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Abs Quest 2014

Ab Quest by Kim McLaughlin at CrossFit Invictus San Diego

Can you guess which abs belong to which 2014 CrossFit Games Female Athlete?

Abs Quest 2014
Written by Kim McLaughlin

If you’ve ever been to the CrossFit Games in Carson, CA or watched it on TV, you know that the StubHub Center, during the second to last weekend in July, houses the fittest concentration of people in the entire world. Please note – I’m not even including the 100 or so athletes competing for the title of the “World’s Fittest” in that assessment. I’m referring to the thousands of spectators that are there to watch these athletes workout.

During a quick stroll through the competition venue, you are guaranteed to see thousands of well defined biceps, triceps, abs, traps, quads, and any other muscly body part that might show itself in clothing (or lack there of) typical to CrossFitters in 90-100 degree heat. It’s because of this that my friend and fellow Invicti, Tara Parsons, and I have decided to embark on “Abs Quest 2014” in early June. Essentially, what we were going for was a six pack of abs by the time the CrossFit Games rolled around so we could properly spectate with everyone else. This quest proved to be quite the learning experience – and it’s not even over.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve been CrossFitting for about 5 years. I competed on the Sea of Green team at the SoCal Regional in 2013 and was the alternate for the Unconquerable team this year. I like to consider myself a fairly strong athlete. However – even though CrossFit has transformed my body into something I’m pretty proud of over the years – I’ve never had abs. I’ve never even tried to get abs. Until we decided on Abs Quest 2014, my CrossFit career had been solely focused on training and performance and not on my ab count. So, I thought, why not change that focus for a bit?

A logical place to start when thinking about any physical change to body composition is the diet. I wanted to clean mine up a bit. Now, I consider my eating habits to be fairly clean most of the time and I’m pretty good about following a mostly paleo diet. However, I do LOVE some ice cream, chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate covered almonds, so I’m willing to admit that those items sometimes sneak into my diet and I don’t fight it. If I was going to get abs, though, sweets were out. I made a conscious effort to cut out anything that appealed to my sweet tooth – including fruit. I also decided to cut down on starchy veggies so that I was mainly consuming greens and meat. I also cut out sweet potatoes, root vegetables, and anything else that might not be considered “low carb.” I was going into this 100%.

I made all of these changes to my diet while continuing to train with the same intensity and volume that I had prior to the start of “the quest”. The good news is that, after about 3 weeks of this, I did start to see some changes in my stomach and an ab or two became visible if I really flexed. However, the bad news is that I was constantly tired and worn out and my workouts were suffering….A LOT.

The long chippers that I loved became dreaded and I felt frustrated with my lifts. I never felt fully recovered from the previous day’s workout and even worse than that, while I was a pound or two lighter for all of those gymnastics movements I struggle with – it didn’t matter. I didn’t have the energy to practice them!

After a bit of reflection, I realized I needed to re-evaluate my goals. While a six pack would be great… I am much much happier when I have energy and stamina for my workouts. Maybe a great set of abs isn’t for me. After all, they do no good if they can’t help me brace in my lifts or keep that hollow position in my gymnastics.

I needed to add some carbs back into my diet so I could get back on track with the things that made me feel good – lifting heavy things and getting my heart rate up. I needed to choose function over aesthetics – and it was the best decision that I’d made in a month. I started to recover better and I felt 1,000 times better about everything I was doing in the gym. The sad news is that my return to carbs quickly hid the two mini abs that had briefly made an appearance. Perhaps having a great set of abs is not in my genetics – just like having curly hair or being 6 foot tall.

Abs Quest 2014 isn’t over yet. The CrossFit games are still a week away. I would love to have some visible abs by then but I would also love it if they were functional. If I have to pick one over the other, I’m going to choose with the hidden ones that serve a purpose.

I will continue to eat clean, cut out those sweets, and train for my competitive goals. As for “Abs Quest 2014”, I’m willing to extend the due date a bit. It’s taken five years for me to look the way I do right now. Body transformations don’t happen overnight, so maybe a six pack is just another five years away — OR – perhaps more likely, maybe I won’t ever have that six pack because Im not genetically inclined to. Regardless, I’m going to keep working on it with a different focus. Instead of the looks, Abs Quest 2014 is going to focus on a core that has practical value (i.e. – it allows me to stay strong in those heavy Oly lifts and complicated gymnastics movements). Training and diet are two components that I can control when it comes to the Quest so – focus on what you can control. Is it going to give me the body and the six pack that I want? Maybe…maybe not. Will it happen by next week so I can properly spectate? No. But I’m ok with that. This year I’ll just be the girl with my shirt ON in the stands.

Side note: my abs didn’t make the cut for the “six pack of six pack” featured above – my work in progress is below.

KimBlogAbQuest

 

Published on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 | 1 Comment

Technical Failure

Technical Failure

Technical Failure Written by Bryan Miller We have all seen someone successfully snatch a weight that they probably shouldn’t have attempted, based on the technical proficiency of their previous lift. Even if the lift sets a PR/PB, is a technically poor lift really a success? Often during training or coaching I see something called a technical failure. A “technical failure” is a repetition that deviates from ideal form. It is my belief that during training you should not continue to lift once you have reached technical failure. Technical failure is a good indication that your form isn’t mature enough to

Published on Monday, July 14, 2014 | 1 Comment
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Planks – A Gateway Exercise!

Planks – A Gateway Exercise!

Planks – A Gateway Exercise! Written by Nick Hawkes Planks, or “prone bridge”, get a bad rap from a lot of uninformed meatheads and self-proclaimed strong men. They are thought of as the “tofu of the strength and conditioning arsenal” and something that only the skinny fat and B.C.A.A. deprived dabble in. I am here to tell you “Nay!” to that sentiment, and that if done properly, the plank and its variations can add some Valerian steel tipped arrows to your quiver of tools. Planks are a great core exercise and should be a go-to in teaching people anti-extension and training of

Published on Sunday, July 13, 2014 | 3 Comments
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Strong is Beautiful – The Ladies of Invictus Point Loma!

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Strong is Beautiful – The Ladies of Invictus Point Loma Written by Lindsey Johnson One of the greatest things about my job is watching members create their own relationships and build upon them, and allow those relationships to make them better people. Better friends, better family, coworkers and amazing supporters of one another. Adding a second location to the already outstanding group of Invicti was a bit of a challenge; could we create an energy and a group that jives with the existing group and also one that holds it’s own? Can we help foster a family that’s equally as

Published on Friday, July 11, 2014 | Post a comment
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Tips For Your First Powerlifting Meet

Tips For Your First Powerlifting Meet

Tips For Your First Powerlifting Meet Written by Calvin Sun “The best preparation for tomorrow is to do today’s work superbly well” – William Osler Have you ever wanted to sign up for a Powerlifting Meet, but was unsure about the who, what, where and when? Then check out these tips below! Sign Up For The Right Division and Weight Class Powerlifting is a weight class sport and you will be required to weigh-in the morning of the meet. Make sure you are signing up for the correct weight class when registering. If you are experienced with cutting weight, feel

Published on Thursday, July 10, 2014 | Post a comment
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Invictus Games Athlete Spotlight: Emmanuel Maldonado

Invictus Games Athlete Spotlight: Emmanuel Maldonado

Invictus Games Athlete Spotlight: Emmanuel Maldonado Written by Nichole DeHart Meet Emmanuel Maldonado! You might have seen him roaming around the gym a few weeks ago when he was visiting from his hometown of Puerto Rico. He went into Regionals with the hopes of placing Top 10 and came out of the weekend sitting in 1st place, earning himself a spot to the 2014 CrossFit Games! He is looking forward to his first visit to the Games and will be enjoying all the cheering from our Sea of Green section! Nichole: How did you become a part of the Sea of

Published on Wednesday, July 9, 2014 | Post a comment
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