27 Nov

This post was inspired by my good friend Lindsay who brought me home a tank top from the Crossfit Box she went to in Hilton Head while she was on vacation.  It was also inspired by the fact that it is FINALLY Christmas Season! =)

So much of one’s happiness and success is determined by if they believe they can and believe they deserve the best.  Believing seems like such a simple thing to do, but for most people it is quite the opposite.  Trusting that good things are coming and accepting that you deserve them is more than half the battle.  I am 100% an advocate in the power of positive thinking.

It took me a while to get to this point in my life. On the surface I was a positive thinker; I’d say things out loud but not truly in my heart believe what I was saying.  When you make a stand to yourself and decide to believe, to have faith, to say YES I CAN, good things will come to you as they did for me.

This correlates to Olympic lifting too and other movements in Crossfit (EX: Muscle ups!) Half the battle is trusting in the possibility of it happening-whatever IT may be.

Imagine IT will happen.

Believe IT will happen.

Hard work + Faith = Success

Olympic lifting can be scary, swinging on rings that dangle 15ft from the ceiling can be scary, climbing a rope can be scary, but we have to have courage and trust in our body’s ability to complete the task at hand. I have read a lot on how a big part of weightlifting is imagining yourself completing the lift. I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it, the whole closing your eyes and seeing yourself do it, then I realized it’s the same thing as believing.

Everything is possible if you believe it is.

Believe in yourself. Know you are great. Trust in the process.

There is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS something to be THANKFUL for.

19 Nov

You woke up this morning. You have your sight to read this right now.

Did you have food for breakfast? Do you have clothes on your back? Are you working? Are you in love? Do you have wonderful friends, a family who cares?

Thanksgiving is in a few days and there is just so much to be thankful for. I feel so grateful to get to spend a few days with the new family in my life and the ones who have been there from the beginning. The only thing I am sad about is that there are no Crossfit gyms open on Friday 😉

It’s kind of unfortunate that there is only one day a year designated for people to really think about what they are thankful for and share appreciation with those who have made an impact in their lives. Shouldn’t we be doing that more often?

We all go through rough times, some more often or severe than other.  But I do believe we all have things to be thankful for and we need to remember that more often.  Don’t go through life taking advantage of what you have or being ungrateful, you just never know what tomorrow could bring.

What I am thankful for each and every day:




My amazing Friends

Crossfit Defined Co-workers and Community

Food/The Paleo Diet

My apartment


Morning Coffee

Ability/Strength to Crossfit and Compete

Heart and Mind

The difficult times that helped me grow into the person I am today



The list goes on and on…


What are you thankful for?

Pause a moment, take a deep breath, think about your life and give thanks.


Ambition. Knowledge. Power. Journey.

8 Nov

“Ambition without knowledge is like a boat on dry land.” Sergeant Kesuke Miyagi-Karate Kid

There will never be a time in our lives when we know everything there is to know about everything. I can’t decide if that is fun and exciting or annoying. Haha. It’s like being on this journey but never having an end in sight.  I say take it for what it is and run!

Learn. Understand. Practice. Learn More. Understand. Practice.

Repeat for the rest of your life.

I hate to admit this, but I’m not sure that I’ve actually seen the entire movie, Karate Kid. I definitely haven’t seen the newest version, and I think I watched the older one but when I was younger and again, my memory = not so good! Yesterday, in regard to something in her life, my girlfriend threw out that Karate Kid quote and I loved it! It immediately set a light bulb off in my head, ‘blog topic’. My brain kind of works in this spider web way, one idea triggers another idea/memory and they just shoot back and forth, sometimes random but usually connected in some way.

– this image was actually for a poem titled, “The New Rambling of a Creative Mind” Maybe I’m more creative than I thought, because I ramble A LOT! =)

Anyways, back on track. I connected the quote with something that we were talking about on Saturday. Saturday an Olympian, Kendrick Farris, came to CFD to put on a seminar on Olympic lifting.  I was like a little kid on Christmas morning

I was so excited to be present with such an amazing athlete! I think he could tell from the minute we met that I was going to be the girl that was always asking, “Kendrick, can you watch? How does this look?” Noal and David and the rest of the crew were picking on me, like usual =), about how I always want people to watch me even when I’m doing it great. Well, the thing is, I know that I’m not perfect and that there are so many things I need to learn and get better at. I think I do that because I just want to get better and better, relating back to my post on Tuesday (see Spiderweb, everything is linked together).  I was taught at a young age to be humble, to ask questions, to listen, I have my parents and I’m sure brothers to thank for that 😉

Intelligence = knowing that you don’t know everything.

I always got picked on/still do sometimes, for being the girl who always raises her hand in class, always has a question, always wants to be in the front row, and always wants to be critiqued. I’ve been this way since I started playing soccer at the age of five and learning the scissors and the rainbow =) I think we all need to remember that there is always more to learn, room to grow.

So back to Karate Kid, ambition is one of the best character traits anyone can have in my opinion.  That desire to do more, to do something exceptional, to have dreams, it’s so attractive. But, Rachel was right, ambition is great, goals are wonderful, dreams are necessary, but if we don’t make moves to get ourselves close to them then what are we doing?

Knowledge is Power.

So get out there and do something. Learn. Soak in everything you can about life. If you have a long term goal, take a look at 100 steps back from it and figure out where to start.

We all have to start somewhere.

If the outcome isn’t exactly what we hoped it was going to be, but you walked the journey with determination, love and happiness, there is a good chance the end result will be exactly what it was meant to be.

“The Limit Does Not Exist! “ –Cady Heron

6 Nov

Pressure. Is it good or bad? Can it be both?


Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves? I’ve done it since a young age (not that I have the greatest memory, but from what I can remember I’ve been doing it a while=)). I think it’s the way we perceive pressure that makes or breaks us.

I’m not good enough.

I’m not skinny enough.

I’m not cute enough.

I’m not smart enough.

I want to be stronger.

I want to be better.

I want to be kinder.

I want to win.

It all depends on how you look at it, how you say it, how you think it. I respect those who put pressure on themselves because they want to be the best person they can be. Pressure can be good when it pushes you in a positive direction, makes you fight for the end result you want.

I think a lot of my pressure comes from not wanting to disappoint.  I always want to make people happy and proud. When I was younger/most of this could probably apply to me now as well haha, I followed the rules. I never wanted my parents to be upset with me or disappointed.  Why is it that someone being disappointed in you is like the worst thing ever? It’s the one emotion that I think hits us the hardest. Not someone being mad or angry with a decision we made, an action we took, but someone being disappointed in us is like a knife to the heart. Who wants to feel that? I doubt anyone.

I also put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to Crossfit.  Sometimes I wonder why I do it, or why I kind of put myself in a position to feel this kind of pressure.  But then I realized it’s where I thrive.  It’s good pressure, not bad pressure.  I don’t even like to use the word pressure, but that is just how it always comes out.  This ‘pressure’ makes me a hard worker, dedicated to my goals, driven to be the best, accomplish things I never thought possible. (Example #1: Muscle ups) One thing I love about Crossfit, it pushes us to want to do things we never thought possible, and it pushes us to not stop until we do those things we never thought were possible.  It’s a place where there are no limits.  Sure we have plateaus; we just can’t stay there forever. We have to push pass them and continue to be better each and every day, each and every moment.


“Reject Mediocrity and Embrace Adventure” – Amber Rae

1 Nov

Are you sick of living an average life? Are you ready to take a chance, make a change? We all have so much potential bottled up inside, maybe we just need someone to spark a fire under our butts so we can let it out!

The Bold Academy- We have one mission: to help you lead the life you are meant to live.

I spent about an hour yesterday reading up the Bold Academy.  Amber Rae founded this company/idea and has created this team of people, which are so wise and cultured; to work together in helping others find their true destiny.

The Bold Academy is a life-accelerator designed to arm you with the habits, values, courage, and community to overcome obstacles and boldly unleash your gifts on the world.

She holds ten day long “camps” where individuals come together and grow, learn, relax and so much more. They include fitness and healthy eating into the equation as well (how perfect). I think I have found my goal for 2014-Go to the Bold Academy.  How cool would that be?

There are so many interesting and intelligent people out there and I just have this desire to know and talk to them all.  I want to soak up as much as I can! When I first started shadowing Noal and David at CFD Noal used to say to me all the time, “Be a sponge Laura-soak in every little detail of what we are doing and saying”. It was like he ignited this awareness inside of me that although I was done with college I was not done learning.  I want to fill this brain with as much knowledge and wisdom as I can. I think having the opportunity to spend 10 days in a situation like the Bold Academy is exactly what I want.

Fear is the single most significant obstacle that holds so many of us back.  Risk is a scary thing. Diving into the unknown is frightening.  But if we stay stuck in this safe zone our whole lives we will never reach our fullest potential.  Humans are magnificent creatures which hold so much possibility.

I have quite a detailed vision of what I would love my life to be like in 3-6 years.  It looks really good on paper/in my head =) but how am I going to kick start that to make it concrete, make it come alive? I honestly don’t know. Today is a start, tomorrow is an opportunity.  I think sometimes we get comfortable where we are (and not always in a bad way.  I feel great about my life, it’s everything I want it to be at this given moment and I am truly lucky to be where I am today. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t more out there for me…) It’s not that we fear the end result but we fear the path from point A to point B and whether or not we can actually get to point B.  I say…

I had to put this in here, it’s perfect. Take your fears, punch them in the face, and attack your life with passion, trust, and an open heart.  Good things are bound to come your way.

BRRR!!!! The Cold is Here

30 Oct

Top 10 things that make the cold weather a little more bearable:

  1. Fires
  2. Coffee cuddled in bed, on the couch, in front of the fire-you name it!
  3. Paleo Blueberry pancakes
  4. Isolating yourself in the BOX for hours on end forgetting what it’s like outside with an Olympic Bar/Kettle Bell/Sled/Rower.
  5. The holiday season
  6. Boots
  7. Scarves
  8. Chili
  9. Hats
  10. WODing

In my personal and professional =) opinion these are 10 things that should be on the top of everyone’s “How to Survive Chicago’s winter” list. You’d think I wouldn’t be such a baby considering I grew up in the burbs of Chicago and went to school in Northwest Indiana where the lake effect was ridiculous, but I am! I complain about it when my nose is frozen off or I can’t feel my toes, but I do love the change of seasons.  I just wish fall was longer! Did we even have a fall this year? It was like two days long, not acceptable mother nature.

Ok, back on track. There is something about walking into the gym, cold face/hands/toes/core and then getting a good workout in and sweating-so much better than just continuing the sweating during the summer time-today is going to be a perfect day for this to happen!

I also made my best batch of Paleo pancakes this morning! Not sure what I did different, but they turned out like real pancakes, it was so exciting! Perfect pre workout meal, right? =)

Speaking of working out…I’ve come across this underlying theme a few times in the past week and wanted to share.  Crossfit can be a roller coaster of emotion with good and bad days. That is what makes us stronger and courageous.  Knowing there is always tomorrow to try again.

A few times in the past couple of weeks I’ve had some off days.  They are frustrating and annoying, but they are life.  I have seen some of my friends go through it too and it just makes me realize that we are all human and can’t perform at our best every day.  We can give our best effort everyday but we can’t guarantee the best results all the time.  It’s being able to recognize that and still come back the next day for more.  For instance, Friday morning the barbell and I were fighting. I couldn’t snatch to save my life. I was failing at 100# left and right, I just wanted to say, “F U bar and walk away” which I kind of did for that given moment (only for my safety and sanity) but I came back Saturday and then again yesterday morning to snatching  and it was feeling great! Olympic lifting takes courage and a lot of it.  It takes courage to keep attacking it and trying to perfect the art form that it is, it takes courage to throw heavy weight at your throat and above your head. I think that is why it is so inspiring to watch others lift and to lift, it’s such a wonderful thing that has come into my life and I’m very grateful for it. I know that sounds kind of silly because I am talking about Olympic lifting, but can you disagree?? Also on the topic of Olympic lifting, Kendrick Farris (Olympian Weightlifter) is coming to CFD this weekend and I couldn’t be more excited to learn from him.

Another thing on my list of wonderful winter things is chili. Chili can also be a great post workout meal. Add some butternut squash in there, veggies, meat and you’ve got everything you need!  I just did some clean and jerk work, 85% (145#) and muscle up work. I also PRed on my strict ring dips!! Haha yes that’s right, 3 in a row! Don’t laugh, but it was quite exciting for me and these little triceps/pecs =) so after a nice Progenex Recovery shake, I think I’ll take some of this… while I jot down my workout notes and hydrate in my new favorite cup =)


The Future: Something to Look Forward To Everyday

23 Oct

“The future” for me used to be this scary place. This unknown, this whole block of my life with a lot of uncertainties.  Now my future is a place that I can’t wait to get to. It excites me, motivates me, and I look forward to it every day.

Two things I have decided is that you can’t be ready for your future until you are at peace with the past and are in a solid, warm and loving place currently.  I think the future scares those people that are constantly thinking about the past, maybe it’s something that used to be that they want back, maybe it’s something they did and never want to remember and are afraid they are going to relive it.  Whatever the case may be-LET IT GO! I am a true believer it what happened, happened, move on-learn from it, even embrace it, but don’t dwell on it. I think the biggest part of coming to terms with this first part is that it needs to be on your own, in your own time.  THEN part two comes.  Then you can truly be happy and have a life filled with love.  Then you can be eager for the future! Dominos effect =)

Think back to 3 months ago, 6 months ago, a year ago, and 2 years ago. Where were you? Where are you now?

3 ish Months ago

  • I couldn’t do a muscle up, now I can string two together
  • I drove to work every day/a lot, now I walk!
  • I was in search for the perfect girl for me, now she’s all mine.
  • I hadn’t eaten deep dish pizza in almost 2 years, a few months ago I had a slice and it was amazing!! See, I can live a little 😉

6 ish Months ago

  •  I worked two jobs, one that I did not enjoy and one that I love. Now I do just the one I love!
  • I couldn’t finish “Diane” in under 9 minutes, on Friday I did it in 8:34 (still awful, but progress!)
  • I ran a mile in 6:16-first time I think I’ve ever run a mile that fast, EVER!

1 ish Year Ago

  • I could only clean and jerk 145 1 time (and it was ugly!), now I can clean and jerk 170
  • I ate a donut, haven’t since! (haha see picture for first CF competition, this was my celebratory treat)
  • I lived alone in a gloomy dungeon like studio (had its perks and was my first place ever but still ugh!) and now I live in a beautiful condo (Thanks to the Nett’s) and have a wonderful roomie =)

2 ish Years Ago                

  • I ate pasta, bread, cheese and dairy, now I’m PALEO! (98% of the time) =)
  • I was on an interval running program on a treadmill, now I CROSSFIT!
  • I was 100% dissatisfied with my body, now I have arm muscles! Haha
  • -I moved to the city with about 3 friends here (if that!) and now I have so many wonderful friends in my life! I owe about 99% of that to CFD =) best decision ever!
  • I could not do 1 pull up. Now I can do 5 strict pull ups in a row! And a lot of kipping (haven’t tried for that one in a while, but it used to be 27)

That is just a short list of the exciting things that have come for me thus far in my life.  Some small and funny, some huge and unforgettable. Either way, I have a hunch the future holds great things ahead.  I just had a friend/athlete say to me yesterday after I asked how he was doing, “Great! Exciting for the future!” I just responded in second nature, “I’m excited for your future too!” (Who does that? I do! Haha) he laughed and said, “Well, shoot. I’m excited for you future too!! We will just be future buddies.” It was funny and fantastic all at the same time.  He is so right, the future is exciting. Whether in regards to my lifts, my career, my people, any aspect of my life-it all just keeps getting better and better. Sure there are bumps in the road, I have had my fair share, but we just have to (broad) jump right over them and keep on going.

So take a minute to think, maybe set some goals, relish in the successes so far and learn from the not so great times. But whatever you do, know that your future is BRIGHT! =)

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