So much is going on but I saw this article and wanted to share it

This morning, The Morning Chalk Up featured something about rest and recovery. THIS IS A THING. I wear a Whoop strap to monitor this … but I have SO MANY friends who don’t think that rest is as important as working hard (truth hint: nutrition is probably the most important part in this transformation journey).

The morning newsletter says: “Rest up, buttercup. Especially now that the season is changing this is a great time to focus on recovery for a hot minute. And we mean actual recovery like meal prepping, sleep, massage, meditation, socializing and believe it or not, doing nothing or lying on the couch watching your favorite series.” It comes with this link: Rest and Recovery Article which states, “In our modern society, rest is often undervalued. While hard work is being applauded, taking time off to unwind is perceived almost as a guilty indulgence. In media success is advertised with pain and discomfort but in real life, the latter is most often associated with burnouts, injuries and chronic fatigue. Results come from keeping your body and mind healthy. Part of staying on track with your health is paying attention to recovery. Recovery is a sum of thought-through actions such as meal prepping, sleep, massage, meditation, socializing and believe it or not, doing nothing or lying on the couch watching your favorite series. In this article, we present you with four ways to improve your recovery.”  Go read it!



A few recipes we’ve tried lately

I’m cleaning out my paperwork and some of it is a stack of clean eating recipes we’ve tried over the past few months. There were a few worth sharing.

Crock Pot Yellow Curry Soup:

We’ve made this recipe about three times now. It’s stupid easy; you can use any vegetables you have in your fridge and it’s yummy. Adjust the spices for your family and voila. EASY! IMG_3586


Copycat Clean Eating Quest Protein Bars

We made these on a family trip at a beach house. YUMMY. A little more gooey and had a hard time on the portion (don’t seem to be as large as a quest bar for the same macros). Overall – definitely worth trying.


Paleo Beef Stroganoff

When the author of this blog states “the best beef stroganoff I’ve eaten, Paleo or not” – I AGREE!  I couldn’t get over the coconut cream = made it so creamy!!

10 weeks FLIES by when you’re training 3 times a day … the WZA Transformation Challenge is in the bag …

This is what I submitted with my transformation pictures:

Dear WZA and RP,

You asked me to summarize the past 10 weeks and to tell you where I am in my transformation journey.

The past 10 weeks have been a blur. Then again, so have the last three and a half years. One morning I woke up and didn’t like my life so I made a profound decision to change. I wanted to be a better example to my two daughters. I wanted to not hurt. I wanted to become STRONGER. I wanted to prove that “I can.”

In the past 10 weeks, SO MUCH has happened. I just did a quick review of my instagram account and this is what it shows:

  • My husband Mike and I did an OCR – the Warrior Dash where we conquered obstacles, climbed walls and jumped over fire
  • Our family took a trip to the Oregon Coast and brought dumbbells and my new RP diet template. This is where we learned how to navigate meal planning using RP and to weigh my food in grams and worked out recipes and plans for food prep based on the templates.
  • Did the Murph partitioned with my 16 year old daughter – for the first time I ran both miles without stopping and did it all in kipping pullups vs. switching to ring rows
  • While Mike and I were swimming a little bit before, we started swimming 3x a week. And took swimming lessons. I’ve gone from barely being able to do a 200 to a full mile (breaststroke) and from not even being able to reach a 25 to repeated laps freestyle.
  • Because I struggle with running, we sought help from a running coach and I started running a mile. Every. Day. For 15 days. (okay with my physician and explained better as according to my sports medicine doctor, he believes it is my body’s physiological response due to being born with bad knees = my body jacks my heart rate up to the 160/170s because it’s not wanting to have pain)
  • I GOT STRICT PULLUPS!!!! (have been trying and doing strength progression work for 2+ years)
  • Learned how to drink protein shakes and sparkling water from my wine glass while my husband enjoyed cocktails. Also learned how to make protein pudding and casein is fully adopted into my daily routine so much that I am taking all of the ingredients with me in my luggage for my training in Europe next month.
  • Competed scaled team in the Deschutes Demolition with Stephanie and we came in middle of the pack – had our best finish ever and we pulled some amazing numbers. Plus stayed on template. The. Whole. Weekend. Even while my husband had margaritas.
  • Started taking riding lessons (dressage) with my husband. I have not been able to ride on a regular basis since my horse died in 2013.
  • Almost got a BMU ( and practiced ring muscle ups with the Ring Thing.
  • Traveled to PA for a week with my family – my sister had her baby during this time. STAYED ON TEMPLATE. Cooked for everyone. Brought a trx strap, my jumprope, an empty rogue sandbag (cost $4.00 for 50# to fill it at the hardware store) and had “at home” WODs. Dropped in on a local box (local = 1 hour drive) to do a qualifier workout where I PR’ed my 3RM F/S.
  • Sent my 20 year old daughter to Rebellia Clothing for her first college internship for a month when I’ve never been away from my kids longer than 10 days. Never allowed emotions of missing her / having he call me homesick to sway my nutrition or training.
  • PRed my bench, backsquat and frontsquat +#s n the Wendler 5-3-1 strength cycle. Over. And over. And OVER. Wodify was giving me gold stars almost every week.
    Learned how to do a proper cluster and thruster. Then got 2nd place on the the thruster wod at my first elite masters competition (see more about this later).
  • Went kayaking. Paddleboarding. Swimming in lakes. Rescued my dumb dog from almost drowning.
  • Went on my first legit mountain bike ride and KEPT UP with my husband (he left me in the dust in the Everglades the day after WZA).
  • Walked the bubble “run” in a weighted vest as a supporter of my friend who I’ve helped inspire to lose 50 lbs since we did that event a year ago.
  • LEARNED TO CLIMB ROPES LIKE A BOSS. Went from 8-10 pulls and shuffling up and down to 5 hand over hand pulls and sliding down in under 15 seconds. Went from 1-2 rope climbs and burnt out to doing a 20 minute EMOM of them AND being able to hit a freaking high rope in that Canada competition.
  • Kipping handstand pushups came back (they have been missing since the Open when I got 5 one time and 2 one time). I am now able to balance 10-15-20 seconds (free in the middle of the room and off of the wall) and walk on my hands (can teeter 20+ in a row and now do 4-5 steps towards the wall).
  • WE BOUGHT A HOME!!!!!!
  • Went to Canada. For the CanWest Games – only the second largest CrossFit competition to WZA in North America. AND. HAD A BLAST. Held top 10 first 2 days. Then I had to take a 0 on a workout because I don’t have muscle ups. But the event owner told me that he “respects me” because I asked for a modified workout so that I would put in the work just like the other women in my division vs. resting on the sidelines. In that workout, I did 11 sets of 2 pull-ups – a PR for me. I also sprinted. Carried a 200# yoke and 124# in each hand farmers carries. And did 30 C2B. And 30 TTB. And didn’t lose my shit when things didn’t go as planned – was mentally prepared as well as physically.
  • This weekend, I will complete my first triathlon.
  • Next week, I travel to Europe for 3 weeks. 2 weeks for work in Frankfurt, Germany and one week on the “outside the box” holiday for our honeymoon in Croatia where I have set the goal to PR my snatch.


THE NUMBERS: I lost weight AND bodyfat (inbody scans every week except the week I was traveling) at the rate of 0.5 lbs a week and from 28.4% to 25.3% body fat. I am SO thrilled because 3 years into my journey to become healthy, I have to fight hard for loss today vs. when it was falling off of me in the beginning of my journey. More importantly, I have learned that if it’s faster than that, it is unlikely to be sustained.
A few details from that list:

I never allowed emotions to dictate my food intake and I was 100% alcohol free for the duration of this challenge:
Having a food addiction is very difficult because it’s not like you can remove food from your life. If you are addicted to cigarettes, you can just not buy them. Same with alcohol. But there is always food in your house. And, it’s American culture to celebrate with food. To mourn with food. To help others with food. To fundraise with food. To socialize with food. Etc. Where I work, they keep a “candy shop” except the candy is free. And it is stocked with things that don’t seem so bad for you until you learn what the numbers are – like yogurt covered pretzels.

I am SO PROUD of myself for being able to stay on template. The RP template was the hardest food plan I have ever followed – and trust me, I have followed a lot. But the motivation I had to keep with it was that I WANT to be FUELED for my output. I did have to adjust the macros and had a conversation with Nick on FB messenger about this – because I have insulin resistance in my past (when I was morbidly obese) and the added carbs were really affecting me negatively. As soon as I adjusted back, not only did I FEEL better, but the timing of the nutrients helped me really feel ready for my workouts and I also believe aided in recovery. I am planning on easing into maintenance and then working with my coach on timing with upcoming qualifiers and competitions to figure out the best time to do a second cut.
I graduated from college:
This was SUCH a HUGE accomplishment – hard to put into words.

I dropped out of college in 1993 in order to move to the west coast because I was young and in love and getting married.

22 years later, when I became single and was trying to support my daughters and myself on my little hobby job income, I realized how valuable a college degree would be for me – not only in terms of potential income, but in that piece of paper proving to my daughters that hard work pays off and goals can be achieved, no matter how late in life a person starts or how difficult the struggle is.

In June, when I walked across the stage to accept my diploma, I was SO lucky to have people there for me who are so special. My CrossFit comp partner was there! And, of course, my 2 daughters who have been with me every step of the way (through so many late nights, early mornings, frustrations and celebrations) were in the audience. And, my new family – my new husband and my new daughters also came. One of my new daughters said she is so inspired now and wants to return to college, now and that makes me so happy that I can motivate her to make her life better.

I competed in my very first elite individual masters competition:
When I qualified for the CanWest Games I was in disbelief so much that I cried. I had signed up just to do the qualifier WODs with my husband only to support him – I did not expect to qualify, let alone in the upper half of the pack. I reached out to the organizer and asked their opinion on if I should go on a scaled team (original plan) or go as a masters. I sent them my instagram and website to review ( The answer was an enthusiastic “go for masters!”

This competition was SO hard yet SO fun. I have never pushed myself to the pain cave like I did in the bbjo/running/C2b/dumbbell workout (I thought I was going to black out) and I have never been so focused as I was during the thruster workout. I went as heavy as possible and could not be happier with the result in their DT workout and had FUN sprinting (I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT THESE WORDS ARE ESCAPING ME BECAUSE I DON’T LIKE TO RUN).

What’s best? My whoop told me … but I already knew because I felt it. We got good sleep. We recovered. My HRV was excellent and with proper food timing, nutrition numbers and taking care of hydration, I kept my whoop score good and the day after the competition felt that I could WOD hard.
As far as where I am today in my transformation journey – I won’t even try to pinpoint an end point for you so it’s hard to say if I’m mid-point or three-quarters or just at the beginning. To me, these changes I have made and will continue to make are about lifestyle, not a 10-week period of time spent in a challenge or a 12-week diet template.

I have discovered that a larger part of being a transformer is that you are often faced with forks in the road and you just won’t know which way is the right way to go until sometimes you go down one fork and discover it’s a dead end (like when I tried adding workout carbs and ended up feeling sick from them and gaining weight over those 3 weeks of this challenge). Or that the other fork leads to yet more options like new opportunities, FEELING BETTER (like when I decided to quit dairy and just a few weeks later realized I wasn’t in as much pain).

What I can say is that I still have big goals. And that today’s goals are TOTALLY different than anything I had predicted in 2015 when I started my journey towards health. In 2015, I wanted to be 135 pounds and a certain size. Today, I hashtag and MEAN IT – #goalweightstrongAF. I don’t care about the scale and fit in the same size of pants that I wore in high school, even at 189# vs. my 135 then. My goals are more in line with performance, lifelong happiness/hobbies and health.

Last January, my (then boyfriend, now husband) Mike took me to WZA as his “coach” and sidekick. Because he has watched me, had me help him pre-WZA and trusts my knowledge and judgement, my primary purpose for being at this competition for him was to be his support person. I was in charge of his nutrition and to help make sure he was where he needed to be when he needed to be there (which included running a mile back to the hotel and a mile back to the festival to get lifters and rope climbing gloves when the WODS announced were not the WODS being done, because they had been flip flopped, LOL).

There was a significant amount of downtime between his workouts, and during this time, Mike prioritized sleep. I made use of this time by watching as many masters women age groups as I could as well as the scaled and intermediate teams. The entire time, I was absolutely impressed. These athletes are amazing. Strong. Fierce. Determined. Never ending abundance of “get it done” guts, sweat and sometimes tears.

One female masters athlete struck me in particular. She struggled with some of the workouts. She could not get rope climbs, but she was NOT about to just stand there … she tried. And tried, and tried. I could identify with her. While I was watching her, I thought that I could be like her. Not waiting to compete until I was perfect. Seizing the moment and doing my best out on the mat.

This experience lit a fire inside me. One that I could barely contain. I WANTED to start training right away. But while at WZA, I was actually in two of the most challenging college courses of my entire college career – both the Business and the Accounting Capstones. I had to keep my desire to CrossFit in line in order to balance the rest of my life responsibilities and goals.

Fast forward to today. There is NOTHING stopping me from training hard and learning skills. I have replaced the time I spent in school with FUN activities. I am still prioritizing parenting and am at Lizzy’s soccer games and swim meets. I am now working full time and next week will be sent to Europe for a few weeks for training because I’m accepting more responsibility at work.

But, every day I wake up early and do strength. On M/F we swim at lunch and on T/T we do yoga at lunch. In the evenings on M/F we do metcons, on Tuesday we ride horses, on Wednesday we practice our olympic lifts and skills and on Thursday we do mini triathlons.

My ultimate goal right now is to build the strength and endurance to compete at WZA 2019. The only question is – in which division will I qualify and which one will best fit me? I believe that the smartest goal is to go team with some other friends I have recruited, however, if I can qualify as an individual masters athlete it would be hard to turn down the invitation.
It’s a see you later … not an after or the end …  
I am SO GRATEFUL to the organizers, sponsors and to my fellow transformers. This past 10 weeks has been tremendously blessed for me and it is in part because of joining this challenge. The structure, weekly challenges and community made a lasting impact on my life.
Thank you!!!
Corinne Cook
Instagram: pdxdressagemom

Recipe for success: Daily use of our 6 Pack Fitness Bags

6 pack bag 3

I wanted to do a quick post about how much I love our 6 Pack Fitness Bags. They are ROOMY and STURDY.

About a year and a half ago, I bought one second hand from another person in our gym.  When Mike moved in, I wanted to get him one, so I ordered him one for Mike for Christmas. Once his arrived, I realized that there were some changes to the new model which included shelves that slide up and down vs. being fixed inside a plastic box and an overall more sturdy yet lighter exterior, so I ended up ordering a new one for myself.

Here is an Amazon Affiliate link (which means if you purchase from this link I receive a kickback for the referral):

Mike uses his on an almost daily basis. I use mine on a daily basis when we are home, but also,  I use mine as my carry on when I travel and it ended up being what we took into amusements parks, to the hospital (snacks when my sister had her baby) and in and out of the competition (most recent trip to Canada).

Proper nutrition through food prep is a HUGE part of our success – mine being part of my transformation journey, and my ability to continue to keep my weight loss going while fueling my body for our workouts vs. for Mike – the capability to fuel his body for continued strength gains and to keep his weight where it is.

These bags have 4 spots for shaker bottles, but I only bring 2 shakers a day with me. The third spot is where I keep utensils, a small package of lysol wipes and some gum. The fourth spot is where I keep some small containers of protein, BCAAs and the like.  Mike uses his empty shaker holes for coffee mugs (he takes coffee to work for the whole day vs. me being spoiled and having a nice coffee maker at work).

These bags have 3 shelves on the inside of the front zipper and come with 3 containers that fit them. The other containers that fit well in here include the California Food Prep containers I’ve talked about before (affiliate link):

The top of the bag zips to a top shelf where you can insert gel freezer packs (included with the bag) and put some more things. I keep nuts, a protein bar, some small snacks and a food scale here.

6 pack bag 4

This is the food scale I use (affiliate link):

One thing to note: when traveling, you can’t have unfrozen gels, so make sure your ice packs are frozen solid, and if you have any gel like good (Smashpacks, fuel packets), they also have to be frozen. Empty shakers are fine and I’ve never been stopped or questioned for powder, but I do usually try to take samples or single-serving packets of my protein and BCAAs so that they list the ingredients, just to be safe.

Hope this post helps you!

I needed a push … and a free trip to Wodapalooza was dangled, so I joined a different transformation challenge

My “why”:

I am already a transformer and so proud of my journey. But I joined this challenge because I need the next push. The story from the beginning of my transformation is on my website, 

One thing that is really important to know is that at this moment, the why behind my transformation is not so much because my kids are watching. My why is more about my overall health and strength goals at CrossFit. #goalweightstrongAF

bad knee.jpg

Diagnosis = I was born with my knee cap shifted to the wrong place and should have had a lateral release surgery years ago; now have ground down the cartilage and need to keep my knee McConnell taped when I train and will knee a TKR at some point.  Also. Arthritis. Also. Torn meniscus.  

In the fall of 2016, I was having a lot of physical pain in my knee. I sought the help of my doctor, who sent me for an MRI and subsequently to a good sports-knee surgeon. They discovered that I was born with my knee-cap in the wrong spot, and unfortunately, while I was losing weight and complaining about pain, the nurse practitioner I went to simply told me I was heavy and pain was to be expected due to my obesity and sent me on my way to continue to lose weight vs. seeking a proper diagnosis/reason for the pain. In following her instructions, I ground down the cartilage beneath my knee cap. After PT and multiple visits, the knee surgeon and I decided on conservative treatment (he said I will need a total knee replacement by the time I’m 60) which includes doctor’s orders to lose weight.

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CrossFit Goals:
I was lucky enough to be at WZA in January of 2018, the whole time I was watching, I thought about what it would be like to be on the stage competing and I wanted to participate. The reason I want to participate is partially the festival atmosphere that can only be WZA. I met SO MANY people there who have inspired my journey:
wza ashley.jpg
· Ashley Horner actually shouted my name out while I was walking past her in the grandstands
wza bill grundler.jpg
· I got a selfie with Bill Grundler
wza chestee.jpg
· Hugged the founder and owner of The Chestee and got featured on their IG story.
wza rebellia.jpg
· Checked in with Spencer from Xendurance and met the whole crew at Rebellia
wza alyssa.jpg
· Alyssa Christian gave me advice.

This drive to participate in this transformation challenge is also simply due to the competitor in me. I want to know if I can do it. Am I capable (I know not of some of the movements, but overall??)? Do I have the capacity, the strength and the endurance?

I paid attention to the athletes and talked to some of them about what it takes to get to WZA and to be competitive. One masters woman didn’t have rope climbs … and I watched so many people struggle with the swim.

I am _this close_ to getting a strict pull-up (I still have to kick at the very last part). I am working towards dips. And while I was able to get my first handstand pushups in the open, I have only been able to get one since them.

I want to crush this 10 week challenge. I am going to use it to jumpstart myself back towards weight loss and in order to be STRONGER. I know that I have it in me.

Nutritionally, I can dial it in.

Physically, we are in strength cycle at CrossFit and I am currently learning how to swim so that I can be successful if I qualify for WZA2019.

I need to do better at running because I did just qualify for the CanWest games at the end of July and that competition begins with a 4.5 mile run and this challenge will drive me to put in the hard work necessary to be successful.

I have the support of my husband, daughters and friends and have stated, if I win, it will be very similar to the Ashley Horner Challenge, when I was able to purchase a rower and a Rogue Rack with the winnings, I want to purchase either an Air Runner or a Ski Erg .

I am looking forward to the competition of the others in the challenge, to making new friends and to learning from RP and the other sponsors.

All the Best,
Corinne Cook – IG: pdxdressagemom