“I just want to tone.”

“I don’t want to get bulky”

“How do I tone my arms/legs/belly?”

These questions grate on the souls of most trainers. The beauty industry made this term, and it’s had disastrous effects on people’s expectations of what exercise can do for the body. Whenever someone asks me how to “tone” something, I asked them what they think toning is. Usually the response is something like “well… it’s like exercises to make a body part look better….?” Umm ok….. Here’s what toning is and what it is not.

Toning is losing fat and building muscle. You want Michelle Obama arms? You need to lose fat and build some muscle. No one gets bulky on accident. Women who you think are “too big” have earned that shit with hours and hours of specialized exercise and very careful diet. They tried to get too big. Hell, I am trying to get too big. It’s hard! You have to want it!

“Yeah, but I just want to tone my abs. What exercises do you recommend?”

I feel like Michael Scott in these instances. “NOOOOO!! NO!! NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”

Exercise doesn’t work like that. You want abs? Awesome! Let’s dial in your diet and make sure you’re burning enough calories and revving up your metabolic engine through exercise. That’s the answer. No amount of tricep kick backs are going to get rid of that under arm jiggle you’re so worried about. Sorry to crush your dreams, but that’s how the body works. You will have to lift weights if you want your muscles to show through your skin. But sorry, that 5# dumbbell has got to go. Nothing changes without challenge. If you’re never sore, you’re not improving. If you never push yourself, you’ll never get any better. In the words of the wise Britney: “You betta work, bitch.”

So, if you want a toned (aka lean) appearance, here’s what you do:

Eat well every damn day. Exercise 5 days a week. Lift moderate to heavy weights 3 times a week.

 

Hi everyone!

I’m very excited to share that starting today, I will be posting a daily workout! These workouts will be for anyone, but especially for those with limited time. You can do them at home or at a gym. For those who are at home, I will soon be posting links for equipment you will want to purchase to be able to perform each workout each day.

Here’s a list for now: 3-4 pairs of dumbbells (light, medium, and heavy like maybe 10’s, 15’s, 20’s, and 25’s), a pull up bar, a set of gymnastics rings, a medium kettlebell (25-35#), some resistance bands, and something sturdy to step onto.

I will also be posting short videos to demonstrate movements, talk about diet and nutrition, or just because.

Have a wonderful day everyone!

 

After I came back from Europe, I put training on hold to try my hand at full time work. I accepted a position as GM of the South Boulder Sweet Cow, and while it was a fun experience, my heart belongs to the gym. As I live in Longmont, I am now training in Longmont. Flatirons (now Lefthand CrossFit) will always hold a very special place in my heart, but the commute is long, and I’m ready to start anew. CrossFit Longmont has graciously taken me in as a Coach, a trainer, and part of the family.

With that, I am seeking new clients! If you or someone you know is in the Longmont area and looking to start the new year off right, please contact me and we can start the journey.

 

And so, I arrived back in Paris. Back to where it started three months prior. I stayed in the same hostel as the first time, and revisited only my very favorite spots. 

I’ll miss Paris for the sweets for sure.


I went to two crossfit gyms while I was there, one familiar and one new. CrossFit Original Addicts was how I remembered it. I’ll always go back. The other was CrossFit RAR. They opened while I was in other parts of Europe, very shiny. I did a long metcon with my first friend in Europe.

It was a modern gym with beautiful locker room facilities and fancy new equipment. The floor was a bit warped and soft which was strange, but that’s my only complaint.

I’m excited to return to my home gym, Flatirons Performance Center. I miss coaching, I miss my fellow coaches, and I miss my wonderful community! 

After purchasing a small suitcase and filling it with wine, I went to the airport to fly home. Relief, sadness, excitement… Just a few of the emotions I was feeling as my plane left the gate. I had a very brief layover in Iceland, and got to take some beautiful photos from above.

And here’s my final photo for you all:

Minneapolis from the air. Home. 

I’m writing this from my parents’ kitchen table in Fargo. Happy to be home and back to some familiar. Preparing for thanksgiving with the family, and then back to Boulder on Saturday. I’m excited to see all my favorite people, and return to making money instead of spending it! I’m sure you all have questions, and I’ll be happy to answer them. However,for the sake of expedience, here’s some FAQs.

1. What was your favorite part?

Well, that depends! Rome was the most fun and the best sightseeing. Barcelona had the best food and a beach. Ireland had the best nature. Stuttgart had the best gym culture. If I was going to move overseas, I would go to London as I felt very at home there.

2. Did you ever get bored/scared/lonely?

Of course! All of the above! However, it was generally short lived. Traveling alone has its ups and downs. I had a massive amount of freedom. It’s just easier. Easier to find couchsurfing hosts, easier to make decisions, easier to meet people, easier to blend in. There were absolutely times that I wished I had someone with whom to share experiences though. I think for a trip of this length, traveling solo is best, but for future, shorter trips, I’d like to have a friend.

3. Was couch surfing weird? (And what is it?)

I was fortunate to have only positive experiences with my hosts. Every host I had was warm, welcoming, and accommodating. They brought me into their home like they would a beloved friend, and I’m so thankful for the hospitality I was shown. My hosts often took me to their favorite places, shared meals and drinks with me, and took a great interest in getting to know me. 

Basically, in the couch surfing app, you search for a city, and a list of hosts come up. You sift through their profiles, and make requests to stay with people you think you’ll get on with. They can either accept, decline, or make counter offers for different dates. Often, they have also been travelers and love to share stories. Some just like meeting people from around the world. It’s totally free with no strings attached. I often made meals for hosts however and always kept their place as tidy as I could so as to not be a burden.

4. Was the language barrier hard?

No. Most people spoke at least some english, and I’m quite blessed with the ability to pick up some languages fairly easily. Google translate came in really handy for tough situations, but I had alsmot no issues with communicating.

5. What are you going to do now?

I’m going back to coaching and personal training at Flatirons for sure. I’d love to return to Verde, but they haven’t room for me at the moment, so I’m going to look for something else. 

6. Do you feel differently? 

Not really. I’d say my biggest take away from all of this is that I’m perfectly ok with me. I can be happy by myself, and I can depend on myself (and google maps). I’m less fearful, more bold, and trust my instincts a little more. I learned to live with very little, and didn’t really miss my material things. I’d recommend solo travel to anyone.
That’s it. That’s all of it. 

Thank you for sharing my journey. 

Jenna

Yeah. It’s green.

I spent a full seven days in Ireland after Manchester because I found another £9 flight to Paris the following week. Mostly, I was in Dublin, but I did make it out to the west for the weekend to see the Cliffs of Moher.

Lucky for me, it didn’t rain much while I was there. It was chilly, but not unbearably so. Dublin is quaint for a big city. One can easily walk the whole of it in a day. I chose to take a relaxing approach to exploring the city by going out in small bursts to explore. The first hostels was in was right in the thick of everything which made it easy. Dublin is split in half by a river. There’s a distinct difference between the two sides. One is high class, one is low, and the locals will make sure you know that. I spent most of my time in the low class, old town area. It suited me with its vintage charms. One night was spent there doing a backpackers pub crawl. We visited several pubs where people were playing Irish music, drank plenty of Irish beer, and generally danced to our hearts contents. 


The best part of Dublin for me was the Guinness Storehouse. It’s the original birthplace of Guinness where Arthur Guinness had such a vision that he signed a 9000 year lease which is on display in the floor of the orientation area. The water there flows down from the nearby mountains, and they use only Irish grown barley for their iconic malt. The storehouse (museum) is shaped like a giant pint glass that would hold some 14,000,000 pints of Guinness. Each floor was dedicated to a different part of the Guinness story from the brewing process to Arthur Guinness’s life, the years of advertising campaigns to learning to pour the perfect pint. The top of the pint glass is a pub with a 360 view above Dublin. Amazing. I was entertained the entire time, and the guinness was so fresh, it was like tasting it for the first time again. 


Like every city, there’s a million pigeons. Here’s one sad little pigeon I saw who was missing a foot! Poor little dude. 


There was another brewery in Dublin called The Porterhouse. They don’t serve Guinness much to the disappointment of several people I overheard at the bar. The day after the election, I drowned my sorrows in their house porter and sticky toffee pudding. *sigh*


So that’s Dublin. The people are nice, the beer is great, and the beef stew will take the chill out of you. 

The best part of Ireland is the Cliffs of Moher. I spent the weekend in the nearby town of Galway where I was cold and damp most of the time, but the food was delicious. I treated myself to a dinner for one of fish stew, fresh mussels, yummy malt bread, and of course, banoffee pie.


The next day I hopped on a bus to the cliffs. On the way, we stopped by some caves. They were alright. They used to be hibernation caves for the now extinct Irish Grizzly, so that was cool. 

Here’s some shots from along the way. Ireland has a very unique landscape. 


Let us not tarry. Here’s the cliffs:


It’s a lot of photos. I don’t care. I love them all. It was cold and windy as shit, and there were signs everywhere warning people not to get too close to the edge as every year, someone gets blown off. Such a magical place. 

My last night in Dublin, I went to Navitas CrossFit. It was quite cramped, but the coach did a good job herding us. The workout was fun, and it felt great to really sweat. The community wasn’t the most lively, but they were kind. Before my trip to the west coast, I had worked out at a normal gym called Raw. It was hot and crowded with a healthy mix of bodybuilders, power lifters, and even a few oly guys. I went bro mode and did leg day, bodybuilding style. You’d think some of them had never seen a girl squat! It was really quite fun, and I’d recommend the gym to anyone who just wants to get proper swoliosis. 


That concludes Ireland! I had a super early flight to Paris which is never fun, but I survived. I was happy to be going to my final destination.

I found a £9 flight from Manchester to Dublin, so I went. I had to tear myself from London, but I went. 

It was soooooo cold. For the most part, Manchester was uncomfortable. Even indoors was cold. I’m not certain I ever really felt warm. Like, I considered not showering because the thought of being naked was terrifying. However, I found Train CrossFit Manchester. This is the gym owned by Sam Briggs. I didn’t know that until after I arrived, and she wasn’t there, but it was cool nonetheless. It’s a beautiful gym! Clean, well laid out, well equipped… That’s not the part that made it great though. 


I went there with the intention of getting a bit of oly in before the WOD, and ended up making a very special friend. Everyone, this is Chris. He’s one of the warmest, most knowledgeable Oly coaches I’ve ever met. 


He immediately made me feel welcomed, and once I started lifting, the coaching talk began. We talked cues, theories, common errors, female versus male lifters, and so much more. It was freezing cold in there, but it helped to have someone to joke about it with. I went back the next day for more lifting, and am excited to say I have some awesome new cues to bring home for myself and my students. ?

That’s all I have to say about that. Next post will be about Ireland. I’ll be back in Paris soon, and then I fly to Minneapolis on Saturday! See you soon!

I only gave myself 4 days in London. I had no idea just how much I would love it. From the delicious food to the vibrant markets, London captured my heart. What helped the most was CrossFit London. They were the first affiliate in Europe. They have nearly 1000 members between a few locations. They’re all grit and heart. Or course, at the gym I loved most I took no photos. I’ll have to just describe it. The location that I visited was set inside two joining bridge arches. The rigs were homemade out of scaffolding bars, the bars were slightly rusty, and they had all the gymnastics equipment you could want including parallel bars and a blow up tumbling mat. It was cold and little damp like the rest of London, but the people were warm and welcoming. I showed up for class and felt instantly like family, like I had always been there. I wasn’t other. During the WOD, we were all helping and challenging each other, one upping and no repping, laughing and encouraging. I was invited back two more times during my stay, and went gladly. I can’t say enough about the warmth of the community. My second time there, we did a nasty team WOD, then they brought me out for some traditional English food. We ate meat pies and drank beer and talked like old friends. After dinner, we went to a gym function where I met more of the community. As the party wound down, the original group of us decided on second dinner as the meat pies hadn’t held over long. We went to an amazing little BBQ place that served delectable ribs and brisket sliders. Such a lovely evening with lovely people.

I lied. I have this photo, but it’s of me in the gym, not the gym.


And here’s a venison meat pie.


Here’s London from the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral: 


My first night, my couchsurfing host and I took a long walk around the center of the city. We crossed all the central bridges, heard some great buskers, and enjoyed the only semi-warm weather I had in London. Here’s some photos:




London is home to Camden Town Market. It’s a bustling vintage market teaming with retail stands and food trucks. There were so many food trucks it took me 30 minutes to decide what to eat. I ended up having wild game dumplings, the best brownie I’ve ever eaten, and the best hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted. I thought Italy had won hot chocolate, but I was so wrong. This one from Chin Chin Labs was thick, creamy, and rich, but the real kicker was the hand torched, homemade marshmallow cream on top. I died a little. If you’re ever there, don’t hesitate. Get two.


As every Harry Potter fan does while they’re in London, I visited Kings Cross Station. Fan girl heaven.


I had my first full English breakfast near Brick Lane complete with black pudding and a fried slice. Now, I love sloppy breakfast food, but this was too much. I couldn’t finish it! The black pudding was quite good I was surprised to learn. For those that don’t know, it’s basically blood and oatmeal sausage. 


Graffiti has been a constant in most of Europe. Generally, it’s the kind that detracts from the city. Immature marking by kids, not artists. London, however, has proper art. Here’s some examples:


Lastly, here’s Big Ben and some funny signs.



London, I love you. I’ll be back.

Great song by Jewel. Check it out. I sang it almost everyday while I was there.

“If you could hear the voice in my heart, it would tell you ‘I’m afraid, I’m alone.’ Won’t somebody please hold me, release me, show me the meaning of mercy. Let me loose to fly!”


Barcelona had huge ups and downs. The ups were the peace I felt sitting on the beach. Peace. Contemplation. Freedom. 


There were Asian women walking around the beach offering massages for €5. One of them touched my back, felt my traps, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. It was actually really lovely. So relaxing.  After that, I found an outdoor gym. Despite the fact that I was in a skirt and my boots, I did a workout anyway.


I was the only girl. Surprise. 

The crossfit gym I went to in Barcelona was a lovely return to the bare bones of crossfit. The owner believed in the community above all else. People were warm and welcoming. The WODs were simple and intense. It was small and a bit dirty, but I loved it. On my last day, we did a partner WOD. I paired with a beast of a girl named Ellen. She pushed me past what I thought I could do all with a smile. That’s crossfit. That’s why we stay and suffer. Later that night she invited me out with her and some of her friends. We were accidental twins, and had a wonderful time. 

CrossFit Eixample wasn’t fancy, but it was all you would ever need in a gym.


In Barcelona, there are many works by the late architect Antonin Gaudi. The most impressive being La Sagrada Familia which isn’t even finished yet. There’s at least ten years of tedious construction left before his vision will be complete. I’ve never been so awestruck by a building. Every detail had a purpose. Every stone was part of the story.


My shit photos don’t do it any justice. 

There’s another part of the city called Parc Guell that was designed by Gaudi originally as a wealthy neighborhood. He designed not only the houses, but the sidewalks, water diversions, and landscaping. The art he created with such mundane features is incredible. The walk up and down wasn’t too bad either. 


Ok, those are the highs. Here’s the lows: the first night I arrived, I was dead tired from partying in Rome. I settled into bed fairly early and was prepared to sleep myself back to a human state. My roommates had other plans for me. Between the girl who snores like a lawn mower and the guys who came in so drunk they couldn’t walk, I got exactly 0 hours of sleep. Zilch. I just laid there and cried in frustration. The next day, I got sick. It’s two weeks later and I’m still coughing. The following nights were better as the shitheads all checked out, but I was bitter for days. I spent the second part of my week in an Airbnb with a private room to try and kick the cold. My host was a lovely woman from Uruguay, and she treated me like a daughter. Definitely made up for the shit start I had in barca.

Now I’ll show you some food and drinks. Barcelona won in this department. France and Zurich were good, but Barcelona was better. MVP of delicious.


Seafood paradise.

Here’s some random shots for which I haven’t got stories.


Barcelona at night ❤️


I got offered the opportunity to see a concert there. Of course I took it. It was metal. How could I refuse? I’ll always remember that one time I got to see Behemoth in Barcelona. Behemoth, Mgla, and secrets of the moon, to be exact. Andy was jelly.


To sum this up in emojis, here’s my experience in Barcelona:

???☕️?????????❤️???⛪️?

Sorry for the delay. I actually haven’t been up to too much since my last post. Stuttgart has been very hospitable, and so I haven’t been in a rush to leave. I’ve met a great community of crossfitters here, have a great (and free) place to stay, and have been just enjoying my time. In the coming weeks will be Munich (last weekend of octoberfest), Berlin, and Austria.

This is Feuersee:

It’s just plopped in the middle of town with steps where people congregate to observe the beauty all day and night. It serves as a great central meeting place, and a wonderful half way point from my apartment to the gym downtown.

One of my friends from Colorado is stationed here at the Marine Base! Becky and I have been getting to catch up a bit, and attempting to take in some local culture. We went to the Pumpkin Fest only to be disappointed. We were issued tickets, walked down, and found that all the vendors were closing. No pumpkin bread, beer, or other comestibles for us. Just creepy sculpture viewing. 


We made the best of it. 

There’s an amazing landmark in Stuttgart called Birkenkopf. It’s at the highest point just outside the city and is made of rubble from the bombed parts of the city during WWII. The plaque roughly says: “This mountain piled up after World War II from the rubble of the city stands as a memorial to the victims and a warning to the living.” The spirit of the area was haunting. I couldn’t help but reflect on the idea of permanence. Nothing is permanent, tomorrow is never guaranteed. Love fiercely and openly, and never settle. 

This monument is so much more than rubble and a cross.


The gym I found here is awesome! The community is welcoming and warm, the coaches are knowledgeable, there’s elite and beginner athletes, and two facilities. CrossFit Stuttgart has been a gem of a find! In fact, this weekend, I’m heading to Austria with a bunch of the members and the owners. Should prove to be a memorable time whitewater rafting and adventuring with fit mutha uckas. 


They have FitAid ❤️



This snake sculpture was startling. WTF?!

This area loves sculptures. They’re everywhere. 

I’ll leave you with these pancakes:


All is well! I’ll have a post up early next week with my Austrian adventure!

Hello readers!

I’m writing to you now from Stuttgart, Germany. My lovely friend from CO, Becky Clark, is stationed at the military base here, and I’m using her boyfriends flat while he is away. So, now that I’ve found a cafe with wifi, I can settle in and send my latest stories. 

I left you in Nancy about to have dinner. As you may expect, the cuisine did not disappoint. For only 32€ I got 2 glasses of wine and a three course meal. 


It started with a chicken terrine, moved into a duck shepard’s pie with seared foie gras on top, and the after, the best citrus tart I’ve ever tasted. The meringue was almost like marshmallow fluff, and the strawberries around the edge must have been picked that morning they were so flavorful. My hosts, Audrey and Lio, were goofy and enjoyable. I hope to see them again one day. 


The other desserts were chocolate lava cake and apple crumble. I definitely won dessert that night, they paled in comparison.

The next day, I was off to the Germanic town of Strasbourg, France. What do you picture when you think of Germany 100 years ago? Probably looks a bit like this:


Cute, right?! I’m so happy I found it. I stayed in a hotel here that was close to downtown. You could walk pretty much anywhere worth walking in 20 min or less. On my first morning, I found this:


Built in the 1400s, this epic cathedral was nestled into the heart of the city. I grabbed a seat at the cafe out front and just stared for a while. The detail was painstakingly immaculate. A must see if you’re ever in the area. From there, I found CrossFit 67.


This photo shows only half the total space. There’s also a strongman area, and a weightroom (bodybuilding style). In the busy parts of the day there can be three classes running and open gym, it was incredible to witness. I took a class, and made a friend. The WOD was a shoulder smoker! Bench press, heavy KB swings, and hollow holds were the strength portion, followed by 4 rounds of 10 ring dips, 20 T2B, and 30 DU. There was a 12 min time cap and a 400m cash out. I capped. My shoulders were fatigued from the  bench press, and the rings were on the longest straps I had ever used (so unstable). BUT, I’m happy to report that no one who Rx’d beat the cap, and I managed to beat all but one person back in from the run! The coach was attentive, but quiet. I found motivation only from competing neck and neck with another guy. All in all, the gym was really nice and well-run, but lacking the heart that I’ve come to know at home. I’d go back, but only for lack of options and the amazing equipment assortment. The friend I made during class made it better though. Her name is Mina, and I got to spend a lot of time with her, even stay a night in her home. She was gracious, funny, and genuine. Serbian, so no bull shit. 


She showed me parliament and the European Union. It was cool to see such important places of government in such an assuming place.


I also met some other friends in Strasbourg from couch surfing. There’s a feature of the app called Hangouts where you can make yourself available for meeting up with others in the area. I ended up going to a BBQ on the border of Germany with a bunch of people! It was so cool! The boys cooked while the girls sat around and swapped travel stories. We all ate and laughed, and thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Before leaving Strasbourg, I met up with a friend who took me skating! She’s a roller derby coach, and managed to find equipment big enough for me to borrow. I haven’t been on quad skates in ages. It felt so good. At first, I looked like Bambi on ice, but my skate legs came after a few minutes, and I was zooming all over. Maybe I’ll look into derby again when I get home. 


Next stop: Baden-Baden, Germany. I stayed with an amazing little family who treated me like a daughter. They were camping in the backyard because the weather was so nice, so in the spirit of fun, I slept in the treehouse. It was cool at night, and I slept like a champ.


The mom took me to a cafe with, in her opinion, the best cake and coffee in the region. It happened to be on the ground of a huge mansion as well. The cake was delicious, and I had my first drip coffee in what felt like ages. Happiness. 


Once the children were in bed, we were able to really get to talking. The couple was hilarious! In the end, we got into the liquor cabinet tasting local schnapps. They sent me packing with a bottle with which to make friends on my journey. This is why you can’t just stay in hotels and hostels in Europe. You miss these connections and experiences. The next morning, mom and I took the kids to the pool and just enjoyed a beautiful day looking at the Black Forest.


The day I had on my own there was memorable to say the least. I went to an Ancient Ritualistic Roman Bath. As alluded in the title, I got to be a nudist for 3 hours. In those hours, I was taken to 17 rooms each containing a step of the relaxation and rejuvenation process. Hot pools, cold pools, bubbly pools, saunas of varying degrees, a brush and soap scrubbing, a cocooned nap, and a fresh air room all with other bathers, all completely nude. I. Loved. It. 


This brings us to Stuttgart where I’m sitting now. 

Now for a new section I’m going to call “Things I Think Are Weird About Europe.”

1. The toilets are almost always separate from the shower and sometimes the sink too.

2. People eat bread and jam for breakfast. That’s it. They think I’m weird for wanting eggs.

3. The eggs at the store are not refrigerated.

4. Drip coffee is pretty much unavailable. It’s all espresso.

5. People are small. Like, I’m a freak.

6. People park half on the sidewalks because the streets are so small.

I think that’s it. That everything I have to report. I’m going to the gym soon. 

Kisses and fatty fat hugs!