May 16 – Rookie at Regionals – Part 3

Regionals – Day 3

Today started with a 16 minute chipper workout! It had some really good movements for me but unfortunately, due to the tendinitis in my thumb and wrist, the OHS which usually wouldn’t be a problem for me caused enormous pain slowing me down considerably! This was very irritating! But hey, what can you do. I can almost guarantee every athlete on the competition floor was suffering from at least one niggle!

The second workout today, and final workout of the weekend, was a fast 21-15-9 thruster and 3-2-1 legless rope climbs combo. Blink and you missed it! I outdid my expectations in this workout which was amazing to finish on a bang. The ropes were shorter than I had practiced on. Bonus! And the weight felt easy on the thrusters.
A perfect way to end the weekend!

Walking onto the competition floor for the last time was very emotional. Although I was glad for it to all be over so I could relax, I miss the adrenalin rush and the sheer fun of being able to workout alongside a whole bunch of amazing athletes! This weekend has just reminded me why I love to compete and why I keep pushing myself to the next level.

What a journey I have had this weekend! It truly has been amazing and I really can’t explain in words how I feel to have completed my first ever Meridian CrossFit Regionals as an individual.

I finished 35th overall which I cannot be disappointed with! I would love to have come slightly higher, but I have to remember that I came with no expectations and I didn’t expect to be at regionals as an individual this year! That was my aim for next year so I’m currently a year ahead of schedule!

It hasn’t been an easy road, but I appreciated and soaked up every minute. I feel so honoured to have competed and performed in such a tough competition alongside such incredible athletes.
There were many ups and downs, but I have learnt a great deal about myself and what I need to work on for next year.

Now I’m off to enjoy my few days left in Madrid

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May 16 – Rookie at Regionals -Part 2

Regionals – Day 1

I hadn’t been too nervous up to this point, I have competed in quite a few competitions now, so I was just trying to think of this as just another WOD. There was no need to get worked up about it, I had done my preparation and couldn’t do anymore until I got in the arena. I knew my strengths, my weaknesses and had an idea of what I needed to aim for in each heat.

After finding out I kept a few house members awake with my snoring, I figured I had managed to get a pretty good night’s sleep! I kept to my usual morning routine and made my favourite green Buffbox porridge. Following breakfast, I went for a 10 minute walk to help wake up and get my body moving. Jasmine joined me and, despite the steep hills surrounding the Buffbox house, we managed a quick catch up before heading back to get ready for the crazy day ahead.

We left the Buffbox house in good time to get to the arena for registration. We wanted to make sure we didn’t lose our way driving from the depths of the Spanish hills into Madrid! Coffee was first on the agenda when we arrived, before signing in and picking up my food for the day from Buffbox. Remembering to keep my diet consistent, with enough time before and in between workouts is very important, especially on days of competition when you need to make sure your energy levels stay high.

The first WOD of the day was the snatch ladder. Although I was trying to keep my calm to the people around me, inside I was nervous. Really nervous. Not for the WOD itself, but because I knew I had to hit the minimum requirement if I wanted to go further in the competition. I felt anxious not knowing if I would even clear the first hurdle.

I managed to get four reps in the warm up at the starting weight. I knew this was never going to be the WOD for me, but I had to just try my best and get that one rep.

In these situations it is all about setting yourself realistic targets. If you set the bar too high you will never achieve or reach your targets. I knew the first weight was near my max, so it was unrealistic to think I was going to get far down the ladder. One rep minimum was my aim. And I did it. It’s all about making it relevant to you and your abilities.

I was looking forward to the second WOD. It looked fun and I did ok when I tried it in training. The kettle bell snatch was easy, the handstand push ups were ok, but the strict muscle ups slowed me down. Judging was really strict making it easy to no rep.

When you get into that dark place you have to stay calm. It is easy to get frustrated when there is one thing holding you back, but you have to stay focused and concentrate on getting that next rep. That aside, I still really enjoyed it.

I spent the evening chilling out back at the Buffbox house. Everyone got involved with sorting the athlete packs ready for the following day, nothing like a bit of team bonding over food prep!

Regionals – Day 2

The next morning I felt fresh. The WODs were a lot more suited to me so I was excited to get started. I knew it would be tough but the movements were good so I wasn’t too worried.

The first WOD was good fun, but it was hot and muggy out there. I had a good warm up with John from JST, making sure I hit max effort before heading out onto the floor. The WOD started well, but going from the wall balls to pistols was tough and I still felt tired from the first WOD. I was 5 or 6 reps off finishing, which I was really pleased with. I could be really critical and be annoyed that I was so close to finishing, but with this whole competition I am putting everything down to experience.

I was comfortable with the movements in the second WOD. I warmed up fine, but then when I got in there the deadlifts felt so heavy! Coming off the trueform and ghd drains your legs going into the deadlifts. I still did ok though. I completed 3 1/2 rounds which is what my plan was. Again, I have to make sure I stay focused on what my own targets are and not get caught up in what is unachievable this time around.
I was a bit gutted that I didn’t finish the last WOD, but being here is an experience in itself. I feel grateful to have even got to this point, I need to remember this and not lose sight of what I came here to achieve.

With the second day of competition done it was time to rest up, feed up and get ready to smash the last day. I had a 45minute massage to help with my recovery and prep for the final day. The WODs were intense, heavy and close together which left me feeling absolutely knackered by the end of the day!
I have really enjoyed being in the Buffbox house for the weekend. It makes a big difference when you are surrounded by positive, supportive people. Being based 25 miles out the city also had its benefits.

It was so peaceful and the perfect environment to switch off and unwind. It gave me time to reflect on the weekend so far. I have had the opportunity to share the floor with some of the best Crossfit athletes in the world, which is so humbling and almost difficult to believe. I stand in awe of the people that surround me in the warm up area, and it reminds me of the incredible journey Crossfit has given me.

One of the best things about the weekend has been receiving messages from my family at home, who have never really understood what I do or what Crossfit is about. They have all been following the videos and social media, and telling me I’m smashing it! Also, I have to mention my amazing support team in the crowd. Cheering me on through every workout! It is this amazing support from both at home and in Madrid that is driving me forwards. I don’t want to let anyone down.

Bring on the final day!

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May 16 – Rookie at Regionals 

It’s all starting to get a bit real now… I’ve checked in at the airport and I’m awaiting my flight! It’s hard to explain how it feels. I am not nervous just very excited but I’m sure if you ask me the same question on Friday morning as I’m about to lift my first barbell I may tell you something very different.

The key thing for me to remember this year going to Meridian Regionals as a rookie individual is to enjoy the experience and have fun! Obviously work as hard as I can but just learn from everything and use it to help me grow as an athlete ready to smash it up even more next year!

Having been to regionals last year as part of a team I feel I have a good understanding of what it is going to be like, how the competition runs and what to expect but I know this year as an individual it will be different but at least I’m not going in blind!

I am so excited to feel the pumping of my heart, the adrenalin rushing around my body and the sheer buzz you feel as the crowd shout and scream during the workouts! It’s a feeling no one can even begin to explain, it just has to be experienced!

I feel so honoured to be a part of this experience and to be able to workout amongst some of the best athletes in the world; I really could not be more thankful. Hard work and grit really does pay off!

The best and most amazing this is to know that every athlete throwing down alongside me on the competition floor has worked just as hard as me in training all year to earn their spot and when a WOD is in full swing it’s a very beautiful moment of very determined individuals putting themselves through something not many people can do to prove they are the fittest in the Meridian Region.

However much we all get on as friends away from the competition floor, as soon as “3, 2, 1, GO” is said, everyone’s inner competitive edge comes out and it becomes a competition of who can stay in the darkest place the longest or who can push through it the quickest!

The competition floor becomes a battle ground of individuals all breathing hard with racing hearts fighting for the same goal! The only question is who will come out on top!

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May 16 -The power of a COACH!

I never realised how beneficial it was to have a coach for training and my nutrition until I started working alongside some of the best within CrossFit. Up until the last 6 months I was a self – taught CrossFitter with a little input here and there from my friends and training buddies.

Being a coach is not always easy and being taught by a coach is also not easy. Firstly, you need to find someone you have a connection with and someone who can understand the way your mind works and how you train and refuel.

Having a connection between coach and athlete is far more important than the coach just being able to look at the athlete’s lifts and help them with their Fran time. Ideally your coach should understand how to push you, motivate you and know how you are feeling without having to ask you.

This works the same for a nutritionist, they should be able to adapt your diet to fit around yourtraining  times and nutritional needs.

The best coaches can see if you are struggling in a workout, training or even mentally. They will know when to ease up on your training and know when to push you harder without breaking you.

As a coach the biggest thing you must be able to do is workout when your athlete is working hard enough and adjust accordingly, and even make it harder if they are not.

As an athlete you should always do as you are told and trust your coach – they always know best!

You need to know that they will push you at the right times, help you peak just before a competition and know when you need down time. You also need to know that their programming, be it training or food, is going to help you improve and recover to be the best you can be.

As an athlete I need to know that my coach has my back and I would never work with anyone who doesn’t because I can’t take that risk. Having trust in a person is not always easy but when you find someone you can trust in then you know you are on to a winner. You can then trust into your coach to help nurture you into the athlete you have always wanted to be.

Coach 1

Secondly, a coach must be able to realise that every athlete is different; one athlete may not respond to the same queues as another or may not respond to the same amount of volume of training. Similarly one athlete may not reapond to the same diet plan as another!

Being able to adapt accordingly is key as every athlete’s brain and body ticks in a different way.

I have come to realise that the best coaches are not always those who go shouting and screaming about it, they are the ones that are always researching finding new ways to do things and working out how they can make this work better for their athlete.

The best coaches listen. This is most important and how you gain your athlete’s trust. They listen to what you fear and what you are finding hard and they find a way around it.

The best coaches are also very careful about the way they say things as what you say as a coach will resonate in an athlete’s mind all day every day.

If a coach says “That snatch was amazing” the athlete will be buzzing for days.

If the coach says “That snatch was rubbish” the athlete will go away feeling disheartened.

Always pick your words carefully.

Finally, coaching isn’t always about all the hours in the gym, all the lifts you have completed and the met cons you have done. Coaching continues outside the gym and after training sessions have finished.

The best coaches will check in with you on how you are feeling, how your mood is, if you are hungry or what you are thinking. Even talking over each training session, what you both thought went well or didn’t go well.

If you have multiple coaches for nutrition, training or gymnastics then they will also all communicate to make sure all of your plans fit with each other.


The biggest thing for me as an athlete working with my coaches is the huge impact they have on my training and my life in general. I am not sure if they really understand how much, but I know I could talk to them at any time and they would be there for me. I think one thing maybe coaches don’t always realise is how much they impact an athlete’s life and how much an athlete trusts the words they say, be it an everyday athlete getting fit or a competitive athlete at the top of their game.

A coach is one of the most influential people in any athlete’s life

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May 16 – Surprise sources of calcium!

It has been suggested that nowadays many of us have the digestive disorder generally called lactose intolerance (me included). Lactose intolerance happens when your body is not able to absorb and digest the lactose enzymes in dairy products.

For many years now we have been taught that the main and best sources of calcium are dairy products. We are also told that we should consume dairy products to maintain good strong bones, nerves, muscles and teeth. So for those of us who cannot consume dairy how else can we consume calcium?

In this article I will look at the top five alternative foods that can help you consume calcium and, amazingly enough, all of these food sources contain more calcium than milk. All quantities will be compared to 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) of whole milk, which is said to contain around 276mg of calcium.

Number One: Almonds

It may be hard and quite bland to sit and eat a whole cup of almonds at once but almonds contain around 378mg of calcium per cup coming out at over 100mg more than a cup of milk. For those of you  who like to graze throughout the day and have a nibble here and there these are a great option as you will not only be consuming you dairy intake but healthy fats as well. If you find plain almonds boring then there are many other ways in which you can consume them, for example;  almond butter, crumbling almonds on your salad, roasting then or even adding them into your cooking or desserts. Almonds are also a good source of protein, magnesium, and fibre.


Number Two: Collard greens

Collard greens are next and you can eat them raw or cooked; however, the calcium content will differ slightly. A cup of frozen collard greens contains around 357mg of calcium where as the same amount of raw collard greens, will only contain around 266mg of calcium. This suggests that consuming cooked collard greens is more beneficial than eating them raw. You can add collard greens to your daily meals or even add them to a shake.

Number Three: Rhubarb

Who would have thought that consuming such a nice sweet pudding could be so good for you. One cup of rhubarb contains around 348mg of calcium, now that’s a great alternative to milk. Rhubarb can be eaten as a nice hot pudding with yogurt or even cold. Other added benefits of rhubarb are, it is high in protein, vit c & k, potassium, magnesium and a whole bunch more.

Number Four: Spinach

Spinach is up next and, similar to collard greens, fresh and frozen can provide differing amounts of calcium. Frozen spinach (spinach frozen immediately after picking) contains around 291mg of calcium per cup whereas fresh spinach contains just 30mg of calcium. Another factor to consider is weather the spinach has been cooked or not. Cooked spinach can provide more calcium than raw as during the heating process molecules bind together allowing the calcium from the spinach to be absorbed more easily by our bodies when digested.


Number Five: Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are very versatile and can be added to most foods such as salads or eaten alone as a snack or added to a shake. One cup can provide around 1404mg of calcium making it a very good alternative to milk.

So in conclusion, if you are lactose intolerant or just looking for a healthy alternative to milk then any of the foods mentioned above are worth a try. I enjoy eating all of the above and use them within my daily meals and snacks.

Alongside those foods mentioned above other alternatives could be; broccoli, peas, okra, kale, blackeyed beans and various sea foods such as salmon and sardines.

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May 16 -How powerful is your mind?

Over the past year I have come to realise there is a lot more to being a successful athlete and competing at a high level than I first thought! You have to have dedication, be willing to make a ton of sacrifices but most importantly have belief in yourself and a very strong mind as at the top there is no room for questioning yourself.

Before you can work on your mind you must know what your goals, dreams and ambitions are? Are they aligned in your head and do you know how important they really are to you and how much you want to achieve them? To perform at the top you have to have the mind-set of a winner, a champion. You must work hard, repeat things and just have the will to never give up.

I have always been a pretty independent person so I do not require someone to babysit me all the time and tell me I am doing well in my training. I am also fortunate in being so strong willed that I do not need someone to hold my hand and push me to train, I train because I enjoy it and I want to do it. What is the point otherwise? I definitely wouldn’t be doing what I do if I didn’t enjoy it.

tribal 3

Don’t get me wrong I do love training and competing with people and most days I do I was merely saying you can’t always rely on others to pull you along, there has to be a part of you that really wants it and will drive forward to reach it.

When training every day I am not worried about what my competition may be doing or not doing. I trust in the programme I am given by Steve Fawcett (JST Compete) and know he will prepare me in the best possible way.

“Success is a peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are cable of becoming” (pg 283 The Champions Mind – Jim Afremow)

champions mind

This is one of my favourite quotes from one of my favourite books, as it sums up my training each and every day. If I can become one little bit better each time I train then I am becoming the best of what I can be and I am improving. And if I am improving I am able to enjoy my training more I am able to relax more and sleep better. Perfect all round.

I believe there are three main features to remaining strong mentally; the way you view your training, the way you view and talk to yourself and how you view what you want to happen in the future.

You should never put yourself down when you have a bad days training use what has happened as a lesson to help build you up and help you not to make the same mistakes again. Never worry about what will happen tomorrow or next week. Did you achieve today what you set out to achieve, yes? Well amazing if not then ask yourself, why did it not happen? And how can I improve next time?

But most importantly never speak to yourself with negative language “I can’t”, “That will never happen” etc. Words are very powerful and they will stick with you throughout the day and days to come. Always be positive and say “I will”, “I will try”. Always do you best and speak highly of yourself whilst remaining humble and you cannot go wrong.

Failing is not a bad thing use the frustration you feel from the session to help build you up as a stronger athlete. Learn from it, these are the valuable life lessons you need to hold onto.


The biggest thing I believe is learning to be able to detach yourself from what is out of your control. A successful athlete must be able to deal and know how to cope with adversity. Things will not always go your way but you must be able to carry on without letting it ruin your mind set. This is not always easy but a very good skill to learn.

I will leave you with a final thought. Something I always think back to when I am struggling (because we all do we are all human).

“My mind is renewed by the word of God, therefore I forbid thoughts of defeat or failure to inhabit my mind. Fear is false evidence appearing real and is the opposite of faith. Not faith in yourself but faith in God that he has your back” Romans 12:2


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May 16 – Training with the best

jst outside

The music was pumping, the atmosphere was buzzing and the adrenaline flying as Steve (Fawcett) Jak (Cornthwaite) and I worked through a whole bunch of snatch drills and build up to a heavy triple hang snatch! The weight on the boy’s bars made my bar look like a training bar! It was unreal what they were lifting but so good to be training with them.

I think today was possibly one of the best lifting sessions I have had in a very long time if not ever! Nothing beats training with the best!

I didn’t PB on my lifts but I wasn’t far off! Trying to PB is not the purpose of me coming up to train with the boys, rather for them to watch my lifts, analyse them and give me some awesome feedback! Just what I need when regionals is just around the corner!

I booked in to have a lifting session with Jak whilst I was visiting so I could have 1-1 attention and so he could really focus on my weakest areas.

snatch drills

My problem tends to be as the bar gets heavier it comes out in front of me instead of directly up. Due to this Jak literally drilled me for an hour on snatch pulls and drills! He was like a drill Sargent, but that was exactly what I needed.

After we had all sat and had a Buff Box picnic (lunch) we ventured back downstairs to try out the CrossFit workout Nate, however this time it was the regionals version as the regionals workouts have started to be released.

Usually Nate is 2 Muscle ups, 4 HSPU (Hand Stand Push Ups), 8 KB (Kettlebell) Swing

Regionals Nate 4 Strict Muscle ups, 7 Strict HSPU, 12 (6 per arm) Heavy KB Snatch

regionasl workout

I am pretty happy with the workouts so far, snatch isn’t my strongest lift but I can do them to the standard needed and Nate, well that makes me very happy as I love strict muscle ups, strict HSPU and KB swings.

Putting it all together into a workout though was interesting. I can officially say the only person out of us all that got a proper workout was Ste – the rest of us got multiple rounds but by no means moved anywhere near as fast as he did. That man is ridiculous.

We finished our day with what Ste calls an AB Attack class. Every CrossFitter needs a strong core so off we went for 5 rounds of 1 min Free Standing Hand Stand Hold, 30s Hollow Hold, 30s Arch Hold, ALPHABET. I know your all thinking what is ALPHABET, basically you spell the alphabet out with your feet in the air keeping your back in contact with the floor – try it, not as easy as it sounds.

After spending 6-7 hours in the gym (not that I complain I love it) I can officially say I am now led on the sofa back at Fran’s completely shattered but excited to see what the next regionals workouts will bring. I am chilling out watching Craig Richey’s new VLOG (YouTube – Craig Richey) and there is a special guest in it – I wonder who that could be 🙂  ‘See you in the next one’


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