Hello!!

What a beautiful weekend it was!

I was lucky enough to spend it my all time favorite way– more hours outside than inside.

I kicked it off with a little 12 minute run followed by yoga on the esplanade.

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Then I headed to volleyball to meet my new summer league team members. We crushed team Maroon 5, winning two of three games!

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After volleyball I was ecstatic to get to learn about Strongwoman training at a workshop put on by Eric Dawson, owner and coach of Titan Barbell.

There were about 15 of us who were curious about Strongwoman training. I’m positive I’ve never been surrounded by stronger people in my life. I left feeling tired, beat up, and inspired as hell.

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Saturday night I walked to dinner with my friend Meg and sat outside 🙂 It was lovely.

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Sunday I went on a two hour walk with the strongest girl I’ve ever met in my entire life.

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Brittany Diamond is a nationally ranked Strongwoman competitor and one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. After all, she is the one who reached out and invited me to try the strongman workshop! Thankful to have connected with such a neat person!

Check out the rest of the update to see one of my clients pull 45 pounds of weight up to a chin-up bar, see me press a 75 pound keg overhead, read a guest article by Lauren Fingers, learn a new mobility flow and learn about my training and nutrition last week.

Also– if you are interested in a group #Daretoeat Program, shoot me an email gwcrof@gmail.com I am contemplating running another group if the interest is there!

Cheers!

Training:

Right now I am trying to continue to get stronger. I’m contemplating a July powerlifting meet and a fall bikini competition, so with those on the horizon there is no time like the present to prioritize strength.

Despite my back issues, last week was a strong one for me and my lifts. See below to see how I trained heavy four days and did cardio as well.

Monday: Deadlifts

Monday I went belt-less and tried to get as much volume with 225 as possible. I ended up with four sets of 5 reps at 225, belt-less. Huge win!

After that I worked on sets of 8 to 10 reps banded deadlifts with 155-165, completing four rounds.

After banded deadlifts I did some glute bridges and reverse lunges.

Monday I taught Cyc, as usual and looked like I got struck by lighting afterward.

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Tuesday: Cyc 45 class, rest

Wednesday: Upper body, volume day.

Here was my workout, follow along if you dare!

  1. Heavy Chest press, 4×4 ( I did the first two sets with 40s and then moved to 45 pound dumbbells)

  1. Back and chest circuit:
    1. Lat Pull dow wide grip for 8 reps
    2. Underhand grip pull down, slow eccentric (6-8 reps)
    3. narrow chest press with lighter dumbbells (12 reps)
    4. (three rounds)
  2. Circuit:
    1. underhand grip, bent over row, sets of 6, heavy AF
    2. bodyweight chin-ups, AMRAP
    3. 1.5 push-ups 3-6 reps
    4. three rounds
  3. Circuit:
    1. weighted abs using cable machine 16 reps
    2. hanging leg raises 8 reps
    3. chin-ups, 2-2-2
    4. three rounds

Thursday: Front squat day!

I really, REALLY wanted to try and get a 135 pound front squat because two weeks ago 125 felt super easy. Despite being little tired I did the following quick circuit, and got 135! If you have followed me for a while you know that I try and do this circuit every week. It is my “fun” training day. It *always* includes an upper body push, an upper body pull and then front squats. Some weeks I add in more glutes, other days I add in abs, or biceps! I see how I feel!

Circuit:

  • front squats 5 rounds of 3-5 reps
  • Push-press 6-8 reps, (6 reps as weight went up to 100 pounds)
  • weight chin-ups for sets of 3 with 25 pounds. (less than my usual 30 after Wednesday’s torture)

Circuit:

  • single arm kettlebell cleans 6/arm
  • single arm kettlebell press 8/arm
  • hanging leg raises 8 reps

Friday: Bodyweight workout, Navy Seal Team 6 inspired!

I did double floor on Friday’s workout, therefore  I never had to go through the murderous treadmill portion. However, throughout the 50 minute class I completed over 70 burpees, over 100 push-ups (not from knees), 100 sit-ups, two 3 minute wall-sits, 100 lunges and a lot of jumping jacks and tuck jumps!

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There is nothing more intense than Navy Seals walking around telling you to quit while you workout. During my wall sit one of the Vets decided to lean on me, pushing against my shoulder as I tried to stay calm in my seated position!

The workout was for a great cause, Your Grateful Nation.

This workout was to bring awareness to YGN’s cause: helping vets get back into the workforce after they serve the country. I was fortunate to attend the YGN evening event too, where I got to meet Rob O’Neill and listen to him tell stories about what it takes to become a Navy Seal. It was very inspiring and eye-opening.

Saturday: Strongman Training Workshop!

First of all, thank you to Eric for hosting the event and all of the Strongman competitors who coached us newbies through circus dumbbell presses, Keg Presses, Farmer carries and other events.

I cleaned this 65-pound dumbbell enough times that I still feel my biceps burning as I type to you this morning.

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But, my favorite event was the Keg Press.  See the video below as Eric coaches me through my first ever keg press. After a few times, I was able to get bit smoother. Still needs work, but WOW! So much fun!

I weighed about 120 Saturday (my best guess) because Friday I was 119.8.

Without the proper gear I ended up with some gnarly bruises. My friend AJ told me that I look like I went paint balling this morning!

I am already excited for the next workshop in June.

Sunday: walking two hours with Brittany.

What a beautiful New England view at Castle Rock.

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Nutrition:

This week was a maintenance week. I had some awesome low calorie go-to meals just to stay fueled throughout the week.

  1. Barbecue quicken and cabbage

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The “indulgent” part of this low cal snack/meal is the 70 calorie barbecue sauce; however, it’s the sauce that makes it! I put about 2 cups of cabbage and 6 ounces of pre-cooked chicken breast of Trader joe’s into a tupperware container the night before with 3 table spoons of BBQ sauce so that it can sit overnight so the cabbage soaks up the BBQ flavor.

2. Sweet potato- turkey bowl!

I literally microwaved 6 ounces of sweet potato (180 calories) and then out 5 ounces of maple turkey breast slices in a big bowl, microwaved it, added Truvia and cinnamon. SUPER EASY.

I loved every single bite. You cannot go wrong with protein and carbs, especially on Deadlift day!

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Friday night I had the BEST fish tacos I’ve had in 2016 at Mezcal. Too die for!

Saturday I had an asparagus and egg pizza with my friend Meg at Met Bar. But don’t worry, I didn’t forget to eat sweet potato fries. I can’t go to Met Bar and NOT get the fries– they are too good. I had shrimp and asparagus for protein and veggies too. After Volleyball, Strongman and yoga, the meal was much needed.

This is my “I <3 carbs” face.

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This week, unfortunately I have been dealing with some major bloating issues, and I’m not sure what it is I’m allergic to, unless I am developing a new allergy to something I’ve eaten before. Stay tuned for some CRAZY before and after bloat photos next week 😉

Before we move onto fitness reads, check out these meals my clients are making!

Carlos’s “I need more calories” steak dinner:

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My client Carlos is a chef and so the random meals he “whips up” are casually beautiful, epic meals I drool over in the morning when I check my email. Way to go Carlos!

Lindsay’s breakfast bowl!

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Lindsay combined 1 egg, egg whites,veggies and Aunt Millie’s lite 35 cal bread to make for a very yummy breakfast! #daretoeat

What I’m Reading:

  1. Superfoods List: Best Foods for burning fat and losing weight! via A Workout Routine
  2. Wine and Your Waistline: How alcohol affects your health, hormones and fat loss via Girls Gone Strong
  3. The Beginner’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting via Onit by John Romaniello
  4. Five Snacks for Fat Loss via Crossroads of Fitness
  5. How will you be remembered? via SarahVance.com

Exercise(s) of the week:

Here’s a quick back exercise you can do when you find yourself without any weights, bands or pull-up bars. It’s called a bodyweight Bat Wing row. Give it a go on the road or on your upper body day!

Believe it or not it's very hard to find videos of #bodyweight #batwing rows online. I was going to send this to a client privately but then I thought, what the heck? I'll just post it. – Here is a great upperbody pull exercise variation when you do NOT have access to weights. – The reason I reach up to the ceiling between reps is because I like to pretend I have #TRX handles in my hands and I am grabbing the handles to pull myself upward. However, then visualizing my upper back propped up by a pencil. – Keep your eyes on the ceiling and your elbows close to your body. Do NOT use your abs. Legs out straight! – Do these for that upper back burn on the road!! Woo! #daretolift #daretomove #sexyback #yesilistentoassical #workmusic

A post shared by Garrett Wood (@garrettnwood) on

 Mobility video of the week: 

You may have seen the fast version on Instagram this week, but here is a video in real time. My bootcampers this did mobility flow for the chest, back and abs day warm-up! Give it a try!

Client Spotlights:

Jordan’s 45 pound chin-up attempt!

Many of you may remember my 45 pound fail two weeks ago…..

Despite failing, I wanted to share the fail because it only motivated me to actually GO GET IT!

My client Jordan sent me the same exact video over the weekend, proud as hell to be SO DARN close to this achievement.

Important note: when Jordan and I met, she could do 1 solid chin-up. After about 12 weeks she was able to knock out 9 chin-ups and since as hit 14 bodyweight chin-ups and various weighted chin-ups. I have a feeling she is going to get it this week! SHE IS SO STRONG!!!

Fat Loss Update!

My client below has been on a mission since January 1st. She began the #Daretoeat Program the last week of January, after losing a significant amount of weight on her own. She began the #DaretoEat program at 195, she finished at 177. She has since been working and is on week 10 of her second cycle. Here were her before and after from the Dare to Eat first cycle:

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Over the weekend she updated me…. she is now 174 pounds!! The cool part is that while the scale has slowed down, she is getting leaner and leaner by the day! Check out her toned arms!

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Bikini Article by Lauren Fingers:

Random Thoughts I Had on my Fat-Loss Journey

1 – I Need To Love All of My Versions

On the left is me a year ago. I would say this is a pretty standard version of what I looked like most of my life. This is the version of myself that loves to eat cheese. Well, all of my versions love to eat cheese, this is just the version that could care less whether an entire block of cheddar fits in her macros. This me is no better or worse than the left me, just a me with different priorities.

Fingers Progress

Something that Garrett reiterated to me throughout this process was that you have to be happy with yourself in all of your “versions” and stages. Contrary to societal belief, having a lower body fat percentage won’t give you a healthier perspective on your personal body image if you can’t be at a healthy place mentally when you are in stages of higher weight too. Looking better will not solve your problems. You may be healthier, or more confident in a bathing suit, but at the end of the day, you need to get right with yourself first.

On the right is me tonight. Like I literally just went in my bedroom and put that outfit on so I could take a picture for this article. So there I am. It is 4 weeks after my competition, aka the “reverse diet” stage. It’s weird to see the pictures side by side. This is the first time I am seeing the difference between then and now. It makes me proud to see the work I’ve done, but I can tell you that the me on the right, today, still has a lot to overcome mentally. She still pinches the fat roll that forms on her side when she bends over… am I the only one that does that? I like both “me’s”, but I want to get to the place where I look at either picture in this comparison and I don’t immediately focus on everything that is “wrong”.

I was with my fiancé, Joe, a few weeks into the process and he said “Wow, you look the skinniest I’ve ever seen you.” I immediately replied with “Thank you”. Why? Why would my initial reaction to this be that it was a compliment? Since when has skinny ever meant beautiful or attractive or healthy or sexy? My “thank you” response must have surprised Joe too because he added that this in no way made me any “better” than what I was before. What has society engrained in our minds? Finding a man who loves me for me no matter my size is the real win here.

2 – Science is Science

The fat loss process is going to mean something different to everyone. To me it meant challenging myself with a bucket list item, pushing my body to extremes it had never been, and getting in top notch shape for my wedding. With that being said, I knew there were certain things I wasn’t willing to sacrifice. I knew that I wanted to continue enjoying my workouts. Workouts are my “me” time. I work out for the physical benefits as well as for my sanity, so I didn’t want to end up in a place where I was dreading going to the gym. Personally, a workout I enjoy is a workout with minimal cardio. I hate running. I hate spinning. I hate x 1000 the stair-stepper. If I can walk into a gym, never step on any sort of machine, and walk out only half sweating, I’m a happy camper. Call me lazy or whatever, I’d rather just lift. Besides, who has time to shower every day anyways…

I always heard people in the fitness industry say, “Well, it’s really 80% diet and only 20% workouts.” I disliked these people. The “diet” has always been the hardest part for me. Who wants to limit themselves to one glass of wine per week? Unfortunately, science is science, and the only way to lose fat is for “calories in” to be less than “calories out”. Plain and simple. It’s like we try and over-complicate the whole fat-loss concept by throwing in big words like “clean-eating” and “superfoods.” Cool bro, I love chia seeds just as much as the next guy, but at the end of the day, all of the antioxidants in the world aren’t going to force your body into a caloric deficit resulting in your metabolism burning fat for energy. This was a hard lesson for me to learn because I used to be the hipster that went out and bought hemp hearts because they were “all the rave”.

Fortunately, Garrett was able to devise a plan that would keep me from getting burnt out. This is key. Nothing that burns you out is ever going to be sustainable. We focused on the science. She gave me a calorie limit, a fat (g) limit, and a protein (g) minimum. As long as I stayed within these regulations, the world of food was free game. I did cardio 5 times during the entire 9 week process. Total. 5 times. Cardio is not necessary for fat loss. Calories in < Calories out. With this being said, there is nothing wrong with doing cardio and eating healthy foods – some days I want all of the spinach, others I would rather spend 100 of my calories on a skinny cow ice cream bar than on olive oil. It’s all a matter of personal preference, but at the end of the day #ScienceIsScience.

3 – This is Literally the Matrix.

I just took the red pill. I thought I could live in this happy wonderland of getting skinny from fad diets and detox teas, then boom, Garrett taught me about the mysterious world of macros. Which is actually not mysterious at all, and makes total scientific sense. Foods are made up of fats, carbohydrates, and protein, all of which play a necessary role in your body. Controlling your intake of each of these will change how your body looks. Yes, by consuming less calories you will lose weight, but by being strategic about what the calories you are consuming consist of, will assist in ensuring that the weight you lose is fat and not muscle. Now you know, it’s your choice whether or not you want to continue living in the Matrix.

4 – Haters Gon’ Hate

Taylor Swift said it first. Haters are always going to be out there and they always gon’ be hatin’. If you post on social media about your fat loss journey, there will be folks who say, “OMG, why would she ever put a picture like that on Facebook?!” or, “I disagree with sharing so many personal things so frequently.” If you never post anything, first of all do you even exist!? Jk, but really, if you don’t share anything, people will eventually find out and say things like, “OMG, why would she never post about that, do you think she’s embarrassed? Maybe she’s trying to hide it…” Who would have thought this fat loss journey would be so enlightening, but it showed me that people will always have their opinion, and you really just have to do you. If posting progress pictures helps keep you accountable, cool. If not, also cool. Know that if you ever decide to share your journey, you will never be able to appease everyone, but there may be one person (or more!) that you motivate. So you know what to do… (cue “Shake it off”).

5 – The Scale Doesn’t Lie, But Sometimes Your Eyes Do

I bought a scale when I got myself into this whole shebang. It shipped straight to my doorstep and leave it to me to accidentally throw away the batteries… and then never in the entire 9 week process be able to figure out where you buy scale batteries. Whatever. This ended up working in my favor. I am a very analytical, fact-oriented, straight forward person. I get caught up in numbers, statistics, and details. Henceforth, I shouldn’t be allowed to own a scale.  Sorry to hate on scales, they aren’t all bad, and if you are really just trying to track sheer weight-loss, a scale will be essential. My fat loss experience was about losing fat and toning muscle, so there was no “right” or “wrong” weight. In my former life, I tended to step on the scale and see myself as my mind interpreted that number. “Oh, what a lard, I can’t believe you’re up 2 pounds!” Maybe I just needed to poop. In the same way that our eyes can think we are hungry when we aren’t, our eyes can also see our thighs differently when we are basing our success on a scale number. If you are truly making an effort to do all of the right things, then slowly and steadily, the results will follow. “You have to TRUST THE PROCESS,” Garret had to frequently remind me. Due to my loss of fat combined with my gained muscle, my weight fluctuated only 5 pounds throughout this entire 9 week process. If I was judging my success on a scale reading, I would have quit from being discouraged 5 weeks in.

6 – I Guess this is Just the Beginning of my Journey

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Awe, how cute is this picture? This is a pic-stich I made of myself 3 years ago when I first started taking protein regularly. I contemplated posting it thinking that maybe the protein company would see how much of a badass I was and pay me to post other awkward pictures of their products. Ah the innocence of youth, very cute.

The way I carry myself is different now. Who would have thought losing a bit of fat and gaining some muscle would change my perspective so drastically. I pop my hip when I’m resting at the gym. I wear crop top shirts just because. I sit up straight and pull my shoulders back when I’m in a business meeting.

I never would have thought my fat loss journey would be just as emotional and mental as it was physical, but I can’t explain how cool it was to literally sculpt my body into what I’ve always wanted it to be. If there is a specific type of body out there that you want, it’s yours for the taking. The girl in the pic-stitch photo above would for sure be proud. It was an incredible challenge, and I don’t have any excuses anymore – now I know what it takes. Am I going to want to calorie count forever? I don’t know… Will I ever enjoy running? Probably not. Do I plan on cutting cheese out of my diet? Never.

I’m not sure how to end this “compilation of fat-loss thoughts”. I guess that’s appropriate because the journey towards finding a healthy self-image, achieving weight-loss goals, and challenging yourself is just that – a journey.  If you’re going to take on the journey and are considering working with Garrett, know that there’s not really an ending point. It has to be a lifestyle shift and Gare will truly empower you to make it if you just #daretomove.

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