Military Family, Food, & Fitness Fenestrations

Raising the Bar on Personal Expectation

Archive for Personal Training

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).



Landstuhl Facility and Primal Caesar Salad

We’ve begun free CrossFit training at Landstuhl this week in a facility (Bldg 3714 across from the gas station) that was designed and equipped also to handle combatives training. We are teaching the 9 fundamental movements to active duty soldiers from 0630-0730 and again from 1630-1730, Monday to Friday, and we also provide daily WOD supervision. Yes, this does mean that I am discontinuing my offer for free training from our home due to our new schedule being pretty hectic, but I am way out in the woods anyway for most of the KMC population, and I can assure you that the CrossFit training experience I can offer you all at Landstuhl is absolutely incomparable, its improvement, over what I’ve given at Ramstein Youth Center or my home. The new facility is amazing (CrossFit Ramstein has been posting pictures of it that you might have seen), and we are already building a community of active duty devotees. Unfortunately we still do not know how much of the military family we will be able to involve (spouses or kids) in our training, nor if we will be allowed to start a nonprofit CrossFit affiliate in the near future, so this may all be very short lived. We should be getting a response from the legal office soon and are ready to react quickly – I will keep you all posted.

Speaking of community, we met some folks now good friends who are into CrossFit Football and posting scores publicly. I think radical power improvement is in my future.

Today I tried to beat Cris’ score with 65# power cleans and overhead squats, but managed instead to double it (it was “for time”, so the lower the score the better). Then I did a 20 minute row workout and could barely drive home. YOU MUST try this workout (from

Complete 10 rounds (20 minutes) Row for 1 minute as many meters as you can, rest for 1 minute.
*Your score is the total amount of meters rowed – goal is row at least 2500 meters (3000 meters for men)
*Penalty is 1 handstand push up for every 5 meters under 2500/3000 meters.

This. will. kick. your. butt. If you have kids with you, and a gym partner also with kids, one would think that you could conceivably trade off rounds, but absolutely forget it. I couldn’t manage even a two-word response during my minute-of-rest periods. Instead, consider trading off the entire 20 minutes babysitting or exercising, and do insure you have a backup driver for your return trip home.

I’m concluding with another crowd-pleasing recipe for you below, but first I want to explain that when I specify (as below, but also in the future) that a recipe is “primal”, I am referring to Mark’s definition, with very few deviations, (making it “primalish”, I guess). At the same time, I also subscribe to Melissa Urban’s advice on eating dirty, and aspiration to remain 90% clean (I prudently enjoy nut butters, heavy cream, double-fat créme fraîche, and Lindt 90% cacao dark chocolate bars…and when it isn’t prudent I forgive myself quickly). There are other definitions of primal/paleo out there, but I credit our diet with keeping me cold/flu free for nearly a year and a half, as well as for being pretty dang powerful in the gym (just not compared to Cris…yet…). If you are new to primal living, and in shock, I’m not the only one who’s lost body fat and improved overall health by following this type of diet – take the time to follow some of my links in the right column. Not a lot of time? Read Dr. Guyenet and Dr. Davis. And here’s something healthy to munch on as you read their wealth of posts:

Primal Caesar Salad with Bacon & Chicken Thighs

is another simple meal I snagged from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie at Home cookbook, slightly altered to make it primalish. Unless otherwise specified, the recipes posted here always serve 4…

4 chicken thighs/legs with skin on

organic (bio) butter

5-6 large mushrooms (will depend on size of your casserole dish & size of mushrooms- need enough to cover bottom of dish)

2 tbsp fresh thyme (discard woody stems) chopped roughly, divided

8 thin slices of your favorite Metzgerei’s bacon (Dörfleisch), Italian pancetta, or Schwarzwälder Schinken (normally doesn’t contain sugar).

extra virgin olive oil

sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

6-7 cloves garlic, minced, divided

4 anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained

3 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus a few shavings to serve

1 heaped tbsp créme fraîche (preferably double-cream créme fraîche, found at German supermarkets – I get mine at Wasgau)

juice of 1 lemon

natural unsalted walnuts, crushed and roasted

3 romaine lettuces

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Brush mushrooms free of dirt, cut & discard tough portion from stems. Pack bottoms of mushrooms with slices of butter (sorry for lack of portion guidance – I never ration our organic butter, nor do I feel you need to), place them bottom-side down in casserole dish and sprinkle half of the fresh thyme over them plus one clove minced garlic for each mushroom you use. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place snugly together on top of mushrooms in your casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped thyme and a few evenly dispersed chunks of butter. Put the pan into your preheated oven.

After 45-60 minutes, when the chicken looks done, take the pan out, drape the bacon/pancetta over the chicken and mushrooms, and cook for another 20 minutes until bacon is crisp and the chicken falls easily off the bone. Allow the chicken to cool.

Pound minced garlic and anchovy fillets in a pestle and mortar to a pulp – combine with parmesan, créme fraîche, lemon juice and 3times as much extra virgin olive oil as lemon juice – season this dressing to taste.

Shred the chicken meat from the bones, tear the bacon roughly, and combine it all with your (washed and spun-dry) romaine and creamy dressing. Scatter attractively with parmesan shavings to finish.


Kills me not to be there while you guys work out this morning, but hopefully you can understand the following details of what I’d planned to give you – this is a perfect “season-ender workout” (you might have seen this on the CrossFit main site and known it was coming)! Try to at least achieve the “puppies” recommendation on the BrandX Scaling Table (it follows). Do 5 Burpees, 5 stage-dips to warm up then arm rotations. Take the stretchy-bands found in the corner with the balls and work arms overhead and back. No more than 5 minutes active stretching – don’t lose track of time talking – get to the workout!

Pullup/HSPU Challenge
Equipment needed: Blue floor mat (remains folded) & ballerina bar/fluidity bar. Do not put ballerina bar/fluidity bar on black mat (it could potentially tear mat…the last couple times I placed the bar just inside the wrestling room along the wall). For time:
21 Pull-ups
21 Handstand Push-ups
15 Pull-ups
15 Handstand Push-ups
9 Pull-ups
9 Handstand Push-ups
Handstand push-ups are “nose to floor” rather than crown of head to floor – put your knees on the blue mat – the closer your hands are to the mat, the better (harder) the workout. Stack some steps (found in the corner by the music) higher if the mats don’t challenge you!
During pullups, try to keep legs straight on floor and experiment even with supporting their weight (L-pullups) once or more each set. End with 2-3 sets of core-bridging (try for 30 seconds on elbows and toes, then sides 15-second hold). Take your time stretching arms again to finish. Really wish I could be there with you guys this morning – enjoy the holiday season & beautiful snow!


Although I am not teaching class at Ramstein over the winter, I can still provide CrossFit WOD scaling assistance to folks who would like something other than what BrandX provides for scaling recommendations. I really encourage you to first try BrandX, however. Improvement will continue to be rapid for you, just as you experienced during class – I guarantee that within 6 months all of you will be able to do many CrossFit workouts as prescribed. Start keeping a workout log to track your personal progress. Use the CrossFit forum (under the Message Board link), and add each other (& me) as friends so that you will receive instant email alerts following updates. Posting publicly keeps you accountable for workouts & allows you to build a virtual support group, even if you are unable to physically exercise as a group!

But now, I have my toddler in my lap and am working split-screen (I’m on the blog-editor while he watches his “Ian-videos”) and this isn’t even half as productive as it sounds…so without further ado, today’s workout follows:

Benchmark Workout
45 reps each, pullups, pushups, situps (abmat or janda holding ball to butt with heels), & squats – preferably finish all pullups before proceeding to pushups, etc (rather than doing 10 of each, for example).

Your previous benchmark workout was 35 reps of each – the times I have on record for the folks who were present follow:
L: 10:17
C: 12:23
M: 12:52
E: 9:10
I believe that you can match these times despite the increased reps! Push yourselves & let me know how it goes.

Free Training…Invitation

I will teach my last fitness class on the 17th of December. Not only is my husband’s automobile unreliable, it has no winter tires. We are saving to purchase a car next year Feb/Mar time frame, and therefore don’t plan on wasting money on tires we will only get to drive a few months. Continuing to make the Tuesday/Thursday drive to Ramstein over winter is impossible.

The good news is, I am willing to provide free training for military spouses from my home in Waldfischbach this winter!! I do the workout one day earlier than the workout of the day found on the CrossFit homepage, so you will always know what to expect. I will supervise and assist you with childcare during your workout, and will scale it appropriately (BrandX provides scaled workouts for the CrossFit WOD). Please let me know if you are interested, so that I can arrange times for the group (daily if necessary) that are acceptable.

Today’s workout:
Complete as many rounds as possible 20 minutes of:
15 Double-unders
15 AbMat (or ball-clenched) Sit-ups
15 Back extensions (can lay down on belly and lift arms/heels)

For those of you not in class last Tuesday, we discussed training for a run (10k or less in length) sometime next spring in March/April time frame. I will try to find out when the next race is that’s sponsored by MWR or Youth Services. Next year on 2 May in Kaiserslautern there is a Half-Marathon run which allows time for feasible progression if anyone is interested. I will supply a training plan, training assistance, and even childcare (when I can) here in Waldfischbach to anyone interested in training for these races! I trained for my second Ironman distance race using a babystroller with my 45lb dog inside (long story). I finished the marathon (at the end of the Ironman) in 4 hours flat.

For anyone who wants a starting benchmark, this weekend on 29 November there is a Weihnachtsmarktlauf (Christmas market run) in Landstuhl. The cost is 6 euro and the distance is 7.6km (just under 5 miles) – you must signup before 11am on race day to participate.

Support Free Fitness Programs for Overseas Military Families

The FamFit proposal provides a detailed plan to introduce free fitness programs for overseas military families. There are comparatively few military family fitness programs currently offered for US Army and Air Force families stationed overseas, and many of those available are offered at considerable expense (for the average military family), inconvenience, and/or month-to-month uncertainty. I wrote the FamFit Proposal in order to introduce a feasible and permanent method of implementing family fitness programs for overseas military families at no cost. More importantly, however, I wrote it to raise awareness of the cause for providing free family fitness programs to overseas military families.

Local Ramstein Air Force Base Services Division management has been extremely supportive in allowing Military Family-Friendly Fitness Programs at Ramstein Air Force Base. The Services Division now offers fitness programs (yoga, prenatal, and core-strength), which allow participants to bring their kids (currently ranging in age from 3 months to 5 years) with them to class. I’ve updated the FamFit proposal (See Section III, Point 2,B) with more details. Unfortunately participants must pay a fee to attend any of these family-friendly fitness courses.

This is progress, however! Here’s more persuasive evidence that Family Fitness programs work for military overseas families, that they can be implemented in a safe manner for all involved, that they are enormously effective in enhancing participant fitness levels, that they are in high demand despite their fee for participation (all courses are currently wait-listed), and by all accounts (see testimonials) that they impact entire families’ perspectives regarding fitness and a healthy lifestyle.

At Ramstein Air Force Base Southside gym, FREE indoor cycling classes (currently 9 with 3 more planned for January), body sculpt classes (2), ab/core classes (2), a step class and a kickbox class (with 2 more planned in January) are currently offered. But all instructors are volunteers, and not one receives funding for their certifications, music, clothing, or personal childcare. Childcare is not provided for class participants; children are prohibited from being in the facility during a class (although a separate parent room is provided, it is unsupervised).

Although it is commendable that most military fitness facilities, at least in the Kaiserslautern Military Community, offer a room containing exercise equipment (normally a treadmill and an elliptical machine, sometimes a bike) equipped with toys and sometimes a TV for childrens’ entertainment, more can be done and needs to be done for military overseas families. Many stateside bases offer free childcare. In October 2008, DoD contracted the Armed Services YMCA to offer free “family” memberships with free child watch programs at local YMCAs to many military families living stateside (32,000 of which already actively participate in the program). Many family-centered fitness programs are already offered free to stateside-based military families. Now it is time to provide the same free services to Military families stationed overseas who arguably stand to gain far more in health and wellness benefits (read proposal for detailed explanation of the overseas military community need for such services).

Support us by joining our Facebook Group, being a “follower” on the Proposal’s Homepage, and by helping us spread the word!

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!