The anatomy of my front squat

Hi there!

I have something to tell you.

I am SO. STINKIN’. SORE. from yesterday’s CrossFit workout.

leg day

I really wish I could have run BEFORE work this morning to loosen things up but, alas, it didn’t happen.

I’ve already expressed my feelings regarding my inability to run in the mornings. :/

Besides, it was raining. (like that’s ever stopped me)

I’m trying to get up and move around as much as I can because I’d like to loosen up a little before I run this afternoon.

Speed work.

After leg day.

Yeah, we’ll see how that goes.

after leg day

Anywho, I got to thinking about my front squats and how they were kind of wonky yesterday.

Granted, I haven’t done a front squat since at least October but still, my brain knows how to do them. Why did my body forget?

It’s not that I haven’t done a single squat since my last day at CrossFit before we moved.

I mean, really, I’ve done them!

In fact, I did too many during that playoff game when Peyton Manning shouted Omaha like 30 bazillion times.

Okay, fine, I didn’t have a weighted bar but a squat should be a squat, right?

Except, it isn’t.

Especially when weight is involved.



As you can see from the image, there’s a difference in weighted front and weighted back squats.

We were doing weighted front squats.

When you squat without weights, you don’t have to compensate for anything.

When you squat WITH weights, you have to compensate for that extra weight and WHERE you’re holding it.

(Note: I got that picture from the Tabata Times article about the importance of front squats.  You should read it.)

My problem was my knees were tracking inward (towards each other) on the down movement and I was putting more weight on the balls of my feet instead of my heels.

I was allowing the weight to dictate my movement and direction and it was pulling me forward.

I needed to engage my core more to keep my back straight and the bar over my thighs instead of pulling me forward so it’s over my knees.

Clearly, I’ve lost some strength in my time away from a box. And it was only a few months!

Thankfully, I still have some muscle memory and with Coach’s guidance, I slowed the movement down and thought each part through and was able to knock out some really solid ones.

Hopefully, my body will retrain itself quickly and I’ll improve and get back to where I was before. 🙂

Oh, and the really good news?

I can still do a pull up.

A. Pull-up.

Not more than 1 in a row.

And, I’m cool with that. 🙂

Talk to me: So, after leg day, how do you manage walking down stairs?

Um, I’ve been known to walk backwards or slide down on my butt. Sexy, right? 😉

– jennifer

Barking dogs, burning legs, and Spicy Chickpea Stew


Happy holiday Monday!

Guess what I did this morning?

I went to CrossFit!!!


It was GREAT!

There’s a box about 10 minutes from my house and I was finally able to check them out.

They have 4 scheduled classes a day and I went to the 6:15 AM class.

Yes, I know it’s a holiday and I didn’t have to get up early but the neighbor’s dog had other ideas.

Incessant barking at 4:30 this morning.


Shooting him didn’t seem like the right thing to do so I just made the best of it, got up and went to the early class.

It’s a small box (which is fine) and there were 3 of us there this morning plus the coach.

Holy. Leg burner. WOD.


I definitely appreciated the small group this morning because my front squats were a little wonky to start and I really needed the attention/coaching.

And, I learned how out of shape I really am. Running schmunning. I missed HARD WORK.

I can’t wait to check out the PM class on Wednesday!

Tomorrow is speed work. And, it’s supposed to possibly get up into the 60s! Shorts & t-shirt running weather!

CrossFit this morning was definitely the kick in the pants I needed.

My motivation really waned this past week and I’m so ready to get back to business. 🙂

I’ve also fallen off the “healthy” train a little.

Um, hello, red velvet cheesecake swirl brownies!


And lovely box of chocolates!


It was worth it. 🙂

Anywho, enough about dessert, let’s talk about dinner.

I found an AMAZING Clean Eating recipe for chickpea stew!

I do love the chickpea.

This stew is lightly spiced (seriously, use more jalapeño if you want it to fight back) and amazingly delicious.

AND, you get to cook with a whole cinnamon stick!


Okay, fine, maybe I’m a dork but I thought it was pretty cool. 🙂

And, it adds a whole different flavor level than just adding ground cinnamon.

It was a delicious combination with the toasted cumin seeds, turmeric, fresh ginger and garlic.

My kitchen smelled AWESOME!

I served this up with some toasted Naan and called it dinner.


Tomorrow, at work, I’ll call it lunch. 😉

NOTE: This stew calls for dried chickpeas that require overnight soaking. If you don’t want to do that, use canned. Just make sure you rinse them really well.

Spicy Chickpea Stew
makes 4 (1 cup) servings

1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin coconut oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped carrots, diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeño pepper, minced (remove seeds if you don’t want even a little kick)
1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cinnamon stick
4 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
1 cup dried chickpeas
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, stemmed and chopped, for garnish (optional)

1. In a large bowl, add chickpeas and enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Soak overnight, for 8 to 18 hours. Drain.

2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil on medium until melted. Add cumin and toast, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add onion, celery, carrots and salt and sauté, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, jalapeño, and ginger and sauté for 1 more minute. Add turmeric and cinnamon stick and stir to combine.

3. Stir in 2 cups water, tomatoes, and chickpeas. Increase heat to bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until beans are tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Add garam masala and stir to combine; remove cinnamon stick. Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with cilantro (if desired), dividing evenly.

4. Nom it down! 🙂

Talk to me: Why is my cat so weird?


– jennifer