The Secret to Accomplishing Great Things

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 Picking weeds

 

Yup.

 

I am on a mission.

 

More like a demolition…

 

Yes, to do well at Regionals.

 

But today, I am talking about…picking weeds.

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My yard is full of weeds!

 

And it’s funny how I really don’t realize it, until the suns out, guns out and that spring garden is on the horizon (fresh tomatoes and zucchini anyone?).

 

There’s nothing like picking a few weeds to make yourself feel accomplished in a day.

 

Seriously, you should try it!

 

Over the past week or so, I have set forward the intention to the universe to pick at least 10 weeds each day. Just 10. In my comings and goings throughout a day, picking those 10 weeds (or more on a good day) are just what I need to tangibly feel—in the midst of a crazy hectic schedule—that I am getting something done.

 

Another rule of thumb, new to the Kepler household, is that if anyone is on the phone (ie. Kris or myself), we must also be outside picking weeds simultaneously.

 

(How’s that for killing two birds with one stone?)

 

And you want to know a crazy thing?

 

As I pick one weed at a time, and my yard comes back to life, greenery and less clutter, the more I realize that is exactly how life works too.

 

When we look at the ‘big picture’—the yard FULL of weeds, the long daily list FULL of to-dos, the daunting tasks we need to get done, the BIG goals and dreams we have for ourselves (but don’t know where to start), the person we want to be (but are not today), the total amount of money on the bills we owe, the project that needs to get done—it can feel overwhelming.

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However, when we focus on doing the one thing we can do today:

 

  • The 10 weeds we can pick today

 

  • The one lift I can work on to strengthen my clean today

 

  • The one client I can truly invest in and show I truly care today

 

  • The act of love I can do to show my son and daughter they are everything to me today (such as attending a football game or a choir show)

 

 

The more those big, overwhelming things become more and more within reach.

 

Another mission, along the same lines as picking my weeds, that I have been working on lately is one word:

 

No.

 

Yup.

 

N-O.

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Ouch.

 

It stings the ears for me to hear it.

 

It’s such an awkward, unlovely, harsh sounding word….primarily because I lovvveeee saying, ‘Yes!’

 

Stretching myself thin—sometimes one may confuse me with a Stretch Armstrong Doll.

 

So my intention?

 

For the next 5-weeks…leading up to Regionals…to be bold in saying, ‘No’ more often.

 

And while it kills me, because I want to do it all, and be it all—and I absolutely LOVE doing what I do—coaching, training, counseling, meeting, volunteering, speaking, scheduling, planning, conquering the world (ok, just joking there)…I realize I can’t do it all—and that’s ok.

 

After all, a girl needs sleep right?

 

And you do too.

 

Do you ever find yourself overcommitting yourself?

 

Saying ‘Yes’, when really the back of your mind is saying, ‘No.’

 

Even if it’s all good things! And you really want to help or do it, or be part of it…sometimes your gut just says, ‘No’….

 

And you have to listen to your gut.

 

I want to challenge you to tap into that voice.

 

Dig deep.

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And, if you are one to overcommit yourself or say ‘yes’ more often than ‘no’…just say, ‘No.’

 

Just once.

 

And see what becomes of it.

 

On a mission,

 

Carey

Posted in Carey's Life, CrossFit, Health, Personal Development | Leave a comment

The CrossFit Open: Reflections & Momentum

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It is finished.

 

The 2014 Open that is.

 

In the books.

 

The past 5-weeks have flown, and it’s been a blast to see my CrossFit Central community, as a whole, bond over the grueling, classic CrossFit workouts, forcing everyone to dig deep and discover unleashed potentials.

 

I’ve been a part of the Open every year since its inception in 2010, and even remember back to the days of no qualifiers, on the ranch in Aromas.

 

This year, when I registered for the Open, I thought no differently about it then years past—of course I was going to participate.

 

The possibility of qualifying for Regionals—and actually going—never entered my mind.

 

That was not my intention, and I knew I hadn’t been training for that goal this past year.

 

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So when my name kept falling within the top-20 individual women on the South Central Leaderboard every week, people began to ask me:

 

“Carey, are you going?”

 

At first, I said, ‘No.’

 

At this season in my life, my focus is more on building into my own CrossFit community, coaching, speaking, raising up the ‘next generation’ of competitive athletes and, most importantly, spending time with my family.

 

However, one day, my life-supporter, best-friend and husband, Kris, challenged me to think otherwise.

 

“Carey, why not? Why not just do it?” he said.

 

Hmmm….good question.

 

Once a competitor, always a competitor, and I must admit, there is something deep within me that just loves competing—the butterflies I get when I hear “3,2,1, GO!”…The challenge of pushing myself to do things that my mind and body are constantly having to reconcile agreement over…The rush of performing to the best of my capabilities…

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Why not compete?

 

I toyed and wrestled with that question for a couple days. Slept on it.

 

One minute, I was all in, Yea, yea, yea, I am going to do this.

 

The next, Naw…those days are done. That was then—not my focus now.

 

And then, I just got tired of contemplating….and decided—I am going to dive in!

 

I texted the competition coach at CrossFit Central, Michael Winchester, “So what’s my plan to get stronger? I am going to Regionals.” And, within seconds, he texted me back (with a few excited explicits mind you), “Yes! Yes! Yes! Training starts now!”

 

That is that.

 

I am in.

 

I am going to Regionals as an individual…and I am pumped—all the while keeping myself grounded.

 

My goals, intentions and purpose are still remaining true to what I am about at this season in my life—inspiring others, investing in others…and it is my desire, through this journey I am embarking on to the South Central Regional, that I will have the opportunity to continue to do that within the competitive arena.

 

You may hear many Regional-bound athletes talk about their personal podium dreams, and the ideal of making it to the Games (which is a noble and badass, amazing feat!), but that is not necessarily me now.

 

What I truly hope, more than anything that you, your sister, your mother, your best friend, your co-worker, your fellow CrossFit companions—others, in general—see the fight within me to do one thing:

 

Live a life of passion and influence.

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I am a firm believer that we are all given unique, individual gifts and talents, skills and passions—all of which are to be used for greater good.

 

Entering this competition at 38-years-old and ‘seasoned’ athlete, who should very well be, ‘not in her prime’, I want you to see that YOU can do anything you put your mind to. And, not only that, but I want to challenge YOU to dig deep into what it is you were put on this earth to do…and go out there and do it!

 

Without purpose—there is no meaning.

 

Find your purpose—and live it.

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Posted in Carey's Life, CrossFit, Fitness, Personal Development, Women's Fitness | 1 Comment

Feeding your kids good food

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Spring is in the air, the weather is finally warming up and produce is looking fresh.

 

Fresh fruit and fresh veggies are two of the things that I love most about this time of year—not only do they taste fresher, but they leave me and my kids feeling healthier.

 

That’s right. I said my kids.

 

Scout’s honor. It is true.

 

My kids (knock on wood) love their fruits and veggies.

 

Stone (5) asks for salads for lunch.

 

Savannah (7) claims her favorite veggie is Brussels sprouts.

 

Gasp. How can that be?! You may ask.

 

The answer?

 

Simple.

 

Serve them.

 

Serve fruits and veggies with every meal.

 

As hard as it is to believe, they will  eat them—at least some of them.

 

No French fries do not count, nor do frozen bits of broccoli slathered in fake gloppy cheese sauce.

 

It baffles me how we want the best for our kids, and we may even exemplify a healthy, fit and nutritious lifestyle for ourselves…but then we feed our kids frozen pizzas, colored fish and fortified cereals with the “essential vitamins and minerals” their growing bodies need.

 

We think they are getting their calcium and vitamin D in sugar-infused yogurt? Vitamin B in Frosted Mini-wheats and Fruity Pebbles? Healthy fats in processed, commercial peanut butter?

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This is not a soap box. This is not about childhood obesity. It’s a call-to-arms to take a stand for the well-being of our children.

 

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a mom who had some questions about HOW to get her children to eat healthy—how to get in the lean proteins, fresh fruits and veggies and quality fats their growing bodies need.

 

Here is what I told her:

 

1.)  Eat real food–or at the very least foods with 5 ingredients or less. Skip the mac and cheese. Forget the frozen Kids Cuisine. Or the Capn’ Crunch, Cheerios and Pop-tarts. For breakfast, try bacon, chicken sausages, eggs (if your kids can stomach it) and fresh berries. Or, if they do want cereal—peruse the aisles at Whole Foods or Natural Grocer for a cereal with simple organic ingredients with a splash of unsweetened almond milk to make it wet. For lunch, try turkey/ham rollups or Canadian bacon, carrots and broccoli with some organic ranch dip, some fruit, maybe even some fresh corn chips. Dinner is some steak, Brussels sprouts in coconut oil, sea salt and pepper, and some more berries.

 

2.)  Just try it. Challenge your kids. Just try it. If they don’t like it, tell them they can spit it out. But serve their plates with a good variety of meats, veggies and fruits—expose them.

 

3.)  Don’t worry so much about teaching the nutrition side of things. You don’t have to overemphasize what a protein is. Whaa carb is. What  a fat is. Just serve their plates with balance.

 

4.)  Start with GETTING RID of some things that are not an option. Cheez-Its have to leave the house. Candy-got to go. Out of sight out of mind.

 

5.)  It’s all about presentation. Kids will eat things that look COOL. I do carrot shavings in things we normally eat. Chop things up and get them to taste in small bites. Cut up some green apple, put some raisins next to it. You can’t go wrong with celery and almond butter on top. Cut up red bell pepper with some nitrate-free deli meat wrapped around it and put a toothpick in it, and they have 5 neat looking rollups they are excited to eat. Even the lunch box! Have you ever seen those Bento boxes with little containers to put all your food in (you can find at Whole Foods)-they love it.

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6.)  Call it a snack plate-not a dinner plate. Language is huge. “You want to have a snack plate for dinner?” They cheer-yes! I serve some fruits, veggies, turkey or chicken sausage. They go to town.

 

7.)  Supplements are superpowers! We can’t get EVERYTHING we need in just our food-that is the beauty of supplementation. It helps us boost all the vital nutrients our bodies crave. No I am NOT talking Flinstones here. I LOVE Juice Plus’ gummy vitamins for kids—the Orchard and Garden Blend chewables . And for fats, you HAVE TO TRY Barleans Omega 3 Swirl for Kids! So good, it tastes like dessert! Bam.

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It’s not as hard as we make it out to be. You and your kids deserve the best that life has to offer—your health included. Help guide them to be the best they can be.

Posted in Carey's Life, Health, Nutrition | Leave a comment

Professional Coaching-What does that mean?!

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What is a professional?

 

An expert right?

 

Or moreover, “(noun): a person engaged or qualified in a profession.”

 

Lately, in consideration of a recent listing for employment opportunities at CrossFit Central, hiring some new coaches to join the CrossFit Central family, I’ve been putting some thought to the question:

 

What exactly does a professional look like in my line of work?

 

It may sound odd—a professional coach.

 

Where is the corporate office or fancy briefcase?

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But for as long as I have been a trainer, a CrossFit coach, a business owner, I have aimed to be a professional—and I believe it is of utmost importance for the integrity of CrossFit as a whole, as well as the mission of CrossFit Central.

 

After all, I may not be a black-suit-wearing, desk-sitting, lunch-business-meeting-leading CEO—(quite the opposite: Lululemon Wunder Unders and CC t-shirts tend to be my go-to attire, I do below-parallel squats more often than I sit, and my meetings take place over coffee or protein shakes instead of lobster bisque and crab cakes)—but the same values of professionalism are the heartbeat of my work.

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Integrity, excellence, leadership, accountability, positivity, respect,  responsibility, teamwork, and virtuosity (doing the common, uncommonly well) are musts in my book when it comes to your work as a coach—or any profession for that matter (be it a top sushi chef, a hair dresser, lawyer or dog walker) .

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So I throw this question out there to you—from new hires, to fellow coaches, members, avid CrossFitters, fitness enthusiasts, current couch potatoes—and everyone in between:

 

What is a professional coach to you—and what would you like to see in a professional coach?

 

Nowadays, it seems like anyone and everyone can technically become a Level I CrossFit trainer, personal trainer or fitness instructor.

 

Attend a seminar, read a book, take a test, obtain a certificate.

 

In theory, and in consideration of our society’s ‘health crisis’ (ie. Obesity, fast-food industry, rampant diabetes, etc.), this is all great!

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However, in many instances, there seems to be a break-down in knowing what it takes to truly be a professional coach or trainer.

 

All too often, I’ve seen it happen—particulaarly within the CrossFit community.

 

Take “Sam” for example. (*Note: ”Sam” is not real—only a case study)

 

“Sam” found CrossFit about a year ago and he loves it.

 

He loves the competitive edge, the community, training to improve his performance every day.

 

“Sam” has stars in his eyes.

 

Since CrossFit has become his passion, he decides that must mean he needs to become a coach.

 

After all, he’s at the gym any chance he gets anyways—so might as well make some money doing it.

 

His 9-5 gig as a sales associate at a corporate office is just not cutting it.

 

Great. There is definitely passion.

 

So “Sam” signs up for the next CrossFit Level I Seminar, pays $1000, takes a test, passes, and boom: He’s a Level I Trainer.

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The next step?

 

Getting a job.

 

“Sam” markets himself as an employable CrossFit Level I Trainer at a local box and boom—gets the job.

 

Great. He is definitely invested in pursuing coaching, is knowledgeable and skilled in a variety of areas and loves connecting with people,

 

HOWEVER…Little did “Sam” realize the amount of effort it would take to actually work as a professional trainer—and make a living doing it.

 

Beep, beep, beep.

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The alarm goes off at 4:43 a.m. Time to get up.

 

Sam sleepily crawls out of bed, throws on his layers of sweat pants and long-sleeve tops and fills a portable coffee mug to the brim with hot coffee to withstand the 34-degree chill in the air at the box that morning.

 

5:30, 6:30, 7:30 a.m.—he is coaching the morning classes, back to back.Trying to be as enthusiastic as possible—but struggling to keep his eyes open and toes from freezing.

 

8:30 a.m.-he has time to swallow a couple hardboiled eggs whole and eat a banana before his 8:30 a.m. personal training client arrives a few minutes late.

 

Then 9:30 a.m.-he has one more client.

 

And 10:30 a.m.-a coaches’ meeting.

 

11:30 a.m.-he drinks a protein shake to get amped up for his 1 p.m. workout, while returning a couple e-mails and then trying to squeeze in a short 20-minute power nap, propped against a couple ab-mats in the gym.

 

12:30 p.m.-mobility time.

 

1 pm-3 p.m.—solid training sesh. This is what he loves. This is why he does what he does.

 

3 p.m.—“Sam” eats some chicken and a sweet potato, returns more e-mails and corresponds with clients about their goals, their progress, their questions, etc.

 

3:30 p.m.—one more personal training session with a client who confides she is not seeing results and she feels stuck. “Sam” asks her how her nutrition plan is going. She tells him she just can’t seem to give up desserts and her love for wine every night with dinner. He encourages her to just try to stick with the program for 1-week. She brushes him off and states, “But there must be some other way.” “Sam” sighs.

 

4: 30 p.m.—time to get ready for the evening classes.

 

5 p.m. & 6 p.m.—more coaching of the same WOD he coached earlier on in the day. He is a little bored of watching people deadlift and push-up by this time, but tries to keep his head in the game.

 

7:30 p.m.—finally gets home to his warm house, throws some bison and veggies in a skillet, eats up, showers, checks his Facebook, then begins to wind down for the night.

 

10 p.m.—Sam is exhausted. This is the optimal time he tries to get in bed by—sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t.

 

…Wake up and do it all over again.

 

While this is just a case example, all too often I see the shock of what it takes to make a living as a coach when first-time coaches step into the arena of juggling a full schedule.

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From coaching classes to leading at least 2-4 personal training sessions most days, corresponding with clients outside of class for every one-hour you are in class, finding your own personal time to train, attending meetings and maybe, just maybe, squeezing in a nap, life as a professional coach is not always peaches and cream…

 

That is, it’s not always peaches and cream (or should I say, sliced apples and creamy almond butter?), unless you truly love what you are doing.

 

Loving CrossFit, and loving to work out, is one thing.

 

Loving coaching, leading others and inspiring others to greatness are another thing.

 

If you’re considering, one day, becoming a coach—I would encourage you to evaluate what it takes—and if you are up for that.

 

As a coach, a professional coach, it is of utmost importance that you take your job seriously.

 

It’s not a time to passively sit back, walk the class through the movements, and let the members do the workout written on the whiteboard.

 

You must always be ‘on’—watching form, demonstrating proper form, constructively critiquing movements, encouraging your athletes by name, leading the class with enthusiasm and gusto.

 

No, you don’t necessarily have to be the most outspoken or outgoing individual in the world, but you most certainly need to engage your clients and be ‘there’ with them—not babysitting them, but right there in the fight of each and every workout with them.

 

Your job, as a coach, is to help better each individuals’ physical—and mental—capacity; to assist each individual in achieving their personal goals they desire to attain out of CrossFit.

 

When you coach, it’s as if you are on a “stage”—the clients look to you to lead, and lead well.

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In order to do so, merely holding a Level I Trainer certificate is not the end-all-be-all, ‘enough’ to becoming a professional coach.

 

Do what you love, love what you do.

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As CrossFit Central embarks on this new hiring process for some stellar new coaches to join our staff, I want nothing more than a group of coaches who are ready to partner on our same mission—with passion and a genuine desire to become a professional.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Carey's Life, CrossFit, Personal Development | 2 Comments

Feeling Overwhelmed

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To-do:

 

  1. Return 15 e-mails
  2. Buy needle and thread for sewing project
  3. Sew 20 of Savanna’s Girl Scout patches on her vest
  4. Call Girl Scouts about setting up a special CrossFit workshop
  5. Meetings with clients from 8:15 a.m.-10:15 a.m.
  6. Coaches meeting 10:15 a.m.
  7. Create invite for “Champion Mindset” seminar
  8. Apply to speak at upcoming women’s conference
  9. Coaching sessions with clients
  10. Register for the CrossFit Open
  11. Take the CrossFit Open Judge’s Course
  12. Help kids with spelling words
  13. Take kids to dentist
  14. Call about break dance classes for Stone
  15. Spend quality time with family
  16. …Eat?
  17. …Workout?
  18. …Sleep?

Phew!

To-do lists…I don’t really make them…all my “to-dos” are in my head.

I know what I need to get done in a day…and I set out to attack it!

But in all honestly, lately, I’ve been feeling OVERWHELMED.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed?

Many, many days, it seems as though there is so much to do, yet so little time.

Anyone else relate?

Bueller? Bueller?

I think, in particular, as a woman, I can innately desire to be “Super Woman”—after all, I’ve pulled it all off before, right? There’s no match for me!

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The funny thing is, the more my own list of “to dos” grows, the more some of my basic human needs tend to go in order to get everything else “done”.

Like my personal fitness.

No, this is not a News Flash!

Carey Kepler is not sitting on her couching, eating a bag of Doritos, forgoing CrossFit, but what it is to say, is that the more I have been feeling overwhelmed lately, the more I have made my workouts less of a priority.

It’s like the nail ladies at the nail salon who paint their fingers and toes with their own undone fingernails and raw hands from scrubbing yours.

Or the coaches and teachers who are at all the other kids’ games or helping other kids with their math facts after school, but forgoing attending their own child’s games or spending a little extra time helping their child with their math homework at night.

Reflecting upon this, it got me thinking…unlike I desire to believe,  getting it ‘all done’ doesn’t all happen in a day.

And I am trying to be okay with that.

I am trying to realize that, NO, Rome was not built in a day—and I don’t have to build it either in that time.

And the more I re-evaluate my laundry list of “to-dos”, particularly lately as it continues to grow, I have to ask myself, “What are my priorities today?”

And, in doing so, the more the ‘important stuff’ (the stuff that really matters most) supersedes that ever-growing to do list (in my head).

 Like…family, my spiritual walk and the thing I love to do—fitness.

Yesterday was a holiday (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day), and the kids were off school.

I spent several precious hours of the day with the kids and Kris.

We went on a hike in Shoal Creek, to the graffiti wall downtown, and I “set up shop” with Savanna in the parking lot of Walgreens to assist her with selling Girl Scout cookies for her troop—57 boxes to be exact (and yes, I admit, they weren’t ‘Paleo’).

I took several hours out of my day—that otherwise could have been filled with checking things off my list—to invest in one of the things that matters most to me, my kids and husband…

As for my workouts, it is so important for me to find the space in my day to day to do what I love in order to then better fuel my vigor and gusto to do everything else I “need to do.”

While I maybe can’t devote 2-3 hours to working out like I used to…I can find an hour a day for me-time.

Time to get my heart pumping, endorphins flowing and energy revved.

What are the things in life that should come first for you—no matter what? The things you love?

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Your marriage?

Your kids?

Your spiritual life?

Your health (nutrition and fitness)?

Your work?

Your finances?

Your friendships?

 

It’s very hard to rank them I know.

I do believe though when we invest our energies and time in the things that fuel us and the things that most resonate with our hearts—the more everything else falls into place!

And while I didn’t get it all done, the beautiful thing is, today is a brand new day…

Taking a breath, from all I “need to do”, to “all I get to do!”

Carpe diem.

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Posted in Carey's Life, Personal Development | 1 Comment

Champion Mindset is Coming

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Are you ready to create and live the life you dream and desire?

 

It’s coming…The third annual Champion Mindset, held at CrossFit Central—an all-women’s 8-week group program to empower women to not only dream, but actually achieve, the life of a champion.

 

Champion Mindset is near and dear to my heart; namely because, as a woman myself, I know we juggle a lot and all too often have hopes, dreams, goals and aspirations that, if left untouched or unaccountable, often spend weeks, months, years sitting on our “to-do-lists.”

 

I truly aspire to help women—like myself—live their best lives now…today.

 

I find often times, when we actually take the time to determine our visions, WRITE OUR GOALS DOWN and set some action steps, that BIG things happen.

 

My dear friend Lina Supnet is a prime example. She’s been a part of Champion Mindset the past two years, and is planning on making it three this year. She recently told me:

 

Transformation, empowerment, reaching potential, support, gratitude, discovery, emotional….the list goes on of what I’ve gotten out of Champion Mindset.  At first it was what I discovered about myself, my goals in life, limitless if I want it to be, thinking outside my box and bubble, and listening to what I want for myself and not what others want of me. As the weeks progressed in each class, I not only discovered things about myself, but I also saw transformation in other women.  I also witnessed women supporting each other.  The ability to discover what your potential is at any age is awesome and to see that growth from other women was amazing.  Younger, older, midlife, it didn’t matter where you were in your life it was joyous to see that happening for other women.  Most of the time you hear of women putting each other down in mainstream what a refreshing change to cheer on your sister and see her evolve in just a few weeks.  Yes, a few tears were definitely shed!

 

The eight-week program kicks off January 31 and will run through March 28; registration is now OPEN on the CrossFit Central website and for only $150, you will get 8-weeks of personalized goal-setting, accountability, empowering group meetings, self-development fun assignment and MORE! Sign up today…and get ready to become a CHAMPION.

 

 REGISTER HERE!

 

Boom.

Posted in Carey's Life, CrossFit, Personal Development, Women's Fitness | 1 Comment

Are you Spiritual?

Spiritual journey…

With age comes wisdom, right?  I like to think, as I get a little older, I get a little wiser.
Rephrase that: As my kids grow older, I get a little wiser.  There’s something about raising kids, being a mom, that makes you more aware to the things that matter most in this life.  Makes you more aware of your values and the values you hope to instill in your children.  And not only that, but as a coach and business owner as well, I often think about the influence I hope to have on my athletes, my members, my community.  For me, lately, I’ve been more inspired—and challenged—than ever to ask myself:

What is my purpose? What am I really living for?
And the answer did not come over night, but it becomes more clear everyday.
I am here to give my God, my Creator, glory and honor in all I do.

Whatever your spiritual journey or beliefs may be, for me, my identity as free and loved in Christ, and my personal relationship with God, is something that is molding and shaping me into the influence I aspire to be.  I was raised in a God-centered home in West Texas like many Southerners are.  Catholic heritage. ‘Grace’ was said before all major family gathered dinners, and “The Lords Prayer” before bed.   My brothers, sister and I went to private school K – 9th grade.  We had religion class weekly and Mass once a month.  We knew the Christmas story by heart about how baby Jesus was born in a manger, but little else was said about the impact of my inbred spiritual values over my life.  However, there was something about my spiritual values that stuck with me as I grew older.
I remember playing basketball in college at  Angelo State University and fighting through some brutal conditioning.  Static air squats in particular (holding an air-squat for what seemed hours on end) stick out to me. In order to “get through it”, I’d repeat, Philippians 4:13 in my head: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  How true is that?! Not just for air squats and working out, but life in general?  As my 20’s ensued, my spiritual roots were definitely part of my values—and my beliefs—but not necessarily something I thought about on a daily basis.  I would have pockets where I would turn to my GOD and ask for his help, but now I seek his strength and am more aware of the Holy Spirit on a more consistent daily basis and open the conversation up as a relationship rather then when I need something.

Lately, my heart and eyes have been opened, that for me, personally, I desire to live more according to God’s will for my life—and not my own.  Ultimately, I want to make myself available for God to use me—however he best sees fit with his plans—whether I am speaking to a room full of women about goal setting; coaching up 55 CrossFitters at a CrossFit Strongman seminar; instructing athletes in class how to perform the clean and jerk; being an encourager for my husband’s career in music; or teaching my kids life lessons such as being a friend to others or how to withstand peer pressure.  It is so incredibly easy to get caught up in the day-to-day “to-dos” and values of this world:

“Me first.” The number of Facebook messages or Twitter followers you have. Driving a cool car. Designer jeans. Weighing X-amount of pounds. Being the best CrossFit athlete. Being a “supermom”—the classroom mom, the playground duty mom, the Girl Scout troop leader, etc. Eating a perfect diet. Always looking for the “next thing”—not living in the present moment.

While none of these are necessarily bad, it is when the rat-race of this world or the “keeping up with the Joneses” becomes front and center, that life’s priorities get a little misconstrued.  My spiritual journey is a daily, ongoing commitment that I am finding, when I make it front and center (i.e. Taking time for prayer, filling my mind with uplifting music and inspirational reads, putting others before myself, etc.)—That I truly find my purpose.

Recently, I ran into a former client of mine that I used to train when I worked my first job as a personal trainer at Busby’s back in my 20’s.  He came up to me, and we began to catch up—he told me that he was still working out and enjoying life in Austin. He then proceeded to tell me that shortly after I had ceased training him when I left to begin CrossFit Central, he had started going to church.  “I remember you used to talk about God and going to church every now and then—and I saw something different in you. After we stopped training, I started going to church—and now it’s a big part of my life,” he said.

Man.  I was blown away!  You truly NEVER KNOW what influence you may have on others.  I do not seek to be a Bible beater, nor do I preach standing on a pedestal.  Rather, all I aspire to do is live in the same way that Christ lived—others’ centered.
This world, my business, my life, is not all about me.  It’s all about Him—and above all else, I know without a doubt, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

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Love to Cook, Hate to Cook, or Don’t Make Time to Cook… Which is It?

How many of you like to cook?
Show of hands please.
Not me. I must say, I am admirable of those of you who not only like to cook, but also who can cook.
You see, I am spoiled—very, very spoiled.  My husband, Kris, does all the cooking which makes him an amazing cook— : ) Ha, he is at home more then me so naturally he is the chef of the fam, right?
Bottom line, I don’t cook much.  And not only that—but you wouldn’t want to try my cooking anyway if I did.
Ok, maybe I am underestimating myself—in fact, who knows, perhaps if I really tried, I mean really tried…you know, took the time to do it, I could—and would—be a great cook.  Maybe, just maybe. (A girl can dream can’t she?)
However, my most recent venture in the kitchen continues to confirm to me otherwise that my belief is in fact correct: I am not a great cook. And I am most certainly am not a Martha Stewart incarnate.
On the menu?  Brownies.  Yes, I know. Brownies?!?! I admit it, I am human—and it does not happen often, but one Saturday night
recently, my kiddos asked me to make them something sweet, and what I had in the pantry from June, was a browning mix.  My girlfriend sent it home with me with instructions on the front of the bag… I’m thinking – quick – easy – what can go wrong? It was a  Ghiradelli chocolate brownie mix so I whipped it out.  “Ok kids! I will make you some brownies.”  At the sound of those words, it’s was as if the sugar high had already kicked in—before any sugar was consumed.  “Yayyyy!!! Yayyyy!!! Yayyyy!!!” Savannah and Stone cried.  And I went to town. Mixing, stirring, concocting, crafting—and it was so simple!
Just the brownie mix, oil, and water…minutes later and the mixture was a heavenly texture of goopy chocolately brownie batter that the Kepler household never sees.  Three cheers for mom! (My kids rarely eat brownies at least not ones I make -  so I felt like a rockstar for the day, “the cool mom” that was getting all rebellious on them).  I put the mix in the oven at 350-degrees for 40-minutes while we played to pass the time until the timer went off to consume them.  40 minutes later—ding!
“Yayyyy!!! Yayyyy!!! Yayyyy!!!”  Three cheers for mom!  I took the brownies out of the oven, the kids sat at the table, almond milk poured in their glasses, and….What is this?  Browned and hardened on the outside, but the inside? A big goopy, soupey brownie mess.  Fail.  Utter fail.
Hmmmmm… “Kids I think it needs a little longer.”
Hmmm…thinking. Thinking. Thinking. What could have gone wrong? I followed the right time directions…mixed up all the ingredients correctly…And that is when I re-checked the back of the box….

Brownie mix? Check. Oil? Check. Water? Check.  An egg?….Mayday mayday! I forgot that darn egg!  Before the kids knew it, I had cracked an egg in the botched brownie mix, whisked it a bit in the center, then attempted to let it sit.  Yup. Just let it sit.
Surely, after several minutes of sitting…actually a whole 24-hour’s worth of minutes, the brownies would be all chewy, gooey, savory, delicious.…24 hours later…I checked on my concoction…peeping open the turned-off oven, they looked…well…a little more done.  “Oh, kids…”

Savannah and Stone ran to the kitchen table, ready for take 2 of brownie-eating, almond milk glasses full.  I cut a small square for each of them to dive into the bite—and they were so excited.  “Mmmmm…” they said.  And while they were far from the best brownies ever (I mean they sort of tasted like a brownie), they each savored their brownie as if it was the best brownie they ever had—after all mom made it and they rarely eat brownies, so the bar was set pretty low as it was.  Long story short: I am not the best cook ever, but my most recent venture in the kitchen has inspired me to get better—particularly with some healthier food
recipes.  The internet is full of paleo and clean-eating recipes for everything under the sun!  From almond flour biscuits to cauliflower pizza, date-based brownies to avocado pudding, where there’s a will to eat cleaner, there IS a way. Thus, my next challenge? Preparing a second’s-worthy paleo dish for my family picnic at my parent’s ranch this past Sunday.
I chose to make brussel sprouts and it was a smashing success!! (See recipe below) Everyone loved it and I realized, with a little forethought and planning, cooking—and cooking clean—does not have to be so overwhelming. Sometimes when I see a long list of ingredients, I instantly think, “Nope, no way, no how.” However, like a tough WOD written on the whiteboard, instead of backing down, I pick the bar up and push through it…in this case, I will pick up the spoon, the spatula or kitchen knife, and press on.
Here’s to getting back in the kitchen!

Possible recipe ideas: First, always easy and delicious  – and occasionally I will make them.

http://livingfortoday365.blogspot.com/p/recipes.html

A few sweet potato salad recipes:

http://paleomg.com/4th-of-july-egg-and-potato-salad/

http://fitpaleomom.com/sweet-potato-salad-with-warm-bacon-dressing/

http://www.daimanuel.com/2013/07/24/paleo-recipe-nomnom-sweet-potato-

bacon-and-egg-salad/

Sweet potato chips

http://paleomg.com/superbowl-snacks-sweet-potato-chips/

Chicken jicama slaw

http://everydaypaleo.com/chicken-jicama-slaw/

Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

http://paleomg.com/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-muffins/

BBQ Chicken

http://nomnompaleo.com/post/61326007449/stupid-easy-paleos-kickin-bbq-

shredded-chicken

http://cfscceat.blogspot.com/2012/08/sweet-tangy-paleo-bbq-sauce.html

(Bbq sauce for crockpot chicken breasts that you shred)

Brussel Sprouts & Bacon

http://nomnompaleo.com/post/1670459416/roasted-brussels-sprouts-and-bacon

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Functional Full Range Movements

Functional Movement Systems

Has this scenario ever happened to you before:

Friend: Hey ____ (your name). How are you? You’ve been looking pretty fit lately, what have you been doing?

 You: Hi friend! Oh really? Well thanks, I’ve been doing this thing called CrossFit. Have you heard of it before?

 Friend: Gasp. CrossFit? That crazy thing they do on ESPN?! I’ve heard you can get really injured doing that!

Maybe not this exact scenario, but if you do CrossFit, face it, at one time or another, you’ve probably heard the common misconception that CrossFit=injury.  Back tweaks, shoulder pain, torn muscles, ripped hands.  Oy vey! The aches and pains!  However…it doesn’t have to be this way.  While if you play most any sport for long enough, you are not necessarily to walk away pain or injury free 100% of the time…the odds of not having injuries and enjoying your exercise to the fullest are POSSIBLE!  It all comes down to asking yourself some of these basic questions:

How am I moving?  Where am I tight?  What injuries (current or past) do I have?  What is the correct form I should be doing for this movement or exercise?

The answers to these questions can help you—and your coach—meet you right where you are at on the fitness continuum, and help you to continue to progress, improve and reach your optimal potential throughout your CrossFit journey!

Two weekends ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a certification seminar called Functional Movement Systems—a 3-day course that provided me with the education needed to screen individual athletes for proper body mechanics, functional limitations and asymmetries. The course also offered insight into the most helpful corrective exercises and stretches for helping all my athletes overcome barriers and create new life outside past injuries and constraints.  Let’s face it.  We all are fundamentally flawed in some form or fashion.  Whether it’s an “aching back”, tight hamstrings, stiff shoulders, poor ankle mobility, rickety knee, or something else, the human body is constantly breaking down as we age in life.  Instead of letting our “issue(s)” get the best of us though, we can get the best of them.  There is plenty of things we can do in order to promote our best functional movement possible.  Sometimes it’s all about getting back to the basics—the fundamentals of all movements, before progressing to all the wonderful movements and exercises that CrossFit has to offer.   In order to get the most out of your workouts, your fitness, it is of utmost importance that you—and your coach—take a look at your body mechanics, and your body breakdown.

Take the pushup, for instance.  So many of us CrossFitters do this movement completely wrong.  You know. You’ve seen it.  “Cindy” comes up as the workout of the day: 5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 air squats.  By the 7th or 8th round, you find yourself growing fatigued as you knock out those pushups, and inevitably “body breakdown” occurs.  In order to “touch your chest to the ground”, as the coach urges everyone to do so, you find yourself unable to push up without a straight body (ie. “snaking up”).  Sure, you are completing the movement—but are you doing so properly?  (Answer: No).  If this is the case with your pushups, I would urge you to take a step back and really hone in on the basics, in order to move two steps forward.  Work on that plank!  The plank is a basic component of the pushup that one must understand and perform before being able to complete a proper pushup.  In a plank, your body is in a straight line, your core is tight, you have good shoulder and hip stabilization.  Perfect your plank, and see your pushup improve light years!

Or take the basic squat.  The WOD of the day today?  Fran.  “Everyone’s favorite girl”: 21-15-9 Thrusters and Pull-ups.

The first few reps of thrusters feel great—you are pushing through with that adrenaline rushing. Your pull-ups feel great—you are flying through those 21. However, by the second set (15 reps), you hit a sticking point—those thrusters start getting tough. You hear your coach saying, “All the way down!” and you think, “But I am going all the way down!” as you huff and puff your way through each, rep-by-rep.

You find it way more challenging to create that “hip crease”, to go below parallel.  All you want to do is get through those reps and back on to that bar—ugh, why does it feel so heavy?  The thing is, if you have NOT mastered the basic squat…and yes, I am talking basic air squat, your WODs where there is weight involved in those squat movements (think thrusters, cleans, front squats, overhead squats, snatches) are going to suffer.  Before you can get the MOST out of your workout, and the MOST bang for your energy buck (after all when you workout, you want to get a great workout right?) , you MUST be able to perform a proper squat—and that means going as low as you CAN go (disclaimer: some athletes have prior injuries, such as knees or back, that prevent them from doing so).  Practicing without weight, without a bar. Touching your butt to a wallball everytime. Taking a WOD slow—even if it is for time—to ensure you are hitting that proper form every time.

In fact, the squat is one of the most foundational movements of CrossFit.  It generates much of the power we need—and get—for our WODs.  If you are finding that you have a tough time squatting “all the way down” or are repeatedly being corrected to get in the full-range-of-motion, it’s time to take some weight off that bar (or not use a bar at all), and work on perfecting the squat.

“Scaling” is often misconceived as being “weaker” or “not as good of a workout.”  I beg to differ.  Scaling, in a nutshell, is really about getting the MOST out of your workouts, and meeting your body right where it is at.  Because, face it, if you are unable to squat “all the way down” when doing a workout of say, 7 minute AMRAP of 7 front squats at 135/95 lbs. and 7 box jumps, and only hitting at parallel—then you are really recruiting all the leg muscle you need for that workout. Instead, try dropping the weight to maybe 95/65 lbs., squatting all the way down, and really seeing the intensity of that WOD for yourself sky rocket to the next level.

That is what myself, and my team of coaches, are here to do—help our athletes progress to that “next level”—continually, constantly, improve—and walk away from the gym feeling like they got a great workout.  Which leads me to my next point…more specific programming for athletes of all levels!  From those who are just beginning CrossFit, to those who have been doing CrossFit for a little while, to those are competing (or aspiring) to compete in the sport—and everyone in between, CrossFit Central is in the process of creating programming that meets and addresses ALL athletes right where they are at within the same class times.  2014 is going to be a big year of more specified programming—scaled to all abilities.  Be on the lookout.

In the meantime, continue to evaluate—and re-evaluate—your movements, and how you are feeling in your body.  Stretch. Mobilize. Stabilize. Scale. And work up to every day getting better and better.  And remember: Rome was not built in a day. The slow and steady wins the race when it comes to performing your movements with utmost efficiency and function.

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Ask the Professional

Insanity (noun): Doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

Have you ever heard this definition of insanity?

It is all too true, and all too common among humankind: Wanting something.  Seeking an answer. Desiring a change. Setting a goal. And trying to achieve it…the same way every time…only to find, we end up feeling like a dog chasing its tail— never quite “getting there.”

Classic example: Fad diets.

They are called “fads” for a reason people.  The grapefruit diet. The Hollywood Miracle diet. The Master Cleanse diet. The South Beach diet. Weight Watchers. The Fast Food diet (yup, you read that right. It does exist).  Half of all Americans are trying to lose weight at any one given time. While many of these fad diets promise “instant” success however, only 5% of all fad dieters keep all the weight off, meaning that 95% of all dieters gain the weight back.  Does that statistic seem a little insane to anyone else?

Why do so many people do the same thing, over and over, and expect a different result?  Recently, this stubborn phenomenon hit me after having a conversation with a woman who told me about her latest fad.  “I really want to lose some weight, so I am doing this diet—the Military diet.”  The short and dry? The military diet is a diet claiming dieters can lose up to 10-pounds in three days by adhering to a high-calorie restriction (sub-1000 calories) during which they eat a prescribed select foods at breakfast, lunch and dinner.  For example, wheat toast with peanut butter and ½ a grapefruit for breakfast, followed by a can of dry tuna and a slice of toast for lunch, and 3 ounces of meat, green beans, a small apple, ½ a banana and 1 cup of, get this, vanilla ice cream.  To each his (her) own, that is for sure.  By no means am I going to preach nutrition and fitness gospel to this woman (unless she of course asks), but this is not her first time at the rodeo when it comes to trying a new diet (with little long lasting success) to lose weight.  My hope is that, one day, she realizes that guidance and advice for making her goals a reality are standing right in front of her—me.   After all, fitness and nutrition are part of what I do on a daily basis, and I’d be more than happy to help.  Which then got me thinking…how often do we fail to ask the professional when it comes to a question about our health, our business, our finances, or anything else?  Even more so, how often do we seek wisdom about how to achieve a particular goal or change something in our lives—only to resort to our “old ways”, “comfortable ways” or “same ol’ same ol’”?

No matter if you are trying to lose weight, gain weight, get fit, eat clean, stop drinking, stop smoking, feel more energetic, be organized, and beyond…there’s no getting around it: Change can be uncomfortable.  It’s not our norm, it’s not what we know.  And so, the beat goes on.  We ask our friends their advice, we read articles on how to lose weight or get in shape or budget wisely, we think, ‘I’ll do it tomorrow,’—but tomorrow never comes.  We think, Maybe, just maybe, our efforts or our current routines (such a 3-day military diets) will eventually pay off.

Exhibit B: This time a man.

I was performing his body composition measurements one day at the gym, when he told me, “I really want to feel more energetic than I am. Do you have any suggestions?”  Awesome, I thought.  A guy who really is asking the professional how to feel more energetic.  I proceeded to tell him, to make sure to come regularly to his workouts, aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night, cut back on caffeine and processed foods, maybe try some Spark by Advocare and eat fresh, clean foods….only to have him look me in the eyes, and tell me, Thanks, but no thanks. Sigh. I thought, another one bites the dust.   The answers are in front of his face, just like the woman’s. It’s as if they, and countless others, are looking for what they want to hear, and what they want to believe…and if something is uncomfortable or doesn’t jive with their current routine, then their ears are plugged.  In times, such as these, my friends, if you don’t want to be insane…I challenge you to do things differently—ask someone who may have a little more experience or offer a true outsider’s perspective for their insights into achieving your goals.

Why not? What do you have to lose?  Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur looking to start a business, a post-partum new mom looking to shed the baby weight, a CrossFit athlete wanting to perfect your snatch or a lanky 6-foot guy wanting to put on some quality muscle, why not play an ACTIVE ROLE in your destiny?

• First off, write it down. Write down your goals, your questions about how to

achieve them, your frustrations about feeling “stuck.”

• Secondly, do some research. Make Google your best friend. Find out as much information as you can on your question, your diet plan, your fitness routine, and use your own mind to begin to create a blueprint plan of how you are going to get there.

• Read. While you’re at your research on Google, also don’t be afraid to go old school and pick up a book (whoa, wait a minute, what is that?!). Let yourself get inspired and motivated to make changes, do great things and reach your goals, with titles such as The Slight Edge, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, From Good to Great, and more!

• Ask the professional. Find someone working in your field (or a similar one) who is successful to ask them your questions (ie. For business, ask a successful business guru how they got to where they are, any advice they’d give a rookie, etc.). Preferably this person would not be a best friend or your family member. Get an outsider’s perspective.

• Now seek out your friends/family. All guards down. Ask your friends/family whom you trust to speak some truth in love to you. What do they see could change in your life in order to achieve your goals. How can they play a role in supporting you to get there?

• Make a plan. Go back to those questions and goals you wrote down at the beginning and beside each one of them, write a measurable action step of how you are going to get there (ex. “I want to lose 5 pounds”; Action step: “I will cut all sodas and chips with queso out of my diet.”)

• Enlist accountability. Don’t go it alone. Share your goals with another person—or the professional you originally sought out—and check back in regularly with them to keep you on target.  Think about it, if you had a funky rash on your skin, or unruly, wild mane of hair, you wouldn’t think twice about going to a dermatologist or making an emergency hair appointment with your professional hair dresser.  How are your fitness, nutrition and any other questions you have any different?  Stop and ask. Then (here’s the clencher)…do.

Posted in Personal Development | 9 Comments
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