Military Family, Food, & Fitness Fenestrations

Raising the Bar on Personal Expectation

Archive for Introduction

New Blog & New Business

We’ve started a new business (nonprofit) which provides fitness training absolutely free to military soldiers, their families, and civilians working in their support called Landstuhl CrossFit and Combatives Facility (LCCF). It is located “on post” of Landstuhl Regional Medical Command in Landstuhl, Germany. I provide short notes on fitness and nutritional subjects, along with daily (M-F) strength training prescriptions we are stealing from Skip and Jodi Miller at my new location: – if you enjoyed posts here, please feel free to become a subscriber!
…eventually, I hope to provide our Landstuhl CrossFit blog subjects in German on this site 🙂 (yes, way in the future, most likely).



What is CrossFit

I am a CrossFit Certified Level 1 Trainer.  CrossFit is a core strength and conditioning program.  CrossFit is not a specialized fitness program but a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of ten recognized fitness domains: Cardiovascular and Respiratory endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy.  CrossFit considers you only as fit as you are competent in all skills.

CrossFit is proven to increase work capacity across broad time and modal domains.

CrossFit focuses on maximizing neuroendocrine response, developing power, cross-training with multiple training modalities, constant training/practice with functional movements, and development of successful diet strategies.

Performing compound/functional movements at high/anaerobic intensity is radically more effective at eliciting nearly any desired fitness result by maximizing your body’s neuroendocrine response. Adaptations to exercise and consequential improvement are dependent on neuroendocrine or hormonal responses.  Among the hormonal responses vital to athletic development are substantial increases in testosterone, insulin-like growth factor, and human growth hormone.  Heavy load weight training, short rest between sets, high heart rates, high intensity training, and short rest intervals, though not entirely distinct components, are all associated with a high neuroendocrine response

Benefits of human growth hormone include (but are not limited to) encouraging growth and repair of body tissues, helping build lean body mass, mobilizing your fat stores, shifting your metabolism into fat burning as a fuel source, and increasing skin thickness (thin, brittle skin is one of the consequences of aging).

If you are female, THIS DOESN’T MEAN THAT CROSSFIT WILL BULK YOU UP TO LOOK LIKE THE INCREDIBLE HULK!!!!  Your female hormones, lack of male hormones, and the fact you aren’t taking anabolic steroids will keep you un-hulklike even if you train extensively.  Your work, sweat, and your own growth hormone will slim you down by decreasing your body fat.  Your muscles will not necessarily become larger, but denser.

That information as well as the following I pulled from Dr. Eades’ Protein Power, but it is recognized scientific fact (check out or, among many, many other resources on Human Growth Hormone)

Factors that stimulate the release of Growth Hormone:
Decreased blood glucose levels
Increased blood protein levels
Carbohydrate-restricted (low-carb) diet
Fasting (14 hrs for women, 16 for men)
Increased protein diet
Free fatty acid decrease
Stage IV sleep
Exercise – especially weight lifting, and especially when done at high power/intensity

(I will go more into detail about these factors at a later post).

We weight train because weight lifting strengthens joints, increases the density of your bones to prevent osteoporosis, increases your muscle mass, improves your endurance if done correctly, decreases your insulin levels, and stimulates the release of growth hormone.  To achieve the quickest results, we will focus on your biggest muscle groups – thighs, shoulders, butt, and chest (a 5% increase in size and density of large muscle groups provides a lot more metabolic firepower than the same percentage increase in small muscles groups or individual muscles).

I plan to fully support your athletic improvement. Come to class prepared to work hard and push yourselves, but do not hesitate to ask for a scaled (lighter) workout!

Personal Training

I am now CrossFit Level I and CrossFit Kids certified and teach at Ramstein Air Force Base on Tuesdays and Thursdays plus privately to clients at my home gym. My clients bring their small children and infants, and we keep them in a segregated area on one corner of the room with a box of toys to keep them entertained. Infants I take turns holding if they get restless during our 30 minute exercise sessions. So far my classes have proven a wonderful option for military spouses who crave the challenge of a workout but can’t afford or do not want to consider day care for their children. Unfortunately, because I work for Air Force Services and they are required to make a profit, military spouses have to pay a nominal fee for each class (around $4.40 – I charge slightly more for private sessions). There are 8 women currently enrolled in my class (men are also welcome). I am paid $28 each week. Please read testimonials from women and children who’ve benefited from mine and other trainers’ Military Family Fitness classes on my Military Family Fitness Facebook Group. These are services which military families need desperately for free.

Normally, folks who are new to CrossFit have to attend a fundamentals class where they learn how to do a “proper” squat, overhead squat, front squat, shoulder press, push press, push jerk, deadlift, sumo deadlift highpull, and medicine ball clean (these are the 9 fundamental CrossFit movements). I incorporate these fundamental movements into many of our workouts. I cover each skill briefly before introducing the Workout of the Day (WOD), but for your own safety will recommend you stay after class (for free training) should you need further practice with any of them. Every one of these movements is done initially with absolutely no weight – everyone starts out the same way. Instead of mimicking the CrossFit site which introduces intense movements and then offers participants the chance to scale lower, I’ve learned that its both safer and more motivational for my target audience to introduce basic movements and then offer participants the opportunity to scale upward and get more intense.
If you are a latecomer to my class don’t be discouraged if everyone else is lifting more weight than you – progress is rapid and noticeable. Give it 4 weeks.

CrossFit has a reputation among some with whom you’ll talk for being extreme. The workouts posted on the homepage really are directed at elite athletes, and if you are not elite and attempt to finish the workout as prescribed, you could get hurt. The vast majority of people scale the workouts down. CrossFit has an affiliate called BrandX which provides official scaled workouts of the CrossFit WOD on their website each day.

Some misconceptions surrounding CrossFit are that you HAVE to lift heavy weights, you HAVE to feel physically sick at the end of your workouts, and the biggest one is that you have to be fit before starting CrossFit. All of it is nonsense – anyone can do CrossFit! Heavy weights to one individual will not be heavy to another, intensity is completely relative, & each individual will have a different measure of perceived effort through which they will be able to push themselves. My husband can still push himself through strength-focused workouts harder than I (could be he just knows how to make it look hard).

You are extremely fortunate if you are part of the Kaiserslautern Military Community, because Europe’s very first CrossFit affiliate is CrossFit Ramstein – it’s NONPROFIT and they workout nearly on a daily basis at Ramstein’s North Gym – times are posted on their website. I encourage all my clients to attend their FREE training sessions any time they can manage childcare. They also have a Ramstein CrossFit community Facebook groupsite. You will find the CrossFit community as a whole is full of really awesome people with whom you’ll want to hang out.

I will post our daily workouts online for all of my clients who are unable to attend my exercise sessions. During class please ask for scaling if I fail to give it to you, and from home search the BrandX site for common adaptions. Please listen to your own body – everyone has strong days and weak days. Please never hesitate to ask me questions whether or not you are currently my client!

CrossFit-Inspired Evolution

CrossFit radically changed my perspective on fitness, nutrition, and my training approach for competitions. I wrestled with weight through high school but then discovered soccer and learned to love to run in college (initially just because I thought it was cool I could eat what I wanted). I competed in two Ironman-distance triathlons, won overall women and age group triathlon titles and mountainbike races, taught and competed in Soccer and later taught Snowboarding. I was a fitness junkie and invested TONS of hours in training. I was thin and relatively fast, but certainly not the picture of health: I missed my menstrual cycle quite often, got sick more often than my friends, got dizzy and cranky if I went more than 4 waking hours without food, and in 1998 tore my ACL playing soccer and never recovered the knee stability sufficiently to play again.

But you don’t need lateral knee stability to run or bikeride, so I did a lot of both with my husband – in fact, most of our free time was spent training or competing with friends often in marathon-or-greater distance races.

I got pregnant in 2006, ran every day of my pregnancy up until the day prior to giving birth, and started running again 13 days after giving birth. I drastically lowered exercise intensity, probably to around 40% of my usual speed, but I maintained both the distance and the hours on the road. I was completely determined and a little psycho about maintaining my fitness level during my pregnancy.

Three weeks after Ian’s birth I started CrossFitting at the suggestion and in concert with my husband who’d just deployed to Afghanistan. It took a lot of research initially and I invested a lot of time downloading videos provided on the CrossFit website to insure I thoroughly understood the lifts and exercises before attempting each workout. Still, it didn’t take nearly as much time as my usual fitness routine, plus it was fun to compare times and experiences with my husband after every day’s workout. I also started reading information CrossFit published concerning nutrition.

After two months I dropped my previous fitness routine, and started following CrossFit’s daily prescription. Now I exercise an average of 30 minutes about 3 days per week. My husband and I usually mountainbike one day over the weekend – but that’s it. I haven’t had the desire to make much time for competitions since Ian’s birth, but I won the 2008 USF-E Mountain Bike championship in Garmisch – civilian women overall. Over the past year, I’ve adopted a low-carb diet, and 90% of the time keep sugar, bread, pasta, and rice out of my diet. Writing this, it has been 11 months since the last time I was sick. I am only hungry just before meals, and usually go a total of 14 hours without eating before breakfast.

I believe in the CrossFit community’s ability to not only properly define physical fitness, but also to forge the most effective method of attaining it. CrossFit has built a massive community of knowledge which generates fitness prescriptions based on data that is proven to work by measurable, repeatable, observable data. Now that I drank the kool-aide, I can’t ever go back to “Globo” methodology.