Tag Archives: weight loss

Living Better Podcast – Ep. 38 – How Sarah Palmer DeFrank Rewrote Her Story

Sarah Palmer DeFrank has been many things: Single mom. Broke graduate student. Chef. Overweight. Unhealthy. Unhappy. Listen and learn how she used CrossFit to rewrite her story.

How Sarah Palmer DeFrank Rewrote Her Story

Sarah used to cry at her kitchen table after workouts. She thought she was no good, and couldn’t understand how it seemed so easy for everyone else.

That was more than three years ago, and today, Sarah is proud of what her body can do—she’s lost 60 lb. and gained 7 lb. of muscle, along with toes-to-bars and double-unders.

But the road hasn’t always been smooth.

In Episode 38 of the Living Better Podcast, Sarah shares how she changed the narrative of her life from depressed, overweight and unsatisfied to thriving physically, mentally and professionally—and how CrossFit helped along the way.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • About Sarah’s tough past and depression after her mother’s death.
  • Her struggles with inadequacy when she first started training.
  • How she rewrote her story, lost 60 lb. and found happiness.

Links and resources for this episode:

Thank you for listening!

Thank you so much for checking out our podcast!

Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below, or email us.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe via iTunes or Stitcher.

Subscribe via iTunes.

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The Twinkie Diet

In 2010, Mark Haub, a nutrition professor, ran an experiment to see if he could eat 1800 calories a day—with Twinkies and snack foods as the staple of his diet—and lose weight.

Turns out he lost 27 lb., and all of his key health indicators showed that he was getting healthier.

So, for July, we’re announcing the Twinkie diet challen—


Haub was almost apologetic it worked. He really doesn’t want people going out and trying the Twinkie diet.

But it just proves a basic hypothesis that doctors have been telling us for years.

Excess body fat leads to health issues, and to lose body fat, you need to eat fewer calories than your body burns.

Haub found that his cholesterol and other blood markers improved just by losing the weight, even though he was eating TWINKIES every day.

Eventually, he stopped because eating Twinkies 3 times a day sucks. It also takes a lot more discipline to limit yourself when your diet consists of snack foods.

But the bottom line is that it WORKS.

If your goal is to lose fat and get healthier, ANY diet will work!

Rule No. 1 of dieting is to eat fewer calories than you consume.

Rule No. 2 is to do it consistently.

Rule No. 2 is where things get hairy … 

It’s really hard to stick with a diet long-term.

Nutrition comes down to habits and behavior, so we come up with little tricks to help us stay on track.

Maybe you can get healthy if you …

Eat ONLY veggies.

Eat ONLY meat.

Eat ONLY between 12-8 p.m.

Eliminate gluten and dairy.

Have a green smoothie every morning.

People try these things, get results for themselves and a few friends, then they write books about their new diet revolution.

These diets become religion when tons of other people try it, then write blogs or show up on talk shows claiming their diet can solve all of the world’s problems.

But they’re not wrong …

Their diets DO work!

But if you understand the REASON they work, you can save yourself a lot of time …

Nutrition is all about behavior.

Your goal is to pick a plan that takes you forward toward your goals and is easy to follow for a long time.

Avoid the debates, keep it simple—just find something that works for you and stick with it consistently.

Coach Jay

PS – Obviously, everyone’s situation is different. We all have different goals, backgrounds, and health issues. We encourage you to find a plan that fits YOUR particular needs …

But ultimately, it always comes back to consistency. The perfect diet is useless if you cheat on it.

If you need help choosing your dietary weapon, Coach Wendy and Coach Tina are experts in behavior change. Email them at nutrition@crossfithale.com for a free consult to help you sift through the noise to find something that works for you.


Summer of Skills!

Our first rowing clinic was a hit! I saw many of you pick up some new cues and skills to help. Hopefully it made Thursday’s workout a little more fun!

Our next few skills sessions will be:

6/19: Improve Your Handstand Skills with Cullen
6/26: Improve Your Ring Skills with Wendy
7/3: (off for Hero Challenge)

Is there something you’re dying to learn more of? Please drop a line to heidi@crossfithale.com.

Mark Freeman (of Freeman Technique, Cirque du Soleil, and Cal Gymnastics fame) will be running his clinics on Wednesdays at 5:45 a.m., starting JUNE 19. Cost is $20 for members; $25 for non-members. Our regular 5:45-a.m. Group Coaching class will run alongside.

Stay tuned: In the coming weeks we will have specialty courses on endurance, Olympic lifting, strongman, basic gymnastics, and more.

Hero Challenge: July 1-4

We’ll complete 4 Hero workouts in 4 days. It’ll be like the 12 Days of CrossFit, but shorter, sunnier, and perhaps a little heavier!

You’ll continue to see some Hero WODs sprinkled throughout the programming to get you prepped. This would be a great time to start working on some key skills—you may see some chest-to-bar pull-ups and other high-skill gymnastics, so get a jump on it!

Guest Day at Hale: Saturday, July 6

All athletes welcome, no CrossFit experience required. Classes at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. FREE!

Workouts for the Week


A. Overhead squat for load:
5 x 3

Work up to a heavy 3 for today. You’re only as good as your positions on this one–full foot on the ground and strong shoulders will transfer over better to other movements, like the snatch. Stay tight, sit back, and hold on.

B. For time:
100 wall balls (20/14)

EMOM: 4 burpees

MissFit: 14/10

Breathe, and take BIG SETS on this one. Shoot for at least 20 reps in each of your first three minutes … get past halfway, and you can figure it out from there.


18-min AMRAP:
30 double-unders
10 front-rack lunges (75/55)
10 shoulder-to-overhead (press, push press, push jerk)

60 single-unders
Front-rack lunge 65/40
S2OH 65/40

The pump on this one should be pretty solid–try to keep the barbell work unbroken for each movement. Take a little extra rest before picking the bar up for shoulder-to-OH.


A. Warm-up

5 rounds:
45/35-lb. plate push
5 T push-ups/side
10 hanging shifts on bar

B. 15-min alt. EMOM:
Min 1: AMRAP strict pull-ups
Min 2: 10 HIGH box jumps (30/24)
Min 3: 250-m row

Score is the number of strict pull-ups. Aim for at least one big set each round, then hit singles as needed.

MissFit: Elevated ring rows

Good day to work on some higher-skill/strength movements. Stick those box landings and keep a reasonable pace. You’ll have to hustle on the row to have any time before the pull-ups, but don’t go TOO hard.

Choose a pull-up scaling you can do 5 of when fresh, but not 10. If you can hit 10 strict pull-ups, hold a weight between your feet.

C. Barbell arm smash:
2 mins/side biceps
2 mins/side forearm
2 mins/side triceps


A. “Warm-Up Gone Bad”

3 rounds, 1 min each:
Bear crawl
Plate hops
Strict hanging leg raises
Bar pass-throughs

By rounds 2 and 3, you should be hitting this at a good clip, but not going SO HARD. We’ll get you sweaty, but your primary focus today is learning and practicing the sumo deadlift.

B. Sumo deadlift for load:

5 sets of 5, all pulled as singles and CONTROLLED down to the ground. This means you REALLY have to get comfortable in the set-up. You’re not looking for a 5-RM. Just nail down the skill and find something heavy-ish.


3 rounds for time:
800-m run
30 KB box step-overs (53/35)
30 KB swings

KB box step-overs (35/26)
KB swings (35/26)

This one is a little bit of stamina, a little bit of endurance. Aim for a steady pace on your 800-m run and hopefully something you can maintain. The step-overs and KB swings are enough reps that you’ll need a breathing strategy. Keep moving!


“David Markland”

5 rounds for time:
5 clean and jerks (135/95)
20 pull-ups
30 push-ups
40 sit-ups
50 air squats

Clean and jerk (95/65)
Ring rows

The clean and jerks should be the quick part! If weight is easy for you, go unbroken. This would be a good day to Rx the weight if you know you can do at least one. To scale: Complete in pairs.

Dedicated to Warrant Officer Class 2 David Markland from 36 Engineer Regiment who died in an IED blast in Afghanistan on February 8, 2010. This was WO2 Markland’s eighth operational tour of duty during his distinguished 20-year service.


3 rounds for time:
15 power cleans (135/95)
15 thrusters
1000-m row

Again, a Larry special! This one is manageable as (but heavy, YES) prescribed for many of you. Scale down weight so that you can do the thrusters in 2 sets when fresh. Today is intended to be heavy, but if you just need to move and recover, scale back as much as you need.


(Header image: By Evan-Amos – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14735063)


The Hale Case Study Project: Week 2

Success doesn’t happen all at once—and it doesn’t happen by accident.

That’s why our Case Study participants have a plan. (Psst—if you haven’t watched our Case Study Overview and Week 1 episodes, click here!)

In Week 2, each athlete made plans for tackling training, nutrition, and recovery, committing to specific, measurable and realistic actions that will deliver big-time results over time.

Lilly set calendar reminders to log her food by noon each day. Dave committed to alcohol-free weekdays. Heidi’s going to get seven hours of sleep a night—even if means a 9-p.m. bedtime.

That doesn’t mean it will be easy.

Our participants have already faced challenges and temptations while navigating busy work schedules and vacations.

But they know the effort is worth the reward—and it’s already paying dividends.

Catch up on Week 2 of the Hale Case Study project above. 

Living Better Podcast – Ep. 37 – 500 Days of Food Tracking

In this episode, CrossFit Hale coach Wendy Medina tells us about her experience tracking everything she’s eaten for the past year and a half.

500 Days of Food Tracking

When Coach Wendy started tracking her daily food intake, her goals were simple.

“I wanted to feel better and perform better in workouts,” she said.

While previous experimentations with restrictive diets left Wendy feeling sluggish in workouts or failed to yield results, tracking her intake to meet specific macronutrient targets allowed her to adjust her diet mindfully to reach her goals.

After almost two years of diligent logging—even on “treat days”—Wendy has reduced her body-fat percentage, gained muscle mass and has a healthy relationship with food.

“I feel great, and I feel like I am able to maintain a healthy diet while still enjoying foods and enjoying life.”

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How daily food logging can help you reach your goals.
  • Tips and techniques for making logging manageable.
  • Unexpected positive side benefits of tracking your food.

Links and resources for this episode:

Thank you for listening!

Thank you so much for checking out our podcast! Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below, or email us.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe via iTunes or Stitcher.

Subscribe via iTunes – Click here.

Subscribe via Stitcher – Click here.

Do you have a burning question you want answered?

Click here and share it with us!