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    9.20.17 Hey All You CrossFit Moms! This One's For You!

    Hey there guys! My name is Heather, and I am one of the newest coaches at Purgatory. I hope we have had a chance to meet, and if we haven’t, I cannot wait to get to know you. Uti talked with you guys about your “why” a couple weeks ago. I hope it gave you some time to reflect and find your reasons for being a CrossFitter. Today, I want to talk to a specific group of you: all you CrossFit Moms! 

    Many of you are moms. If you aren’t, you either know one, or have one. When you entered the wonderful world of mommy-hood, there were probably a lot of surprises. One being that your body had undergone some pretty dramatic changes. If you’re like me (and many other moms out there), this might still be a big challenge for you to overcome. I hope to give you some good tips to stay the course, and encourage you to take care of you. 

    There a few things that are super important for all of us, but especially as mamas, we sometimes have a difficult time taking care of ourselves. Nutrition and recovery are two areas which are so important to take time for during your journey. Please note: I am not a medical professional, these are all suggestions based on my personal life experience as a mom and crossfitter. As always, consult with your healthcare professional before modifying or changing your routine.

    Let’s talk about: FOOD. 

    If you eat well, you will recover well. And so will your family. A happy wife is a happy life, so they say. And if you’re not a wife, insert the word: MOM. 

    Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.
    –Greg Glassman, “What is Fitness?,” CrossFit Journal (Oct. 2002) pg. 1

    Food prep is at the top of my list for seeing results. For me personally, I follow a program called Whole30. It has completely transformed my life. And I don’t mean by pounds on the scale. Sure I have lost a few, but more than that. It showed me that REAL food matters. All calories are not created equal; and darn it, my mom WAS right. I am what I eat. Every 2 years your body replaces all of your cells. What that means, is that we plan for the now, but also for the future. If you have a weight loss goal, don’t be discouraged. It takes time to teach our bodies how to be whole. 

    When my son had his first birthday, I knew something needed to change. I was deep in language training at DLI, Monterey, CA. Not exercising or sleeping, and sitting/studying 12+ hours a day. Sure, I was eating an 80% clean diet, but I didn’t feel like it or look like it. I had gained back the 20 lbs of post baby weight I had lost, and just didn’t feel like myself. So first, I got my mind on track. I realized and admitted I needed to be at the gym. Not just for the workout, but because of the amazing community of people I knew were there to help me on my journey. Whatever your “why” is – you get there by immersing yourself with the community that looks like where you want to be. I also admitted that 3 days a week was for maintaining, and 5 days a week was for improving. I committed to twice a week for that month, and worked my way back up to 5 by the end of the 3rd month. 

    Food Journaling

    What does this have to do with nutrition? At month 3, I had lost 10 pounds. Enough to fit into my bridesmaid dress. I was pleased, but not really. Why couldn’t I lose the other 10 pounds? Over the next year I had to realize that food journaling and compromises were two things I needed to get real about. 

    Today’s food: Oatmeal with blueberries and honey. Bulletproof coffee. Protein shake. An apple. Some peanuts. Rice and veggies, and sauerkraut. What’s missing guys? That’s right: protein. Confession: I have weaknesses, but I couldn’t see it. I love to eat healthy fats, but I struggle with my protein and carbohydrate macronutrients being balanced. There was no way for me to see that without food journaling. Find an app or a journal, and write down your food. You won’t know where you stand, until you know where you are. 

    Also, please note: your body is 100% different than anyone else’s. Please don’t fall prey to the “calorie in, calorie out” mantra. Find a nutrition plan that is customized to your specific needs. Are you B vitamin deficient? Do you have hormone imbalances? Thyroid issues? Family history of diabetes? Do you live or work in a high toxin environment? All of these factors are critical. I encourage you to read a book called, “Wired to Eat: Turn off cravings, rewire your appetite for weight loss, and determine the foods that work for you” by Rob Wolf.  I also encourage you to get in touch with CrossFit Purgatory’s in-house Nutritionist Nyki Harrington. She does amazing job of working with individuals to determine their specific nutritional needs, and having lost over 100 pounds herself, she knows the struggle is real (plus she’s a mom too!)


    I forgot to mention the chocolate chip cookie I had, don’t worry, it was paleo. These and other small compromises can keep you from achieving your goals. Make sure that you know your “why” and how you’re going to get there. Failing to plan is planning to fail. That was what I realized when I saw how all my little “paleo” treats added up. I needed to plan start to finish. I am super awesome at initiating, I am terrible at finishing the task. (If you don’t believe me, take a trip to my craft closet. It’s full of unfinished projects!) If you have a slice of pizza here and there, plus a few cookies, plus a beer, and a few goldfish along the way, it adds up. Soon that 500 calories you died burning, doing the 9/11 challenge wod --- yep, you just ate them. And it wasn’t in the form of a salad.

    Nutrients are EVERYTHING in the exercise/be fit/be well/lose weight world. Get to journaling, stop the compromises and last, get on a good supplement. Eating well is awesome, but sometimes we still don’t get the nutrients we need. Supplements won’t replace eating well, but it can help you with energy and recovery. Look into a high quality supplement for your mama’s body. 


    Now that we’ve talked a little about the foundations of food and a good nutrition plan, let’s chat about recovery. This includes both post WOD and postpartum.

    There is a crazy amount of science on this, so I encourage you to do some digging on your own. Most of this has to do with nutrition. Personally, I feel that real food post workout is the best way to fuel your body. If you aren’t competing, there’s little reason besides convenience to use gels, recovery drinks, or shakes. I do use them occasionally, but try to eat real food as much as possible. The CrossFit Journal (or your coaches) have some great suggestions for real food recovery options. Milk and coconut water are definitely better choices than Gatorade. 

    Give yourself a BREAK

    If you’re a mom you’re, doing awesome! Can I say this again? You. Are. Awesome. And you really need to tell yourself this every day. Please let me share three things that I love to help me stay healthy, and three top tips from a good friend. They start with the heart and mind. 


    Don’t worry, you don’t have to get religious on this one. It simply means taking time out of your day to let your mind rest and dwell on something positive. It could be your WHY, or nothing at all. Meditation is one of my favorite parts of my day, because it makes time for my mind to just rest. We spend a lot of time talking about resting our bodies, but what about that muscle upstairs that does everything else for us? It’s time for some TLC. Try this simple exercise: get in a quiet place. Use some relaxing music with headphones if necessary. Spend 5 minutes (preferably in the morning) thinking these words: I breath in peace, and breath out love. Initially I laughed a lot trying to do this. It seemed so absurd! After a couple weeks, though, I realized meditation is simply a way to quiet the other thoughts in your mind so you can let it rest. You can use other words that fit YOU better. Just make sure they are positive. There are lots of free apps/youtubes to help with meditation. One of my favorites is https://youtu.be/taxs_vhlxgs. If you have any little minions in your home, this 5 minutes might change your life. Centering your mind kickstarts your day to fabulous. Try it. 

    Postpartum care

    Your body did a lot to grow a baby. It needs time to recover. Even if has been YEARS, like it has with my 3 year old, you could have some lasting effects that need to be addressed. I urge you to chat with your doctor about postpartum recovery, and even attend a workshop on strengthening your pelvic floor. As mamas we are so hard on ourselves and our post baby body. You could be killing yourself at the gym, but still unhappy with yourself. So much of getting healthy is making sure that you are kind to yourself, but also having a fair assessment of how to do so. I urge you to think about giving yourself some extra love and focus on what your post baby body needs, whether you are out 6 months or 10 years. Who cares. Find a friend or a support group and let’s do this together. So much of our life experiences are initially for us, but down our road we find they help others in ways we didn’t imagine. Self care is something you will never regret.

    Post-wod Recovery

    I’ll say it again, You need to EAT. Yep. I hope you’ve had time to talk with our awesome nutritionist, Nyki! If not, find someone that you can trust, or do your research on your own. Having fuel within 30 minutes of exercise is crucial for that flab to become fab!  Whole foods should be part of your gym bag routine, or if in a pinch, a clean post workout shake. If you’re a mama, this is especially important, as I’m sure you’re rushing to your next soccer game, date night, or a hungry family that needs dinner. If you don’t bring your food with you, 30 minutes turns into 2 hours quickly. Soon all that work you did at the gym is for naught. Food prep is a huge part of being successful. Let us know how we can help you with this. There are 101+ ways to food prep, find what works for YOU. Bring your food and EAT. You deserve a break 😊 

    In closing I’d like to share some tips from my friend Kristen Lanker Arnold, from Spokane, WA. Kristen is one of those people that I have admired for a long time. She has been to the games a few times herself, but she isn’t Annie Thorisdottir. She’s just an average girl doing amazing things. In 2014 while we were both pregnant and doing the CrossFit Open, she placed top 50 for the Asia region at 39 weeks, for the first 3 workouts. Say what?! Now while most of us aren’t doing these types of feats, one thing we can do is learn from something so crucial to her success: consistency and positivity. Through her first son’s newborn medical struggles, overseas moves, military life, and now getting ready for her second babe, she has stayed consistent and positive. If you don’t know her story I encourage you to take the time to learn what an amazing journey she and her little family have had, and what she's accomplished along the way. She’s one of the strongest Moms I know. https://www.facebook.com/kristen.lanker 

    1. Make time to meal prep on Sundays! I need food I can grab out of the fridge, eat standing up, and go. Plus, I don’t enjoy doing three piles of dishes everyday, so food containers are a great way to go. It is easy to scarf down your kid’s leftover goldfish and string cheese and call it “lunch.” This doesn’t help us fuel our bodies! 
    2. Do simple things to recover when you have many demands on your life: a 15 minute bath, yogurt and chocolate protein for a bedtime snack, recovery walk with your kids, morning mobility and stretch session before the kids wake up and you hit the coffee pot!
    3. Take time to recharge mentally. As CF moms, we know how to grind out a workout when we don’t feel optimal, or sleep doesn’t happen, so mental toughness is already woven into our day. Take time out from being so tough, even it is only 10 minutes, and do what you can within your schedule to rest your mind. Nap when/if you can, break from technology to reconstitute without distractions, get outside, call a good friend, read a favorite book etc.!

    P.S. This is advice that I need to take in myself…it is not something I do perfectly! Always a work in progress. 😊 

    Ditto on the P.S. Kristen, we are all there with you. 

    Love and good lifts mamas. I am your biggest fan. 


    Here are some great posts from other crossfit moms and links that I love. Please share your favorites!



    Postpartum/pelvic floor workshop (Goodyear, AZ) 






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What's Your "Why"?

Hey Purgees and anyone else who wants to read this! I am a coach at CrossFit Purgatory and my name is Uti. Yes, weird name, it's short for Utimio. If you have been to Purgatory before hopefully we’ve met and you had fun working out with us. 

We haven't written a blog in awhile so let's start with something that is at the core of my beliefs when it comes to CrossFit. Everyday there is a question lurking in the back of my head…why am I here? And I don't mean why am I paying to come into a hot ass gym and do burpees and lift heavy things?! Haha. I mean what is the reason I'm walking into the gym to work so hard? Am I trying to become a competitive CrossFitter? Or trying to help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes? Or maybe just to look good naked. ;) Whatever the reason, I think it's important for every athlete to have that “why”. Hopefully having that bigger reason will be a driving force for you as it's been for me.

So what happens if you haven't asked yourself this question...BURPEES! Ha! Noooo, if you've never asked yourself this question, then maybe it's time you did. When you first get started it's just that a friend asked you to try out CrossFit and currently you're just having fun coming into the gym and getting your ass kicked. That's awesome! If you want to get more out of your experience though I would highly recommend you look inside yourself for your reasons for being there. CrossFit can be more than just exercise. I had a life changing experience because of it and I know many other people that have as well.

What is my “why”? Well I walk into Purgatory everyday so I can get out of the gym as often as I'd like and use my fitness! Crazy thought, work super hard at all of these skills just to step out of the gym and not directly use them. Ha. It's really amazing how much the average CrossFitter can do just because they CrossFit. Maybe it's just the confidence I gained from doing CrossFit or maybe it's the all around increase in my fitness. It is super cool to say you can squat this or snatch that, but the real payoff is what our bodies can do because of CrossFit. Now when I started in November of 2012 I had different reasons for being at the gym and they were some high hopes, I wanted to go to the CrossFit Games of course! Haha...wow, just thinking that now seems crazy! Now, for those that don't know, the CrossFit Games is the final competition stage of the CrossFit competitive season. The athletes that go to the Games are the tip of the sword, fittest damn people in the world, monsters!

The CrossFit Games is a sport that athletes train year round for. Being an athlete at the CrossFit Games is a full time job now. Make no mistake, they are professional athletes. These men and women work year round with coaches, Physical Therapists, massage therapists, nutritionist, and sponsors to be the best they can be. If your why is because you want to be competitive, then ask yourself, how much time do you have? If you have the availability to train at least 2-3 hours a day, that's a start. If not, let's make some goals that will keep you working hard and making improvements. The large majority of people I see aren't going to the Games, this is not a bad thing! If you come to the gym everyday and work your ass off that's what makes me happy.

Purgatory is home away from home for many of us. Walking through those doors is sometimes the best thing in our day. I just want all of my athletes to keep coming back and working hard. I truly believe that CrossFit is the best training methodology and can be used for every person! It takes a certain type of person to keep coming back though and I wish everyone could be that person. Now there are so many different conversations I could have here and it's been difficult to stay on track, but the main question I have for you is, why do you walk through those doors?

Check out the above video on ankle mobility!  It is super important to take care of your feet and achilles since there is so much loading going on in any given day.  If you are missing range of motion in your ankle it can lead to not being able to squat properly and many more issues down stream in your body.  Remember it takes 2 minutes to start making change so dig deep and try not to let the pain cave get ya down! :)  Happy Saturday everyone!

July 22, 2015 - The CrossFit Games

The 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games are happening as we speak!!!  Check that out HERE.  For some of you that don’t know yet, this is the culmination of a year of hard work for the best athletes in the world in our sport!  The Individual competition consists of the top 40 men and 40 women out of nearly half a million competitors.  They are competing in Carson, CA to become the Fittest Man and Fittest Woman in the world this weekend!!  They are only part of the awesomeness that is our sport of fitness though, we also have Master’s athletes, Teams and Teens too!!! It is a blast to watch these top athletes perform amazing feats of fitness over the course of 4 days.  The shear volume of work that they do over the weekend is unfathomable to most of us.  In the middle of the paddle boarding, heavy snatches, and Hero WODs though we can see the everyday CrossFit!  “Hey, I’ve done that before”, “We just did a WOD kinda like that the other day”, “Oh, my god, they just did Murph SUPER FAST!!”.

In between seeing the familiarity of the workouts and the thoughts of how awesome all of these athletes are I seem to be reflecting on why I CrossFit.  First off, I have fun doing it!! Everyday it is a blast finding out how hard I can push myself, or seeing if I can learn something new even after 2.5 years of doing this.  Turns out I get to do both almost everyday! :)  I’d like you all to think about where you want to take your fitness or why you show up everyday.  I hope part of it is because you have fun with it, or maybe it gives your life balance.  Whatever your reason is let that be your guiding light in the darkness of some of the tough WODs and push you to become better each day!

So let’s watch the Games this weekend, cheer on your favorite athletes, check out the local Master’s athletes, and be impressed with how badass everyone is there!!

Below I’ve also attached a video that shows you kind of a day in the life of a few of the top male athletes that are prepping for the Games.  This will give you a little peek into how they think, what they do, and how kind of normal they all are, except for the extreme amounts of working out they do! haha.  Check it out HERE

July 15, 2015 - Back to Basics


Going back to basics.  This statement for me doesn't mean that you have to re-start your CrossFit progress or that you aren't doing well so you have to go back to the Lite class.  What this means to me is, all athletes whether they are the best in the world or just having fun and getting more fit, need to remember that a strong foundation will build an amazing level of safe movement.  I have said this before but, I am constantly fighting for the best squat, the best deadlift, and the best press.  Trying to make sure that each time I squat or lift or move in general I am thinking about moving safely and efficiently.  I had to re-teach myself how to run when I started CrossFit, how to walk up stairs, and jump and land on a box to name a few of the many movements I had to work on.  These "basic" movements are not inherent and it takes time and effort to keep at them just to make sure my muscle patterns lead to the safest most efficient movement in all things I do.  

This is my journey "back to basics" that I take every day.  Take a quick read of the article and think about how you move, do you take what you learn in the gym outside in your daily life?  Think about it and let's try and get better each day! :)  P.s. it's hump day!!  Almost the weekend! Woo!

Here's the start of the article but take a few minutes and read the rest. :)


"When learning a new skill, we go through four distinct phases of competency:"

"The thing is, once we learn a skill and are able to do it Rx in a WOD, we often consider it “mastered” and move onto bigger/more exciting things. Except that getting better isn’t always about learning new skills; it’s also a matter of improving/fixing the foundation.

For most of us, our CrossFit starts in some sort of an OnRamp or Foundations program during which we are introduced to the basic CrossFit movements. At this point it’s not so much about perfection as it is about the ability to replicate movements safely, and once we can demonstrate that, we are allowed to proceed to more advanced skill(s) e.g. move from the air squat to the wall ball, thruster or back squat.

However, even as we progress and become

  • stronger

  • fitter, and

  • more bodily aware,

it never hurts to go back to the basics and apply our increased knowledge and skill to become more efficient at them."


Read full article HERE

July 14, 2015 - "Nutrition, It's Not Rocket Science"


The topic of nutrition comes up often in the gym and it is totally expected.  My own personal nutrition is not always what I want it to be but that is just life sometimes.  I agree with a lot of what this article says and it's a pretty quick read.  My largest thought or input when it comes to nutrition is to make small steps towards your goal and don't beat yourself if you stumble a bit in the process.  Life is hard, it gets busy, it's stressful, but if you are willing to take the slow and steady road toward your goal then you will be successful! :)  Enjoy the read and remember your coaches are always here to give your their thoughts or input and helping you put your best foot forward.  Below is the first part of the article, please click the link to read more.  Happy Tuesday everyone!

"Athletes have a lot to worry about. First and foremost is their sport or task. You need to train, practice your sport, engage in recovery practices, and deal with a host of other issues. Diet is obviously a big piece of the puzzle, but after every other debt is paid, how much time and effort do you have left to put into this?

The goal of this article is to give you simple strategies that will help you create a diet that supports your athletic endeavors without bogging you down and making you feel like food is a full-time job that takes away from your real goal - to be good at your sport.  

Most people I’ve seen who are super strict with their diet have no energy left for performance and don’t have the will power left to train hard in the gym. Maybe too much focus isn’t a good thing.

There is also a certain type of person who can focus too much on diet because he or she thinks it will substitute for genuine hard work. But you cannot out-eat a shitty work ethic. You just can’t. Not for performance anyway. So have a balance."

Click HERE for full article from Breaking Muscle.

June 26, 2015 - Moving Day!



Another reminder to all members and potential drop ins:

We will host Open Gym tomorrow (6/27/15) from 8:00am-10:00am at 4500 E. Speedway Blvd Ste 101.  There will be no Strongman class and effective Monday 6/29/15 we will be at the new location at 3461 E. Speedway Blvd.

 We will not have drinking water until end of day on Monday the 29th so make sure you have your water bottle full. :)  

June 7, 2015 Shoulder Mobility

If you every wonder where we come up with some of the fun mobility techniques that we put you all through...here's the answer. :)  Kelly Starrett is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and leader in the world of mobility for CrossFitters and elite athletes.  If you don't follow is YouTube channel or if you haven't bought any of his books I would highly recommend everyone to check them out!! Increasing our range of motion and keeping up with our mobility is a life long process that we can all probably work on more.  It's also really fun to check out the new stuff this guy comes up with! haha.  So check the link below for some shoulder mobility tips.  Enjoy!

Shoulder Mobility!

April 26, 2015


Fitness and training does not and should not start and end when you walk through the doors of Purgatory.  Making real change in your life and making lasting changes requires a bit more homework than you might think.  Coming into the gym for 1 hour is a small part of your entire day so it makes sense that if you aren't trying to improve yourself outside of the gym as well then the road to improvement will be slow and difficult.  

Let's start with making small changes in your diet maybe.  Cut down from a cheat day to a cheat meal (single meal! :))  Or maybe instead of having 3 sodas have only 1.  Say no to that dessert with every meal and maybe only have it in the morning so you have all day to burn it off.  Or maybe its just finding out what diet works best for you in the long run, don't try and take a quick fix and yo yo back and forth.  Whatever your small changes are, start there.  Once you make that one small change then make another...now you might want to include small stretches at your desk every hour.  Hips, ankles and wrists can get terribly tight and short if you have a desk job.  And then make another and another.  Baby steps with this kind of thing so it doesn't seem so overwhelming or like a ton of work.  We want the change to stick, we want it to be long lasting and so we can kick those bad habits and become a happier healthier version of ourselves.  

Once you start including these small changes into your daily routine it won't take much to see some progress both inside and outside of the gym.  Progress, not perfection.   

I have included an excerpt from the book Ready to Run by Dr. Kelly Starrett.  Take a look and start making those changes Purgees!!  We'll see you at the gym and if you like to read, I would highly recommend this book!


"Later, at the office, you try to sit as little as possible so as not to shut off your lymphatic system or shorten the muscles that support a neutral spine position. When you stand and walk, you monitor the position of your feet—they are straight—and maintain a light engagement of the muscles of your butt and core to set your pelvis and spine in a neutral position. When you do have to sit, you remain especially aware of maintaining a neutral posture. You have also built in the habit of blending in short mobility drills every hour or two to fix your feet, improve your spinal position, and work the areas above and below any missing bits of motor control and range of motion that are impeding your performance and adding to your risk of injury. You eat a nutritious diet, you hydrate with electrolyte fluids, and you have added compression socks to your work wardrobe to again help open up the pipes so that your lymphatic system replaces waste products with nutrient flow."

-Ready to Run,  

By: Dr. Kelly Starrett & T.J. Murphy


April 1, 2015


Click here for yummy food video

So since there has been some renewed interest in nutrition and trying to cut body fat I wanted to share this. 

Here's a slightly older video about some basic nutrition advice from CrossFit's view.  Watch the video and think about what they are trying to get across.  It doesn't have to be strict paleo, it doesn't have to be the Zone diet, but the cleaner you eat and if you take quality AND quantity into account then you will be better able to find what works best for you to help you reach your goals.  If you have more questions about this please don't hesitate to ask one of us! :)

 P.s. this isn't an April Fools joke. haha

March 30, 2015


Turkish get ups are a great movement to be done slowly and for quality over speed.  Take your time during them and have fun! It's a great tool for midline and shoulder stability! :) check out the video below for a quick over view of how to do them.



March 22, 2015


Hey Purgees!!!  I hope everyone is as excited as I am about our new website and Wodify!!!  Our community is moving forward together and we are hoping that these changes are going to make things even better for everyone at Purgatory.  

Please keep in mind though that changes don't happen overnight and there may be a few glitches here and there but we are working hard to make everything flow as smoothly as possible.  

Next week is the final workout of the 2015 CrossFit Open and I am hoping the have the biggest turnout yet!  Come on down to your home away from home at 10:00am this coming Saturday 3/28/2015 and cheer on all the athletes that are working their butts off in the Open this year!  We will all be going out to lunch afterwards (location TBD) and everyone is welcome!

Let's have some fun this week and keep your eye out here on the website for more information or updates as we move forward.  Enjoy the cool new program and see you all this week!! :)