Soooo….. last night I went to Crossfit for the first time.
When I announced I’d make it happen as one of my February goals, I was serious. Let’s start with the first weird part of that first sentence, which is the words last night. Those that know about my workout habits also know that it is extremely rare to find me doing any sort of workout in the PM hours. So what inspired such an irregular behaviour?
Friendly friend pressure, that’s what. A couple of my co-workers decided team Crossfit would be a great idea, and knowing that is in my goals for the year, they invited me along. Technically the foundations package of classes I signed up for doesn’t start until Thursday, but they assured me it would be a more friendly atmosphere than a competitive hardcore one. I figured I should jump at the chance to make my first experience at THE workout that has intimidated me for years a little less scary, so I said yes.
As it got later into yesterday afternoon, I felt that all-too-familiar feeling that has won far too many times creeping up inside of me. The one that said I’d already been to the gym earlier and really, it would be ok to bail. After all, I could always try Crossfit some other time on the weekend when I’m more ‘in my prime’ and in the mood to sweat – not after a long day at the office. Perhaps this little voice is one you hear sometimes too?
But here’s the thing: when you work where I do and are surrounded by a bunch of extremely ambitious and goal-driven people, the guilty feeling that arises when bailing on a workout date is compounded by approximately 63,235,945 times.
So I went.
Now before you start thinking this is going to turn into a Crossfit blog, let me assure you that it will not. What it’s always been about is seeking new challenges (often physical ones like running and triathlon) and self-development. That’s exactly what I’m after with this little adventure.
The prospect of being able to do things with my body that I currently suck at is crazy motivating, and within a typical Crossfit workout, there are plenty of things I suck at! I feel totally capable when it comes to long bouts of endurance exercise in a single plane of motion, but when it comes to heaving big barbells over my head, flipping around on rings and doing handstand push-ups, the shy little kid inside of me wants to hide in the corner. None of these are movements I can currently do, but I’m determined to change that. 😉
When all was said and done last night, I don’t know what I was so scared of! The workout consisted of overhead push presses with barbells, kettlebell swings and Russian twists – all things I’d do on my own. Even though I wasn’t lifting as heavy as the others in the class (as a first-timer, technique was far more of a priority), my shoulders and arms got plenty of action. It wasn’t an overly taxing workout from a cardiovascular perspective, but my workout buddy tells me the class I’m signed up for this weekend at her Crossfit box will certainly compensate for that. I left last night with shaky arms, and at the same time, hungry to see what’s possible with a few weeks of commitment.
I’ll probably write a post eventually about my tips for Crossfit beginners, from a fellow beginner. In the meantime, I’ll just say my first try was fun. In the past when I’ve listened to others speak about why they love Crossfit so much, it never fails that comments about the supportive community dynamic come up. There was a lot of that happening last night, and as someone who typically trains on my own, it was a nice change.
In the meantime…. something far less of a stretch for my abilities: Brunch! Specifically, roasted sweet potatoes with poached eggs and sauteed bell pepper salsa. Oh, and greens! A little bit of baby kale because I think all meals should have at least a little greenery in them.
Like I said, this is a great brunch option, but it’s also perfect when you’re in a breakfast-for-dinner kind of mood, which I am frequently. The sweet potatoes can be roasted in batches on the weekend, and you can also prep a larger batch of the salsa since it keeps well in the fridge for about 3 days. Take a minute or two to assemble and bam – done!
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Poached Eggs and Bell Pepper Salsa
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 60 mins
Ingredients (2 servings)
- 2 sweet potatoes, about 270g each
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 small clove minced garlic
- 1 tbsp minced white onion
- 1/3 cup diced bell pepper
- 1/3 cup diced cherry tomatoes
- 1 tbsp freshly minced parsley, plus more to garnish
- 1/8 tsp each black pepper and paprika
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 cup baby kale leaves
- 2 eggs
- hot sauce or sriracha, to serve (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.
Scrub the sweet potatoes and stab them a few times with a fork. Lay them on the parchment and bake for 45-60 minutes or until the flesh in the middle is soft enough to cut.
Prepare the veggies: While the sweet potatoes cook, chop the garlic, onion, bell pepper, tomatoes and parsley. Heat 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan for 1 minute. Add the vegetable mixture along with the black pepper, paprika and sea salt. Sautee it all for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Transfer the vegetables to a small serving bowl.
After 45-60 mins (depending on the size of your sweet potatoes), remove them from the oven and cool for about 5 minutes. Using a knife, slice them lengthwise (like a book – not all the way through) and gently pull the skin apart. Set each one on a plate.
Poach the eggs: Fill a small saucepan about 2/3 full of water and bring it to a boil on the stove. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and let the water calm to a simmer. Add 1 tbsp white vinegar, then an egg. (Pro tip: Put the egg into a measuring cup so that you can gently slip it in rather than drop it.) Stir in a circular motion to avoid the egg getting stuck on the bottom. After 4 mins, remove the egg with a slotted spoon and pat dry. Repeat with the other one.
Dress the greens: Toss the kale in the remaining extra virgin olive oil.
Arrange the baby kale on top of each sweet potato, followed by some of the sauteed veggie mixture. Top with the poached eggs and garnish with freshly cracked black pepper, fresh parsley and hot sauce, if desired.
So tell me… Have you challenged yourself to anything new or slightly scary lately? How did it go?