Crossfit Specialty Course: Gymnastics

Crossfit Gymnastics is my third Crossfit Certification and even though its hard to pick favorites, this cert was really freaking rad!  First off, the cert was in Hong Kong.  I took a direct flight (2 hours) from Naha to Hong Kong.  After a thirty minute bus I checked into my hotel (there was a lady playing a harp in the lobby!!)!  That night I scoped out the nearest Starbucks, did a map study, and then hit the sheets.

In the morning, I got my Starbucks and grabbed a taxi to the box.  Destination: Crossfit Asphodel (pronounced: ass fa del).  The taxi pulled up to a building with a very large garage-like opening.  Inside were four employees guarding three elevators who did not speak a lick of English.  I tried pointing at my shoes and shirt and saying “crossfit” slowly but my game of charades got me no where.  Since I was a hearty 30 minutes early I figured if I just walked around looking lost; someone was bound to find me.  Five minutes later a Kool-Aid drinker emerged from the elevators, eyeballed me and said, “11th floor”.  Then he turned to the guards and yelled in Chinese Cantonese.  Next thing I knew I was in an elevator heading to a crossfit gym on the 11th floor of a building.

I was greeted by a coach who introduced himself (I couldn’t hear his name over the butterflies in my stomach), checked his papers and gave me a name tag: I’m in.  There were only 5 other athletes at this point; all of whom seemed to know each other and had no desire to make a new friend.  Within thirty minutes all of the crossfit elements had arrived: beards, knee high socks, lulu lemon booty shorts, tattoos, rok tape, Regionals Tshirt, and a ton of  ridiculously beautiful smiles.

The coaches introduced themselves: Chuck from Florida (AKA gymnastics Jesus), Jen from Perth (Olympic Athlete) and Kevin (imagine: pure fitness meets humble pie) from Boston.  The lead coach, Chuck, asked the group “how many of you are trainers or coaches?  Competitors?  Injured?”  I was the only one without their hands in the air and I couldn’t help but think: man, these people have long arms.  Chuck followed up with a whole spiel on why gymnastics was vital to crossfit, what we could expect from the course, and of course: safety.

When Chuck went through the expectations I started to really get nervous: pull ups, ring dips, levers, planches and muscle ups.  I knew right away I was waaaaaay out of my league. Once we broke free to start our “warm ups”, I pulled Chuck and Jen aside and informed them of my fitness level.  Instead of pointing out the obvious and laughing at me, they literally put their arms around me and reassured me that not only would I benefit from this course, but I have the most to gain.  Well played.

Off I went, trying to keep up.  We went through the basics with a fine toothed comb: bear walk, crab walk, and of course: superman and hollow.  I spent a lot of the weekend as a third wheel, but I didn’t mind.  I felt like I was brushing shoulders with some big dawgs!

The big lesson I learned from the first day: lat activation.  I need to do a whole lot more of this.  I have always thought the biceps were the big player in the pull up and I could never imagine my little guns moving my whoooooooole body and bringing my chin above the bar.  BUT, I was wrong.  The lats are the major player in the pull up.   Huh, good to know.

The lat: largest muscle in the back.

The lat: largest muscle in the back.

After the first day I was able to sneak in a bit-of-a-chat after hours with the trainers and got to know them a bit more on the personal side.  Even though their knowledge of fitness, their gorgeous physics and their crossfit-godliness didn’t change the fact that they are actually human.  They arrive late, talk about family, take pictures of a dreary skyline and follow the lost into the subways.  Totally. Rad. Humans.

The second day flew by ridiculously fast.  We went through the muscle up, paralettes and handstands but my favorite was finding a modification to the ring dip.  I’ll be using a lot of what I learned in my garage gym, but the ring dip with the heels on a box feels like an epiphany!

I wish I could go through page after page of the notes I took, but this cert did cost a pretty penny.  If you’d like to feel yourself do a ring dip, reverse lever, planche hand stand, or a muscle up- these two days will get you there.

About a week before this cert I created my first crossfit goal: 3 unassisted kipping pull ups in a row.  After what I learned this weekend I really want to change my goal to a strict pull up.  But, I’m not going to.  Instead, I’m going to add the strict pull up as a goal.  Its all about the progression.

Crossfit Gymnastics Cert

Crossfit Gymnastics Cert


Donny Shankle Seminar

This weekend I spent 8 hours on Saturday and Sunday participating in a Weightlifting Seminar with Olympic Weightlifter Donny Shankle.  Even though the only moves he dissected were the snatch and the clean & jerk, I learned a lot more than I had expected.

Ten Things I learned from Olympic Weightlifter Donny Shankle:

  1. Weightlifters are a bunch of bad asses.
  2. Weightlifters lift in kilos.  Times pounds by 2.2 to get kilos.
  3. Need to have the right kit: Olympic (oly) weightlifting shoes. You can customize them: here.
  4. Know and record your PRs.
  5. The best way to learn the snatch/clean & jerk is to learn from the top down.
  6. Yes, the bar actually hits your body in the “pocket”.
  7. Do NOT get frustrated: unless you train these lifts professionally (which is three hours a day: EVERY day).
  8. Be aggressive.
  9. Be confident.
  10. Make goals.
Reebok Crossfit Asia & Donny Shankle

Reebok Crossfit Asia & Donny Shankle

#1: Weightlifters are a bunch of bad asses. When I thought of “weight-lifters”, prior to this seminar, I thought of great big guys with big ol’ bellys and prison tattoos; with a bald head.  Donny Shankle walked strutted around as an average 6 foot tall guy with medium long curly hair- his tattoos were simple and beautiful.  His voice was deep with an accent impossible to place.  His eyes: patient, focused and passionate for lifting.  This guy is a bad ass; and I know my bad asses.

#4: Know and record your PRs. After two years of crossfitting I thought I mastered the “Log Book”.  My wods are logged chronologically with my scaling in paraenthesis.  In the back of my book I have the following sections: general (heros, girls, 5k, ect), thruster, shoulder press, push press, push jerk, power clean, squat clean, snatch, front squat, overhead squat, hi-bar back squat, low-bar back squat, & deadlift.  I’m going to start a new book and have a PR section before my general section.

#7: Do NOT get frustrated.  If you’re not getting frustrated at crossfit- you’re doing it wrong.  Frustration comes with the territory, but don’t let it own you.  If it takes Donny Shankle eight years to PR– it might take a little longer for you.

#8: Be aggressive.  “…like you’re ripping the head off a god damn lion.”- Donny Shankle.  Seriously bad ass.

#9: Be confident.  Positive begets Positive.  Fill that brain-housing-group with positive thoughts!  “Be patient.  It will.  If the training remains constant, it will.”- Donny Shankle.

#10: Make goals.  Along the lines with #4 my new crossfit log book will have a goal section.  It will be on the first page.  My goals will be specific and have a target date.  If I don’t make my goal by the date I will channel lesson #9 and change the date.



Paleo Beef n Broccoli

When I was about 7 years old my dad took me to a sand pit and we picked out the perfect sand for my brand new sand box.  I remember my dad measuring, sawing and grunting through the whole project.  When all the pieces came together he stood back and said, “now you can dig your way to China”.  Well, Dad, I am now going to finish that journey!

“It is rarely a child’s potential that causes them to be unsuccessful, but rather the lack of rigorous goals, high standards and imagination of their parents, teachers and coaches.” ~Jeff Martin

To prepare for my 6 day trip (1 day for travel, 2 days for the crossfit gymnastics cert and 3 days as a tourist with the hubster) I’ve been racking my brain Pinterest for a good beef and broccoli recipe. I found it.  The trick is fry the meat separately!!!

Paleo Beef n Broccoli

  • 2 top sirloin steaks; sliced into strips
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1-2″ ginger; peeled and sliced into matchsticks
  • 4 green onions
  • 2 heads of broccoli, chopped
  • coconut oil
  1. Place steak strips, coconut aminos, garlic, ginger and onions in a bowl and let it marinate on the counter top for an hour.
  2. Heat a large pan to just shy of HIGH and add coconut oil.
  3. Working in batches, brown the steak strips- ONLY the steak!!! Set steaks aside.
  4. Once the last batch of steaks is done add all the steaks, marinade and broccoli to the pan and fry ’em up (I had some left over zucchinis so I threw that in there too).
  5. Top with sesame seeds cause you’re fancy like that.


Hmmmm, beef- it's whats for dinner!

Hmmmm, beef- it’s whats for dinner!

Let it marinate!

Let it marinate!

Fry 'em up!

Fry just the steak first- then add the rest later!


Fancy, huh?!!?!


During my marinating hour I made two sides:

Asian Cucumbers

  • 2 Japanese cucumbers; sliced
  • 3 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T dill (fresh or dried)

Mix.  Refrigerate- if you have the time.

Spicy Kale Crisps

Preheat oven to 350.  Massage oil and salt into kale and bake for 10-15 minutes- long enough to be crispy but not burnt.

paleo preach





Tools for Crossfit. Tools for Paleo.

Holy crap- Crossfit has been in the news and not in a good way.  Between “should a preggo do overhead squats” to “do Crossfit and you’ll get rhabdo and die” to my favorite “I don’t want to get bulky” — Sheesh! To balance all this ickiness plaguing my faceboook  there has been some amazingly awesome things: Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Fallon are in my top three, but this one is my total favorite for the week: “Idol Winner Ruben Studdard Now Biggest Loser“. 2 reasons why I love that a celebrity is a contestant on Biggest Loser: 1.) Takes away the excuse (guilty): If I was famous and had someone cook for me and tell me when to work out I’d be Hollywood thin too! 2.) Biggest Loser uses all types of workouts for their athletes including Crossfit. Even with all of the negative publicity of Crossfit… I’m still loving it.  I’m loving it so much, in fact, that I have signed up for another crossfit cert!  I am beyond excited to be travelling to Hong Kong to participate in the Crossfit Gymnastics certification. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please look into attending a Crossfit Level 1 certification.  Even if you have only been crossfitting for a short amount of time, the information you receive during this 16 hour seminar is mind blowing!  Rumor has it that Shogun Crossfit on Kadena will be hosting a Level One cert— seriously, check into it! So, this one isn’t “Crossfit” affiliated, but its sure to be bad ass… Reebok Crossfit Asia will have Donny Shankle in town for a two day weightlifting seminar.  Who the eff is Donny Shankle?!?!   Please, please, please watch this video:

THAT IS 458.562 POUNDS, PEOPLE!!!!!!!!

I may never be a crossfit trainer and I may never get a muscle up- and that’s ok with me.  These certifications are (very expensive) tools that give me two valuable things:

The first is knowledge.  They teach me the safe and efficient way to do move my body.

The second is confidence.  Crossfit can be intimidating and down right confusing as hell.  Having a whole weekend to break down each movement to the point where it starts making sense changed everything for me.

Along with knowledge and confidence, I met some really awesome folks and Ill continue to use these tools to help my family travel from sickness into wellness for the rest of our lives (and that’s a super long time).

On a lighter note I wanted to show some things that I use on a weekly basis that help me in the kitchen. My number one favorite thing I have in my kitchen is my egg boiler.  I have had a gazillion recipes for idiot-proof-hard-boiled eggs and have proven each and every one of them wrong…. until this: DB tech at 22.95 Chefschoice at 38.97 Cuisinart at 39.95 I’d go to Bed Bath and Beyond, but I don’t think Ill have the time….

18 minutes. Perfect eggs.

Follow up with an ice bath- peels right off… everytime. Even with fresh eggs from the oki egg zoo!

My second biggest helper in the kitchen is my handy dandy Pampered Chef chopper.  If you have been on Okinawa for more than 6 months and haven’t been invited to a carb filled Pampered Chef party… then you need to find new friends.

Zeds dead, baby.

#3: Grease-thing-a-ma-jigger.  The name says it all, really.  Oh, too much nitrate in your bacon, leave it for me… Ill take it.

Got this at a flea market 10 years ago: Fiddy Cent.

Bacon crusties. Looks tempting, but don’t eat them… trust me on this one.

Liquid Gold aka bacon grease!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stanco at $7.80 FoxRun at $18.37 RSVP at $19.95 Why don’t I have my own store on Amazon?  Seriously.  Which brings me to the point that I make a big fat goose egg (zero dollars) on the links I post on my sight. In closing…


Tootles- jess #morelinksthanyoucanshakeastickat, #I<3lists, #longwinded

A Batman Beach Birthday!

We had JRs party out at the beaches of Oura Wan Bay (Camp Schwab) this weekend.

The BIG 8!  Who needs much else when you have these amazing beaches?!!?!

The birthday boy and the beach!

The birthday boy and the beach!


JR & Batman by Joy Company!

JR & Batman by Joy Company!

And cup cakes… seriously, they are more like a work of art!!!!

Cupcakes by Sweetie Pies Bake Shop

Cupcakes by Sweetie Pies Bake Shop

In sheer laziness and convenience, I ordered pizza for the party.  Weird.  I didn’t get  a picture.  Hmm.

Either there is a nasty little bug going around the island or my body reacted violently from JRs birthday party.

It was around 8 that night that I started getting a rumble in my tummy.  No bueno.  I was out celebrating a friends birthday and for the first time in a loooooong time, I left early.  All day Sunday I was “down hard for parts”.

No one else seemed affected, but later Sunday, JY said she wasn’t feeling too good either.

Monday, though, I was back to normal!  It was my last furlough day and it was a good one!  I took JR and MC to Camp Courtney for swim camp, had lunch with one of the wives from my husbands squadron and made it to the 1400 wod.

I love this wod mostly for the athletes.  They are seriously my favorite.  Even though they might not eat and breathe crossfit, they have great clothes, great smiles and their energy is colorfully contagious!

The wod:

3 Rounds for time:
15 power cleans 155/105lbs
50 Double Unders

I used 85# for my cleans and ran home to watch this.

Proof.  I’m not alone.



*Down hard for parts: sick, dying, almost dead.

Spreading the wod

The lean up challenge that I was stoked about a few weeks ago has lost its luster.  10 days in the states put a serious damper on my determination, but I did the best I could.  I did one wod with the Crossfit Brentwood crew and then contacted Crossfit GP (Grants Pass).  I noticed they also had a CFKs program up and running!

I introduced myself to some of the trainers at CFGP and they made me feel right at home.  Especially when they asked me to join them in “birthday burpees” for a guy I’ve never met…. but since he was turned a studly 33, I obliged.  

That night I came home and told my sister all about the box.  I told her: all of the sexy people of southern Oregon were there.  That one gal had the cojones to wear pink leopard work out booty shorts- and ROCKED them!  The trainers were patient and the athletes were very welcoming.  In fact, one guy had just applied for a job here in Okinawa and another gals dad was stationed here during Vietnam: it’s a small world!  Keep in mind my sister has never shown any interest in crossfit… at all.  She has always supported me, but has never tasted the kool-aid. 

What Im about to say is a bit of a stretch, but this is the best way I can describe crossfit in my life.  Its like religion.  The Jehovah Witnesses come door to door to spread their gospel…. to spread their passion.  The Christians in my life express their love of their church and kindly invite me to join. 

When I talk about crossfit to someone who knows nothing about it (or has already made up their mind) I feel the pain of the Jehovah Witness getting the door slammed on them.  I just want to scream, “but this is the bestest thing in the whole wide world and it can save your LIFE!!!!!!!”

Dramatic.  But, true.

I was preaching to my sister about another reason why I love crossfit: I can do it anywhere.  I can do it in a hotel.  I can be a guest a new gym, blah, blah, blah.  Then it happened.  My sister rolled her shoulders back, looked me in the eye and said: I want to try this crossfit.

My sister and I are very close.  She is my “first best friend”.  We have shared a lot of great times together.  She even helped me bring JR into this world.  But, I have never-ever-ever worked out with her…

And then I did.  And it was awesome!  She scaled her weight, listened closely to the trainer, and got through the wod.  Afterwards I congratulated her but I was nervous.  I couldn’t read her emotions.  Did she like it?  Did she hate it?  Does she hate me?  Please, Lord baby Jesus, tell me she liked the kool-aid.

She loved it!!!!!!!!!

Spreading the wod.





Summer 2013 Part 2

MC and JR went to the “states*” for the summer.  Their first stop was “Gramp Camp” in Alaska:

Like the Taylor Swift song... but different.

Like the Taylor Swift song… but different.

How much wood would a wood chuck...

How much wood would a wood chuck…

To recover them from the states I flew into San Francisco (three days after the Asiana flight).  My flight had an hour of holding at 11 thousand feet which was about the same amount of time it took to get my rental car!  In a rental car, GPS enabled, I was on the road to Brentwood!

MC was waiting for me there and I was so excited to see him.  The following morning I attended the 0600 wod at Crossfit Brentwood.  I had slept good and my jet lag didn’t feel too bad… plus I was really looking forward to seeing some more familiar faces!  A year ago I attended a hand full of wods here.  The owners and the athletes made me feel apart of the gym even though I was only breezing through.  A perfect example of the “crossfit community”!!

Jona and I at Crossfit Brentwood

Jona and I at Crossfit Brentwood

After the wod, MC and I loaded up the rental and headed through Sacramento to Reno, NV.  We spent the night in Reno after spending the day with my oldest daughter.  Yes, there’s one more!!  CT is 22 and lives on her own in Reno.  She has the most perfect 2 year old… which makes me… yup: Grandma!!!!

For dinner we ate at Outback.  I had the prime rib: delish.  Oh, and I tried the “onion petal” for the first time.  It made me look at onions in a whole new way… like I know onions dirty little secret!!!

On our way towards I-5 and Mount Shasta I called Crossfit Grants Pass.  Best decision of the vacay.



states: (noun) the state below Canada and above Mexico.

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