the guy I was running with. Seriously.

Last class of Women's Challenge – I weigh in around 151 and am comfortably wearing size 10 pants. I’d like to be down another pants size, but feel for the first time that I’m off to a solid start. We did 75 burpees the last day of class, and I improved my time by 3 MINUTES from the last time we did it, just a few weeks prior.

I’m not a certified crossfit instructor, and I still don’t understand women who love to sweat. But I CAN say that BlackBox has truly changed my lifestyle and eating habits in a positive way, and I feel like a healthier, more self-controlled, and more confident person than I was 6 weeks ago. It wasn’t easy, but it’s doable. Jordan (and her encouragement) was a large reason this didn’t become just another failed attempt to change my body. She meets you where you’re at and helps you move forward. What more could you ask for?


What are you waiting for, skeptics and seasoned athletes? Hurry and email Jordan before she fills up!  Jordan@BlackBoxStrength.com

July 6, 2011

Toddler Busy Bag Swap

(These are not my pictures. Photo credit & great post HERE.)
UPDATE on 07/13/11: We've had an overwhelming response and so we've had to "close" the Busy Bag Swap.  But don't be discouraged, we're planning on getting this all together so that you can easily organize your own swap in about a month...without all the work!  (Those of you who've emailed us by late last night are "in" and should have heard from Chelsea by now.  We'll be sending you an email with your busy bag assignment over the next few days.)  Thanks for all of the interest!!

Chelsea and I have been talking a lot about Toddler Activity/Busy bags lately.  An activity bag, also sometimes referred to as a "busy bag" is just like it sounds, a gallon Ziplock bag containing a simple activity for your child to do either with you or independently to keep them "busy".  Each activity bag focuses on a type of skill or a combination of skills that promote a love of learning: math, (sorting, patterns, counting) fine motor, color/letter recognition, etc. 

Here's a site that does a good job explaining what they are.  And, after a quick search on pinterest, all sorts of ideas pop up.

As we've been talking we've been saying things like: 

Wouldn't it be nice to have a bunch of simple, already-put-together activities on hand to pull out when needed? 

BUT it would take a lot of time and work to create a variety of activities by yourself.  

Doing it on your own, could also get pretty pricey.  

So, why not join forces with some other mommies and do a swap?!

Here's how it would work:
We have already picked 20, re-usable activities to eliminate duplicates and give your child a variety of skills to keep them "busy". (We're thinking these would mostly be geared for children 18 months and up, though some can be done with much younger children and a lot of the activities can "grow" with the children, where much older children can work on them independently. I'm planning on using these for McKlayne while I attempt to teach Asher to read this year. Oliver will also be able to use them before I know it.) 

Each person will be assembling 20 bags with one identical activity in each bag. (ex: one person would make 20 bags with the button snake activity, pictured above, and another might be making 20 colored noodle necklace bags.)  

We're estimating that each bag should cost around $1-2 to recreate.  (Some may be much cheaper and will just take more time, and others that may cost more, may not take as much time to recreate.)

Want to join us?
1. Email Chels by July 15 (chelsealynngroves@gmail.com) and let her know that you are interested. In your email, please include your child's (children's) name(s) and age(s).  Also, please tell us if you'd like to be assigned something more "simple" or if you'd label yourself as someone who is "crafty" or if you are someone who sews...we promise, it's nothing too advanced!

2. We will then get together and assign each of you an activity to recreate.  (Most of these are so simple that you can figure out what to do or we have a link with a tutorial.)  We'll email you with more dates and details of your activity. 

3. We will allow about a month for everyone to work on their activity and then host a night where we get together and swap so you can take home 20 different bags. 

*We aren't sure if people outside of B/CS will be able to participate because of shipping/handling fees, but please go ahead and email if you are interested. We'll let you know when we come to a decision.