Proving Grounds 2018

Stella MCing away

Brought salads because the food at these events is usually not great 

Sprints and front squats 
G5 support crew 

Team Destined for Divorce (Ray J and  KJ)

Team G5 Jerks (Adam and Julie)

Super happy me!

The final WOD

And they were done!

Falafel burger at Drygate with the team

I got to hold baby Emily! One week old, she’s beautiful. Did I tell you I love babies? (Photo borrowed from Chris)

Some of the gang! (Photo borrowed from Chris)

I absolutely love competition days, whether it’s me competing or cheering on someone else, it’s just the most fun days. The G5 crew is always out in full force and we scream and shout from the beginning until the end. This time it was time to head out to Motherwell (just outside Glasgow) to cheer on our two teams who qualified for Proving Grounds XY at Ravenscraig Sport Centre, G5 Jerks and Destined for Divorce. Proving Grounds is one of the biggest mixed pairs competitions in the UK.

Carole (Faye’s mum) very kindly picked Ellie and I up at my flat in the morning. It was meant to be the hottest and sunniest day of the year so far, and we were going to be inside all day. Oh the irony of life. What don’t you do to support your gym buddies? 😛 We got there just before the G5 team’s first heat started to wish them luck.

They were incredible all day the G5 teams. The WODs were heavy and tough, with a few surprise elements such as changing the barbells up for a wider one to test out the grip strength and adding weighted vests to the final workout. The final workout looked very juicy, air squats, pull ups and burpees all with an extra 6kg on for the women and 9kg for the men.

Not only did we have the G5 teams competing, we had Stella on the microphone commentating on the event all day. She did a brilliant job and sounds like a natural that lady! I don’t know how she doesn’t run out of things to say. It’s a long day.

In between workouts there were some vendors about you could have a browse at such as Greaves Sports and lululemon. The lulu girls were hosting a synchro burpee challenge, do as many synchro burpees as you could in 30 seconds. You had to be a guy and a girl. Chris and I gave it a bash and got 13. Then MJ and Ian swooped in and got an entire 15. That was impressive. 30 seconds really isn’t a lot of time!

Ellie seemed to absolutely love her first Crossfit competition experience and towards the end she was joining in on the shouting and cheering too.

If I would give anyone a tip for going to a Crossfit competition it’s bring your own food! You’re not always guaranteed there’ll be something decent to eat. I know most likely because I don’t eat meat there won’t be something available so I’ve brought food to all the ones I’ve been to so far. The food at Ravenscraig was really bad so I’m glad we didn’t have to worry about starving Ellie and I.

One thing that was amazing to watch was Steph Dekker competing in the RX category! She just qualified for her second Crossfit Regionals so she’s going to be competing in Berlin in May. It was crazy to see the level of her fitness in comparison to everyone else competing, she’s just playing a different ball game. Not a drop of sweat at any point in any of the workouts and didn’t seem to show any nerves whatsoever. She just walked in and smashed it and didn’t seem to take any effort at all. What an incredible athlete she is.

After the teams finished, we packed up and headed to Drygate for some burgers and celebration of the incredible teams. They really gave it their all and did G5 proud. It was incredible to watch them push and push through each WOD. You could see it was very trialling at times but they kept on going.

Chris from the gym brought his lovely family along to Drygate so we all got a chance to meet and hold their latest addition to the family, baby Emily. She was only a week old and so cute! I even got a chance to hold her and you just can’t take your eyes off her. She was so little and peaceful, didn’t make a noise as she was passed around to everyone around the table.

We were all knackered (or at least I was) after an eventful day. Competition days are tiring, even if you’re not competing because you’re so nervous for the ones competing and you scream and shout them through every workout. So I was quite happy to head home afterwards to my bed. Randomly on my way out I bumped into Kajsa who was at Drygate too! It was the best surprise ever seeing her! I haven’t seen her since before I went to Sweden.

I then headed out and was going to walk to the underground and take it home but it was still really nice outside even though the sun had pretty much set at that point that I walked all the way home. What a day, I knew it was going to be my last time supporting the G5 crew live before moving so I really tried to take it all in and really truly appreciate being there and enjoying every second (I always do but being a bit more mindful about it). I’m going to miss days like this, so incredibly much.

Sis visiting G5

I know this is super pixly but it was too cute not to post. I LOVE baby Samúéil. He is one of the smiliest babies I’m ever met.

Ellie doing her 35 calories on the assault bike
 Push press time!
And we’re done!!

A photo with SB is a must!

Finished off with a brunch outside at the new Singl-End in Merchant City

My sister finally made it to G5 on Friday! It was a long time coming. I’ve been wanting her to join in on the fun for forever but it’s just not been the right time until the other day. It was a great workout for her to do as well. For being the first time in G5, she took it all like a pro. She does train so definitely gives you an advantage rather than just being thrown in the deep end, it can be a bit of a shock the first time you realise how intense the workouts can be.

Strong Mums was super busy, with babies everywhere. I finally got to see cutie Samúéil again after them being away over Easter and me being in Sweden. He has grown so much and has started moving about loads. I couldn’t believe how much he had grown since I last saw him. Still just as smiley!

I loved Friday’s workouts. For the first part we were allocated either the ski erg, assault bike or rower. You had a 5 minute time cap to do 35 calories for scaled or 50 calories for RX individually. Ellie and I were on a team with Sara and we were given the assault bike. Oh that assault bike, how can you hate something and kind of love it at the same time? It’s painful at times but you know it’s good for you. I went first and when I sat there, Sara and I were told we’re doing the 50 calories. I wasn’t even sure I’d finish 50 calories in one go under 5 minutes! I’d never even attempted such a big cycle on the assault bike before. I knew it was going to be painful haha. Or as I would say, interesting (just to make it sound a bit more positive).

Stella yelled go and off I went, I tried to do a more steady pace at first and then blast it out towards the end. As I was sitting there struggling Stella came up and said that Faye had done it in 3:59 so I had that time to beat. No pressure… How on Earth was I going to beat that?! That was an amazing time. Around the halfway point, 25 calories, that is usually a longer push for me in one go, it was tough thinking I had another 25 to go. At one point I couldn’t really feel my legs anymore. Towards the end I could hear Stella shouting the time and knowing I had Faye’s time to beat I dug in deep and pushed for the final calories. I wanted to get a good time on this stupid bike.When the display finally ticked over to 50 calories I couldn’t have been happier. I ended up with a time of 3.40!! I was over the moon. I got off and tried to crouch down to grab my water off the floor and my legs were all over the place. I had no control over what was going on haha. A bit like Bambi on ice!

Then Sara did a brilliant run with her 50 calories and then it was Ellie’s turn. She had 35 calories to do and she smashed it. I was so proud of her.

The next bit was a five minute time cap for finding your 3 rep max front squat. Ellie and I paired up and I started. After that assault bike I wasn’t sure what was going to happen to my legs once I put weight on them. Anyway, weights on the barbell, lifters on and magic belt on. Let’s go! I started off with 55 which felt good. Then I did 60! My three rep max for Rainhill was 55kg so I was really happy with 60 but I felt like I had more in me. We loaded on 65 which is over my one rep max. I got them too! I thought maybe, just maybe I could get 67.5 as well. I got the first rep and the second one but on the third one it got too heavy so I dropped it. Either way, I got new PBs for my three rep (ten kilos heavier!) and one rep max. I was really surprised when it happened.

Ellie did amazing with her front squats considering she never does them and got 42.5 kg! Strong strong lady. I even got her in my lifting shoes so she looked like she meant business!

The next part was a three rep max push press with a 5 minute time cap. I started with 40 kg which went fine. Then 45, a bit tougher that one but I got it. Then 47.5kg! I got those too (I was so happy with that). Then attempted a bit heavier (I can’t remember the weight) but at that point my arms gave up. 47.5 kg for a push press for me is heavy. I usually jerk for that kind of weight so thinking that I can now push press that weight made me really happy.

The push press is a bit more down to technique and timing a well as strength. Ellie struggled a bit on those but got 25 kilos and did more practise ones on it until the time cap just to get a feel for the movement. I think her, like me, and a lot of other women struggle with our upper body strength. Both her and I are built very similar, a bit smaller in our upper body and muscular around our bum and thighs. It’s taken me a long time to build up the strength in my upper body that I have now but it’s better now than ever. When I was in Sweden I did a lot of strict overhead movements and pull ups and I think that’s really helped.

The finisher was as many burpees as possible in 5 minutes! Not an easy finisher but interesting to see how many you could actually squeeze in in that time. Five minutes feels like an eternity doing a workout like this. The goal for scaled was 50, intermediate 70 and 100 for RX. I was aiming for at least 70 but really didn’t know how it would go. The issue I struggle with is that I sometimes go out too hard at the beginning and then fade, like with the assault bike. I’m now trying to get better at pacing myself and go nice and steady at first and then push towards the end. About 50 or so burpees in my legs were on fire but as we say in G5, you can always throw yourself on the floor and get up again so that’s what I did. Just keep swimming as the Great Dory of Finding Nemo also says. I got past 70 and the five minute time cap was approaching. In the final seconds I managed to squeeze a couple more in and got 78 burpees. Not too bad, not too bad at all. I didn’t stop ever to break and went consistently throughout the time and I was really happy with my effort.

It was then Ellie’s turn. I really wanted to make sure she was pacing herself and didn’t tired herself out. It’s tough when you’ve never really done something like this before. Usually you do a shorter blast of burpees and not a five minute burpeeathon! I told her to aim for 50 and everything else was a bonus. We started off with her doing 10s and then a I got her to take a short break, walk around in a little circle and then did ten more. I could tell she was getting tired and we instead changed it to fives with shorter breaks for her to catch her breath. She was a real champ and before the time was up she’d managed 54 burpees. She did amazing.

I loved how happy she looked throughout the entire class and I know she’s been struggling with stress at university (I can really relate to that, those of you who have been following me since my uni days know how stressed I was whilst I was studying and training kept me sane). She even said she wanted to come back so we’re planning in for her to join in a couple of times before I leave for her to find out if this could be something for her.

After training you of course need a nice meal and we needed a catch up so we headed to Singl-end’s second venue which just opened in Merchant City. It was slightly sunny and being the desperate Northern Europeans we are, we sat outside despite how cold it got when the clouds passed the sun. Just for those little glimpses of light and warmth. The new Singl-end is lovely and very cosy! They really lucked out when they got their hands on that venue. The food was delicious, portions a bit smaller than the other venue but still super tasty. We sat there for ages until it was time to carry on with our day. At that point I convinced Ellie to come with us to Proving Grounds to watch her first Crossfit competition, I was so happy to have her join us on the cheer squad fun!

By the way, in two weeks today I’ll be waiting to board my plane to Australia. I can’t believe it’s happening so soon. I’ve still got loads to do before I leave but I’ll get it done! Two weeks, that’s really no time at all!

What I learnt doing the Crossfit Open

The Crossfit Open is long gone and now those mega athletes who qualified for the next stage are in full regionals prep. I thought I’d just revisit my experience a little bit and share some things I learnt or thought about along the way from taking part in the Open.

1. The pressure can get to you

I signed up a bit on a whim for the Open and wasn’t sure what to expect. I was going to do my best and not try to be stressed about it because it was meant for fun. It was just a competition against myself and see what I could do. However, as the weeks went on I felt some kind of pressure to do well. It was when we were starting to do the WODs I knew I wouldn’t do well in due to lack of skills or strength and whilst I had loads of people around me when I was doing my WODs who were supporting me, I felt slightly awkward and uncomfortable they were watching me struggle. I know it doesn’t matter but I suppose I have a bit of pride and being vulnerable and really struggling at times sometimes got to me. I felt like I wasn’t good enough even though I was doing way better than I thought I would. I managed double unders, chest to bars and handstand push ups, things that I had never really been able to do before or haven’t been doing for very long. However, once I was in the WOD all the people watching and cheering you on actually helped but at the beginning of  the workouts I just felt a bit like I wanted to hide. It gets you out of your comfort zone these workouts and when you’re in it, all you need to focus on is getting through it the best you can.

2. You are better than you think you are

I by no means am saying I’m the best or am super good at Crossfit but I think I struggle to realise that I’m quite good at this stuff by now. I still have so much more to learn and get better at but even a couple of months ago I couldn’t have done what I’m doing today. I don’t give myself enough credit for what I do and it’s a shame because you work so hard to accomplish something and all you want is to get double unders or get a handstand push up and when it happens I feel like I’m not praising myself enough. I more think, well that’s good and then just carry on. I work hard for all the progress I make but I don’t celebrate it enough, I’m almost already over it by the time I get it. I need to get better at stopping and appreciating when I nail something. Ending up far higher on the leaderboard than I thought I would and doing all of the workouts RX (as prescribed) rather than scaling also showed that I guess I’m doing alright in my training. I did not think that would happen. It’s realising that you’re doing well and you’re making progress and being happy and proud of that progress. I’m not one for blowing my own trumpet but maybe I just need to be a bit more proud of my progress along the way. Do you guys struggle with this?

3. It finds your weaknesses but also pushes you to get better

Oh god it did. Doing these WODs it was impossible in some instances to move on to the next stage because there was a movement in the way, which made you stop and you couldn’t get past it. For instance, double unders slowed me down, chest to bars slowed me down, handstand push ups slowed me down and muscle ups were just a lost cause and let’s not talk about handstand walks haha. You could do well in the first part of the workout and then you would hit a wall and that was your submission over. It’s as if someone lit a massive spotlight right at where you know you’re struggling, which was eye opening. Some instances you would be stuck there for the remaining time, being forced to practise this movement you’re terrible at, other times you struggled through. What it did make me feel was, I’m freaking going to practise all these things until next year so I can get better and get through these movements. It was a learning experience to see what you need to focus on a bit extra and also to see what a bit of pressure can make you do, sometimes you were surprised how you managed to wiggle through to the next part of the workout.

4. You get a benchmark for next year

For someone who’s a bit competitive like me and likes competing against yourself, I love that I now have a placing I can improve for next year. There’s a full year of progress and improvement until the next Open and I’m hoping next year I’ll feel more confident and feel like I could place a bit better. It’s always nice to feel like you’re moving forward and have something to strive towards. I’m not super strict wanting to smash myself to do better next year but it gives me a goal.

5. Going to a small independent gym is the best thing ever

It’s at times like these when qualifiers for competitions are happening that you realise how special these kinds of gyms are. Everyone is helping out as much as they can, giving up their spare time on the weekend even if they’re not submitting anything just to help out with judging or filming, setting up or supporting. The vibe during some of the workouts was just amazing when everyone was cheering the people doing the workout on to keep going and watching people get their first pull up. It was beautiful. We had members bring homemade cakes and at one point MJ brought down her coffee machine and was making everyone a coffee to keep them warm.

6. It’s you against you

You would think when entering any form of competition you are inevitably competing against others but the main competition you have is with yourself to be the best you can be. It’s how I always try to think whenever I’m training or competing and was once again reminded of this during the Open. It’s not so much about the leaderboard in relation to other people but it’s more about when you put it into the perspective of your performance and what you can do and if you leave the workout happy knowing you’ve done your best.

7. It’s fun

At then end of the day we all sign up because we want something to do and it’s a bit of fun. Don’t try and take it too seriously. It’s incredibly cool that people from all over the world are doing the same workouts in their own gym and taking part. If you’re on the fence next year on whether to do it or not, I’d say just do it, what’s the worst thing that could happen? You don’t finish the workout maybe, there were loads of workouts I was nowhere near finishing when the time cap was up. But that’s the worst thing that could happen, other than injuring yourself (please don’t do that!). If anything you win from even trying because a lot of people wouldn’t even dare to do that. Just see how far you can go, you’ll surprise yourself!



Look out, a Maddie on the road

My parents’ new car, we call it the pokeball. I think you can see why!

My mormor and I made a fruit salad for fika and I introduced her to raw desserts. She liked it!

Here we are!

Baby me with my mum and dad ❤

The back of my mormor’s house. We used to play here all the time as kids

Some final cuddles before leaving

Then it was time for a walking date with my cousin Mickis in the southern parts of Stockholm

Stockholm, you beauty

Happy cousins

Hello lovelies! It’s already less than a week until I leave. This time I’m not sure when I’ll next be back so I’m making the most of being here and booking up every moment possible with everyone I love. Yesterday I started off with a gym session then after lunch I jumped in the car to drive to my mormor. I so rarely drive and it’s always a stressful affair. The way there went surprisingly smooth! I always get lost at some point when I drive but this time around it went really well.

I was so happy to see my mormor. When I arrived we sat outside on her bench in the sunshine, absorbing all the vitamin D. It actually got quite hot sitting there. We spoke loads and had a fika whilst I was there. I had brought some fruit for a fruit salad and also raw vegan desserts from a company called the Unbakery. I got a cinnamon bun flavoured thing and a snickers slice, they were delicious and even my mormor enjoyed them. After fika we went back outside for a bit and then it was time for me to leave. Time had gone by so quickly and I wanted to drive back into town before rush hour. I didn’t make it back before rush hour and I got lost along the way hehe. So it took a bit longer than I’d hoped to get back but I got there in the end.

As soon as I had parked the car I got on the underground to go to see my cousin Mickis and go for a walk. She lives on Söder, which is the southern parts of Stockholm. I rarely go there so it was nice to head over and go for a walk somewhere a bit different. We walked for ages and just talked about everything in life and what’s going on. Funnily enough, her new boyfriend is Spanish and his family lives in Benidorm, not far from where Jamie used to live in Spain, they’re even looking to go to Javea for a bit this summer. I’m slightly jealous because I love that place but I’m not complaining considering I’m soon going to Australia…

It’s stunning walking down by the water as the sun is setting. I love being near the water and I think it’s probably because I’m from Stockholm. You are surrounded by water pretty much everywhere you turn and I love it.

Now time for another day here in Stockholm and a busy one too! I’m just back from the gym where I had a very sweaty session. First I did 1000m on the ski erg, then intervals of 500m on the rower with a minutes rest in between for three rounds. Then I did a 21-15-9 of dumbbell burpees with 20kg and 16kg dumbbell push presses. It was tough and I had to take some breaks but I got through it. After that I did strict presses with a barbell and strict pull ups. It felt good doing something a bit more high intensity today.

Now I’m going to see my farmor today with my aunt Jenny and this evening I’m going out for dinner with my two school friends Gabbie and Fia. We’re going for thai food and I’m so excited! It’s fun being home but I also feel exhausted from being so sociable haha. It’s always a busy schedule when you’re home but I wouldn’t have it any other way. When you’re only here ever so often, you have to make the most of every moment.

Have a beautiful day! M xxx